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View the latest health news and explore articles that pertain to Pima County's health priority areas.

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

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

he 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

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

Flawed study claims Tucson ranks #2 most dangerous city for Bicyclists.

study is “severely flawed" and of "little use”.

December 13, 2017

Study published by 24/7 Wall St. was found to be "flawed and not consistent with what would be required in terms of method of analysis in order to draw the state conclusions."

Read the memorandum from C.H. here: Pima County

Read about Tucson's efforts here: Arizona Sonora News

1.4 people per 100,000 residents die as a result of pedestrian-involved car crashes in Arizona.

Arizona pedestrians among nation's most likely to die in fatal crash

December 6, 2017

There were 1,637 crashes involving pedestrians in Arizona in 2016, according to data compiled by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Those 1,637 crashes resulted in 1,448 injured and 197 killed pedestrians. Some accidents involved more than one pedestrian struck.

You can read the full article here:  AZ Central

In 2015, overdose deaths occurred at a rate of 17.0/100,000 people in rural populations vs. 16.2/100,000 people in metropolitan areas.

Declaring Opioids A Health Emergency Could Make Treatment More Widely Available

October 26, 2017

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is proven to be among the most effective treatments for opioid abuse disorders.

Including MAT  as a part of general medical practices more often could ease concerns of patients who don’t want to visit substance abuse treatment centers because of the stigma attached to addiction.

You can read the full article here: FiveThirtyEight

Every seven hours someone in Arizona dies of suicide, with 2 out of 3 having undiagnosed depression.

depression and fight against teen suicide

October 11, 2017

Teenage suicide continues to climb across the country, with the rate among young girls hitting a 40-year high.

KOLD News 13 spoke to 19-year-old Ivona about her suicide attempt and struggle with depression. 

You can read the full at: KOLD News 13

For more Arizona suicide statistics visit the: AFSP

For more national statistics, visit the: CDC

15% of U.S. moms suffer from a postpartum mood disorder like anxiety or depression.

Mommy Mentors Help Fight The Stigma Of Postpartum Mood Disorders

September 29, 2017

A recent review, published in the journal Child Development, suggests distressed mothers may benefit from ongoing nurturing, especially from those in similar situations. The researchers also found that support from peers and tending to a mother's well-being increases positive parenting behaviors.

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

Pima County Falls Prevention Awareness Day: Sept. 22nd

Falls Prevention Awareness Day

September 22, 2017

This year, the Southern Arizona Falls Prevention Coalition is celebrating Falls Prevention Awareness Day (the first day of fall) by offering free events in Tucson, Oro Valley and Green Valley to educate the community on ways to prevent slips, falls and spills.

Read more here: Marana News

The number of annual deaths in Pima County has risen from 222 in 2010 to 263 in 2016

Pima County report on opioId use shows it's widespread

September 1, 2017

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared the opioid epidemic a Public Health State of Emergency in June.

The county report was in response the declaration.

You can read the full report here: Tucson News Now