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— Pablo


View local, state and national health news and explore articles that pertain to Pima County's health priority areas.

When employers implement programs to create healthier places to work, they are developing more engaged workforce and contributing to the overall health of our communities
— Dr. Cara Christ, Director of ADHS

Healthy Arizona Worksites Program Recognizes 127 Statewide Employers

May 22, 2018

The Healthy Arizona Worksites Program (HAWP) is a public health initiative to help employers learn how to successfully implement worksite wellness initiatives to improve the health of their employees and businesses.

HAWP provides guidance and tools for employers to create a healthy workplace, FREE of charge, and recognizes employers annually with Copper, Silver, Gold, and Platinum awards for their worksite wellness program strategies. This year, HAWP recognized 127 statewide employers who have made their workplaces healthier places for their employees.

The next no-cost HAWP 101 training is scheduled for June 1. All interested employers can register at

Opioid overdose deaths among Latinos are surging nationwide. While the overall death toll is still higher for whites, it’s increasing faster for Latinos and African Americans.

Opioid Overdoses Are Rising Faster Among Latinos Than Whites Or Blacks. Why?

May 17, 2018

Article that examines data and research on opioid overdose deaths among different demographics and provides some opinions on why the data trends are disproportionately affecting Latinos. Reasons (collected through interviews) include:

  • Bilingual Treatment Options Are Scarce
  • A Matter of Machismo: ‘It’s Not Cool to Call 911’
  • A Tight Social Network
  • The Burden of Poverty

Read the full article at: Kaiser Health News

Research shows that only about 10 percent of adolescents who need treatment for substance misuse actually receive it.

Recovery high schools have been shown to have positive effects on students who struggle with addiction

May 15, 2018

Recovery high schools provide post-treatment education and recovery support for young people with substance use disorders. This op-ed provides an overview of the need for recovery high schools and their benefits.

Journal Article Referenced: The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Recent study shows teenagers glued to their phones are 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts or actions than those who reported one hour of use per day

FSU researcher finds link between excessive screen time and suicide risk

May 11, 2018

Depression and suicide rates for teens between the ages of 13 and 18 increased dramatically since 2010, especially among girls, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent study by Florida State Universityfound the rise in mental health problems among teens since 2010 coincides with an increase in ownership of cell phones.

Read the full article here: Florida State University

Read the full study at: Clinical Psychological Science

Low income can negatively affect one’s health, but a new study shows building a better neighborhood may help blunt poverty’s ill effects.

Build a Better Neighborhood to Boost Kids' Health

May 9, 2018

According to the study by researchers at the University of California—San Francisco, low-income children were found to have less stress and be in better physical health if they lived in higher-opportunity neighborhoods. Researchers examined the impact of neighborhood quality and a family's socioeconomic status on the health of a group of kindergartners in the Bay Area.

Read the full article at: University of California San Francisco

The number of individuals using CODAC’s MAT clinic is 151% higher than it was 10 years ago.

Tucson's first 24/7 methadone clinic reflects a growing need

May 5, 2018

CODAC Health, Recovery and Wellness opened Tucson's first 24/7 methadone clinic. In addition to methadone, the clinic offers Suboxone and Vivitrol to help people quit their addictions. The need for MAT gets people in the door, but once they are there the clinic provides a “whole patient” approach with services like behavioral therapies, medical care and job assistance. Peer-reviewed medical studies have shown MAT decreases opioid use, opioid-related overdose deaths, criminal activity and infectious-disease transmission.

Read the full article on:

Mental illness and substance abuse affect an estimated 60% of the jail population

Pima County Safety and Justice Challenge

May 4, 2018

The Pima County Safety and Justice Challenge seeks to safely reduce over-incarceration by implementing innovative and common sense strategies and programs. Successful efforts so far include expanded risk screening for all misdemeanor defendants; additional substance abuse and mental health screening before initial court appearances; enhanced automated call, text and email court-date reminders; weekend and weeknight court sessions for working people; and using technology to facilitate alternatives to home detention. Helping guide the SJC is a 33-member Community Collaborative made up of justice system partners and community representatives, including formerly incarcerated, victim advocates, clergy, and tribal members.

