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October 2016 E-NEWS

Table of Contents

Public Health Sptlight: Opioid Crisis in Utah

Advocacy Update: Town Hall Meeting with Jason Chaffetz

UPHA Considers Moving to Online Voting

Advocate for Public Health Funding

Board Member Spotlight: Dustin Jones, MS

Student Spotlight: Rachel T. Forrest

Save the Dates!



Public Health Spotlight: opioid crisis in utah

Angela Stander, Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator, UDOH
Opioid misuse, abuse, addiction, and overdose death is a nationwide problem and Utah has some of the worst stats. During the 2016 legislative session, it was declared a public health emergency with more than 13 bills relating to opioids aimed to assist in combating the issue. The problem began in the mid 1990’s when the FDA approved opioids to be used to treat chronic and acute pain. Before then, these types of medications were only employed to treat cancer, palliative, and end of life pain. Pharmaceutical companies began marketing to doctors that these were “safe” and “not addictive” forms of treatment. During the same time, the emergence of pain as the 5th vital sign lead to greater awareness. Doctors began treating pain aggressively and society became accustomed to a zero pain level. As opioid prescribing increased so did opioid related deaths, overdose, and addiction. Misuse of these medications began to tear through communities, families, and individual lives. There are many state and national prevention programs and interventions to combat this epidemic.
Utah is particularly impacted by this problem. From 2012 to 2014, Utah ranked 4th in the U.S. for drug poisoning deaths with an age-adjusted rate of 22.5 per 100,000 population , outpacing deaths due to firearms, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.   Every week in Utah, nine people die as a result of a drug poisoning; six of which are a direct result of overdosing on prescription opioids. Over the last five years, Utah has seen an average of 23 fentanyl-related deaths each year, while the number of prescriptions filled has increased every year since 2009.
The Utah Department of Health (UDoH) has been involved with national and state efforts to increase capacity to address emerging drug overdose deaths such as fentanyl. The UDoH is involved in key legislative strategies, such as the Opiate Overdose Response Act, which establishes:

    • Statewide standing orders
    • Overdose outreach providers to disseminate naloxone
    • A pilot program appropriating funds for the purchase of naloxone kits and training in the proper administration of naloxone.

The Department of Health chairs the Executive and Advisory Committees of the Utah Coalition for Opioid Overdose Prevention which is finalizing a comprehensive state plan addressing opioid abuse, misuse, and overdose through public awareness, prescriber education, access to treatment, naloxone, criminal justice, and data. Public media campaigns focus on the safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription medications. Future messaging will focus on the risks of taking opioids, signs and symptoms of an overdose, and use/access to naloxone.

UDOH conducts surveillance of drug overdoses to identify risk factors for prescription drug abuse, misuse, and overdose and to understand prescribing behaviors. This data is used to inform efforts across the state, such as the Drug Monitoring Initiative, a collaboration with the Department of Public Safety Statewide Information and Analysis Center to issue safety alerts to law enforcement, healthcare, and the public. UDoH is also leading efforts to update the Utah Clinical Guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain and develop healthcare provider training tools and resources.

Tayler Nelson, Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Specialist from SLCoHD:
Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) works to reduce the toll of opioid abuse through surveillance, education, training, treatment and recovery, and cross-cutting partnerships. SLCoHD monitors state and local data in order to identify where to focus prevention efforts. Education will be focused on communities and providers. 
SLCoHD has adopted the statewide public education campaign Use Only As Directed and emphasizes it in locations throughout Salt Lake County. Providers will be educated on the use of the controlled substance database, and best practices for prescribing opioids.
SLCoHD has identified partners including The Road Home, Volunteers of America, Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness, and the SLCoHD HIV/AIDS outreach team to assist in disseminating naloxone kits. Utah Naloxone will provide training to the identified partners.
SLCoHD advocates for treatment and recovery to those in need, and provide information on the available options. Community partnerships are being utilized to ensure safe disposal of prescription drugs through the use of drop-boxes, take-back events, and drug mail-back programs. SLCoHD has existing partnerships with cities throughout Salt Lake County, and will inform these communities on the issue and help mobilize them to take action.

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online].  (2014).  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC (producer).  [cited 2016 August].

Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health:  1999-2014 data queried via Utah’s Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health (IBIS-PH) [cited 2016 August].

