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High-tech Simulators Will Allow Rural Emergency Techs to Practice Trauma Treatment Thanks to $5.5 Million Grant

At a time when rural emergency medicine is facing shortages of volunteers, equipment and funding, Nebraska’s rural EMS system has received a significant investment from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center received a three-year, $5.5 million grant for four trucks and 20 simulators — mannequins that mimic patients — to help train rural EMTs and small-town hospital personnel.

The program will enable training to take place in towns across Nebraska so that volunteers don’t have to travel to Kearney or Omaha, where such continuing education for EMTs typically takes place.

The program gives support to a diminishing breed. Information distributed by UNMC said that between December 2013 and April 2016, the number of licensed emergency medical service providers in Nebraska dropped 18 percent, from 8,436 to 6,959.

The Helmsley grant also bolsters UNMC’s commitment to simulators, which enable students and practitioners to work on their skills without the risk of injuring real patients. UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold is a proponent of the concept and aims to build a major simulation facility on his campus.

The simulators acquired through the Helmsley grant will be based in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Norfolk and Lincoln, where UNMC has nursing programs. The units are expected to be delivered in January. EMTs and other medical workers will have the chance to practice on trauma cases and catastrophic illnesses that they don’t normally see, said Shelley Stingley, director of the Helmsley Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program.

For more on this story, CLICK HERE

 

 

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Expert will visit Omaha to Discuss Benefits of a Walkable City

Jeff Speck, author of “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save American, One Step at a Time”  will visit Omaha next month to tour the city on foot and by car, meet with area officials and address the Heartland 2050 summit.

The summit, coordinated by the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, will be held August 2 at Creighton University’s Harper Center.  It is free and open to the public.  To attend, please register at tinyurl.com/summersummit2016

Karna Loewenstein, Heartland 2050’s coordinator, said the summit is about planning for the future and ensuring that, 34 years from now, the Omaha area will be a “wonderful place to live.” Achieving that involves planning for smart land use, transit options and walkability, Loewenstein said.

“Policymakers and employers, take heed: It’s difficult to attract people to relocate unless you can offer them a bustling downtown core, Speck said.

For more on this article, CLICK HERE.

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New Study: E-cigarettes could cut smoking-related deaths by 21 percent

E-cigarettes could lead to a 21 percent drop in deaths from smoking-related diseases in those born after 1997, according to a study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Cancer Institute and the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network, found that under most plausible scenarios e-cigarettes and other vapor products have a generally positive public health impact. For more on this story, CLICK HERE. 

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Pokémon Go Brings Video Games Outside

Pokémon Go is getting players physically moving in the real world, a change from the stereotypical stationary screen time usually associated with gaming. The app works by allowing GPS to track the gamer’s location, which in turn moves the player’s avatar the same distance on the in-game map.

“There is already clear evidence that people are walking more each day while using it,” said Wei Peng Ph. D, an associate professor at Michigan State University, who studies the potential benefits in using video games and interactive media to promote health.

For more on this story, CLICK HERE. 

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Teen Smoking is Down. So What's the Bad News?

Statistics from a recent CDC survey indicate that youth smoking rates in Nebraska have been cut in half in recent years. The survey states that while some 32 percent of high schoolers in Nebraska said they have tried smoking, only about 11 percent had smoked in the previous month, and just 8 percent said they smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day. This is good news for teen health ... or is it?  The survey also shows that teens are turning to electronic cigarettes over the traditional pack of smokes.  A recent column by Erin Grace in the Omaha World Herald highlights the good news - and bad news.  For more on this article, CLICK HERE. 

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The Sodium 411

Thinking about reducing the sodium in your and your family’s diet? You’ve come to the right place! We’ll show you how extra salt sneaks into your diet and how it hurts your health, and share tips for kissing the excess salt goodbye. We call it the Sodium 411 ... and be sure to keep checking our blog, the Salty Scoop, to learn more.  Here you’ll find the latest information on sodium and your health, healthy recipes, info-graphics, videos about lowering sodium, and our sodium quiz.

Find out how much sodium the American Heart Association recommends and get tips for keeping track of how much sodium you’re eating. Most of us are eating much more sodium than we need, even if we never pick up the salt shaker. Get tips on how to cut back on salt and sodium and move on to a healthier relationship with food. Get healthy recipes and easy tips for cooking with less salt and sodium. We have recipes in English and Spanish.

Need a quick info-graphic to encourage your employees to consumer less salt?  You've come to the right place!  CLICK HERE  Test your sodium IQ but taking our quiz ... find out how YOU can reduce your sodium intake and keep your heart healthy. 

This information is designed to help individuals improve their health and understand heart disease and stroke risks. It is not intended, or to be construed, as medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, and is not a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are familiar with an individual’s medical needs. Individuals with medical conditions or dietary restrictions should follow the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Advocate Spotlight: AHA Volunteer Jill Duis

Jill Duis Nebraska

Congratulations to Nebraska AHA Advocate Jill Duis on recently being honored with the Leadership Champion Award by Work Well in Lincoln.  This award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of personal health or the health of others.  Jill certainly is among our champions within the AHA for her tireless efforts on behalf of heart and stroke patients across Nebraska.  Jill is an infection preventionist and certified diabetes educator at Jefferson Community Health Center, and in addition to her job at JCHC, Jill frequently volunteers for other health-based organizations such as the AHA and American Cancer Society.

