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ASAPA 2018 Election Results

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 15, 2018
Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2018
The ASAPA 2018 election results are in!

The results are as follows:
President Elect: Kirsten Bonnin, PA-C
Secretary: Lynzi Warner, PA-C
Directors at Large: Carla Shamblen, PA-C and Elias Villarreal, PA-C
AAPA House of Delegates: Jamie Black, PA-C; Sarah Bolander, PA-C; Jacqueline Spiegel, PA-C


Returning Board Members:
President: Jennifer Feirstein, PA-C
Treasurer: Chris Davis, PA-C
Directors at Large: Sarah Bolander, PA-C and Amy Rust, PA-C
AAPA House of Delegates: Jennifer Feirstein, PA-C and Melinda Rawcliffe, PA-C


A big thank you to the candidates for their time and commitment to serve in their new roles starting in July!



Amber Herrick, PA-C
ASAPA Elections Chair

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Arizona Vaccine News from the AZ Dept. of Health Services

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Society PA,

Please see the attached “Arizona Vaccine News.”

The intent of “Arizona Vaccine News” is to summarize local, national, and international vaccine information that affects Arizona. 


Thank you,
Arizona Department of Health Services

Download File (PDF)

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Primary Care: PAs Need Vigilance with Herbals

Posted By Barbara Cortright, PA-C, Wednesday, April 4, 2018

With complementary and alternative medicine grabbing larger market share each year, physician assistants often increasingly find themselves learning more about herbal remedies from their patients before they hear about it in continuing-education courses.

But if a clinic’s patient panel includes a large number of Hispanic and Latino populations, the list of supplements can be substantial thanks to the increasing popularity of neighborhood herbal shops called yerberías that cater to this clientele.

Also known as botanicas, these retail stores sell herbs, creams, tinctures and teas. They may also carry talismans to ward off evil spirits and votive candles for events or ceremonies. Patients whose ancestral roots come from rural parts of Latin America may lean more heavily on the yerberías for help than the local pharmacy.

Many of these substances pose little threat to the patient’s overall health. Manzanilla, for example, is the Spanish word for “chamomile” and is often formulated into a soothing tea for bedtime. Other substances often focus on treating the common cold or aching joints. They may include extracts from creosote, arnica, and chiles (think modern medicine’s capsaicin cream), and anti-inflammatory extracts like turmeric, ginger, black pepper and nettle leaves.

However, products from yerberías lack FDA studies and approval. A 2013 study found that many of the substances patients receive from yerberías for the common cold may contain excessive amounts of lead, arsenic or mercury. 

And then there is the occasional rogue yerbería, like the one Mesa Police raided five years ago and found Viagra, Valium, amoxicillin and Pentrexyl, which are prescription-grade pharmaceuticals. (Pentrexyl contains ampicillin.)

PAs practicing in Arizona often ask for a list of all medications and supplements. But in the right patient, it’s also worth asking, “¿Cuál botanicas usa Usted?” or “Which botanicals do you use?”

– Barbara Cortright, PA-C

Tags:  botanicals  complimentary  herbal  supplements  yerberia 

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Call the New AZ Provider Opioid Assistance + Referral Line: 888-688-4222

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 2, 2018

Society PA,

OAR Line: Opioid Assistance + Referral Line for Arizona Providers: 1-888-688-4222

More than two Arizonans die every day from an opioid overdose.  The Arizona Department of Health Services recognizes that there are many patients at risk for an overdose – and those with complex high-impact chronic pain, on multiple medications, or struggling with opioid use disorder can be challenging for providers to manage. 

As a result, Arizona has now launched one of the nation’s first 24/7 hotlines providing free, real-time consultations for clinicians with complex patients with pain and opioid use disorders, staffed by experts at the Poison and Drug Information Centers in Arizona.

 This clinical service can assist providers with the management of:

  •   Patients taking high numbers of morphine milligram equivalents (MME)
  •   Patients that require an exit strategy from their current opioid regimen (including tapering)
  •   New patients on multiple controlled substances
  •   Challenging patients with pain and mental health/substance use comorbidities
  •   Patients with acute opioid overdose or toxicity
  •   Patients with acute opioid or benzodiazepine withdrawal
  •   Patients that require MAT (medication assisted treatment)
  •  Patients that require local referrals to behavioral health or substance use disorder treatment


Consistent with Poison Control protocols, these consultations will provide tailored, evidence-based (see Arizona Prescribing Guidelines 2018) real-time and follow-up services. 

 Call them today, overnight or tomorrow: 1-888-688-4222.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines (2018)

Arizona Department of Health Services – Opioid Epidemic

Poison Control – Tucson

Poison Control – Phoenix

AHCCCS Treatment Resources Attached

Thank you,
Arizona Health Alert Network

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Mental Health: Vaping found to be safer than smoking

Posted By Adam Klawonn, PA-C, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Electronic cigarette smokers had fewer chemicals and carcinogens in their systems than their traditional cigarette-smoking counterparts, according to a recent multinational study.

Researchers from several institutions, including University College London and US Centers for Disease Control, found that saliva, urine and breath samples from 181 current and former smokers had fewer traces of nitrosamines – a deadly component of inhaled nicotine – and volatile organic compounds if they were using e-cigarettes only versus their counterparts who used both cigarettes and vape products.

The limited study, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, is being hailed as a "landmark" study. A brief summary can be found on the US National Library of Medicine's website.

However, the study did not look at whether vaping can help traditional cigarette smokers quit smoking altogether. Researchers found that serum nicotine levels were roughly the same whether participants smoked or vaped.

