Watch for West Nile Virus Mosquito Bites

By Corey Egel, CDPH  |  2019-07-02

Californians Urged to Protect Against Mosquito Bites

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges all Californians to protect themselves from mosquito bites during West Nile virus (WNV) season, which extends from summer through early fall.

“West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so it is important to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith.

West Nile virus spreads to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Late-spring rains have contributed to standing water, which serves as a breeding source for mosquitoes that can spread WNV. Hot temperatures also contribute to increasing numbers of breeding mosquitoes and an increased risk of virus transmission to humans.

Currently, WNV activity is within expected levels and is similar to activity at this time last year. The risk of disease due to WNV increases as the summer progresses, and declines in early fall as the weather cools. In 2018, there were 217 reported WNV cases in California, including 11 deaths. Since WNV was first introduced into California in 2003, there have been more than 6,000 human WNV cases and 303 WNV-related deaths across the state.

West Nile virus is influenced by many factors, including climate, the number and types of birds and mosquitoes in an area, and the level of WNV immunity in birds. For most people, the risk of developing serious illness is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis. People 50 years of age and older, and individuals with diabetes or hypertension, have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications from WNV infection.

CDPH recommends that people protect against mosquito bites and WNV by practicing the “Three Ds”:

DEET – Apply U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 according to label instructions. EPA-registered repellents are recommended for use because they have been tested for safety and efficacy in preventing mosquito bites. Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age. For more information, visit CDPH’s insect repellent toolkit.

DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes that transmit WNV usually bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property by emptying flower pots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency.

California’s West Nile virus website includes the latest information on WNV activity in the state. Californians are encouraged to report dead birds on the website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473). www.cdph.ca.gov

Shriners Ranked as a Top 10 Provider of Pediatric Orthopedics

By Catherine Curran, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California  |  2019-07-02

Frontal view of the Sacramento Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. Courtesy of Shriners

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - For the eighth year in a row, Shriners Hospitals for Children - Northern California is ranked as one of the nation's elite providers of pediatric orthopedic care by U.S. News & World Report.

In its annual Best Children's Hospitals rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks the Northern California Shriners Hospital as number eight in pediatric orthopedics in conjunction with the UC Davis Children's Hospital. The Northern California Shriners Hospital also achieved the ranking of 20th in Urology in conjunction with UC Davis.

Rankings are based on a combination of clinical data and reputation with pediatric specialists. According the U.S. News & World Report web site, U.S. News generates hospital rankings by evaluating data on nearly 5,000 hospitals in 16 adult medical specialties, 9 adult medical procedures or conditions and 10 pediatric specialties. To be nationally ranked in a specialty, a hospital must excel in caring for the sickest, most medically complex patients.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized as one of the top 10 providers of pediatric orthopedic care in the entire United States. The ranking is a reflection of the reputation of our exceptional team of specialists and the quality of care they provide children with complex medical needs,” says Margaret Bryan, administrator and CEO at the Northern California Shriners Hospital.

“As a regional pediatric medical center, our hospital stands ready to serve families throughout Northern California who want the very best for their children,” she adds.

Among the thousands of children treated by the orthopedic team each year are children with scoliosis, limb deficiencies, sports injuries, hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder malformations, brachial plexus birth palsy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy. The hospital also is engaged in clinical trials and scientific research to advance orthopedic care.

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of sick children find the best medical care available. The rankings open the door to an array of detailed information about each hospital’s performance. The full rankings and methodology are available atwww.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The California Assembly Education Committee passed SB 428 by a bipartisan vote (5-0). It now moves ahead to the Assembly Health Committee for approval. The bill would require a percentage of staff and teachers in each school be trained in a program like Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). YMHFA is a comprehensive training specifically designed to equip educators, family members, and caregivers with the skills and knowledge to identify, understand, and respond to the signs or risk factors of mental illness and substance use disorders in youth. The purpose of the bill is to increase school and community-level capacity to tackle California’s growing youth mental health crisis.

