Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Cara Christ’

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.

Hitting Our Mark at Showtime

February 28th, 2013

Last Saturday our Licensing team hit the mark at Showtime- when it matters most.  After hearing that the Fountain Retirement Hotel had put residents on notice it was closing, we immediately became concerned that staff would stop showing up, food and medication would not be given out, and the residents would be turned out into the streets to live. Many of the residents have significant medical and behavioral health needs, and need a caregiver to assist them with things like taking medication and preparing food.  

Our licensing team arrived at the facility immediately after hearing of the situation from the Sheriff’s Office…  and our licensing team pretty much right away called an “immediate jeopardy” (meaning that there was the potential for a real threat to health and safety of the residents).  Our team stayed all afternoon and into the night, working with the facility’s owner and manager to ensure all residents would be safe.  We maintained a strong presence at the facility throughout the weekend, making sure there were proper caregivers, enough food, and that residents were receiving their medication. 

We’re still sending surveyors out twice a day and are working with many other agencies, including AHCCCS, the VA, Adult Protective Services, Magellan, Partners in Recovery, and the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s Program to make sure the residents are finding new homes that will be able to meet their needs.  A huge thanks to Dr. Cara Christ, Kathy McCanna, Richard Young, Ellie Strang, and Jim Tiffany, for responding so effectively and ensuring the Health and Wellness of these Arizonans.  Thanks!

Accreditation Gaining Momentum

January 31st, 2013

We’re fully committed to achieving national public health accreditation and are well on our way.  Accreditation will bring us a gold star for the work we’re doing to meet the ten essential public health standards and will validate our collaborative relationships with our partners and our governing body.  Our efforts are led by a steering committee made up of our senior leadership team including Dr. Janet Mullen, Don Herrington, Sheila Sjolander, Carol Vack, Dr. Cara Christ, Dr. Khaleel Hussaini and Pragathi Tummala…  who provide oversight and guidance to the Managing for Excellence program to make sure we’re on track.  I’m happy to report that we’re on track for applying for accreditation at the end of 2013.   It’s a complicated process, but I want to touch on some highlights. 

Before we can even apply, we have to complete three prerequisites: a Strategic Plan, State Health Assessment, and a State Health Improvement Plan.  Our strategic plan is done, and is being updated annually.  The State Health Assessment is currently underway, with each of our counties conducting their own community health assessments in order to identify for themselves the health priorities for their communities.  Based on these results we’ll work with our state partners to create a State Health Improvement Plan in the spring to identify strategies and resources to address the issues that rise to the top.  By working with our partners to collaborate, we’re strengthening the public health infrastructure and building relationships that will continue on beyond accreditation.  When we work with people and build a team of strong partners, the relationships we create will ensure sustained success for our mission.  The team win is so much more valuable in the long run. 

We’ve also begun the process of collecting all the evidence we’ll need to demonstrate compliance with national standards for public health accreditation.  Twelve domain teams have begun their work, led by Dr. Khaleel Hussaini, Jessica Rigler, Sheila Sjolander, Carol Vack, Tom Salow, Patricia Tarango, Karen Sell, Tifney Tihey, Bernard Sanden, Dr. Janet Mullen, Jennifer Botsford, and Colby Bower.  Many of you will be tapped by these team leads to help gather the evidence we need to provide the documents to demonstrate compliance with the required standards and measures that are part of each domain. 

While we’re jumping through the necessary hoops to prove that we’re consistently providing the 10 essential public health standards, we’re accomplishing much more than that.  The road to accreditation will continue to bring forth opportunities for advancing our agency, building stronger partnerships, and increasing employee engagement- resulting in better public health outcomes.

Medical Marijuana @ 1 Year

November 9th, 2012

Our Vital Health Statistics team along with our partners at the UA College of Public Health completed the 1st Annual Report for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program this week.  You’ll find a wide range of information in the report including data about the demographics and kinds and qualifying conditions of our cardholders, geographic distribution and rates as well as background information on the budget and fund, the various lawsuits, and de-identified information about physicians that are writing certifications. 

Perhaps the most striking thing in the report is that 24 doctors have signed about 80% of the 30,000 or so certifications in Year 1…  and a handful of doctors wrote more than 1,000 certifications.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that these doc’s aren’t acting in the best interests of their patients- but it does give us some insight into which ones we should be focusing on to ensure that they’re meeting our certification expectations.  The report goes into more detail if you’re interested. 

Dr. Cara Christ (our Agency Medical Director) did some outreach this week with the Executive Directors of the 4 medical licensing boards to brainstorm about what we can do as a system to ensure that doctors are truly acting in their patient’s best interests, complying with each licensing board’s expectations, and meeting our standards for certifications.  We’re also looking into doing some more intensive medical education among high frequency certifiers and have signed a contract with the AZ State Board of Pharmacy to help us with surveillance among the certifying physicians.  You can see some of the recommendations at the end of the report. 

Of course…  the info in the Annual Report is just a sub-set of all of the data we have about the program…  and you can see the full array of data and information including our summary monthly reports on our hub website.