Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kane Community Youth Coalition at State Capitol

KANAB, UT - Representatives of  the Kane Community Youth Coalition (KCYC) headed to the Utah State Capitol last week to educate policymakers on the effects of tobacco and e-cigarettes on local young people. More than 400 teens made the trip from all across the state. KCYC member Emilee Soderquist spoke alongside Representative Brad Daw and many others. Joining Emilee was Abby Brooks and McKenna Clarkson along with Adult Coordinators Lexie Little and Ashley Heaton.

Youth were paired with their elected representatives and senators to discuss the issues faced in their local areas. “This was a great opportunity for us to share with our state leaders the issues we are seeing in our schools and community,” says McKenna Clarkson, KCYC member.  “We are the ones who are seeing our peers using these harmful products and we can be a voice for the future of our generation.”

KCYC members were happy to educate Representative Mike Noel, Senator Ralph Okerlund, and  Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox about the alarming increase in youth drug use in our area. In southwest Utah, the youth rate of e-cigarette use has skyrocketed over 300% in just a two-year time span. Policymakers can use this information to adjust priorities relating to preventive legislation at the state level.

You can follow KCYC on Facebook (kanecoyouth).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blood Pressure Readings Inaccurate at Least 50% of the Time

ST. GEORGE, UT - A 2016 study from the Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that in-office blood pressure measurements were inaccurate more often than not, either causing the misdiagnosis of hypertension (resulting in the inappropriate administration of medication) or causing patients at risk for stroke and heart events to go without necessary intervention or treatment.

The Utah Million Hearts Coalition recently announced a new website, CheckMyPressure.org,  which is designed to educate both patients and health care providers about the prevalence of inaccurate blood pressure measurements as well as correct measurement technique.

“Patients need to take their health into their own hands,” says Anni McKinnon, Utah Million Hearts Coalition member. “Learn how blood pressure should be measured, speak up when your blood pressure is not taken correctly, and assist your provider in getting an accurate measurement and subsequently an accurate diagnosis.” People can also help control their risks for cardiovascular disease by managing their weight, engaging in regular physical activity, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and not using tobacco products.

Patients can take the following steps help ensure a correct blood pressure measurement:
  1. Thirty minutes prior to taking blood pressure: do not drink caffeine or alcohol, use tobacco products, exercise, or feel stressed or anxious.
  2. Sit and relax for five minutes before taking blood pressure.
  3. Sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor and your back supported.
  4. Cuff should be the proper size and placed on your bare arm or over thin clothing.
  5. Arm should be at heart level and supported.
  6. If your reading is high, your blood pressure should be taken two more times, waiting one minute between readings.

Even when blood pressure measuring technique is correct, some patients experience a ‘white-coat effect’ and exhibit high blood pressure in a medical office. “About 30% of patients with elevated in-office blood pressure turn out to have normal out-of-office measurements,” adds McKinnon, “so home monitoring is also important in some cases.”

In 2016, the Utah Million Hearts Coalition recognized 13 Utah medical clinics for their commitment to achieving excellence in blood pressure measurement and hypertension control.  Clinics that would like additional information in applying for the award can contact Audrie Frehner at 435-986-2567 or afrehner@swuhealth.org.


The Utah Million Hearts Coalition is a community collaboration among Utah’s public health departments, local health care organizations, professional medical associations, and health-related nonprofit organizations. For more information about the coalition, visit healthinsight.org/bloodpressure

Monday, February 13, 2017

Local Coalition Members Return From Washington, D.C.

KANAB, UT - Adult and Youth members of the Kane Community Youth Coalition attended the Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) conference last week in Washington, D.C. Members in attendance were Ashley Heaton, Lexie Little, Elizabeth Davis, Staci Wright, Chloe Crosby, Kosha Riedhead, Shaelynn Heaton, and Whitney Cornell.  The conference theme this year was engineering healthy communities. Attendees learned vital skills in preventing substance abuse in their communities.

“CADCA is a wonderful national conference that provides local coalitions with the tools necessary to make an impactful difference it their communities,” said Lexie Little, Community Outreach Specialist for Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD). “I was lucky enough to present with my supervisor, Kye Nordfelt, on the work we have accomplished in Southern Utah with banning or limiting the number of tobacco specialty shops and decreasing youth access to these addicting products.”

Coalition members were able to meet with Senator Hatch and Congressmen Stewart to discuss the substance abuse issues we are seeing in our area and to educate the legislators on the long term effect of these drugs.

“Attending this conference is a wonderful opportunity and we were so lucky to be able to bring so many members this year,” said Ashley Heaton, SWUPHD Prevention Specialist. “We look forward to implementing these strategies in our community.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Community Preparedness Summit on February 27-28

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD) is sponsoring the Rural Preparedness Summit on February 27th and 28th, at Dixie State University's Gardner Center. 

While attendees will include first responders, emergency managers, medical personnel, volunteers, and community leaders, anyone interested in learning more about emergency and disaster plans for southwest Utah is invited. 

"Our theme for the summit is 'We Can't Do It Alone'", says Paulette Valentine, SWUPHD Emergency Preparedness and Response Division Director. "This event is open to anyone who wants to find out more about how we will work together to respond to a local emergency. That includes people who might play a role in an organization's response, or just individuals with an interest in emergency preparedness on a community level."

Topics will include disaster response from medical, mental health, public safety, and volunteer perspectives; cooperation between coalitions and agencies, psychological first-aid, mass fatality plans, and local communication plans. 

Registration is $25 for residents of Washington, Iron, Kane, Beaver, or Garfield counties, and $130 for attendees from outside the region. Register online by going to swuhealth.org and clicking the Rural Preparedness Summit screen. Registration deadline is February 15th. For more information, call Steve Rossberg at 435-986-2589.

Co-sponsors of the Summit include Dixie State University, Dixie Regional Medical Center, Southwest Utah Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Citizen Corps. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Local Youths in Washington, D.C.

ST. GEORGE, UT – Youth representatives from the Washington County Youth Coalition (WCYC), Kane Community Youth Coalition (KCYC), and the Panguitch Prevention Coalition (PPC) are in Washington, D.C. this week for the 27th Annual National Leadership Forum for CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America). They are joining over 2,500 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from around the country for leadership training and education. 

“We are so excited to be able to spend several days with other youth, learning and honing our prevention skills,” says Jared Martinez, WCYC member from Snow Canyon High School. “We want our community to be a better place, one that doesn’t suffer from the harmful effects of drug and alcohol abuse.”

Youth attending include: Jared Martinez, Nolan Porras, Baylee Calvert, Hannah Curtis, Taibree Coleman, and Abby Ott for WCYC; Chloe Crosby, Kosha Reidhead, Whitney Cornell and Shaelynn Heaton for KCYC; and Lexi Oldham, Kathleen Sullivan, Jessica Roundy, Aubree Hughes, Joe Vasquez and Tyler Roundy for PPC.

The coalitions have recently impacted their communities by working with cities to adopt no smoking ordinances, providing tobacco cessation materials and resources to homeless shelters, and providing e-cigarette education.

During the CADCA forum, they will be trained on a wide range of topics, including prescription drug abuse prevention, synthetic drugs and marijuana abuse, creating tobacco-free environments, and developing policies to reduce underage and excessive drinking. 

The coalition will hear from several federal leaders from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. WCYC will also meet with U.S. congressmen and senators at the CADCA Forum’s Capitol Hill Day event on Wednesday, Feb. 8th to discuss local concerns.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation’s largest training conference for community prevention leaders (forum.cadca.org).  More information about the WCYC and KCYC can be found on their Facebook pages at washcoyouth and kanecoyouth.