Archive for the ‘General’ category
Summer is almost here and the kids are wrapping up the school year. Let’s challenge families to end the school year on the right foot. Why not try walking or biking to school? The mornings are still nice enough to walk. Make it a family activity; role model healthy behavior, leave the car keys at home, and walk or bike as a family to drop your kids off at school. It’ll wake you up much more than a morning cup of coffee, and get your heart pumping and blood moving!
I’ve talked a lot recently about how where you live impacts your health. ADOT and ADHS teamed up to produce the Active School Neighborhood Checklist. This handy tool helps bring together teams (which might include public works, parents, teachers and health professionals) to assess routes to school and decide what major challenges exist for the students who wish to walk or bike. These teams provide a really great opportunity for bringing health into the conversation.
Research is really producing many new tools to assess the built environment and how that impacts health. An easy tool to use is WalkScore, where you simply input an address and get a score output on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being “Walker’s Paradise.” In fact, check out what ASU is doing to examine the relationship between Walk Score and urban housing.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about how a city’s General Plan is one tool for communities to define how they want their city or town to grow and improve population health and how city planning can have a real impact. I wrote about how community residents can use a recently developed Toolkit put together by ADHS and other members of the Healthy Community Design Collaborative to help them get started and a schedule for General Plan updates for some AZ cities.
Other community planning resources I’ve written about recently include workshops coordinated by the Urban Land Institute. The workshops, known as the Community Plan are a free service for public officials at the local level that focus on a holistic approach to land use planning, zoning, transportation, economic development, real estate development and finance.
Another tool for impacting community and population is something called a “Health Impact Assessment”. It’s basically a tool for assessing and influencing policy or project decisions to improve health. A simple example is that if your neighborhood has safe, accessible sidewalks or walking or biking paths, you’ll be more likely to be physically active.
Health Impact Assessments are used a lot in Europe- and they’re gaining steam here in the U.S. For example, AZ completed a comprehensive health impact assessment last summer. We worked with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health on the health impact assessment of the proposed Tempe Modern Streetcar, which will be a 3-mile trolley system connecting the current light rail system to Southern.
The HIA Team developed comprehensive recommendations that were provided to Tempe for their consideration in planning of the trolley system. Some of the ideas proposed include: having a bike rental system; adding shade to the walking environment; implementing safe routes to school; identifying sites for additional farmers markets; encouraging supermarkets in underserved areas; encouraging community gardens; installing a buffer between sidewalk and arterial streets to make walking safer; installing pedestrian signals; and implementing a 20 minute neighborhood concept for the neighborhoods within the streetcar corridor- so people are more likely to walk or bike.
We have a couple training opportunities coming up if you want to learn more about health impact assessments.
Mother’s Day kicks off this year’s National Women’s Health Week with the theme “It’s Your Time.” This year’s celebration centers around how women take care of other people—their children, spouses, family, friends, and co-workers—but also need to take the time to care for themselves.
We’re hosting the 4th annual Women’s Health Week Celebration for state employees May 14 & 15 at the State Capitol building on first and second floors from 10 to 2. The program will include health screenings and several exhibitors where you can learn more about the programs offered for women. Some of the highlights of the celebration include a presentation titled “A How-To Guide for Buying Fresh Fruits and Vegetables” at 11 on Tuesday in the 2nd floor atrium and a presentation titled “If I’d Known I was Going to Live This Long, I’d Have Taken Better Care of Myself” at noon on Wednesday in the 2nd floor conference room.
Then on Thursday, there’s a Women’s Health Celebration walk that is open to the public. At 9 am, we’re all gathering at the 9/11 Memorial on Wesley Bolin Plaza. While the Women’s Health Week celebration is designed to draw attention for women to take care of themselves, men can take advantage of the time too. Just visit our Healthy Living page for ideas on how to be active, eat healthily and take care of your whole health.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there and all the people who are seen as Moms! It’s Your Time
Last year I blogged about a grant sponsored by the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to help folks with developmental disabilities and their families become self-employed by starting their own cottage industry food business. At the end of last year, this funding was awarded to the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, which has developed a 10-week training course to support adults with autism and their families in creating a small business selling home baked goods.
Recently, staff from our Environmental Health shop were able to tour the SARRC facility and answer questions about the Home Baked and Confectionary Goods Program for staff and participants in the program. We even had the privilege of sampling some of their baked goods! This is just another example of ways that multiple statewide agencies and organizations can collaborate to make a positive difference in the lives of Arizonans.
The work we do often doesn’t get a lot of fanfare. Much like police who respond to hundreds of calls a week, public health workers diligent work to protect the public from health threats – we just don’t respond with lights and sirens and there aren’t any TV shows that celebrate our work.
I try to keep you posted about some of our work on my blog: we work to ensure good care at the State Hospital, stay late to check samples at the lab; work with stakeholder groups to ensure good communication on rulemaking; spread the word about Hands Only CPR to dispatchers and around the world; spend the weekend at a licensed facility where there was great concern for the folks living there; update good health practices into childcare – I could go on and on, but what really matters is the work you’re doing everyday – either at your desk or in the field – working with staff or stakeholders – supporting the mechanics of public health that makes sure we can have “Health and Wellness for all Arizonans.”
Today, several states across the US including AZ are celebrating state workers- because you and your coworkers at all state agencies make a difference every day in the lives of Arizonans.
Strategic community planning is an effective tool to improve population health. That’s why organizations like the Livable Communities Coalition are so important as they help Arizona communities to become places that improve those social and environmental determinants of health that make such a big impact on population health and public health outcomes. But how do you drill public health into city zoning, transportation, economic development, real estate development and finance etc.?
Fortunately, a few great organizations like Urban Land Institute, ADOT, AZ Dept. of Housing, AZ American Planning Association, County Supervisors Association, AZ Association of Economic Development, and the League of AZ Cities and Towns have come together to help create workshops that focus on a holistic approach to land use planning, zoning, transportation, economic development, real estate development and finance. The key word “holistic” since we’d like communities to view these disciplines together and understand their connectedness as opposed to in silos.
The workshops- known as the Community Plan are a free service for public officials at the local level. They’re 2 to 4-hour workshops with group discussions, case studies, expert speakers, and valuable take-aways. Workshops can be scheduled upon request depending on instructor availability. Contact Deb Sydenham, the Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute to talk about your community’s issues and to learn more about the Community Plan today.
The American Academy of Pediatrics put out a new policy statement called “Planned Home Birth” this week. The Policy Document summarizes the standards of care for newborn infants born at home. It’s designed to help pediatricians provide supportive, informed advice to women considering home birth.
The AAP Report says they agree with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest settings for birth- but they thought it was important to put out guidance out of respect for the right of women to make a medically informed decision about their delivery. The report says that… “the goal of providing high-quality care to all newborn infants can best be achieved through continuing efforts by all participating health care providers and institutions to develop and sustain communications and understanding on the basis of professional interaction and mutual respect throughout the health care system.”
That’s also what we’re trying to accomplish as we finish our licensing standards for Certified Professional Midwives in Arizona. Our next Midwifery Scope of Practice Advisory Committee Meeting will be from 4 to 6 pm on Wednesday, May 15 in our Laboratory conference room at 250 N 17th Avenue, Phoenix. The meeting will again be broadcast live on Livestream.