Please Join Us, and Help Spread the Word!
King County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Legislative Forum
Thursday, November 5, 2015
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
(public reception at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m.)
Town Hall Seattle
1119 8th Ave. (at Seneca St.), Seattle
With 950 community members in attendance last year, the forum will now offer expanded seating capacity!
The Forum will include:
- Remarks from King County Executive Dow Constantine.
- King County’s proposed legislative priorities in mental health and substance abuse for 2016.
- Current innovations and outcomes in behavioral healthcare in the communities of King County.
- Compelling personal stories from individuals in recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse.
- The perspectives and priorities of federal and state legislators and King County Councilmembers.
If you think you may be able to attend, please send a note to Chris Verschuyl at email@example.com.
Please also do whatever you can to spread the word among your personal and/or professional networks. Everyone is welcome to this free event, and no RSVP is required.
Thank you for considering adding this event to your calendar, and for helping us encourage others to participate.
Division Director, King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division
Behind-the-scenes of the IOM panel that helped extend reservist medical benefits
HSNewsBeat | Updated 9:30 AM, 07.28.2015|
Posted in: Issues
In June, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reversed a longstanding position and extended medical benefits to about 2,000 Air Force reservists who worked on C-123 aircraft that were returned to the United States after being used to spray Agent Orange defoliant in Vietnam.
The VA was acting on findings of an Institute of Medicine ad hoc panel, whose seven members included John Kissel, a University of Washington professor of environmental and occupational health sciences. In an interview, he gave context to the panel’s job, its process and findings, and his takeaway. This Q&A is excerpted from that conversation.
Q: What’s your background that led to your inclusion on the panel?
A: I do human exposure assessment in community and occupational environments.
Q: What was the panel’s task?
A: We were supposed to decide whether the Air Force reservists who flew and maintained the planes well after Vietnam could have gotten meaningful exposures to Agent Orange residues that would make them potentially eligible for compensation.
John Kissel is a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences.
Years ago Congress decided that, presumptively, all Vietnam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange and its contaminant, dioxin. The standing IOM committee on Agent Orange – another group, not our panel – has reviewed epidemiological records and created a list of health outcomes for which there is an accepted link between Agent Orange exposure and negative consequences. I think 18 or 19 diseases are on the list.
We were looking at a population of people who didn’t go to Vietnam but who may have had equal or higher exposures than some veterans who did. The non-Vietnam veterans were presumptively not covered.
Q: Was the panel going to stand entirely on science, either way, or were you looking for justification to cover the reservists?
A: Just the science. We weren’t unaware of the contention of the non-covered veterans that this was an equity issue, but we weren’t impaneled to deal with equity. We could have said, “It doesn’t seem fair to us, but we found no basis for your claims of exposure.”
Q: Were you lobbied?
A: We had one public hearing where people were able to offer their opinion. There were advocates for the reservists and on the other side there was the VA’s primary consultant as well as consultants paid by Dow and Monsanto, who made Agent Orange, to argue that the reservists’ claims didn’t hold up to scrutiny. We also received written comments on both sides of the issue.
Q: What did the science tell you?
A: We had a problem with lack of information. If you want to assess a person’s or a group’s exposure, you would like to have environmental data from the period of exposure, plus skin data, inhalation data, and urine data from the population. You’d also want to know the length of potential exposure – how many hours a day, how many years. At the individual level, we had little or none of that. What we had was residue numbers obtained from the planes a decade or more after the reservists served. Given that there was still residue in the planes 10 or more years after they had been active, we were confident that there was residue in the planes when the reservists were working.
Q: The dioxin residue was still there?
A: A lot of military aircraft get mothballed in the Arizona desert because things rust slowly. The planes’ doors and windows were sealed up. Dioxin biodegrades very slowly and, if there’s no sunlight, it can’t decompose through photolysis.
Dioxin residue was found in aircraft used to spray Agent Orange defoliant in Vietnam.
Q: Your panel’s report didn’t actually recommend coverage for the reservists.
A: It wasn’t ours to decide whether to compensate the reservists. We were asked to answer whether meaningful exposures were plausible. We estimated that the reservists would have been “downhill” in a chemical sense from the surface residues, so exposures would be expected. We also determined that, given the paucity of information, we could not conclude that the reservists’ exposures would have been negligible. We decided that to go to just that far, and left it to the VA to make the final decision.
Q: What do you take from this experience?
A: It’s enjoyable to serve on a panel with bright people to chew on a real problem, and there’s satisfaction in writing a report that somebody read and that apparently made a difference. That doesn’t always happen.
Are you or do you know a veteran in the greater Seattle area who needs some basic dental care?
Smiles for Veterans is Saturday August 8th from 9-4p.m. at the PIMA Dental Hygiene Clinic located at:
9709 3rd Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Wednesday, June 24, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. | 5pm-6pm Open House
VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division, 1660 S Columbian Way, Building 1, Room 240 & 236B, Seattle, Washington 98108
All Veterans are welcome to attend and ask questions of VA Puget Sound Health Care System staff.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You!
