Saturday, May 27, 2017

ACS Promotes Safe Sleep to Save Infant Lives

Bronx Nabes Have Highest Infant Mortality Rates

BRONX– The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the Health Department announced a new citywide campaign at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln to promote safe sleep practices for families with infants, building on a community-based training initiative that has seen over 12,300 New Yorkers trained on approved Safe Sleep practices since January 2016.

The new campaign – in English, Spanish, Chinese, French and Haitian Creole – directs parents and caregivers to “Put them to bed as if their life depends on it. Because it does” and highlights the reasons why safe sleep recommendations can save lives. The campaign will be featured in bus shelters, hair and nail salons, bodegas and laundromats in East and Central Harlem, throughout Brooklyn and the Bronx, parts of Queens and Staten Island. 

In New York City, sleep-related injuries remained one of the leading causes of death among infants, with 40 deaths in 2014 and 48 deaths in 2015 at a combined rate of 36.1 per 100,000 live births for 2014-2015. During this time period, prematurely-born infants (less than 32 weeks) compared to other gestational ages, infants residing in the Bronx compared to other boroughs, and infants whose mothers were 20-29 years of age compared to other age groups, had higher rates of sleep-related injury deaths.

In an effort to focus these trainings in communities with the highest rates of sleep-related infant deaths, ACS’ Safe Sleep team has trained over 5,300 fatherhood groups, faith-based organizations, expectant teens, healthcare professionals, formerly-incarcerated mothers, public housing residents, and homeless families. In the field, the agency’s over 2,200 frontline child welfare workers are also able to access ACS’ “A Life To Love” educational video through new Smartphones distributed throughout the division.

“Empowering parents to practice safe sleep is a critical part of our Administration’s efforts to keep children healthy and safe,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “I commend the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for coming together to spread the word about these practices – which will save lives and ensure that every child, in every community, has the same chance at a long and healthy life.”

“These initiatives are part of a comprehensive effort to promote safe sleep practices for families with infants,” said ACS Commissioner David Hansell. “We know that, tragically, the High Bridge/Morrisania is one of the area’s most affected by sleep-related deaths. We consider such deaths entirely preventable with public education-- like this bold campaign-- and appropriate and accessible healthcare. We are proud to join the Health Department in this mission, proud to re-launch this campaign at Lincoln Hospital, and proud to continue this vital work in the Bronx.”

“Safe sleep practices are life-saving for all newborns, and this renewed effort enlists the help of trusted community members to educate families about these practices,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Additionally, by focusing on community engagement and training, we are disseminating this important knowledge to families and connecting them to the resources they need through the Neighborhood Health Action Centers’ Family Wellness Suites. We are confident this neighborhood-level approach will be effective in making safe sleep the norm for all moms and their newborns.”

“Every family should get to celebrate their newborn’s first birthday,” said First Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Sadly, each near approximately 50 of our tiniest New Yorkers die due to a sleep-related cause, which is entirely preventable. This new educational campaign coupled with programming to reach credible messengers in communities most affected is a positive step in remedying a longstanding inequity.”

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln recognizes the power of community as an important element in the making of strong and healthy families.  We are proud to continue supporting the work of the Safe Sleep initiative as part of our ongoing commitment to better health outcomes and providing necessary resources for families in the Bronx,” said Milton Nuñez, Chief Executive Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.

The Health Department provides safe sleep education and supports breastfeeding families in high priority neighborhoods through home visitors from the Department’s Newborn Home Visiting Program, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Healthy Start Brooklyn programs. Staff can connect families to resources and support, including the Department’s Healthy Homes Program, to address housing quality issues like heat and rodents that can interfere with safe sleep practices. Through initiatives such as these the Health Department has trained over 7,000 home visitors, city employees, community health workers, parents and infant caregivers in safe sleep practices since January 2016. The Department promotes American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations that breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths.

New Health Department initiatives include:

· The Champions Program: A pilot project to train community influencers to be Safe Sleep ambassadors. The Health Department is engaging community members through the Neighborhood Health Action Centers and community partners to recruit grandparents and other trusted community residents to be trained in safe sleep practices. The training employs a newly-created safe sleep curriculum and educational materials and aims to train 100 grandparents and community residents by June 30, 2017.
· Launch of New Parent Safe Sleep Educational Video: ACS and the Health Department are jointly creating a resource for NYC Health + Hospitals’ hospitals and community health centers, the video will be shown to new parents before hospital discharge. The video will be available at and it will be downloadable on smart phones.

· Safe Sleep Educational Flyer: The flyer promotes Safe sleep by focusing on the “why”: why safe sleep practices make a difference in preventing sleep-related infant deaths. It will be mailed with every birth certificate.

The Health Department’s ongoing Safe Sleep activities will continue to be offered at the Neighborhood Health Action Centers, community spaces in East Harlem, Manhattan, Brownsville, Brooklyn and East Tremont in the Bronx. The Neighborhood Health Action Center initiative is revitalizing underused Health Department buildings by co-locating health services, community health centers, public hospital clinical services, community-based organizations and service providers.  