SB 428 is supported by a broad coalition led by Born This Way Foundation, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies (CBHA), County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA), and Children Now. Following the assembly’s action today, Le Ondra Clark Harvey, a spokesperson for the coalition and Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs for CBHA said:

“Our coalition came together in support of this bill because the mental wellbeing of students is critical to their ability to lead healthy lives. As representatives of service providers and experts in the field, we believe there are actionable solutions to California’s growing youth mental health crisis. This coalition strongly supports SB 428, which seeks to better equip teachers and school staff on the frontlines of this crisis, and to increase access to mental health trainings in schools. We thank Senators Pan and Portantino for introducing this important piece of legislation, and we thank the Assembly Education Committee for their support with passing the bill out of committee.”

Rimmi Hundal, Director of MHSA and Ethnic Services at the Tri-City Mental Health Services, and Andrea Zimmerman, a retired teacher and school administrator and current YMHFA trainer with Wellness Together provided testimony alongside Senator Pan at the hearing.

“I think about all the missteps I could have avoided as a teacher and an administrator if I had Mental Health First Aid training at the beginning of my career, and the impact that would have multiplied across all teachers and schools. Our youth deserve learning environments where they’re surrounded by adults who are trained to respond to their mental health needs,” said Andrea Zimmerman.

California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies (CBHA) is a statewide association of county funded non-profit community agencies dedicated to the proposition that the people of California deserve a rational, comprehensive, community-based behavioral health system that is adequately funded to serve all those in need of services. We are their voice at the Capitol and with state agencies, and work to ensure that state and county programs support integrated services for children, youth, adults and the elderly which includes physical health, behavioral health, housing, social services, education, substance abuse services and vocational rehabilitation.

The County Behavioral Health Directors Association is a statewide non-profit association that represents all 58 county behavioral health directors and 2 city mental health programs (Berkeley and Tri-City) which is dedicated to advocating for public policy and services on behalf of people who are living with substance use disorders and mental illness.

Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world. To achieve these goals, the Foundation leverages evidence-based programming and authentic partnerships in order to provide young people with improved mental health resources and kinder communities - online and offline.

Children Now is a non-partisan, whole-child research, policy development and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health and education in California. The organization also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a network of more than 3,000 direct service, parent, civil rights, faith-based and community groups dedicated to improving children’s well-being.

 

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Celebrate Recovery with Higher Power

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-06-19

Women pray together at a Higher Power recovery celebration. Photo courtesy of John Heath

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Higher Power Ministry hosts a recovery celebration at Lakeside Church in Folsom every Friday at 7:00 PM. Christian bands from a variety of genres such as blues, country, and rock and roll perform at the celebration. Lead Director of Recovery John Heath joked, “I turn the church into a nightclub every Friday night, with Jesus in the middle.”

A speaker talks to the group about recovery from addiction such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, food addictions, sexual addictions, workaholics, co-dependency, and self-harm. “These are life and death situations for the people that come in here, and there’s no such thing as a hopeless case,” said Heath. “We’re getting phenomenal results.”

Higher Power Ministry originated in 1992 at Central Peninsula Church in Foster City. Senior Pastor Jeff Farrar saw the need to help people overcome the addictions that were leading them to jail, institutions, and death. Pastor Steve Aurell, who was a ministry leader until his death in 2013, knew just how difficult it is to overcome addiction since he had once served 15 years in San Quentin Prison because of his own drug addiction. As Pastor of Recovery at Higher Power, Pastor Aurell saved many lives — including the life of John Heath.

Heath had a long history of addiction. During the early 1980s, at the height of the cocaine craze, Heath worked for the Cartel transporting drugs over the border. In 1983, after a serious overdose, he was admitted to the SHARE Unit in San Francisco, the nation’s first cocaine recovery center. He spent 60 days there, breaking medical records for the levels of cocaine in his system. Even after extensive treatment, his addiction continued for many years. In addition to cocaine, he used alcohol, heroin, and eventually moved on to meth.

