Posts tagged with Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

Douglas County making strides to increase walkability

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in October 2013 to celebrate the completion of a new paved trail in Eudora. Uploaded

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in October 2013 to celebrate the completion of a new paved trail in Eudora. Uploaded by Karrey Britt

By Chris Tilden/Community Health director

A common New Year’s resolution is to get more exercise. That should be a little easier in Douglas County in 2014 thanks to recent and ongoing efforts to increase and improve the trail and sidewalk system in the county.

Research shows that where one lives has a substantial impact on physical activity. People who live closer to recreational amenities like parks and trails are likely to have higher rates of physical activity than those who do not. Therefore, a key objective in the community health plan, “Roadmap to a Healthier Douglas County,” is to ensure more sidewalk and trail systems in the county.

Local efforts already are underway to make this plan become a reality. In 2013 substantial progress was made, including:

1. Sunflower Foundation funding for four trail projects in Douglas County. They were:

• A community trail grant to Baldwin City of up to $55,000 to connect two community parks with a half-mile long paved trail.

• A community trail grant to Eudora, also up to $55,000, to develop a half-mile long paved trail winding along Church Street and passing by Eudora’s middle and senior high schools. This trail officially opened in October.

• A schools trail grant to Eudora Elementary School and USD 491 of up to $25,000 to develop a paved trail on the south side of the elementary school to create better neighborhood connections.

• A community trail grant of up to $55,000 to Outside for a Better Inside, Inc. to construct a half-mile long paved trail in the proposed Sandra J. Shaw Community Health Park in the Pinckney neighborhood. The City of Lawrence has tentatively agreed to take ownership of the land from Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, the owner of the property, after the trail is completed in the spring. Outside for a Better Inside announced today they have secured the required matching funds to build the trail.

2. Substantial new sidewalk development to fill “gaps” in the existing sidewalk network, including:

• 23rd Street, where over 600 feet of sidewalk was installed in places where there previously had been no sidewalk.

• Bob Billings Parkway where a wide “shared-use path” was constructed on the south side of the roadway between Kasold Drive and Iowa Street during summer construction.

• Improvements on the northwest corner of 14th and Tennessee streets, including enhanced ADA-compliant ramps, that is part of a substantial pedestrian corridor between the KU campus and downtown area.

• Late in 2013 City Commissioners directed city staff to meet with the Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition to explore new ways the city can better address needed improvements in the sidewalk infrastructure.

A new sidewalk was added along 23rd Street in Lawrence in 2013. Uploaded

A new sidewalk was added along 23rd Street in Lawrence in 2013. Uploaded by Karrey Britt

3. The emergence of new coalitions and partnerships dedicated to enhancement of trail/sidewalk systems including:

• The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, which grew out of the former sidewalk task force. It meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the basement conference room of the Carnegie Building at 200 W. Ninth St. (the January meeting, however, is on Jan. 15). Anyone who is interested is invited to attend.

• The LiveWell Lawrence coalition’s new “Healthy Built Environment” work group. The work group’s top priorities include enhancing trail and network systems. The work group has initially focused on expansion of the Burroughs Creek Trail and promoting the development of a Safe Routes to School Plan in Lawrence. More information is available on the LiveWell website at livewelllawrence.org.

• The Multi-Modal Study committees convened by the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization. These committees were tasked with providing input to three study projects, including development of a countywide bikeway system plan. More information is available at lawrenceks.org/mpo.

• The Lawrence Cultural District Task Force. The Task Force’s 2013 final report included a recommendation to enhance the biking/pedestrian infrastructure between downtown and east Lawrence, including a Ninth Street “Complete Streets” corridor, an extended Burroughs Creek Trail, and “improved sidewalks” throughout the cultural district. The final report is available online at https://www.lawrenceks.org/boards/cultural-district-task-force.

Many experts believe that the one thing that has the biggest impact on health is getting recommended levels of physical activity. Walking has been shown to:

• reduce pain and disability in patients with arthritis of the knee,

• reduce progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s in older patients,

• reduce progression of pre-diabetes and diabetes,

• reduce the risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women,

• reduce anxiety, and

• improve symptoms of patients diagnosed with depression

Experts recommend 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least five times a week for adults and an hour daily for kids, and data suggest we are falling short of those targets. In 2011, over one-third of Douglas County adults did not perform enough physical activity to meet either aerobic or strengthening guidelines (data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey). State data for children from 2011 show that over two-thirds of surveyed high school students in Kansas were not physically active at least 60 minutes a day each day of the week (data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey).

With the new trails and sidewalks, we hope residents are finding it a little easier and safer to achieve recommended levels of activity.

