Posts Tagged ‘Pima County’

5 Years of Behavioral Health Innovation Paying Dividends (Part I)

April 15th, 2014

MPeople with a serious mental illness die more than 30 years earlier than people without those challenges.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reflecting about some of the innovative strategies that we’ve implemented with our behavioral health community partners over the last several years to improve the health status of folks with a serious mental illness.

I’ll start with a project that began with modest funding from SAMHSA, through a grant meant for small pilots to test concepts in our community.  In 2009, we and AHCCCS jointly applied for and got a Transformation Transfer Initiative grant which was used to initiate a peer-based whole health program Maricopa and Pima Counties.  The goal of the program was to help transform the behavioral health system into one that applies a holistic approach to consumer health.

Magellan Health Services of Arizona launched the first phase of Integrated Health Homes as part of this initiative- bringing together mental health and physical health care.  The model was a partnership between Magellan, Maricopa Integrated Health System, and CHOICES Network, Partners in Recovery, People of Color Network and Southwest Network.  By 2013, there were 10 Integrated Health Homes in Maricopa County that have been providing coordinated care for members.  Thousands of people have received coordinated care and achieved better outcomes through these health homes.  Here are some additional typical health home participant vignettes that profile service recipients who can benefit from the initiative.

In the coming weeks, I’ll cover improvements in the Crisis Response System, the kids system of care, children’s substance abuse, coordination with the correctional system, and performance dashboards.

Measles & International Travel

April 30th, 2013

Guest Blog from Ken Komatsu, State Epidemiologist

With over 1 billion people crossing international borders each year, vaccine preventable diseases not usually found in Arizona, can arrive at any time.  Earlier this month a young child from Pima County became ill with a rash illness while visiting Asia.  This region of the world has had over a thousand cases of measles reported in the last six months as shown on this world map of measles.  Also, there was a community outbreak of measles in the town the child was visiting at the time.  While her older siblings were already immunized, the child did not receive measles vaccine prior to travel because of age.  The child was diagnosed with measles while in Asia, but continued traveling to London, New York and finally to Phoenix.


The child’s diagnosis was confirmed by our state public health laboratory after arrival, our epidemiologists followed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.  CDC worked with the airlines to get names of all the passengers exposed on the two flights to the state health departments where each lives.  Health departments followed up on 53 passengers with possible exposure across the country:  5 from Arizona, 3 from Florida, 1 from Maryland, 1 from Massachusetts, 1 from Michigan, 12 from New Jersey, 24 from New York and 1 from North Carolina.


Luckily, no new measles cases among the exposed have been reported and the child was probably less infectious since he/she had already been ill for a few days during travel.  While our routine vaccination schedule does not recommend measles vaccination until 12 months of age, infants as young as 6 months should receive measles vaccine prior to international travel.  This child’s illness and all the hours of follow up by our epidemiologists, CDC, and seven other states, could have been prevented with one shot.  Another great reason for immunizing our children and adolescents since these diseases are still only a plane ride away.  For more information on health issues during international travel, please see the CDC Yellow Book.


Pima Nabs Big Obesity Prevention Grant

March 22nd, 2010

Pima County will receive a $16 million grant as part of the national Communities Putting Prevention to Work efforts funded through the federal Stimulus program.  They’ll be creating a community-wide set of strategies and interventions to reduce obesity by ensuring safe, attractive accessible places for physical activity and making healthy foods available, accessible, and affordable.

The initiative is building on the established work of Activate Tucson, a large, multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, community-based coalition.  Activate Tucson and its member organizations have a strong track-record of success in developing policy and programs to combat obesity. Take a look at the kinds of accomplishments already achieved by this organization.  Congrats to Elizabeth Temple and her team in Pima County for siezing this highly competetive grant.