Archive for the ‘Health & Mental Health’ Category

Toxic stress” has come up before in previous posts. It can occur when children are exposed to severe, frequent or prolonged traumatic experiences. Researchers refer to these events as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

When kids lack caring, protective relationships with caregivers, the stress response associated with adverse experiences can disrupt normal brain development. And the cumulative effect of toxic stress can take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health, not just in childhood but throughout life.

Toxic stress during childhood is linked it to unhealthy lifestyles later in life, such as using alcohol to cope with stress, tobacco use, and illicit drug use. A Pediatrics article also states that the “biological manifestations of toxic stress” can cause impairment of the immune system and increase risk factors for heart disease, asthma, and other health problems.

A new Child Trends report shows Oklahoma children to be especially at risk for exposure to (more…)


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President Reagan first designated April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983. Since then, organizations around the country have commemorated the month with activities and events. Here in Tulsa, members of the Parent Child Center Youth Council (PCCYC) placed 1,658 pinwheels at the Parent Child Center campus to represent each substantiated case of child abuse in Tulsa County in 2013.child abuse prevention ribbon

Nationwide, an estimated 3.8 million allegations of child abuse or neglect were responded to by child protective service workers in 2012. An estimated 686,000 children were confirmed victims of child maltreatment.

Most states recognize four major types of child maltreatment: Neglect; Physical Abuse; (more…)

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A couple of weeks ago, in my previous post, I promised to write about the Tulsa premier of A Place at the Table and the discussion that followed.  It’s impossible to sum up every issue brought up by the film.  It is equally impossible to write a single post about the film and the discussion that followed; too many important topics to cover.  So this will be a two-part report highlighting some of the issues that I found particularly relevant.  For this first installment, I want to talk about the film itself, wA Place at the Tableith the understanding this in no way represents the entire list of issues raised by the documentary.   

A Place at the Table draws its power from the personal stories of people struggling to afford healthy food.  Experts on nutrition and hunger push the message further by explaining the negative effects long-term food insecurity has on a person’s health, education and potential. After watching this documentary, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that this problem is bigger than any one charity can tackle; it is bigger than the current funding of our social safety net can address. These are just three of the reasons why:

  • The rate and requirements of SNAP benefits are out of sync with the cost of living.  As the film tracks the story of Barbie, a single mother in Philadelphia, this fact becomes clear. Barbie loses her SNAP benefits entirely when she begins to earn more money, but despite a slightly higher paycheck her overall financial situation has not improved. Her children are still eating canned noodles instead of a balanced diet and their mental and physical development will be impacted as a consequence.
  • The school lunch program, launched under the Truman administration, was a great idea but is currently underfunded.  The film points out that less than a dollar a day per child is actually spent on food for lunches, and then demonstrates how it is impossible to make a quality meal that meets dietary needs on that budget. (more…)

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Research indicates that children living in poverty are at risk for a whole host of poor child and adolescent outcomes, especially if that poverty occurs early in childhood.  New research also indicates that childhood poverty can have a significant impact on adult outcome measures.  Possible reasons for the increased impact of early childhood poverty are also beginning to emerge.  Two articles in the Winter 2011 issue of Pathways  investigate these  concepts and how policymakers can use this research to inform better anti-poverty policies. 


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The Tulsa World recently published an excellent article about Healthy Women, Healthy Futures (HWHF), which is an interconception health promotion program serving women in Tulsa.  CAP in conjunction with the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa College of Nursing and the George Kaiser Family Foundation launched the program to improve the physical, emotional, social, dental, and vision health of non-pregnant women living in poverty in order to reduce premature births and infant mortality.  The program is available to women with children enrolled at Frost, McClure, Skelly, and Educare I and who are able to become pregnant but not currently pregnant.  Nearly 100 women are currently participating in the program.  Classes offered throughout the course of the program include the benefits of exercise, cardiovascular wellness, diabetes prevention, nutrition, healthy shopping and cooking, pregnancy plan development, yoga, zumba, and many others.  In addition to the classes listed, HWHF and Partners provide:

  • No or low-cost on-going basic health care at the centers’ school based clinics
  • An individualized health plan, developed with participants, to prevent or manage chronic illnesses
  • Support and assistance in women’s interconception health by a Health Navigator (case manager)
  • No cost vision exams and glasses, if needed
  • Medicines at no cost
  • Dental care
  • Counseling for mental health issues
  • RNs and Health Navigators act as wellness coaches to support women with their health plans

To read the Tulsa World article, including some staggering statistics about women, pregnancy, and poverty in Tulsa and Oklahoma, click here.

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The Tulsa Health Department has released its first draft of the Community Health Improvement Plan for public review and comment. The document, which culminates the Department’s Pathways to Health community planning initiative, identifies six strategic objectives to improve the health of Tulsa County citizens:

  • Decrease the prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity
  • Improve affordability and availability of nutritional foods
  • Provide safe, affordable, and healthy housing for Tulsa residents
  • Improve mental health in the community
  • Reduce tobacco use in the community
  • Increase the density and accessibility of health care facilities

Each objective identifies specific measurable outcomes and a number of suggested intervention strategies. Read the full document here.

The Department is asking for comments, feedback, and additions to the document before submitting it for approval by the Pathways to Health Partnership. You can comment on the public blog for your region or email your feed back to Alicia Plati, Program Development Coordinator, at aplati@tulsa-health.org. Comments are due Monday, August 3 – so do it this weekend!

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