This is the latest Live Well Allegheny e-update. Please find a variety of information that will be helpful to you in your efforts and can also be shared within your own networks. As always, you can find a great deal of information on our website, including our Partner Resources.
We now have 213 community partners, 68 municipalities, 53 restaurants, 33 workplaces and 18 school districts united in our efforts to make Allegheny County healthy for all!
A Letter From Our Director
Welcome to the Live Well Allegheny Newsletter for the month of May.
I am excited to share a brief COVID-19 update. Cases of COVID-19 are dropping rapidly in Allegheny County. Whereas we were averaging 400 or more new cases per day less than two months ago, our daily average is now under 100. That’s great news, and much of the credit goes to county-wide vaccination efforts. I want to thank everyone who held sites or helped at sites across the county.
Now we move into a new phase with Gov. Wolf’s announcement that all mitigation efforts, except for the mask requirement, will end May 31. Changes are also afoot here in terms of how we report on COVID-19: The daily update will go from six days a week to three days a week, and the weekly Wednesday COVID-19 briefing will be held every other week. Both changes start the week after Memorial Day.
We are surely experiencing the light at the end of the long tunnel and I am confident that if we continue to get more and more members of our county residents vaccinated, we will get closer to normalcy. So here’s my regular reminder: Go get vaccinated. Don’t wait, do it today. It’s free, and it works. And – please talk to your friends and family to do the same.
May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, which is timely because the Health Department recently received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to fund the Allegheny County Asthma Control Program (ACAC).
This four-year grant aims to increase asthma education and self-management skills, access to smoking cessation services, home visits to identify asthma triggers, connections to clinical care, and community events. Our partners in this program are the Duquesne University Center for Integrative Health, Women for a Healthy Environment and the American Lung Association.
The program will operate countywide but will focus on areas that need it most, the Mon Valley, where residents have long suffered from higher rates of uncontrolled asthma. We, too, have seen the studies and data suggesting that poor air quality contributes to the high rates of asthma in our county and the Mon Valley. Everyone everywhere deserves healthy air. But not everyone has it. This must change! So while we will continue to monitor and regulate industry in places like the Mon Valley, and fight for stricter standards and clean air for all, this program will enable us to reach some of our most vulnerable populations and provide the care and help they deserve. I am very excited about this program and wish everyone involved luck.
See you here next month, everyone. Be safe and be well.
Dr. Debra Bogen
Director, Allegheny County Health Department
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
An #asthma episode, also called an asthma flare-up or asthma attack, can happen any time. Mild symptoms may only last a few minutes while more severe asthma symptoms can last hours or days. Learn more about asthma symptoms: https://ctt.ec/NG5bd+ via @AAFANational
May is Mental Health Month
Mental Health America’s 2021 Mental Health Month Toolkit #Tools2Thrive has practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency. Learn more: mhanational.org/may
May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month
Participating in National Physical Fitness & Sports Month this May can mean riding your bike, shooting hoops or gardening. However you get active, #MoveInMay to celebrate! Check out @HHSHealthGov’s activity planner for more ways to get moving: https://go.usa.gov/xH2Qk_MoveYourWay
What’s Happening in Public Health
COVID Vaccine Testimony
Live Well Allegheny: Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic Experience
By Jon Banuelos, Allegheny County Health Department, Health Educator
I have been working at the vaccine clinics in Monroeville and McKeesport in various capacities including: registration, front line, second dose registration, crowd control and outreach vaccine negotiator. My experience in all these areas has given me the opportunity to receive and pass along gratitude from residents. Each event got smoother each week and it was a great way to reconnect with my team, co-workers and the county through the clinics.
The pandemic has paused us, and these clinics were a gateway back to what we all love to be doing: Living well. When I directed people with their white slip of paper to the entrance of the clinic, where they awaited the next vaccinator, they had the look of victory—like accepting an award, achieving a goal, breaking through to the other side of this crazy mess that we are all still in. They were next, and they had joy once again.
The training we received from the Emergency Preparedness Program at ACHD and the teamwork that was needed to set up and run the clinics has really been put into practice and each day was a new experience. This pandemic taught me that not only is health and wellness a top priority, but living well in the present is very much the pinnacle of priorities. Each day we could see our hard work paying off as county residents got vaccinated.
