Wednesday, July 1, 2015

‘Wait for eight’ delayed bathing helps newborns thrive

Courtesy of Health News Colorado
By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
When Amy Toner had to have a cesarean section for the birth of her first baby, she worried about the precious moments immediately after the birth.
“My biggest concern was, ‘Do I get to hold her right afterwards?’ ” Toner said. “I really looked forward to having that ‘skin-to-skin’ time and having the baby stay in the room.”
Toner’s instincts about the importance of the first minutes and hours with her newborn daughter were well founded and are buttressed by increasingly robust research.
Neonatal experts have long referred to the time right after birth as the “golden hour,’’ and researchers now are learning that keeping mother and baby together is all the more critical to fostering successful breastfeeding and cutting rates of infant hypothermia and low blood sugar. The newest strategy to do this is delaying newborn baths for at least eight hours. Keeping newborns warm on their mothers’ chests is a relatively simple practice in the hours after birth that can have profound health benefits for mothers and babies.
One of the newest areas of research centers on microbes, which boost immunities. Infants inherit their mother’s microbes at birth and begin to create their own systems. It’s not yet clear whether delaying a bath may strengthen the microbial system. But researchers believe the vernix, the cheesy layer that coats babies at birth, has various protective benefits.
In Colorado, one of the hospitals leading the way on delayed baths is Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette. Already a “Baby Friendly Hospital” that follows guidelines set out by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, Good Samaritan started formally delaying newborn baths in January. Other hospitals in the SCL Health System are beginning to follow suit this summer.
“It makes our whole process more relaxed,” said Bekah Harvey, a charge nurse at Good Samaritan.
For the rest of the story, go to Health News Colorado.

Denver Public Health awarded $8.9 Million to promote population-level health

Denver Public Health recently announced it received more than $8.9 million in grant funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Amendment 35 grant program to address cancer, obesity, and tobacco use and exposure in and around the Denver metro area.

Denver Public Health received four grants for fiscal years 2016-18, all of which involve collaborating with regional partners to achieve the public health goals listed below. 

  • The Metro Healthy Beverage Partnership will reduce the consumption of sugary beverages and unhealthy food in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties (Total three-year award: $2,925,000).
  • The Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention will increase HPV vaccination rates in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties (Total three-year award: $2,627,685).
  • The Tobacco E-referral QuitLine will increase referrals to the QuitLine via electronic referral systems at four additional Colorado primary healthcare providers. (Total three-year award: $1,500,000).
  • The Community Tobacco Initiative will work to reduce disease, disability and premature death in Denver due to tobacco use. (Total three-year award: $1,834,953).

State health department has opening for smoke-free policy specialist

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Prevention Services Division has a Smoke-Free Policy Specialist - 01823 - GP III position now available for all Colorado residents to apply.
Please note this announcement will remain open until July 14, 2015, or until an adequate applicant pool has been reached, whichever occurs first. As such, applicants are encouraged to submit applications early.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What’s Your Story?

The Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center offers an opportunity for public health professionals interested in telling their stories and learning more about the power of storytelling in public health. 

We will be partnering with the Center for Digital Storytelling to offer a six-session workshop during which participants will design and produce a three- to five-minute digital story about their work in public health. Participants will craft and record first-person narratives, collect still images, video, and music with which to illustrate their pieces. Through the workshop you will have access to, training on, and facilitator support using video editing software. Workshops size is limited and you will receive individualized support. At the end of the workshop, you will have a finished product – your own digital story.

This workshop will be offered in an online format, so no travel is required. Workshops will be offered on the following themes:

· Mental Health & Public Health – Workshop starts August 4th

· Native Health – Workshop starts August 25th

Each workshop is six sessions – meeting Tuesdays and Thursdays for three weeks from 9-11 a.m.

These two workshops are available free of charge to those working in the public health sector in Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

A short application can be found HERE.

Drug donation program underway

In a great example of collaboration, a nonprofit pharmacy and long term care facilities have combined to find a way to match demand and supply when it comes to drugs that would otherwise be wasted and the  Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division of CDPHE has worked with them to make it possible.   The Nonprofit TLC Pharmacy in Colorado Springs was struggling to provide prescription medications to indigent clients. Meanwhile, Colorado long-term care facilities were paying high costs to dispose of unused prescriptions according to environmental regulations. Donating the drugs to safety-net pharmacies such as TLC seemed like an obvious solution. But murky Colorado laws got in the way.

Then two things happened to jump-start a formal process. First, a Web-based service named SIRUM, which makes it easy for facilities to donate prescription drugs to pharmacies, expanded into Colorado in 2014. Then, last March, Colorado legislators passed HB 1039, which clarified and broadened acceptable drug donation practices.

