Predictions: 3 Public Health Hot Topics for 2015

2014 proved to be a big year for public health—ACA implementation, the Ebola epidemic, soda tax, and more. While many of last year’s hot topics will continue to flow into this year and many unpredictable events are to come, it’s interesting to put forth a few predictions. Tammy Pilisuk, MPH, valued SurroundHealth member, pulled together her thoughts on upcoming innovations, scientific advances, policies, and programs.

3 of Tammy’s Top 10 Hot Topics—A sneak peak

1) New Vaccines

  • Ebola Vaccine. Likely the most fast-tracked vaccine trials ever, I’m not the only one predicting that we’ll see an ebola vaccine in 2015. Together with infection control protocols established for the affected West African countries, this will hasten the end to what had seemed an intractable crisis—though we’re not likely to snuff out ebola completely within the year.
  • HPV Nonavalent Vaccine. Merck’s nine-valent HPV vaccine received FDA approval in 2014. It’s very likely that this will replace, or partially replace, their current quadrivalent (4-valent) version. The newer vaccine will increase the percentage of cancer-causing HPV types prevented from 70% to 90% and potentially prevent tens of thousands of cancers per year. It may only need 2 doses instead of the current 3. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) should make a recommendation in the first half of 2015 with rollout later in the year.

2) Regulating E-Cigarettes. It’s not just steam! Health consequences of e-cigarettes including second-hand nicotine inhalation, have been found. There’s a good bit of evidence showing concern for e-cigarette use. So far, they are largely treated as a “safe” substitute to smoking. I predict this tide will turn soon. We should see more movement to regulate e-cigarettes, just as other tobacco products are regulated. A 2014 WHO-funded paper lays out regulatory recommendations and APHA also just took a support position on regulating e-cigarettes. SurroundHealth members shared their thoughts on the regulation of e-cigarettes—see what they had to say.

3) Building Healthy Communities. This looks super exciting, BuildHealthyPlaces.org is launching a new initiative to help communities thrive based on principles of social determinants of health. Let’s give them some time to spread their wings during 2015 and beyond. Interested in this topic? Check out our SH article about building healthy communities.

Check out the full list on SurroundHealth. Based on what you see in your work environments and in interactions with patients, clients, and peers—how do you feel about the predictions shared? Are there areas that you think public health will make great strides in the coming year? What public health challenges do you see coming in 2015? Share your thoughts with us below or on SurroundHealth!

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Holiday wishes from SurroundHealth…

Wishing you and your families a safe, healthy,

and happy holiday season!

We look forward to continuing the journey with you in the New Year. Until then, here are a few resources to help you review & start planning for a healthy year ahead:

A  detailed public health review by member, Tammy Pilisuk, MPH:

Two articles shared by member, Patricia Hernandez, MPH, MSW, CHES to help you get crackin’ on a great 2015 self-care plan:

All the best & “see” you next year—

The SurroundHealth team

SH_happy holidays_2014

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Planning for a Healthy Year: 3 Tips for Self-Rejuvenation

In preparing to close out the year, many people may be reflecting on the past 12 months, and beginning to plan for an even better—mentally, physically, emotionally, and professionally—new year. During this time, it is important to keep in mind helpful tips for self-rejuvenation.  Shared below are a few self-care tips from member, Paty Hernandez, MPH, MSW,CHES, featured in our latest SurroundHealth article. We hope that you take these into consideration to help you fuel a healthy 2015 self-care plan!

1. Eat slower, mindfully. With many heavy holiday meals just around the corner, it’s important to make sure to avoid overindulging. Author Lilian Cheung identifies and explains the following 7 practices for mindful eating in this video below:

  • Honor the food
  • Engage all the senses
  • Be mindful of portion sizes
  • Chew
  • Eat slowly
  • Do not skip meals
  • Eat a plant-based diet

Lilian Cheung_Savor Mindful Eating

2. Create goals and stick with them. Coming up with New Year’s resolutions are quite popular during this time of the year. For best results, make sure to support your goals by creating a step-by-step plan and identifying people who can encourage you along the way.

