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bioRxiv: a free open access archive for unpublished preprints in the life sciences

bioRxiv (pronounced “bio-archive”) is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences. It is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution. By posting preprints on bioRxiv, authors are able to make their findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals.
bioRxiv accepts preprints of articles covering all aspects of research in the life sciences. Categories include:
  • Bioengineering
  • Cancer biology
  • Cell biology
  • Ecology
  • Epidemiology
  • bioRxiv logoGenomics
  • Molecular biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology and toxicology
  • Scientific Communication and Education
and more.
Readers may add public comments to articles on bioRxiv. Comments are moderated to ensure they conform to the standards of normal professional discourse.
Once an article is published in a journal, bioRxiv will automatically update the preprint with a link to the published version.

Free online does not equal open access

Lots of articles are freely available online. Does that mean they are open access? Nope.

Here’s a nice post on the difference between public access  and open access:


Basically, the difference is in copyright ownership:

“In public access, funding agencies make research results freely available, while still retaining traditional copyright restrictions. As with a published journal article, anyone can read the findings, but no one may redistribute the content without permission. In OA, the content is freely available and may be reused or even republished by others without having to gain permission. Many OA authors choose to protect their content by applying a Creative Commons or similar license to their work.”

For more information, read the original post.

If you only use PubMed to find public health articles, you may be missing lots!

PubMed is a great source of journal article citations on most public health topics. It’s where I usually start. But there are many other article databases you should use, depending on your topic. Here are a few examples:

Embase is an international index including over 2,000 journals not in Medline/PubMed, as well as conference abstracts. Broad biomedical scope with strong coverage in drug, pharmaceutical, and toxicological research, including economic evaluations and healthcare policy & management. Includes a PICO search tool, as well as drug, device, and disease searches.

Global Health is a public health database particularly strong for finding articles from or about countries in the “Global South.” Topics such as environmental health, nutrition, infectious diseases, and more are covered.

Sociological Abstracts offers access to the international literature in sociology, demography, social psychology, and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. If your research is on families, social relationships, peer groups, etc., you should try this database.

This is but a small sample of the databases offered by the UC Berkeley Library. For more public health databases, please visit our Databases in Public Health guide.


CDPH in the News, October 2017

CDPH in the News

State Health Officer Urges Caution During Wildfire Cleanup

from YubaNet

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today advised residents of recently burned areas to use caution in cleaning up ash from recent wildfires. Ash from trees burned in wildfires is relatively nontoxic and similar to ash that might be found in your fireplace. However, ash from burned homes and other items will likely contain metals, chemicals, and potentially asbestos, items that may be considered toxic if breathed in or touched with wet skin.

Understanding California’s Hepatitis A outbreak

from PBS

On March 18, the California Department of Public Health first announced an outbreak of the Hepatitis A virus. Seven months later on Oct. 13, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency. Reported cases of Hepatitis A had more than tripled in the state, and 19 people have died. Nearly 600 hepatitis A cases, mostly concentrated in downtown San Diego, have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak, likely caused by person-to-person transmission. This is up from an average 160 cases per year in California, said Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist at California Department of Public Health. More than 500 of the cases were reported in San Diego County.

An ‘open door’: Gay and Lesbian Center celebrates new facility

from Bakersfield.com

The Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield celebrated the opening of its new home with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. The Annex, as it’s called, located at 841 Mohawk St., provides private counseling, workshops and other services. Vice Mayor Bob Smith and Councilman Andrae Gonzales, as well as representatives from the offices of Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao, were among those attending the event.
“We’re very excited about what today represents. This is such an achievement for the center,” Center Executive Director Jan Hefner said. “Before the center was born in 2011, there was no specific place available year-round where LGBTQ people could gather in comfort and create a community. This new facility gives us the ability to expand our services.”
The Annex was developed after the center received a five-year $1.18 million grant in September 2016 from the California Reducing Disparities Project, a program of the California Department of Public Health.