Several independently owned long-term care facilities and three safety-net pharmacies, including TLC, started a drug donation pilot program a year ago. During the pilot, TLC owner Frieda Martin called facilities to locate medications for her clients and drove to pick them up. The medications had to be in her hands while they were transported. Under the new law, and using SIRUM’s system, facilities now can mail medications to the pharmacies that need them.

Matching demand with supply

The SIRUM online system works like a for drug donation. Pharmacies post the names of prescription drugs their clients need and facilities log in to see what drugs are needed. SIRUM grant money funds shipping costs.

Previous Colorado law limited drug donation practices to statewide emergencies. HB 1039, proposed by the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, removes that limitation and adds “Good Samaritan” liability protection to participating facilities and pharmacies. Waste Program Manager Joe Schieffelin, who testified on behalf of the bill, said larger chains now are jumping on board, happy to have a safe and legal way to get rid of unused prescriptions.

Right now, Colorado has a network of three participating pharmacies, and 45 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Since early 2014, the facilities have donated about 350 pounds of medicine worth more than $625,000 in wholesale costs.

Hazardous Waste Compliance Assurance Officer Dan Goetz spreads the word about the new law and online system when he’s inspecting long-term care facilities. He said most facilities are interested in participating because the program reduces their waste stream and the high costs they pay to dispose of drugs legally. According to annual self-certification surveys, Colorado’s 220 long-term care facilities discard about 35,000 pounds of potentially reusable medicine annually, worth about $10 million. Reducing those numbers would benefit everyone involved.

“There’s no losing scenario here,” Goetz explained. “It’s win-win-win all the way around.”

Kiah Williams, one of three co-founders of the nonprofit SIRUM, said, “Redistribution increases access to medicine for the most vulnerable Coloradans, including the 1 in 4 working-age adults who skips taking prescriptions due to cost.”

PSD conference explores new model for preventing chronic disease

Preventing chronic disease in the new health care reform landscape means redefining the concept of the traditional primary care environment to create a team-based medical home approach that meets potential patients “where they live.” The Prevention Services Division (PSD) gathered 134 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other partners at a conference in Denver June 12 to support health care delivery system reforms by sharing common efforts aimed at preventing and managing cardiovascular-related chronic diseases (conference resources).

“We created a platform to support collaboration and share a common language,” said Michelle Lynch, conference coordinator. “Everyone was able to take away something tangible to improve their practices and patient outcomes.”

The prevalence of hypertension and diabetes has increased significantly over the past decade. Meanwhile, because of the Affordable Care Act, more people than ever before are eligible for low or no-cost screening services. PSD is working to make sure this new influx of patients can access and navigate the chronic disease screening and management services they need from health care providers, community health workers and pharmacists working together in a medical home model.

The conference provided PSD the opportunity to highlight some of the evidence-based approaches being implemented in Colorado that support chronic disease primary prevention, including the Diabetes Prevention Program, self-measured blood pressure monitoring, medication therapy management by pharmacists, and the inclusion of community health workers and patient navigators in f the care team.

“The time is now for all hands on deck,” said Marti Macchi of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. “The next chapter in health care reform is team-based care.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Health Links 2nd Annual Event for health and wellness in your business strategy

You are invited to join Health Links for their 2nd Annual event August 20, 2015 designed to bring together business, health and wellness leaders to talk about the best ways to improve employee well being.

Celebrate Colorado's Healthiest Places to Work 

Celebrate our Certified Healthy Businesses and the Champions of Wellness in Colorado. We are excited to present an all star line-up including Colorado business executives, health and wellness leaders, and scientists. Come network with like-minded businesses from across the state. Take part in the movement to help us become the healthiest place to work. 

Where:  The Wildlife Experience, 100035 S Peoria Street, Parker, CO  80134

When: Thursday, August 20th | 1:00-5:00 pm

Proposed Agenda

10:00 - 12pm | Health Links Worksite Wellness 101 Workshop - Registration Required

1:00-2:00 pm | Check-in & Healthy Business Exhibit

2:00-2:30 pm | Keynote Address

2:30-3:30 pm | Meet Your Mentor - Come for chance to meet the leaders from across the state who are doing great things to promote health and safety.

3:30-4:15 pm | Coffee Talk - A time for networking and snacking

4:15-5:00 pm | Recognizing Health Links Certified Healthy Businesses, Advisors and Community Partners

Recognizing Over 200 Colorado Certified Healthy Businesses from 18 Counties!

For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michelle Haan at 303.724.7814 or

To register:

For more information, please contact Dan McKenna,