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Monthly National Health Observances


Skin_Cancer_Prevention1Avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is a major preventive measure for skin cancer, the most prevalent type of cancer in the U.S.   Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are the most common types and usually can be cured. Melanomas result in the most deaths.
As a preventative measure, you should block skin exposure to UV light.  Do not use indoor tanning facilities, when outdoors wear clothing covering your arms and legs, wide-brimmed hats, and UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses.  Sunscreen, at least SPF 15 with both UVA and UVB protection, should be applied regularly, especially after swimming.
Contact your doctor if you notice any skin changes.  This includes a sore that will not heal, new spots or growth, any changes in old spots, or any of the signs for melanoma (skin spots or moles that have 2 areas that look different, irregular edges, coloring that is not uniform throughout the spot, a spot larger than a pea, a spot that changes over several weeks or months).
For Additional information:



April 2014

April is Alcohol Awareness Month


Binge Drinking

  • Ethyl alcohol, the intoxicating ingredient found in alcoholic beverages, is a drug that depresses the central nervous system.
  • Over 38 million adults in the U.S. binge drink at least 4 times per month.
  • For men, this means drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages within a short time.
  • For women, this means 4 or more drinks within a short time.
  • 80,000 deaths are caused yearly by intoxicated drivers.
  • Most binge drinkers are not alcoholics.
  • Women absorb more alcohol when they drink. They are affected faster and the effects last longer than in a male.


Got Drugs?
April 26, 2014 – 10AM to 2PMThe National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.Find a location near you and for further information:
Got Drugs.jpg
Making Meaningful ConnectionsAccording to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, approximately 686,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2012.  Child abuse covers physical, sexual, emotional abuse, as well as neglect of a child below age 18 by any person in a custodial role.
  • Stop child abuse before it begins.
  • Provide caregivers with a plan to promote nurturing relationships and how to create stable and safe environments.
  • Educate caregivers on how to develop good communication, proper and safe discipline and the importance of taking care of the physical and emotional needs of a child.
  • Create social and community support for the development of strong, healthy bonds between children and adults they can trust.
  • Screen to diagnose suspected abuse of any type as soon as warning signs and patterns of abusive behavior are reported.
The AMA Alliance has been encouraging the prevention of child abuse through its S.A.V.E. program.
For more information:


March 2014

Brain Injury Awareness Month

With all the news about football and now soccer related concussions and the long-term effects, did you know?

  • The Brain Injury Association of America estimates that 1.7 million Americans, both children and adults, suffer a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, yearly.
  • These injuries can impact memory, reasoning and other brain functions.

Julie Newman, AMA Alliance Director, recently made us aware of an article about how a concussion affected her cousin.

This article describes how her cousin, aged 17, was injured when she was accidently struck in the head during drill team practice and hit the back of her head on the floor when she fell.  The resulting concussion impacted her brain function requiring intensive therapy: physical, occupational, speech/language.

It is important to be aware of the dangers of head injuries and how to identify those needing treatment.

For more information:

March is National Nutrition Month

Things to do and remember:

  • Plan healthy meals and snacks.
  • Make half of what is on your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure half of your grains are whole grain.
  • Eat proteins low in unhealthy fats.
  • Drink skim or 1% milk.
  • Cut back on salt and sodium.
  • Eliminate sugared drinks.
  • Drink water instead of sugared drinks.
  • Help children develop healthy eating habits at an early age to encourage a lifetime of healthy nutrition and to help prevent obesity.

More information:


National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know?

  • 140,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer yearly.
  • 90% of the cases occur in people age 50 or older and is the reason colorectal cancer screening is recommended beginning at age 50.
  • This screening can identify precancerous polyps which can be removed before they develop into cancer.
  • The screening can also identify cancer at an early and treatable stage.  The polyps and early stages of this type of cancer often do not present with any symptoms.  This makes the screening methods such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy essential.

Check with your physician to find out what test is best for you and how often to have it done.


February 2014

American Heart Month

Did you know?

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year- that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. Every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 190,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity. CDC- Heart Disease Facts

So you ask, is there good news about these facts? YES, heart disease can often be prevented through education, making healthy choices and proper management of health conditions that contribute to heart disease. Throughout the United States there are many programs that encourage healthier lifestyles.
For more information, follow this link…

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
As part of the AMA Alliance’s ongoing S.A.V.E (Stop America’s Violence Everywhere) campaign we want to highlight teen dating violence which is a type of relationship abuse.  It can involve physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse within a dating relationship or after the relationship ends. This abuse can be in person or electronically. As in other relationship abuse situations the violence often increases over time.

Teens need to know that a positive relationship does not involve one person trying to control the other through threats, physical violence, or isolation from family or friends. Learning proper relationship behavior as a teenager can help prevent a lifetime of abusive relationships.

If you know of anyone in a violent or abusive relationship, encourage them to get help.
For more information, click here.


