Posts Tagged ‘UA College of Public Health’

3 Medical Conditions Move to Hearing

August 28th, 2013

Three of the petitions to add debilitating conditions to the medical marijuana program that we received last month will be moving forward to a public hearing, which will be on Tuesday, October 29 from 9 am to noon in our State Lab conference room.  We’ll also broadcast the hearing via Livestream. 

The petitions are for PTSD, Migraines, Depression.  All these conditions have already been through the review process in previous petitions- but we’ve asked the UA College of Public Health to look for any new literature that has been published on these topics since the previous review.  This will be the first set of hearings since the first round back in 2012.

UA College of Public Health Info Sessions

February 25th, 2013

The UA College of Public Health Phoenix location has new options for students interested in the Master of Public Health (Public Health Practice Concentration) and the Graduate Certificate in Health Administration.  They also have several online graduate certificate programs and many other degree options at the Tucson campus.  

The College is hosting information sessions in Phoenix, Tucson, and online for interested prospective students.   Most of the programs have upcoming deadlines of March 1…  but the MPH in Public Health Practice (Phoenix) and the MD/MPH programs have deadlines of May 1.  Contact Kim Barnes at for more info.


Vaccines & the Social Contract

December 14th, 2012

At the core- vaccines are really about community protection.  Our public health system depends on a solid network of providers that are available to vaccinate kids for all of the nasty infectious diseases that have plagued humanity for millennium. It’s not just access to care and a solid network of providers that vaccinate that are important- we also need folks to fulfill their social contract. In other words, we need just about everybody to participate and get vaccinated in order to get the herd immunity we all need to eliminate the spread of infectious vaccine-preventable diseases.  Vaccinating yourself and your kids is more about community protection than personal protection.  It’s a social contract that we have with each other to keep all of us healthy- just like it’s everyone’s responsibility to be a Good Samaritan when you see a car crash. 

For decades vaccination rates in the US and AZ have been pretty good.  The problems we had were due to the lack of access to care.  Low vaccination rates were mainly in low income areas where folks weren’t able to get to the doctor on time to get their shots or didn’t have insurance.  Over the decades, the public health and healthcare systems have closed many of those gaps- and immunization rates responded.  But now we have a new problem- more and more parents are purposely deciding to not vaccinate their kids.  The trend is increasingly jeopardizing us all.  It’s called a “personal exemption”. 

In order to figure out what to do next, we began working with the UA College of Public Health to find out the who, what, when, where, and why of this group of parents that are increasingly deciding to not vaccinate their kids.   Today the UA investigators published a preliminary report in the Journal Vaccine that gives us some insight into this population. 

The research team used data about personal exemptions from our 2010- 2011 kindergarten Immunization Data Report and linked it to data about education statistics to determine if there are similarities between the areas where there are more exemptions.  They found that schools where mostly white students attended, those with fewer students who use free and reduced lunch, and charter schools were more likely to have high exemption rates.  There are geographic differences too – those in the northern part of the state were more likely to have personal exemptions than those in the south – and the number of exemptions increased from west to east. 

These geographic and demographic details are important in designing the right intervention to help bring up herd immunity in the state.  This information will help the AZ public health system to improve the vaccination uptake and pay close attention to those areas if there is a disease outbreak.  A follow-up study is on the way that’ll look in more depth into why parents are increasingly choosing “personal exemptions” over vaccination.  We hope to use the combined data to develop intervention strategies to improve immunization rates moving forward.

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.