Posts Tagged ‘chronic disease’

Send Your Teen to CDC’s Disease Detective Camp this Summer

March 21st, 2014

The CDC just began accepting applications for their annual summer Disease Detective Camp.  The Camp is open to motivated students who’ll be high-school juniors or seniors during the 2014-2015 school year.  Over the course of five days, campers  take on the role of disease detectives.   Campers can expect a variety of experiences including re-created outbreaks, mock press conferences, environmental and global health activities, a laboratory session, an introduction to chronic disease surveillance, public health law, and short lectures from world-renowned CDC scientists.  Here’s a sample schedule

Applicants need to be 16 years old by the first day of the camp in order to comply with CDC’s laboratory safety requirements.  Two sessions will be offered this summer:  June 23-27, and July 21-25.  Applicants are selected based on the Application Essay Questions submitted and the teacher/counselor Recommendation Form.  Applications need to be postmarked by April 11. 

The Camp is free, but campers are responsible for providing their own accommodations and transportation. Campers in past years have stayed with family friends or relatives in Atlanta.

Public Health Initiatives for Refugees in AZ

January 28th, 2014

Last year 3,663 refugees resettled in Arizona from 45 different countries (about 1/3 were from Iraq).  Refugees have a variety of pressing social, economic and health needs when they arrive. That’s where our ADHS Refugee Health Program comes in.  Our Refugee Health Coordinator, Zachary Holden, works with partners to ensure that refugees arrive healthy and maintain good health as they establish their new lives in Arizona.  It’s part of an initiative through the DES’ Refugee Resettlement Program

Folks from across ADHS in communicable disease, chronic disease, environmental health, behavioral health, injury prevention, and women’s and children’s health have provided educational materials, which have been translated into the top 12 refugee languages. Our Refugee Health website also includes information for case managers, like guidance on common challenges for refugee populations; community profiles for healthcare providers, and community information about organizations who serve refugees.  We’ve even done some data analysis to examine health trends in refugee populations to better target care and prevention education. 

You can check this information hub to better arm yourself with the cultural and linguistic tools to make a positive impact on the health of this unique population.

Chronic Disease Calculator E-tool.

November 25th, 2013

The CDC just developed a great new Cost Calculator that provides state-level annual medical expenditure and absenteeism estimates for 10 chronic conditions.  The tool provides medical expenditures for all of AZ for all payers as well as specific payers Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial insurers.  The 10 chronic conditions are arthritis; asthma; cancer; cardiovascular diseases (congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and other heart diseases); depression; and diabetes.  Graphs and charts are provided to visually communicate the cost estimates. 

The Cost Calculator estimates were derived from state- and national- level data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and National Nursing Home Survey so the estimates may differ from estimates generated directly from analysis of claims data.  However, folks can do a customized analysis using other data sources including Medicaid or Medicare claims data. Technical support can be requested at the website or at

Integrating Environmental Health & Prevention into Home Visiting

November 4th, 2013

This month we wrapped up an 18-month quality improvement pilot project to better integrate environmental health and chronic disease information and referrals into our state home visiting programs.  A cross-divisional team made up of folks from Women’s & Children’s Health, environmental Health, chronic disease, workforce development, and performance management worked together to standardize and pilot a new  Healthy@Home assessment tool, gather input from the home visitors, train the home visitors, and study the data collected.  

The results have been promising….  the data has shown:  1) a 27% increase in the knowledge of home visitors regarding chronic disease and environmental health; 2) a 151% increase in the provision of educational materials to families about chronic diseases and environmental health; 3) a 45% increase in referrals for chronic disease and environmental health issues; and 4) 95% of the home visitors in the pilot recommended adapting the new tool and process. 

Our next steps are to standardize the improvement through expanding the Healthy@Home assessment to all Health Start sites, and to take a closer look at how it might be best adopted in our High Risk Perinatal Program.  Major kudos to the ADHS team members:  Toni Means, Cristina Ochoa, Diane Eckles, Tifney Tihey, Anna Alonzo, Mary Ellen Cunningham, Sarah Rumann, Valerie Odeh, and Sheila Sjolander.  For more info, check out our Healthy@Home website  where you’ll find the new assessment tool, the training module, and the educational materials and resources of various health topics. 


