• A multisite evaluation of pediatric asthma-related treatment in accordance to the 2007 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Expert Panel Report – 3 guidelines

      Oraka, Emeka; Robinson, Brittani; Ousley, Trevor; Lopez, Francesca; Graham, LeRoy (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016-08-18)
      Background: To determine if Georgia-based healthcare providers who received continuing education on pediatric asthma as described by 2007 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Expert Panel Report – 3 guidelines demonstrated improvements in asthma-related treatment. Methods: We used a multi-site, cross-sectional design. Data were collected via surveys administered to healthcare providers and via randomized medical chart abstractions. Chart abstraction occurred at 12 months prior to intervention (n = 149); one-month post-intervention (n = 208); and three months post-intervention (n = 123). Results: Substantial improvements were observed among the providers who used pre/post bronchodilator spirometry (5% at baseline, 12% at one month, and 19% at three months), and there was a significant increase in the number of patients being advised to improve conditions at home or school to avoid asthma triggers (9% at baseline, 43% at one month, and 37% at three months). However, prescription of preventive medications and patients being taught proper medication/spacer technique by providers decreased from baseline to three-months (69% vs 55% and 41% vs 27%, respectively). Providers’ self-reported barriers and patient load were consistently associated with poorer treatment outcomes. Healthcare providers who received continuing education on NHLBI - EPR 3 guidelines demonstrated an increase in spirometry use and in advising patients on improving home and school conditions. While these findings are useful, provider-reported barriers such as time, organizational, and insurance barriers prevent providers from effectively systematically incorporating all of the EPR 3 guidelines. Conclusions: Internal efforts to address clinical barriers combined with continued education may result in improvements in pediatric asthma-related treatment outcomes.
    • Understanding the role of social norms in organ donation decision making among African American adults

      Lucido, Briana; Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016-08-18)
      Background: African Americans (AAs) comprise a disproportionate number of those waiting on the national transplant list and are underrepresented among registered organ donors. While barriers to organ donation are well understood, little research has explored factors that facilitate interest in donation. Because AAs are often characterized by strong extended relationships and shared decision-making, social norms may be an influential factor in donation behavior. Utilizing the Theory of Reasoned Action, this study demonstrated the application of theory to understand the role social norms play in donation decisionmaking, among AAs. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 425 AA adults residing in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Social norms were measured using a Likert scale consisting of two items that addressed perceptions of favorability of donation and levels of influence a loved one has over the participant’s donation decision making. Main outcomes assessed were donation intentions and expression of donation intentions via designation on one’s driver’s license. Results: Logistic regression results indicate that a loved one’s level of favorability of donation is associated with both intention (OR=2.14, p≤0.01) and expression (OR=1.71, p≤0.01); however, findings approached significance with the level of influence a loved one has on intentions (OR=1.47, p=0.07) but was not associated with expression (p>0.05). Conclusions: The results suggest that a loved one’s level of favorability has an effect on donation decision making, but, conversely, a loved one’s level of influence does not impact donation decision making. Focusing on social norms and encouraging communication may prove useful for future interventions to improve engagement in donation among AAs.
    • Association between air temperature and heart disease death rates in Georgia counties

      Hart, John (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016-07-19)
      Background: In this ecological study, global warming theory was tested on a local level, in Georgia. The hypothesis was that warmer counties would be associated with higher death rates. Methods: Heart disease death rates (HDDR) for 2008-2010 by Georgia county were compared to air temperature, also by county for the same years. Three race categories for HDDR were studied: black, white, and all races. Since there is evidence that living at higher land elevations provides a protective effect against heart disease, land elevation by county was included as a second predictor. Results: Correlation analyses revealed low strength, statistically significant correlations with white and all races HDDR as follows: direct for air temperature and indirect for land elevation. Correlations for blacks were negligible strength and statistically non-significant. Thus, multiple linear regressions (MLRs) were considered appropriate for whites and all race HDDR. In MLRs, temperature and elevation essentially cancelled each other relative to HDDR, resulting in statistically non-significant regression coefficients for each in both race categories (p > 0.15). This may have in part been due to the slight collinearity that was observed between the two predictors (variance inflation factor = 10.6 for both predictors in both race categories). The study is limited by: a) its (ecological) design, where individual exposures are unknown; and b) the-less-than ideal regression model that revealed slight collinearity between the predictors. Further research is required to verify these findings. Conclusions:
    • Trends in cancer incidence rates in Georgia, 1982-2011

