Archive for the ‘General’ category

Have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014

turkeyThe holiday season can be challenging if you’re trying to eat healthy and limit sodium.  Fortunately, you don’t have to give up all of your favorite dishes in the name of heart health.  Be sure to check out these six tips for a healthier Thanksgiving. Also, click here to visit the Million Hearts Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center to find practical recipes, nutritional facts, and lower-sodium versions of classic dishes that you can add to the menu throughout the holiday season.

Take the Title V Needs Assessment Survey

November 25th, 2014

MOur Women’s and Children’s Health Team is working on the 5-year Needs Assessment for the Maternal and Child Health Title V Block Grant.  The needs assessment helps us tailor how we spend the federal funding to improve the health and well-being of Arizona’s women, children, and adolescents.

You can help narrow down the 10 health priorities by taking the online survey.  We’ll use the data from the survey to focus our public health programs for women’s and children’s health based on the needs of the people who are the most affected.  It’s also a chance for the community to give us feedback on what we are doing well and where we can use some improvement.

The survey is for everyone:  partners, moms, dads, grandmothers, neighbors…anyone living in Arizona who is interested in maternal and child health.  So far more than 600 people from around the state have completed the survey.  If you want to fill out the short, 10 minute survey, or if you know someone who should take it, please do it by the end of the month.  The survey closes at 5 p.m. on November 30…so you still have time to have your voice heard.  After we compile the data from the survey, we’ll present the priorities to the community.

This is a great opportunity to have your voice heard and to help us set priorities that will be of the greatest help to the women and children of Arizona.  To learn more about the survey, you can watch this short video blog or visit the Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health online.

Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Refresh

November 24th, 2014

FArizona’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council got some good news this week after learning that Governor Brewer extended the Executive Order that created the Council in 2009.  Signed on November 4th, the Executive Order authorizes the Council to continue its work through 2019 in supporting persons with developmental disabilities and their families by funding important projects related to employment, self-advocacy and educational opportunities.

Operating on an annual budget funded through a federal grant, the Council funds innovative projects that help persons with developmental disabilities become more included in their communities either by achieving systems change or increasing capacity.  To learn more about the Council, stop by their office located at 1740 West Adams Street, Suite 410, Phoenix, or visit their Website,  Facebook or Twitter sites.

CDC National Health Report

November 21st, 2014

HLast Thursday, the CDC published the CDC National Health Report which provides a snapshot of recent trends in key areas of the nation’s health.  The report finds Americans are living longer, healthier lives, but  indicates that progress has been slow or stagnating in some areas, including several leading causes of death and their risk factors.

The new report will help guide national policy and programmatic efforts for the improvement of health and quality of life.  It includes: 1) a scientific paper (CDC National Health Report: Leading Causes of Morbidity and Mortality and Associated Behavior Risk and Protective Factors — United States, 2005-2013); 2) Report Highlights; 3) a three-minute video called “The Road to Health and Longevity;” and 4) at-a-glance dashboards.

The CDC National Health Report website offers quick access to resources to advance public health work.  Many of these tools relate directly to CDC Winnable Battles focus areas, including food safety, healthcare-associated infections, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, teen pregnancy, tobacco, and nutrition, physical activity and obesity.   To learn more and gain access to the CDC National Health Report resources go to

Navajo Nation Establishes the Navajo Department of Health

November 20th, 2014

navajonationAfter many years of planning and conducting of public forums throughout the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Tribal Council recently approved legislation establishing the Navajo Department of Health.  Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly  signed the legislation into law.

The new law establishes the Navajo Department of Health as the lead agency delegated to ensure that quality comprehensive and culturally relevant health care and public health services are provided on the Navajo Nation.  The new Department will also be authorized to continue planning for the establishment of a Navajo Nation Medicaid Agency.

AZ Health Aging Plan

November 18th, 2014

healthyaging2Arizona is experiencing a record shift in the number of older adults.  By 2050, the number of Arizonans age 65 and older is expected to increase 174%, which represents 2,422,186 people.  Also, the current trend of longevity among aging adults represents both opportunities and challenges in the years ahead.  Older adults are living longer; however, they do not always live healthier.

Based on hospital discharge data, females 65 and older are experiencing the largest burden of disease and are being treated the most in our hospitals for different illnesses. Among females age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death. Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 55% from 2002 to 2012.  Over time there will be an increased need for services from our health care and economic support systems.  It is even more critical that we focus on earlier ages and take steps toward prevention before diseases manifests themselves.