“Losing an infant is an unimaginable tragedy, and it is particularly devastating that in recent years Morrisania and Highbridge families have been disproportionately affected by infant sleeping death. I am grateful to the Administration for Children's Services and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for their partnership on the lifesaving Safe Sleep campaign and their efforts to teach safe sleep techniques to parents all over the community,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “Today's announcement of a citywide public awareness safe sleep campaign will bring lifesaving information to families across the five boroughs and allow vital in person trainings to continue in the Bronx. I thank ACS Commissioner David Hansell and DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett for their partnership, leadership, and commitment to the well-being of New York City's children.”

According to the 2014 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System data, the percent of mothers placing their infants to sleep on their back has increased significantly, from 53 percent in 2004 to 66 percent in 2014.  

Despite improvements over time, disparities among racial groups persist and were statistically significant in 2014: 62 percent of Latina mothers and 58 percent of Black non-Latina mothers put their baby on their back to sleep compared to 75 percent of White mothers.

Infant sleep-related injury deaths involve the following risk factors:
· Sleep positioning: Unsafe sleep positioning (placement on the stomach or side) were found in 49 percent of sleep-related infant injury deaths.

· Bed sharing: Bed sharing with an adult or other child at the time of death was evidenced in 52 percent of injury deaths.

· Sleep surface: Unsafe sleep surfaces (anything other than a crib, bassinet or playpen) were found in 72 percent of sleep-related infant injury cases.
· Bedding: Excess/soft bedding or other object in bed was found in 68 percent of sleep-related infant injury deaths.

For more information about NYC ACS, please visit
, and for more information about NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, please visit 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Quit Smoking Today

By Elizabeth Spurrell-Huss, L.C.S.W., M.P.H., Population and Community Health, Montefiore Health System

HEALTH NEWS– This winter, Montefiore achieved Gold Star Status as part of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign. This initiative supports hospitals in NYC leading the way in creating wide-ranging smoking cessation services for patients and associates.

Now it is easier than ever to get the support you need to quit smoking. Talk with your provider, social worker, or health educator to help you get started.

1. Make a quit plan:
Develop your own quit plan or find a quit program that works for you. A quit plan combines strategies that help you stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit. You might decide to use a quit program like Plan My Quit (, or call the New York State Smokers Quit Line at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487 FREE) or visit today to get started.

Write down why quitting is important to you and post it somewhere you will see it often as a reminder.

2. Stay Busy:
Staying busy is one of the best ways to stay smoke-free on your quit day and for the days after. Make a list of activities you enjoy and refer to it when you have an urge to smoke. Some ideas include:
A night out with a non-smoking friend
A walk around your favorite park
A fitness class
Learn a new skill like knitting or painting
Reading a good book/watching a funny movie
Taking photos of people/places you love
Writing emails/letters to friends or family-tell them about your plan to quit!

3. Avoid Smoking Triggers:

Triggers are the people, places, things, and situations that tempt you to smoke. On your quit day and the days after, it’s best to avoid them. Here are a few tips to help you overcome some common smoking triggers:
Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays
Avoid caffeine, which can make you feel jittery. Try drinking water instead.
Spend time with non-smokers.
Go to places where smoking isn’t allowed.
Get plenty of rest and eat healthy. Being tired can trigger you to smoke.
Change your routine to avoid the things you might associate with smoking.

4. Stay Positive:
Quitting smoking is difficult. It happens one minute… one hour… one day at a time. Try not to think of quitting as forever. Pay attention to today and the time will add up. It helps to stay positive. Go back and look at your list of reasons to quit. Your quit day might not be perfect, but all that matters is that you don’t smoke—not even one puff. Reward yourself for being smoke-free for 24 hours. You deserve it. And if you’re not feeling ready to quit today, set a quit date that makes sense for you.

5. Ask for Help:
Tell your friends and family that today is your quit day. Ask them for support during these first few days and weeks. They can help you get through the rough spots, but make sure to tell them how they can support you.
Other supports:
Explore the resources available to help New Yorkers quit smoking
Contact the NYS Smokers Quit Line 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487 FREE)
Visit today
Visit the Quitters Circle—
Plan your quit at
Check out these Smoking Cessation Phone Apps:
The Plan Q app, available at the Apple Store and Google Play Store supports your quit smoking journey. Use code NYKB to access the app.

American Cancer Society Quit For Life app— Apple Store and Google Play Store

The American Lung Association & Pfizer’s Quitter’s Circle app— Apple Store and Google Play Store

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Free Oral Cancer Screenings

Alcohol, Tobacco & HPV16 Now Leading Causes of Oral Cancer

Early Detection of Oral Cancer Saves Lives; UCHC to Provide Free Oral Cancer Screenings in April

HEALTH- Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 49,750 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the United States. 

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the disease “will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.”  

