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Posts published in “Day: December 14, 2014”

Health on the civic agenda

idaho RANDY

This is from a December 12 report on the University of Washington Health Sciences NewsBeat, drawing some interesting connections in health policy. It was written by Jeff Hodson.

Reducing obesity among children. Investing in early childhood programs. Devising strategies to reduce gun violence.

These three efforts illustrate how public health has risen to the top of the civic agenda in the Pacific Northwest. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray have all announced initiatives “putting public health at the center of their priorities,” said Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health.

“This couldn’t be a better place as well as a better time to be thinking about public health,” Frumkin said in his October State-of-the-School address. “That creates for our School enormous opportunities to be of service and, in the process, to educate our students while advancing public health locally and across the state.”

Frumkin serves on Inslee’s Council for the Healthiest Next Generation, a public-private coalition that kicked off in September. It aims to identify successful efforts already underway in communities and find ways to expand them statewide. One example is the YMCA’s work to install water-bottle filling stations at schools, a move to reduce the amount of sugary drinks children consume.

Other goals include increasing the number of children who breastfeed for at least six months and reducing the amount of time children spend in front of TV or computer screens. “Gold standard research shows we can bend the curve of childhood obesity if we act early in the course of children’s lives and by making health a focus in the places where children spend the most time,” Inslee said.

At the county level, Constantine is planning to ask taxpayers to fund a new levy in 2015 focused on pregnancy and early childhood, school-aged kids, and their communities. He announced the “Best Starts for Kids” levy during his annual budget address in late September. “What happens in early childhood and adolescence shapes health and well-being throughout one’s life,” he wrote to King County Council Chair Larry Phillips.

Details are yet to be announced, but School of Public Health faculty and students in the new domestic Strategic Analysis and Research Training (START) program are working on the county’s levy efforts. Constantine says early childhood programs show returns ranging from $3 to $17 for every dollar invested. That could reduce later costs for diabetes and other chronic diseases, mental illness, child abuse and neglect, and violence and injuries. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Boise nears end to search for new police chief (Boise Statesman)
Right to work economic impacts reviews (Boise Statesman)
Call wait times at insurance exchange rising (IF Post Register)
Bonneville Co rezones may cut off IF expansion (IF Post Register)
Reviewing homelessness in Idaho (Lewiston Tribune)
COMPASS will look at improvements for I-84 (Nampa Press Tribune)
Where does sales tax money go? (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello humane says more local pets vanish (Pocatello Tribune)
Reviewing Dennis Patterson blast against INL (Pocatello Tribune)
Voters finding new school bond confusing (TF Times News)

Employees say hospital has severe staff shortage (Eugene Register Guard)
Low levels of Oregon health insurance signups (KF Herald & News)
Merger may be easing Ashland hospital money issues (Medford Tribune)

Bills filed at legislature (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing oil train traffic (Everett Herald)
Schools using more Chromebooks (Longview News)
Turnout over 1,000 at Olympia gun rally (Tacoma News Tribune, Longview News)
Longview will send recycling to Asia (Longview News)
No more post-prison watch on property criminals (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Problems with state prison industries (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Microsoft has new allies in email (Seattle Times)
Law law going after auto theives (Vancouver Columbian)
School superintendent pay keeping rising (Yakima Herald Republic)