Cold Weather Advisory
January 30, 2019. Extreme cold weather is forecast in Brookline tonight and tomorrow. The Brookline Department of Public Health is urging residents to take precautions during this time. Stay indoors if you can. If you must go outside, dress in layers and make sure your car is equipped with cold weather gear and an emergency kit. Remember to check on your family, the elderly, or others with access and functional needs to make sure they are safe.
TEEN VAPING, Update on An Epidemic
1)The US Surgeon General issued an urgent Advisory on E-cigarette Use (a/k/a Vaping) Among Youth on Tuesday, December 18, 2018:
“I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.
KNOW THE RISKS. TAKE ACTION. PROTECT OUR KIDS. 2019, the US Surgeon General.”
2) Local Reaction. On the heels of a new report showing an unprecedented spike in the number of teens who use electronic cigarettes, the state’s top health official says it’s a problem that needs immediate attention.“The report shows us is that there is a sharp increase in the prevalence of nicotine vaping among our young people,” says Dr. Monica Bharel, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health. “E-cigarette use by youth and young adults is really a public health epidemic right now.”
One person not shocked by the new data is Dr. Swannie Jett, Brookline’s director of health and human services. He says it’s been obvious for years that teen vaping rates are on the rise. “It’s a cheaper product and people seem to think it’s less harmful, even though it does still contain nicotine,” he says, adding that the industry is “crafty and innovative” in its product designs and marketing. In his view, combating the problem requires educating parents and cracking down on vendors that sell vaping products to minors. “We need a stronger campaign to educate parents about vaping” because some e-cigarette devices look like “something you plug into your computer,” he says, and many parents might not even recognize an e-cigarette as a vaping device. “And we have to become stronger on some of the compliance checks we do at the local level,” he says.
3) Wednesday, December 19, 2018, New York Times runs two articles on vaping: “Addicted to Vaped Nicotine, Teenagers Have No Clear Path to Quitting;” and “How to Help Teenagers Quit Vaping.” https://www.nytimes.com/…/18/hea…/vaping-teens-nicotine.html, From the New York Times article, a section on how to help teens quit vaping:
“For starters, parents should recognize that they are confronting an addiction to nicotine, which is hard to break.
“You just found your child’s empty vaping pods. Now what?
Don’t panic. Also, don’t go ballistic.
Before you confront, educate yourself.
“What are good resources?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a useful website on what the federal government currently knows about vaping and e-cigarettes.
The Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, by researchers at Stanford, has a major unit on vaping and Juuls. It is not just for educators: Frequently updated, it has photos, charts and points of discussion that may help you engage your teenager.
“Now that I’ve got some facts, what’s next?
Try to see e-cigarettes from the perspective of teenagers. They know that on the scale of all things forbidden, lots of substances — prescription and street drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, to name a few — rank far higher than vapes. While adolescents are canny enough to hide their Juuls from you, they don’t really believe that vaping is harmful.
So if you unleash an angry outburst, they will likely push back, thinking you are making a big deal over nothing.
Also realize that the defensiveness and fibbing you’re hearing may not be just a child reacting to being caught — the sort of behavior that earns consequences and stern lectures. This is different.”
4)Brookline parents who would like information about getting help for a child who is vaping may contact the Brookline Health Department’s prevention team at Brookline High School, Mary Minott and Kendall Jones, 617-713-5155.
Pop-Up Town Hall
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations and the Brookline Teen Center will be hosting a Pop Up Town Hall Event on Wednesday, February 13th from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Teen Center (40 Aspinwall Ave). Representatives from the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations, the Brookline Fire Department, and Brookline's Next Steps Program will be present to answer any questions, share how to get involved, and provide information on services, programs and upcoming events and initiatives. There will be music, snacks, and free raffles! We look forward to teens and their families stopping by and saying hello!
Asian American Student Essay Contest
Essay Contest Alert!
Brookline Asian American Essay Contest: The Brookline Asian American Family Network and the Brookline Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations Office are seeking submissions for the 2019 Asian American Essay Contest on “What does it mean to be an Asian American?” The contest is open to high school students living in Brookline or attending Brookline High School. Essay submissions are due on February 28, 2019. Three prizes will be given to winning entries. See http://baafn.weebly.com for complete contest rules and information, or contact Caitlin Starr at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-730-2345 with any questions.