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Advocacy Update: Town Hall meeting with jason chaffetz

Rebecca Fronberg, UPHA Policy Chair, and Marti Woolford, Nutrition Initiatives Director from Utahns Against Hunger (UAH), attended a public town hall meeting with Representative Jason Chaffetz on September 1, 2016 at the Sandy City Library. As Representative Chaffetz is the current Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, there was a great deal of discussion about various subjects related to hacking into government records, the antiquity of the current government computer system(s), and the investigation of Hillary Clinton. 
There was also a small continent of citizens who have been affected adversely by vaccines and were wearing “Vaxed” t-shirts. After a lengthy discussion about vaccine safety and pharmaceutical companies’ relationship with the Centers for Disease Control, there was an opportunity to take a different angle on public health. Rebecca asked about public health funding in general and more specifically, the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Representative Chaffetz was less than supportive.  He stated that he was completely against the Affordable Care Act, of which the Prevention and Public Health Fund is a part.  He also remarked that public health funding should not be coming from the federal government, rather from states. When Rebecca countered his argument by explaining that the majority of health promotion programs at the health department are funded with federal dollars and received minimal, if any, state funds, Rep. Chaffetz said that it was ridiculous to take federal taxes from Utah and then send them back in the form of grant funding. He said the federal tax burden should be reduced and the dollars should be kept in Utah to fund things like cancer research, of which he is very supportive and vocal.
Marti then asked about the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), of which there are two competing bills, House (H.R. 5003) and Senate (Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016).  The House bill would roll back years of progress while the Senate bill is favored. Additional information about both bills can be found at http://frac.org/leg-act-center/cnr-priorities/. Marty reminded Representative Chaffetz that he voted against the previous CNR bill, but he could not recall his reasoning and said that we would need to follow up with his staffers to find out his position on the current legislation.  Marti talked with the staff who were available after the meeting and will send them additional information about the stand that both UPHA and UAH have made on this important legislation.
Town Hall meetings are always open to the public. If you would like to attend one and share your support for public health funding, look on your representative’s website for a schedule. The legislative fall break begins October 3rd, so they will be more accessible.

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uPHA considers moving to online voting

When electing its officers, members of the Utah Public Health Association (UPHA) currently have two methods in which they can cast their vote: paper ballots and on-line selection. There is a proposal to move to an all on-line voting, which will be free of charge to the Association. Additional benefits include automatic tabulation, reaching all members regardless of their geographic location, and increased voting integrity (can only vote once, ensures that only members in good standing cast votes, and ensured anonymity).

While some challenges exist with this change, such as lower-tech members needing to adjust to on-line voting, we feel that the benefits outweigh the costs substantially.

All UPHA members would receive an e-mail invitation with a link to vote (anonymously).  The members click on the link and are directed to a survey where they select their choices. Candidate’s bios can be embedded directly in the survey or attached to the email. The members clicks submit and they are done voting.
On the management side, real time web reports are available and can be accessed by password for the current tallies. Reminders can be sent to those that haven’t voted. When the deadline passes, an administrator will officially close the survey and send a final report to the appropriate individual(s).
The Nominations Committee is proposing a pilot using the Qualtrics software. If you have any questions or comments about online voting, please contact Darin Sluga at dsluga@slco.org.

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advocate for public health funding

Cynthia Morgan, UPHA Board Member
It is important for public health professionals to keep the general public informed of decisions in Washington that affect their health and well-being and encouraging them to contact their representatives in Congress. Many decisions by Congress are made without understanding the scope, impact, or outcomes that these decisions will have. For example, excessive funding was provided for Ebola, a disease with little likelihood of causing person-to-person transmission, significant case numbers, or causing long term impacts at the state and local levels in the US. Four cases of Ebola were first identified in the US, 7 were evacuated from other countries for a total of 11 cases and 2 deaths, yet Congress appropriated $5.4 billion for Ebola, most of which was focused on international activities.
Yet with Zika disease, money has been difficult to obtain. President Obama first requested $1.9 billion in February. To date, Congress has still not appropriated the funds. On July 1, CDC provided $25 million to states, cities, and territories to support Zika response efforts. CDC was able to award another $60 million made available August 1 to continue these efforts. As of August 30, $194 million of the $222 million allocated to date for Zika has been spent. Still, no progress on February's $1.9 billion request. However, as of September 19, there have been 43 cases of locally transmitted disease and 3.132 travel-related cases in the 50 states and 17,629 locally transmitted cases in US territories. It is imperative that the public health professionals contact their federal Senators as Representatives via telephone and letters to emphasize the urgency of funding. During this election year, providing information and asking pertinent questions at public forums attended by nominees is a great way to influence decisions.
One way to get the word out, is to write an opinion piece to send to local newspapers. Cynthia Morgan, UPHA Board Member recently has a letter published with the Salt Lake Tribune. Click here to read her letter.

