CDPH in the News, July 2016

CDPH in the News

California Mental Health Organizations To Receive $13 Million Boost
from Capital Public Radio
The California Department of Public Health will award $13 million to organizations focused on serving the mental health needs of underserved communities. Grants will be given to 11 pilot projects that provide mental health services to African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, LGBTQ and Native American people. Gender Health Center in Sacramento, is one of the organizations selected. Ben Hudson is executive director of the center. It provides therapy and counseling with a focus on gender and sexual identities. “Trans women of color, particularly black trans women, are being murdered at an epidemic rate in the United States,” says Hudson. “They’re being affected affected by HIV at an epidemic rate and we don’t pay attention to that. And so what GHC is able to do by trying to serve the needs of some very marginalized communities means that we’re able to help a lot of other people.”

California Department of Public Health reports increased West Nile virus activity statewide
from Lake County News
The California Department of Public Health is reporting increased West Nile virus activity across the state and is investigating numerous suspect cases in humans. While the first human case has not been confirmed by CDPH, a resident of Los Angeles County has symptoms consistent with West Nile virus disease. Initial tests on that patient indicate a probable West Nile virus diagnosis, which requires further testing for confirmation. “Californians should take every possible precaution to avoid mosquito bites,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Simple steps, like applying repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants in the early morning and evening, and draining standing water near your home can help to prevent bites from infected mosquitos.” To date in 2016, West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes and birds in 30 California counties, including Lake County.

Hospital owner jailed, suspected of stealing from senior citizens
from Fresno Bee
A Fresno convalescent hospital owner was arrested Thursday after an investigation found he allegedly was stealing money from residents’ trust accounts to cover his own debt, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. Michael Fellen, 65, of Madera was booked into the Fresno County Jail, the Sheriff’s Office said. Jail records indicate Fellen was released on $25,000 bail. Deputies began assisting the California Department of Public Health with the investigation March 10 when suspicions were raised at Sunnyside Convalescent Hospital, which is owned by Fellen and located at 2939 S. Peach Ave. Thousands of dollars were unlawfully transferred from trust accounts to the hospital’s business account, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Tapped out: County water is source of premium brand
from West Hawaii Today
The California Department of Public Health is investigating a complaint about Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water involving “issues such as labeling and source water requirements associated with Waiakea.” Waiakea is a premium Hawaii water brand bottled in southern California. It is marketed mostly on the mainland, although it is sold in Hawaii in limited quantities in stores including Island Naturals and Whole Foods. The company’s slogan is “drink healthy, drink sustainably, drink ethically.” On its website, the company touts its water “originates in Hawaii through both snowmelt and rain on the pristine snowcapped peak of the active Mauna Loa volcano…then filtered through 14,000 feet of porous lava rock before re-emerging at its source, located at the eastern base of the Mauna Loa volcano in a secluded area surrounded by rich and bio-diverse forest preserves.” In fact, the thousands of East Hawaii residents on county water also have access to the same water source. It’s called the tap.

Full Gene Sequencing Might Detect CF Mutations in Babies of Any Ethnicity, Study Says
from Cystic Fibrosis News Today
Babies with a mutation known to cause cystic fibrosis (CF) and a second mutation called the 5T allele should be screened for additional mutations to predict their risk of developing CF later in life, according to a study by researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and the California Department of Public Health. These full genetic screens could allow an early diagnosis and treatment, likely easing the disease’s impact over the long term.

Welcome to the youth murder capital of California
from VICE News
Cesar Hernandez Ortiz wore a green button-up shirt and black pants. His eyes were closed, and his arms were folded below his chest. On a nearby wall, an effigy of Jesus Christ looked down upon his coffin. On Mother’s Day of this year, the 22-year-old had been standing outside a Salinas, California apartment building when a man approached, shot Ortiz multiple times in the torso, and fled. Ortiz died before he reached the hospital. Ortiz’s death is one of 16 shooting homicides being investigated by the Salinas Police Department this year. Twelve of the victims have been 24 years old or younger. Last year, Salinas endured its highest number of gun homicides in history: 103 shooting victims, 31 of whom were killed, and almost half of whom were 24 years old or younger. They’re relatively small numbers when compared to metropolitan areas like Chicago or Los Angeles, with millions of people, but huge numbers for a city of just 157,000. The Violence Policy Center (VPC) has ranked Monterey County (Salinas is the county seat) the youth homicide capital of California for four out of the past five years — the VPC defines youths as anyone between the ages of 10 and 24 — using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI, and the California Department of Public Health. The county has also taken the top spot in annual gang-related youth homicides every year since 2011, when the report was first published.

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