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**

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If You Won’t Get a Colonoscopy for Yourself, Get One for Your Family

(Salt Lake City, UT) – There are countless things you do for the ones you love; make getting screened for colon cancer be one of them. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Utah for both men and women. But if caught early, 92 percent of those cancers are treatable, which means you’ll be around to keep taking care of your loved ones.

Doug Miller, television personality, outdoorsman, and family man, lost his life to colorectal cancer. “My dad was just 58 years old when he died,” says his daughter, Karen Miller Coleman. “He had never had a colonoscopy. Had he gotten one, he would still be here. So get a colonoscopy.” 

Karen is featured in the Utah Department of Health’s Utah Cancer Control Program (UDOH UCCP) campaign, which is aimed at saving lives by increasing colorectal cancer screening. Current TV ads are the third installment in an ongoing prevention effort where Karen encourages Utahns to get a colonoscopy, “If not for yourself, for your family.”

The campaign runs through March, which is Utah Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. The Cancer Control Program believes the campaign will motivate Utah men and women aged 50 and older to get the life-saving recommended screening.

Newly-released data from the Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that Utah men and women aged 65+ were much more likely to get screened than those aged 50-64. But screening really must begin at 50 for the best chance of survival.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following colon cancer screening tests for adults aged 50 and older:

• Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) done at home every year;
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy done every five years, with FOBT/FIT done every three years, or;
• Colonoscopy done every 10 years.

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest case in your immediate family, whichever is earlier. In other words, if your father was 48 when he was diagnosed, you should get screened at age 38. “If caught early, 92 percent of colorectal cancers are treatable,” said Kelly Robinson, UCCP health educator.

Recommended screening beginning at age 50 is the most effective way to prevent colon cancer.  If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your family.  For more information about colon cancer, visit

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Media Contact:
Katie McMinn
Media Specialist