3. Incorporate Daily Health Challenges. Paty suggested using an interactive daily challenge platform to help you complete various straightforward challenges on a daily basis. This specific platform allows you to share your progress with family and friends—encourage them to take part as well!

For the full list of self-care tips, visit us on SurroundHealth!

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Celebrating the Holiday Season while Staying Healthy

Parties, cocktails, turkeys, desserts—how do you stay healthy with all the joys that come with the holiday season? It’s important to remind patients, clients, and loved ones to celebrate in moderation and to keep in mind some tips for staying healthy throughout the holiday season.

We pulled a few of our favorites from the Mayo Clinic, CDC, and USDA:

Make sure to visit us on SurroundHealth for more tips & tools!

We would like to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all our members and followers and hope that you all enjoy safe and healthy holidays with your families and loved ones! We are truly thankful for each and every one of you!

happy thanksgiving

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3 Tips to Help Patients Combat Chronic Stress

As the holiday season looms, many people begin to experience high levels of stress. In a recent article by member Patricia Hernandez, MPH, MSW, CHES, she explains that while certain levels of stress are normal and can actually prove to be helpful, overall, stress is a public health concern. Some people are able to manage and decrease their stress levels, while others may find difficulty doing so. To help other professionals educate their patients on managing stress, Patricia shared some tips for practice.

Tips for Practice:

  • There is no one-size-fits-all protocol. Public health professionals offering and practicing strategic tips to help reduce stress can assist patients individually or in group settings, as well as oneself.
  • Offer patients a confidential place to release frustrations and feelings of being out of control. By understanding the situations and circumstances of the patient, public health educators can identify and even relate to the feelings, and can offer strategically stress-reduction tips that can best assist the patient if he/she is committed to releasing the stress. The AIS offers on their website self-assessments such as The Workplace Stress Survey and the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory which can be offered to patients or taken oneself.
  • Encourage patients to take a 5-minute time out—it’s enough to enter the relaxation stage. Continued research in various scientific and psychological journals are finding the best practices are deep breathing, meditation, Cognitive-Based Therapy, massage, yoga, and aroma therapy to name a few.

Visit SurroundHealth for the full article and stay tuned for a part 2, where we share specific community-based techniques!

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How Health Professionals Can Assess Effectiveness

When considering programs— from single educational sessions to an extensive intervention—health professionals are faced with assessing the effectiveness of these programs. In a recent SurroundHealth article by contributing member, Feon Cheng, we elaborated on the 6 major steps in evaluating program effectiveness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health.

Today, we are sharing the first 3 steps—you can learn about all six by reading the full article on SurroundHealth!

Step 1: Engage Stakeholders

  • Engaging stakeholders is an important first step to ensure all their concerns and values will be addressed in the program evaluation.
    • Stakeholders are individuals or organizations that may benefit from the outcomes of the program evaluation. There are both internal (e.g., Director of Nursing, Board Committee Members, Public Health Manager, and etc.) and external stakeholders (e.g., patients, customers, funders, and etc.).

 Step 2: Describe the Program

  • Revisiting the mission, vision, goals, or objectives of the program would be crucial in determining the evaluation strategy and approach in the next step.

Step 3: Focus the Evaluation Design

  • Determine the purpose of the program evaluation: this is based on the information gathered from step 1 and 2. What are your goals for this evaluation? Are there certain areas you would like to focus on?
  • Once the overall purpose of the program evaluation has been identified, there are a variety of measures to select from.
  • After the list of questions has been identified from each of the measures, the next step is to determine which approach would best address these questions.
  • The next step is to select an analytical approach, which is often dictated by the types of question and approach selected

For more details around each of these steps, plus the last 3, be sure to check out the full article on SurroundHealth today!

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Celebrating the 4th of July

SurroundHealth would like to wish everyone a very happy 4th of July! We hope that all of our members and readers who are celebrating have a safe, healthy, and fun weekend.

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