Posts tagged with Public Health

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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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

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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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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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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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Resources: Health indicators for Kansas, Douglas County, and Lawrence

Here are resources to find how data about our health.

Kansas and other states - Trust for America's Health provides a long list of indicators from three areas -- key health indicators, public health preparedness and public health funding -- over three years 2009-2011. The 2011 figures show that overall, Kansas is doing a little better than average. In immunizations, it's doing very well. In infant mortality, it's #11 in the nation. Not good. (A No. 1 ranking means a state has the most incidence of all states.) Our fruit and vegetable intake is very sad -- we're #7.

Lawrence/Douglas County only -- For a look specifically at the health of Lawrence and Douglas County residents, view the recently-completed community health assessment by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Douglas County and all other U.S. counties - The County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health report compares Douglas County to the rest of Kansas and the country. It was put together by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Health Department honors outstanding employee

Jennifer Hayward 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 luncheon.

Hayward, the agency’s accountant, was hired in March 2008 and was nominated for the award by Jennie Henault, Director of Administrative Services.

“One of our administrative goals is to accurately report the revenues and expenses for each program/department and all items related to that,” Henault said. “Jen has worked hard over the past few years to assist in creatively modifying and using QuickBooks to produce reports and capture this information.“

This is only one example of Jen’s willingness to serve the agency,” Henault added. “Jen has been a huge asset to my department as well as the agency this year.”

In addition to Hayward, Lisa Horn, Communications Coordinator, was also nominated for the award. Past award winners selected 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 into what it is today – 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.

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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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