Posts Tagged ‘health’

Arizona’s First Ever State Health Assessment

February 13th, 2014

Today we published Arizona’s first ever comprehensive State Health Assessment. The objective of the State Health Assessment is to give Arizona’s public health and health care systems a clear tool to help drive future decision-making and resource allocation as we collectively design and implement evidence-based interventions to improve health and wellness outcomes across Arizona.  

The Assessment uses Arizona-specific data to assess the state of the public’s health in Arizona and has been a collaborative effort among all of the health departments in each AZ county as well as the ADHS.  The 15 priority health issues in the Report are obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, healthcare associated infections, suicides, teen pregnancy, creating healthy communities, behavioral health services, diabetes, heart disease, other chronic diseases (cancer, respiratory disease, asthma), accidents and injuries, oral health, access to well care, and access to health insurance. 

Each public health indicator is summarized for its significance and scope, trending, and comparative analysis against national data.  The report also provides in-depth analysis for a number of indicators in each of Arizona’s 126 Community Health Analysis Areas. 

Please take time to look at the State Health Assessment and the county level community health assessments.  After you’re done, we’d appreciate hearing from you through the survey monkey as we take the next giant step to create Arizona’s first State Health Improvement Plan.

Arizona Public Health Association gets National Recognition

December 18th, 2013

Congratulations to Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) for gaining national recognition for its work- snagging the 2013 National Affiliate of the Year Award from the American Public Health Association.

For 85 years, AzPHA has helped shape public health in Arizona working to create smoke-free environments and access to healthcare.  In this year alone, the Arizona affiliate reviewed more than a 1,000 legislative bills, visited AZ Congressional offices, put on professional development events and webinars and advocated for the restoration of Medicaid.  The current President, Patti Taylor, attributes the success to the membership, volunteers and partners.  I think it is also because of the leadership and dedication of the organization. 

AzPHA is a professional group that welcomes those who are interested in promoting public health in Arizona’s communities.  If you want to make a commitment to join, find out more online.


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.

AZ Cities’ General Plan Schedules

May 2nd, 2013

A city’s General Plan is one tool for communities to define how they want their city or town to grow and improve population health.  Currently, Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale are updating their General Plans, and each city has a variety of resources that give community members the opportunity to share their opinions and get involved with making their community healthier.  And remember there are excellent tools out there to help folks think through community design. 

Mesa has a website called This is My Mesa that gives their folks an opportunity to share their vision of a healthy community.  Check out the “News” and “Get Involved” tabs to look for upcoming events and ways to participate. Mesa has gone one step further and created  Idea Site. Through September you can share your ideas about what you want in your Mesa…  and voice your thoughts about how health can tie into the city’s General Plan. 

Tempe has an online forum where community members can share their 30-year vision for Tempe and can help craft a plan that makes Tempe a healthier community.  Information about upcoming meetings and the logistics of Tempe’s 2040 General Plan can be found on the City of Tempe website under the Community Development page. Keep your eyes open… there will be a process for public comment and involvement. The Council is scheduled to adopt the plan in late 2013 & Tempe residents are scheduled to vote on the General Plan in May 2014. 

Scottsdale has a website called Scottsdale General Plan, Your Plan, Your Future where community members can stay informed about Scottsdale’s 2014 General Plan. During late January and early February, a group of Scottsdale citizens came together to develop a draft vision statement for the 2014 General Plan…  which you can read and comment on here.  Community engagement will continue throughout 2013, with the General Plan public hearing and adoption process in late 2013 and early 2014. Scottsdale residents will vote on their Plan in August of 2014. 

Phoenix is in the middle of developing their General Plan- and 2013 is the year of heavy lifting.  They have a website called My Plan PHX which serves as their General Plan info hub.  Their “How it Works” site is a good place to start.  A good next step is to go to the Conserve Create ConnectPHX site and weigh in on the development and recreational ideas proposed by others- or post your own ideas.  

The General Plan outlines the plans for your city’s future. What better way is there to create the healthy environment you want to live and grow in over the next 10, 20, or 30 years? 


Healthy Kids

April 30th, 2013

Looking for Gold Standard information to help you be the best parent you can be when it comes to your kid’s health and wellness?  Whether you’re looking for basic child health info or detailed guidance about parenting issues, look no further than, which is the only parenting web site backed by 60,000 pediatricians.  You’ll find information regarding the American Academy of Pediatrics’ programs and activities.  In it, you’ll find evidence-based policies and guidelines, publications, and other child health resources.  When you get your info from the Healthy Children website you can be confident that what you’ll get has been examined by the nation’s leading child health experts and that the info has its roots in science.