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State agencies to host educational tour next week about KanCare

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services will be meeting with consumers about their transition to KanCare during an educational tour Nov. 26-29.

The meetings will take place in 12 cities across Kansas to assist members in choosing their KanCare health plan. The initial assignment of each member to one of three health plans — Amerigroup, Sunflower State Health Plan and United Healthcare — was generated from a computer algorithm taking into account each member’s current primary provider and the health plans’ provider networks whenever possible.

“Achieving continuity of care for our patients is the goal for running the program for initial assignments. If members like the health plan that has been assigned to them and do not want to change to either one of the other plans, they are set for the new program; they only need to start using the new medical card on Jan. 1.”

— Dr. Robert Moser, KDHE secretary and state health officer

Members will have another 90 days starting Jan. 1, 2013, to choose a new plan if that’s their decision. This choice period is in addition to the amount of time members have between when they receive their pre-enrollment packets in November and the end of 2012.

Pre-enrollment packets are being mailed this month to the more than 380,000 Kansans who receive Medicaid services.

Logo, uploaded

Logo, uploaded by Karrey Britt


THE TOUR

Following is a list of next week’s meetings. There will two meetings on the same day in each of the cities. The afternoon meeting will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The evening meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is one exception and that’s in Garden City, where the afternoon meeting will start 1:30 p.m. Representatives from the three health plans will be at the meetings.

Monday, Nov. 26

• Topeka — Capital Plaza Hotel, Emerald Ballroom, 1717 SW Topeka Blvd.

• Pittsburg — Homer Cole Center, 3003 N. Joplin St.

• Dodge City — Dodge City Public Library, 1001 Second Ave.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

• Olathe — Holiday Inn Ballroom A/B, 101 W. 151st St.

• Independence — ICC West, Woods Family Community Center, 2615 W. Main.

• Garden City — Garden City Senior Center, 907 N. Tenth.

Wednesday, Nov. 28

• Kansas City — Hilton Garden Inn, Wyandotte 2, 520 Minnesota Ave.

• Wichita — Wichita State University Metroplex, Room 180, 5015 E. 29th St. North.

• Hays — Robbins Center at Fort Hays State University, Eagle Communications Hall, 1 Tiger Place.

Thursday, Nov. 29

• Emporia — Emporia Senior Center, 603 E. 12th Ave.

• El Dorado — El Dorado Civic Center, 201 E. Central

• Salina — Salina Bicentennial Center, Room 203 ABC, 800 The Midway.

Anyone with a disability may request accommodation for these meetings, such as Braille or an interpreter, in order to participate; however, transportation is not provided. Requests for this accommodation should be made at least two working days in advance of the meeting by contacting KanCare@kdheks.gov or by calling Rita Haverkamp at (785) 296-5107.

“The three health plans offered will cover the same services members have had in the past, plus new services such as heart and lung transplants, preventative dental services for adults and weight-loss services. The value-added services provided by one or more health plans include rewards programs for healthy behavior and career development services for people with disabilities, all at no cost to the state.”

— KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan

For more information about KanCare, visit KDHE’s website at kancare.ks.gov.

KanCare website. uploaded

KanCare website. uploaded by Karrey Britt

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Health department, WorkWell Lawrence working with employers to increase use of Kansas Tobacco Quitline

Thursday is the Great American Smokeout! uploaded

Thursday is the Great American Smokeout! uploaded by Karrey Britt

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department encourages people to quit smoking as part of the American Cancer Society’s 37th annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S and Kansas. About 3,900 Kansans die from cigarette smoking every year, and more than 290 Kansans die annually from secondhand smoke.

“Despite these risks, smoking is still a common practice. In Douglas County, one in four individuals identified themselves as a current smoker in 2010.”

— Chris Tilden, director of Community Health

The health department urges residents to use the Kansas Tobacco Quitline — 1-800- QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or www.KSquit.org — when they are ready to quit because it is one of the most cost-effective resources. The service provides free, private counseling and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Studies have found that using a quitline can more than double a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is working with WorkWell Lawrence, a coalition of 21 Douglas County employers representing more than 10,000 employees, to encourage greater use of the Kansas Tobacco Quitline. WorkWell Lawrence is an initiative of LiveWell Lawrence that is managed by K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County. According to Quitline reports, Douglas County employers made less than five referrals during the past year.

On Thursday, the health department and WorkWell Lawrence will provide training for five Douglas County employers — Allen Press, City of Lawrence, DCCCA, The World Company and The Merc — about how to effectively encourage their employees to use the Kansas Tobacco Quitline.

“Employers are key resources to help employees improve their health and well-being,” said Carolyn Crawford, coordinator of WorkWell Lawrence.

