Monday, April 14, 2014

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! Campaign

Several government agencies have partnered for a public outreach campaign supporting young children. Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! highlights the importance of universal developmental and behavioral screening. The page for families includes a screening tool to help parents keep track of a child's developmental milestones. The page also has links to:
  •  resources to learn what milestones children from 2 months to 5 years of age should be reaching,
  • tips on what you should do if you're concerned,
  • simple learning activities to incorporate into your child's routine,
  • tips and resources on positive parenting to promote healthy child development.
This page has links to other resources, like early intervention programs,  that can help families who have concerns with their child's development. There are additional  resources for various child care providers, including behavioral health, child welfare, primary care, educators, and homeless shelters.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sign the Declaration in Support of Libraries!

National Library Week is April 13-19. Sign the declaration to show your support of libraries. Go to:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unhealthy NEPA

Health rankings are nothing new. Several national organizations and government agencies do population studies and report on various health behaviors, obesity, general wellbeing, etc. One that drills down to county level is the “County Health Rankings & Roadmaps” program, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin population Health Institute. Their 2014 results were just released and NEPA does not fare well.

 For “Total Health Outcomes” (length of life and premature death) Luzerne County ranked 57, Lackawanna County ranked 56, and Wyoming County ranked 54 out of 67 Pennsylvania counties. Monroe County did a little better overall coming in at 30. In “Social & Economic Factors” which include high school graduation, unemployment, poverty, crime, injury deaths, etc., Luzerne County ranked 63, Lackawanna County ranked 43, Monroe County ranked 50, and Wyoming County ranked 56. Each county’s unemployment rate, percentage of children in poverty, and children in single-parent households were well above the Pennsylvania average.

The NEPA population engages in unhealthy behaviors. Each county was above the Pennsylvania average in smoking physical inactivity, and excessive drinking. Lackawanna and Wyoming counties had higher than average alcohol-impaired driving deaths with Wyoming County well above the average.  All three counties were below the average in access to exercise opportunities with Wyoming County at only 7%. (Pennsylvania's average is 80%.)On a more positive note, all counties were well below the average in sexually transmitted infections.

NEPA did better in “Clinical Care,” which includes percentage of uninsured; primary care physician, dens, dentists, and mental health provider ratios; preventable hospital stays, diabetic and mammography screening. Luzerne County ranked 28, Lackawanna County ranked 27, and Wyoming County ranked 40; however, Monroe County raked 56.The number of mental health providers for all three counties was well below the Pennsylvania average.

NEPA also did well in the “Physical Environment” rankings, which includes air pollution, drinking water violations, housing shortages, and commuting. Here Luzerne County ranked 14, Lackawanna County ranked 4 and Wyoming County ranked 7; however, Monroe County ranked 49.

The rankings and more information regarding the methodology is at

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Recommendations on Statins

Last week the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued a major change in their recommendations regarding the use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. For the past decade statins have been prescribed to lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) below 100.

The new recommendations shift from triggering the use of a statin when a cholesterol level reaches a certain number to prescribing the drug for people who fall into one of four risk groups: people who already have heart disease, those whose LDL is very high (190 or more), those who are middle-aged and have type 2 diabetes, and those between 40 and 75 years of age whose estimated 10-year risk of heart disease is 7.5 percent or higher. (Check here for a heart disease risk calculator.)

The new criteria may mean more people will be prescribed a statin. Those who are already on such a drug but who do not fall within one of the risk groups should consult their doctors.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Invisible Universe: Video from NPR

The human microbiome is the term for the invisible world of microorganisms that live on and in the human body. National Public Radio has a beautiful, animated video that briefly explains what the microbiome is and why it is important. View the video here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Flu Season

It’s that time of year again. Flu season is just around the corner and, since it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to offer maximum protection, you should be getting your vaccine now. This is especially important for people 65 and older, pregnant women, caregivers, and people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease. But the flu can kill anyone, even healthy children and adults. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine; getting one now will protect you through the 2013-2014 flu season.
In addition to your doctor’s office, you may be able to be immunized at your local health department, drug store, or grocery store.
Influenza seasons are unpredictable. Last year saw more hospitalizations and deaths compared to recent years, and your best defense is being vaccinated.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Where You Can Find Local Assistance With the Health Insurance Marketplace

Commonwealth Health

As of October 1, area consumers who need help with the Health Insurance Marketplace, are able to get personalized assistance from certified Commonwealth Health staff, who are trained to help individuals and families sign up for health insurance through the exchange. Consumers from Luzerne, Lackawanna, Colombia, and Wyoming Counties can make an appointment by calling the Application Coordinator at (570) 552-6930 (tambien disponsible en espanol) or (570) 552-6826. Translators are available for those who do not speak English.

Area Libraries

Call your local library to see what services they offer in support of the enrollment efforts. All have computers available for individual use. Additionally, some are making helpful health care insurance links available on their websites. A list of local public libraries is below. You can also click on the Health Info NEPA Health Insurance page to find additional information on how to choose a health plan.