Policy changes at Alameda Co. hospital after high-profile murder: 2 Investigates

from KTVU

The California Department of Public Health has agreed with part of an Oakland mother’s complaint that Alameda Health System (AHS) could have done more to treat her mentally ill son, who later followed through on threats to kill his own brother. Days after Demetrius Sells was discharged from Highland Hospital — an AHS-run facility — in May 2015, he stabbed and killed his brother Kevin McGhee.
Before being discharged, medical records obtained by 2 Investigates show Sells had attempted suicide, overdosing on the prescription drug Abilify. He also threatened to kill McGhee for calling 911. Documents show staff knew Sells made threats and had a history of bipolar disorder, drugs and violence. Sells spent less than nine hours in treatment before his mandatory hold was canceled by a John George mental hospital psychiatrist working in the hospital’s Emergency Department.

Why I’m Suing California for Lead Data

from Capitol and Main

Digging through documents for hidden truths and revelations is a huge part of what investigative journalists like myself do. Requests for documents made under California’s Public Records Act typically take 10 days to a month to be fulfilled. Sometimes the wait can be excruciatingly longer. Earlier this year I spent four months waiting and pleading with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to hand over 56 pages of documents related to lead contamination at a Sacramento gun range.
Ultimately, the records showed that in 2003, California public health officials were aware of life-threatening levels of lead at Sacramento’s city-owned, indoor Mangan Park Rifle and Pistol Range. Yet the range continued to operate for another dozen years, raising questions about official negligence in allowing such a hazardous operation to continue.
Because the delay in providing the documents seemed unreasonable and one not allowed under California law, I considered suing CDPH. However, public records lawsuits are time consuming, requiring an attorney who believes the case is one for which it is worth going to the mat. But occasionally lines are crossed that simply have to be challenged. That’s why I filed a lawsuit last week in Sacramento County Superior Court objecting to the secrecy surrounding the protracted cleanup of lead at the range.

STD Rates In California Reach ‘All-Time High’

from laist

According to a new report from the California Department of Public Health, California ranked first among all states in 2016 for the total number of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and congenital syphilis. Bacterial STD rates (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) in California “significantly increased” in 2016, with over a quarter million cases reported during the course of the year. This marks a 40% increase compared to five years ago, according to the CDPH, which characterized the 2016 data as marking an “all-time high” for the state.

CDPH in the News, September 2017

CDPH in the News

Orange County’s wealthiest cities have biggest opioid problem

from 89.3 KPCC

Opioid abuse and overdoses have caused emergency room visits in Orange County to more than double over the last decade, according to a recent report from the county health care agency. The cities with the highest rates of opioid-related emergency room visits are in generally wealthy south Orange County and along the coast, with Dana Point at the top of the list. Orange County’s opioid-related death rate is much higher than the state average — and nearly three times higher than neighboring Los Angeles County, according to the California Department of Public Health’s Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard.

Hepatitis C Virus outbreak among millennials

from Capitol Weekly

Millennials haven’t inherited the best batch of goods from baby boomers. They got a housing crisis, a shaky job market, and some enormous student loans. But until recently, viral hepatitis was the burden of boomers alone to bear. Now, millennials are also facing an outbreak of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). California’s Department of Public Health says newly reported HCV infections increased 55 percent among men aged 20-to-29, from 2007 to 2015. Among women in the same age group the increase was 37 percent.
Viral hepatitis is often thought of as a disease of baby boomers. Since Hepatitis C wasn’t screened out of the blood supply until 1992, it’s been mostly older populations who are affected. But California is now seeing a spike in new HCV infections in millennials. With existing money tight and future funding uncertain to test and treat hepatitis, the observed increase could be just the tip of the iceberg.

California is ‘hiring extensively’ as recreational marijuana approaches

from Desert Sun

California is staffing up for the regulation of recreational marijuana. The state is seeking at least 175 employees in the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing office and the California Department of Public Health. Those three agencies split the responsibilities of regulating recreational marijuana, which California voters approved in November 2016. A spokesperson for the Department of Public Health said the 2017-2018 budget created 50 new positions in cannabis regulation, which they aim to fill by January.