The Kansas Tobacco Quitline is offered through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program.

Uploaded

Uploaded by Karrey Britt

Reply 4 comments from Toe Karrey Britt Chris Tilden Bill_slu

Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department sees resurgence in whooping cough cases

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States.

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department urges residents to take precautions against pertussis, also called whooping cough, as it has seen a resurgence of activity especially in the Baldwin City area.

The health department reported 23 cases of pertussis in October, and it is investigating additional cases. So far this year, there have been 84 cases compared to 17 cases in 2011. The department has responded by providing treatment and prevention recommendations to the ill, their possible contacts and area physicians. It has been working closely with local school districts, Kansas University and Baker University.

Statewide, there have been 588 pertussis cases so far this year, compared to 52 in 2011.

Pertussis is a contagious, respiratory disease caused by bacteria. It is spread by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others.

The symptoms of pertussis begin much like a common cold:

• Runny nose or congestion

• Sneezing

• Occasionally a mild cough or fever

• Infants and children with the disease may cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound.

In rare cases (one out of 200), pertussis can cause death, especially in children age 1 or younger.

To stop the spread of pertussis, the health department recommends:

• Contacting your physician by phone if you have any symptoms.

• Be sure to take all medication if recommended and isolate yourself.

• Stay home when you are ill.

• Cover your cough.

• Be sure that you and your children are up to date on immunizations for pertussis vaccine (Dtap or Tdap).

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department offers pertussis vaccines through its walk-in clinic, 200 Maine. Some adults may be eligible to receive the pertussis vaccine at a reduced rate if they meet certain income guidelines. For clinic hours, visit the health department’s website at www.ldchealth.org/contact.

If you have any questions, please contact your physician or the health department at (785) 843-0721 and ask for a communicable disease nurse.

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Breastfeeding peer group celebrates first ‘birthday’ with mom/baby yoga

B.I.B.S. — Breast is Best Social will mark its first anniversary at the group’s weekly meeting Wednesday, Aug. 8, with a special mom and baby yoga session. B.I.B.S. is a free, peer group for women seeking to learn about breastfeeding. The free event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, 200 Maine St. in Lawrence, will also celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

Tina Haladay, a local yoga instructor, will lead moms and babies in various yoga poses. Refreshments and door prizes will also be part of the night’s activities. Attendees are encouraged to dress comfortably and bring a yoga mat.

B.I.B.S. meets at 6:30 p.m. each week at the Health Department and is facilitated by certified breastfeeding counselors in a relaxed, come-as-you-are environment. Attend as often as you like. For more information on B.I.B.S., visit the Health Department’s website at ldchealth.org, look for the Douglas County Breastfeeding Connection on Facebook or call (785) 843-3060.

Mom and baby yoga promotes bonding and is both fun and relaxing.

Mom and baby yoga promotes bonding and is both fun and relaxing. by Lisa Horn

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Groundbreaking anti-smoking campaign coming to a TV near you

“After you have a lung removed, take short breaths.” “Allow extra time to put on your legs.” “Be careful not to cut your stoma while shaving.”

These are all tips from real people, whose stories of living with the effects of smoking-related diseases are featured in the groundbreaking “Tips from Former Smokers” ad campaign. The ads first appeared in select cities around the country earlier this year and have generated 200,000 additional calls to 1-800-QUITNOW, a portal that links callers to their state quit lines.

The television ads will appear in the Lawrence area starting July 30 on Knology cable and will direct viewers to the Kansas Tobacco Quitline, ksquit.org. Tobacco settlement dollars paid to air the $14,000 campaign, which will end Oct. 28.

Most people have a loved one whose life has been affected by smoking. Health Department Director Dan Partridge’s mother started smoking in 1942 because she wanted the ‘smoke break’ everyone else was taking.

“It took her 43 years to break her addiction, which began as a desire to fit in to the social conventions of the time,” he said. “We have a come a long way since 1942, but we still battle the message that smoking is ‘cool.’ This ad campaign is intended to help counter that perception.”

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 1,200 Americans every day. About 8.6 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease and each day, more than 1,000 youth age 18 and younger become smokers. Smoking-related diseases cost Americans $96 billion a year in direct health care expenses — a substantial portion of which come in the form of taxpayer-supported payments.

For more information on the campaign, including profiles of the former smokers, other campaign resources and links to the ads, visit www.cdc.gov/Quitting/Tips.

Shawn, 51 of Washington state was diagnosed with throat cancer at age 46. He was in his mid-forties when a chronic cough and laryngitis turned out to be throat cancer. He endured 38 radiation treatments and hours at the doctor's office and finally quit smoking—but doctors were unable to save his larynx. He now has a stoma (opening) that allows him to breathe and a laryngeal implant that allows him to speak.

