Posts tagged with Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

Health beat: Willow stats, health board, body donation, dentist’s feedback, holiday safety

Here’s a dose of health news from WellCommons, around town and elsewhere:

INCREASED DEMAND

The Willow Domestic Violence Center saw the need for its services increase during the past year. Kathy Perkins, board president, said that, unfortunately, an increase in domestic violence is common during times of national economic uncertainty.

Statistics for the center’s fiscal year — July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 — were released last week during its annual meeting:

1,683 — Crisis calls answered.

1,483 — Community-based service recipients.

148 — Women sheltered.

118 — Children sheltered.

316 — Adult and children group counseling sessions.

4,390 — Volunteer hours of service.

$693,756 — revenue.

$582,978 — expenses.

Also, the center honored three volunteers:

Sarah Campbell — for designing and implementing its website.

Gordon Fitch — for providing his expertise in organizational development.

Maurice Joy — for providing expertise in financial management.


HEALTH BOARD

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department board meets at 5:30 tonight on the second floor of the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine (across from the LMH emergency room). Its meetings are open to the public.

Trish Unruh is scheduled to give a report about LiveWell EatWell.

Also on the agenda: LiveWell Lawrence, Berry Plastics, Family Planning grant, 2010 year-end financial projection, local legislative pre-session hearing, 2 percent cost of living adjustment for 2011.

23rd Street Brewery offers several healthy entrées, including Tilapia Florentine. The dish is pan seared tilapia topped with toasted almonds and feta cheese, and served with sauteed spinach and artichokes. Such dishes are part of a new LiveWell EatWell intiative in Lawrence.

23rd Street Brewery offers several healthy entrées, including Tilapia Florentine. The dish is pan seared tilapia topped with toasted almonds and feta cheese, and served with sauteed spinach and artichokes. Such dishes are part of a new LiveWell EatWell intiative in Lawrence. by Richard Gwin


GIVE THE GIFT ... OF YOUR BODY?

I’ve done a number of stories about the importance of donating organs, but never the entire body ... until now.

Kansas University’s School of Medicine students depend on such donations to learn the human anatomy in great detail, and to practice procedures. Ultimately, body donations help patients like you and me.

To learn more, check out my story on WellCommons.

The cremated remains of bodies donated to Kansas University Medical Center for research and education purposes are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. Several dozen cremains were buried about six weeks ago.

The cremated remains of bodies donated to Kansas University Medical Center for research and education purposes are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. Several dozen cremains were buried about six weeks ago. by Mike Yoder


DENTIST'S FEEDBACK

Dr. Justin Anderson, a Lawrence dentist, called after reading my story about a state need for dentists and a proposal to introduce dental therapists as part of the solution.

He talked to me about why he doesn’t take Medicaid patients, his volunteer work, and his feelings about dental therapists.

Anderson said he accepted Medicaid patients when he first started practicing, but quit because of the high amount of paperwork and low reimbursement rate.

“It was just too much a hassle. You are better off doing it for free,” he said.

Anderson said his practice — Wilkerson, Saunders & Anderson at 831 Vt. — provides free services through the Kansas Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped.

Anderson also volunteers by serving on the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Assocation board, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Endowment Board and at Lawrence schools, among other things.

As for his thoughts on dental therapists: “As long as it provides more care at decreased costs for our patients but it doesn’t take away from the health of the patients, I think it’s great.”


HAVE A SAFE HOLIDAY

Reporter Shaun Hittle posted Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical’s safety tips on WellCommons.

Know of something happening on the health beat? Send me a tip at kbritt@ljworld.com.

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Community health executive can broaden focus with move to LMH

The executive director of the Community Health Improvement Partnership, commonly called CHIP, will move to a new office next month.

The move from Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department to Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s community outreach department will allow Janelle Martin to spend more time on a variety of health issues and less on preventing tobacco use.

Her salary is currently paid by LMH and a state Chronic Disease Risk Reduction grant that the health department receives. That grant dictates how she reached out to the community.

Starting Jan. 1, LMH will pay her entire salary, so Martin will center on areas such as physical activity, nutrition and health reform.

http://wellcommons.com/photos/2010/jul/14/195046/

“I am somewhat sad to let go of some of the tobacco issues that we’ve been working on, but it’s exciting to have a new challenge,” she said.

