The Dangers of Extreme Heat

The Dangers of Extreme Heat

This July has been the hottest in human history, and extreme heat has impacted most of the US. The groups most at risk from high temperatures include seniors, children, and people experiencing homelessness. Additionally, there are few protections for outdoor workers.

  • Health Impacts: Heat is the most deadly extreme weather condition. A recent study found a rise in heart attacks on days of extreme heat and high pollution levels.
  • Urban Heat Islands: A new analysis found that about 41 million urban residents experience temperature increases of 8 degrees or more.
  • Policies: There is pressure on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to designate extreme heat events as natural disasters. The White House has announced measures to protect workers and vulnerable communities from extreme heat.

Resources & Initiatives:

New KFF Analysis Shows Number of Suicide Deaths at Record Levels

From 2011 to 2022, over half a million lives (539,810) were lost to suicide, with 2022 showing the highest number of deaths on record. Within this period, the adjusted suicide rate increased by 16%. Recognizing the mounting mental health crisis and demand for accessible crisis care, the federal government introduced a new crisis number, 988available nationwide in July 2022. This easy to remember three-digit number connects callers who are suicidal or experiencing a mental health emergency to a crisis counselor at one of 200+ local crisis call centers. There, they may access crisis counseling, resources, referrals, and connections to other crisis services. Though suicide deaths slowed in 2019 and 2020, they began to increase again in 2021 and 2022, but the cause of this recent rise in suicides is unclear.

Key takeaways from an analysis of aggregate provisional data from 2022 and CDC WONDER data from 2011 to 2021, which represents the most recent and comprehensive data available before the mid-2022 launch of 988, include the following:

  • CDC’s provisional data for 2022 show a record high of 49,369 suicide deaths, coming after modest declines in 2019 and 2020.
  • In 2022, provisional data indicates the highest number of gun-related suicides on record; increases in firearm suicides are driving the increases in overall suicide deaths in recent years.
  • Suicide death rates in 2021 were highest among American Indian and Alaska Native people, males, and people who live in rural areas.
  • Suicide deaths are increasing fastest among people of color, younger people, and those who live in rural areas with many groups seeing increases of 30% or more from 2011 to 2021.
  • Suicide death rates varied considerably by state in 2021, as did the rate of change between 2011 and 2021.

Read the full report from KFF.

Using a Virtual Assistant to Support Healing at Home

When new parents take their infants home from the hospital, they typically have many questions. Is my baby crying too much? Is she nursing enough? Does his poop look normal? During this challenging time, sometimes known as the “fourth trimester,” families need a great deal of support.

To meet this need, the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (HUP), in partnership with Memora Health, developed a program called “Healing at Home”. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is part of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Eliminating Inequities and Reducing Postpartum Morbidity and Mortality Learning Community. Participants focus on improving clinical and administrative processes to ensure safer and more equitable postpartum care and support for Black mothers and birthing persons.

The Healing at Home program consists of a virtual postpartum assistant, named Penny, which provides automated answers via text message to patients’ questions for the first six weeks after discharge. Penny also administers the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) for screening, and provides blood pressure monitoring for low-risk patients. (High-risk patients participate in a program called Heart Safe Motherhood).

“We launched our program in March of 2020, when COVID-19 was starting when we saw a lot of our parents going home sooner rather than later,” said Laura Scalise, MSN, RN, Nurse Manager at HUP. “We wanted to make sure we could monitor our families that were leaving so soon [after childbirth], provide any connections to support (i.e., lactation referrals), and readily answer the questions they had.”

Read the full article from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

F.D.A. Approves R.S.V. Shot for Infants

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a shot to protect infants and vulnerable toddlers against respiratory syncytial virus, or R.S.V., offering one of the first protections for an illness that fills children’s hospitals year after year.

The monoclonal antibody shot is expected to be available at the start of the fall R.S.V. season. The F.D.A. is also considering approval of an R.S.V. vaccine by Pfizer for pregnant women that is meant to protect infants from the virus.

The treatment approved on Monday, called Beyfortus by its developers Sanofi and AstraZeneca, addresses an illness that can be severe in older adults and young infants. About 80,000 children ages 5 and younger are hospitalized with the virus each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“R.S.V. can cause serious disease in infants and some children and results in a large number of emergency department and physician office visits each year,” Dr. John Farley, an official in the F.D.A. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said. “Today’s approval addresses the great need for products to help reduce the impact of R.S.V. disease on children, families and the health care system.”

Read the full article from the New York Times.

Advisory Committee Opportunity from the CYSHCNet Research Network

We’re interested in hearing from children and youth with special health care needs(CYSHCN) and anyone who supports them.

Whether you’re a young adult with special health care needs, a caregiver, a clinician, or you’re employed in the CYSHCN field, we want to hear from you!  Apply to participate in our Advisory Committee to help our researchers create studies that improve the health caresystem for CYSHCN and their families.

What you need to know:

  • Quarterly Zoom meetings with total time commitment of ~12 hours/year.
  • Lived experience partners (i.e., those who are or care for someone with a special health care need) receive $600/year for participating.
  • Clinicians and those otherwise employed in the CYSHCN field are invited to participate as volunteers.
  • Experience in one of the following areas is helpful but not required: caregiving, dissemination, research, policy work, health care financing, program development, clinical care for CYSHCN, legal skills, public relations, or communications.

Deadline for applications is August 10, 2023.