Shawn, 51 of Washington state was diagnosed with throat cancer at age 46. He was in his mid-forties when a chronic cough and laryngitis turned out to be throat cancer. He endured 38 radiation treatments and hours at the doctor's office and finally quit smoking—but doctors were unable to save his larynx. He now has a stoma (opening) that allows him to breathe and a laryngeal implant that allows him to speak. by Lisa Horn

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Local physician assumes county health officer position

Dr. Thomas Marcellino is the Health Department’s new health officer/medical consultant. He assumed the role at the end of June from Dr. Lori Nichols, who served in the position since January 2008.

Marcellino, board certified in family practice, is with Mount Oread Family Practice and received his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita in 2005. He interned at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. from 2005-2006 and completed his residency at Via Christi Family Medicine in 2006-2008 and at the University of Arizona in 2008.

He is very interested in public health and its emphasis on prevention, “especially in trying to prevent disease before medications and expensive treatments are required,” said Marcellino, a McPherson native.

The Health Department’s health officer/medical consultant is a part-time position held by a local physician whose duties include overseeing the investigation and prevention of communicable diseases and conditions damaging to health. The doctor also makes necessary recommendations and referrals for treatment, approves medical protocols and serves as a resource for Health Department staff.

Dr. Thomas Marcellino.

Dr. Thomas Marcellino. by Lisa Horn

Reply 1 comment from Marilyn Hull

Protect those pearly whites!

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Douglas County Dental Clinic are back at it! The Dental Clinic will provide free fluoride varnish treatments during several clinics for children in June and July at the Health Department. Studies show that fluoride varnish is most effective in preventing cavities when applied at least three times a year.

A Douglas County Dental Clinic dental hygienist will perform the simple application of fluoride on the following dates from 1 to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Thursday, June 21
  • Tuesday, June 26
  • Thursday, June 28
  • Tuesday, July 10
  • Tuesday, July 17
  • Thursday, July 26.

The clinics will take place at the Health Department, 200 Maine St. in Lawrence. No appointment is needed; clients will be served on a first come, first served basis. All children, ages 6 months to 18 who are uninsured or are on Medicaid or Healthwave, are eligible. A parent or guardian must be present to sign a consent form for the treatment and to provide the child’s medical card information. There is no charge.

Fluoride varnish is 5 percent sodium fluoride resin that is painted on teeth to help make the enamel stronger and more resistant to dental decay. This temporary resin is held in close contact to the tooth surface for four to six hours to allow absorption. It can be brushed off the teeth after a few hours or left on the teeth overnight.

Take advantage of your children's summer vacation and bring them in for a quick and simple fluoride treatment. For more information, please call the Health Department at (785) 843-0721 or visit www.ldchealth.org.

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Forums over, but your input is still needed

The Douglas County Community Health Assessment forums are now over, but that doesn't mean the discussion has ended. Whether or not you were able to make the forums, we invite you to take a look at the community health assessment report and give us your "2 cents" at continue-the-conversation.org

Posted on the website is a link to the report and highlights from each of the four community forums. You can also watch a video (also above) that is sure to change the way you think about health, titled "Let's Start a Conversation."

Some of the issues the public identified at the forums were:

  • Inadequate access to mental health services
  • Poverty
  • Few job opportunities and
  • Disparities in health outcomes and quality of life.

To see the full list, read Karrey Britt's story here.

Thanks for helping Douglas County make strides to better health and work toward a community health improvement plan.

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Weigh in on our community’s top health issues by attending tonight’s public forum

In foreground, Charlotte Marthaler, assistant director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, left, visits with the Rev. Verdell Taylor during a public health forum Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine. They were visiting while people weighed in on their top health concerns by placing votes and messages on poster boards.

In foreground, Charlotte Marthaler, assistant director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, left, visits with the Rev. Verdell Taylor during a public health forum Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine. They were visiting while people weighed in on their top health concerns by placing votes and messages on poster boards. by Karrey Britt

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has held several public forums to discuss the findings of its Community Health Assessment, and the last one is today.

It will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine. Child care will be provided.

Findings from the recently released Douglas County Community Health Assessment will be presented. Residents are urged to attend to provide input on the results, identify root causes and to suggest the next steps in the process, which will involve the creation of a community health improvement plan.

About 60 people attended last Wednesday's forum in Lawrence. The group's top health concern was inadequate access to mental health services.

To see the full community health assessment report, go to ldchealth.org.

To watch a video that will change your views on health and health care, watch the video “Let’s Start a Conversation," which is posted below.