Board Member spotlight: Dustin jones, ms

Dustin JonesWhere do you currently work/go to school? I work at the Utah Department of Health in the EPICC program. Also, I teach part-time in the psychology department as an Adjunct Professor at SLCC and BYU.

Why did you choose to pursue public health as your profession? Public health was not my original on my radar. I received a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in health behavior. However, my passion comes down to understanding why and how an individual behaves and acts in certain ways. With this knowledge and understanding we can improve the lives of those we work with

What is your favorite vacation spot? I don’t really have a favorite, but I love camping in the mountains!

What time do you typically go to bed and get up in the morning? I go to bed around 11:30pm and wake up at 7:15am in the mornings.

If money weren’t an issue right now, what would you be doing? Sleeping in… or traveling the world.

What has been the most rewarding project you’ve worked on as a public health professional? I am fairly new to the public health profession, but I am currently working on a project that focuses on worksite wellness. I have the opportunity to help worksite assess their worksite’s culture and then provide resources and tools to help them improve the health of their employees.

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Oh, that’s hard because I love all things food. I would have to say a bacon cheese burger.

What is the best thing you’ve done in your life? Marry my wife (ahhh!) I hope she is reading this!

What do you to do relax? Go hiking.

If you could give only one reason why someone should join UPHA, what would it be? Public health initiatives affect people every day in every part of the world. UPHA champions for the health of every person living in Utah. If you want to make a difference in our state and work with amazing professionals, UPHA is the place to be.

Student Spotlight: Rachel T. Forrest

Rachel T. Forrest
Rachel Forrest Rachel was born and raised in the Salt Lake Valley and was first introduced to public health in her 10th grade health class. From that point on, she was inspired to create healthier lives for her family, friends, and community. After earning her associate degree at Salt Lake Community College she continued her education at the University of Utah earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Promotion and Education.

As she was nearing the end of her undergraduate work, Rachel was granted the opportunity to complete an internship with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH). Her main assignment was to assist with an innovative multidisciplinary project: the 2007 Teen Memoriam. Rachel contacted the families of teens who died in motor vehicle crashes the previous year and explained her team was working on a memorial booklet that would, with their permission, tell the stories of these tragic deaths and the impact they have on teens' families and friends. Her team wanted something personal that teens could identify with in hope that it would encourage safer driving and riding habits. The booklet was a huge success.

Shortly after graduating, Rachel was hired by UDOH as the Research Assistant and Child Fatality Review Specialist. During her two-year tenure, Rachel was given the opportunity to lead the 2009 Teen Memoriam. Working with the families of teens who were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes is an experience she will never forget and feels like she sincerely made a difference in promoting awareness of unsafe driving behaviors.

As a MPH Candidate at the University of Utah, Rachel has had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant and thoroughly enjoyed her experience. Rachel is also serving as Vice Chair in the Division of Public Health Student Advisory Committee and as Vice President in the Utah Public Health Student Ambassadors.

In her leisure time, Rachel enjoys being with her family of four and West Highland White Terrier. She loves being outdoors and traveling. Rachel is also an avid fan of the arts and frequents classical concerts, operas, ballets, and museums.

Rachel is a positive, compassionate, and enthusiastic person and is truly passionate about promoting and improving the health and wellness of her community. She is working toward her goal of a career in academia and staying actively involved in community-based public health.

Save the Dates!

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

Southern Utah Grant Writing: How to Win Grants and Influence People

Dixie Applied Technology College
Thursday, October 8, 2015, 1:00-5:00 pm
More Information & Registration: https://utahnonprofits.org/events/una-calendar/eventdetail/320/-/southern-utah-grant-writing-how-win-grants-and-influence-people

Public Health Professional Panel Event for Students
Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 6:00 PM
U of U, Division of Public Health, 375 Chipeta Way, Suite A, Room 203
The UPHA Student Assembly is hosting a Public Health Professional Panel -  A panel of 6 Public Health Professionals from all fields in the community talk about their experiences in public health, how they got to where they are and offer advice as well as answer any questions students have.

One Health Conference
October 13, 2016
Zermatt Resort, Midway Utah
See agenda

2017 UPHA Annual Conference
Preconference Sessions: Monday, March 27, 2016
Conference Sessions: Tuesday - Wednesday, March 28-29, 2016
Park City, Utah
Building a Culture of Health in Utah

UPHA’s Annual Advocacy Summit
January 14, 2016
Location & Times TBD



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