Shingrix: An Improvement of the Herpes Zoster Vaccine

Posted on 12/15/17, 4:43 AM by Joshua Thai

Shingles is a disease that affects nearly one in three adults in their lifetime in the United States. The previous shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was approved, but not entirely effective. This year the FDA approved Shingrix, a new shingles vaccine with robust efficacy rates and which yields protection years after vaccination. 

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Chronic Disease Self-Management Program can help improve outcomes in patients with chronic disease

Posted on 12/12/17, 6:23 PM by Kristin Hanger

Chronic diseases and conditions are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality for Image result for chronic diseaseAmericans. They also account for the majority of health care costs in the U.S. Strategies to prevent chronic illness and to improve patient management is vital to not only improving health care costs, but to improve quality of life for these individuals. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is a low-cost, evidence-based program that helps patients with chronic disease improve exercise compliance, symptom management, communication skills and overall health.

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Delaying school start times may positively impact student academic performance

Posted on 11/25/17, 3:07 PM by Kristin Hanger

Sleep is an essential component of life. Adequate sleep is necessary for optimal mental and physical health and improves quality of life. Sleep improves memory and learning, attention, emotional regulation, mental health & well-being, and weight control. A lack of sleep adolescents can negatively impact a child’s health, safety and academic performance. A modifiable contributing factor to inadequate sleep in adolescents and teens is school start times. Research is demonstrating delaying school start times is effective in deterring chronic sleep loss in the adolescent and teen population.    

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The Great American Smokeout is coming!

Posted on 11/10/17, 10:30 AM by Kristin Hanger

The Great American Smokeout is coming!

November 16, 2017

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.. Every year, cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in our country; this is more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, injuries from motor vehicle injuries and firearm-related incidents combined. Smokers are at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, lung cancer and having a stroke.

Quit Now Virginia is is a free and confidential program available to any Virginia resident over the age of 13 years to work with individuals to quit smoking. 

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Virginia's Response to the Opioid Epidemic

Posted on 11/1/17, 2:00 PM by Evianna Cruz Herrera

The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States. As part of a public lecture held on October 18, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, William A. Hazel highlighted Virginia’s response to this epidemic. State leadership has instituted a few different policies to help begin address this reality, with an emphasis on general addiction services. The approach focuses on five key points: harm reduction, recovery services, prescribing patterns, addressing illegal supply, and changing the culture around opioid use. 

Innovator Profile: Dr. Clifford Morris

Posted on 10/20/17, 12:01 AM by Kristin Hanger

Dr. Clifford Morris leads the Morris Cardiovascular and Risk Reduction Center in Chester, VA. Dr. Morris is a board-certified cardiologist who takes an innovative approach to health and wellness. Beyond treating disease and symptoms, Morris Cardiovascular focuses on the whole person to achieve their optimal health potential.  

Breast Cancer is More Than a Pink Ribbon

Posted on 10/9/17, 8:30 AM by Erin Steigleder

The Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation (VBCF) believes breast cancer is more than a pink ribbon and is dedicated to providing Virginians with knowledge and a voice in the fight to end breast cancer. VBCF was founded by a group of women who felt the resources offered to breast cancer patients were insufficient in Virginia in 1991, the year with the highest cancer death rate in the United States. VBCF provides women and men the information and resources they need to catch breast cancer early, support them through their treatment journey, and make plans for life after treatment. More than 25 years later, we continue our mission to educate and advocate for Virginians affected by breast cancer.

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A New Model for Dementia Care

Posted on 9/30/17, 1:06 AM by Evianna Cruz Herrera

The shifting age demographics in the United States are impressive. By 2050, the population over the age of 65 is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double of what it was in 2012.1 Within this age bracket, the population over the age of 85 specifically will reflect an even more precipitous increase. In Virginia, the senior population is expected to double by 2030. This gradual shift will continue to place a significant strain on existent public programs, such as Medicare and Social Security.2 Health care practitioners will also increasingly be called on to develop innovative ways to manage the health care needs of this population.

Robot-assisted surgery in Gynecology

Posted on 9/22/17, 7:23 PM by Kristin Hanger

Robot-assisted surgery was initially developed more than 25 years ago. Since then, the science and technology of robotic surgery has grown exponentially due to its benefits in the surgical suite, including heightened stability, accuracy, and enhanced range of motion versus traditional surgical techniques. Gynecology is one of the increasing number of specialties that utilizes robotic-assisted surgery.

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Let's get moving! Walk with a Doc program at Augusta Health

Posted on 9/6/17, 1:04 AM by Kristin Hanger

Physical activity is a key component to a healthy body and mind. Research has shown that physical activity can have a significant impact on health. There are multiple health benefits of regular exercise. Physical activity can help with weight control, improve mood and boost energy. Being active can help prevent a multitude of health conditions and diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and arthritis, as well as some cancers. 