Protecting Oil/Gas Extraction Workers from Hazards

from Sun News

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch (CDPH-OHB), recently released a video to help protect oil and gas extraction workers from the hazards they face when measuring oil storage tanks. The video, Protecting Oil and Gas Workers from Hydrocarbon Gases and Vapors, weaves together a narrative of the health and safety risks involved with this activity, and how employers and workers can reduce injuries and fatalities from exposure to toxic gases and oxygen-deficient atmospheres.
Over 500,000 workers are employed in the oil & gas industry, a workforce that is critical to the energy infrastructure of the nation. In the video, the experiences of oil and gas workers who are responsible for measuring tank levels, or tank gauging, and the sampling of crude oil are told from the heart by a truck owner/operator, a company operations superintendent, and the widow of a man who died of sudden cardiac death while gauging.

California will now track suicide among veterans

from San Diego Union Tribune

A new law will require California officials to compile statistics on how many military veterans are committing suicide in the state. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation Monday. One of the law’s proponents said the new requirement makes California one of 22 states to accurately report veteran suicide. Assembly Bill 242 was introduced by two Fresno assemblymen, Republican Jim Patterson and Democrat Joaquin Arambula. Specifically, the legislation requires the California Department of Public Health to report the number of veteran suicides every year to the state Legislature and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
The data would come from county coroners.

CDPH in the News August, 2017

CDPH in the News

California health officials battle state’s largest hepatitis A outbreak in 2 decades

from Healio Infectious Disease News

The California Department of Public Health is working with local health officials in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties to contain the state’s largest hepatitis A outbreak in 2 decades. As of July 18, officials identified 251 cases and five deaths in San Diego, and 27 cases in Santa Cruz since the outbreak began in November, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency reported that 69% of cases in the county required hospitalization.

California Valley Fever Cases Highest On Record

from Kaiser Health News

The number of Valley Fever cases in California rose to a record level in 2016, with 5,372 reported – a jump of 71 percent from the previous year. Historically, about three-quarters of cases have been in the state’s heavily agricultural San Joaquin Valley. The fungal infection, known as coccidioidomycosis, or “cocci,” is most common in the southern portion of the Valley and along the Central Coast of California. State health officials say they’re not sure what caused the recent increase, the largest since 2011, but “climatic and environmental factors” could have increased the risk of exposure to the airborne spores that cause the disease, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Study: Insurance Status Affects Cancer Outcomes

from Los Angeles Sentinal

Results from a recent study by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, revealed that health insurance type at diagnosis greatly impacts cancer outcomes especially in adolescent and young adult patients. Published in the July 10, 2017 issue of Cancer Causes Control, researchers examined joint associations between sociodemographic factors – race/ethnicity, neighborhood socioeconomic status (nSES), and health insurance – and cancer survival for the most frequent cancers among AYAs. The research was supported by the California Department of Public Health as part of the statewide cancer reporting program mandated by California Health and Safety Code Section 103885 and the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health

Record number of students vaccinated under stricter state law

from Santa Clarita Valley Signal

A record number of students in seventh grade and kindergarten were vaccinated during the 2016-17 school year, according to two executive summary reports from the California Department of Public Health. According to the reports, immunizations increased to 98.4 percent for seventh grade students and increased to 95.6 percent for kindergarten students in 2016-17. The increase in immunizations could be attributed to the state’s stricter vaccination law that went into effect July 1, 2016. Senate Bill 277 ended the exemption of vaccinations based on personal beliefs. Under the law, only students enrolled in independent study programs or homeschooled programs are not required to be vaccinated. Students can also still receive exemptions due to medical reasons.