      Yoo, Wonsuk; Coughlin, Steven S.; Lillard, James; Georgia Regents University; Emory University; Morehouse College (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Although data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End results (SEER)-affiliated cancer registry are accessible to the public, there is a shortage of published research describing cancer incidences for White, Black, and other residents in Georgia. The objective of this research is to provide an overview of the trends in incidence of cancer in Georgia. Methods: Incidence data were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 9 program, supported by the National Cancer Institute, spanning the years 1982 to 2011. To assess trends over time, age-adjusted cancer incidence rates relative to the 2000 Standard US population and annual percent changes (APCs) were calculated using SEER*Stat software. Results: In Georgia, cancer incidence rates for women increased from 365.1 per 100,000 in 1982 to 404.2 per 100,000 in 2011, with an overall APC of 0.3% (95% confidence interval: 0.2 to 0.4), but, for men, cancer incidence rates showed a slight decline from 528.0 per 100,000 in 1982 to 513.7 per 100,000 in 2011 (APC of 0.2%, 95% CI: -0.6 to 0.1). For Black, White, and Other (Asian/Pacific Islanders/American Indians) females, there were increases in incidence in this period, with APC values of 0.6, 0.4, and 0.3, respectively. For all males and for Black and White males, there were overall decreases in incidence, with APC values of -0.2. For Other males, however, the APC value was -0.9. Conclusions: In Georgia, increases in cancer incidence rates occurred during 1982-2011 among the female population and within various racial groups in this population, but there was relative stability in incidence rates among the male population, except for Other males.
    • Unveiling the mysteries of palliative care

      Currin-McCulloch, Jennifer; Terry, Karen; Memorial Health University Medical Center (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
    • Perceptions of HIV/AIDS testing among urban and rural African American church members

      Walker, Roblena E; Walden University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: The prevalence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to affect African Americans (AA) disproportionately. The purpose of this mixed methods study, guided by the health belief model, was to examine associations linking church and ambient social environment with knowledge and perceptions of HIV/AIDS testing amongst urban and rural AA church members. Methods: Multiple regressions and t tests were used to compare perceptions of HIV/AIDS testing and knowledge of HIV/AIDS among 236 participants selected from two AA churches located in a large city (n = 122) and in a rural town (n = 114) in the Southern U.S. Results: The quantitative findings indicated that the urban participants reported significantly higher rates of testing than the rural participants, but the groups had equally high HIV knowledge and positive perceptions of HIV/AIDS testing. In-depth, individual interviews (24 urban; 24 rural) were conducted to gain a better understanding of the factors that contribute to perceptions of HIV/AIDS testing and knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Transcripts were axially coded for a priori themes and then analyzed for emergent categories of responses. These interviews indicated that the participant’s perceptions of HIV/AIDS testing were in general, not influenced by the church and that there were no noticeable distinctions regarding why HIV/AIDS testing was sought. The combined results of this study suggested that the churches surveyed were not promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and that the participants felt that the church should do more as it relates to HIV/AIDS. Conclusions: Since the AA church plays an important role in the lives of many AAs, it potentially can, particularly in rural areas, bring forth social change by advocating HIV/AIDS testing and prevention efforts in order to reduce the rate of HIV infections.
    • Patient-centered outcomes for GoStrong: A self-management diabetes program in Savannah, GA