National Women's History Month
In celebration of National Women’s History Month, the Brookline Commission for Women (BCW) is currently running its 27th annual “A Woman Who Inspires Me” Essay Contest and accepting nominations for the 2019 Brookline Woman of the Year.
For the “A Woman Who Inspires Me” Essay Contest, all 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who live in Brookline or attend a public or private school in Brookline are eligible to submit an essay that honors a woman who inspires them.
The “Women Who Inspires Me” essay contest is an important part of chronicling the history of women in Brookline and encourages students to reflect on those who make an impact on their lives. Essay contest winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 21st at 6:30pm in Hunneman Hall, Brookline Main Library. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Commission’s naming of the 2019 Brookline Woman of the Year.
Student essays can be submitted online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WomenInspire2019. To be eligible, essays must be received no later than February 28th. Winning essays will be announced on the BCW website and through email on/around March 6th. Please contact BCW Co-Chair, Casey Hatchett at email@example.com with any questions.
For the 2019 Brookline Woman of the Year nominations, we are accepting nominations online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WomanYear2019 until February 28th. Please contact BCW Co-Chair, Casey Hatchett at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Power to Decide: February 2019 Power Player
Cannabidiol-Hemp (CBD) Advisory
New Marijuana Study
“A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that marijuana had a more damaging effect on teenagers’ long-term cognitive abilities than alcohol. Even after students reported stopping, their cognition did not improve.
Noteworthy research about long-term impact of teen marijuana use reported by Shamard Charles, MD, ABC Health News, December 31, 2018. Excerpt below:
“The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, followed over 3,800 adolescents from 31 Montreal-area schools over four years. The teens, who started participating in the study when they were 13, agreed to provide annual reports of how frequently they used marijuana and alcohol. They also took computer-based cognitive tests that measured recall memory, perceptual reasoning, inhibition and short-term memory.
“With the rise of legal weed, drug education moves from ‘don’t’ to ‘delay.’ To get a more honest account of their marijuana and alcohol consumption, students were assured that parents and teachers would not have access to the information — unless there was an imminent safety risk. The study concluded that marijuana had a more damaging effect on teenagers’ long-term cognitive abilities than alcohol. Even after students reported stopping marijuana, their cognition did not improve.”
Information on Marijuana
Health Survey Results
Tobacco Grant Awarded
On August 6, 2018, The Brookline Department of Public Health and Human Services was awarded a grant of $65,000 for four years from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to prevent nicotine use and improve public health. Brookline is one of 16 municipal health departments who received awards to work in partnership with neighboring cities and towns to reduce the influence of the tobacco and vaping industries on communities. The funding will strengthen capacity in Brookline and also serve Arlington, Belmont, Norwood, Randolph, Stoughton, and Watertown. This award continues and expands work that Brookline has done previously through the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program.
Food Code Revised
On September 12, 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health amended 105 CMR 590.00: State Sanitary Code Chapter X: Minimum Sanitation Standards for Food Establishments to include sections of the 2013 FDA Food Code with amendments made by FDA in 2015. The amendments were published in the Massachusetts register on October 5, 2018 and became effective upon publication.
Highlights of Food Code Changes:
- New Food Safety Definitions, Terminology and Inspection Forms and Protocols will be used.
- New Temperature Requirements for Cooking and Holding Specific Foods for Food Safety.
- Specific Date Marking Requirements for Certain Foods.
- New Reporting Requirements for Employees Reporting Illness and Cleaning Procedures.
- Specific Requirements for the Designated Person in Charge (PIC).
- And More…..
I’ve been asked many times what population health is. Wikipedia defines it as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group." It is in essence, a strategic plan to improve the health of the entire population.
Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (WHO, 1998) Public Health is “What we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy." (IOM 1988).
- Prevents epidemics and the spread of disease
- Prevents injuries
- Promotes and encourages healthy behavior
- Responds to disasters
- Assures the quality and accessibility of Health Services
“Population health is public health”
- A medical model saves lives one person at a time
- Public Health saves lives millions at a time.
Through public health achievements life expectancy in the United States has increased from 47.3 years in 1900 to 78.1 years in 1996. That’s a 25+ years of life improvement.
Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Commissioner of Public Health, asks that you contact the Brookline Health Department at 617-730-2300 with any questions or requests for additional information.