Wellness briefly

DHS to host meetings

BISMARCK – The N.D. Department of Human Services is hosting meetings in the state’s eight largest communities in September to gather information about local and regional human service needs and priorities. The department invites consumers of its services, health and human service providers, advocates and other interested individuals to participate.

“We hold these community conversations every two years to engage stakeholders about community needs and concerns as well as successes that are making a difference in the lives of North Dakotans,” said Maggie Anderson, the department’s executive director. “The feedback is used to help shape how services are provided and for planning the department’s future budget proposals.”

The meeting scheduled for Minot will be Sept. 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. at North Central Human Service Center, 1015 S. Broadway, Suite 18, Conference Rooms 311 and 411.

In addition to the community meetings, members of the department’s senior management team will hold employee meetings to hear suggestions on how the department can serve clients and other stakeholders more effectively.

People who are unable to attend a community meeting can submit ideas, concerns or recommendations about agency services to the department at 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 325, Bismarck, N.D. 58505-0250 or dhseo@nd.gov.

For information about the programs and services provided by the N.D. Department of Human Services, visit (www.nd.gov/dhs).

– Jill Hambek

Smoke-free signage provided by the Center

In accordance with HB 1253, the N.D. Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy (the Center) is providing smoke-free signage for businesses and public places that are subject to North Dakota’s smoke-free law. Signs identifying smoke-free buildings and areas are required under the law.

Business owners are encouraged to contact their local public health unit to receive their free signs.

Jill Hambek

Assistance with federal health insurance on way

The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities, a Center of Excellence at Minot State University, has been awarded a $414,000 cooperative agreement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assist North Dakotans with accessing health care insurance through the federal Health Insurance Exchange.

“North Dakota decided to be a part of the Federal Healthcare Exchange, which will become known as the Marketplace. Residents will choose from a variety of health care plans with the open-enrollment period being from Oct. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014,” said Neil Scharpe, Navigator project director. “If individuals enroll in plans before Dec. 31, 2013, coverage should begin Jan. 1, 2014. For those enrolling in January or February of 2014, expectations are that coverage will begin the month following enrollment.”

NDCPD will establish a statewide collaborative network of regional navigators and certified application counselors. Navigators, stationed in each of the state’s eight human service regions, will coordinate recruitment of additional CACs from local community organizations to meet that region’s needs. The regional navigator will synchronize training, disseminate educational materials, and monitor the unbiased implementation of the Affordable Care Act by assisting all North Dakotans in choosing an appropriate health care plan that best fits their needs.

NDCPD will provide navigator support to people who are uninsured or underinsured. Specifically targeted groups include North Dakotans most at risk of being uninsured: people with mild disabilities, people with mental health disorders, farmers, young adults, Native Americans, small-business persons, people who are unemployed and people who are drug or alcohol addicted.

For questions, contact Scharpe at neil.scharpe@minotstateu.edu or 858-3596.

DOH hosts child passenger safety conference

BISMARCK -The North Dakota Department of Health’s Child Passenger Safety Program is sponsoring the “Celebrating 30 Years of Buckling up Children” Child Passenger Safety Conference Oct. 1-2 at the Ramada Bismarck in Bismarck. The conference is targeted to people who work in law enforcement, emergency medical services, traffic safety, public and private health, child care providers, social workers and others who transport children or who educate others about child passenger safety. The conference is open to anyone interested in promoting child passenger safety in North Dakota.

The objective of the conference is to create an interactive educational opportunity to receive the latest information about child passenger safety, including technical advancements with child passenger safety and best practices.

Several breakout sessions will also be featured including topics such as school bus/15-passenger van safety, special needs car seats, transporting children in emergency vehicles, new vehicle safety technology, rural child passenger safety issues, crash scene investigations and more.

To learn more about the conference or to register, visit (ndhealth.gov/injury) or call Dawn Mayer at 328-4536 or 800-472-2286.

– Jill Hambek

Symposium tackles issues of women/newborns

Domestic violence, obesity and drug use can have a profound impact on maternal and newborn health. They’re just a few of the issues to be tackled at the 33rd Annual Symposium on Perinatal Medicine and Women’s Health Care presented by Trinity Health Thursday and Friday at the Grand Hotel in Minot.

About 150 caregivers from across the region are expected to attend the two-day conference, which features national and local experts discussing a variety of medical and cultural topics related to the care of women and newborns. “This is the 33rd year we’ve been doing this, and every year it seems to grow,” said Nadine Nelson, Trinity education specialist. “We have an organizing committee of nurses, staff development professionals and others from the perinatal and women’s health field. Then each year we ask our conference participants to suggest topics for the following year.”

One topic that emerged from conference feedback deals with the obesity epidemic. Dr. Thomas Carver, a neonatologist and pediatrician with Trinity Health, will discuss the effects obesity can have on a woman’s pregnancy and her offspring.

Maternal drug use will be the subject of a panel discussion by Dr. Heather Podgorski, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital; Steve Niebuhr, a special agent with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation; and Kim Kraft, a social worker and case manager with Trinity Health.

Terry Eckmann, a faculty member at Minot State University, will present Women’s Fitness: From Young to Young at Heart.

Other topics include infant adoption, domestic violence, immunization, diabetes in pregnancy, and maternal and child health disparities among American Indians. For further information, call 857-2452.

– Jill Hambek