      Yang, Frances; Roberts, Lizzann; Davis, Bionca; Christianson, Angela (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: To advance the goal of health improvement for diverse populations with diabetes, a patient-centered approach is foundational. Methods: Innovative methods were used to initiate and advance an approach to diabetes engagement and self-management. We began with a strategy to understand how patients with diabetes view and interact with the disease via the medical community and moved to program development through patient-centered design and to the development of strategic partnerships and continuous learning from patients, stakeholders, and academic research partners. Results: The mean age of the participants in the GoStrong™ program (n=106) was 51 ±9.2 (SD) years. There were significant differences in the HbA1c levels over time compared to the Control group (n=100). The mean HbA1c level from baseline to 36 months decreased from 7.49% to 6.89%, with the largest decline (to 6.28%, p<0.01) at 12 months. The mean HbA1c level for the control group increased from 8.38% to 8.49% from baseline to 36 months, with the largest increase (to 8.89%, p<0.01) at 18 months. There were significant differences for total medical costs at 12 months prior to and 12 months after starting the GoStrong program, a difference in total prescription drug costs at 12 months, and differences within the total group in number of emergency room (ER) visits. Claims information showed that GoStrong produced significantly lower total medical costs and ER visits. There was also an increase in total prescription drug costs that may be due to better medication adherence. Conclusions: For diabetics, the GoStrong program results in reduced HbA1c levels, reduced costs, and reduced ER visits.
    • Using our voices -- and using our science

      Hinman, Johhanna (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      At the close of the 2015 Annual Meeting and Conference of the Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA), President Deborah Riner encouraged the assembly to “use your voice[s],” to be advocates for public health. Indeed, the history of our successes in public health reflects a history of advocacy, of speaking up to make change. Our charge is to use our voices to express our passion for public health or specific public health causes, and to use our voices to promote the best available science.
    • Community-based participatory research principles for the African American community

      Smith, Selina A.; Whitehead, Mary S.; Sheats, Joyce Q.; Ansa, Benjamin E.; Coughlin, Steven S.; Blumenthal, Daniel S.; School of Medicine; Georgia Regents University; University of Massachusetts; Morehouse College (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Numerous sets of principles have been developed to guide the conduct of community-based participatory research (CBPR). However, they tend to be written in language that is most appropriate for academics and other research professionals; they may not help lay people from the community understand CBPR. Methods: Many community members of the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer assisting with the Educational Program to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening (EPICS) had little understanding of CBPR. We engaged community members in developing culturally-specific principles for conducting academic-community collaborative research. Results: We developed a set of CBPR principles intended to resonate with African-American community members. Conclusions: Applying NBLIC-developed CBPR principles contributed to developing and implementing an intervention to increase colorectal cancer screening among African Americans.
    • Increased perception of mosquito problems during a stormwater restoration project

      Kelly, Rosmarie; Georgia Department of Public Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      In 2008, a plan for improvement of the McDaniel Branch Watershed was prepared for the city of Atlanta, Department of Watershed Management. This included the construction of ponds in a kudzu-covered area at Bowen Circle. There is a perception that wetlands create mosquito problems. In point of fact, most of the vector and nuisance species in Atlanta are either container breeders or floodwater species, and do not breed in ponds. Because there is an average of 5 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) reported in Fulton County per year, most of these near Combined Sewer Overflow streams, county residents are aware of the connection between mosquitoes and WNV. As the McDaniel Branch Watershed Improvement Plan progressed, neighborhood residents became convinced that the changes being implemented in the area were increasing mosquito problems and increasing their risk of WNV infections. In Oct 2013, the Environmental Health Section of the Georgia Department of Public Health was contacted by the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management concerning control of mosquitoes in the ponds being created at the Bowen Circle site. It was determined that mosquito surveillance should be implemented in the area to determine if the changes to the watershed area were creating a mosquito problem. At the end of the 2014 mosquito surveillance season, it was established that there was little association between the watershed improvement project, the reported mosquito exposure, and measures of mosquito production within this neighborhood.
    • Community-based participatory research principles for the African American community