In 2012, we established the Arizona Healthy Aging initiative, which focuses on strategic planning, resource leveraging, and cross-cutting collaborations that address the health needs and disparities for older Arizonans.  This month the Arizona Healthy Aging Program released the 2014-2018 Arizona Healthy Aging Strategic Plan.  Based on themes identified during the development of the plan, three major areas of concentration were identified as priority areas in helping Arizonans live both longer and better lives over the next few years.  The priority areas are to Increase awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the impact of fall-related injuries, increase the capacity of older adults to manage their chronic disease conditions.

Check out the plan online now at the Arizona Healthy Aging website.

Saving Babies Lives with Data

November 14th, 2014

CData can save lives if you use it right.  One of the ways we use data to save lives is through our annual Child Fatality Review Report.  We published our 21st Annual Report this week.  The report examined all 811 deaths of children under 18 in 2013.  Teams discussed the circumstances of each child’s death, determine preventability, and make recommendations to prevent future deaths.  We’ve had a 22% decline in child deaths since 2008…partly as a result of implementing initiatives recommended by these Annual Reports.

This year’s report underscores the importance of making sure infants are in a safe sleep environment.  Over 60 infants died in unsafe sleeping environments in 2013. That means in Arizona in 2013, an infant was more likely to die as the result of an unsafe sleep environment than a car crash.  Think about that.

Every child under age one should have their own sleeping space and always be put to sleep on their back.  Babies should never be put to sleep in an adult bed, on chairs or sofas, in waterbeds or on pillows or cushions.  All soft objects should be kept out of a baby’s crib, including toys and crib bumpers.  Our Injury Prevention Team will be conducting second reviews of all sleep related deaths and will be working in tandem with the safe sleep task force.  Our home visiting and WIC folks are also working to help spread the word about safe sleep to new parents and families.

We’re also focusing on reducing prematurity.  More than a quarter (26%) of the babies who died last year were born too early.  We’ve had success in reducing the number of babies born early by working with partners across the state and parents, and we’ll continue that work through our preconception health campaigns, the March of Dimes, and our home visiting programs.  Our Healthy Babies web page has some good information and more to come as we work as a state to improve the lives of all babies. Here’s a fact sheet of community recommendations that everyone can use to help keep our kids safe.

Tucson Disaster Recovery Data Center

November 13th, 2014

datacenterWe’re continuing to implement our disaster recovery site in Tucson.  We’ve installed and tested the equipment and applications necessary to operate our Office of Vital Records Birth Production and Medical Marijuana Point of Sale systems from this alternate site.  Last week, we moved copies of the production databases to Tucson and upgraded the database versions.

This week, we moved copies of the production databases back to Phoenix.  The two databases are now synchronized so that if there’s a problem in one location, the application system and the databases will be made available on the alternate location with little downtime.

The success of this project is a direct result of the entire team’s diligence, dedication and attention to a host of details throughout the project lifecycle.  Several of our IT teammates put in extra effort for several weeks to pull things together.

Opportunity to Join the Arizona State Hospital Team

November 10th, 2014

ASH-feature_homeThe Arizona State Hospital will be hosting a Job Fair on Wednesday, November 12, from 9am to Noon at 501 N. 24th Street, Phoenix.  We’re looking for folks that might be interested in joining our team at the Arizona State Hospital.  We’ll be recruiting for various positions like Psychiatric RN’s, Mental Health Program Specialists, and LPN’s.

The Fair is a one-stop shop…and folks can interview for various positions in different areas of the Hospital.  We’re encouraging folks to please bring a resume, educational information, and reference information.

Successful applicants go through a (paid) comprehensive 2-week program, which includes training about our “Culture of Care.”

The 2-week training also includes a certification course in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, which an evidence-based, best practice for early intervention and de-escalation created by the Crisis Prevention Institute.  Non-Violent Crisis Intervention is a proven-effective tool that provides a better therapeutic environment for patients and residents to live and improves safety for everyone.

1st AZ Influenza Case Kicks Off Surveillance Season

November 10th, 2014

flusurveillanceInfluenza season officially arrived last week when our Arizona State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the 1st AZ-acquired influenza case for the 2014-2015 season.  Although flu activity is monitored year-round in Arizona, the start of the season intensifies our statewide surveillance activities.  Partners across the state (including local health departments, laboratories and healthcare providers) participate by reporting positive flu labs to ADHS, sending specimens to the state lab for typing, and monitoring the number of patients who go to outpatient clinics with flu-like illness.  You can check this out in the weekly flu reports for Arizona and for the U.S.

The goals of flu surveillance at ADHS are simple: find out where influenza is circulating, what strains are circulating and which populations are most affected. Those are the key pieces of information that help us to design interventions to limit the health impact of the influenza virus.  Don’t forget to get your influenza vaccination if you haven’t yet.