AMHC News

World Cancer Day – February 4, 2019

Monday, February 4th is World Cancer Day, when organizations and people around the world unite to raise awareness about cancer and work to make it a global health priority. An estimated 9.5 million people worldwide were expected to die from cancer in 2018 – about 26,000 cancer deaths a day – and that number is predicted to grow.

How people can help themselves:

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices that include avoiding using tobacco products, getting plenty of physical activity, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and staying safe in the sun.
  • Know about the signs and symptoms of cancer and early detection guidelines because finding cancer early often makes it easier to treat.
  • Share stories about their own cancer experiences, communicate with decision-makers and join support groups to help make positive change for all people affected by cancer.
  • When possible, use work and other daily activities during and after cancer treatment as opportunities to maintain normality, routine, stability, social contact, and income.

How people can help others:

  • Support cancer patients and survivors with the physical and emotional impacts of cancer even after treatment ends.
  • Call on government leaders to commit adequate resources to reduce cancer deaths and provide a better quality of life for patients and survivors.
  • Educate themselves and others about the link between certain lifestyle behaviors – including smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity – and cancer risk.
  • Dispel rumors and myths that lead to stigma and discrimination against people with cancer in some communities.

Encourage schools and workplaces to implement nutrition, physical activity, and no smoking policies that help people adopt healthy habits for life.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month


Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. Teen dating violence (TDV) is defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenaged dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital. TDV occurs across diverse groups and cultures. The National Dating Abuse Helpline provides 24-hour national web-based and telephone resources to help teens experiencing dating abuse. Young people (as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement, and service providers) anywhere in the country can call toll free, 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or log on to the interactive website, loveisrespect.org, and receive immediate, confidential assistance.

February is American Heart Month

National Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 1, 2019! — Wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and save lives.

February is American Heart Month, an ideal time to remind everyone to focus on your heart health. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year.

The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices. While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.

National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month

January, National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month, calls attention to the fact that although sports injuries contribute to fatalities infrequently, the leading cause of death from sports-related injuries is traumatic brain injury. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents. For more information about traumatic brain injury, go to http://www.biausa.org.

Downeast Treatment Center Sees Success with Hub and Spokes Model of Care

Date: 12/05/2018

Michael Murnik, MD, VP, Senior Physician Executive Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital stands outside the Downeast Treatment Center.

As the Senior Physician Executive for Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, Mike Murnik, MD has seen the devastating effects of Maine’s opioid crisis first-hand. With opiate-related overdose deaths rising in the state over the last five years, Dr. Murnik knew there was a need for more treatment services in Hancock County and western Washington County, and a need to increase access to those services.

“People were dying,” Dr. Murnik said. “But it was really hard for them to get into treatment.”

It was a concern shared throughout the community. A series of monthly meetings began four years ago to discuss the crisis. Held at Ellsworth Town Hall, these meetings bring together law enforcement, healthcare providers, substance abuse counselors and other community partners who are attempting to mitigate the crisis. Through these ongoing discussions, they developed an idea: a treatment hub where people dealing with opiate use disorder could get stabilized and then move out into the community for maintenance and counseling.

In April, this idea became a reality: Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth, and MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor partnered with the Aroostook Mental Health Center and Healthy Acadia to open the doors of the Downeast Treatment Center to the community.

The Downeast Treatment Center provides outpatient treatment for patients with Opiate Use Disorder through a “hub and spokes” care model. At the Center – the hub – those affected receive counseling and medication assisted treatment (MAT). Once they are stabilized and improving, these patients are connected with primary care provider “spokes” in the community who can continue ongoing care, including MAT. As a result, treatment can be initialized more immediately, and the patient has more support as they taper off their medication, and after.

Dr. Murnik said this model is particularly helpful given the nature of the disease.

“The Center is set up to help with relapses which can be typical because this is a chronic, relapsing disease,” he said. “If a person falls off the wagon and starts using again, they can go back to the hub for stabilization, and then go back out to the spokes.”

After only seven months, several patients have been successful after entering the hub and progressing to the spokes.

“One graduate is now stabilized and applying for a job,” Dr. Murnik said. “And another is completely off of Suboxone. They’ve tapered off completely and are doing well so far.”

Dr. Murnik, however, acknowledges there’s still more work to be done. His team is leading other initiatives to fight this epidemic, including implementing a model for initiating treatment in the emergency room that was pioneered by Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.
Dr. Murnik said ongoing community collaboration will continue to be vital in combatting Maine’s opioid crisis.