      Smith, Selina A.; Whitehead, Mary S.; Sheats, Joyce Q.; Ansa, Benjamin E.; Coughlin, Steven S.; Blumenthal, Daniel S. (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Numerous sets of principles have been developed to guide the conduct of community-based participatory research (CBPR). However, they tend to be written in language that is most appropriate for academics and other research professionals; they may not help lay people from the community understand CBPR. Methods: Many community members of the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer assisting with the Educational Program to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening (EPICS) had little understanding of CBPR. We engaged community members in developing culturally-specific principles for conducting academic-community collaborative research. Results: We developed a set of CBPR principles intended to resonate with African-American community members. Conclusions: Applying NBLIC-developed CBPR principles contributed to developing and implementing an intervention to increase colorectal cancer screening among African Americans.
    • Immunization policies for employees of childcare facilities within the North Central Health District of Georgia

      Kamara, Paula; Lian, Brad; Smith, Jimmie; McChargue, Judy; Mercer University, North Central Health District (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      ABSTRACT Background: Since the early 1980s, vaccinations have generally been required for children in licensed daycare and school settings. In these settings, vaccinations have reduced disease rates. Adults occupy these settings as well, and ensuring they are vaccinated should also reduce the potential for disease and disease transmission. Yet, there are few vaccination requirements for adults employed at daycare facilities, although such requirements have been recommended (CDC Adult immunization schedule, 2015; ACIP General Recommendations, 2011). The objective of this study was to examine current vaccination policies among childcare facilities within Georgia’s North Central Health District (District 5-2) and the climate for possible policy directives in the future. Methods: A 10-item questionnaire regarding vaccination requirements and policies and the importance of vaccination education was mailed to administrators of all 271 licensed childcare facilities within the North Central Health District in Georgia. A total of 76 questionnaires were returned, representing a 28% response rate. The district has approximately 530,000 residents and is comprised of 13 counties. Results: Of the childcare facilities, 79% have no vaccination policies in place. However, most facility directors (75%) indicated that such policies should be required, and 93 % stated that vaccination education is important for their staff members. Conclusions: Vaccination requirements can help protect children and their caregivers from communicable diseases. From a policy perspective, the climate may be favorable for the implementation of such requirements, in that most childcare directors recognize the importance of such policies and state that they should be required.
    • Impact of 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic on mortality rates in Savannah, GA, and implications for future epidemic prevention

      Plasphol, Sara; Dixon, Betty; Armstrong State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: The Spanish Influenza pandemic struck the United States in waves from September 1918 through March 1919. This study investigates the impact of the Spanish Influenza on Savannah and Chatham County, Georgia. Methods: Primary death records from the Chatham County Health Department were examined and analyzed for the years of 1917, 1918, and 1919. Historical mortality rates in the Savannah area were compared to those for other parts of the United States and world. Results: Mortality rates attributed to the Spanish Influenza within Savannah closely paralleled similar flu-related mortality rates for comparison populations in New York, London, and Madrid. Conclusions: These local primary data enable Savannah public health officials to understand the historical trends of communicable disease mortality in relation to other parts of the world, and have the potential to serve as a reference when channeling future resources into epidemic prevention in Chatham County.
    • Tapping the “town and gown” potential for correctional health research collaborations