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Let your voice be heard — more community forums scheduled this week

The Douglas County Community Health Assessment forums continue this week, with tonight's forum scheduled in Eudora. The event is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eudora Community Center, 1630 Elm St.

Findings from the recently released Douglas County Community Health Assessment will be presented. Residents are urged to attend to provide input on the results, identify root causes and to suggest the next steps in the process, which will involve the creation of a community health improvement plan.

About 60 people attended last Wednesday's forum in Lawrence. The group's top health concern was inadequate access to mental health services.

Let your voice be heard and help us work toward change. Come to tonight's forum in Eudora or any of the remaining forums this week:

  • Tuesday, May 15 – Eudora Community Center, Eudora at 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 16 – Library, Baldwin City at 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 17 – Community Health Facility, Lawrence at 7-8:30 p.m.

Child care will be provided at the Lawrence forum. For residents unable to attend the forums, a website is now available for people to post their comments and engage in a discussion on the results of the assessment at continue-the-conversation.org.

To see the full community health assessment report, go to ldchealth.org. To watch a video that will change your views on health and health care, watch “Let’s Start a Conversation” at ldchealth.org or on the Health Department’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/ldchealth.

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Business Case for Breastfeeding training offered to area employers

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department will host a free training on how to become a breastfeeding-friendly workplace. The “Business Case for Breastfeeding,” for local employers and human resource directors, will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, May 18 at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St. in Lawrence.

Employers participating in this training will be eligible to receive grant dollars to set up a worksite lactation room. The training is pre-approved for one hour of certification credit by the HR Certification Institute.

Supporting breastfeeding employees is pivotal to a company’s family-friendly platform with proven financial benefits to businesses. Just some of the proven employer benefits are:

  • Fewer sick days taken by employees for children’s illnesses- One-day absences to care for sick children occur more than twice as often for mothers of formula-fed infants.
  • Fewer insurance claims- When mother and baby are healthier, that equals fewer doctor or hospital visits and fewer prescription claims for the insurance provider.
  • Increased employee job satisfaction- A supportive work environment increases productivity and morale among employees. Many women feel that support from their employer helps make the transition back to work easier and may choose to return from maternity leave sooner.
  • Positive public relations- Providing a supportive environment for breastfeeding improves your overall company image. Many companies with support programs receive recognition and media attention — a positive boost to recruitment efforts and general goodwill in the community.

Breastfeeding-friendly workplaces are also required by law. The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has specific provisions for worksite lactation programs. The training presentation will address the law, needs of breastfeeding employees and practical strategies for implementing lactation support in any business.

Brenda Bandy, IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition Inc. program director, will present the training. Bandy is the program director for the Business Case for Breastfeeding, through the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition Inc. (KBC). She is a founding member and past president of the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition (KBC). She currently serves as the La Leche League USA representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee and the area professional liaison for La Leche League (LLL) of Kansas. She continues to serve mothers and babies as a local LLL Leader. She is married and has four children, all of whom were breastfed.

Registration is required. To sign up, contact Jennifer Church at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department by email at jchurch@ldchealth.org or by phone at (785) 856-5334.

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Public urged to weigh in on health issues at community forums, online

Findings from the recently released Douglas County Community Health Assessment will be presented at four upcoming forums.

Residents are urged to attend the forums to provide input on the results, identify root causes and to suggest the next steps in the process, which will involve the creation of a community health improvement plan.

Forum dates are:

  • Wednesday, May 9 – Community Health Facility, Lawrence, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 15 – Eudora Community Center, Eudora at 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 16 – Library, Baldwin City at 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 17 – Community Health Facility, Lawrence at 7-8:30 p.m.

Child care will be provided at both Lawrence forums. For residents unable to attend the forums, a website is now available for people to post their comments and engage in a discussion on the results of the assessment at continue-the-conversation.org.

To see the full community health assessment report, go to ldchealth.org. To watch a video that will change your views on health and health care, watch “Let’s Start a Conversation” at ldchealth.org or on the Health Department’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/ldchealth.

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Breastfeeding is Welcome Where?

“Breastfeeding is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life”, said Shannon Berquist, mentor mom for B.I.B.S -- Breast is Best Social, and mom of Murphy. Berquist and I met to chat about the “Breastfeeding welcome here” window clings I’ve spotted around businesses in the community. After chatting for hours about this mom-made wonderfood, it seems as though there are more than just perks for mom and baby – business owners, employees and other patrons benefit too.