The good news is that this can be prevented. Through a simple, painless and quick screening oral cancer can often be found early in its development and treated.

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer; one is through the use of tobacco and alcohol. The other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is now the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers in the US, and the same one, which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. Coincidentally, the quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.

Who should get screened?
• Adults ages 30 to 50; considered high-risk populations 
• Those who are regular users of alcohol and tobacco
• Those who have been diagnosed with or may have been exposed to the HPV16 virus (a strain of the human papilloma virus)

What are some early indicators?
• Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth 
• Any sore which does not heal within 14 days
• Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time

With early detection, oral cancer survival rates are high. Like other preventative safeguards you engage in when testing for cervical, skin, prostate, colon and/or breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages and it is vastly recommended that individuals make the screening part of an annual health check-up.

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month UCHC is offering free oral cancer screening events during the week of April 17-22 from 9am-5pm.

Appointments and walk-ins are welcome.

260 E 188th St., Bronx, New York 10458

2021 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10453

2101 Quarry Rd. Bronx, New York 10457

For more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at  or call any one of UCHC’s dental sites located in the Bronx. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Child Anxiety and Stress

Child Anxiety and Stress

Tips for Coping

By Sandra S. Pimentel, PhD

HEALTH- From making friends to starting school, anxiety and worry are expected parts of child development.  Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health issue faced by young people and they can co-occur with other medical and complex life issues

At Montefiore, our newly launched Anxiety and Mood Program in the Child Outpatient Psychiatry Department specializes in treating youth with anxiety, trauma, mood and related disorders and seeks to provide comprehensive, evidence-based assessment and treatment services for children and their families.   

So how do we teach our patients to cope? Like any other skill, we do on purpose and step-by-stepHere are some suggestions for helping kids cope with anxiety:

Validate. Instead of jumping ahead to problem solving, take a moment to validate that certain situations areindeed scary.  Helping kids to make sense of their emotions include helping them to feel them! Anxiety is normal—it’s even good for you!  
Get Specific.  Offering general advice statements such as “Don’t worry” or “You’ll be fine” may feel invalidating or even dismissive. Learning to cope with anxiety includes helping kids learn how to get specific about their experiences. What specifically do they think will happen? 

Work with Kids to Understand the Problem. Before we can problem solve, we must understand the problem.  Anxiety and stress include feelings, thoughts, and behaviors; in turn, problem solving includes helping kids to learn how to identify and understand that how they think is related to how they feel and what they do or don’t do.

Practice Problem-Solving/Coping. Teaching kids to cope with anxiety and stress includes teaching them to problem solve. When kids feel anxious, they may have trouble seeing options. Teach kids to recognize their specific anxious thoughts, feelings, and actions (oravoidance), and then to brainstorm as many alternatives to dealing with these as possible. Is there another way to view a situation? What are some calming strategies for when your heart is racing? How can you practice for that presentation

Encourage Approach over Avoidance. It’s true--avoiding a situation that makes us nervous works…but the relief is temporary! And, avoidance actually serves to keep anxiety going in the long term.  It also keeps kids from practicing coping skills and deprives them of learning that outcomes are not always as bad as we predict. 

Model Your Own Stress Management SkillsOftentimes, parents try to hide their worries or share their worries without sharing their coping steps. Children learn skills by observingand parents can model coping and problem solving.  What do parents do when they are stressed? Talk it out. Brainstorm examples together.

For many children and adolescents anxiety may become so severe that it interferes with healthy development. Some potential red flags include:
• Chronic stomach pains or physical symptoms when worried
• Frequent requests to leave and/or be picked up from school, or multiple trips to the school nurse
• Withdrawal from peers or social activities (e.g., clubs, parties, teams)
• Excessive clinginess and/or reassurance-seeking questions that are asked repeatedly
• Sleep or eating disturbances
For more information about our Anxiety and Mood Program call: 718-696-3011

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Your Health Voice: Learn How to Stop the Bleeding

Your Health Voice: Learn How to Stop the Bleeding: HEALTH - While 2016 marked the fewest shooting incidents in the Bronx in 23 years, there were still 286 victims. In these or other situa...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Learn How to Stop the Bleeding

HEALTH- While 2016 marked the fewest shooting incidents in the Bronx in 23 years, there were still 286 victims. In these or other situations of emergency blood loss, seconds count, and immediate intervention to staunch blood loss can be the difference between life and death.

Join us as medical staff from NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi present on how to "Stop the Bleed" in emergency situations.

Educational Event
Thursday, March 30th 7 p.m.
Bartow Center - 2049 Bartow Avenue, Room 31, Bronx, NY 10475

For more information please contact (718) 918-3827

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sharing a Hug and Teddy Bear with Sick Children

HEALTH- Bear Givers Inc. donated 200 teddy bears to the patients of the NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx Pediatric ED. 

Here, young Anyla shares cuddles with Daran Kaufman, MD, NCB Pediatric ER Director & Medical Staff President.