Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Safe Kids Coalitions Offer Safety Information Throughout Utah

(Salt Lake City) – In Utah, more kids ages 0-19 die each year from preventable injuries than from any other cause. Between 2011-2013 there was an average of 78 deaths each year among kids 0-19 in Utah. Nationwide, more than 8,000 families will lose a child to a preventable injury this year; and worldwide, more than one million families will suffer the same tragedy. Millions more children will be injured in ways that will affect them for a lifetime. 

Safe Kids Utah is participating in a nationwide celebration during April and May that includes more than 175 events nationwide aimed at promoting safety and preventing injuries. Here in Utah, Safe Kids coalitions across the state will participate in several events focused on preventing injuries and saving lives. Utah’s events will focus on preventing head injuries through helmet use and education on how to recognize the signs of a brain injury.

“Safe Kids Day has one simple, but critical goal: working together as a community to raise awareness about preventable injuries so kids can grow up to do all the great things kids were meant to do,” says Cambree Applegate, Coordinator of Safe Kids Utah. “These events are a time to celebrate kids and make learning about preventable injuries fun.”   

Events will be held:

Wednesday, April 22 – Community Safety and Grandparents Event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Castleview Hospital (300 Hospital Drive, Price)
Thursday, April 23 – Car Seat Checkpoint from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Redwood Recreation Center (3060 Lester Street, Salt Lake City)
Saturday, April 25 – Safe Kids Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Newgate Mall in Ogden (36th St. and Wall Avenue, Ogden)
Saturday, April 25 – Safety Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at La Verkin City Park (300 North State Street, La Verkin)
Saturday, April 25 – Safe Kids Recycling Round-Up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harmon’s South Jordan (10507 South Redwood Road, South Jordan)
Saturday, May 2 – UTA Bike Day with the Mayor of Springville City starting at 9:30 a.m. at Springville Civic Center (110 South Main Street, Springville)  
Saturday, May 2 – Safe Kids Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Davis County Legacy Events Center at the county’s fairgrounds (151 South 1100 West, Farmington)
Friday, May 8 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Mt. Nebo Market (965 North Main St. Nephi)
Saturday, May 9 – Smithfield Health Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Forrester Acres (100 North 500 West, Smithfield)
Saturday, May 9 – Safe Kids Health and Safety Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Southfield Park (1200 West Midway Lane, Heber)
Saturday, May 9 – UTA Bike Day with the Mayor of Orem City from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Palisade Park (850 North Palisade Drive (1300 East))
Saturday, May 9 – Car Seat Checkpoint from 10 a.m. to noon at Mountainlands Community Health Clinic (589 South State Street, Provo)
Tuesday, May 12 – UTA Bike to Work Day in Provo City from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Historic County Courthouse west lawn (University Avenue and Center Street, Provo)
Wednesday, May 27  – Safety Day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at South Summit Elementary School (535 East 300 South, Kamas)
Saturday, May, 30  – Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Safety from 10 a.m. to noon at Weller Recreation (936 West Highway 248, Kamas)
Saturday, June 6 – Tooele Health and Safety Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Macey’s (972 North Main Street, Tooele)
Saturday, June 13 – Community Health Fair from 9 a.m. to noon at Riverton Hospital (3773 West 12600 South, Riverton)

For more information on preventing head injuries and other accidental injuries go to

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Media Contact:
Cambree Applegate
Safe Kids Utah Coordinator

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Huntsman Sentencing a Reminder of 'Safe Haven' for Newborns

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The sentencing yesterday of Megan Huntsman, who took the lives of her six newborns following their births, is a tragedy that could have been prevented by knowing the resources that are available in communities throughout Utah. It is never too late to remind women and girls that there is help for unwanted and unintended pregnancies. 

“The very sad story of Megan Huntsman doesn’t have to happen,” said Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake who sponsored the Safe Have legislation in 2001. “Safe Haven is an important law that saves babies’ lives by allowing a new mother to drop off her baby at any hospital, no questions asked. The infant will be cared for and placed in foster care until adopted.”

”Mothers need to know the importance of getting services for drug and alcohol dependence,” says Julia Robertson, Manager of the Utah Department of Health’s Safe Haven program. “The state’s local health departments are excellent resources for treatment,” she added. 

In addition to receiving newborns, Utah hospitals with emergency rooms are required to deliver a baby if a mother comes to the facility saying she wants to have her baby there and then relinquish custody.

Since 2001, dozens of newborns have been saved by courageous mothers who chose to give their children a better chance at life through the Safe Haven law. Families should also be aware of crisis nurseries throughout the state that can be found by calling 2-1-1.   For more information, visit 

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Media Contacts:
Cyndi Bemis, UDOH

Rep. Patrice Arent

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

30 Years of Advancing Health Equity

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities (OHD) is commemorating National Minority Health Month throughout April with a series of community-based programs that include preventive screenings and a new birth outcomes pilot program that highlights health disparities affecting the growing number vulnerable populations.