Lackawanna County
Lackawanna County Library System

Abington Community Library
1200 West Grove Street
Clarks Summit, PA 18411
(570) 587-3440
Monday - Friday: 9AM - 9PM
Saturday: 9AM - 5PM
Sunday: 2PM - 5PM

Albright Memorial Library
500 Vine Street
Scranton, PA 18509
(570) 348-3000
Monday - Thursday: 9AM - 9PM
Friday: 9AM - 5:30PM
Saturday: 9AM - 5PM
Sunday: 2PM - 5PM

Carbondale Public Library
5 North Main Street
Carbondale, PA 18407
(570) 282-4281
Monday - Thursday: 10AM - 8PM
Friday - Saturday: 10AM - 5PM

Dalton Community Library
113 East Main Street, P.O. Box 86
Dalton, PA 18414
(570) 563-2014
Monday: 10AM - 8PM
Tuesday: 10AM - 5PM
Wednesday: CLOSED
Thursday: 10AM - 8PM
Friday: 10AM - 5PM
Saturday: 10AM - 5PM

Lackawanna County Children's Library
520 Vine Street
Scranton, PA 18509
(570) 348-3000, extension 3015
Monday - Thursday: 9AM - 8PM
Friday: 9AM - 5:30PM
Saturday: 9AM - 5PM
Sunday: 2PM - 5PM
Library Express
Library Express is located on the 2nd floor of the Mall at Steamtown
Tuesday: 10am-5pm
Wednesday & Thursday : 10am-8pm
Friday & Saturday : 10am-5pm
Closed Sunday & Monday
First Friday Extended Hours: 10am-8pm

Nancy K. Holmes Branch Library
Green Ridge St. at Wyoming Ave.
Scranton, PA 18509
(570) 207-0764
Monday - Thursday: 11:00AM - 7:00PM
Friday: 11:00AM - 5:30PM

North Pocono Public Library
1315 Church Street
Moscow, PA 18444-9254
(570) 842-4700
Monday - Thursday: 9AM - 7PM
Friday - Saturday: 9AM - 5PM

Taylor Community Library
710 South Main Street
Taylor, PA 18517-1774
(570) 562-1234
Monday - Thursday: 9AM - 9PM
Friday: 9AM - 5PM
Saturday: 9AM - 4PM
Valley Community Library
739 River Street
Peckville, PA 18452
(570) 489-1765
Monday - Thursday: 10AM - 8PM
Friday - Saturday: 10AM - 5PM

Luzerne County
Luzerne County Libraries

Back Mountain Memorial Library
96 Huntsville Road
Dallas, PA  18612
(570) 675-1182
Monday - Thursday: 9:30AM-8:30PM
Friday - Saturday: 9:30AM-5:30PM

Hazleton Area Public Library
55 N Church St
Hazleton PA 18201

Monday - Thursday 9AM-8PM
Friday 9AM-5PM
Saturday 9AM-4PM
Check the library site for branch locations and hours.

The Hoyt Library
284 Wyoming Avenue
Kingston, PA 18704
(570) 287-2013
Monday and  Thursday 1 PM. – 8 PM.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 AM. – 5 PM
Saturday 9AM.- 4PM

Marian Sutherland Kirby Library
35 Kirby Avenue 
 Mountain Top, PA 18707
 (570) 474-9313 
Monday Closed
Tuesday and Wednesday: 9AM-8:30PM
Thursday and Friday: 9AM-5:PM
Saturday: 9AM-4PM

Mill Memorial Library
495 East Main Street
Nanticoke, PA 18634
(570) 735-3030
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Thursday 10AM - 8PM
Friday and Saturday 10AM - 5 PM

Osterhout Free Library
71 South Franklin Street,
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Monday - Thursday 9AM - 8PM
Friday 9AM - 5PM
Saturday 9AM - 4PM.
Check the library site for branch locations and hours.

Pittston Memorial Library
47 Broad Street
Pittston, PA  18640
(570) 654-9565
Monday and Thursday 12PM - 8PM
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9AM - 5PM
Saturday 9AM - 4PM

Plymouth Public Library
107 West Main Street
Plymouth, PA   18651
(570) 779-4775 
Monday 9AM - 7PM
Tuesday and Saturday 9AM - 4PM
Wednesday and Thursday 9AM - 5PM
Friday Closed
West Pittston Library
200 Exeter Ave.
West Pittston, Pa. 18643
(570) 654-9847

Monday - Thursday 12PM - 8PM
Friday 12PM - 6PM
Saturday 10AM - 5PM

Wyoming Free Library

358 Wyoming Avenue
Wyoming, PA 18644
 (570 )693-136
Mondays and Fridays 10AM - 6PM
Tuesdays - Thursdays 9AM - 5PM
Saturdays 9AM - 4PM

Monroe County
Eastern Monroe Public Library (Hughes Library)
1002 North 9th Street
Stroudsburg, PA 16360
(570) 421-0800
Monday - Thursday 9AM.- 9PM.
Friday 9AM.- 6PM.
Saturday 9AM to 5PM.
Sunday 1PM. to 5PM.

Check the library site for branch locations and hours.

Wyoming County
Tunkhannock Public Library
200 West Tioga Street
Tunkhannock, PA 18657
(570) 836-1677
Monday - Thursday 10AM - 8PM
Friday 10AM - 5PM
Saturday 10AM - 2PM

 495 East Main St.

96 Huntsville Road
Dallas, PA 18612

HOURS:  Mon  -  Thurs:   9:30am - 8:30pm
                  Fri   &   Sat:      9:30am - 5:30pm
PH:  570-675-1182         FAX:  570-674-5863
96 Huntsville Road
Dallas, PA 18612

HOURS:  Mon  -  Thurs:   9:30am - 8:30pm
                  Fri   &   Sat:      9:30am - 5:30pm
PH:  570-675-1182         FAX:  570-674-5863