Guide to Community Prevention Services

October 3rd, 2012

Every so often- you run into a resource guide that stands above the rest.  I discovered one of those a couple of weeks ago when I was at a conference with the people in my job from around the country.  It’s called the Guide to Community Preventive Services – and it’s a free resource to help you choose programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in communities.  The easy to read resource guide answers questions like: 1) Which program and policy interventions have been proven effective; 2) Are there effective interventions that are right for my community; and 3) What might effective interventions cost and what’s the return on investment? 

There are modules on different public health topics- and the evidence-based information is printed in colorful, easy-to-read formats.  Subjects include much of our core strategic plan activities in health and wellness including: Adolescent Health; Alcohol; Asthma; Birth Defects; Cancer; Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; Emergency Preparedness; Health Communication; Health Equity; HIV/AIDS,STD’s, Pregnancy; Mental Health; Motor Vehicle Injury; Nutrition; Obesity; Oral Health; Physical Activity; Social Environment; Tobacco Use; Vaccines; Violence; and Worksites.  Learn more about The Community Guide, collaborators involved in its development and dissemination, and methods used to conduct the systematic reviews.

Working Together

September 24th, 2012

I’ve written many times about how important it is that we work with our partners to protect the health and safety of the people of Arizona.  It’s our responsibility to take advantage of opportunities to teach and practice what we preach.  It’s nice when someone outside acknowledges when someone goes above and beyond which is just what one of our new Tucson licensees did about our staff.  Congratulations to our Behavioral Health leaders – Tammy, Ann &  Dianne.

All Aboard the Transformation Express

August 23rd, 2012

I’ve written several times about the importance of laying the strong foundation for integration effort through our rule making process.  Three drafts in and countless hours later, the behavioral health integration rulemaking process is beginning to take shape. It was just last fall when we took the show on the road and traveled the state promoting whole health. 

For the past 7 months internal and external stakeholders have been meeting and meticulously going over each regulation to ensure a strong rule set, general applicability, integration, and a significant focus on health and safety.  We’re about half-way through the process of creating initial drafts, and there’s plenty of time for input. Current drafts are posted that pertain to Level 1 Sub-Acute, Residential, and DUI subclasses of behavioral health licensing. 

In the following months, domestic violence, adult therapeutic and outpatient will be tackled. You can provide ongoing input electronically through survey monkey at the following links:  DUI Facility Draft Rules and the  Level 1 Sub-Acute and Residential Facility Draft Rules.  Remember every piece of feedback counts! So get involved and together we can develop rules that showcase our commitment to Health and Wellness for all Arizonans.

Health Disparities

July 27th, 2012

Lots of risk factors contribute to health disparities…  and many of the risk factors are called “social determinants of health.” A couple of months ago we (with our community partners), launched the Social Determinants of Health educational series to boost professional development and program planning so Arizona’s public health team can better address health equity and improve health status for vulnerable populations in Arizona.   A wide range of speakers have presented and shared their knowledge and expertise. So far, nine sessions have been conducted, and three more sessions are on the way. Continuing education credits are available for all the sessions.  Two PBS documentary programs, Race: The Power of an Illusion and UNNATURAL CAUSES are being used to guide an open discussion about race and the impact of social determinants on health. 

Employees are encouraged to attend these dynamic and informative sessions for their professional development. Contact Hong Chartrand from the Arizona Health Disparities Center for more information.

Tightening AZ’s Waistline

May 22nd, 2012

The CDC, along with HBO, The Institutes of Medicine and several private partners created a series of documentaries, called Weight of the Nation which aired last week, but you can still watch them all online

We wrote a feature about our own Matt Gainey-  who made tremendous strides to change his health.  Matt is just one of many success stories in Arizona.  We’ve created a website that collects stories like Matt’s as well as success stories from communities across the state.  Let us know what you’ve done to make a difference in your community – together we can put the brakes on the growth of obesity and work for people to have health at every size.  You can watch the documentary online for free here:  The full report and supporting materials, including recommendations on promoting physical activity and supporting healthy eating and healthy weights, are available online.