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February 2015 E-NEWS

Table of Contents

UPHA 2015 Conference Call for Abstracts

Medicaid Expansion - UPHA's position on the Governor's Healthy Utah Plan

National Pubilc Health Week

Recap on the UPHA Advocacy Summit

Let the Nominations Begin!

Board Member Spotlight - Dede Vilven

Student Abstract Spotlight - Food Insecurity

Public Health Spotlight - Teen Success

Save the Dates!


Upha 2015 conference call for abstracts

The Utah Public Health Association is announcing the call for abstracts for the 2015 Conference to be held April 13 - 15, 2015 at the Davis Convention Center, Layton, Utah. The theme for this year’s conference is “Strengthening Communities by Promoting Health”. We are seeking innovative proposals for topics relating to all areas of public health as well as abstracts that focus on the conference theme.

All abstracts must be submitted online. An easy to use online form will walk you through the process. Link directly through the UPHA website at www.upha.org/conference/pages/abstracts.htm. Authors must provide complete and accurate contact information in order to be notified of abstract status.

You do not have to be a member of UPHA to submit an abstract. If your abstract is accepted for presentation or poster session, you and any co-presenters who will be attending must register and pay for the conference. Refer to the conference website for upcoming information and rates: www.upha.org/conference.

Submission options:

  • Program / Research Presentation (30 or 60 minutes): Program/Research sessions are intended to provide attendees a synopsis of a public health program or relevant research. Presenters should ensure that time is available for Q & A during their session.
  • Poster Session (pre-designated breakout time frame): Poster sessions are intended to provide a graphic presentation of program or research findings by displaying graphs, photos, diagrams, and descriptive text. The authors will then hold discussions with the registrants who are circulating among the poster boards during the designated poster session time frame. The presenter(s) should remain by his/her poster board for the duration of the breakout session to answer questions.

We welcome your submissions and look forward to your contribution at the 2015 UPHA Conference. Abstract Deadline: January 31, 2015 by 11:59 p.m. MST.

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Medicaid expansion - upha's position on the governor's healthy utah plan

During the months leading up to this year’s legislative session, the Governor has been working to sell his “Healthy Utah Plan” to expand Medicaid to 110,000 uninsured Utahans under 133% of the poverty line. This year the legislature is not resigned to “doing nothing” as it has the past 2 sessions. By not expanding Medicaid as early as once contemplated, Utah in 2014 passed on $96.7M in in Federal support, $22.1M in savings to the State Budget and $7.4M in additional local and State tax revenues as well as reducing the cost of uncompensated care in the Utah healthcare system by $29.4M (1). However the legislature largely remains unsupportive of the full expansion proposed by the Healthy Utah Plan and members will counter with limited expansion proposals that expand Medicaid only to medically frail adults up to 100% of the poverty line, or as few as an additional 16,000 Utahans. 

The Healthy Utah Plan seeks to recoup Federal tax dollars paid by Utahans that are made available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If enacted it expands healthcare coverage to 110,000 uninsured Utahan’s and provides the following approximate economic benefits to Utah during the 9 year period ending in 2023: $2.7B of Federal tax dollars returned to Utah in Federal funds to cover up to 90% of the costs of the Medicaid expansion, $125M in State Public Assistance savings, $103M in new State tax revenues generated from increased economic activity, $81M in new County tax revenues, $740M savings in reduced uncompensated care (1).

By 2017 Utah phases into an eventual 10% participation in the costs of the Medicaid expansion. Coupled with increased Medicaid program administration costs, the State’s expenditures to support Medicaid will increase by nearly 2.5% or $131M through 2023; however this increase is nearly offset by the $103M in increased State tax revenues, a nominal investment compared to the overall economic benefit of the Healthy Utah Plan. 

Although the Healthy Utah Plan is a homerun for Utah, it does grow Medicaid enrollment by as much as another 30%. An argument against the Healthy Utah Plan notes that should Congress enact legislation that decreases Federal participation in the ACA Medicaid expansion, then the larger Medicaid footprint becomes a larger commitment borne by the Utah Tax Payer. The legislature may well enact a Medicaid expansion that moderates this footprint foregoing the magnitude of benefits provided by the ACA and the Healthy Utah Plan.

