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Resources for Flu 2016

“Flu vs Cold” from CDC.

Flu vs. Cold ChartWith flu season really starting to kick in, we wanted to share some resources on the disease to help you get through fall and winter!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that every person aged six months and older get an annual flu vaccine by the end of October. Something important to note is that only injectable flu vaccines are recommended this year. Previously, the flu vaccine was also available through a nasal spray known as FluMist.

To further protect yourself, the CDC recommends staying away from people who are sick—people who are sick with the flu should stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the disease. Additionally, the CDC recommends consistent hand washing to get rid of germs.

Flu 2016 symptoms include:

  • fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • vomiting or diarrhea in some cases

The CDC also has a chart that shows the difference between cold and flu symptoms.

If you suspect you have the flu, you should visit your doctor for a diagnosis and to be prescribed antiviral prescription drugs. This treatment works best when started within 48 hours of getting sick, so you should see a doctor right away if you experience symptoms.

To read more about the 2016 flu, please visit the CDC’s flu page.

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Meet Me Monday: Mandie Mims, TWU – Dallas Center Library

Mandie Mims, Reference Librarian, TWU - Dallas Center Library

Mandie Mims is the Occupational and Physical Therapy, Speech Pathology, and Health Systems Management Librarian at Texas Woman’s University, T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences – Dallas Center Library.

Mandie works primarily with graduate, PhD and post-professional students. She also work closely with faculty, supporting their research and publishing. Dallas Center is one of two Institute of Health Sciences Centers, with the other located in Houston.

Please visit TWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences – Dallas Center and Dallas Center Library for more information!


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Zika Testing in the Rio Grande Valley

“Photo” by Freeimages9 is licensed under CC0.


Earlier this week, we posted a feature as part of our SCR Regional Highlight series about the new medical school that opened in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and how it will bring more physicians to a part of Texas that is in dire need of more medical professionals.

Today, we are sharing some more health news relevant to the Rio Grande Valley—this time regarding Zika.

Texas, particularly the southernmost tip where the Rio Grande Valley is, has been monitored closely for signs of local Zika transmission. Previously, Texas has seen the local transmission of dengue fever and chikungunya virus, both mosquito-borne diseases. So far, Texas has seen 231 cases of illness due to Zika, but none due to local transmission.

Despite this, the Texas Department of State Health Services is still on the offensive and is urging residents, particularly pregnant women, of the Rio Grande Valley to get tested for Zika if they exhibit any two of the four major symptoms of Zika, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (eye redness), regardless of their travel history.

To read more about Zika testing recommendations, please visit Texas Department of State Health Services.

To read more about Zika, please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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SCR Regional Highlight: New Medical School in the Rio Grande Valley Will Help Address Physician Shortage

UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy

UTRGV Family Medicine Center

The Rio Grande Valley, made up of four counties in the southernmost part of Texas along the border of Mexico, has the odds stacked against it when it comes to residents’ health. In Hidalgo County, one of those four counties, 40 percent of residents lack proper health insurance, 40 percent are considered obese, and 25 percent suffer from diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, most often found in adults, is being found more often in children in this area.

Luckily though, it looks like the Rio Grande Valley has a happy ending.

On June 27, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine opened its doors to its inaugural class. This first cohort contains 55 students—out of the more than 2,784 that applied. UTRGV is the first of its kind in the Valley, but the necessity it provides has been a long time coming.

In 2013, there were only 165 doctors per 100,000 people in Texas—much lower than the average of 240 doctors per 100,000 people in the U.S. as a whole. But in the Rio Grande Valley, that number was even smaller with only 124 doctors per 100,000 people. Number of doctors wasn’t the only shortcoming the Valley had; its average physician age was 57, decades above the median population age, and with older physicians, that would mean more retirements, and it would be likely the number of doctors would dwindle even further.

The inauguration of UTRGV is a fresh start for the Valley, who often lost many of its youngest, brightest minds to other medical schools without the thought of returning. The new medical school will bring new students in and keep students here to serve the population they also grew up in.