Heath’s wife sought guidance at Higher Power, and Pastor Aurell urged her to stand by her husband in his time of need. Heath said that Pastor Aurell “was responsible through God’s Grace for saving my life, marriage, and my family.” Heath started attending Higher Power in 2006: “It was like no other church or place I had ever been.… I felt comfortable in my skin for the first time in my life.”

After a year of sobriety, Pastor Aurell asked Heath to become a leader in the Higher Power Ministry.  “I then knew that God had a sense of humor,” said Heath. After seeing firsthand all the good Higher Power had done for people in need, Heath felt compelled to spread the message to other communities: “God tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to start a recovery church.”

Heath moved to Shingle Springs and spent a year in prayer. Then he met Pastor John Voelz at Lakeside Church, who invited him to use the church as the site of a new Higher Power Ministry. Heath said, “We are so appreciative to Lakeside Church for allowing Higher Power to exist in Folsom and for letting us use their site to further our mission of helping those who are lost to addiction in the community.” Higher Power at Lakeside opened on July 7, 2017. “Seven, seven, seventeen — three sevens. I believe those are divine numbers,” said Heath.

“I started the ministry one person at a time,” Heath said. “We accept them however they are — high, drunk, or however they walk in.” Anyone who comes to the celebration can share with the group and seek help. “We stay there all night long if we need to,” he said. Higher Power Ministry leaders then follow up during the next week to offer additional help. If someone needs a recovery program, the leaders will find one for them. “We’re building a family,” said Heath. “It’s a huge support system.”

Many of the leaders are also recovering addicts, and Heath shares his story to inspire others to overcome their own struggles. Although Heath is not an ordained pastor, he found a way to ensure that Higher Power has a strong spiritual support system. He established an Elder Board comprised of two recovery pastors — each with 30 years of sobriety — who give spiritual advice and guidance. Heath said that Pastor Gary Freitas from Manteca and Pastor Dale Marsh from Oroville provide “spiritual direction, protection, and correction in the ministry.”

The events are open for anyone to attend. Heath said, “It’s a lot of fun. It’s not too churchy.” They serve free dinner, dessert, coffee, and other refreshments. Higher Power is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization; donation checks can be written to Higher Power Ministry and then mailed to Lakeside Church, 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, Folsom, CA 95630.

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Sacramento Life Center Receives $10,000 for Medical Services for Low-Income Pregnant Women

By Kristin Thébaud, Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2019-05-17

A patient receives an ultrasound at Sacramento Life Center. The nonprofit recently received grants for its free medical services. Courtesy Sacramento Life Center

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Sacramento Life Center in Arden has received $5,000 each from the Leonard Family Foundation and Kelly Foundation to provide free medical services to low-income pregnant women and teen girls through the group’s primary clinic located in the Arden area and its Mobile Medical Clinics that travel throughout the Sacramento area.


“We are grateful to the Leonard Family Foundation and the Kelly Foundation for this generous funding,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “The Sacramento Life Center has seen a 30 percent increase in women and teen girls seeking our services since our move to Arden. The majority of them are low-income, and half have no medical insurance. These grants will help thousands of mothers and their children receive the medical care they need.”


The Sacramento Life Center’s mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals.


The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit www.svpclinic.com.


For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit www.saclife.org.
Source Kristin Thébaud Communications

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AUBURN, CA (MPG) - Placer County Health Officer Dr. Robert Oldham has been reappointed to California’s Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee, where he has served since 2015.

The legislatively-mandated advisory committee is charged with overseeing the use of Proposition 99 and Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for tobacco research, control and prevention education. Oldham and other members provide advice to the Department of Public Health, the University of California and the state Department of Education. The committee also publishes and periodically updates a state master plan for tobacco control and research.

“I am privileged to continue to serve in this role, and there is important work ahead,” Oldham said. “Use of e-cigarettes is on the rise nationally and locally among youth, and we need to be vigilant to protect our young people.”