Sitting is the new smoking

October 23rd, 2013

Public health embarked on a smoking revolution over the last few decades, kicking it into high gear to provide programs and policies to help Arizonans change their smoking habits. While by no means has the tobacco battle been won, America is currently undergoing another revolution—a walking revolution. Physical activity is not new territory in public health. Public health professionals have been encouraging adults to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week.  Now, though, the public health world is taking a step back and promoting the simplest of physical activities: walking or biking. A recent study from Kansas State University looked at the association between sitting time and chronic diseases. The study found that people who sat for more than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. 

The Surgeon General has started the “Everybody Walk” campaign, releasing a document entitled “A Walking Revolution: The moving making Americans Happier and Healthier,” developing a free App that tracks all aspects of your walk, and hinting at writing a call to action on walking. This call-to-action is being compared to the famous 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on the dangers of smoking, translating that message into the dangers of sitting. 

Here at ADHS we take an innovative approach to promote more walking and less sedentary behavior. Our focus is to create environments where the healthy choice, walking, is the easy choice. Our Empower program establishes policies in child care centers that decrease sedentary time and screen time, and increases physical activity of youngsters. The Arizona Nutrition Network has been infusing traditional nutrition education with physical activity. Community design initiatives have worked to establish environments where walking or riding a bike are the predominant means of transportation in a community, rather than driving a car. With walking being so simple, the question remains: how will you walk or bike today?


Leveraging Medicaid to Help Arizonans “Kick the Habit”

September 19th, 2013

Many of the health disparities in the US are linked to income.  In general… the lower a family’s income the greater the prevalence of health disparities.  Health impacts from smoking cigarettes are no exception.  Arizonans below the poverty line (100% of FPL) are 40% more likely to smoke than those with more money… and about 34% of Arizona folks who receive their health insurance through Medicaid smoke.  This higher smoking rate results in a cascade of negative health impacts over the course of a lifetime.  BTW…  less than 7% of Arizonans that make over $75K smoke. 

For the last few months our Tobacco and Chronic Disease team has been working with AHCCCS to get the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow us to claim the 50% federal administrative match rate for the Arizona Smokers Helpline (the ASHLine) for the smoking cessation services that we provide to AZ Medicaid beneficiaries. 

Last month we were successful!  CMS approved the reimbursement for Federal Financial Participation for our Quitline Administrative Expenditures.  The reimbursement will come from CMS to AHCCCS and then back to us and then back to the ASHLine.  Arizona is only the 10th state to receive approval to reimburse Quitline services for Medicaid folks.  A shout out to Courtney Ward for making this happen! 

Establishing this public-public partnership with Medicaid is critical to ensuring access to evidence-based cessation treatments for a population disparately impacted by tobacco’s harm. This financial match coupled with our efforts to entice new partnerships with health plans and employers will help to address and provide tobacco cessation services for this AZ Winnable Battle


What’s Community Paramedicine?

September 3rd, 2013

Community paramedicine is a paradigm shift for the use of paramedics in the US.  It’s an emerging model in which paramedics function outside their usual emergency response & transport roles- delving into the world of primary care.  As the health care world increasingly shifts toward prevention and well care- the system will increasingly demand more folks that can function in a community health (primary care and prevention) role.  Community paramedicine is increasingly being recognized as a promising solution to efficiently increase access to care (especially for underserved populations). 

For example- paramedics could shift from a sole focus on emergency response to things like: 1) providing follow-up care for folks recently discharged from the hospital to prevent unnecessary readmissions; 2) providing community-based support for people with diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, or multiple chronic conditions; and/or 3) partnering with community health workers and primary care providers in underserved areas to provide preventive care. 

The UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement released a new report this week called ”Community Paramedicine: A Promising Model for Integrating Emergency and Primary Care”.  The report is the one I know about that explores this new and evolving model of healthcare.  The report concludes that expanding the role of paramedics is a promising solution to efficiently increasing access to care, particularly for underserved populations…  and it recommends the development of pilot projects to further refine and evaluate the role of community paramedicine. 

