Archive for the ‘General’ category

Smoke-Free Arizona Turns Eight

June 15th, 2015

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.


New Trauma Centers in Tuba City and Sierra Vista Help to Fill Gaps

June 10th, 2015

docsTuba City Regional Medical Center and Canyon Vista Medical Center recently achieved designation as level III trauma centers. From a trauma system perspective, adding these two facilities to the list of level III trauma centers addresses two important realities about trauma. First, the majority of injured patients (88%) don’t require care at the highly specialized level I trauma centers.  Their injuries are less severe and can be cared for at a level III center that has the equipment, staff and training necessary for taking care of minor or moderate injuries.

Second, trauma is a time sensitive issue. Individuals injured in rural Arizona are less likely to arrive at a trauma center within an hour of suffering their injury. This may be because it takes longer to discover a car wreck, there are gaps in cellular phone coverage, ambulance services have to drive longer distances to reach patients, or there is no local trauma center, so patients must be transported further for care.

Both Tuba City Regional Medical Center and Canyon Vista Medical Center are positioned to provide these important services to their regions and communities, and we look forward to having them as a part of the system.



Statewide Advisory Group Seeking New Members

June 5th, 2015

MThe newly formed HIV Statewide Advisory Group (SWAG) is recruiting up to 12 new members to represent people living with HIV, those affected by the disease, and HIV care and social service providers statewide.

The SWAG is charged with providing planning and guidance for the delivery of services funded by the SWAG and Ryan White Part B Programs of Arizona Department of Health Services.  The SWAG is currently working on the development of a comprehensive plan to effectively end the HIV epidemic in Arizona by 2020.

Members commit to attend approximately six half-day meetings each year, along with HIV-related training and leadership development. Meetings take place in Phoenix. For those living in other parts of the state, travel and accommodations will be provided.  For more information, and to download a membership application, visit, or call 602-364-3599.

2015 ADVICE Collaborative III: Striving for Excellence

June 1st, 2015

conferenceBack in 2013, our Licensing team partnered with our Infectious Disease Services team and the Healthcare Associated Infections Advisory Committee to put together a day-long conference aimed at improving infection control practices.

The ADVICE Collaborative brought together licensed dialysis providers, the dialysis network, federal partners and public health professionals to find new ways to promote infection control, build relationships, and identify how public health can assist our providers.  Our collaborative was identified as a best Practice Pilot and featured at the CMS Conference Roadmap to Eliminate HAI: 2013 Action Plan Conference.

From the collaborative, the End-Stage Renal Disease subcommittee of our Healthcare Associated Infections Advisory Group was developed and have been working on strategies identified during the meeting. The subcommittee is made up of individuals consists of dialysis providers, public health professionals, and experts in infection control. They are working on all kinds of projects including staff/patient infection control, identifying best practices, vaccine educational projects, identifying new resources, and providing onsite technical assistance.

This year will mark the third annual collaborative and is scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2015, to be held at the Desert Willow Conference Center.  It will be another day long conference focused on the needs identified during the last meeting and updating partners on the progress that has been made.  This year, the collaborative will also introduce some newly identified needs, including sharing best practices for discharge planning and behavioral care strategies. Breakout sessions will look at improving clinical outcomes through good assessment and documentation, best practices for infection control, and the importance of a whole team approach for discharge planning and mental health first aid.

Continuing education credits will be offered for nursing professionals, physicians, certified health education specialists, nursing home healthcare administrators, social workers and behavioral health professionals.  Registration is open if you would like to join the collaborative.

Sixth Annual Arizona Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Coming Soon

May 27th, 2015

diseasesWe’re currently busy planning our 6th annual Arizona Infectious Disease Training and Exercise, which will take place from July 21st-23rd this year.  This event brings together nearly 400 infection control practitioners, public and community health nurses, health educators, epidemiologists, sanitarians, correctional facility representatives, animal control agencies, preparedness coordinators, laboratorians, border health counterparts, and university faculty and students to learn about the latest infectious disease topics relevant to Arizona and our region.