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that use of e-cigarettes among high school students nationwide skyrocketed in just the last year, spurring an advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General this week. The percentage of high-school-aged children who reported using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days rose by more than 75 percent between 2017 and 2018, and use among middle-school-aged children increased nearly 50 percent.

In Placer County, nearly a quarter of 11th graders reported having used an e-cigarette in 2018 — significantly higher than the number smoking whole cigarettes. But teens who smoke e-cigarettes are statistically much more likely to start smoking cigarettes, also.

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales, or “vapes.” They are unsafe for children and young adults, as most contain nicotine, which is addictive and can harm adolescent brain development.

“There is a misperception out there that e-cigs are harmless water vapor, and this is absolutely untrue,” Oldham said.

Parents and community members can find more information and tools to use with children and teens online at e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.

Additionally, Placer County was recently awarded a U.S. Department of Justice grant to increase tobacco enforcement in schools. Those interested in learning more about tobacco prevention and control efforts in the county are encouraged to contact the Tobacco Prevention Program at 530-889-7161.

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SilverSneakers Fitness Program Improves Older Adult's Physical and Mental Health

NewsUSA  |  2018-02-15

For more information about SilverSneakers, go to www.silversneakers.com.

(NewsUSA) - Joanne C. was 74 when she had a stroke two years ago that left her paralyzed on the entire right side of her body. She refused to

accept that she'd end up in a wheelchair and began rehabilitation, determined to get her life and

body back to where it was before her stroke.

Joanne's hard work paid off. She has regained much of her strength and movement and

can walk again. In large part, she credits her SilverSneakers exercise classes - offered through

her HumanaChoice® PPO, a Medicare Advantage preferred provider organization (PPO) health plan - as key to her successful recovery.

Being a SilverSneakers member helped keep Joanne in good physical condition before

her stroke. "SilverSneakers helped me be familiar with many of the exercises they had me do in

physical therapy and gave me the confidence and strength to persevere through a difficult rehab

process," Joanne says.

Numerous studies, including Tivity Health's SilverSneakers Annual Member Survey of 2016,

confirm that exercising, especially with others, improves older adults' physical and mental

health.1,2, 3

However, there are challenges that prevent many Medicare beneficiaries from joining gyms and

fitness classes.

By offering SilverSneakers through its Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Humana is

working to overcome those barriers so more people with Medicare can benefit from

exercising.

For those on a fixed income, joining a gym can be expensive. SilverSneakers

provides gym access at no additional cost to many of Humana's MA members across the country,

including those in Florida and Texas. SilverSneakers has partnered with almost 14,000 fitness and

wellness centers around the U.S. and, with national reciprocity, SilverSneakers members can go to

any one of those facilities.

The program is designed with the Medicare population in mind and taught by

certified instructors who offer classes and modifications for all fitness levels. These instructors

are specifically trained to help members avoid stress-related injuries to muscles and

joints.

There's also a wide variety of classes offered, including circuit training, yoga,

Latin dance and even an outdoor boot camp. SilverSneakers members also have access to all of a

facility's amenities, which can include a range of exercise equipment, weight rooms and swimming

pools.

"According to Tivity Health's annual survey, SilverSneakers has made a significant

difference in the lives of many of our Medicare Advantage members, not only in their physical

health, but also in their social life," says Lauri Kalanges, M.D., Humana's Medical Director

of Medicare Products for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Tivity Health's Annual Member Survey of 2016 found that 91 percent of SilverSneakers

participants reported an improved quality of life. SilverSneakers has had a substantial impact on

the health of its participants, reducing hospitalizations and the risk of depression.3

For more information about SilverSneakers, go to www.silversneakers.com.

Humana is a Medicare

Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization with a Medicare Contract.  Enrollment in any Humana plan

depends on contract renewal.  This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact

the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits may

change each year.  SilverSneakers is not offered on all Humana MA plans in all areas.

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