Monday, September 19, 2016

News from the Districts - York

Public Health Emergency Preparedness has been a focus of the York District Coordinating Council, District Liaison and other interested parties for some time. Over the course of the last few years, events designed to recruit Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) members and tabletop exercises to showcase, educate and enhance overall preparedness have been led by this group.
Beginning in late 2015, stakeholders from across York Public Health District have been planning a full- scale public health emergency preparedness exercise. The culmination of this planning will be a Point of Dispensing exercise, also known as a POD. The term POD refers to an organized method to distribute medicine to the public during an emergency. This exercise will take place on October 19 at the University of New England’s Harold Alfond Forum.
This event will feature two POD distribution models. One will be administering “live” flu vaccine; the other will be handing out the mock bottles of ciprofloxacin or doxycycline needed to provide “post-exposure” medication based on the circumstances of the individuals presenting for triage. This multifaceted event has an overall objective of exercising and evaluating the University of New England as a new POD location as well as determining the capacity to deliver public health services on a challenging scale.

This collaboration has yielded additional benefit for Maine CDC, district stakeholders and the University of New England.  For example, the University of New England has incorporated aspects of planning and staffing the event into their established curriculum for public health and medical students. This opportunity provides tangible, real-world experience for students to participate and understand an emergency response within the Maine Public Health structure.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Maine CDC Coordinator Honored at Patient Safety Academy

ritaRita Owsiak, Maine CDC’s Healthcare Associated Infections Coordinator, was recently recognized as a recipient of the Rising Tide Award for 2016.  The award was presented at the annual Patient Safety Academy at the University of Southern Maine in Portland on September 8.
The Rising Tide Award is presented to individuals or organizations who are demonstrating outstanding achievement and commitment to best practices in patient safety in Maine. 
Oswiak was also a presenter at the Patient Safety Academy, which brings together healthcare professionals for knowledge- and skill-building workshops. Public health, physician practices, pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, advocates and other agencies participate in the annual event. 
Congratulations, Rita.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

National Cholesterol Month

September is a good time to get your cholesterol checked and take steps to get it under control.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in blood and is found in foods we eat including eggs, meats, fish and whole-fat dairy products. Foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain none. Our body also makes cholesterol.  Risk factors that can lead to high cholesterol include being overweight/obese, poor eating habits, family history, age or gender.
Know your numbers:

U.S. CDC recommends that adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every five years.  This can be done with a simple blood test.
Reduce your risk:
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.  A healthy lifestyle includes:
  • Eating a healthy diet. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats can actually lower cholesterol levels. Eating fiber also can help lower cholesterol.
  • Exercising regularly. The Surgeon General recommends that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • Not smoking. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
For more information on cholesterol:

Monday, September 5, 2016

Suicide Prevention Month

Each year, Maine joins the United States and the international community in recognizing World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. Suicide continues to be a public health concern, with 689 deaths by suicide between 2011 and 2013 in Maine. In addition, between 2011 and 2013, suicide was the first leading cause of death for Maine adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14, second among Maine residents between 15 and 34 years of age, and fourth among Maine residents between the ages of 35 and 54. Suicide is preventable and knowledge, understanding and support can save lives
If you suspect someone you know may be at risk of suicide, follow these steps:
  1. Show you care by listening carefully and without judgment.
  2. Ask them if they are thinking about suicide. Be direct and empathetic. (Asking about suicide does not increase the risk of suicide.)
  3. Stay with them (or have another caring person stay with them) while you locate help.
  4. Call the Maine Crisis Hotline (1-888-568-1112) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
  5. If the person is at immediate risk of harming themselves, call 911.
For more information on how you can help prevent suicide in your community or workplace, contact Amy Ouellette at the Maine Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Maine), 622-5767, extension 2318. NAMI Maine hosts many training opportunities throughout the year.
Remember: Suicide is preventable.  Knowledge, understanding, and support can save lives.