Friday, October 30, 2015

HETL chemist presents paper at national meeting

Jamie Foss, Chemist II with the Forensic Chemistry Section at Maine CDC's Health and Environmental Testing Lab (HETL), recently presented a paper  at the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientist’s Annual Meeting on his research related to the analysis of drugs by Time of Flight (TOF) Mass Spectroscopy.

Maine has seen an increase in heroin use and overdose over the past three years, resulting in an increase in heroin samples submitted to the lab for identification. To meet this challenge, HETL has been working with Perkin Elmer Health Sciences to beta-test their direct sample analysis. The sensitivity and quality of the data generated by this instrument, allows HETL to rapidly identify drugs and help its partners gain a better understanding of the types of drugs encountered on the streets as well as improve analysis turn-around time needed to meet the demands of the judicial system.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maine CDC receives prematurity campaign award

Maine CDC staff receives the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Prematurity Campaign Leadership award

Maine CDC has been awarded the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Prematurity Campaign Leadership award in recognition of a more than 8% reduction in pre-term births based on 2014 data compared to 2009 baseline data. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

People with pre-diabetes can stop type 2 diabetes

Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal and puts a person at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  According to the U.S. CDC and the American Diabetes Association an estimated:
  • 86 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes
  • 386,000 adults in Maine have pre-diabetes
  • $243 million in medical costs contributes to Maine’s economic burden
If pre-diabetes is left undiagnosed and untreated it can progress to type 2 diabetes.  This can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation or death if steps are not taken to self-manage this disease.  There are steps people can take to prevent developing type 2 diabetes.  Lifestyle and behavior changes related to eating and physical activity can decrease a person’s chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Maine has the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) available in many communities across Maine.  NDPP classes typically last for one hour, once a week for 16 weeks then meets monthly for six months.  It helps participants make real lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, daily physical activity and improving problem-solving and coping skills to help prevent type 2 diabetes.  Many people who complete the program stay in touch with their group for support.  In 2014 alone, over 800 adults in Maine completed the NDPP curriculum.  To find a program and class near you visit  
For more information:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Breastfeeding support improves in Maine hospitals

Hospital support for breastfeeding has improved since 2007, according to the latest U.S. CDC Vital Signs report released early October. The percentage of U.S. hospitals using a majority of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, the global standard for hospital care to support breastfeeding, increased from approximately 29 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2013, a nearly two-fold increase over six years. Hospitals in Maine that have implemented the majority of the Ten Steps increased from 72 percent in 2007 to 83 percent in 2013. 
Improved hospital care could increase rates of breastfeeding both in Maine and nationally, contributing to healthier children. According to U.S. CDC’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card, approximately 28 percent of babies in Maine were born in baby-friendly hospitals, a rate topped only by New Hampshire and Connecticut.  The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was established by the World Health Organization and UNICEF and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The core of the BFHI is the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which include:
  • Educating all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  • Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  • Keeping mothers and babies together throughout the entire hospital stay.
  • Providing mothers with information about breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to these groups upon discharge from the hospital.
Maine has implemented “6 for ME,” a health care and quality improvement initiative focused on providing assistance and support to health care professionals, focusing on six of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.  Maine CDC, Let's Go!, MaineHealth and the Maine State Breastfeeding Coalition all link resources to offer technical assistance and educational opportunities to health care professionals caring for mothers and babies.

For more information about U.S. CDC’s work to improve hospital practices to support breastfeeding, visit or Maine’s 6 for ME: Maine takes 6 steps to improve breastfeeding.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

State epidemiologist speaks at conference

On October 6, Maine State Epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett participated in a four-person panel at the Maine Public Health Association’s annual fall conference in Augusta. The session served as an informal introduction to many public health partners, since Dr. Bennett has been in Maine for around five weeks.

The session was titled: Voices of Public Health: Sharing Visions for the Future. Each panelist was asked to share their vision for the future of public health. Dr. Bennett identified four areas that she believes are crucial to the success of Maine CDC’s mission to preserve, promote and protect the health, safety and well-being of all Maine people. Those four areas are disease surveillance, collaboration, education and communication.