      Gates, Madison L.; Staples-Horne, Michelle; Webb, Nancy C.; Braithwaite, Ronald; Hastings, Beverly (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Collaborations between juvenile justice systems (town) and academia (gown) promise to significantly enhance what we understand about high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) found among detained populations, particularly African American young women. However, research related to the sexual health of adolescent detainees has not occurred in proportion to the magnitude of issues found in the population. While there are many challenges to conducting research with this population, there are also lessons learned and best practices from other studies that may provide guidance. Methods: In 2015, we implemented a pilot project with young women in a detention center to understand the association between STIs and relationship dynamics. Using a formative assessment-based approach, the team periodically compared expectations to actual milestones and outcomes. This approach has provided feedback, guidance and lessons learned that we will use to adjust our pilot project. Results: Three challenges emerged from our review: concerns related to different agendas, bureaucratic difficulties and human protection. In addressing these challenges, we identified study procedures to revise and to incorporate into future works. Conclusions: Juvenile justice and academic partnerships require extensive pre-research work to account for the many challenges to implementing and conducting projects with this population. However, “town and gown” approaches to understanding and improving the sexual health of detainees can result in a more complete assessment of these issues compared to either a solely academic or juvenile justice investigation.
    • Substance use-related brief interventions with emergency department patients reduce mental health co-morbidities

      Johnson, J. Aaron; Abraham, Amanda J.; Georgia Regents University; University of Georgia (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Research on screening and brief interventions (SBIs) has shown that, in addition to reducing alcohol use, interventions delivered in healthcare settings can reduce trauma readmissions, hospitalization days, driving offenses, and future healthcare utilization and costs. Mental health co-morbidities often accompany unhealthy alcohol and drug use, but few studies have examined the impact of SBIs on the mental health of patients. The present study determined if SBIs focused on reducing alcohol or drug use affected the mental health status of patients at a six-month follow-up. Methods: Participants (N=1152) were randomly sampled from patients receiving SBIs for at-risk alcohol or drug use after presenting to one of two urban emergency departments (EDs) in Georgia. Telephone follow-up interviews were completed with 698 of the original participants at six months after the intervention. Mental health co-morbidities were measured at both time points using the Global Assessment of Individual Needs Short Screener (GAIN-SS) and the SF-12. Analyses were conducted using paired samples t-tests. Results: Analyses found significant reductions in the percentage of patients reporting feelings of anxiety (45% to 33%, p<0.001), depression (52% to 37%, p<0.001), and suicidal ideation (13% to 8%, p<0.001) as well as improvements in global mental health measures (SF12 mental health score and internalizing and externalizing subscales of the GAIN-SS). Conclusions: Six months after receiving SBIs for alcohol and drug use in EDs, several measures of the mental health of participants showed significant improvements. Widespread implementation of SBIs in Georgia's EDs may affect a broad array of public health concerns, including mental health.
    • The role of perception in developing healthy lifestyles and community engagement

      Coleman, Anne-Marie; Hicks-Coolick, Anne; Brown, Agnes F.; Georgia Department of Public Health; Cobb and Doglas Public Health Department; Kennesaw State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: The Cobb and Douglas Public Health Department and the Cobb2020 partnership, sponsored by the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnering program, facilitated six focus groups in Cobb County to ascertain residents’ perceptions of healthy behaviors. The purpose of the research was to assist in the development of programs to increase healthy behaviors. Methods: Purposive sampling was used to choose fifty-eight participants, who were divided into six groups in different geographic locations. The focus group questions concerned healthy living, health communications, and community health. Qualitative data analysis techniques were used to generate themes and categories across and within groups. Results: Six themes emerged: 1) need for education; 2) healthy food choices; 3) access to healthcare; 4) trust in health care providers; 5) affordable healthcare; and 6) need for local resources. The results show how community members’ perceptions regarding: a) policies that affect health, b) environments that promote healthier choices, and c) systems that allow individuals to be health consumers influence healthy living and community engagement. Other findings note different perceptions between those with and without health insurance. In addition, socio-economic status and ethnicity were seen as factors related to the perceptions of participants. Conclusions: The findings of this study informed a comprehensive, county-wide Community Health Improvement Plan. As a result of these studies, Cobb & Douglas Public Health established, as two chronic disease prevention interventions, the Cobb2020 Farm Fresh Market and, in the City of Kennesaw, the 100% Tobacco Free Parks and Cemeteries policy. Keywords: focus group, healthy living, individual perceptions, health belief model
    • Ebola: Working through fear