View the video here: YouTube

View more information here: Safety & Justice Challenge

UA Receives $1.1M to Study Genetic Risk Factors for Type-2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

UA Receives $1.1M to Study Genetic Risk Factors for Type-2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

May 3, 2018

University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to understand the genetic and biological connection between type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The researchers will also examine why cholesterol lowering statin drugs are linked to an increase in the risk of type-2 diabetes, even as they reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Read the full article at: UA-MEZCOPH

State officials say retroactive three-month coverage has cost AHCCCS, which is funded with a blend of federal and state money, nearly $70 million since 2014

Arizona's AHCCCS coverage limit would hurt low-income families, critics say

April 28, 2018

Arizona’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, has a three-month retroactive eligibility period, which means those applying for Medicaid coverage may receive benefits for services provided three months prior to their application.

The state now seeks to limit retroactive coverage to the month of an individual’s application. Arizona officials said this request is in line with the state’s historical waiver authority before January 2014. Arizona estimates the new proposal would save $39.4 million in fiscal year 2019, if approved after the waiver application.

Read the full article at: Arizona Daily Star



Researchers found that adolescents who reported a positive family climate tended to go on to have better relationship problem-solving skills and less-violent romantic relationships

Parents may help prep kids for healthier, less violent relationships

April 27, 2018

New study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence gives insight on how early family relationships can have long-term impacts on young adult romantic relationships.

Researchers found that when adolescents reported a positive family climate and their parents using more effective parenting strategies -- like providing reasons for decisions and refraining from harsh punishments -- those adolescents tended to go on to have better relationship problem-solving skills and less-violent romantic relationships as young adults.

Read the full article on: ScienceDaily

Study finds LGBT youth are 120% more likely to be homeless than straight young people.

Abuse, violence common among LGBT homeless youth, study finds

April 25, 2018

New study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago that surveyed 26,161 young people nationwide about their housing status including in-depth interviews with 215 homeless young people ages 13 to 25 who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The study found that LGBT young people are more than twice as likely to become homeless as their straight counterparts, but not necessarily because they’re LGBT. Sexual orientation is usually one factor among many that lead young people to leave home. (The Voices of Youth Count national survey also reveals that urban and rural youth experience homelessness at similar rates and that particular subpopulations are at higher risk for homelessness, including black and Hispanic youth; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (LGBT); youth who do not complete high school; and youth who are parents.)

Read the full article on: EdSource

Read the study at: Chapin Hall or visit their website at: Voices of Youth

Nasal spray formulation of ketamine shows promise in the rapid treatment of symptoms of major depression and suicidal thoughts

Fast-acting benefits of ketamine for depression and suicidality

April 16, 2018

Most antidepressants take weeks to become effective, but esketamine, which is part of the ketamine molecule, may act much more quickly to treat the symptoms of depression, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers found that the drug, when administered through a nasal spray, led to "significant improvement" in symptoms, including some degree of relief of suicidal thoughts among patients at imminent risk of suicide.

Read the full article at: ScienceDaily

Read the study at: American Journal of Psychiatry


Research study finds a correlation between testosterone levels and symptoms of paternal postpartum depression

Can postpartum depression affect dads, too? Recent research says it might

April 16, 2018

New study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, found a correlation between testosterone levels and symptoms of paternal postpartum depression. Using a saliva sample, the researchers measured each father's testosterone levels. They discovered that those with dipping levels of the hormone were more likely to feel depressed.

Read the full article in the: Washington Post

Similar article: Everything Dads Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

Gov. Doug Ducey proposes 20% teacher pay raise by 2020

Governor Doug Ducey Announces Teacher Pay Increase

April 12, 2018

"Arizona teachers are some of the biggest difference-makers in the lives of children. They deserve to not only be respected for their hard work -- but also rewarded. That’s why we have a plan to provide teachers in Arizona a 20% pay increase by school year 2020. The education community supports this plan because it also makes significant NEW investments in K-12 education -- with flexible dollars for superintendents and principals to use for building improvements, new textbooks, technology or additional raises for support staff. Here’s how it will work: 10% pay raise for teachers by the start of the fall 2018 school yearA 5% pay raise in 2019; And another 5% pay raise in 2020. " ~ Doug Ducey

If you agree that Arizona’s teachers deserve a 20% raise, co-sign the plan HERE.

