Keep Food Safe at Holiday Celebrations this Summer

July 2nd, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

Mother Father Son and Daughter (8-11) Having a Picnic and ChattingSummertime is the season for pool parties, barbecues, picnics and other outdoor family fun. These events are a great opportunity to get together with friends and family and share a meal.  However, our hot outdoor temperatures can result in the rapid growth of dangerous bacteria on food, which could lead to foodborne illness.  Did you know that one out of six Americans will get sick this year from contaminated foods or beverages?  You can take simple steps to ensure the food served at your summer events is safe to eat:

  • Clean all food contact surfaces and your hands with soap and warm water before preparing food.
  • Cook foods thoroughly by using a thermometer to measure the final cooking temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the product and check that it has reached the minimum cooking temperature of 165°F for poultry, 160°F for ground meats, 155°F for steaks, and 145°F for seafood.
  • Separate plates and utensils used for raw food from those used for cooked food to prevent cross contamination.
  • Chill foods promptly if you won’t eat them immediately. Never let food set out at room temperature.

Check out some food safety resources like our Safe Grilling and 4th of July Food Safety fact sheets on our Food Safety & Environmental Services Program website.  By increasing food safety knowledge and taking action, you can prevent foodborne illness at your summertime event.

Diabetes Program Launches Text-Based Engagement Program

July 1st, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

diabetesOur Diabetes Program has launched a mobile health patient engagement program for the first time in Arizona.  This initiative will target patients with diabetes or diabetes risk factors, as well as at-risk women and children, through the use of automated text messaging.

In partnership with Adelante Healthcare, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), we will use text-message based technology to engage directly with patients to reinforce healthy behaviors—exercise, diet, and care plan adherence—particularly among hard-to-reach populations.  We are also working in participation with Adelante’s obstetrics and gynecology physicians to provide educational messaging targeting first-time mothers, which will provide information about what to expect during visits and when follow-ups are required.

We will continue to expand to other FQHCs under the 1305-Public Health in Actions cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  This program will improve patient self-management with diabetes and improve clinical outcomes, including increasing frequency of blood glucose monitoring and reducing HbA1c levels through the reinforcement of positive behavioral changes.

This pilot mobile health program has been successful through a contractual agreement with Provider Tech, LLC.  For any questions on this innovative project, please contact our Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Manager, Omar Contreras.

State Public Health Lab Selected as Level I Lab by USDA

June 29th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

Our Arizona State Public Health Laboratory has been selected as a Level 1 Laboratory in the USDA’s Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) Cooperative Agreement Program. FERN currently comprises federal, state, and local government regulatory laboratories with varying capacities to perform threat agent testing. The FERN Program enhances the nation’s ability to detect microbiological, radiological and chemical threat agents and to improve laboratory capacity for food defense assignments and outbreak responses.

Level 1 qualification requires the laboratory to maintain the ability to perform screening assays using FERN methods for microbiology food defense targets as well as maintaining screening assays in FERN chemistry methods. This is another example of the great work our Public Health Lab staff does everyday to protect our communities.

Changes in Screening and Monitoring of Travelers Returning from Liberia

June 26th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia on May 9, 2015, when 42 days (two incubation periods) passed since the last Ebola patient was buried. However, the WHO recommended that Liberia maintain heightened surveillance for another 90 days (until August 7, 2015). This led to changes, that began last week, in airport screening and public health monitoring for travelers coming to the United States from Liberia.

Travelers from Liberia no longer require active monitoring but are being encouraged to watch their health for 21 days (self-observation) after leaving Liberia. These travelers are also encouraged to contact their local health department if they have a fever or any other symptoms consistent with Ebola.

We continue to receive contact information for returning travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; however only travelers from Guinea and Sierra Leone are being actively monitored.

Striving for Excellence in Arizona’s Dialysis Facilities

June 25th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

This year marked the third year that our Division of Licensing Services and Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) Program partnered with the InterMountain ESRD Network and others to provide a day-long educational session for end-stage renal dialysis (ESRD) providers in Arizona. More than 200 participants attended this year’s ADVICE Collaborative to identify data-driven opportunities to improve dialysis services in Arizona and share best practices in clinical care, infection control, behavioral care strategies and discharge planning.

Participants heard from ADHS and national speakers on a variety of topics including dialysis survey and health outcomes data, assessment and documentation, infection control resources and best practices, patient interactions, and mental health first aid. The day was capped off by Lori Hartwell of the Renal Support Network, who shared her personal story about the importance of dialysis services and the impact of excellent care in a positive patient experience. Presentations will be available on our website shortly.

Each year’s ADVICE Collaborative gives us new insight into the challenges faced by Arizona dialysis providers and the best and promising practices these providers implement to provide excellent patient care. In addition to identifying educational topics of importance for future years’ collaborative, provider engagement in ADVICE has led to the formation of the ESRD Subcommittee of our HAI Advisory Committee, which works throughout the year to generate meaningful tools and resources for providers and patients in Arizona. We look forward to next year’s ADVICE Collaborative and continued engagement with the dialysis community.

Very Low Risk of MERS Virus in Arizona

June 23rd, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

MERSA new virus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.  More than 1,000 cases of the disease and more than 400 deaths have been reported by the World Health Organization.  Cases have been reported from 25 different countries, all linked to nine countries within the Arabian Peninsula.  The U.S. had two imported cases in 2014.