To read more about health in the Rio Grande Valley or UTRGV, please visit the following:

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Meet Me Monday: Alice Jaggers, UAMS Library

Alice Jaggers, Outreach Coordinator at UAMS Library

Alice Jaggers, MSLS, is the Outreach Coordinator at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Library in Little Rock, AR. Her current work includes an outreach project to rural public library staff in the Southeast region of Arkansas and an outreach project to the Marshallese population in Springdale, AR. The project for the public library staff will include a train the trainer method to help staff be better able to assist with patrons’ medical questions through National Library of Medicine resources. The project for the Marshallese population will include a train the trainer method for community health workers to assist their community in finding reliable health information.

Alice has a special interest in graphic medicine (comics, graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and manga about health related subjects) and highly encourages utilizing this medium for teaching health and health literacy. She recommends that every medical librarian read Graphic Medicine Manifesto by John Milton, Kimberly Rena Myers, M. K. Czerwiec, Michael Green, and Scott T. Smith, and Special Exits by Joyce Farmer. Also recommended is Graphic Librarian, a website created by Matthew Noe.

Contact Alice Jaggers at or (501) 686-8022. Feel free to ask questions, especially about outreach projects or graphic medicine!

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Babies Born Prematurely in Oklahoma

“Photo” by Arnaud Jaegers is licensed under CC0.

Infant HandIn 2014, more than 53,000 babies were born in Oklahoma, putting the state right in the middle at No. 27 for the most number of births in the United States. Nearly 4 million babies were born in the U.S. that year.

Unfortunately though, but to be expected, not all of those babies made it. Those babies who died made up the infant mortality rate (IMR). The IMR is defined by the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2013, the IMR for the U.S. overall was 6, which has since lowered to 5.9 today. Oklahoma’s IMR in 2013 was 6.7 but has since risen to 7.4, both of which were among the IMR national average.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health recognizes this unfortunate statistic and has found that babies born prematurely are a leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity. In 2014, 10.3 percent of Oklahoma’s births were premature.

In recognition of Infant Mortality Awareness Month last month, OSDH released information on factors that may cause a premature birth (like diabetes and high blood pressure), ways to promote a healthy pregnancy (like remaining tobacco free), and current initiatives OSDH is taking to help prevent premature births.

To read more about total number of births and the infant mortality rate in the U.S., please visit the following pages on the Kaiser Family Foundation website:

To read more about Oklahoma’s initiatives, please visit Prematurity Remains a Leading Cause of Infant Deaths in Oklahoma.

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Healthy People 2020: A Systematic Approach to Health Improvement

Image from “Healthy People 2020 brochure”
available via

Healthy People 2020Curious about the status of health in the U.S. and what’s being done to improve it? Check out Healthy People 2020, the latest national health promotion and disease prevention agenda released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The agenda includes a set of objectives to be reached by the year 2020, and was developed through a collaboration between HHS and other federal agencies, public stakeholders, and an advisory committee.

The Healthy People initiative began in 1979 with the surgeon general’s report on health promotion and disease prevention. Following the report, the first Healthy People was developed with a list of leading health indicators and set targets for those indicators to be reached by the end of the decade. Healthy People 2020 is the fourth such report, with its vision to achieve a society in which all people live long, healthy lives, and was announced on December 2, 2010.

Healthy People 2020 contains 42 topic areas with more than 1,200 objectives. Within these objectives, a small set of high-priority health issues have been identified that represent a significant threat to the public’s health. These 26 Leading Health Indicators (LHI) fall under 12 topic areas, and as of a March 2014 progress update over half (14) of the 26 indicators have either met their target or shown improvement.

The development of Healthy People involves an extensive stakeholder feedback process, incorporating periods of public comment throughout the planning process. The importance of the feedback process and public comments can be seen in the sample of new topics added to Healthy People 2020 based on feedback below.