That question is further complicated by recent news on the vaping products themselves. First, new research shows vaping can increasingly lure teenagers 

to take up smoking traditional cigarettes, and in fact, vaping among children in grades 8 through 12 is on the rise.

Secondly, there is no consistency in the amount of nicotine present in various vaping products, according to a recent study in Journal of Addiction Medicine. E-cigarette users often look at the doses of nicotine marketed on vape packaging to develop a weaning process to kick the habit completely. But researchers found that samples of e-cigarette products contained as much as 35 percent less or 52 percent more nicotine than marketed.


--Adam Klawonn, PA-C

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Mental Health: Mindfulness gains attention for stress, addiction

Posted By Adam Klawonn, PA-C, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 15, 2018

Brief periods of inwardly focused meditation can reduce one's systolic blood pressure by 20 percent and cortisol levels by up to 50 percent, according to a recent study from Carnegie Mellon.

Researchers at the Pittsburgh-based university found that 144 stressed-out adults who participated in 20-minute mindfulness exercises using a mobile app did best when they were trained to "monitor the present moment with acceptance" before being exposed to known stressful situations. The study, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, was funded by yoga, meditation and psychology groups.

This follows numerous other studies revealing the beneficial uses of mindfulness, or "mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy" (MCBT), for other mental heatlh issues, such as addiction, depression, impulsivity and ADHD.

Looking for a mindfulness app you can recommend to patients? Check out this lineup from Marie Claire, and note that last year the apps Headspace, Calm and Mindbody had the highest ratings from iPhone App Store users.

--Adam Klawonn, PA-C

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Mental Health: Tech insiders rebel over smartphones

Posted By Adam Klawonn, PA-C, Friday, February 9, 2018
Software engineers and investors who helped birth the world's most addicting technology are joining forces to break the hold these devices have on the developing brains of children and adolescents.

Specialists who once worked for or invested in Google and Apple are concerned portable devices like the iPhone, Android phones, and smart tablets are negatively impacting the focus and mood of children. In a story posted earlier this month in the New York Times, early Facebook investor Roger McNamee said, "This is an opportunity for me to correct a wrong."

A series of moves is expected to shed more light on mobile devices and the neurodevelopmental stages of children, whose neuronal connections experts say do not solidify until their early twenties. Anti-tech addiction interests are forming the Center for Humane Technology and launching a public advertising campaign worth at least $7 million dubbed "The Truth About Tech."

This follows the outcry from pediatricians and mental health experts in January, who called on Facebook to abandon its development for a messenging feature for children as young as 6 years old.

--Adam Klawonn, PA-C

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Flu slams Arizona this winter

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Influenza affected roughly 10 times the number of Arizonans over the past year and the end of December versus the same periods in 2016, according to state health officials.

New data from the Arizona Department of Health Services shows Arizona registered 7,978 flu cases this year versus just 834 last year. During the final week of December, hospitals and clinics logged a whopping 2,453 cases versus just 282 cases during the same period in 2016.

Officials are advising all health care providers to practice good hand hygiene, cough or sneeze into one's forearm or elbow, and – perhaps the bane of hard-working physician assistants everywhere – burn up a sick day or two and stay home to avoid spreading the flu to co-workers and patients.

ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ recommends fluids, rest and other-the-counter medications to help with symptoms.

Here is a full list of populations that are most vulnerable to the flu:

  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • Adults aged 65 and older
  • People with chronic disease, especially heart and lung disease
  • People with immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV infection
  • Women who are pregnant or postpartum (within 2 weeks after delivery)
  • People younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • People with extreme obesity
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities

Weekly RSV and flu reports from ADHS can be found here.

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Register for State's New Electronic Death Registration System

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 16, 2017

Society PA,

Arizona Department of Health Services has implemented the state’s new electronic death registration system, the Database Application for Vital Events (DAVE). This online system allows clinicians to certify the cause of death using a computer or tablet, and eliminates the need for fax and paper certification.

Arizona Revised Statute 36-325 states that the health care provider shall complete and sign the medical certification of death on a death certificate within 72 hours. This online system emails providers with notification of any pending certificate and allows for the providers to complete the certificate online.

Any clinician that completes death certificates needs to register for this database. Attached is The D.A.V.E. registration form and available here. A verified account must include the clinician’s e-mail address and all facilities they are associated with.

The new system was designed to be more efficient for clinicians and their patients’ families, and to streamline the process behind a difficult, emotional time. If patients’ families are experiencing difficulties, please refer them to the banner located at the top of or call the ADHS main line at 602-542-1025.

D.A.V.E. Registration

D.A.V.E. Training PowerPoint

D.A.V.E. Information site and training video

ADHS Bureau of Vital Records


Thank you,
ADHS_Vital Records

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Local Dengue and Zika in Sonora, Mexico

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Arizona Health Alert Network


Society PA,

The month of October is high mosquito season in Sonora, Mexico and there have been reports of local transmission of dengue and Zika viruses. Areas affected include popular resort destinations like Rocky Point.

Arizona healthcare providers are encouraged to:

- Counsel patients to avoid mosquito bites during travel and for 3 weeks after returning to 
     Arizona, in order to avoid introducing new viruses to local mosquitos
- Counsel pregnant patients not to travel to areas withcirculating Zika virus
- Ask about travel history to determine potential disease exposure
- Evaluate patients with travel that present with febrile illness for potential dengue virus 
     infection, in addition to other arboviruses such as Zika virus and chikungunya

If a patient has traveled to Mexico and has compatible symptoms, please contact local public health.


ADHS Dengue Webpage

CDC Dengue Webpage

AZ Infectious Disease Resource (IDAZ App)

Thank you,
Arizona Health Alert Network

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