CHIP was created in 1997 to provide direction and strategies for improving health in Douglas County. Leaders from health organizations and community agencies in Douglas County lead CHIP and provide Martin with direction. These leaders include Dan Partridge, director of the health department; Gene Meyer, LMH president and CEO; David Johnson, CEO of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center; and Rick Doll, Lawrence schools superintendent.

Meyer said there will be no changes in CHIP’s function or structure.

“We aren’t trying to take over CHIP, we are just trying to make sure it’s sustainable,” he said. “Janelle will continue to focus on bringing together as many local health care organizations as we can to create meaningful dialogue about how we can improve the community’s health while not duplicating efforts.”

As for the health department’s tobacco grant, Partridge said Rebecca Lo, an intern, will take over those responsibilities through July, when the new grant year begins. He said the grant was worth about $170,000 three years ago, and this year, it is about $65,000. He said the department won’t know how much next year’s grant will be worth until June.

Partridge said he would like to hire a full-time worker to assume the obligations of the grant. He also would like to see if they can use the grant to focus on more than tobacco prevention.

“We will see how far we can push that envelope,” he said.

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Health department to host child care licensing orientation Dec. 14

Douglas County residents who are interested in learning more about operating a child care are encouraged to attend a licensing orientation meeting at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, in the first floor meeting room at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.

The meeting will provide information regarding licensing of family day care homes. Kansas law 65-501 requires that homes be licensed or have a temporary permit when child care is provided away from the child’s own home for one or two children more than 20 hours a week (total time) or for three or more children.

Total time is determined by adding together the time each child is cared for weekly. Licensing is not required when a family member provides care for a relative.

To register for the orientation, call the health department at 843-3060.

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Health department to offer flu shots at Lawrence library

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is having community flu vaccination clinic Tuesday, Dec. 7.

The clinic will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a flu shot.

Flu vaccine is $22 for children 6 months to 35 months and $26 for anyone who is older than 3. Clients eligible for Medicare Part B, Medicaid, HealthWave and Blue Cross/Blue Shield will have their insurance billed.

And, here's a fun incentive: FREE indoor aquatic center passes from Lawrence Parks and Recreation will be given to children ages 5-17 who are vaccinated at the clinic.

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Community invited to severe winter weather forum Dec. 7

http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2010/mar/20/188972/

Snow. Ice. Power outages. Yuck!

Learn about severe winter weather and how to be prepared at a special forum next week.

The FREE community event will be:

• from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

• on the second floor of the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St.

Matt Elwell, chief meteorologist for 6News, will be the featured speaker. Charlie Bryan, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department community health planner, and Teri Smith, Douglas County emergency management director, will lead a tabletop exercise following Elwell’s presentation.

If interested in attending, please contact Rebecca Lo, of the health department, at 843-3060 or e-mail togetherprepared@ldchealth.org.

The event is sponsored by Together Prepared, a coalition of agencies working to prepare vulnerable populations for disasters.

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Health department’s child immunization rate better than national, state averages

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is doing a good job of getting children vaccinated.

Seventy-nine percent of their clients, ages 2 and under, were up-to-date on their vaccinations in 2009. Nationally, the average was 70 percent, and statewide, it was 77 percent.

The health department already has improved its rate to 83 percent, but its goal is 90 percent.

“If you have a 90 percent immunization rate, then you would have good protection for those children who are not able to be immunized for whatever reason,” Kathy Colson, immunization team leader, said. She gave a report during Monday night’s board meeting.

She said vaccines are required to attend school, but there are medical and religious exemptions.

“So, not all children are vaccinated in school,” she said.

It’s important to get children immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because it protects them from dangerous childhood diseases, which can have serious complications and even be deadly.

During the past year, 395 children, ages 2 and under, received vaccines at the health department.

Colson said studies tend to compare immunization rates for children, ages 2 and under, because they should have received all of the recommended vaccines by then. She said they actually could be done at age 1.

The vaccine recommendations are referred to as the 431331 series:

• 4 Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP).

• 3 inactivated or oral polio.

• 1 Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR).

• 3 Haemophilus influenza.

• 3 Hepatitus B.

• 1 varicella (chickenpox).