In order to address the unique demographics, needs and culture of Utah; the Governor has arrived at the following concessions from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell: charge premiums for adult over the poverty level, collect co-pays from all adults, automatically enroll adults that can work in job programs, offer incentives for healthy behaviors, use employer-sponsored insurance, provide assistance to buy private market plans, use Avenue H to facilitate plan selection and enrollment, use savings achieved from Utah’s waiver program to support quality improvement efforts, allow Medicaid children to join parents on private plans, establish a three-year pilot that allows the State to evaluate the effectiveness of Health Utah, terminate plan if federal funding fails to be provided. 

Please join UPHA in urging your legislator to support this important plan. Click on the link below to send a letter to your legislator: http://action.apha.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&id=1169

(1) Estimates in this article drawn from State of Utah Medicaid Expansion Assessment Impact Analysis: 2014-2013, Public Consulting Group, Inc., Page 12, Scenario 2 Balance Sheet. 

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national public health week 2015

From April 6-12, 2015, join APHA for National Public Health Week 2015. The theme is “Healthiest Nation 2030.” The U.S. trails other countries in life expectancy and other measures of good health, and this holds true across all ages and incomes. NPHW 2015 presents an opportunity for public health professionals and broader partnerships to address what we can do to improve health outcomes and impacts of chronic disease. This is the defining challenge of our generation—that we, the public health community, are uniquely positioned to overcome. That’s why, during NPHW 2015, the public health community is rallying around a goal of making the U.S. the Healthiest Nation in One Generation—by 2030. Get involved with NPHW by signing the healthiest nation pledge, downloading the 2015 brochure and signing up for updates. And be sure to follow @NPHW on Twitter for all the latest NPHW news. 

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Recap on UPHA advocacy summit

UPHA's 2015 Advocacy Summit, “Health in All Policies”, was held on Thursday, January 22, 2015. Nearly 100 students and professionals attended.  Representative Jeremy Peterson presented about how a bill becomes a law, drawing on his own experiences in the Utah legislature. Corbin Anderson from the Salt Lake County Health Department moderated a panel about air quality that included Nathan LaCross from the Utah Department of Health Environmental Epidemiology Program, Bowen Call from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Angelo Papastamos from the Utah Department of Transportation and Erin Mendenhall from Breathe Utah. The discussion was very informative and participants asked many tough questions. Dr. David Sundwall shared a presentation entitled ‘Building a Culture of Health’ that outlines a new direction for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in supporting communities. He alerted participants from local health departments that new grant funding opportunities may be coming their way. During the legislative networking lunch, participants were able to talk with Representative Norm Thurston, Representative Michael Kennedy, Senator Karen Mayne and Representative Brian King. Nathan Checketts, Deputy Director of the Utah Department of Health Division of Medicaid & Health Financing, gave a thorough and convincing presentation about Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah Plan. 

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let the nominations begin!

It's the time of year to begin thinking about your commitment to the Utah Public Health Association (UPHA). Have you served as an elected officer? Are you interested? Are you concerned about the organization? Do you have about 3 hours a month to give to our professional public health organization?

The success of the Utah Public Health Association (UPHA) is very dependent on the willingness of its membership to serve in the various offices and positions in the Association. Each year as part of the Annual Conference, new officers of the Association are elected by the membership to serve in the coming years. UPHA definitely needs you, or someone you know! We are actively seeking nominations for the following offices:

  • Vice-President (4 year commitment)
  • Board Member - Communication Management Unit (3 year commitment)
  • Board Member - Finance Management Unit(3 year commitment)
  • Board Member - Policy Management Unit (3 year commitment)
  • Affiliate Representative to APHA
  • Awards Committee Member (3 year commitment)
  • Nominations Committee Member (3 year commitment)

For more information about the specific offices, please refer to the bylaws and position descriptions posted on the website at http://www.upha.org/pdf/bylaws-current.pdf

*Please send your nominations (including self-nominations!) to a member of the nominations committee listed below by Friday, February 27, 2015.