January 2014

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Every year millions of men, women, and children are trafficked for sexual or labor exploitation worldwide, including the United States. National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month serves to highlight and educate all of us about this tragic health and human crisis. For more information, follow this link.

Cervical Health Awareness Month

Cervical cancer is the second most common and preventable type of cancer for women worldwide. Yearly more than 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with this cancer and more than 4,000 will die from its complications. Screening and education are pivotal for prevention and early detection. For more information please follow this link.


December 2013

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

With the holidays upon us, the toy a child desires may not be the best or safest choice. Toys with sharp edges, containing lead, plastic film, small magnets or batteries can cause serious illness or injuries. To keep your holidays happy and safe check all toys for safety and age appropriateness before allowing a child to use them.

For more information:

2010 Report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Toy fact sheet
from Prevent Blindness

December 1-7 is National Hand Washing Awareness Week
Hand-transmission in the spread of bacteria, pathogens and viruses causing disease and infections puts over one-third of the US population at high risk. The elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, “Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.”

Making a difference is the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance. Their statewide program “Soapy Hand Washing Campaign” teaches proper hand washing technique to kindergarten through third grade children. A 20 minute lesson and the costumed character “Soapy”® distributes coloring books, stickers, and a brochure to bring home to their parents.

Here is a refresher in case you forgot.

Proper Hand Washing:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

For more information:


November 2013

November is American Diabetes Month

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control estimated 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have some form of diabetes. The AMA Alliance joins the American Medical Association in its pledge to increase awareness and promote prevention of diabetes.  This commitment includes partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health National Diabetes Education Program as well as the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.  These programs teach and encourage life style changes which may prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Common goals of these programs include:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating healthy foods in small portions
  • Increasing physical activity to at least 30 minutes, 5 days/week
  • Keeping a record of what you eat and drink as well as how long you are physically active daily

To read more about the types of diabetes, signs and symptoms, long term effects and resources see below.

Types of Diabetes

There are 3 types of diabetes: Type 1, also known as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes, is generally first diagnosed sometime in childhood through young adulthood; Type 2, or non- insulin dependent diabetes, can occur at any age; Gestational diabetes occurs in late stages of pregnancy.

Diabetes symptoms

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Often tired or hungry
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Sores heal slowly
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Tingling or loss of feeling in feet
  • Blurry eyesight

Long term effects of Diabetes

Someone with diabetes has a blood glucose level above normal because they do not produce enough insulin or use the insulin they produce properly and efficiently.  Heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and lower extremity amputations are complications of diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

For more information:

American Diabetes Association:

American Medical Association:


National Diabetes Education Program:



The Great American Smokeout is November 21, 2013

Everyone Loves Quitters!
The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for one day – smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes – nearly 1 in every 5 adults.

The American Medical Association Alliance has long been an advocate of promoting antismoking in cities and states. In 2006, the organization joined with the Legacy Foundation and launched the “Screen Out!” initiative. Alliance members and supporters have carried out a grassroots campaign in local communities with signature petitions and a letter writing campaign to movie producers asking them to eliminate smoking in their PG-rated films.

We applaud the efforts of the American Cancer Society as they lead the way transforming cancer from deadly to preventable.

To read more about the tobacco statistics, the Great American Smokeout and American Cancer Society resources see below.

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease, disability, and premature death in the United States. The numbers are sobering:

  • Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke result in more than 443,000 deaths a year.
  • For every person who dies from smoking, another 20 people are living with a smoking-related disease.
  • Smoking costs the United States about $96 billion each year in medical expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity due to premature death.

For anyone who has an addiction to tobacco, you know how daunting the task of quitting may seem. But did you know that quitting at any time has benefits, no matter how long you’ve smoked? Why not join thousands of soon-to-be former smokers and quit on November 21—the date of the Great American Smokeout!

For more information try these links-


October 2013

October National Health Observances

National Domestic Violence Awareness month
The AMA Alliance is committed to violence prevention through its signature “S.A.V.E.-Stop Americas Violence Everywhere Campaign.” In conjunction National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Bullying Prevention we observe SAVE Day on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013.  Check out our Healthy Communities for information and programs ideas. Need a successful elementary age children’s activity program? The AMA Alliances signature “Hands Are Not for Hitting” activities and books could be just the items you need and are great assets to any violence prevention program.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Unity Day is on Monday, October 7th.  Events to help domestic violence shelters and working to end violence against women and their children are encouraged this month. For more information:

DEA Nationwide Drug Take Back Day October 26, 2013
The next Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) nationwide prescription drug take-back day is scheduled for Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 10 am to 2 pm. Check the DEA webpage for more information about the take-back event and a collection site locator.


September 2013

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Obese children are at high risk for health problems previously only seen in adults; such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This is a preventable health issue. Encourage children to eat healthier and exercise more. Some projects about this are featured in the Project Bank.

Brochures created by the Mississippi Alliance:

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