We started on this journey together a year ago.  Thanks for being such good traveling companions.  We’ve been through a lot.  We’ve had challenges, fears, anxiety, good times, laughs, & fun.  We’ve sacrificed some of our programs, but we’ve made a great deal of progress too.  Overall- the year was a net plus.  I say that because we maximized our progress in areas that we have control.

We’ve made a great deal of progress in many areas and have just done a plain old good job with most everything this year.  I jotted down a few things the came to mind below.  We:

  • Overhauled the WIC program to focus on a much more nutritious blend of foods www.azwic.gov, and started a nationwide movement to change the food stamp program (SNAP) from a calorie program to a nutrition program;
  • Created the new Empower Pack program for preschools that improve physical activity and nutrition for our youngest- an idea that came out of our licensing fee increase;
  • Developed a network of more than 20 new Cardiac Arrest Centers and Primary Stroke
    Centers across the state that are dramatically improving outcomes for folks that have a cardiac arrest or a stroke;
  • Led the national shift to continuous chest compression CPR from the old compression/breathing method http://www.azshare.gov/;
  • Figured out a way to vaccinate underinsured kids through our Vaccine for Children Program even though our state vaccination funds were completely eliminated;
  • Began development of Arizona’s TRAUMA SYSTEM– adding 8 new Level IV Trauma Centers and 1 new nationally recognized pediatric trauma center;
  • Helped develop a state of the art on-line Outcomes Dashboard to give choice and voice to folks with serious mental illnesses in Maricopa County- improving their ability to better participate ion their path to Recovery (Download the Dashboard);
  • Made a difference in hundreds of peoples lives at the Arizona State Hospital–  by helping them in their road to recovery by treating them with dignity, care and respect;
  • Converted our licensing programs to become self sufficient, and sharpened our surveys to focus on the most important elements of care, and allowing folks to review the latest scores using our Facility Search tool;
  • Identified hundreds of kids with metabolic disorders and hearing and helped their doctors conduct interventions to help them avoid serious complications from their condition through our Newborn Screening program;
  • Tested thousands of biological samples for all kinds of viruses and bacteria including H1N1, tuberculosis, West Nile virus, rabies, and literally dozens of other diseases so that counties and doctors can help slow the spread of disease and help people get better in our Public Health Microbiology program;
  • Ensured that hundreds of clinical and environmental laboratories across the state are doing things right and providing good results through our Laboratory Licensure & Certification program;
  • Created an inter-disciplinary team from around the Department to develop an integrated tobacco prevention program together- expanding our tobacco prevention efforts way beyond it’s former borders- integrating tobacco control into programs throughout AZ’s behavioral health system.

Holy smokes… who did all this stuff?  ADHS did.  Thanks to the staff for rowing in the same direction together this year- forward.  Next year will have challenges just like this past year— but as long as we work and collaborate with one another we will  continue to press ahead and make progress next year too.  Thanks, and take a second this week to thank the folks around you, and let them know you appreciate their help this year.