Read thew press release at:

NIH researchers have devised a patch to painlessly deliver insulin through the skin similar to how nicotine / muscle pain relief patches work

Diabetes skin patch could abolish finger-prick tests

April 10, 2018

Finger-prick tests for blood glucose monitoring may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to scientists who have developed an adhesive skin patch that measures glucose levels every 10–15 minutes. Created by researchers from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, the novel patch has proven to be a feasible noninvasive strategy for blood glucose monitoring in tests of both pig and human skin

Read the full article at: Medical News Today

Read the journal article at: Nature Nanotechnology

Preliminary results from Arizona Youth Survey show 7% of students across all three grade levels have carried a handgun in the past 12 months

Preliminary results from a survey of youths in Arizona show worrying trends concerning gun violence and drug use

April 8, 2018

Every two years, about 8th, 10th, and 12th graders across the state take the Arizona Youth Survey, answering dozens of questions about substance use, gang involvement, bullying, violence, texting while driving and other risky behaviors.

A new question this year asks whether students have carried a handgun in the past 12 months. Across all three grade levels, about 7 percent responded that they had. Of those, about half said that they had threatened someone or shot at someone with a gun.

“The thing we are increasingly concerned about, with the school shootings taking place across the country, is carrying a gun to school, but most of the gun carriers are not doing it at school." - Dustin Pardini, ASU Associate Professor.

Read the full article at: ASUNow

Surgeon general urges more Americans to carry opioid antidote naloxone

Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose

April 5, 2018

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., issued an Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose urging more Americans to carry Naloxone, a lifesaving medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The medication, naloxone, is already carried by many first responders, such as EMTs and police officers. The Surgeon General is now recommending that more individuals, including family, friends and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, also keep the drug on hand.

See the Surgeon General Advisory here.

Please join the Surgeon General on Friday April 6th, 2018 at 10AM. He will speak on the release of the Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose, leaving time for questions from callers. Use this information join the call:

Participant #: 888-282-0367    Passcode: HHS

USDA is reserving $5 million in community grants for innovative projects to address the opioid epidemic in rural communities.

USDA Prioritizes Investments to Address Opioid Crisis in Rural America

April 4, 2018

USDA is reserving $5 million in the Community Facilities Grant Program for innovative projects such as mobile treatment clinics. Rural communities, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes can apply for grants up to $150,000.

 Applications for Community Facilities grants funded with this National Office reserve should be submitted on or before June 4, 2018.

Read the press release at:

Some of the most dangerous brain injuries today don’t come from hitting your head on a hard surface

Researchers probe the complex nature of concussions

April 4, 2018

It seems simple enough: Taking a hard hit to the head can give you a concussion. But in most cases, the connection is anything but simple, according to a new study led by researchers at Stanford University.  

Combining data recorded from football players with computer simulations of the brain, the researchers found that concussions and other mild traumatic brain injuries seem to arise when an area deep inside the brain shakes more rapidly and intensely than surrounding areas. But they also found that the mechanical complexity of the brain means there is no straightforward relationship between different bumps, spins and blows to the head and the likelihood of injury.

Read the full article at: Standard Medicine

Read the journal article at: American Physical Society

Read about UA's contributions at: UANews

In a recent study, researchers found that the risk of depression and suicide in transgender youths falls when they are allowed to use their chosen name

Using Chosen Names Reduces Odds of Depression and Suicide in Transgender Youths

March 30, 2018

According to new research, using the "chosen names" of transgender teens and young adults dramatically reduces symptoms of depression, and boosts their mental health overall. Researchers discovered that transgender youths who were able to use their name in just one area of their life reported a 29 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts and experienced a 71 percent decrease in symptoms of severe depression.

Read the full article at: UT News

Beginning 2019, Arizona will be required to develop a diabetes burden report every two years

House Bill 2258 Signed Into Law

March 29, 2018

ADA sponsored House Bill 2258 was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on March 29, 2018. HB 2258 provides a more balanced and comprehensive means of addressing the social and economic burdens of diabetes in Arizona.  Beginning 2019, the state will be required to develop a report and every two years thereafter, outlining the prevalence of diabetes, costs associated with the disease, and recommendations for the legislature on policy changes that could be implemented to address the burden of diabetes.