- If you are age 21-80 learn your risk for developing 6 different chronic diseases
- $3 out of every $4 spent on healthcare is for treatment of chronic disease
- Better lifestyle habits can help prevent 80% of heart disease and 90% of type 2 diabetes
The 6 for Life Health Assessment measures your risk of developing 6 chronic diseases, including heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes, COPD and lung cancer. A customized report will determine which risk factors contribute most to your disease risk and are within your control to change. Finger-stick blood tests along with biometric measurements are included with this assessment.
VFW #2713 will be hosting a Life Line Screening preventive health event on Friday, February 13, 2015.
Protect your health by registering today for the 6 for Life Health Assessment for $79. Call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community-partners to schedule your appointment. Take control of your health, knowledge is empowering.
Are you at Risk for Stroke, Heart Disease and Diabetes?
Did you know that a 10% decrease in cholesterol can reduce your risk for heart disease 30%?
- Diabetes is the 5th leading cause of death in the US
- Elevated CRP levels in the blood are indicators of risk for heart disease and high blood pressure
- Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death
Life Line Screening offers finger-stick blood tests with results in 10 minutes. Protect your health by finding out your risk of diabetes and vascular disease by participating in the Life Line Screening that will be at VFW #2713 on Friday, February 13, 2015.
Register for the lipid panel (HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides), glucose and CRP blood tests for only $129. Call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community-partners to schedule your appointment. Ask about our other stroke and heart tests. Taking control of your health doesn’t have to be hard.
Do you know your TSH level?
Thyroid Disorders TSH can indicate an underactive thyroid
- 20 million Americans have an underactive thyroid but half don’t know it
- An underactive thyroid can cause an increased risk of heart disease and lead to an enlarged heart
- Underactive thyroid is more common among men and women aged 60 and older
Life Line Screening offers a finger-stick blood test with results in less than 10 minutes. Protect your health by finding out your risk of an underactive thyroid by having a TSH screening. Life Line Screening will be at VFW #2713 on Friday, February 13, 2015.
Call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community-partners to schedule your TSH screening for only $49. Ask about our other stroke and heart tests. Taking control of your health doesn’t have to be hard.
Attention all Men!
Do you know your risk for Prostate Cancer?
- A Prostate Cancer PSA test is the most accurate method for the detection of prostate cancer
- 1 in 6 men will get Prostate Cancer
- PSA tests have been used for over 25 years
A simple PSA blood test could save your life. Protect your health by finding out your risk of Prostate Cancer. Life Line Screening that will be at VFW #2713 on Friday, February 13, 2015.
Call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/community-partners to schedule the PSA, test for only $49. Ask about our other stroke and heart tests. Taking control of your health doesn’t have to be hard.
Project Welcome Home Troops
VETERANS AND TRAUMA
The National Institutes of Health estimate that, of the approximately 2 million veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, up to 20% su!er from post-traumatic stress or PTS. Veterans of previous wars may also continue to experience symptoms of PTS. PTS is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of exposure to a traumatic event and is characterized by:
- Recurring intrusive thoughts related to the trauma (e.g., flashbacks, dreams)
- Avoidance of Stimuli associated with the trauma, emotional numbness, and social withdrawal
- Symptoms of physiological arousal such as hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, irritability and hyper-reactivity.
As veteran post-traumatic stress (PTS) and suicide are on the rise, there is an urgent need to address combat stress. The Power Breath workshop allows veterans to regain a sense of self-mastery and control because they can self-administer the techniques. Research show that these programs are e!ective, safe, prevention-based and free of known side e!ects. They can be scaled up to serve large numbers of veterans at a lower cost than many traditional interventions.
POWER BREATH WORKSHOP
The Power Breath Workshop is a mind-body resilience-building program for returning veterans. It o!ers practical breath-based tools that decrease the stress, anxiety and sleep problems that many returning veterans experience. A cornerstone of the Power Breath Workshop is the SKY (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga) Practice, a set of empirically validated breathing techniques. Through rhythmic breathing patterns, the SKY Practice brings deep mental and physical relaxation which research suggests can reduce symptoms of anxiety, anger, insomnia and depression. Through interactive discussions, the Power Breath workshop also teaches resilience and empowerment strategies, and develops self-awareness, connectedness and community. Our trainers are experienced facilitators who draw upon veterans’ existing strengths and wisdom to support them in returning to their natural, healthy state. Knowledgeable about military culture with extensive experience in breathing and mind-body techniques, our trainers guide the workshop with the attitude of mutual learning and respect. The program is interactive and facilitated in an open and supportive environment where veterans can share their life experiences if they wish and think about how their values shape their life.
“There is an alternative to medications and sleepless nights for those that serve our country” – Ohio Congressman Ryan
Ohio Congressman Ryan was introduced to Project Welcome Home Troops while researching the bene” ts of mindfulness. He was heartened to see such positive results for our troops from a simple practice, and is choosing to support Project Welcome Home Troops because he wants to see the program expanded to Ohio.
Power Breath Workshop: June 10th to June 14th . Time: 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 206-395-8402