Posts Tagged ‘social determinants of health’

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.

AZ Women’s Health Status Report

April 2nd, 2012

Our Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health team released the Arizona Women’s Health Status Report recently. The report details how Arizona women are doing toward achieving optimal health and wellness. Topics covered in the report include physical activity, oral health, mental health, access to care and general wellness.

The good news is that 83% of Arizona women report having good to excellent health, but the report shows that 50% of women over 25 years old are overweight or obese. As is often the case in public health- women with lower incomes face bigger challenges with their health. The percentage of women who reported being physically active increased with education and income. Among women who had an annual income of less than $20K- 31% reported frequent mental distress, while only 6% of those with an annual income of $50K or more reported mental distress. 

The social determinants of health have been well-established in public health literature, and this report really brings home the connection between income and educational levels to health outcomes, in addition to race and ethnicity, among Arizonan women.

2011 Department Priorities Spotlight- Public Health Prevention

December 28th, 2010

The name of the game for Public Health Prevention in 2011 is integration and leverage.  Our Public Health Prevention Team will be focusing on the social determinants of health and working to implement policies, systems and environmental changes that make the healthy choices easy.  Here are some examples of our public health prevention priorities for the coming year:

Worksite Wellness

Perhaps one of the biggest leverage points for improving community health lies with Arizona employers.  Employers are increasingly recognizing that a healthier workforce is a more productive and efficient workforce and by applying simple public health prevention tools that can improve their productivity.  We’ll be using our Worksite Wellness Tool to help Arizona businesses to adopt wellness and health promotion activities for their employees.  The kinds of simple things we’ll be working with them on are smoking cessation, weight management, nutrition, heart disease prevention, diabetes prevention, etc.  Businesses that are self-insured (for health insurance) have double the potential gains because they’ll eventually benefit from worksite wellness with lowered premiums.

State Government Wellness

We’ll also build on our partnership with the ADOA to offer our services in augmenting the State wellness initiative and working with St. Luke’s Health Initiatives and others to make evidence based public health resources available to employers.  Included in this effort will be:

  1. Diabetes Self-Management Training -  Almost 10% of state employees have diabetes, and we’ll be partnering with ADOA to increase use of self-management (the cornerstone of treatment and care) to improve care;
  2. Launching a state-wide ”Hands Only” CPR initiative on three fronts:  Public (bystander) Awareness, Systems-Level Protocol Change (Dispatch – 911), and Worksite (employee) training;
  3. Design and launch a public awareness campaign focusing on early detection and effective disease management for Arizonans with colon, breast and cervical cancers;
  4. Expand our reach and utilization of tobacco cessation efforts via ASHline (phone and web-based services) among the behavioral health population, through partnering with some of our Regional Behavioral Health Authorities to create systems-based referrals in each behavioral health clinical site.

Nutrition & Food Stamps

We’ll also be working with other interested states and public health associations to change what foods qualify for purchase under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly called food stamps).   This is an idea that is getting national attention, including a recent article in the American Journal of Public Health that outlined a number of ways to improve diets of SNAP participants along with everyone else. This issue will be considered when Congress votes on the new Farm Bill in 2013. The Healthy Hunger Free Act of 2010 signed by the President this week will strengthen nutrition education provided to SNAP participants by focusing on obesity prevention and allowing public health approaches to be more fully incorporated into SNAP nutrition education activities. Visit www.eatwellbewell.org to see the nutrition education currently available to families receiving SNAP benefits in Arizona (don’t miss the videos and games).

Breastfeeding

We’ll be continuing to press our efforts to make institutional changes in maternity care practices and increase breastfeeding initiation and duration.  Arizona’s “5 Baby Steps to Breastfeeding Success” are the hospital practices that make the biggest difference. Our Breastfeeding Team is working with Arizona Perinatal Trust to train 5,100 nurses in 31 APT-certified hospitals statewide on Arizona’s 5 Baby Steps to Breastfeeding Success. All of these hospitals are committed to changing their policies to support breastfeeding. The technical assistance from ADHS is the key in mentoring the hospitals through model policy training and moving the policy from paper to action.

Health in Schools

We’ll also be using a more coordinated approach as we work with Arizona schools on various health initiatives.  Our new school coordinating committee will continue to share resources, streamline access and improve outreach for all of our programs.  The bottom line is that healthy children learn better and offering daily physical education or daily school breakfast can improve academic performance. We’ll be helping schools to complete the CDCs School Health Index assessment tool that they can use to develop a plan to improve their health-related policies and programs.  Strengthening school wellness policies, supporting farm-to-school programs, and increasing physical activity throughout the school day are all high priorities for the collaborative work.  Check out the Coordinated School Health website at http://www.healthologyaz.com/ to learn more about school health in action.

Of course there will be alot more than just these things going on in public health prevention in 2011, but this gives you a taste of what’s up.