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InALBOH Works to Move Towards a Healthier State

Thursday, June 1, 2017  
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InALBOH Works to Move Towards a Healthier State

Submitted by: Harley Robinson, DVM, Indiana Association of Local Boards of Health president (IN)

The spring of 2017 in Indiana offered a variety of conferences on public health issues. I attended 3 such symposiums, two in Indianapolis and one at Purdue University. The following is a recap of the topics discussed.

In March the Indiana State Department of Health held its Spring Symposium. Gov. Holcomb’s 5 pillars were outlined: Economy, Workforce, Opioid crisis, Roads and infrastructure, Government services. We learned that in 2015 Indiana lead the nation in pharmacy robberies. From 1991 to 2015 unintentional poisonings (mostly opiates) increased 771%. The governor has established an office of Prevention, Treatment and Recovery to work on the opioid crisis. A startup company has introduced an interesting device called a Neuro-stem System Bridge to eliminate/reduce the opioid craving during detox. It is worn for 5 days. They claim that the psychological component of opioid addiction is greatly underestimated and their device addresses this issue.

In April, the Indiana Public Health Association held its Annual Public Health Month Conference entitled “The Intersection of Public Health and Mental Health.” It featured 2 keynote speakers, Dr. Judy Monroe, MD, FAAFP, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, and Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH. Indiana State Health Commissioner. Dr. Monroe spoke of the role of public-private partnerships in improving the public’s health and Dr. Adams delivered an address on the opioid crisis in Indiana. There followed breakout sessions on youth-suicide, drug addiction and racial and ethnic disparities. At the business meeting the IPHA members elected a new president.

Most recently I attended a meeting entitled “Striving for Healthy Communities”, sponsored by the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative. The keynote speaker was Dr. Jane Ellery, PhD, the coordinator of the graduate program, Wellness Management, at Ball State University. She described wellness management as “helping people function optimally in their environment.” Wellness management is to well-being as healthcare is to health. She encouraged us to think differently and change the environment to help people from getting sick. Her booklet that she distributed called “Placemaking” depicts the connection between placemaking and healthy living and shows the difference between space which is described physically and place which has an emotional attachment.

Finally, I regret to report that the “cigarette tax” failed once again in the 2017 state legislative session. A new group has formed called the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana with some high-profile members from schools of public health and state hospital associations. We will watch their work throughout 2017 to see if they can have an impact on state legislators.