For the past 70+ years, new moms have been “booby trapped™” by social, cultural and institutional barriers (www.bestforbabes.org), e.g. negative comments; inadequate support by family, friends, the community; formula advertising, etc. Human babies need their mother’s milk to reach their greatest health and intellectual potential; the majority of people know this. So why are so many mothers still being “booby trapped?” Outward support by businesses is one way to turn these social, cultural, and institutional barriers into opportunities: support for moms and a boost for businesses.

I’m not a certified economist by any means, but it looks like breastfeeding is the ultimate economic stimulus package: it’s free which leaves more money for mothers to spend at Lawrence businesses (over $150 savings per month over formula feeding not to mention big savings on healthcare costs), convenient so it requires no planning for those spontaneous lunches with other mothers, environmentally friendly, and reduces noise pollution from crying babies in public places. Reduced noise pollution and more money flowing into the local economy equals happy customers and business owners. In addition, businesses who stand up for breastfeeding patrons tend to also support their breastfeeding employees which is definitely good for business. Mothers who are able to continue breastfeeding after returning to work tend to be more productive, take less sick-leave and have lower healthcare costs.

Breastfeeding is a tremendous boost to a baby‘s and mother’s lifelong health. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Formula fed babies are more likely to suffer from infections, constipation and other tummy troubles, allergies, childhood diabetes and obesity.

Berquist, who is currently breastfeeding her son, promotes the “Breastfeeding welcome here” window clings to help break down the barriers for other mothers who want to breastfeed but fear public sneers and negative comments. Businesses throughout the Lawrence community have the opportunity to show their support and help implement the Kansas law that all women have the right to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

Here is a list of some current supporters:

  • Doodlebugs, 816 Massachusetts St.
  • Global Café, 820 Massachusetts St.
  • Great Harvest, 807 Vermont St.
  • Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.
  • Local Burger, 714 Vermont St.
  • La Prima Tazza, 638 Massachusetts St.

Feel empowered to breastfeed in public or cling your businesses window? Contact Jennifer Church at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at 785.856.5334 or email jchurch@ldchealth.org

B.I.B.S -- Breast is Best Social, an initiative of the Lawrence Douglas County Health Department, meets every Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Community Health Facility on 200 Maine in the Health Department waiting room. It’s a great way to share your breastfeeding stories, learn and create a great support group!

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New member joins Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board

Dr. Kevin Stuever is the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board’s newest member.

Stuever was recommended by the health board and appointed to the board by the Lawrence City Commission. He replaces Dr. Gerald Pees, who served for two terms on the board.

Stuever, who practices at The Internal Medicine Group in Lawrence, has served on the Visiting Nurses Board and as chairman of Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. In addition to his involvement in medical mission trips around the world, he also volunteers at Health Care Access Clinic and Jubilee Café. He received his medical education at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kan., where he also completed his specialty training in internal medicine. Stuever is board certified in internal medicine.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board's duties include:

  • Establishing and formulating policies for the operation of the Health Department
  • Hiring and evaluating the director
  • Adopting the annual budget
  • Reviewing Health Department programs and activities.

The eight-member board meets at 5 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St., Lawrence. For more information, see www.ldchealth.org/healthboard.php.

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Long-time Health Department employee receives annual award

Pat Meyers was awarded the Kay Kent Excellence in Public Health Service Award today at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s annual National Public Health Week (April 2-8) luncheon.

Jennifer Thompson, clinic assistant, and Dee Evans, clinic office receptionist, nominated Meyers, the agency’s clinic office coordinator, for the award. Meyers started at the Health Department in April 1984 as a telephone receptionist/cashier and has been a constant in the Health Department’s growth.

“Pat began her Health Department career in the front desk area answering phones and receiving payments from clients,” Thompson and Evans wrote in their nomination. “We think that background has helped her a lot in her supervisory role as she has been able to cross train front desk staff at various jobs, so they are able to work more as a team. We can’t imagine the Health Department without Pat.”

In addition to Meyers, other nominees for this year’s award were: Kathy Colson, MariaAna Garza, Shirley Grubbs, Jennie Henault, Colleen Hill, Lisa Horn, Jennifer Thompson and Trish Unruh. Past award winners recommended this year’s recipient, which was then approved by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board.

The namesake for the award is Kay Kent, who served as director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department for 33 years. She is credited with building the department from an agency with less than 10 employees and a handful of services in 1973, to a department of 40 employees, offering multiple community services.

Kent’s visionary leadership, dedicated work and passion for public health are the inspiration for the award, presented each year to an outstanding employee during National Public Health Week.

Pat Meyers, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department clinic office coordinator, receives flowers from Kay Kent, namesake of the Kay Kent Excellence in Public Health Service Award. Kent served as director of the Health Department for 33 years. Also pictured is Shirley Martin-Smith, chair of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board.