Healthy People 2020 currently has a call for public comments regarding this year’s proposed new HIV objective. This will be the final public comment period for the 2020 project, and will be open October 6-27.

Sample of new topic areas added to Healthy People 2020:

  • Adolescent Health
  • Blood Disorders and Blood Safety
  • Dementias, including Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Early and Middle Childhood
  • Genomics
  • Global Health
  • Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being
  • Healthcare-Associated Infections
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health
  • Older Adults
  • Preparedness
  • Sleep Health
  • Social Determinants of Health

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Written by Sarah Miles, Health Professions Coordinator, NN/LM SCR

Economic Growth in Rural Areas Will Lead to Better Rural Health

“Photo” by Anjie Webbie is licensed under CC0.

Rural AreaWe know we’ve been stressing rural health a lot lately, but it’s a very important health issue, as a large population of our region are in rural areas. In fact, 33.4 million people in 2000 in our area were considered rural populations.

Here’s the state-by-state breakdown based off of 2000 Census data:

We wanted to share a New York Times article expressing the opinions of some professionals in the field on what can, should and needs to be done to positively impact rural growth. Much of their advice focuses on the economic growth of these rural towns, but economic growth goes hand-in-hand with rural health. Rural Health Information Hub puts it best: “A robust community helps to support and sustain quality health services for its residents by attracting quality healthcare professionals.”

The thoughts and opinions range from some things that seem so simple, like easy access and constant access to an internet connection, to more robust ideas like the wage gap.

The writers are:

  • Whitney Kimball Coe, director of National Programs at the Center for Rural Health
  • Jason Bailey, executive director of Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
  • Katherine Cramer, author of The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
  • Edward Conrad, author of The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class
  • Tom Vilsack, U.S. secretary of Agriculture

So now we ask you, especially those in rural populations: what can best help you?

To read the New York Times article, please visit “Helping Rural America Catch Up.”

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Meet Me Monday: Cathy Miller, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Photo credit: Dave Gresham

Cathy Miller, Digital Archivist-UTSW

Cathy Miller is the Digital Archivist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.  Her earlier experience includes a 10-week internship for the Yellowstone National Park Archives.

UT Southwestern’s archival collection documents the history of UT Southwestern Medical Center, as well as its predecessor institutions, University Hospitals, careers of noble campus individuals, and Parkland Memorial Hospital. The archival collection features many interesting and fun records, such as “Child hears first sounds after cochlear implant, 1997.

Visit UT Southwestern Archives to learn more about the collections.


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Three New Mexicans Diagnosed with West Nile Virus

“Photo” by FotoshopTofs is licensed under CC0.

MosquitoToday we’re talking mosquitoes and diseases again, but this time, not Zika-related. Instead we are focusing on West Nile virus.

Within the last month, three New Mexican men were diagnosed with the virus. All three developed neuroinvasive disease and were hospitalized. The three men were from Bernalillo, Doña Ana, McKinley Counties, and are the third, fourth, and fifth cases of West Nile virus contracted in New Mexico this year.

Only about 44,000 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the U.S. since 1999, and of those, only 1 in 5 people will develop symptoms. So far in 2016, only two states in the U.S. have not reported any cases of West Nile virus: North Carolina and Maine.

While there is a limited number of cases reported, know that West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes may still be circulating in your state. “West Nile virus may still be circulating in New Mexico until mosquito activity ceases after the first hard frost,” according to the New Mexico Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Designate Lynn Gallagher.

We encourage everyone to take precautions against West Nile virus and mosquitos until the first hard frost in your areas.

Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to protect yourself from mosquitos:

• Use insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol
• Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks, weather permitting, to physically protect yourself
• Be aware of peak mosquito biting hours, which are at dawn and dusk

To read more about West Nile virus in New Mexico, please visit “Additional West Nile Virus Cases in New Mexico in 2016.”

To read more about West Nile virus from the CDC, please visit the CDC’s website.

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