Posts Tagged ‘ADHS’

Improving Arizona’s Birth Outcomes

March 13th, 2014

Arizona ranks in the middle of the pack in infant mortality.  We’re doing many things right to improve the health of our babies-  but we have a way to go. Last fall we participated in a learning collaborative sponsored by the National Governors Association.  About 160 folks met to begin the process developing a statewide plan.  They included physicians, public health, nutrition, behavioral health, city planners, business leaders and many more. 

After looking at the data on the health of Arizona’s women and children and reviewing some best practices from around the state, participants broke into groups to talk about the issues and to develop strategies to address these issues. These strategies will be the foundation for the statewide plan to improve birth outcomes.  

Our next step is to form workgroups to develop action plans for the different strategies identified. You can look at the presentations from the day and learn more about our efforts by going to the Healthy Babies web page. Many people have volunteered to be a part of these workgroups and have signed commitment forms.  It’s important to know that this is not an ADHS plan but Arizona’s plan.

2013 ADHS Legislative Summary

July 3rd, 2013

Thanks go out to all of our ADHS team that tracked bills throughout the legislative session and provided feedback.  Especially- a huge thanks to Colby Bower to hung tough throughout the entire process. 

There were lots of spinning plates in the air and we managed to watch them all because of our team effort.  This year’s 2013 Legislative Summary has been posted to the Legislative Services webpage.  Please take a look at the bills that passed and were signed and put together your ”to do” list so that we capture all the upcoming work.

Ending the School Year on the Right Foot

May 21st, 2013

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.

Infant Mortality: A Call to Action

March 25th, 2013

A new program is coming to help address infant mortality rates in Arizona thanks to the leadership of Dr. Maria Manriquez and the Maricopa Integrated Health System- who was awarded a Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns grant from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  They’ll be developing enhanced prenatal care at maternity care homes, including psychosocial support, education and health promotion, in addition to traditional prenatal care… reaching 1,500 high-risk pregnant women over a three-year period.  

Why is it necessary, you ask?  Because Arizona is 22nd in the nation in infant mortality… and the US ranks 173 out of 223 nations in this important public health metric.  While we’ve been able to decrease infant mortality and prematurity rates in AZ by 13% in the last 6 years… there’s still a long way to go. 

In an earlier blog I talked about ADHS accepting the ASTHO challenge to reduce prematurity by an additional 8% by 2014.  We’re working to accomplish this goal by expanding and improving home visiting programs, supporting the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait 39 Week Toolkit,” and implementing the Arizona Preconception Health Strategic Plan to name a few examples. Additionally, our Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health was chosen to participate in the Association of Maternal and Child Health Program’s Improving Birth Outcomes learning collaborative.

New Year, New MEDSIS

January 14th, 2013

Over the past two years, folks in ITS and Epidemiology and Disease Control have been working together to enhance our state’s electronic communicable disease surveillance system called MEDSIS.   This week the new version of MEDSIS went live. Major enhancements include the integration of tuberculosis reporting, case management and surveillance; expanded case management capabilities for all diseases; and additional functionality to better meet the needs of all users. This system isn’t just used by ADHS staff- it’s used by folks across the healthcare system. 

All 15 county health departments and four tribal public health organizations use MEDSIS to monitor cases of infectious disease and manage their case investigations; infection preventionists at hospitals enter infectious disease cases to satisfy our requirements for reporting selected infectious diseases; and laboratories electronically report positive test results directly into the system. There’s even a Spanish version of MEDSIS to allow us to share bi-national cases with our counterparts in Sonora to improve public health on both sides of the border. Thanks to all of those involved in making MEDSIS a success including Raghu Ramaswamy, Ravikumar Pitti, Sara Imholte, Lloyd Kalicki, Srinivasa Venkatesan, Paula Mattingly, Michael Conklin, Javed Mukarram, Arup Sinha, Teresa Jue, Jessica Rigler, and Shoana Anderson.

Patient-driven Solution Needs Your Help

December 13th, 2012

The Patients and Hospital Rehab Departments at the Hospital are working together with the Phoenix Rescue Mission (homeless shelter) to create Blessing Bags. Blessing Bags are large gallon sized Ziploc bags filled with basic necessities which will be handed out by the Phoenix Rescue Mission to the homeless. 

But they need some donations to get going.  The patients would like to begin assembling bags soon so they’re  asking for any donations to be received by December 31.  The rehab department has placed boxes to collect the items in various areas around the hospital and in the lobby of the 150 Building.  They need donations of:  gallon size Ziploc bags, chap stick, packages of tissues, toothbrushes, mouthwash, shampoo (small sizes), combs, soap, band aids, hand-wipes, socks, gift cards for retail stores, trail mix, granola bars, crackers, and/or gum or mints. 

Anything on the list above that you can bring in over the next week or so will really help. The contact at the Hospital is Jackie Tisler, Director of Rehab Services – (602.220.6171). Donations can be dropped off at the Arizona State  Hospital civil lobby (501 N. 24th St) or the Arizona Department of Health Services 150 Building lobby.


Mission of Mercy

December 7th, 2012

Oral health is more than a nice smile.  Having good oral health improves a person’s ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, and eat.  Plus, tooth decay and gum disease have been linked with other health problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as premature births.  Given the link between oral diseases and other systemic health problems, it’s critical to maintain good oral health. 

To help folks who desperately need dental care, the Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation will host its first AZ Mission of Mercy event at the Arizona Fairgrounds December 7-8 using portable dental equipment and 1,000 volunteers.   Dental screenings and services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge.  About $1M in free care is expected to be delivered to 2,000 patients (both adults and kids).  They’ll focus on basic dental care such as fillings, extractions and cleanings.  More than 70 Mission of Mercy dental programs have been conducted since 2000- providing free dental care to local residents who otherwise couldn’t get care. We’re supporting the event through Title V funds and providing health information and resources. 

