Monday, March 23, 2015


Research shows that for every month a baby is breastfed there is a 4 percent lifetime risk reduction for obesity. Breastfed babies also have a lower risk of chronic disease, specifically Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and asthma over their lifespan. The Maine CDC maternal and child health and chronic disease programs are working together to prevent obesity and the subsequent health complications by increasing breastfeeding rates in Maine. 
6 for ME is an educational quality improvement initiative focused on supporting Maine birth hospitals to adopt at least six of the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”. The Ten Steps are internationally recognized breastfeeding best practices that improve breastfeeding outcomes.  To learn more about the 10 steps, visit
The intent is that mothers and babies in Maine will have experienced at least six of the ten breastfeeding best practices by 2018. The goal is that breastfeeding outcomes, duration and exclusivity rates will improve for Maine mothers and babies moving Maine breastfeeding rates closer to the Healthy People 2020 objectives for breastfeeding.
Maine birth hospitals are encouraged to attend the 6 for ME Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative training on March 27, 2015, at Eastern Maine Health System, Professional Center, Cianchette Building in Brewer.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cancer documentary

An educational three-part documentary about the history of cancer, produced and directed by legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, will begin airing on the public broadcasting network on Monday, March 30, at 9 p.m. The documentary is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book:  Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee.   More information on this film can be found at:
Although cancer remains the leading cause of death in Maine and the burden of cancer remains high, cancer death rates have declined steadily since 2000 across the nation.  Here in Maine, incidence rates are declining at a faster pace than the United States.  Continued promotion of cancer screening according to guidelines, collective efforts to reduce high-risk health behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, and promotion of a healthy diet and regular exercise are some of the steps that have been taken to decrease the rate of cancer. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New communication tool

Maine CDC is streamlining its newsletters and listservs through GovDelivery, a communication tool used by numerous Federal and State government offices. 
Those who receive these Public Health Updates have automatically been subscribed through GovDelivery. 
By managing your GovDelivery online account, you can select what news you’d like to receive by topic area.  You can select as many subscriber options as you want! To subscribe and manage your areas of interest, click here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Updated carbon monoxide poisoning data

The Maine Tracking Network, Maine CDC's online, queryable data portal, now includes updated carbon monoxide poisoning data for hospitalizations, emergency department visits, mortality, and homes with detectors.

The new data show that as of 2013, 65% of Maine homes have a carbon monoxide detector-that's up from 35% in 2004. Driving this upward trend is a dramatic increase among rental units with a detector, which rose from 34% in 2009, to 69% in 2013. This is most likely due to a 2009 State law requiring detectors in all rental units.

Using interactive query tools, you can explore these trends, as well as data for 11 other public health topics, including Lyme disease, private well water quality, cancer, asthma, and childhood lead poisoning. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

SIM Annual Meeting Progress Report

The annual meeting for the State Innovation Model (SIM) grant was held in Augusta this week.  Maine SIM Partners, SIM evaluator, and Maine's federal project officer from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation were in attendance to share results and successes during year one of the three-year grant. Maine CDC provided an update on initiatives it is leading: National Diabetes Prevention Program, Community Health Workers, and State Population Health Plan. 

National Diabetes Prevention Program is based on a research study that demonstrated adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease by 58 percent (71 percent if over age 60) by making modest lifestyle changes through a structured program. Maine CDC held a lifestyle coach training in May 2014 and a forum that engaged providers, payers, and businesses in November 2014. 

Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide culturally appropriate information and outreach to vulnerable patients. This initiative is two pronged - looking at both infrastructure and pilot sites.  SIM funding is supporting four CHW pilot projects, which have hired nine CHWs. Trainings were held in November 2014 for both CHWs and CHW supervisors.  Pilots are focusing on individuals out of care/in need of medical home and individuals with chronic conditions.

A State Population Health Plan will be developed by September 2016.  The State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is the cornerstone for the population health plan.  Maine will utilize the annual review and update of the existing SHIP as an opportunity to engage leadership as well as stakeholders in the enhancement of the SHIP to support the population health plan.  Enhancement of the SHIP will support work to improve the health of the entire state population; improve the quality of health care across the state and, reduce health care costs.   

The Maine SIM intends to achieve the Triple Aim goals of improving the health of Maine's population, improving the experience Maine patients have with their care, and reducing the total cost of care. The work extends across a broad spectrum of public and private health partners.  For more information, visit 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Changes to pediatric blood lead testing guidelines

Maine CDC has updated its pediatric blood lead testing guidelines and services. Effective March 2015, for children less than 6 years old, providers should:
  • confirm all capillary blood lead levels > 5 µg/dL with venous samples, and
  • follow-up on all venous blood lead levels > 5 µg/dL.
These changes align Maine CDC's recommendations with the reference value for pediatric blood lead of 5 µg/dL set by the U.S. CDC in 2012. The reference value is the 97.5th percentile of the blood lead distribution in children 1-5 years of age in the U.S., which is currently 5 µg/dL. 

Maine CDC initiates a tiered response on all venous blood lead levels > 5 µg/dL. Services range from providing free home lead dust testing, to comprehensive, professional environmental lead investigations.

Providers are reminded that Maine law requires children who are covered by MaineCare be tested for lead at ages 1 and 2 years. All other children less than 6 years old should be tested unless an annual risk assessment for lead exposure is negative.

Visit to get the complete updated confirmation, follow-up and screening guidelines, including the annual risk assessment questionnaire.