Video Blog: Community Profiles Dashboard

For the first time ever, we now have a tool to explore this data and visualize it in several different ways.  Our new Community Profiles Dashboard is a huge leap forward for public health professionals, city planners, non-profit organizations, medical providers and anyone who needs public health data to improve their performance.  What makes the new Community Profiles Dashboard revolutionary is the way you can access, sort, and analyze the information.  The Dashboard provides several options for looking at the state, county, or small community level data among the more than 100 Primary Care Areas in Arizona. Take a look at the first of four video tutorials about how to use the Community Profiles Dashboard below.

Great American Smokeout is Gateway to Smoke-Free Living

By Wayne Tormala


Wayne Tormala

Smokers will attempt to quit between seven and 11 times before they are truly on their way to a life free from tobacco addiction. Such numbers make Great American Smokeout on Nov. 20, 2014 that much more important. This national day of action, established by the American Cancer Society, encourages smokers to put their cigarette down for a 24-hour period in hopes of turning one day of quitting into a permanent lifestyle change, free of tobacco use.

Our expert counselors at the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, 1-800-55-66-222, many former smokers themselves, are prepared for what we anticipate and hope will be one of the most active quit days of the year. Smokers who prefer to go online first will also find support via the online quit coaching services or WebQuit™ at

Although Arizona’s adult smoking rates are below the national average, 17 percent compared to 21 percent, we must continue to provide help to the smoking population in our state. Helplines, like the ASHLine, are invaluable resources and more than double your chances of success. The services are free, quit coaches are located right here in Arizona, and most are former smokers so they know how hard it is to quit for good.

For a smoker, the important steps on a day like Great American Smokeout is to create a quit plan, setting short-term and long-term goals and to get support. It’s important for people to know that going ‘cold turkey’ will not lead to long-term success. Only 1.4% of tobacco users in Arizona sought help from a quitline. People don’t realize the importance of getting support; it is the key to being successful.

In Arizona, smokers can turn to the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, 1-800-55-66-222 or, for help in both Spanish and English. The ASHLine is recognized nationally as a leader, boasting a 37 percent quit rate, whereas other quitlines have rates of just 19-29 percent of clients who successfully quit. Using WebQuit™ or the ASHLine website, smokers can create their own quit plans, set personal short and long-term goals, find tips to overcome cravings and read about the many immediate health benefits of quitting which can begin as soon as 20 minutes after quitting.

While 70 percent of smokers will make a quit attempt in their lifetime only fewer than five percent who try to quit on their own achieve abstinence for six to 12 months. For more than a decade the ASHLine has been helping people quit and stay quit. The proven method to achieving a life free of tobacco includes access to counseling, support from peers and family and information about all FDA-approved over-the-counter and prescription medications, which are all equally important components for an effective cessation program.

Wayne Tormala is the Chief of the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease for the Arizona Department of Health Services.  


Which Screening Test is Right for You?

By Emily Wozniak

Emily Wozniak

Emily Wozniak

Did you know that there are multiple tests that can be done to screen for colorectal cancer? If you’re 50 or older, you have options that may not include a colonoscopy.

According to the CDC, 28 million Americans are not up-to-date on their colorectal cancer screening, and about 51,000 people die nationwide from colorectal cancer each year. Recommended screening could prevent at least 60 percent of these deaths!

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the United States, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. There is more than one screening test, and you have a choice!

  • High sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT): This test is done once a year through a take-home stool test. The samples are mailed to a doctor’s office or lab for results. The FIT at Fifty HealthCheck Program at ADHS uses the InSure Fecal Immunochemical Test (“FIT”) for patients. If the FIT is positive, the patient then receives a colonoscopy.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: The physician looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and lower part of the colon. This test is typically done every 5 years, or every 3 years if accompanied by FOBT.
  • Colonoscopy: The physician uses a colonoscope to search for polyps or cancer in the rectum and the entire colon. A colonoscopy is recommended every ten years.

If you need to get screened, talk to your provider about your options. If you are younger than 50, pay attention to your bathroom habits and contact your doctor if you experience any symptoms that concern you.

Emily Wozniak, MPH is the HealthCheck Programs Operations Manager for the Arizona Department of Health Services.