Before we leap into 2019, we want to take a few minutes to appreciate the year that was. 2018 was challenging for many of us. We lost loved ones, choked on smoke during summer’s wildfire season, received heartbreaking diagnoses. But as the great philosopher Albus Dumbledore* noted,
*The movie version, that is.
Moreover, research shows that expressing gratitude is good for your health, so we are going to end the year on a high note by celebrating some of 2018’s highlights.
Lake County was introduced to Nolan the Colon
Colorectal cancer isn’t a topic most people want to discuss, but nothing breaks the ice quite like a giant inflatable colon. Thanks to grant from Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO), Lake Health District was able to bring Nolan home in time for the annual Daly Days health fair. If you missed out on taking a selfie with a polyp in 2018, don’t worry: Nolan will be back in 2019. And if seeing Nolan is reminding you that you might be due for a screening, call your healthcare provider today. Make sure to ask if you’re eligible for a fecal immunochemical test (FIT). These noninvasive tests are done at home in the privacy of your own bathroom and can detect warning signs that might early indicators of colorectal cancer. It is the third leading cause of cancer death in the country, but colorectal cancer is also one of the most treatable, especially if it’s caught early.
Many hungry kids were fed
The Outback Strong Summer Lunch Program more than doubled the number of lunches served the year before. In 2017, Lake Health District and its many community partners served 2,373 meals to kids 18 and younger. In 2018, the summer lunch program served more meals than that at a single site (McDonald City Park). All told, the health district and its partners served 5,128 lunches to kids and teens. We had a great time, and we’re already looking forward to 2019. Do you want to help us plan next summer’s program? Email us or call (541) 947-2114 ext. 398 for more information.
Kids trained for a triathlon
Oregon State University Lake County Extension helped 65 kids stay physically active during the summer in its i Tri triathlon training program. With help from 12 teen staff members and several community volunteers, OSU Extension showed a small army of kids how to be better swimmers, cyclists, and runners. The program explored other forms of exercise as well, including yoga and disc golf, and children learned the ins and outs of sports nutrition and hydration. Twenty-three i Tri kids signed up for Lake Health District Home Health and Hospice’s It’s About How You Live Triathlon, representing 38 percent of the total number registered for the race. Even though the triathlon was canceled because of poor air quality, OSU Extension and its partners are thrilled with the program’s results — and so is Oregon State. The university awarded the planning committee a Teamwork Award and featured the program in its annual impact report.
Young people had regular check-ups
La Pine Community Health Center-Christmas Valley smashed its goal for adolescent well-care visits. Medicaid urges kids and young adults ages 12 to 21 see their healthcare provider each year for a wellness exam, and Lake County providers recommend that all youths in this age group keep an annual appointment. Young people in this age group are going through several changes physically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Checking in with a healthcare provider is a good way to make sure teens and young adults are healthy. These exams give providers a chance to cover topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual activity, and mental health challenges.
This age group can be reluctant to see a healthcare provider, especially if they think they are healthy. EOCCO sets a target each year for Oregon Health Plan members to complete adolescent well-care visits. In 2018, the target was for 40.6 percent of members to see their healthcare providers. The Christmas Valley clinic saw 51 percent of its 12- to 21-year-olds complete adolescent well-care visits this year.
Students from 3 school districts took part in teen health fairs
Lake Health District’s Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) coordinated the first Outback Strong Teen Health Fair at Daly Middle School in 2017. After the inaugural event’s success (150 students attended and the county’s adolescent well-care visit rate climbed 16.6 percent after the fair), CHIP and many Outback Strong partners were eager to include more Lake County teens in the fun. Outback Strong Teen Health Fair: North was held October 3 at North Lake School. About 145 students went through the fair, where they learned about the consequences of drunken driving, had the opportunity to get up-to-date on their immunizations, learned about resources available if they’re feeling depressed or experiencing bullying, and more. Outback Strong Teen Health Fair: South drew 110 attendees, including 40 from Paisley School. The partners are already planning their 2019 events.
Lake County launched a regional drug partnership
Partners in three counties began developing a regional assessment related to narcotic use and opioid use disorder treatment. Lake Health District received a $200,000 Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning (RCORP) grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.** The grant is bringing together multidisciplinary partners from across Lake, Klamath, and Modoc counties to address the opioid crisis. The partners have formed the High Desert Rural Opioid Partnership, and in 2019, they will assess the three counties’ current resources for opioid addiction treatment and recovery and identify gaps in services and in the treatment and prevention workforce. They will survey residents about their knowledge of and attitude toward narcotics and opioid use and abuse. The partners will use this information to develop a strategic plan to address the opioid crisis.
One known gap is that not all local law enforcement officers carry naloxone. Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, temporarily reduces the effects of an opioid overdose. Lake County Sheriff’s deputies in north Lake County carry Narcan. So do Oregon State Police troopers. Sheriff’s deputies at the south end of the county do not carry naloxone. The HRSA grant will allow Lake Health District to buy Narcan for all law enforcement officers in Lake County and ensure they’re trained in its use.
If you want more information about the grant or are interested in participating in the partnership, contact the project director, Nam Dave, via email or at (541) 947-3366 ext. 292.
**This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $200,000 with 3 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.
What have we missed? Share your favorite memory or biggest win from 2018 with us.