health

A new health care study shows that so-called “deaths of despair” have doubled in the U.S. in recent years, but Wyoming is among the ten states struggling with the problem the least. That’s according to the Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, a report on state health care systems. But in general, the report shows that Wyoming’s health care is still lagging in many areas, coming in 33rd in the country overall.

Dan Salkeld doesn’t like plunging toilets, filling out tax forms, or clipping his children's toenails. But he loves collecting ticks in Colorado.

Native Wellness Institute

Native American students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wyoming in Laramie recently participated in a wellness training. The idea was to explore how to process trauma left behind by a dark history. 

The nasty strain of E. coli that’s sickening people across the U.S. has turned up in Idaho and Montana, and health officials remain on alert.

Teen birth rates have been going down for a while now but in one mountain west state -- Colorado --  they’ve gone down more than the rest of the nation. Could it be related to the national trend of kids having less sex or an attempt to make IUDs more accessible?

Pennie Hunt

This is the first in a series about prescription opioid drug addiction in Wyoming.

Cheyenne resident Pennie Hunt knew her youngest son JT wasn’t like other kids. As lovable and creative as he was, she said, “He grew up kind of as the daredevil and I always worried about him.”

JT struggled with anxiety.  By the time he was 14, he was addicted to his prescription medication. At 15, he went to his first stint in an out-of-state rehab center.

Wyoming Medical Center

A study of seven rural states by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that there are challenges to health care delivery. One of the states it studied was Wyoming which has fewer doctors, higher workplace deaths and problems with substance abuse. Heidi Schultz is the Rural Healthcare Program Officer with the Helmsley Trust, which has partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She tells Bob Beck that Wyoming only has 65 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, much lower than the national average. 

krossinspectors.com

Radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the state after smoking, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that exists in nature.

"When uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is a by-product, and radon can get into your home through cracks or your plumbing, or any space that allows air to enter your home," said Integrated Cancer Services Program Outreach Coordinator Allie Bain.

Albany Community Health Clinic

Healthcare providers in Laramie say they’re seeing an increase in addiction. In response, the Albany Community Health Clinic -- which serves patients regardless of their ability to pay -- is adding mental health and substance abuse services to the comprehensive primary-care it offers. With a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the clinic is now able to hire additional mental health providers.

 

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Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley said in his first 30 years in law enforcement he encountered heroin only twice, but now illicit drugs -- including meth and cocaine -- are something his department deals with all the time.

 

For those individuals struggling with addiction who end up in the Albany County Detention Center, the immediate shift to sobriety can bring on intense physical and emotional stress, according to O’Malley. That’s why he wants to start offering inmates acupuncture to relieve the side effects of withdrawal.

Wyoming Institute For Disabilities

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities, or WIND, has begun work on several new initiatives after finalizing its latest 5-year strategic plan.

Canyon Hardesty, the director of community education and training at WIND, said there are several projects she is excited about, including their friendships and dating course. Through that program, individuals with disabilities receive training and mentorship on healthy relationships.

Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies

With Thanksgiving comes images of heaping piles of food, but one in eight Wyomingites struggle with hunger and uncertainty about the source of their next meal. The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies counts more than 20,000 children and 14 percent of seniors in the state as being affected by hunger and poverty.

 

Shanna Harris, who directs the food bank, said when families are struggling to cover multiple expenses, food is often the first item to take a cut.

 

The mission of the Censible Nutrition Program is to get low-income families eating healthier food and this year they decided to grow that food from seed.

In Natrona and Bighorn Counties, the University of Wyoming extension program collaborated with local groups to create community gardens, getting kids and adults doing physical activity as they cultivated food.

Program Director Mindy Meuli said, they ended up giving away over 400 pounds of zucchini, potatoes, cantaloupe and other produce. She said there’s a real need for such foods in parts of Wyoming.  

Courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new study shows that more Wyoming teens are overweight. The National Survey of Children’s Health says that Wyoming young people have the 14th lowest obesity rate in the nation, but the obesity rate is still higher than it was ten years ago. 

The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Trust for America’s Health. 

Report spokesman Albert Lang said Wyoming children between the ages of ten and 17 have an obesity rate at 27.1 percent, an increase from over a decade ago. Lang added that they see a similar trend with other Wyomingites.      

walkingschoolbus.me

The wheels on a new school bus in Jackson are actually feet. For the month of September, Teton County School District #1 is piloting a new program to get students walking to and from school rather than taking the bus.

There’s still a set route guided by at least one adult, who picks up kids at stops along the way. Charlotte Reynolds, information coordinator for Teton County schools, said the Walking School Bus is a national initiative the district decided to try after realizing it needed to reduce some of its bus routes to meet state regulations.