According to the Daily Sun, "Jill is a stroke survivor and had had a pacemaker for more than a third of her life.  This drives her to spread the message about health and wellness in any way that she can." 

Some of Jill's volunteer activities have included the Red Dress Dash, state and federal lobby days, testifying before legislative committees, writing letters to the editor, meeting with lawmakers, and she is the founder of the Jefferson County Go Red for Women event.  Known in her community for her promotion of daily exercise and healthy eating, she is a great role model for other employees at JCHC and throughout her community. 

The award was presented to Jill by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts at a Work Well banquet at Innovation Campus in Lincoln, along with other awards. 

Congratulations to Jill Duis! 

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Teen Who Suffered a Stroke Walks Across Stage at Graduation

Every now and then you come across a story so compelling, and so inspirational, you just have to share with everyone!  Such is the case with this story of a Iowa teenager who suffered a massive stroke just days before his 17th birthday. Shortly after his stroke, doctors had told him he will likely never walk again.   Last week, that same teenager walked across the stage to accept his high school diploma. 

For full story, CLICK HERE

At the American Heart Association, we celebrate stories like Hunter's and we recognize all the important elements that came together for Hunter to not only survive his stroke, but to continue to live a full and productive life.  When stroke happens, time is critical to get that patient to the right place in the right amount of time.  We applaud the Nebraska legislature and our Governor for putting stroke patients first and implementing a Stroke System of Care to ensure stroke patients have the best opportunity to not only survive from stroke, but to continue to live healthy and productive lives.  Our stroke system of care will save lives across Nebraska and we are pleased when we can share inspirational stories like Hunter's. 

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Help Put Your State on the Map to #ProtectPE

Do you love PE?  So do we!  From a healthy heart to an active mind, physical education supports the whole student.  Physical education has positive impacts on kids' physical, mental, and emotional health- and teaches them about the overall value of making healthy choices, now and into adulthood. Join the movement! 

However, despite the tremendous benefits of physical education, many schools are cutting programs due to competing priorities.  But we have the power to change that!  From Maine to Hawaii, and everywhere in between, we're calling on advocates, like you, to "show the love" for physical education in schools. 

Over 150 “I heart PE” photos have already been shared, representing 33 states, but we need your help keep the momentum going!  Just follow the simple steps below to help fill the PE photo map with supporters from coast to coast:

  1.     Print the "I Heart PE" sign... or make your own!
  2.    Snap a picture of yourself (and family, friends, and neighbors) holding the sign.
  3.    Click on the map below to share your photo!

 

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Survivor Spotlight: Leon and Elaine Graves

Leon and Elaine Graves Nebraska

Leon and Elaine Graves have both survived life-threatening heart and stroke events.  Elaine shares their story to encourage others to pay attention to symptoms, and to not hesitate to call 9-1-1 when something doesn’t seem right. 

Several years prior to September 2009, my doctor heard a “swishing” noise while my heart was beating and sent me to have an echocardiogram of my heart.  I learned then that I had a leaky heart valve which needed to be watched.

Then, on September 18, I had open heart surgery to replace my mitro valve.  Doctors seemed to think I had rheumatic fever as a child, and that damaged my heart valves. 

In addition to that, there were times my heart would race and beat very fast.  In September 2014, I went to the ER at the local hospital because my heart was racing so fast.  The doctor had me transported to Nebraska Heart Hospital by the ambulance crew. 

Then, on October 14, I had put in a full day of work and apparently commented that I didn’t feel well  and then went home.  Our nephew came over to visit for a bit and while talking to him, I sat down on a kitchen chair and my heart stopped.  Our nephew called 911 and the ambulance arrived shortly thereafter. 

The paramedics performed life-saving CPR and shocked my heart and took me to the hospital where Dr. Widhalm saw me.   He called for the life helicopter to transport me to Nebraska Heart Hospital.  There, a pacemaker and defibrillator were implanted. 

On March 17, 2015, my husband Leon told me that he was having chest pains and I told him we’d better get to the ER.  He said they weren’t heart chest pains and he was going to rest for a bit.  He sounded funny after he went into the living room so I went in there to see if he was OK.  He was unconscious and I couldn’t wake him up.  I called 911 and told them I thought he may have had a heart attack.  Within a couple of minutes, the ambulance was there.

Paramedics started performing CPR and they shocked his heart a couple of times with the AED.  By this time, our living room was full of paramedics!

They took Leon to the local hospital and Dr. Widhalm was there waiting for us.  He had already called for the life helicopter and Leon was flown to the Nebraska Heart Hospital.  There, he was examined and all his arteries were in great shape so we were puzzled as to what caused his heart to stop.  After blood tests it was discovered that his potassium level was critically low.  He was not coming around or waking up so a brain scan was done and it showed four TIA’s which affected his left side – his arm and his leg.  He was then transferred to Madonna Hospital for stroke rehab.  Leon was there for a month, then transferred to the Swing Bed Care Unit at the local hospital for a couple of weeks where physical therapists worked with helping him regain his strength and use of his arm/hand and to walk again. 

If it weren’t for the paramedics in both of our cases, we wouldn’t be here.  We can’t tell enough people how appreciative we are to have an ambulance crew in our town and how talented they are. They asked questions and were very caring. Making sure I was alright also.  If I needed to I’d call 911 again and I wouldn’t have any second thoughts about doing so.  In minutes many lives can be saved, we know.

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