Welcome to the third issue of the Partnership Pulse - a periodic newsletter of the Partnership for a Heart-Healthy, Stroke-Free Massachusetts. This newsletter is intended to keep you informed about resources and best practices that you can use in your work to prevent and control heart disease and stroke.
Learning Forums begin in 2012!
Learning forums are small groups of professionals with a mutual interest in learning about a specific topic related to heart disease and stroke. Each forum is a series of meetings, typically by conference call, planned by professionals in the field.
The first learning forum, Your School Wellness Policy: The Next Step, is being planned by school nurse leaders across the state. The goals are to share best practices, to create an online educational forum, and to educate stakeholders at school nurse meetings and on pertinent websites. The forum will be a series of five conference calls on the school wellness issues of nutrition, physical activity, using the interactive online educational forum, grant writing, and establishing wellness committees. The dates of the calls have not yet been set.
Chronic Disease Coalition formed
Massachusetts Department of Public Healthhas been awarded a federal Community Transformation Grant to develop a statewide coalition and coordinated plan for prevention and control of chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and asthma. The Partnership has a representative on the coalition, which has been tasked with drafting the statewide plan. The process will take place during a series of four all-day meetings in December to early February. The statewide plan draft will be circulated to key organizations and stakeholders before being communicated publicly in June.
Save the Date!
Partnership's Eighth Annual Meeting June 1, 2012
Connecting and Sharing: Promising Practices for Heart Disease and Stroke
Hoagland-Pincus Center, Shrewsbury, MA
SHARING BEST PRACTICES
Check out the Partnership website to see what's happening in heart disease and stroke in MA and share your accomplishments. Simply click on Initiatives at HeartStrokeMA.org. You can download your logo and cut/paste information on your organization and its important work in heart disease and stroke. Search other organizations' work by key word or by organization name. This webpage is becoming a rich source of who's doing what in Massachusetts heart disease and stroke.
Stroke Alert Policy
The new "Stroke Alert Notification Policy" has been tested and is now being implemented by ambulance services and emergency departments in EMS Regions I (Western MA) and III (Northeastern MA). The policy goal is to ensure that all ambulance services are using the same language when making stroke patient notifications to emergency departments. The system works like this:
1. Ambulance crew calls the emergency department to give its report.
2. The patient must meet one or more of the abnormal findings on the stroke scale.
3. When the patient is ruled in for stroke, crew members immediately state, "This is a Stroke Alert."
"The reason for this policy is that data strongly suggest that when the formal notification of a stroke occurs, then the time of onset to the time of definitive care is reduced so patient outcomes will improve," according to Sander Schultz, the EMS Coordinator for City of Gloucester Fire Department. "This will help to improve stroke survivability. The hope here is that if significant patient outcomes improve in Regions I and III, then the case can be made that it should be a statewide standard."
Million Hearts Initiative
The Million Hearts Initiative's mission is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are the co-leaders. A number of federal agencies and private-sector partners are involved as well. Million Hearts will accomplish the ultimate goal of reducing one million heart attacks and strokes by...
- Improving access and quality of care
- Focusing clinical attention on heart attack and stroke prevention
- Increasing awareness about a heart-healthy lifestyle
- Increasing use of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications
News/Views from CPH-NEW
The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) has created a webpage that posts a semi-monthly column on emerging topics related to healthy workplaces. To view these topics, visit the main CPH-NEW website or click on the following links to specific articles:
National Network of Libraries of Medicine of New England Region
Need help with health information? UMass Medical Center in Shrewsbury, MA, is the world's largest medical library connecting health science libraries, public libraries, and special libraries in New England. This network provides a place for resource sharing, education, and funding. Member services include:
- Free training sessions by professional medical libraries.
- Funding opportunities for outreach subcontracts, community engagement, course development, and exhibits/promotion.
- User support for DOCLINE/LinkOut, OutsideTool, MedlinePlus, PubMed, etc.
- Emergency preparedness and disaster recovery for science libraries as well as promotion and advocacy of hospital libraries.
Payment Reform Act
On September 12, 2011, Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) released an open letter to legislative leaders proposing community-based prevention in the next phase of health reform. Of the 300 signatures on this letter, 118 were from Massachusetts's organizations, municipalities, and businesses. The goal of this bill is to protect and expand funding for preventive services and programs. To view the letter or sign on to it, visit MPHA - Payment Reform.
Work-Related Stress Linked to Obesity
A recent study conducted by Diana Fernandez, an epidemiologist at the URMC Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, et al.¹, discovered that stresses in combination with low levels of physical activity are linked to being overweight and obese. This situation is becoming increasingly common in the American workforce. According to the study, a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables does not offer protection against becoming overweight. Study authors suggest active management of stress and keeping a healthy weight in combination with exercise. Employee wellness programs could play an important role, although program success will also depend on steps taken by organizations to minimize stressful work environments. Want to learn more? Visit these sites:
¹ Fernandez, Diana, Hayan Su, Paul Winters, and Liang Hua. "Association of Workplace Chronic and Acute Stressors with Employee Weight Status: Data from Worksites in Turmoil." Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 52 (2010): S34-41.