Medical Marijuana Presentation for Physicians

March 23rd, 2012 by Will Humble 12 comments »

Cara Christ, MD and her team put together a dynamite new PowerPoint presentation on the role of AZ physicians under AZ’s Medical Marijuana Act.  The goal of the presentation is to provide a resource for physicians to be better informed about their role under the Act- and to learn about the checks and balances that we included in the system to ensure that the program keeps its “medical” character.

National Poison Prevention Week

March 23rd, 2012 by Will Humble 1 comment »

This week marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week. For the first time ever- poisoning surpassed car crashes as the number one cause of injury deaths in AZ and more than 2,000 kids had to go to emergency rooms last year from unintentional poisoning.  Kids under 5 had the highest rates of non-fatal emergency department visits from poisoning.  For more information on poisoning in Arizona, check out our recently posted Poisonings Among Arizona Residents, 2010 PowerPoint

Nationally, more than 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms because they got into medicines while their parent or caregiver was not looking.   The new  Up and Away and Out of Sight  educational program was created to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. 

Phoenix Magazine also wrote a story that explains prescription drug abuse from the perspective of someone battling chronic pain.. it’s called Bad Medicine and is in the Top Docs issue… so hopefully a lot of people will read it, take stock of their “inventory” and dump it before there are more accident poisonings.


Step Right Up: Get your Masters in Public Health in Phoenix!

March 22nd, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

When I got into public health 25 years ago, it was kind of a boutique profession. Since then, it’s really gone mainstream- and public health is increasingly being recognized as a key element in driving down our country’s increasing health care costs.  So if you’re a beginning or mid-career professional- get in on the ground floor and snap up your MPH right here in Phoenix.

Lucky for you, the U of A’s Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is offering a Master of Public Health (MPH) (with a concentration in Public Health Practice) in Phoenix at the Biomedical Campus.  The next bolus of students will start this Fall.  There’s still time to apply for the fall classes- but the May 1st application deadline is rapidly approaching.

The Phoenix program offers the Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice which prepares students to develop the public health skills needed to work in a variety of governmental and non-governmental settings including the local, county and state departments of health, the Indian Health Service, Medicaid and Medicare programs, hospitals, and community health centers.  Students work as part of multidisciplinary teams and develop skills to manage and evaluate real-life public health programs. Here’s a link about admissions criteria and how to apply.  You can also contact Kim Barnes at or 602.827.2070 for more info.

Influenza Widespread in AZ

March 21st, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

During the 2009- 2010 influenza pandemic, we saw how influenza can be unpredictable in terms of who it affects most, when it occurs, and what strains will circulate. This season is no exception. While the circulating strains are exactly what we had predicted, the peak of the flu season is hitting later than usual… and the influenza virus is finally making rounds.

Last week, the number of flu cases jumped by more than 40 percent and came in from almost the whole state.  Flu numbers are posted every Wednesday in the Surveillance Report. Our state lab has done a lot of PCR and culture testing to find out more details about the circulating viruses, and the good news is that, so far, the three strains in the vaccine are a good match with the circulating strains in Arizona and nationally (H3N2 Influenza A, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain and an Influenza B). There are still plenty of places you can find an influenza vaccine- and of course it’ll be more important over the next few weeks to cover your cough properly, wash your hands and stay home if you or your kids get sick.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awards

March 21st, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

Late last week we awarded two new community-based contracts for the new Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) funds: BJ Youth Foundation and Mariposa Community Health Center. PREP is the new federal program from the Affordable Care Act that requires programs educate adolescents on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.  This was our 2nd Request for Grant Applications for this grant.  We awarded four contracts last fall, but still had funding unobligated and some high-risk and under-served areas.  We now have now 6 contractors under this federally funded program: Pima Prevention Partnership, Arizona Youth Partnership, Pinal Hispanic Council, Worthy Institute, BJ Youth Foundation, and Mariposa Community Health Center.  

These new projects augment federal Abstinence Education contracts that began last July.  Pima Prevention Partnership, Arizona Youth Partnership, Catholic Charities, and National Community Health Partners were awarded contracts and will be serving an additional 14,000 youth and parents in 20 communities throughout the state. 


Licensing Does Whatever it Takes

March 20th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

The opening of a new hospital last week in Florence was anything but usual for folks in our Licensing Division.  Since the hospital will also take care of prisoners, the staff had to work closely on the floor plan to make sure it met both medical and security needs.  The hospital had to be able to serve all patients, but needed to have extreme security to protect health and safety of all patients as well.  Thanks to their hard work – there are now twice the number of hospital beds available in Florence!  