OHD has partnered with three community agencies in Provo and Salt Lake City – Centro Hispano, Hui Hawai‘i o Utah Hawaiian Civic Club, and the Somali Community Self-Management Agency – to provide free screenings for cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure at sites in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Provo.  
The OHD also recently partnered with the Queen Center on a pilot program to address the high infant mortality rate among Utah Pacific Islanders. This program is the first of its kind in the state to offer culturally responsive workshops and activities to teach Pacific Islander families about the seriousness of infant mortality. The program also educates participants about factors that help promote healthy pregnancies and births, including prenatal care, maternal wellness, family communication, and stress management.

According to facilitators and more than 30 participants, the six-week pilot program was a success. The OHD focus going forward will be to collaborate with the Bureau of Maternal and Infant Health to improve upon and expand similar interventions with Pacific Islander communities.   
The theme of this year’s National Minority Health Month is “30 Years of Advancing Health Equity,” which highlights the first US Department of Health and Human Services report on minority health, known as the “Heckler Report,” in 1985.

More information on National Minority Health Month can be found at

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The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through
preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to
affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Media Contact:
Jake Fitisemanu
Office of Health Disparities
Outreach Coordinator

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

UDOH Issues Tri County Adverse Birth Outcome Study

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) today issued a final report evaluating adverse birth outcomes (ABOs) in the Tri County Health District (TCHD), which covers Daggett, Duchesne, and Uintah counties. The TCHD requested the analysis last year after residents in the area reported a perceived increase in the number of stillbirths and infant deaths in the area.

UDOH investigators collected birth records from 1991-2013 to determine if the rate of ABOs in the Tri County area was higher than the rate experienced in the rest of the state. The ABOs included in the study were low-birth weight, premature birth, small-for-gestational age, infant deaths, and stillbirths. 

Statewide, approximately 16 percent of all pregnancies result in an ABO each year. In the TCHD area, the study found approximately 20 percent of pregnancies each year resulted in an ABO. However, when the study controlled for risk factors that can increase the likelihood of an ABO, such as teen pregnancy, maternal weight, race and ethnicity, maternal use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs, and maternal chronic health conditions, there was no evidence that the overall rate of ABOs in TCHD was higher than in other parts of the state.

The study did reveal periodic, increased risk for some ABOs, including:
The number of stillbirths exceeded the state average in the final time period of the study, further analysis will be needed to determine if this elevation is an isolated variation, 
Small-for-gestational age births were elevated in almost all time periods, and significantly elevated in some,
The study also revealed several important risk factors that can lead to poor birth outcomes are more common in Tri County than in the rest of the state (namely, tobacco use and diabetes among expectant mothers).

While the statistical differences for these specific outcomes were small, the overall trend does present reason for concern.

“Although the statistical differences between the TriCounty area and the state are minimal when it comes to adverse health outcomes, there are obviously patterns that raise some concerns for public health locally,” said TCHD Executive Director Jordan Mathis. “It is important that we take measures to better understand these patterns through continued monitoring and evaluation.  However, many of the risk factors that contribute to ABOs are controllable, and the department will maintain its efforts to educate and promote programs we know can have a positive impact on reducing the risk for ABOs. We look forward to working with the community to determine what the next steps should be in helping to ensure babies born in the Uintah Basin are as healthy as possible.”

While the report did not attempt to link any ABOs to specific causes, the most important risk factors that typically lead to an ABO include chronic health conditions of the mother, such as diabetes, tobacco use, and inadequate prenatal care.

The UDOH committed to revisit the study in another two years to help better understand and monitor the situation. The full report is available online at

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Media Contacts:
Tom Hudachko
Utah Department of Health
(o) 801-538-6232 (m) 801-560-4649

Jeramie Tubbs
Tri County Health Department
(m) 435-822-3061

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tri County Adverse Birth Outcome Study to be Released

WHAT: The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) will present the results of its Tri County Adverse Birth Outcomes statistical review to the Tri County Board of Health during its March meeting.

WHY: In June 2013 the UDOH was made aware of a perceived increase in stillbirths and infant deaths in the Tri County Health district (Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah counties). The Department reviewed adverse birth outcomes including low birth weight, premature birth, small-for-gestational age births, infant deaths, and stillbirths to determine if these outcomes were more frequent in the Tri County area than in the rest of the state.  

The study did not attempt to identify factors that may have lead to any adverse birth outcomes.

WHO: Sam LeFevre
Utah Department of Health

WHEN: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WHERE: Tri County Health Department – large conference room
                133 South 500 East
                Vernal, Utah 

**Note: Members of the media who agree to an embargo of noon on Wednesday, March 18 can receive an advance copy of the report by emailing Tom Hudachko at**