Amy Bate - 435-277-2302, abate@tooelehealth.org 
Darrin Sluga - 385-468-4078, dsluga@slco.org  
Eric Edwards - 801-851-7097, ericse@utahcounty.gov

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UPHA board member spotlight - dede vilven

unnamedI am an epidemiologist at the Salt Lake County Health Department, working with mostly with food borne illnesses, like Salmonella and E. Coli. I grew up in Holladay, Utah where every day is a Holiday.  I just started my second semester at Westminster College working toward my MPH degree. I really became interested in public health during a course at the University of Utah that taught about illness outbreaks throughout U.S. history.  I have always had an urge to help serve the community by creating a safe environment.  I love the idea of a walkable city with live music and locally grown food to eat.  The most rewarding project in public health for me has been halting an outbreak of Salmonella last summer at a local restaurant before more people became ill. Another rewarding experience was working with the boys and girls club in Sandy to create a health and wellness program for their students.

I love to vacation with family in St. George or anywhere else with a nice golf course. My favorite eats are sushi and grilled vegetables, hot wings and …. well the list could go on.  The best thing I’ve done in my life besides graduating at the University of Utah would have to be going to Greece and working as a camp counselor at Ionian Village which is a summer travel camp designed to unite American youth with their history, faith, and inner awesome self. I love cooking, watching movies, I also like to go on camping trips, and to play soccer and golf. I am looking forward to spending this summer as an intern with Salt Lake County Environmental Health learning about food protection.

I think everyone that cares about Utah should be a member of the Utah Public Health Association because we deserve a save and healthy place to live in, and it is the public’s responsibility to use our world sustainably and with the future in mind. UPHA brings those that can and will make a difference together.  

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student abstract highlight


Laura Belgique, MPH, Adrienne Butterwick, MPH, John R. Contreras, MSPH, Ph.D. and Han Kim, MSPH, Ph.D.

Title: Food Insecurity in Rural Utah: Identification of Nutritional Habits, Barriers and Potential Barriers to Quality Nutrition and a Planning Framework for a Nutrition Intervention Program

Abstract: Food insecurity and malnutrition is a serious health problem for low-income individuals and families in the United States (U.S.) and world-wide. Malnutrition causes an array of serious health problems, many of which can become chronic. The health of populations living in rural areas of the U.S. has become a significant issue in public health. Residents of rural areas in Utah have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, key factors of balanced nutrition. By method of an in-person, self-reported survey conducted in February, 2014, the barriers, needs and nutritional habits were identified from a sample population in Millard County, Utah. Millard County is one of six counties in Central Utah and encompasses one of the largest rural areas in the state. The results of this study are consistent with existing data which indicates inadequate amounts of vegetable consumption in rural populations. This study provides supporting evidence for the implementation of a nutrition intervention program which incorporates the exchange and sharing of existing community farm spaces and garden food.  It is recommended that this intervention also incorporate a network of communication for how to best share both labor and product of said farms and gardens. The implementation of a community garden support system program has significant potential to enhance access to fruits and vegetables and thus quality nutrition for low-income families in the rural area of Millard County, Utah.

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Public heatlh spotlight


Teen childbearing potentially brings negative health, economic, and social consequences for mother and child. Repeat teen childbearing further constrains the mother's education and employment possibilities, along with their personal goals and aspirations. Compared to their first birth, rates of preterm and low birth weight are higher in teens with a repeat birth.

Teen Success is an award-winning program with a 20-year history of supporting pregnant and parenting teens and encouraging them to maintain their family size, complete their education and develop future goals.  Teen Success was established four years ago in Salt Lake City and has already helped over 50 girls achieve their goals. The program is an evidence-based group intervention that focuses on developing assets, skills, and resiliency among members through a strong program of education, support, and linkage to clinic services.  It has been successful in delaying a second pregnancy until participants complete their high school, GED or vocational education.  Over the program history, 96% of members have maintained their family size.  In Salt Lake City, 99% have achieved this outcome.

Teen mothers meet weekly to: 

  • Information, skills, and behaviors to prevent an additional pregnancy,
  • Develop skills that build assets to cope with parenthood and adolescence,
  • Receive encouragement from their peers and the adult leaders to successfully finish education

Teen Success is currently held at the Sorenson Unity Center every Tuesday from 5:30-7:00pm.

For more information, check out http://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-utah/local-education-training/teens/teen-success

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Save the Dates!

Don't forget to mark your calendars, and share these events with your colleagues!

2015 UPHA Annual Conference
April 13-15, 2015
Preconference April 13 - Accreditation and WIC Nutrition tracks
Davis County Convention Center

National Public Health Week
Healthiest Nation 2030
April 6- 12, 2015

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