Want To Know Your Hospital’s C-Section Rate? Yelp Is On The Way.

from California Healthline

You might check Yelp reviews before deciding where to go to dinner, or which plumber to hire. Now you can use the website to decide where to have a baby. San Francisco-based Yelp is now adding clinical data on cesarean sections, episiotomies and breastfeeding rates to consumer reviews of California hospitals, so women can make better-informed decisions about where they deliver. Yelp’s maternity data is drawn from self-reported information from California hospitals, the California Department of Public Health and the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

How you can blast your ashes into space for just £9,500 or book yourself a cemetery plot on the MOON

from The Sun (UK)

A FUNERAL director has come up with an out-of-this-world plan for a final send off – blasting your ashes into space for nearly £10,000. People who choose a space funeral can either have a gram of cremated remains launched to the moon, or a small amount sent into a low-Earth orbit. The ashes will then eventually make their way back into the atmosphere, where they burn up completely. Celestis became the first to get permission from the California Department of Public Health to send cremated remains to space on the first privately funded lunar mission led by Moon Express.

CDPH in the News, July 2017

CDPH in the News

California assisted suicide patients are mostly white, well-educated

from Sacramento Bee

California residents choosing legal assisted suicide are disproportionately white and well-educated, new figures show. Since California’s End of Life Option Act went into effect on June 9, 2016, hundreds of terminally ill patients have weighed the decision to end their own lives. In 2016, 111 individuals died from ingesting aid-in-dying drugs, according to the California Department of Public Health. Ninety more had been prescribed drugs but ultimately did not take them, while a total of 258 individuals had begun the end-of-life option process.
Of the 111 individuals, 87 percent were at least 60 years old and 44 percent relied solely on Medicare for health insurance. Participants were also overwhelmingly – 89 percent – white. Additionally, 58 percent had attained an associate degree or higher level of education. Highly educated whites tend to have higher household incomes.

County health program a breath of fresh air for students with asthma

from Daily Press

In an effort to help students dealing with asthma, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recently approved funds for a special health-based program. The board approved funding for the county program that will include the “Breathmobile,” considered to be an asthma clinic on wheels that will serve students at 14 High Desert schools, 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood reported.Approximately 313,000 children and adults in the county were diagnosed with asthma in 2014, with nearly 73,000 children visiting the doctor and another 10,000 hospitalized, according to California Breathing, a division of the California Department of Public Health’’s Environmental Health Investigations Branch. Many medical experts believe the reasons for the high asthma numbers in the county stem from the high poverty rate, adults not properly administering medications, lack of medical insurance and pollution.

California health officials battle state’s largest hepatitis A outbreak in 2 decades

from Healio Infectious Disease News

The California Department of Public Health is working with local health officials in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties to contain the state’s largest hepatitis A outbreak in 2 decades. As of July 18, officials identified 251 cases and five deaths in San Diego, and 27 cases in Santa Cruz since the outbreak began in November, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency reported that 69% of cases in the county required hospitalization. A CDPH representative told Infectious Disease News that the overall case count is larger than that of all other hepatitis A outbreaks in California combined over the past 20 years. There were seven hepatitis A outbreaks in the state from 1998 to 2015, totaling 224 cases and one death.

Valley Fever cases spiked statewide last year

from 23 ABC News Bakersfield

There were more Valley Fever cases in California for 2016 compared to 2015, according to the California Department of Public Health. The CDPH said Thursday that 5,372 new cases of Valley Fever appeared last year. That is about 13.7 cases reported per 100,000 people.
Valley Fever, otherwise known as coccidioidmycosis or cocci, is a fungal infection. In California, it predominantly affects counties in the Southern Central Valley and Central Coast. People become infected when they inhale spores in certain soils. Last year’s statewide spike was the highest number of reported cases since 2011. More than 2,200 cases in 2016 were reported in Kern County, according to the CDPH.

