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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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Happy PA Week! 2017 Proclamation

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 6, 2017
Updated: Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy PA Week to you! 
Thank you for all you do for the profession and your patients!


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Attention ALL Arizona PAs – ASAPA needs your help!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 3, 2017

ASAPA has formed an ad hoc committee on professional practice with the goal of examining optimal team practice (OTP) in Arizona.  In order to effectively complete our work we need to hear from YOU!  Please reach out to Jennifer Feirstein at with any barriers you have encountered with practicing medicine in Arizona.  We need to hear individual examples of how PA practice may (or may not) be limited in order to determine if OTP is needed in AZ.  We want to hear from ALL PAs in Arizona whether you are a member of ASAPA or not.  Please share this post with all of your PA colleagues in Arizona.  Thank you!

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ASAPA Chooses Crossroads Women’s Shelter for its Fall Donation Drive

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ASAPA Chooses Crossroads Women’s Shelter for its Fall Donation Drive

For the second year in a row, the ASAPA has chosen Crossroads Women’s Shelter to be the recipient of its fall donation drive.  Crossroads is a local nonprofit organization that helps women rebuild their lives after struggling with addiction.  Please support these women by bringing the following donations to the ASAPA Fall Conference:

·  Hygiene products (pads, tampons, menstrual cups)

·  Business casual clothing for interviews  (larger sizes only)

·  Bath soaps, shampoos and conditioners

·  Razors

·  Deodorant

·  Backpacks

·  Socks

·  Notepads and pens

·  Purses

Crossroads is also requesting volunteers for its Community Service Day September30, 2017. Volunteers will sort clothing and help with campus cleanup if necessary. 

Location: Crossroads for Women

Address: 1632 E. Flower St, Phoenix, AZ

Date and Time: Saturday, September 30th at 8 a.m.


Volunteers do not need to call ahead – just show up!

Questions?  Email ASAPA Student Ambassador Jessica Cvetic, ATSU PA Class of 2018 at

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ADHS Releases Opioid Response Recommendations

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 7, 2017

For Immediate Release | September 6, 2017

Media Contact | Nicole Capone

Mobile | 480.980.2940


Arizona Department of Health Services Releases Opioid Response Recommendations

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services (“ADHS”) today released its official “Opioid Overdose Epidemic Response Report” in accordance with the public-health emergency declaration recently issued by Governor Doug Ducey.


In June 2017, Governor Ducey issued a statewide emergency declaration after newly released data from ADHS showed 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses in 2016, an average of more than two people per day. The emergency declaration required ADHS to:

  • Administer an enhanced surveillance advisory, providing enhanced reporting of overdose deaths from doctors and hospitals.
  • Develop and provide training to local law enforcement on protocols for administering naloxone, an opioid antagonist medication that can counteract an opioid overdose.
  • Coordinate public health efforts between state, local and private-sector partners to identify ways to prevent drug overdose deaths.

The data collected through the enhanced surveillance advisory underscored the urgency to take action, with over 2,100 possible opioid overdoses reported since June of 2017, 13% of which were fatal. The data also illustrates the success of the state’s efforts to increase access to naloxone, with roughly 85% of possible opioid overdoses (excluding deaths) given the overdose-reversing treatment prior to hospital admittance.



The report includes twelve comprehensive recommendations, including a series of legislative proposals aimed to reduce illicit acquisition and diversion of opioids, promote safe prescribing and dispensing, and improve access to treatment. Key legislative proposals include:

  • Imposing a 5 day limit on all first fills for opioid naive patients to decrease the risk of dependence and opioid use disorder.
  • Require e-prescribing for some controlled substance medications to mitigate fraudulent prescriptions.
  • Require pharmacists to check if a patient has been prescribed both an opioid and a benzodiazepine – a combination proven to significantly increase the risk of an overdose.

“Addressing the opioid epidemic requires an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Arizona’s health care professionals, state agencies, and law enforcement leaders have long played a vital role in improving public health in our state. I’m proud of the life-saving solutions we’ve already implemented to prevent and treat opioid use disorder, and these recommendations will only help Arizona take our efforts to the next level.”



Since the Emergency Declaration, nearly 1,000 first responders have been trained to carry, handle, and administer naloxone, and ADHS has provided almost 4,000 naloxone kits to law enforcement agencies to help reverse overdoses. 



Click Here To Read The Report:


Click Here To Learn More About What Our State Is Doing:



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