“Addressing this as a community is key,” he said. “This problem is as prevalent as diabetes, but there’s still such a stigma. We need to figure this out and continue to meet people where they are. We have to make it easier to provide treatment and medications.”

Dr. Murnik is up for the challenge and making positive changes.

“Our providers tell me that some of the most rewarding work they do is MAT, seeing people turn their lives around and get back to their families and back to work.  The DETC and the Hub and Spokes Program make it easier for providers to do that work and for community members in need to get into treatment.”

 

Source: https://northernlighthealth.org/Maine-Opioid-Crisis/Impact-Stories/Downeast-Treatment-Center-Sees-Success-with-Hub-an

World AIDS Day

Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. But we still have miles to go, as the latest UNAIDS report shows, and that includes reaching people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services. So, don’t wait, this World AIDS Day, take a quiz to help you know your status at https://www.kff.org/quiz/hivaids-quiz/.

Children’s Advocacy Center begins serving County families from Fort Fairfield location

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — An advocacy center focused on serving children and families affected by sexual abuse in Aroostook County recently opened in Fort Fairfield and hopes to collaborate with other local agencies to provide crucial services that have not always been readily available.

The Aroostook County Children’s Advocacy Center is a division of the Aroostook Mental Health Center’s Sexual Assault Services and a part of the Maine Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. Staff members serve children aged 4 to 18 as well as adults with developmental disabilities throughout Aroostook County.

Program Coordinator Lydia Christie said that the center’s staff members utilize a “multi-disciplinary team” approach in which they collaborate with law enforcement, officials from the Aroostook County District Attorney’s office and Child Protective Services during a family’s visit to ensure that they have access to any services they might need.

“Before children’s advocacy centers existed, law enforcement would often respond to a report of sexual abuse but not always know where to refer families for advocacy, counseling or legal services,” Christie said.

Families also would have had to travel as far as Portland to the Spurwink clinic, which provides forensic medical exams for children who have reported experiencing sexual abuse. Although Spurwink hosts monthly clinics at locations throughout the state, the nearest of those clinics is in Bangor.

The staff members at the Aroostook County Children’s Advocacy Center are working with Spurwink to eventually offer forensic medical exams at the Fort Fairfield location, thus eliminating the travel barrier that many families can face when seeking the specialized medical service. They also plan to offer evidence-based counseling services on site to ensure that any service that families might seek out exist under one roof.

In addition to Christie, the CAC staff includes forensic interviewer Laurie Deschaine, who conducts a private interview with victims regarding their alleged abuse, and Kate Bartlett, a family advocate who first meets with families, refers them to outside legal, medical or counseling services, and works to provide comfort to children while parents and guardians meet with law enforcement.

“My goal as an advocate is to have families leave here with the necessary appointments already scheduled,” Bartlett said. “I also follow up with families one week and then one month after their initial visit to help make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”

The CAC is a nonprofit organization that provides services free to families and receives funding from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Christie said that the first conversations about opening such a center in northern Maine began five years ago when lawmakers in the state Legislature passed the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act. The law stated that all counties in Maine must establish a Children’s Advocacy Center that provides multidisciplinary services for children affected by sexual abuse.

In 2015, CAC staff members in Aroostook County formally received funding from DHHS, thus allowing them to develop services that align with their goal of receiving national accreditation. Officials from Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital, then known as The Aroostook Medical Center, later offered to house the center at its health center in Fort Fairfield.

Christie noted that the CAC has received much support and financial donations from the community during the renovation of its current office space. On Saturday, Nov. 24, the center will be one of the organizations to benefit from funds collected from the Presque Isle Rotary Club’s annual TV auction.

“None of this could have been possible without the community stepping up and realizing everyone’s responsibility in keeping children safe,” Christie said.

Though statistics say that one in every five people in Maine will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives, Christie said, that type of data is harder to track with children, as many might go years without reporting an incident. Many children might not have the words to describe what happened to them and in some situations could feel shamed or scared into staying silent by their abuser.

If a child comes forward about sexual abuse, Christie and CAC staff members encourage adults to remain calm and assure the child that what they’ve experienced is not their fault.

“We want to be here for families and let them know that they’re not alone,” Christie said. “It’s our responsibility as a community to make sure all children feel safe.”

http://thecounty.me/2018/11/10/news/childrens-advocacy-center-begins-serving-county-families-from-fort-fairfield-location/

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (now Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol …

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

In Maine, over 4,000 children in 2018 were victims of abuse. Visit the Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) website at https://preventchildabuse.org …

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Join AMHC for the 20th Annual Denim Day on April 24th in support of Sexual Assult Awareness Month! STAND UP, SPEAK OUT: WEAR …