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Public Schools, A Venue for America's War on Obesity

Posted on 9/4/17, 11:00 AM by Amelia Nell

At Buckingham County Elementary in rural Virginia, thanks to an innovative cafeteria design, learning goes beyond simple math and reading to include skills essential for a lengthy, healthy life. Here, students watch as their food is prepared, see where the vegetables are planted in the school garden, spend time in the “food lab” learning how to fix nutrient-rich recipes and discover the benefits of compost. The public school, opened in 2013, was the result of the collaboration of public health experts, pediatricians, school officials and architects intent on fighting the national obesity epidemic at the ground level; curbing children towards a healthier lifestyle in the place where they spend more than a third of their day.

Women's Health Focus

Posted on 8/31/17, 3:02 PM by Kristin Hanger

Men and women were not created equal…especially when it comes to health. There are certain health issues that are unique to only women and certain disease processes women are more at risk of developing that men, while other health issues affect women and men differently.  Health issues unique to women are those related to the female organs, pregnancy and menopause. Other considerations to remember include higher mortality for women than men following a myocardial infarction, women are more apt to elicit signs of anxiety and depression than men;  in addition, more women are affected by osteoarthritis than men. Females are also more likely than males to have issues with the urinary tract, and sexually transmitted diseases often display more serious effects in females than their male counterparts. 

A Snapshot of HPV Vaccination Rates in Virginia

Posted on 8/23/17, 12:02 PM by Evianna Cruz Herrera

From commercials that lay on the guilt and posters in medical offices to numerous news reports, the reminders to get a child vaccinated for HPV are constant. In Virginia, there is even a state law that makes it a requirement. Passed in 2007, the law stipulates that all females entering the sixth grade must be vaccinated against HPV. Virginia was one of the first states to issue this mandate, with 19 other states quickly following suit. School systems are also increasingly requiring the vaccine, though enforcement is piecemeal and insufficient.1 On a national level, Healthy People 2020 explicitly lists a target of 80 percent HPV vaccination coverage for males and females between the ages of 13-15 as one of the achievable goals.2 Despite these initiatives, HPV vaccination rates in VA remain consistently low.

Don't Forget...Adults with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Need Vaccinations Too!

Posted on 8/19/17, 4:42 PM by Kristin Hanger

     August is National Immunization Month. Although there is a necessary focus on ensuring pediatric vaccination, we must not forget about our adult patients with chronic disease, who are often at higher risk of vaccine-preventable illnesses. In the specialty area of Gastroenterology, inflammatory bowel disease, is a chronic illness that requires health maintenance to ensure patients maintain optimum health, including certain vaccinations. 

VCHI Travels to Wise County for Nation's Largest Free Medical Clinic

Posted on 7/25/17, 2:57 PM by Amelia Nell

For the last 17 years, the Wise County Fairgrounds have transformed one weekend each July into the bustling center of medical care for the underserved and uninsured of rural Appalachia. This past weekend, the VCHI team made the 6-hour drive west to witness the nation’s largest free medical clinic and assist its volunteer army of doctors, dentists, optometrists and community workers in providing care for more than 2,000 in-need patients. 

Men's Health Month Brings Awareness to the Gender Disparity in Health, Calling for Behavioral Change

Posted on 6/30/17, 2:57 PM by Amelia Nell

June is Men’s Health Month- a time to promote awareness of preventable, male health problems and encourage active involvement by men in the betterment of their own physical and mental wellness. Since 1994, the nationally recognized month has been observed throughout the U.S with media campaigns, health education events, screening promotions and the wearing of the color blue.1 This June, the Commonwealth has seen the engagement of its own local news stations, providers and state agencies in publicizing recommendations for a healthy male lifestyle and highlighting health concerns particular to this half of the population.

Same Day Access: “One of the Most Significant Improvements for Mental Health in Virginia’s Recent History” Launches July 1st

Posted on 6/23/17, 3:30 PM by Amelia Nell

As a state ranked 42nd overall by Mental Health America for a high prevalence of mental illness and limited access to care,1 The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services’ launch of the Same Day Access Program is a valuable step in bettering the initial assessment and care management for the estimated 29.4 percent of Virginians reporting poor mental health.2; The program, beginning July 1st, enables a person who calls or appears at a community service board (CSB) to undergo a mental health assessment the very same day they first reach out for help. If needed, the individual will then be offered an appointment for treatment within 10 ensuing days. Funds for the program will first be distributed to 8 select CSBs dispersed throughout the Commonwealth with funding in place to expand to an additional 10 of the total 40 CSBs in the next few months.3

Reforming Medical Education to Prevent Provider Burnout

Posted on 6/2/17, 1:43 PM by Song Fu

Physicians are not immune to mental health issues. More than 300 physicians commit suicide each year, a rate higher than the national average.