Pat Meyers, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department clinic office coordinator, receives flowers from Kay Kent, namesake of the Kay Kent Excellence in Public Health Service Award. Kent served as director of the Health Department for 33 years. Also pictured is Shirley Martin-Smith, chair of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board. by Lisa Horn

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Dental Clinic and Health Department team up for more free fluoride varnish clinics

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Douglas County Dental Clinic are teaming up for another series of fluoride varnish clinics in April and May.

A Douglas County Dental Clinic dental hygienist will perform the simple application of fluoride on the following dates from 1 to 4 p.m. (except where noted):

  • Tuesday, April 3
  • Thursday, April 5
  • Tuesday, May 22 and
  • Thursday, May 24, (8:45 a.m. to noon).

The clinics will take place at the Health Department, 200 Maine St. in Lawrence. All children, ages 6 months to age 18 who are uninsured or are on Medicaid or Healthwave, are eligible. A parent or guardian must be present to sign a consent form for the treatment and to provide the child’s medical card information. There is no charge and no appointment is needed — clients will be served on a first come, first served basis.

Fluoride varnish is 5 percent sodium fluoride resin that is painted on teeth to help make the enamel stronger and more resistant to dental decay. This temporary resin is held in close contact to the tooth surface for four to six hours to allow absorption. It can be brushed off the teeth after a few hours or left on the teeth overnight.

For more information, click here.

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Learn more about a program that helps teen parents

We've just rolled out a new brochure for the Healthy Families Douglas County teen pregnancy case management program. Mandy Gwirtz, a social worker, visits teen parents and their families weekly. She refers families to community resources, helps with goal setting, answers questions on childbirth, child development and other parenting issues. The program can continue until the child's third birthday. Mandy is housed at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Tracy Stowe and Derek Edmonds, and their daughter, Sabrina, 15 months, have benefited from the program and are featured in the new brochure.

If you are a pregnant or parenting teen or would like to refer a teen, please contact Mandy at (785) 856-5327 or email her at mgwirtz@ldchealth.org.

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Children benefit from free fluoride varnish clinics

Fluoride varnish clinics will be available again this month at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. Provided by the Douglas County Dental Clinic, the first clinic will be from 1 to 4 p.m. today. Another clinic is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16 from 8:45 a.m. to noon.

The clinics will take place at the Health Department, 200 Maine St. in Lawrence. All children, ages 6 months to 18 who are uninsured or are on Medicaid or Healthwave, are eligible. A parent or guardian must be present to sign a consent form for the treatment and to provide the child’s medical card information. There is no charge and no appointment is needed — clients will be served on a first come, first served basis.

Fluoride varnish is 5 percent sodium fluoride resin that is painted on teeth to help make the enamel stronger and more resistant to dental decay. This temporary resin is held in close contact to the tooth surface for four to six hours to allow absorption. It can be brushed off the teeth after a few hours or left on the teeth overnight.

For more information, see the Health Department's website.

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Health Department staff go red for women

Clinic ran a little late today, but right at noon we were able to assemble just some of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department staff for a group picture. As you can tell, it's a sea of red here today! Do you know any of the women in the photo? She may be your neighbor or a friend. She may also be at risk for heart disease. Learn the state of your heart by taking this simple quiz from the American Heart Association at mylifecheck.heart.org

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Your community needs you — to answer a survey to improve our overall health

The next step in the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s accreditation work has already begun, with the release of a community concerns survey on health issues and the conditions that contribute to health. The survey is now available to the public at healthylawrence.org and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Paper copies are available at area libraries. Your input will be used to make recommendations to bring about improvements in our community’s health. Take the survey today! Thanks!

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Health Department’s family-based sex ed course now enrolling

Parents need and want to be involved in the sexuality education of their children, but often do not how to teach them. “Kids Need to Know,” the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s family-based sexuality education program, is now enrolling.

The classes, geared for fifth- and sixth-graders, meet for two hours once a week for five weeks. All courses begin with a “parents only” night where curriculum and materials are discussed and any questions are answered. Following Parents’ Night, the courses continue with weekly parent-child sessions for four more weeks. One parent accompanies the child to each class.

Reproductive body parts and purposes, puberty, pregnancy, childbirth and sexually-transmitted diseases are discussed. Decision-making skills are emphasized. Videos, games and other interactive activities help make the classes fun and interesting.

The class for girls will be held Tuesdays, Oct. 4 through Nov. 1. The boys’ class will meet Thursdays beginning Oct. 6 and ending Nov. 3. All classes meet from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $50 per family. ex ed, Registrations must be received one week prior to the first night of class. For more information or to register, visit www.ldchealth.org or call (785) 843-3060.