Learn more

CYSHCNET Advisory Committee Flier

Input Needed for Crisis Intervention Systems for Youth with IDD

The National Association for the Dually Diagnosed has partnered with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors to conduct a study investigating services provided to teens and young adults who have intellectual/developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health conditions (dual diagnosis).

The goal of this study is to identify best practices and improvements needed to ensure responsive, individualized and effective treatment and support for teens and youth with a dual diagnosis who are experiencing a crisis. NADD will utilize the information obtained from this study to identify strategies that build capacity within communities to better meet the needs of teens and youth who have intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental health conditions.

We are seeking volunteers to complete a short survey and participate in a follow-up phone or video interview.

Volunteer requirements:

  • Must be a behavioral health/mental health professional, parent/advocate, educator, emergency services personnel or first responder.
  • Must reside within the United States.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must work with or have provided services to teens and youth with intellectual//developmental disabilities.
  • Must be able to read and understand English.

Additional information:

Survey, phone interviews and video sessions will be completed through Monday, July 17, 2023.

Participation is voluntary and all responses will be kept confidential. You may exit the online survey or interview at any time. Before you participate, you will be asked to electronically sign an adult consent form. To protect your privacy, no names or any personally identifiable information will be collected outside of coordinating your phone interview or video session.

Please click here to take the survey.

The Text-to-911 Service is Now Available Statewide

All counties and Public Safety Answering Points in the state of Washington can now accept Text-to-911.

“The standard for Text-to-911 in Washington and nationally is: ‘Call if you can, text if you can’t,’ said Adam Wasserman, State 911 Coordinator. “A voice call to 911 will get help moving faster than a text message, but use the method that keeps you, as the caller, safest.”

All 911 centers in Washington have made the necessary changes to their call handling equipment and can receive and respond to requests for assistance that arrive via text messages. The State 911 Office is currently working with the statewide 911 call delivery network contractor to perform the necessary upgrades to enable delivery of Real-Time Text messaging –which should be available to the 911 call centers beginning in Q4 2023. As it is now, standard “SMS text messages” arrive almost immediately after the person hits “send,” but the entire message arrives at once. With Real-Time Text (RTT) technology, each character arrives as the person types it into their phone.

Commonwealth Fund Annual State Scorecard Available

The country is grappling with a surge in preventable deaths and unaddressed mental health needs, according to the latest edition of the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. The report annually ranks states’ health systems based on how well they provide high-quality, accessible, and equitable health care. And for the first time, the scorecard includes measures for evaluating reproductive care and women’s health.

It is also possible to download and read only the Washington Data.


E-Cigs Are Still Flooding the US, Addicting Teens With Higher Nicotine Doses

When the FDA first asserted the authority to regulate e-cigarettes in 2016, many people assumed the agency would quickly get rid of vapes with flavors like cotton candy, gummy bears, and Froot Loops that appeal to kids.

Instead, the FDA allowed all e-cigarettes already on the market to stay while their manufacturers applied for the OK to market them.

Seven years later, vaping has ballooned into an $8.2 billion industry, and manufacturers are flooding the market with thousands of products — most sold illegally and without FDA permission — that can be far more addictive.

“The FDA has failed to protect public health,” said Eric Lindblom, a former senior adviser to the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “It’s a tragedy.”

Yet the FDA isn’t the only entity that has tolerated the selling of vapes to kids.

Multiple players in and out of Washington have declined to act, tied the agency’s hands, or neglected to provide the FDA with needed resources. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both have prevented the FDA from broadly banning candy-flavored vapes.

Meanwhile, today’s vapes have become “bigger, badder, and cheaper” than older models, said Robin Koval, CEO of the Truth Initiative, a tobacco control advocacy group. The enormous amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes — up 76% over five years — can addict kids in a matter of days, Koval said.

E-cigarettes in the U.S. now contain nicotine concentrations that are, on average, more than twice the level allowed in Canada and Europe. The U.S. sets no limits on the nicotine content of any tobacco product.

“We’ve never delivered this level of nicotine before,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which opposes youth vaping. “We really don’t know the long-term health implications.”

Elijah Stone was 19 when he tried his first e-cigarette at a party. He was a college freshman, grappling with depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and “looking for an escape.” Store clerks never asked for his ID.

Stone said he was “hooked instantly.”

Read the full article from KFF.

Parent Institute for Engagement (PIE): Leadership and Lifelong Learning Now Recruiting

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program is seeking parents/caregivers from a variety of backgrounds to participate in the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) Parent Institute for Engagement (PIE): Leadership and Lifelong Learning.

PIE is a 12-month training program for parents/caregivers with children who have received early intervention services through the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) and primarily for those who are not currently working in the early intervention field. One spot is designated for a parent/caregiver working in the early intervention field. Our goal is to have a racially and geographically diverse group of participants.

Parents/Caregivers will learn about:
  • Robert’s Rules of Order (a framework commonly used in public meetings)
  • The State Interagency Coordinating Council and its role in advising and assisting ESIT
  • The early intervention system
  • Leadership and advocacy
  • Public speaking and presentation
Throughout this training institute, you may have opportunities to participate on SICC standing committees as parent representative openings become available.

Participants will enhance their leadership skills and have the opportunity to practice those skills to be great candidates for school boards and government bodies.

Application deadline:
August 4, 2023
Cohort 6 announced:
August 11, 2023