Thanks go out to the following folks from Team ADHS that have volunteered to help out at this important event: Anna Alonzo, Amber Asbury, Stacy Beauregard, Brian Beebe, Elena Beeman, Anita Betancourt, Karen Boswell, Jennifer Botsford, Tracy Chisler, Omar Contreras, Juanita Dailey, Ali De La Trinidad, Willie Dennis, Erica Ferguson, John Fiorentino, Jan Ford, Amanda Gainey, Tiana Galindo, Ann Gardner, Cecilia Gaytan-Newberry, Margaret Hensell, Victoria Mieth, Kimberly Oneill, Elie Partida, Nicholas Pigg, Carmen Ramirez, David Ramirez, Deborah Reardon, Matthew Roach, Crystal Rodriguez, Ruthann Smejkal, Nicole Thurlow, Tina Wagner, Julia Wacloff, Virginia Warren, and Chelley Weber.  Also, thanks go out to Maricopa County Public Health for organizing the vaccine clinic that’ll be there too.

Undy 5000

November 13th, 2012

For the 5th year in a row, we’re participating in the Undy 5000 fun walk/run on November 17th. This event helps increase awareness of colon cancer and encourages folks to bite the bullet and get screened.  The run raises money for the Colon Cancer Alliance and half the profits stay here in Arizona. Half is spent on treatment services for Arizonans diagnosed with colorectal cancer through our Fit at 50 Healthcheck Program. This program provides colorectal cancer screening to low-income men and women between 50-64 who are uninsured. It also helps pay for treatment when uninsured Arizonans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 

Anna Alonzo is our Team Captain this year and she’s recruiting participants. Last year our “Undy Team” recruited 45 people and raised over $2,000. ADHS also won the “Best Team Award”. This year, we’re looking to meet or beat last year’s numbers and hold onto our title. But it won’t be easy – Game and Fish took last year’s loss seriously and it’s determined to win this year.  The cost to participate is only $30 and you even get a pair of boxers to wear at the run. Click here to register on line.  When you register look for Team ADHS (there’s a place to search for teams). The password is leroy12345 (you’ll need to enter that twice). If you register soon, you can use “CHONES” for a $5 discount!  Have fun and see you there! 

Everyone over 50 should get their colonoscopy, I did.  It’s the best way to identify polyps and cancer. Not every polyp turns into cancer, but just about every colon cancer starts as a polyp. And since colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death, it’s important to find and remove those polyps early.


Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 26th, 2012

Every day at least 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the U.S.  October is set aside to help bring awareness to the issue – across the country domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women aged 15-44. In Arizona last year, 108 individuals lost their lives to domestic violence; so far this year there have been 68 documented domestic violence related deaths.  It doesn’t matter what race, age, sexual orientation, religion, gender or socioeconomic background you are, you can be a victim.  Domestic violence happens among married couples, couples living together and those who are dating.   Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological.  

Survivors can find help from a number of resources through ADHS, the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families and the Department of Economic Security.  At ADHS we have the Rural Safe Home Network and the Sexual Assault Prevention Education Program. The Rural Safe Home Network funds 7 shelters in rural communities that provide temporary emergency overnight accommodations and support services to women and children impacted by domestic violence.  Last year alone, these 7 shelters answered 9,430 crisis calls and provided 23,564 emergency beds to women, children and men.  These programs and project activities support the Department’s Strategic Map Health Outcome to Promote and Protect Public Health and Safety.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there is help, call the National Domestic Violence Crisis line at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to find a shelter near you. The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a legal hot-line that provides information, referrals, and explanations about domestic violence and legal issues, 1-800-782-6400.

Our New Strategic Plan

October 17th, 2012

The vision of the Department is to ideally achieve a state of Health and Wellness for all Arizonans and our mission is to promote, protect, and improve the health and wellness of individuals and communities in Arizona. The updated mission and vision statements are helping us build public health value in-house as well as in the community.  The format was modernized and ADHS is making an effort to educate our partners and reinvigorate staff on our goals.

We’re among the largest and most complex of state agencies. With over 1,600 employees and an annual budget of more than $1.8B, we provide a wide variety of services and a diversity of programs housed within its five divisions: behavioral health; licensing; planning and operations; public health prevention; and public health preparedness. The two-fold mission of public health services includes prevention and preparedness for the state. The public behavioral health system oversees services for 150,000 enrolled clients and the state’s only public psychiatric hospital, the Arizona State Hospital. The division for licensing is charged with certification of nursing homes, assisted living and child care centers, hospitals and other health care facilities. The division for planning and operations oversees the budget, procurement, audit and special investigations, information technology, workforce development, rule-making, human resources, policy, continuous quality improvement, and accreditation.

Our strategic priorities are the pathways we use to achieve targeted improvements in public health outcomes. We’re committed to moving along with our partners in local health departments toward voluntary public health accreditation. The work towards accreditation will require the agency to look at the statewide public health system as a whole, collaborate with stakeholders, and provide evidence that our work meets the ten essential public health services. The ten essential services were set as a national standard in 1994 by a steering committee consisting of all US Public Health Service agencies and representatives from other major public health organizations. Accreditation focuses on quality, transparency, and partnerships. Through the accreditation process, our leadership will identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for continuing to build public health infrastructure in a way that will best align our resources with key priorities.

Our new updated Strategic Plan lays out the framework for how we’ll use quality improvement, lean methodologies, best practices, and strategic alignment to achieve our vision of “Health and Wellness for All Arizonans