Health department leaders hope to increase their childhood immunization rates by having the nursing staff emphasize the importance of vaccines at every visit. The front desk staff also will work to obtain and print outlying records at every visit.

The health department will immunize any child in Douglas County, but a majority of its clients are low-income. These families tend to be focused on providing food and shelter and sometimes overlook vaccinations.

“I think we’ve done well, but we can do better,” Colson said.

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State health department reports season’s first confirmed cases of influenza

That nasty seasonal flu bug has arrived in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported two confirmed cases on Monday. One is in northeast Kansas, but not Douglas County, and the other is in the southcentral portion of the state.

Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer, encourages Kansans to get their yearly vaccination against the flu, if they haven’t already done so.

“Although flu activity is normally highest around February and influenza can continue to circulate through spring, the flu can be unpredictable. Now is an excellent time for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones and the community.”

— Eberhart-Phillips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people 6 months and older get a vaccination.

Flu is a serious disease that can lead to complications such as pneumonia and even death. Symptoms include: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough and muscle aches. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of other chronic conditions.

Every year, between 5 percent and 20 percent of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die.

Officials with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Lawrence public schools say they haven’t seen any cases of flu — yet.

But, they encourage residents to take these preventative measures:

• Get a vaccination.

• Cover coughs and sneezes.

• Wash hands.

• Stay home when sick.


FLU SHOTS

Seasonal flu vaccines are available at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department's clinic, 200 Maine.

The cost is $26 for anyone older than 3, and $22 for anyone between 3 and 6 months. But people aren’t turned away because of inability to pay. For more information, call the health department at 843-0721.

The vaccine is available at a number of Lawrence pharmacies and doctors’ offices as well.

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Health department hires coordinators for key programs: WIC, Project LIVELY

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has hired coordinators for two key programs.

Jennifer Church leads the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition program, commonly called WIC. The program provides nutrition counseling, education and food vouchers for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5. The department has about 1,500 clients.

Church joined the department in September after working for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as nutrition and physical activity program manager. She filled the position vacated by Gayle Sherman, who retired after 13 years at the agency.

Jennifer Church

Jennifer Church

Rebecca Holmes was promoted to coordinator of Project LIVELY, which stands for Life, Interest and Vigor Entering Later Years. The program is unique to Douglas County and serves about 150 adults, 60 years and older, by linking them with the services necessary to help maintain their independence and remain in their homes.

Holmes has worked at the health department since December 2009 when she was hired as Project LIVELY care manager, but was promoted to the new position in October. She filled a position vacated by Sandra Kelly-Allen.

Rebecca Holmes

Rebecca Holmes

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Health department offering orientation about child care licensing

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department will provide information about child care licensing on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

The meeting will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine, in the first-floor meeting room.

The department will provide information regarding licensing of family day care homes. Kansas law 65-501 requires that homes be licensed or have a temporary permit when child care is provided away from the child’s own home for one or two children more than 20 hours a week total or for three or more children.

Licensing is not required when a family member provides care for a relative.

To register for the orientation, call the health department at 843-3060.

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Health department paying Kansas Health Institute $7,000 to help collect county data

Dan Partridge, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, announced in June that the department was collecting data to find out how healthy Douglas County residents are.

He planned to provide a Community Health Assessment by August. But the data has been more difficult to obtain than he had hoped.

The department is paying $7,450 to the Kansas Health Institute to help collect the information.

Amy Biel, an analyst with KHI and a board member, said they expect to have the data complete by the beginning of December.

The information includes:

• Socio-economic status — average family size, divorce rate, unemployment rate.

• Access to health care — hospitals, number of urgent care clinics, number of long-term care beds.

• Adolescent health — teen binge drinking, teen smoking rates, teen suicide rates.

• Environmental health — food-borne illness breakouts, ozone levels and secondhand smoking.

The department plans to have a community forum or possibly a series of community forums to discuss the assessment — once it's done.

Community's ranking

At Monday’s board meeting, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department presented data that it collected from a community health forum in November 2008. The forum was attended by 41 individuals who represented various sectors of the community including law enforcement, social service, education and public service. They discussed what public health meant to them.

Then, they prioritized public health services. Here’s how they ranked them with No. 1 being a priority:

  1. Disease prevention and containment.
  2. Enforce public health laws and regulations.
  3. Identify health problems.
  4. Crisis health care.
  5. Develop policies and plans that improve the health of the community.
  6. Health education and promotion.
  7. Individual care.
  8. Reduce health disparities.
  9. Link people to services.