View the official document at:

To improve the safety of Arizona schools and communities, Governor Doug Ducey today released the Safe Arizona Schools Plan

Governor’s School & Firearm Safety Proposal

March 19, 2018

To improve the safety of Arizona schools and communities, Governor Doug Ducey today released the Safe Arizona Schools Plan. Calls for action in the plan include:

  • Investing in mental and behavioral health resources at schools
  • Creating a central tip line for reporting school safety concerns
  • Restricting firearms access for dangerous individuals through a Severe Threat Order of Protection (STOP)
  • Enhancing background checks by improving the completeness and accuracy of the criminal history database
  • Increasing school resource officers and law enforcement resources for schools
  • Eliminating background check gaps

Watch the video on: Office of the Governor Doug Ducey

Read the press release on: Office of the Governor Doug Ducey

View the plan details:  Safe Arizona Schools

Administration plans to tackle opioid epidemic and reduce future addiction

President Donald J. Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand

March 19, 2018

President Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse will address factors fueling the opioid crisis, including over-prescription, illicit drug supplies, and insufficient access to evidence-based treatment, primary prevention, and recovery support services. The President’s Opioid Initiative will:

  • Reduce drug demand through education, awareness, and preventing over-prescription.
  • Cut off the flow of illicit drugs across our borders and within communities.
  • Save lives now by expanding opportunities for proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions.

Read the full press release at:

States with the highest school to student counselor ratios include Arizona (924:1)

Study ranks Arizona last in student-to-counselor ratio

March 12, 2018

School counselors in American public schools currently serve an average of 482 students, a caseload nearly twice the recommended maximum of 250. Findings highlighted in a new report from the NACAC and ASCA show that the average student-to-school counselor ratio has increased by 1% over the past decade. States with the highest student-to-school counselor ratios included Arizona (924:1), Michigan (729:1), and Minnesota (729:1).

View the report: NACAC State-by-State Student-to-Counselor Ratio Report

View the article at: Tucson News Now and NACAC Newsroom

Local law enforcement agencies respond to about 13,000 domestic violence calls each year.

Grant awarded to Pima County hopes to reduce domestic violence with innovative program

March 9, 2018

The Tucson Police Department (TPD) recently was awarded $250,000 for its Risk Assessment Management and Prevention (RAMP) Program to reduce the severity and frequency of domestic violence in Pima County. RAMP is an innovative collaboration between the Pima County Attorney’s Office; Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse; Southern Arizona Legal Aid; and numerous law enforcement agencies, including TPD and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Read the full press release here: Pima County Attorney's Office

Study shows populations living at higher altitudes have increased suicide rates

Could living at high altitude increase suicide risk? Evidence suggests possible treatments.

March 9, 2018

The increased suicide rates might be explained by blood oxygen levels due to low atmospheric pressure, according to the article by Brent Michael Kious, MD, PhD, of University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and colleagues. Pending further research, the evidence may point to possible treatments to reduce the effects of low blood oxygen on mood and suicidal thoughts.

Read the full article at: ScienceDaily

16% of students currently use an e-cigarette

Pima County Health Warns Of Student Vaping: Report

March 8, 2018

The Pima County Health Department warns that the student use of vapes is a growing problem. They say that 16 percent of students are currently use an e-cigarette. They explain that e-cigarette use has been a problem for years and are concerned that e-cigarette use leads to the use of harder drugs.

Read more at: Tucson News Now

Research suggests that I-talk may be a marker for depression

Frequent 'I-Talk' May Signal Proneness to Emotional Distress

March 7, 2018

People who talk a lot about themselves are not narcissists as one might expect, but may be prone to depression, anxiety and other negative emotions, UA researchers found.

Read more at: UANews

Integration streamlines health care delivery by focusing on the whole person and improving outcomes for the members we serve
— Tom Betlach, AHCCCCS director

AHCCCS Awards Integrated Health Care Contracts to Seven Managed Care Organizations

March 5, 2018

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has awarded managed care contracts to seven integrated managed care organizations (MCO’s) that will coordinate the provision of physical and behavioral health care services to 1.5 million Medicaid members. Called AHCCCS Complete Care. On the October 1, 2018 contract effective date, AHCCCS will transition approximately 300,000 members to a new MCO in their geographic service area. From learned experience managing previous health care plan transitions, AHCCCS has proven processes in place to ensure continuity of care for members. These members will be notified of their health plan assignment in June and can make changes to their assignment during the month of July.

Learn more at:

Arizona prepares to launch opioid hotline for health care providers

One of the nation’s first real-time, comprehensive opioid hotlines for medical providers to launch

February 28, 2018

The hotline was one of the recommendations in the Opioid Action Plan developed by ADHS to respond to Arizona’s opioid epidemic. The Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line will expand in the Spring of 2018 to provide referrals for the general public seeking treatment resources for opioid-use disorder.