There is currently a large healthcare-associated outbreak of MERS in South Korea.  The first case in this outbreak was a man who reported recent travel to multiple countries in the Arabian Peninsula.  In Korea, he spread the disease in four different healthcare facilities he visited, before being diagnosed with MERS.

The risk to Arizonans is very low at this time, as MERS has not been found to spread easily in the community.  The largest outbreaks of the disease have been seen in healthcare facilities.  ADHS and local public health agencies are providing guidance and testing support to help healthcare providers in Arizona rapidly identify and diagnose potential cases of MERS to prevent the disease from spreading to others.

MERS can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.  The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  People with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and chronic lung disease, are more at risk for severe disease.


First Ever Tribal and Urban Indian Diabetes Program Meetings Held

June 19th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

navajonationOur Arizona Diabetes Program hosted a first of its kind Tribal and Urban Indian Diabetes Programs meeting on June 10th.  This meeting allowed our Diabetes Program and tribal partners to identify opportunities for partnership while assessing the current diabetes health infrastructure among tribal entities.  It is the Arizona Diabetes Program’s goal to provide technical assistance and resources to further the work of diabetes care for populations at higher risk for diabetes.  In total, 40 tribal communities joined in the dialogue, including entities and organizations from tribal diabetes programs, urban Indian centers, Indian Health Services, hospital systems, and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).

The meeting was a follow-up from a tribal consultation in 2014 that covered several topics in chronic disease prevention and management, where many tribal partners expressed their interest in engaging in conversations concerning diabetes and exploring further collaborative opportunities.  Under our CDC 1305-Public Health in Actions cooperative agreement, the Arizona Diabetes Program provides technical assistance to tribal programs seeking diabetes self-management education accreditation through the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

This effort will continue forward for at least the next three years and is highly supported by CDC as a way to expand diabetes education in rural areas of Arizona and counties that exhibit higher prevalence rates of diabetes.  The meeting was facilitated by our partners at the University of Arizona’s Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences.

National Hepatitis Testing Day was a Success in AZ!

June 17th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

May was Hepatitis Awareness Month and our staff worked with several partners to promote awareness about hepatitis and hold testing events during the week of National Hepatitis Testing Day.  The work paid off with our partners hosting 13 sites in Arizona, only one state in the country hosted more.

More than 200 people were tested for hepatitis C in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties!  An educational and testing day event in Phoenix had more than 90 people in attendance where 37 people were tested for hepatitis C and 18 people received the hepatitis A/B vaccine.  In Apache Junction, at least 95 people were tested for hepatitis C.  In Tucson, more than 70 people were tested for hepatitis C.   This is the first time that Arizona has had this many hepatitis testing events in one week.  We will work to continue testing at-risk populations and educating the public about hepatitis A, B, and C.


Smoke-Free Arizona Turns Eight

June 15th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

SmokeFreeAZ_LogoOn November 7, 2006, Arizona voters approved Proposition 201, the Smoke-Free Arizona Act.  The Act went into effect on May 1, 2007, and prohibited smoking inside and within 20 feet of entrances, open windows, and ventilation systems of most enclosed public places and places of employment in Arizona.

Our Smoke-Free Arizona Program’s continued success is highlighted in the 2015 Smoke-Free Arizona Annual Report.  In partnership with county health departments, we conduct consultations and on-site visits at public places and places of employment such as local businesses, bars, and restaurants to provide education and ensure that Arizonans are protected from secondhand smoke exposure.

The Smoke-Free Arizona Act was a major public health accomplishment that has made our state a healthier place to live.  Since the Act went into effect, a total of 413,545 educational visits and consultations have been conducted, 15,266 complaints have been filed, and 796,343 signs have been distributed statewide.


The 2015 Water Drive is Extended

June 11th, 2015 by Cara Christ No comments »

Water Drive 2014 131smThe 2015 Water Drive has been extended through June 19th.  As Phoenix heats up, we need your help raising money to purchase life-saving water for those most at risk for heat-related deaths and illnesses.

Thanks to you, last year ADHS was the second largest water donator to the Heat Relief Network and in the last two years, we’ve given more than 100,000 bottles of water to the community.  This water drive demonstrates that we walk the talk of public health.  This year’s drive is focused on collecting money so we can buy water at bulk discount pricing.  Your generous donations will be used to purchase pallets of water that will be given to agencies serving at-risk populations during the water distribution event on June 19th.

To thank you for your generous participation in this life-saving event, raffles will be held throughout the drive.  Every person who makes a cash donation will be entered into a drawing for prizes.  Check the Water Drive Raffle Page for the list of available prizes and prizes that have already been given away.  Please see your Water Champion to make a donation.  This year’s water champions are:  Ryan Hoffmeyer, ASH; Yisel Sanchez, BHS; Anita Sotelo and Leslie Soto; Director’s Office; Paula Hernandez, DPO; Nicole Bucher, Licensing; Teresa Posante, OVR; Kathryn Mathewson, Preparedness; and America Coles, Prevention.

There will be a Water Drop Off event tomorrow for folks who want to bring in water.  For details about this event, as well as more information about the Water Drive, go to the ADHS Water Drive Page. If you have questions, please email the Agency Work Force Development team.