The forum originally was held to help guide a new agency strategic plan, Lisa Horn, communications coordinator, said.

“As we learned about accreditation requirements, we are now saving that data. What we found is that a Community Health Assessment needs to be done first. A community health plan — an action plan to address issues the assessment will reveal — is then drafted,” she said. “Then, the plan will be used to guide priorities for our new strategic plan.”

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Drive-through flu shot clinic discussed at health department’s board meeting

Nancy Reese, center, and her husband, Jim, stopped to get their flu shots from volunteer Barbara Schnitker Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, during Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic.

Nancy Reese, center, and her husband, Jim, stopped to get their flu shots from volunteer Barbara Schnitker Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, during Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic. by Kevin Anderson

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department board heard a report about the department’s first drive-through flu shot clinic on Monday evening.

Lisa Horn, communications coordinator, gave a report. She said:

• 402 people were vaccinated.

• 55 percent filled out consent forms before arriving at the clinic.

• The average time from entering the parking lot to leaving was 24 minutes.

• The average time it took people to get vaccinated was 3 minutes. That’s from the time the car pulled up to the vaccination station until the time it left.

It was a public health emergency training exercise for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, and community volunteers.

The board also watched this fun video, where clinic volunteers and workers shared what their experiences were like on Saturday.

A few board members asked whether they could have handled more people. Partridge said that they would have to extend hours to do so. He said the eight vaccination stations were constantly busy, except for the last five minutes.

Last year, the department vaccinated about 1,300 people during a four-hour H1N1 clinic.

Board members also questioned Partridge about whether they’d provide a drive-through clinic again next year.

He wasn’t sure because the clinic cost about $4,000, and involved more than 70 volunteers and workers. Board members suggested the health department consider teaming up with a business or agency.

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Lawrence’s first drive-through flu shot clinic draws 402 people

Volunteer Tiffany Belland, a student in Kansas University's School of Pharmacy, gets a flu shot ready during a drive-thru flu shot clinic in 2010 at KU's Park and Ride Lot, Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street.

Volunteer Tiffany Belland, a student in Kansas University's School of Pharmacy, gets a flu shot ready during a drive-thru flu shot clinic in 2010 at KU's Park and Ride Lot, Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street. by Kevin Anderson

Four hundred and two people got a free flu shot Saturday morning during Lawrence’s first drive-through vaccination clinic.

Forty cars were waiting in line when the clinic opened at 8:45 a.m. — 15 minutes earlier than scheduled — in Kansas University’s Park and Ride Lot at the northwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street.

There were about 70 people who volunteered or worked during the clinic, which ended at 10:30 a.m. It was a public health emergency training exercise for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, and community volunteers.

Health department director Dan Partridge thought the training exercise ran smoothly.

“I was just gauging how many people were smiling and I thought there were far more smiles than frowns. So, I think it went well,” he said.

Nancy Reese, center, and her husband, Jim, stopped to get their flu shots from volunteer Barbara Schnitker Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, during Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic.

Nancy Reese, center, and her husband, Jim, stopped to get their flu shots from volunteer Barbara Schnitker Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, during Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic. by Kevin Anderson

Drivers are directed to stalls this morning during a drive-through flu shot clinic at Kansas University's Park and Ride Lot. The flu shots were free because the clinic served as a public health emergency training exercise for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, and community volunteers.

Drivers are directed to stalls this morning during a drive-through flu shot clinic at Kansas University's Park and Ride Lot. The flu shots were free because the clinic served as a public health emergency training exercise for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, and community volunteers. by Kevin Anderson

Driver Tena Santaularia, Lawrence, received an "I was brave" sticker after getting a flu shot Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, at a drive-through clinic at the Kansas University's Park and Ride Lots.

Driver Tena Santaularia, Lawrence, received an "I was brave" sticker after getting a flu shot Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, at a drive-through clinic at the Kansas University's Park and Ride Lots. by Kevin Anderson

Drivers made their way through a maze of traffic safety cones. Along the way, they stopped at a station where vaccine consent forms were checked.