Read more at: State of Reform

Learn more about AZ efforts at: ADHS Opioid Epidemic

New app may predict diabetes long before blood sugar levels do

Cardiogram’s DeepHeart App Can Detect Diabetes

February 8, 2018

Cardiogram released a new study Wednesday that demonstrated the ability of its DeepHeart app to use data gathered from wearables to correctly detect diabetes in 85% of users.

The study had 14,011 participants from all over the world, and collected 200 million unlabeled sensor measurements.

Although the app isn’t intended to be a primary diagnostic tool, it could be used to help alert patients with undiagnosed diabetes to the possibility that they have the condition, and could encourage them to seek medical care.

Read more at: The Longevity Network

Find the app here: Apple

4-year $3.1 million grant awarded to ADHS and UA Center for Rural Health to fight opioid crisis.

Tackling the Opioid Crisis in Arizona: UA Center for Rural Health Has Key Role

February 1, 2018

The University of Arizona Center for Rural Health is partnering with the Arizona Department of Health Services and other state agencies to train first responders to recognize opioid overdoses and to administer the drug naloxone to prevent fatalities.

The effort is funded with a four-year, $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the Arizona Department of Health Services and the UA Center for Rural Health, at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Read more here: Arizona Teleedicine Program

Complete Streets Policy for the City of Tucson

LSA Takes the lead in developing a complete-streets policy for tucson

January 29, 2018

In October 2016, Living Streets Alliance (LSA) was awarded a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids to pursue a robust and equitable Complete Streets policy in Tucson.

LSA’s approach is focused on developing a Complete Streets policy in the City of Tucson, ensuring that all future road construction and reconstruction projects create a complete network that is safe and convenient for all people using all modes of transportation. 

Read more here: Living Streets Alliance

Governor Doug Ducey Signs Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act

Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act

January 26, 2018

The Arizona Legislature unanimously approved Gov. Doug Ducey's proposal to crack down on excess opioid prescribing and add other regulations designed to cut down on addictions and overdose deaths.

The Act bars doctors from prescribing more than an initial five-day supply of pain medication in most cases, boosts pain clinic regulation and adds $10 million to help uninsured people get addiction treatment.

Read more here: Phoenix New Times

The most common place for falls: the home

How to Prevent Falls

January 8, 2018

Among other steps to take that can reduce the risk of falling is to maintain physical strength and balance as you age. If you're uncertain of your stability or agility, consider some sessions with the physical therapist and practice the recommended exercises regularly. Higher level of physical activity have been shown to protect against falls.

Read the full article in: The New York Times

2017 News

Grab a newly printed map of The Loop, bike bells and other safety items during outreach events held through the end of February 2018.

Bike Ambassador events

December 28, 2017

Pima County’s Bike Ambassadors will hand out newly printed maps of The Loop (Pima County’s 120-mile-plus shared-use path), bike bells and other safety items as part of outreach events held through the end of February 2018.

All events will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. with exceptions for two special events. Dates and locations can be found here: Pima County’s Bike Ambassadors

Law enforcement looks at ‘treatment first’ as an option for those who are addicted.

Arizona Angel Initiative

December 22, 2017

The Arizona Angel Initiative allows citizens to walk into a police precinct, turn in their drugs and request treatment without fear of prosecution. Angels are also able to help parents secure safe placement for their child(ren) while they are in treatment in lieu of placing their child(ren) in the foster care system.

Read more here: Arizona Governor's Office

U.S. drug overdoses jumped significantly in 2016 to more than 63,600, and more than 42,200 of them were attributed to opioids.

Life Expectancy Drops Again As Opioid Deaths Surge In U.S.

December 21, 2017

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the second year in a row in 2016, nudged down again by a surge in fatal opioid overdoses.

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids also jumped significantly, from 3.1 per 100,000 in 2015 and 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.

You can read the full article here: NPR Arizona Public Media

[Diabetes] alters the healthy copper balance that more typically enables new blood vessel formation
— Dr. Tohru Fukai

Excessive copper in diabetes impedes ability to make new blood vessels

December 18, 2017

Scientists have evidence that in diabetes, copper can pile up inside our cells, wreaking havoc on our ability to make new blood vessels. Treatments that target ATP7A, a copper transporter that normally helps ensure healthy copper levels in our bodies, may one day help patients with diabetes recover the innate ability to make healthy new blood vessels, say Dr. Masuko Ushio-Fukai, vascular biologist and cardiologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

Read the full article here: Augusta University