How public health is addressing Humboldt County’s drug problem

from Times Standard News

It’s no secret that Humboldt County has a drug problem. The 2017 California Department of Public Health and California Conference of Local Health Officers County Health Status Profile shows that county drug related or induced death rates have more than doubled since the 1999 County Health Status Profile.
DHHS senior program manager Sue Grenfell administers the department’s alcohol and other drugs program. She said the county offers a substance abuse treatment program and outpatient mental health programs to fight overdose deaths.
“We try to help them with whatever their goals are, either reducing or eliminating their substance abuse,” Grenfell said. The two outpatient substance abuse programs DHHS runs are Healthy Moms, which helps pregnant mothers or mothers with young kids address their substance abuse issues, and Humboldt County Programs for Recovery, she said.

Napa LGBTQ program prepares for Upvalley expansion

from Napa Valley Register

Napa County’s Upvalley communities are about to have a new presence dedicated to working with LGBTQ youth. Thanks to a $1 million state grant, Napa’s LGBTQ Connection will be expanding its services so that it can support youth in Upvalley and Sonoma Valley in addition to Napa and Santa Rosa. LGBTQ Connection was awarded the grant from the California Department of Public Health last year to expand mental health-related services over the next five years. The money started flowing in this past March.

Dialysis industry needs to be reformed: Guest commentary

from San Bernadino County Sun

Three days a week a machine in a dialysis clinic does what my kidneys can no longer do – clean my blood so my body doesn’t poison itself from the inside out. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about the dialysis industry and its problems, and how much it needs to be reformed. As a former social worker, I know patients must speak out if we’re going to change conditions in our clinics.
The clinic staff spends most of their time scrambling to hook patients up to equipment and get them out the door as quickly as possible. A single dialysis worker can be left to monitor 10 or more patients at the same time. With so many patients in their charge, they can’t safely help patients use the restroom, much less monitor falling blood pressure, prevent fainting or other complications.
That has to change. Legislation moving through the California Assembly now would improve the safety of dialysis clinics and improve care for the patients like me who count on them for life-saving treatment. The legislation also requires 45 minutes between patients to allow more time for them to recover and for staff to sanitize the equipment. Federal regulators have warned the California Department of Public Health that allowing too little time between patients creates a risk of “cross contamination” as blood from dialysis patient after patient circulates through the same filtering machine.

DO NOT PUBLISH, or Sometimes, open data/open access not ideal

A recent essay in Science makes the case that, at least when writing up research on endangered species, complete transparency could be harmful. The prolific increase in online publishing, whether it be articles, reports, or data, creates significant problems in this field, namely:

  1. Unrestricted access to species location information is facilitating a surge in wildlife poaching, with many species at risk. Poaching has been documented in species within months of their taxonomic description in journals.
  2. Unrestricted access to location data and habitat descriptions can disrupt the often delicate relationships between scientists and landowners. Trespassing has occurred when location data is published.
  3. Unrestricted access to species information has the potential to accelerate habitat destruction and create other negative disturbances. The digital age has brought a desire among many nature enthusiasts to observe, photograph, and sometimes remove animals and plants.

Some fields such as paleontology and archaeology have long maintained restrictions on the publication of site locations and promoted government policies and regulations to limit collection and trade in fossils, artefacts, and culturally sensitive and/or scientifically important material. Organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service do not disclose geospatial data in order to protect research sites. Other solutions include modification of research permits so that endangered species locations are not automatically uploaded into wildlife databases and masking such records on private land, as presently occurs in some states in the United States.

Is this relevant to any public health research? Other than personally identifiable information, what types of health data should not be made widely available?

CDPH in the News, June 2017

CDPH in the News

Judge Trashes California’s $567,000 Medical Waste Fine

from Courthouse News

A federal judge Tuesday found that it a simple call that the California Department of Public Health unlawfully fined a medical-waste disposal company $567,000 for disposing of biohazardous materials out of state.
“The case presents a clear violation of the extraterritorial doctrine that requires little analysis,” U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill wrote, in granting Daniels Sharpsmart an injunction against California Department of Public Health Director Karen Smith. O’Neill found the DPH Medical Waste Management Program violated the Commerce Clause when it threatened Daniels Sharpsmart with penalties if it continued disposing of wastes that originated in California by any method not authorized under California law.