One Valley fire department is exploring its own concept – the Mesa Fire and Medical Department is using a grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to staff mental health and nurse practitioners according to the Arizona Republic last weekend. 

I’ve asked Dr. Bobrow and Terry Mullins to open up dialogue about community paramedicine in Arizona and how it could improve outcomes in a measurable way- and to examine the current scope of practice for EMTs and Paramedics relative to the practice of community paramedicine.  We’ll be asking for interested volunteers from our EMS Council to lead a workgroup of individuals to begin answering the Who, What, Where, When and Why of community paramedicine in Arizona.  Stay tuned.

Our Newest Decision-making Tool

June 24th, 2013

The core of our decision-making as an agency relies on evidence.  Evidence can be scientific like surveillance or research or it can be administrative or financial.  Whichever way you slice it- the key is to get good reliable information so that our teams can make effective decisions as we execute our mission.  

One of the tools that the statewide public health system relies upon is called the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.  It’s conducted throughout the year in AZ and examines the self-reported habits of thousands of people from across the state. The report contains key data on lifestyle risk factors contributing to the leading causes of death and chronic diseases- and measures the public health system’s progress on smoking, overweight, high blood pressure, exercise, flu/pneumonia vaccination, cholesterol, seat belt use, fruit/vegetable consumption and other risk factors. 

These data give us some of the tools we need to set priorities and craft intervention strategies. Judy Bass was the point person for this year’s report.   Well done Judy!


Show Your Love

February 14th, 2013

Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day of romance, flowers and candy.  The CDC Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative launched a campaign asking all women of childbearing age to Show Your Love by taking good care of themselves.  It’s a national initiative to educate women and couples on the importance of preconception health. Preconception health refers to a woman’s health during the years she can have a child.  A mother’s health before she gets pregnant can affect the health of her baby.  

Women who’d like to become pregnant are urged to “Show Your Love” to your future baby by adopting healthy behaviors now.   Women who are not planning a pregnancy now are encouraged to “Show Your Love” to themselves so they’ll be healthy and have a fulfilling future.  About half of all pregnancies in our country are unplanned, which increases the chances of having a poor birth outcome such as preterm birth, low birth weight, high birth weight, or stillbirth.  Many women become pregnant when they’re not in the best health or while engaging in behaviors that could harm a pregnant woman or her baby.  It makes sense to be healthy at all stages of life. 

The Show Your Love website includes posters, educational videos, TV PSAs and health checklists for use by health care providers and community partners who want to educate the women and couples they work with about the importance of preconception health.  Preconception health is impacted by a number of health issues addressed by various ADHS programs – chronic disease, oral health, nutrition, physical activity, smoking, STD’s, immunizations and mental health.  The Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health website includes additional preconception health tools. Also, please feel free to email the Bureau at: .

Tobacco Use & the Target Market

November 15th, 2012

One of the things you learn in business school is the importance of using the concept of a “target market” as a core of your business marketing plan.  That’s what we do when it comes to tobacco cessation.  We examine our tobacco surveillance data and look at demographic patterns for target populations and look for the leverage points to develop our interventions.  Since 50% of tobacco products are purchased by folks with a mental illness and/or chronic disease- this demographic is a key focus of our tobacco prevention strategies. 

We’ve been working hard for the last 3 years to make inroads into this target population with some pretty good success.  Our folks in the Division of Behavioral health and our Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease and ASHLine have trained clinical behavioral health staff on how to get folks into smoking cessation (quit) services-  establishing systemic change within the behavioral health system for cessation services- moving Arizona toward being tobacco free.  This involves assessing every single patient at every single visit in our behavioral health system for tobacco use and providing them the opportunity to be referred for tobacco cessation coaching.  Since our initial efforts 3 years ago- ASHLine referrals from behavioral health locations have skyrocketed.  

The ASHLine referral development team is focusing training new nurse practitioners at Magellan’s Integrated Home Health on ASHLine Ask, Advice, Refer protocol & nicotine replacement therapy prescription guidelines.  Additionally, our Tobacco and Chronic Disease team submitted a manuscript to the CDC’s online journal Preventing Chronic Disease which describes the success of our interventions and illustrating how the behavioral health population is using cessation services and quitting tobacco at the same rate as the general population.