I feel very fortunate to view the pandemic via the health department lens and to be able to reach out and educate residents at this critical time. The people are also very thankful for our service, and this is where I feel we all live well. In a harmony, towards a goal to get out of this pandemic one arm at a time. It will happen and thank you all for taking part in getting vaccinated to live well.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Do you know how to remove a tick? Be prepared and learn the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease. If you have symptoms such as fever, chills, aches, and pain and were bitten by a tick, you should seek a diagnosis from a physician. Visit CDC.gov for more information. Use #LymeDiseaseAwarenessMonth to share on social media.
Partner Information & Opportunities
Adagio Health’s Power Up nutrition education program encourages students (preschool through 12th grade), adults, seniors and communities to choose healthier foods and live active lifestyles. Using evidence based curricula, Power Up Educators deliver free interactive, age-appropriate nutrition classes throughout the year via Zoom. Class topics include Food Safety 101, Portion Sizes, Meal Planning, Exercise & Physical Activity, and Learning to Stretch Your Food Dollars.
Find a full list of classes and schedule HERE!
Just Harvest’s Fresh Access program enables shoppers to use food stamps – as well as credit and debit cards – to buy fresh, nutritious, locally-grown food. And Food Bucks gives Fresh Access food stamp shoppers an extra $2.00 to spend on fruits and veggies for every $5.00 they spend in food stamps.
For more information, or to find a farmers market near you go HERE!
New Members to the Campaign
A warm welcome to the new Live Well Allegheny Community Partners
- South Hills Dental Arts (southhillsdentalarts.com) offers general, cosmetic, simple and complex restorative dentistry with four convenient offices in Ingram/Crafton, Upper St. Clair, Sewickley, and McMurray.
- The Black Economist Foundation is a nonprofit organization that strives to create economic equality through education and mentorship. Other services include providing economic development strategies to distressed areas.
- African American Leadership Association (AALA) (aalapgh.com) is dedicated to providing African Americans and minorities with exposure, enrichment, opportunities and access to leadership positions. AALA provides African Americans and minorities with programming that will prepare them not only for leadership positions, but position African American and minority leaders to work collectively toward influential leadership.
You can learn more about our new partners’ commitment to health and wellness by looking them up on the Search Local Resources page.
Live Well Allegheny Story
Allegheny County Asthma Control Program
May is peak allergy and asthma season for most people in the U.S., which is why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declared May “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.” Nationally, about 25 million Americans have asthma, 1 in 5 of those are children.
Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the country, and it is also one of the top causes of missed school days in children ages 5 to 17. In 2019, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that Black children are three times more likely to have asthma, and five times more likely to visit the emergency room due to asthma than white children. According to the American Lung Association’s 2021 State of Air report, there were 18,071 cases of pediatric asthma, and 108,246 cases of adult asthma in Allegheny county in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
ACHD recently received a grant from the PA Department of Health to fund the Allegheny County Asthma Control Program (ACAC). This is a four-year grant that builds on the work of an asthma taskforce that was convened as part of the Plan for a Healthy Allegheny. The ACAC uses evidence-based strategies to prevent asthma illness and reduce disparities. ACAC’s overall goal is to improve the reach, quality, effectiveness, and sustainability of asthma control services in Allegheny County.
The following ACHD programs are partnering for the implementation of the ACAC: Air Quality, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Safe and Healthy Homes. ACAC is also partnering with the American Lung Association, Duquesne University’s School for Integrative Health and Women for a Healthy Environment. We look forward to welcoming a Program Manager in June.
The ACAC is implementing the EXHALE strategies that were developed by the National Asthma Control Program of the Centers for Disease Control:
E – Education on asthma self-management.
X – eXtinguishing smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
H – Home visits for trigger reduction and asthma self-management education.
A – Achievement of guidelines-based medical management.
L – Linkages and coordination of care across settings.
E – Environmental policies or best practices to reduce asthma triggers from indoor, outdoor, or occupational sources.
For more information, please visit the National Asthma Control Program’s web site: https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/exhale/index.htm