Then they drove up and parked next to one of eight vaccination stations. The vaccinators took their consent forms, and the participants rolled up their sleeves, got a flu shot, and drove off. For those who needed extra assistance, like terrified children or the developmentally disabled, there were chairs to sit on at each station.

David Nelson, Lawrence, and his wife, Sherry, waited about 20 minutes to get their flu shots, but they didn’t mind.

“I am in my car,” he said, laughing. “I am a big fan of drive-ins. I love this.”

The 60-somethings described the clinic as well organized.

The longest wait was about 35 minutes. By 10:15 a.m., there was no line.

James Wisler Sr., Lawrence, and his 3-year-old son James Wisler Jr., enjoyed the nice weather during their 25-minute wait in a convertible.

“It’s organized, well-planned,” Wisler Sr. said. “I am really happy about it.”

However, his son, who was in the back seat, didn’t seem too thrilled, especially after getting poked. A worker gave him a sticker that said, “I just got a shot — hero,” but that didn’t cheer him up or stop the tears.

Partridge said he was a little disappointed in the turnout. They were planning for about 1,000 people.

“We had great weather, maybe too perfect,” he said.

Partridge estimated the clinic cost $4,000, so he wasn’t sure if they would offer it again next year.

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KU Hospital to offer drive-through flu shot clinic Oct. 30

Kansas University Hospital will offer free flu shots during its 16th annual Drive-Thru Flu Shot clinic on Saturday, Oct. 30.

The event will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot just east of the intersection of 36th and Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, Kan.

No appointment is necessary; simply drive to 36th Street and Rainbow Boulevard and follow the signs.

The clinic is available to anyone 8 years and older.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.

The hospital has 7,000 doses available, double the amount of last year’s event.

Although the flu shots are free, the hospital will also accept donations and non-perishable food items for Harvesters Community Food Network, which supplies food to Just Food, Douglas County’s food bank.

KU Hospital leaders provided insight and information that helped in planning Lawrence's first drive-through flu shot clinic. The clinic will be from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in KU's Park and Ride Lot at the northwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street.

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Lawrence’s first drive-through flu vaccination clinic set for Saturday

Need a flu shot?

Then, you won’t want to miss Lawrence’s first drive-through clinic on Saturday.

You just drive up, turn in a vaccine consent form, and roll up your sleeve. The best part: It’s free.

The clinic will be from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Kansas University’s Park and Ride Lot at the northwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street. Participants should enter from Clinton Parkway.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department encourages participants to wear loose sleeves that roll up easily and to fill out a vaccine consent form beforehand to expedite the process. Forms are available on the department’s website at www.ldchealth.org. They also can be picked up at the clinic, which is on the first floor of the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine, and at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

The clinic will be held rain or shine and will serve as a public health emergency training exercise for health department staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, and community volunteers.

Lisa Horn, health department spokeswoman, said they will not give vaccine in nasal spray form.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.

“Getting a flu vaccine not only protects you from being ill, but it also protects people who may not be able to receive the vaccine or who have a weakened immune system,” Horn said. “It’s especially important if you have a young child or an infant in your household.”

The health department also will be collecting nonperishable food items for Just Food, the Douglas County food bank that serves low-income residents and supplies other local pantries.

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Volunteer opportunities in Lawrence

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is in need of volunteers to support Lawrence’s first-ever drive-through flu clinic from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the KU Park & Ride lot located at Clinton Parkway and Crestline Drive, west of the Shenk Recreational Sports Complex. Both medical and nonmedical volunteers are needed to fill a number of positions such as vaccinators, registration support, traffic flow controllers, interpreters, and much more. All volunteers must be registered by Wednesday in order to participate. If you are interested in helping, visit http://goo.gl/CW8t to complete an online volunteer registration form, or contact Charlie Bryan at 785-856-7357 or cbryan@ldchealth.org.


Other immediate volunteer opportunities
  • The Recovery and Hope Network (RAHN) is in desperate need of someone to help develop and implement a community awareness campaign. RAHN helps people with severe mental illness and works closely with Bert Nash, Communityworks, Cottonwood Inc. and other area agencies, but the Lawrence community at large still doesn’t know RAHN exists. Community members are invited to volunteer their skills, creativity and time to help RAHN develop this important campaign. To help out, contact Kendall Simmons at 785-856-1222 or kendall@recover-yandhope.org.
  • The Lawrence Arts Center is in need of volunteers who are interested in becoming part of the Arts Center Usher Corps. Volunteer ushers greet patrons, take tickets, give directions and assist staff during performances at the Arts Center, 940 N.H. For additional information, please contact Pat Russell at 785-843-2787 or patrussell@lawrenceartscenter.org.

  • Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation and Hospice Care is in need of hospice patient companions. Volunteers will work directly with patients and families by providing companionship, respite care and/or relief for primary caregiver in home settings or care facilities, and must commit to one year of service and be available for regular once-weekly assignments for two to four hours. Volunteers need to be caring, flexible and good listeners. Mandatory hospice training will be provided; no medical knowledge is required. Please contact Sarah Rooney at 785-843-3738 or SarahRo@VNA-KS.org.

— For more volunteer opportunities, contact Shannon Reid at the United Way’s Roger Hill Volunteer Center, at 785-865-5030 or volunteer@rhvc.org, or go to www.volunteerdouglascounty.org.

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Health department offering orientation about child care licensing

Douglas County residents who are interested in learning more about operating a child care are encouraged to attend a free orientation meeting at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

The meeting will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the first floor meeting room at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.

The meeting will provide information regarding licensing of family day care homes. Kansas law requires that homes be licensed or have a temporary permit when child care is provided away from the child’s own home for one or two children more than 20 hours a week total or for three or more children.

Licensing is not required when a family member provides care for a relative.

To register for the orientation, call the health department at 843-3060.

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Health department sets time for its first drive-through flu shot clinic

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is offering a drive-through flu shot clinic for the first time this year.

It will be from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in Kansas University’s Park and Ride Lot, which is on the northwest corner of Iowa Street and Clinton Parkway.

The drive-through clinic will serve as a public health emergency training exercise for agency staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps and other volunteers.

Flu vaccine will be provided to the public at no charge for their participation in the exercise. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.

Participants are encouraged to fill out a flu vaccine consent form before the clinic, and they are available at the health department’s website at www.ldchealth.org.

For more information, call 843-0721.

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Health professionals’ advice on flu shots: Don’t wait, get one

Sixth-year Kansas University pharmacy student, Andy Fikan, Atwood, Kan., administers a flu shot to Andrew Garcia, 80, Lawrence, during a flu clinic organized by Walgreens and the Kansas University School of Pharmacy, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, at the Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt. Local health professionals are encouraging anyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot this year.

Sixth-year Kansas University pharmacy student, Andy Fikan, Atwood, Kan., administers a flu shot to Andrew Garcia, 80, Lawrence, during a flu clinic organized by Walgreens and the Kansas University School of Pharmacy, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, at the Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt. Local health professionals are encouraging anyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot this year. by Nick Krug

Anyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot.

This year’s recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are that simple.

“We want everyone to get their flu shot as soon as they find the opportunity to get it done,” said Kathy Colson, registered nurse and immunization team leader with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. “There’s been absolutely no talk of shortages. There seems to be a ton of vaccine out there.”

This year’s vaccine protects against three common flu viruses, including H1N1, which caused a pandemic last year.

Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer, said the United States likely will not see the widespread, out-of-season outbreaks like last year. But, he said, the H1N1 strain is still active.

He said the best gauge for the upcoming season is to look at what’s going on in the southern hemisphere, where it is flu season.

“We are going back to the pre-pandemic mixed pattern, but we have this new kid on the block who’s still able to cause a lot of disease.”

In New Zealand, he said, there are areas that were spared from H1N1 last year, but that are having pretty intense activity this year.

“So, clearly, the people who didn’t get it the first time are at risk of getting it this time around, if the same pattern holds in the northern hemisphere, four or five months from now,” Eberhart-Phillips said.

The flu season here is typically October through April, and it peaks in January and February.

Still, health professionals advise people to get a vaccine as soon as possible. The vaccine will last through the season. It takes about two weeks to build up immunity to the strains in the vaccine.

“It’s the best protection that we’ve got. It’s a relatively small price to pay — if you are paying anything for it — compared to the cost of a few days of misery at home away from work and away from doing the things that you like to do,” Eberhart-Phillips said.