Thanks to the licensing architects in Special Licensing: Rohno Geppert, Lois Adams, Savita Chandragiri, Connie Belden, Shirley Newman, and Nancy Klaum from Medical Licensing as well as Tom Salow and his team in Rules- Good Work!

CDC Kicks Off New Smoking Intervention Campaign Today

March 19th, 2012 by Will Humble 3 comments »

The CDC is kicking off a new national smoking cessation campaign today called “Tips from Former Smokers”.  The new tobacco education campaign will begin airing today and will run nationally for 12 weeks.  Ads include television, radio, billboard, magazine, newspaper, theater, and online placements. In addition, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other channels will help spread the campaign’s message more broadly, particularly among younger audiences. 

The “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign features real people suffering as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.  Most of them were diagnosed with smoking-related illnesses when they were relatively young—many in their 30s and 40s, and one at only 18.  Their stories send a powerful message: Quit smoking now. Or better yet—don’t start.   To view the ads, please visit the campaign’s website and look under “Real Stories.” 

A couple of months ago we expanded our arsenal of resources to help smokers quit tobacco with the addition of the Call it Quits app which is also on our Facebook page.  The Call It Quits app on Facebook is another free tool brought to you by the ASHLine to help smokers win their battle against tobacco. The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, has been helping Arizonans quit for more than 15 years-and has a 40% quit rate at six months.

Recovery Through Whole Health Request for Information

March 19th, 2012 by Will Humble 1 comment »

We’ll be having a “Request For Information” session regarding our Recovery Through Whole Health, the Regional Behavioral Health Authority with Health Homes” project (a.k.a. the upcoming Request for Proposal for behavioral health services in Maricopa County) this Wednesday beginning 1 pm at the Radisson City Center at 3600 N. 2nd Ave. in Phoenix.

Our Integration Website has more details about the event including the PowerPoint presentation that we’ll be using.    

This will be a relatively informal event where we’ll provide some information about the project and our expectations…  and it’ll provide an opportunity for potential bidders, other behavioral health providers and consumers, peers and family members to ask questions and provide input about the project.  We aren’t asking for written responses – as this is a relatively informal affair.

AZ Kicks off the “No Place Like Home” Campaign

March 16th, 2012 by Will Humble 1 comment »

Kathy McCanna, Alan Oppenheim, and Connie Belden (from Licensing) and Kristy Benton (from Behavioral Health) recently jumped head-first into a new Arizona health-care initiative called No Place Like Home which is Arizona’s approach to the Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs project.  The project aims to prevent hospital-acquired conditions and hospital re-admissions.  The name No Place Like Home means that it’s better to be at home than back in a hospital. 

The (public-private) Partnership for Patients brings together leaders of major hospitals, employers, health plans, physicians, nurses, and patient advocates along with State and Federal governments in a shared effort to focus on preventing hospital-acquired conditions and decreasing hospital re-admissions.  The No Place Like Home Campaign engages hospitals, rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, hospices, home health agencies, community pharmacies, clinician offices, community-based organizations and other care providers in an intense collaborative to: 

  • Prevent 4,000 readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge by June 30, 2013;
  • Reduce the overall readmission rate for Medicare beneficiaries by 20%; and
  • Decrease health-care expenditures related to these re-admissions. 

Our partners are the Health Services Advisory Group, Inc. (HSAG), the Arizona Partnership Implementing Patient Safety (APIPS),  the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) & AHCCCS.  HSAG will manage the day-to-day operational aspects of the Campaign by providing staffing and resources to support participants. Our Licensing team (in their role with Medicare Surveys and Certification) will be an asset in providing assessment data that can be used for quality improvement strategies in Arizona. This Campaign is totally in keeping with the ADHS Vision of “Health and Wellness for all Arizonans” as well as our Strategic Map overarching goal to “Achieve targeted improvements in health outcomes”.

Surveillance & Intervention Treasure Trove

March 15th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

We’ve got a treasure trove of statewide public health indicators website called “Arizona Health Matters” which has a wealth of information about the health status of Arizonans- and includes lots of other interesting data including Promising Practices and Evidence Based Interventions.  The site includes more than 100 health and quality of life indicators, an ability to search and compare data by County and zip code within Arizona, promising practices on a variety of topics that affect community health, and a Report Assistant to create quick reports and summaries.