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New video shows the benefits of program for young families

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is fortunate to partner with Healthy Families Douglas County, a program that helps young families get off to a good start. Healthy Families Douglas County is a free home-visiting program that promotes health and education to first- and second-time parents.

Learn more by watching this video, produced by Rebecca Lo, an intern we were so lucky to have this past year.

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Coming to a urinal near you… tobacco prevention campaign in full swing!

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department's tobacco prevention campaign is underway. Interns from Health Care Access, a Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps volunteer and agency staff have been canvassing the county to draw attention to the hazards of tobacco in an unusual way — with urinal screens, posters and stickers placed in bar and restaurant restrooms.

The campaign, which focuses on impotence and premature aging linked to smoking, targets 18- to 30-year-olds and is timed with the return of many university students to the area. So far, more than 50 establishments have worked with the Health Department to make the grant-funded campaign happen. We are extremely grateful for their participation.

In addition to the restroom materials, you'll also see messages promoted in ads on TV, radio and online. Pizza Shuttle has also partnered with the department to place information on top of Pizza Shuttle boxes. All advertising links to healthylawrence.org. which provides tips and resources on how to quit and even order a free poster from the campaign. Go to healthylawrence.org or follow @HealthyLawrence on Twitter for more information.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aY5rIVM7UY

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New breastfeeding group launches tomorrow night!

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is launching a new initiative to help support women who are nursing or plan to nurse. B.I.B.S.- Breast is Best Social will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, 200 Maine St. in Lawrence. The first 20 women attending tomorrow night's meeting will each receive a $25 voucher to redeem at The Perfect Fit, Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s breastfeeding supply shop.

Local physicians Dr. Tiffinie Mercado and Dr. Larisa Kimuri will be at Wednesday's first meeting. Both doctors have breastfed their own children and are the official "spokeswomen" for B.I.B.S. Prizes and refreshments are planned to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7) - it should be a fun night. And don't forget we will continue to meet each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Health Department.

The free group is facilitated by certified breastfeeding counselors and is held in a relaxed, come-as-you-are environment. Come as often as you like. For more information on B.I.B.S., go to the Health Department’s website at ldchealth.org, look for Douglas County Breastfeeding Connection on Facebook or call 843-3060.

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Spread the word- next fluoride varnish clinic Tuesday!

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Douglas County Dental Clinic will team up to host a fluoride varnish treatment day Tuesday, July 19. The free clinic is for uninsured children or those on Medicaid/Healthwave Tuesday from 1-4 p.m. at the Health Department. Fluoride varnish helps protect teeth from cavities. For more information and additional dates, see ldchealth.org

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Are you ready? Child Care Aware of Kansas presents free webinar

A disaster or emergency can strike at any time. When emergencies occur, some of the most vulnerable are children age 5 and younger. It is essential that child care providers are prepared to protect children in their care and that parents ask the right questions to make sure their child care setting is safe.

Providers, are you prepared to respond in the event of a disaster? Parents, does your child care program have an emergency response plan? Will you be prepared in the wake of a disaster? These are important questions for parents and providers to consider.

To learn more about emergency preparedness and what you can do to help ensure children are safe, sign up for a free webinar presented by Child Care Aware of Kansas, scheduled for 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 30.

Click here to sign up.

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Spread the word- next fluoride varnish clinic Tuesday!

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Douglas County Dental Clinic will team up to host a fluoride varnish treatment day Tuesday, June 14. The clinic is for uninsured children or those on Medicaid/Healthwave Tuesday from 1-4 p.m. at the Health Department. Fluoride varnish helps protect teeth from cavities. For more information and dates, see ldchealth.org

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Top 10 Great Public Health Achievements

In honor of the Public Health Thank You Day on Monday, Nov. 22, I wondered if many people were aware of the 10 Public Health Contributions in the past 100 years.

  • Motor-vehicle safety. Seatbelts are one example.
  • Safer workplaces. Think OSHA, safer equipment, good ventilation and dust suppression to name a few.
  • Control of infectious diseases. Think of the smallpox's eradication in the 1970s.
  • Decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Safer and healthier foods. Food inspections, EatWell Lawrence!
  • Healthier mothers and babies. Prenatal care, greater understanding of child development.
  • Family planning. Birth control methods developed and simple access.
  • Fluoridation of drinking water. Improves oral health.
  • Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard. Locally, this translated to Lawrence's smoking ban in 2004.

Who knows what the next 100 years will bring?

Family planning information and simple access to birth control methods are one of the Top 10 Great Public Health Achievements of the last century.

Family planning information and simple access to birth control methods are one of the Top 10 Great Public Health Achievements of the last century. by Lisa Horn

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