      Fitzgerald, Brenda; Georgia Department of Public Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
    • Legislative smoking bans for reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and smoking prevalence: Opportunities for Georgians

      Coughlin, Steven S.; Anderson, Jennifer; Smith, Selina A.; Emory University; Georgia Regents University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      ABSTRACT Background: Secondhand smoke, which is also referred to as environmental tobacco smoke and passive smoke, is a known human carcinogen. Secondhand smoke also causes disease and premature death in nonsmoking adults and children. Methods: We summarize studies of secondhand smoke in public places before and after smoking bans, as well as studies of cardiovascular and respiratory disease before and after such bans. Results: To protect the public from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, smoke-free legislation is an effective public health measure. Smoking bans in public places, which have been implemented in many jurisdictions across the U.S. and in other countries, have the potential to influence social norms and reduce smoking behavior. Conclusions: Through legislative smoking bans for reducing secondhand smoke exposure and smoking prevalence, opportunities exist to protect the health of Georgians and other Americans and to reduce health care costs. These opportunities include increasing the comprehensiveness of smoking bans in public places and ensuring adequate funding to quit line services.
    • The care continuum for people living with HIV in Georgia: How can we raise the bar?

      Kelly, Jane; Rane, Deppali; Wortley, Pascale; Drenzek, Cherie; Georgia Department of Public Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Viral suppression (VS) improves quality of life and longevity for people living with HIV (PLWH) and reduces viral transmission, but is achieved by only a minority of PLWH in Georgia Methods: By use of the Georgia HIV/AIDS surveillance database, the HIV Care Continuum was stratified by age. Results: Retention in care and VS generally increased with increasing age, with the exception of adolescents (aged 13-18 years), who had the highest retention and VS. Differences by sex, race and transmission category persisted across age groups. Among persons retained in care, the proportion achieving VS also generally increased with age. Linkage to care within 3 months of HIV diagnosis was lower among young adults (aged 19-24 years) (54%); young Black, non-Hispanic (NH) males (49%); and young Black NH men who have sex with men (MSM) (49%) as compared to those among adolescents (66%, 58%, and 57%). Conclusions: Retention in care and VS decreases with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, possibly reflecting loss of support systems and competing priorities. At the other end of the age spectrum, health care and social support systems will be confronted with increasing numbers of older PLWH in Georgia. Challenges in HIV treatment and prevention include (a) the need for integrated medical care for aging PLWH with co-morbid conditions, and (b) the changing social environment of young PLWH.
    • Variations in public health governance

      Jones, Jeffery; Bangar, Ankit; Chang, Patrick; Tarasenko, Yelena; Georgia Southern University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: Studies of public health departments have found mixed results regarding the relevance of governance through local boards of health (LBOHs). Some studies find that LBOHs can be an important component in higher performance by local health departments. Other analyses, however, find no advantage for local health departments having or not having a LBOH. The hypothesis was that a typology of LBOHs nationwide can define different types of LBOHs based on their powers and responsibilities. Methods: Using national profile sample data from the National Association of Local Boards of Health, LBOHs were categorized using 34 variables based on four domains of responsibilities and duties: enforcement powers, regulatory powers, human resource powers, and budgetary powers. Correlations between types of LBOHs defined by this typology were then computed, and whether they shared significant characteristics in terms of the race, ethnicity, sex, and educational demographics of their board members was determined. ArcGIS was used to analyze the data spatially for regional and national patterns. Results: LBOHs vary considerably across the country - from LBOHs with no budgetary, enforcement, regulatory, or human resources authorities to those that have all four. Conclusions: Different types of LBOHs may have different influences on their associated local boards of health. This study provides a typology for future research to allow analysts to distinguish different types of LBOHs nationally.