Friday, January 24, 2014

New Violence and Injury Data Available by Neighborhood

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Have you ever wondered whether your town has more suicides than others? Or whether residents in your community are in more motor vehicle crashes? Just check the Utah Department of Health's (UDOH) new Violence and Injury Small Area report. The report summarizes data on 17 different injury-related topics by "small areas" across the state.

“Small areas” refers to a set of 62 geographic areas in Utah with population sizes ranging from 20,000 to more than 100,000 persons. These areas are especially useful for assessing health needs at the community level and targeting programs to those at greatest risk for injury
This is the second Violence and Injury Small Area report released by the UDOH in the last four years. Data from the first report were used by local health officials to identify communities in greatest need of limited resources. For example, in Utah County, two communities were identified as having the highest hospitalization rates from falls for Utahns aged 65 and older. As a result, the Utah County Health Department secured funding from the UDOH and Mountainland Association of Governments to implement the Stepping On program in these two high-risk communities. Stepping On is an evidence-based program shown to reduce falls by 31%. Today, five counties (Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah, and Wasatch) offer Stepping On to residents via their local Health or Aging Services departments. 

Findings from the report indicate that some injuries vary widely within a local health district. For example, within the four small areas that make up the Bear River Health District, the rate of emergency department visits from suicide attempts varied from a low of 6.5 in Logan (ranked the 8th lowest in the state) to a high of 27.0 in Brigham City (ranked the highest in the state) per 10,000 persons. The state rate is 11.3 per 10,000 persons. As a result, the Bear River Health Department has formed partnerships with community agencies to educate citizens about mental health resources and decrease the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. Officials have also implemented a free, evidence-based suicide prevention program called QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), which is designed to teach the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond.

“Utah has made tremendous strides in preventing injuries and violence in our state over the last 30 years, but this report shows that residents in some areas are still at higher risk than others,” said Trisha Keller, Program Manager for the UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program.

The data are presented in tables, graphs, and maps to help show differences across the state. The report includes maps of each health district and its small areas to help the reader see where violence and injury problems are concentrated.

The topics in the report include:
     Child injuries and fatalities
     Fall-related injuries and fatalities
     Firearm fatalities
     Self-reported seatbelt usage
     Motor vehicle crash injuries and fatalities
     Poisoning fatalities
     Suicide attempts and fatalities
     Traumatic brain injury hospitalizations

For a full copy of the Utah Violence and Injury Small Area report, visit

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Prominent Utah Women are Faces of New Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

(SALT LAKE CITY) – Getting regular mammograms is the best way to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. When found early, breast cancer is treatable.

"Not a lot of people can say their job saved their life, but mine was truly saved when I got a mammogram for a TV story," says Mary Nickles, KUTV anchor who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 after she did a news story on the importance – and ease – of getting a mammogram.

Utah women have the second lowest breast cancer screening rates in the country. In an effort to change that the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Cancer Control Program (UCCP) created a series of TV and radio ads featuring both Nickles and Sheri Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book Company. Both share their stories of how getting a mammogram saved their life.

“I know a lot of busy women, in fact I don’t think I know a woman who isn’t busy, but take it from me, take 45 minutes, just do it.  Just go get a mammogram,” says Dew.

“Our key message is for all women who are 40 years and older to get screened,” said Lynne Nilson, program director, UCCP.  “If you are a woman, you are at risk, and that risk increases with age.  In fact, more than 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women with no family history.”  

“We are so appreciative of Sheri and Mary for taking the time to be part of this extremely important campaign by sharing their story with all Utahns,” added Nilson. “They both lead very busy lives, and their message is clear that taking time to get a mammogram is one of the best things a woman can do for herself and her family.

For more information or to see the ads, visit

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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.