The event kicks off with a day-long tabletop exercise for public health and healthcare partners to discuss plans for infectious disease outbreak detection, investigation, and response.  Days 2 and 3 are conference style and will feature local and national speakers on a variety of topics including One Health, public health informatics, vector-borne and zoonotic disease, vaccine-preventable disease, healthcare-associated infections, outbreaks, STDs, tuberculosis, and foodborne disease.  Registration for this free event is now open.​

New Foods for WIC Families in Arizona

May 11th, 2015

you do a lotGetting kids to eat healthy is hard, especially for busy moms.  The Arizona WIC program now offers new foods to help families provide nutritious meals.

Yogurt, whole wheat pasta, and new brands of cereal and baby foods for older babies are now available through the WIC program.  The full list of foods includes many fresh, frozen and canned vegetables, milks, cheeses, and cereals.  WIC foods are healthy for moms, babies, and preschoolers and are approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Helping choose healthy foods is only one of the ways WIC helps families.  WIC moms learn what to eat while pregnant or breastfeeding and how to feed their growing kids, especially picky eaters.  Moms get WIC checks that can be used at grocery stores and farmers’ markets to buy healthy foods for their family.  WIC helps moms with breastfeeding, too.

Moms do a lot and WIC is there to help a little.  Many families do not realize they can participate in the WIC program, even after their baby turns one.  Spread the word, encourage all the moms you know with kids under age five to visit today and find out if they are eligible.

Empowering Habits, Empowering Lives: Superheroes Empowering Arizona!

May 5th, 2015

CaraChrist_EmpowerThis past weekend, we held the fourth annual “Empowering Habits and Empowering Lives” Empower Conference. More than 250 Early Care and Education professionals from all over Arizona participated in the all-day meeting. Conference participants explored the Empower Program’s 10 Standards to Empower Children to Live Healthy Lives and learned how to be more effective through developing cultural competency and inclusiveness.

The conference included fun and interactive sessions presented by state and national experts. Dr. Cara Christ, Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Arizona Department of Health Services, kick-started the event held at the Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix.

The child care providers attending had a chance to participate in high-energy sessions to find out how to “Krunch Out Tooth Decay,” be a sun safety “Superstar,” play nutrition and breastfeeding “Jeopardy,” and ignite physical activity sparks for all families. A “Superstar” photo booth and  resource-rich exhibits were popular places.

The 10 Empower Standards were developed for Empower Child Care Facilities in Arizona. More than 2,500 child care providers from across the state participate in the Empower Program, reaching over 200,000 children in Arizona.  Check out the conference presentations and see pictures of the Superstars from all around Arizona.

Title V Priority Setting Meeting

April 20th, 2015

MOur Women’s and Children’s Health team administers the federal maternal Child Health Block Grant.  This grant is authorized through Title V of the Social Security Act and has been in place since 1935.  Every 5 years we look at the health and well-being of Arizona’s women and children and develop our top priorities based on identified needs. We’re been working on the next needs assessment, which is due in 2015.

Our maternal child health folks have been traveling around the state listening to stakeholders and community partners about how they saw the health of Arizona’s women and children including children with special health care needs.  We reviewed the results of the online surveys and have also reviewed the compiled data.  Now we are ready to choose our Maternal Child Health priorities going forward for the next 5 years.  Please join us today, April 20, from 1:30-4:30 in Room 005, at 1740 W. Adams, as we select these priorities.




More EMS Web-based Improvements to Launch This Month

April 6th, 2015

Businessman with laptop computerA year ago, our Bureau of EMS and Trauma System launched its Web-based EMCT registration program.  The Bureau along with our IT staff have been hard at work on the next phase of their automation project, the EMS Training Program portal.  The  portal will go live this month allowing the EMS Training Program folks to submit all of the required registration, testing and course completion documents electronically.  To prepare for the launch, Bureau staff has been hosting several regional train-the-trainer sessions to provide program directors, and their staff, with the opportunity to learn how the new on-line system works and the benefits to the program and the students.

National Public Health Week 2015 website launched

March 4th, 2015

children eating applesThe website for National Public Health Week, which will run April 6-12 this year, is now open for business.  Visit to stay abreast of information and events and access the NPHW toolkit.  The toolkit contains fact sheets, media outreach materials, suggested community events, legislative information and other helpful resources and activities.  This year’s NPHW focuses on the goal of making the U.S. the “Healthiest Nation in One Generation — by 2030.”  You can sign up to be a national, state or local partner here.