Closari / Flickr - Creative Commons

The Environmental Health Trust is holding a lecture and public forum in Jackson Monday night to discuss the potential dangers of cell phone and wireless radiation.

Dr. Devra Davis is the founder of the Environmental Health Trust and a visiting professor of medicine at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She said France recently released the results of its own tests on cell phone radiation. 

Alanna Elder

The oranges are a hit at Feeding Laramie Valley, where Sandy Moody serves lunch to a steady stream of eaters. By the end of the hour, it’ll add up to more than 60 people from daycares, preschools, and the local neighborhood. Moody said they’ll serve anyone – kids for free and adults for a dollar fifty. 

Gayle Woodsum is the founder of Feeding Laramie Valley, a nonprofit that grows and distributes local produce at no cost.

Photo by Sarah Mirk with use under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Following the presidential election, family planning centers in Wyoming experienced a sharp increase in women seeking long-term contraceptives. Recently, that’s begun to slow down. Now, concern from the centers is about around funding and healthcare access.

 

Planned Parenthood clinics across the country saw an unprecedented rise in donations following the election, mainly because of threats to its future funding.

 

Tennessee Watson

Jackson, Wyoming is all about extremes. Folks from across the country flock to the mountain town to summit peaks, to ski fresh powder and to party. Athletes are revered for going over the edge, whereas those who fall into addiction are not. But what if the underlying cause of an avalanche death and a drug overdose are one in the same? The Mindstrength Project is taking advantage of that connection.

City of Laramie

The Laramie City Council has voted to restore the environmental health inspector position. Last year, the council voted to eliminate local funding for that role.  

Laramie City Manager Janine Jordan says the plan was to ask the state to fund the position. But councilor Vicki Henry convinced the council to make the inspector position halftime. Prior to the vote, Laramie Mayor Andi Summerville said that a loss of revenue has forced the city to consider dropping programs not required by law. But she noted that many in the community were concerned about the cut.

She's A Runner Girl

Across the country, women outnumber men at the finish lines of running events, and in Laramie, the number of young girls who run is on the rise.

Close to 100 girls will participate in Laramie’s Hapi-ness 5k this year. They are participants in She’s A Runner Girl, a program that physically and mentally prepares girls to complete a 3.1-mile run.

A second grader named Ada said she likes running with all girls. "Because there are no boys to make you sad or anything."

American Cancer Society

The Wyoming Primary Care Annual Conference takes place in Casper May 3 - 5, and will bring together health care providers from around the state. Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society Dr. Richard Wender will be speaking at the conference. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about the state’s cancer risks and what the American Cancer Society is doing to address them.

Courtesy Wyoming Department of Health

  

Wyoming’s cases of sexually transmitted diseases have been increasing in recent years and a recent update shows that, despite efforts of health care providers, it’s still a concern. Courtney Smith is the Communicable Disease Program Manager for the Wyoming Department of Health. She tells Bob Beck that they have one key area of concern. 

 

meddata.com

Despite some recent setbacks, Congress will eventually move to either replace or make serious changes to the affordable care act. Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that should help reduce insurance premiums in the state, but that may not be the case. Wyoming saw a growth in those who have insurance under the affordable care act and current congressional fixes could do more harm than good. 

SageWest Health Care

Patients of SageWest Health Care in Lander who had surgery between December 2013 and October 2016 could have been exposed to non-sterile surgical equipment.

The Department of Health investigated the hospital four different times over the past three years, after surgeons reported visibly contaminated surgical instruments that were supposed to be sterile.

Darrah J. Perez

After years of poor health services, the Northern Arapaho tribe took over the management of their health clinic from the federal government. Last week the Wind River Family Community Health Center celebrated its first anniversary.   

Stephanie Joyce

  

Here’s a simple recipe for ozone: mix hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide chemical compounds in the air, and add sunlight.

“The sun comes out and cooks this mixture and the outcome of that is ozone,” said Steve Brown, an atmospheric scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

At the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk, there’s an average of four births per year. That’s because some inmates are showing up to prison pregnant. When an inmate does give birth, they’re usually given less than 24 hours with their newborn before handing the child over to family or foster care services, when they return to the prison. Four years ago, plans were put into motion to address the situation by providing a mother-child unit where inmates could raise their children. However, the unit has remained vacant since renovations were completed in 2014.

Wyoming Center On Aging

An upcoming Laramie workshop will work to empower people dealing with chronic disease. The Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA) at the University of Wyoming adopted Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and called the program “Healthy U.”

Wyoming will be the fiftieth state to offer the program.

Jordan Vandjelovic, Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center

Health officials from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes have a new tool to help them improve the health of residents on the Wind River Reservation. Several health advocates recently attended a training to learn how to use software from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better collect information about health care on the reservation.

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