Diner claims restaurant served a dead frog in her salad

from New York Post

A woman from San Dimas, Calif., tells Fox News she was “beyond grossed out” after finding a dead frog in a salad she ordered from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Shawna Cepeda and her family were dining at the BJ’s in West Covina when she claims she noticed something off about her salad – but only after she took several bites and tasted something “a little sour,” reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The case has also been referred to the California Department of Public Health, an investigator for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health confirmed to the San Gabriel Valley Times.

Baby chicks may be cute, but they can make you sick

from Fresno Bee

Public health officials say that as more people keep backyard flocks of chickens, they are seeing more outbreaks of Salmonella bacteria infections linked to the feathery pets. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says between January and May, 372 people in 47 states became ill from infection, with several Salmonella strains that have been linked to contact with live poultry. In California, 21 people in 15 counties, including in the central San Joaquin Valley, have become ill. Health officials with the California Department of Public Health said live poultry, especially baby chicks and ducklings, may have Salmonella in their feces and on their feathers, feet and beaks – even when they appear healthy and clean. The contamination can get on hands, shoes and clothing. Salmonella also can be on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, bedding, plants, and soil.

Stockton SJ, fire district sue drug companies over opioid crisis

from Recordnet

The city, county and a local fire district recently sued several major pharmaceutical companies and a medical distribution firm, charging them with damaging the local economy by promoting the use of opioid painkillers they knew to be dangerous and extremely addictive. The 52-page complaint was filed in Superior Court late last month by two private law firms on behalf of Stockton, San Joaquin County and the Montezuma Fire Protection District, which serves unincorporated portions of southeast Stockton. Data from the California Department of Public Health is startling. According to the CDPH, there were slightly more than 600,000 opioid prescriptions in San Joaquin County in 2015. The county has about 700,000 residents. That same year, there were 45 deaths, 106 emergency-room visits and 114 overdose hospitalizations in the county attributable to opioids, according to the CDPH. Statewide, the data says there were more than 24 million opioid prescriptions and nearly 2,000 overdose deaths in California.

Promise Breakers: Introduction to a Public Health Scandal

from Huffington Post

A Capital & Main investigation has confirmed five cases of lead poisoning that were linked to Sacramento’s James Mangan Rifle and Pistol Range. As we reported last December, the 54-year-old gun range was padlocked in January 2015, after tests showed toxic levels of lead dust in nearly every corner of the building. The recent indictments of state officials in Michigan for involuntary manslaughter related to the lead contamination of the city of Flint’s water supply shows what can happen when there is resolve across the political spectrum to hold officials accountable for environmental crimes. But what happens when the spotlight is dimmer – or, in the case of Sacramento, nonexistent?
Documents obtained as part of our investigation show that officials in California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) knew as far back as 2002 that workers at the range had levels of lead in their blood so high they could lead to organ shutdown and death. A federal directive on lead hazards in the workplace says that such extreme cases are “high-gravity, serious” and “must be handled by inspection.” Because hazards inside the range required millions of dollars in fixes to bring it up to safe federal standards, an inspection would have almost certainly led to the facility’s permanent closure. Instead of referring the case for inspection, CDPH decided to trust city assurances that Sacramento would do better.

