IDHW Division of Public Health among 11 awarded national accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board

Public Health horizontal

We’re pleased and excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement in public health. The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of all Idaho residents. With accreditation, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Division of Public Health continues to promote and protect the health and safety of all Idahoans — thanks to our fantastic IDHW employees, our community partners, our state legislators and citizens across the state for helping achieve this milestone!

PHABAlexandria, VA, June 14, 2017 — A national program to improve and protect the health of the public continued its nationwide expansion this week as 11 more governmental public health departments — including the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s Division of Public Health — achieved five-year accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The decisions bring another 19.7 million people into a rapidly growing network of communities served by health departments that meet rigorous national standards for delivering quality programs and services.  Continue reading

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Fight the Bite – For Both Mosquitoes and Bats!

New reports of West Nile virus infections and bats being found with rabies are a good warning for people to watch out for biting critters.

Today, Southwest District Health Department announced three human cases of West Nile virus, two in Canyon County and one in Payette County, bringing the statewide total to 5. Also today, Central District Health issued a warning for people to be aware of an above-average season of rabid bats, documenting 7 rabid bats in Ada County since June. Last year, Ada County reported 2 rabid bats. Continue reading

West Nile virus discovered in Southwest Idaho

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) have been detected this week in Canyon and Payette counties, prompting public health officials to remind people to take precautions to fight the bite. The positive mosquitoes are the first detected in the state this year.

“West Nile Virus can cause serious illness so it is very important that people take precautions to avoid bites and mosquito-proof their homes,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, from the Idaho Division of Public Health. “With our recent warm weather we could see an increase in mosquito activity over the holiday, so we urge people to be careful.” Continue reading

Elmore County Cat Likely Died from Plague

Central District Health Department issued a news release this afternoon advising people to take precautions with their pets in desert areas that may contain rodents carrying the plague. Preliminary lab results of a pet cat that died in Elmore County show probable infection with the plague bacteria.

The state reported die-offs of ground squirrels, often referred to as whistle pigs, from plague last week. Plague is transmitted through the bite of fleas and can cause serious illness to people and pets if not treated quickly.

To read the Central District Health Department’s news release, please click here

LiveBetterIdaho.org offers a ‘holistic web approach’ for Idahoans

Live better, Idaho.

A new website focused on empowering Idahoans to do just that is now available.

LiveBetterIdaho.org is a new and unique way for consumers to discover and connect to supports that can help them live healthier lives. By linking them to appropriate services, they can be empowered to make better choices and – we hope — move themselves and their families to independent, healthier lives.

“It is a very ambitious goal and helps the public quickly take action to access local, state and national resources available to help Idahoans,” said Dick Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). “LiveBetterIdaho.org is more of a holistic web approach for people who want to improve their lives. It can help them put food on their tables, enroll in a nutrition education class, find jobs and mentors, make child support payments, quit smoking, and get access to healthcare, among other things.”

LiveBetterIdaho.org is a new and unique way for consumers to discover and connect to supports that can help them live healthier lives.

The site was created by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to fulfill an initiative in its strategic plan, but the department is only the facilitator for a strategy of connecting people in need to a larger framework that includes community partnerships and services in addition to public assistance programs. Continue reading

Colorectal cancer is preventable with screening

No one really wants to think too hard about getting a colonoscopy. It’s embarrassing, kind of gross, and it’s uncomfortable. But it’s something everyone needs to consider because colorectal, or colon, cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Idaho and the third most common cancer overall for men and women.

Who should be tested?

Everyone who is 50 and older should get screened. You don’t have to have a family history of colon cancer to be at risk. Regular screening for everyone in that age range would mean as many as 60 percent of deaths from colon cancer could be avoided. Idaho currently ranks 44th in the nation for colon cancer screening, with 1 in 3 Idahoans older than 50 needing to be screened. We can definitely do better!  Continue reading

County Health Rankings: Valley County is Idaho’s healthiest

Idaho has some good things going for it: Residents largely have access to gyms, trails and other locations for exercise; we don’t overdo it when it comes to preventable hospital stays; and most of our children are being raised in two-parent families.

And if you live in Valley County, you are fortunate to live in one of Idaho’s healthiest counties.

This is all according to The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps (CHRR), which were published today. The report analyzes a heap of data to evaluate our overall health and well-being at the community level. It evaluates individual counties according to their overall health, which can be either quite exciting or distressing, depending on your county’s ranking.  Continue reading