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Health Notes for Jan. 2, 2018

Docs seek to address health disparities Minnesota's doctors are trying to be part of the solution to significant health disparities in the state. "No state does health care better than Minnesota," Dr. George Schoephoerster claims in a news releas...

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Docs seek to address health disparities

Minnesota's doctors are trying to be part of the solution to significant health disparities in the state.

"No state does health care better than Minnesota," Dr. George Schoephoerster claims in a news release from the Minnesota Medical Association, which he serves as president. But he acknowledges that the state continues to fall short in the area of health equity. For example, African American and Native American babies die in the first year of life at twice the rate of white babies in Minnesota, the state Department of Health noted in a 2014 report to the Legislature.

Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed this to be Health Equity Month in Minnesota, and the medical association is responding with events to address the topics.

One of those is an online learning event from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 17 on the Minnesota Medical Association's Facebook page. Moderated by Dr. Christopher Reif, director of clinical services for Community University Health Care Clinic, it's designed primarily to educate physicians and other health care workers about the health disparities that exist in the state.

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Grant bearing fruit at Viewcrest

A local nursing facility is ahead on one of its goals at about the halfway point of an effort to decrease the risk of infections.

During the past year, the urinary tract infection rate has dropped by 40 percent at Viewcrest Health Center, 3111 Church Place, according to Katie Collins, the health center's administrator.

Collins was cited in a news release from Franciscan and Viewcrest health centers, which are among the 13 affiliates of Morris, Minn.-based St. Francis Health Services that were awarded a two-year, $1.45 million grant called Controlling Infection Challenges Creatively at around this time last year. It was awarded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The program's two main goals were a 15 percent improvement in the prevalence of urinary tract infections and a 15 percent improvement in overall prevalence of infection. They were given until June 30, 2019, to reach those goals.

Both of the Duluth facilities have expanded their antibiotic stewardship programs, according to the news release. That means "a culture that embraces the proper use of antibiotics in the treatment of infections," using antibiotics only when truly needed.

Class for mental health advocates

A free legislative training session for mental health advocates will take place from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Gold Room at the main branch of the Duluth Public Library, 520 Superior St.

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The event is offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota and will teach about the legislative process, how to contact your elected officials and the most effective ways to share your story.

For information or to register, see "classes" at www.namihelps.org or call (651) 645-2948.

Diabetes prevention classes available

Two Diabetes Prevention Program classes will begin in Duluth this month.

The 12-month series is a community-based wellness program that offers education and support to maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to a news release from the Duluth YMCA, which sponsors it along with Healthy Northland and Essentia Health. Participants meet once a week with a lifestyle coach to learn about maintaining a healthy weight, choosing and preparing healthy meals and ways to increase activity levels.

The classes will be offered:

• From 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays starting Jan. 17 at the Woodland Community Center, 3211 Allendale Ave.

• From 3-4 p.m. Thursdays starting Jan. 18 at Community Action Duluth, 2424 W. Fifth St., No. 102.

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The class is free, but registration is required. Call (218) 722-4745 for more information.

Workshop focuses on youth mental health

A youth mental health first aid training course will be offered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Taconite Room at Fairview Plaza, 1200 E. 25th St., Hibbing.

The free class is offered by the National Alliance on Mental Health in Minnesota. It's designed for people who have frequent contact with young people, such as parents, school staff, coaches, youth workers and volunteers and is not intended for professionals who have a background in mental health.

The class is free, but registration is required. To register or learn more, contact NAMI Minnesota at (651) 645-2948 or see classes at www.namihelps.org .

Public finds nurses trustworthy

Numerous professions were mentioned, but only one sent out a news release calling attention to an annual Gallup poll of how Americans rate the ethics and honesty of various occupations.

The source of the news release was the Minnesota Nurses Association, and it probably won't surprise you to know that nurses were at the top among the 22 occupations respondents rated.

Eighty-two percent rated nurses as high or very high for honesty and ethical standards. It was the 16th straight year nurses did better than anyone else, according to the nurses association's news release.

Nurses were followed by military officers, grade school teachers, medical doctors and pharmacists.

Newspaper reporters? We placed 13th, in a virtual tie with bankers. One out of four respondents gave us high or very high rankings.

At least we placed higher than members of Congress (20th, 11 percent high or very high).

Compiled by John Lundy, jlundy@duluthnews.com .

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