Many retail pharmacies such as Walgreens, Dillons and Sigler Pharmacy are offering them. A new state law allows pharmacists to give flu shots to anyone 6 years old and older. Before, 18 was the age limit. For children 5 years old and younger, they need to get the vaccine from their health care provider.

“We are certainly trying to increase our business,” said Pat Hubbell, co-owner of Sigler Pharmacy. “And it’s another way to get folks vaccinated.”

Hubbell has given only a handful so far this year, but he anticipates the demand will pick up. Last year, the two pharmacies provided 2,500 flu shots.

Colson urges people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

“If you’ve ever had the flu, you will know that you don’t want to go through that again. It is a respiratory illness. It can be quite deadly to the very old or the very young,” she said. “It’s not just you that you have to think about. It’s all the people around you and who you affect.”

The health department expects to get shipments of the vaccine in a couple of weeks. It will have a community clinic in Baldwin, Eudora and Lawrence, but the dates haven’t been set. It expects the cost to be $28, but the health department doesn’t turn anyone away for inability to pay.

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Health department to spend H1N1 funding on supplies, upgrades

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has $88,029 in H1N1 Phase III funding to spend. The state recommends the department spend the money sooner than later.

The department plans to spend $76,829 on items like: a copier, shredder, portable radios, computer software and a handwashing kit for schools.

It needed the board’s approval on Monday night to buy the copier and radios because the items cost more than $7,500.

The health department received $168,288 in H1N1 Phase 1 and 11 funding and it has been spent.

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Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department releases employee ‘Quality of Work Life’ survey

Each July, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department gives its employees a “Quality of Work Life” survey. This year’s results were released during the board meeting Monday night.

There were 21 questions and the results haven’t changed much during the past four years.

The department continues to receive the lowest scores for its communication efforts. For example, employees said they didn’t understand how decisions were made. They also felt that when decisions were made, they weren’t told in a timely manner.

Board members encouraged Director Dan Partridge to expand on those questions. For example, they wanted to know if the issues were at the management level or board level.

The department received its highest marking for “being understanding when employees had an unexpected family or personal problem.”

Board members were concerned about the low number of employees — 23 out of 39, or 58 percent — who participated in the survey.

They made suggestions such as offering a small incentive or simply changing the questions, so they aren’t so repetitious.

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Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department announces staffing changes

There have been some recent staffing changes at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

They include:

Charlie Bryan is the new preparedness coordinator. He started his job July 1. He previously worked as the Medical Reserve Corps. coordinator for the Mid-America Regional Council. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Kansas University. He replaced Kim Ens, who was promoted to director of the clinic services.

Rebecca Holmes became the interim Project LIVELY coordinator/care manager on Aug. 9. Sandra Kelly-Allen resigned from the position on Aug. 6. Project LIVELY (Life, Interest and Vigor Entering Later Years) assists older adults with multiple needs by coordinating the help needed to remain in their homes as long as possible.

Gayle Sherman, WIC coordinator, will be retiring Oct. 1. She has worked at the health department for 13 years. WIC is a federally funded health and nutrition program for women, infants and children. The department is seeking applicants for the position.

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Thought about operating a child care? Here’s your chance to learn more

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department will provide an orientation about child care licensing on Tuesday.

The meeting will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.

The department will provide information regarding licensing of family day care homes. Kansas law 65-501 requires that homes be licensed or have a temporary permit when child care is provided away from the child’s own home for one or two children more than 20 hours a week total or for three or more children.

Licensing is not required when a family member provides care for a relative.

To register for the orientation, call the health department at 843-3060.

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Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department releases new service numbers

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s new phone system is up and ringing.

The last of the kinks was worked out Monday. Now, callers can call some of the services directly instead of going through a receptionist.

Here are some new numbers that the health department is releasing to the public:

WIC appointments — 856-5350. WIC is the special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children.

Project LIVELY referrals — 856-5330. Lively stands for Life, Interest and Vigor Entering Later Years. It helps seniors maintain their independence.

These numbers are the same:

Clinic — 843-0721.

Administrative office — 843-3060.

If you are trying to reach a particular person, the new system will offer a prompt to dial the first few letters of a person’s FIRST name.

The upgrade cost about $2,000, and the monthly bills will be about $500 more per month. It was the first phone upgrade in 10 years. With 40 employees and hundreds of clients, director Dan Partridge said it was well worth it.

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