CDPH in the News May, 2017

CDPH in the News

Celebrity-fueled FNV campaign expands to include access to affordable, fresh produce

from Food Navigator

The FNV campaign, which the Partnership for a Healthier America launched in 2015, initially concentrated on urban and rural areas with limited fresh produce consumption, such as Fresno, Calif., and Hampton Roads, Va., but it quickly spread nationwide and now is expanding at the state level. By using celebrities in bright, bold and quirky ads that show children that the people they admire eat fruits and vegetables not just because they have to, but because they want to helped the FNV campaign significantly increased produce consumption, according to PHA. It reports that research it conducted in pilot markets shows seven out of 10 survey respondents say they ate more fruits and vegetables after seeing or hearing about the campaign, and grocery retailers that brought the campaign in-store saw a measurable rise in produce sales. Building on this initial success, FNV now is expanding through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education initiatives at the state level, PHA announced at its annual Summit in Washington, DC, earlier this month. Through public-private partnerships with the California Department of Public Health, the University of Georgia SNAP-Ed and the Colorado Department of Human Services, the FNV campaign will focus on reaching low-income consumers in communities in these states with limited access to affordable and diverse produce.

Botulism sickens 10, kills 1 gas station nacho diner

from boing boing

Evidently, many more people eat gas station nachos than I had previously considered possible. A Sacramento, California area botulism outbreak has been traced back to folks who enjoyed the tasty treat at a local refueling station.
Gas station nacho cheese that sickened 10 people and killed one of them was contaminated with botulinum toxin, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed Monday. “The nacho cheese sauce was removed from sale on May 5. (The California Department of Public Health) believes there is no continuing risk to the public,” the agency said in a statement.

Los Angeles company recalls deer-antler tea after 2 get sick

from KNTV

The California Department of Public Health says a Los Angeles company is recalling tea made from deer antler after two people who drank it got sick. State health officials said Monday that the tea may be contaminated with botulism, and they are investigating the two Orange County residents who became ill. They say the company, U.S. Deer Antlers Exports and Imports Inc., sold the tea to acupuncturists and others in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
The tea is sold in 6-inch by 4-inch plastic packaging with Korean language text and drawings of deer on it.

UC Davis Study Utilizes Safety Net Connect’s eConsult System to Evaluate the Role of an Integrated Approach to Improving Access to Tobacco Cessation Services for Underserved LA Residents

from SYS-CON Media

Safety Net Connect (SNC), a leading provider of innovative healthcare technology for organizations assisting underserved populations, is pleased to announce that its electronic consultation “eConsult” system used by Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS) is engaged in a two-year-long University of California, Davis (UC Davis) study to measure the benefits of an integrative approach to tobacco cessation, in partnership with California Smokers’ Helpline (Helpline), a free, evidence-based smoking cessation program funded by the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and First 5 California.
This collaborative project, funded through a Community Practice-Based Research Planning Award from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) of California, was launched with the aim of creating and fostering long-term sustainable partnerships to conduct cost-effective, high quality tobacco cessation programs that are replicable across clinics throughout California. Several months into the project, SNC’s eConsult technology has already demonstrated a positive change in the delivery of tobacco cessation services for underserved populations, while increasing access to evidence-based tobacco treatment.

Pot brownies could lose some punch under proposed California rules

from Sacramento Bee

The ubiquitous billboards and product labels for Korova Edibles, an Oakland marijuana confections manufacturer, feature a three-eyed cow and a mooing boast: “Unrivaled potency.” Korova’s “20 dose” medical cannabis Black Bar chocolates are supercharged with 1,000 milligrams of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, and the company’s new THC Blondie – a treat “packed with caramel chunks” and “covered in crushed pretzels” – has 10 50-milligram doses with a total punch of 500 milligrams.
Now state Department of Public Health potency limit recommendations for medical marijuana edibles threaten to upset Korova’s marketing strategy and could force the company to dramatically cut THC levels in its chocolates, cookies, brownies and pot-infused popcorn sold through more than 750 marijuana dispensaries and delivery services in California.

Workshop on radiological, “dirty bomb” risks held in California

from Homeland Preparedness News

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in conjunction with the California Department of Public Health and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, recently held a radiological security workshop May 2-3 to discuss radiological materials and ways to reduce the risks they pose. The workshop’s 60 participants discussed the high number of radiological sources found in the state as well as risk mitigation. Each presentation sought to highlight steps that can be taken to secure radiological sources and how to replace them with alternative technologies when appropriate.

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