DPH Invites Public Comment on Delaware Statewide Health Assessment

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is seeking input from Delawareans on a draft version of a statewide assessment identifying the primary health needs of First State residents. DPH worked with a broad range of non-profit and medical partners, and community-based and government agencies to create the draft Statewide Health Assessment (SHA) document.

The SHA is an examination of the health of our population. Data gathering for a needs assessment to develop this document began in 2016. The data, pulled from a variety of sources including focus groups, were used to identify local and statewide trends for the identification and prioritization of strategies. The ultimate goal of a SHA is to develop strategies to address critical health needs and identify challenges and assets in the state in a comprehensive way.

All results were compiled and analyzed collectively to paint a collective picture of Delaware’s health. This comprehensive process yielded the following four top-level priority areas of focus:

1. Chronic Disease: specifically -heart disease, diabetes, and asthma
2. Maternal and Child Health: specifically – teen pregnancy, premature births, and low birth weight
3. Substance Use/Misuse: specifically -the opioid epidemic, accidental overdose, and smoking/e-cigarette use
4. Mental Health: specifically – mental health diagnoses (especially in youth), suicide/suicidal ideations, and impact of trauma.

The plan is posted at http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/shna.pdf. Comments can be submitted at http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/shaform.pdf. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Residents are encouraged to provide feedback about the information presented in the draft SHA. After receiving public comments, DPH will organize partners again to develop strategies and goals to address Delaware’s major health needs.

“It’s important to hear from residents about our draft plan for the health and well-being of Delawareans,” said DPH Associate Deputy Director, Cassandra Codes-Johnson. “We want to know what’s important to you. All residents should have the opportunity to provide input on the issues that are closest to their hearts.”

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


USDA seeks feedback from Delaware farmers on 2017 small grains production

Dover, Del. – Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse is reminding farmers to complete the small grain production survey that has been sent out to nearly 300 producers by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The agency is taking a comprehensive look into the 2017 production and supply of small grains, which include wheat, oats, barley, and rye.

“The information that our farmers provide is critical to helping everyone – from fellow farmers to lawmakers to extension professionals – make decisions that will impact our industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse. “It is critical that NASS has the most accurate data, so for Delaware farmers that have not yet completed the September Surveys, I urge you to participate.”

“The small grains industry is a big player in Delaware agriculture and it is crucial for us to have accurate data about this key sector of the economy,” said NASS Delaware State Statistician Dale P. Hawks. “The data collected from this survey will also help set small grain acreage and production estimates at the county level.”

NASS will contact Delaware survey participants to gather information on their 2017 production and the quantities of corn, soybeans, barley and wheat stored on farm. As an alternative to mailing the survey back and to help save both time and money, growers will have the option to respond to the survey securely online. Farmers who have not responded may receive a phone call from a NASS representative who will help them fill out the survey form.

NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents and publishes only aggregate data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the annual Small Grains Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on September 29. These and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov. For more information call the NASS Delaware Field Office at (800) 675-0295.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, Community Relations Officer, 302-698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov


Federal Researchers Conducting Door-to-Door Survey in Delaware on Drug Use, Mental Health Issues

NEW CASTLE (Aug. 23, 2017) – RTI International interviewers are going door-to-door in Delaware conducting a study called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health on behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health survey
RTI International interviewers are going door-to-door in Delaware conducting a study called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The annual study is a scientific, national survey that provides up-to-date state and national information on alcohol, tobacco or drug use, mental health and other health-related issues. Delawareans who are asked to do in-person surveys should have received a letter ahead of time from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Interviewers who come to the door will have a photo ID that identifies them as working for RTI International and on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The interviewer will start with a few general questions, and then may ask for one or two members of your household to complete an hour-long interview. The extended interviews do not need to be conducted in the home. The interviewer might suggest a nearby library or another public place.

“If you are contacted by letter or in person by someone conducting this survey on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, we urge you to participate,” Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker said. “This scientific survey will offer us critical insights about drug use and mental health issues in Delaware and nationwide.”

About the survey

Participants do not need to know anything about alcohol, tobacco or drug use to answer the survey questions, and interviews from people who do not use these substances are just as important to the study as interviews from people who do use these substances. The names and addresses of participants will not be connected to their answers, and all answers are kept confidential. People who complete the hour-long interview will receive $30 in cash.

RTI International, a nonprofit contract research organization from North Carolina, is conducting the survey as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The names of the field interviewers in Delaware are:

  • Cynthia Jakacki-Null
  • Linda McGoy
  • Claudia Dandridge
  • Nancy Lopez
  • Evelyn Crespo Morales
  • Jan Schafer
  • Luis Buitrago
  • Teresa Gray
  • Jennifer Ames
  • Karen Cunningham
  • Kathleen Dondarski

Information about the National Survey on Drug Use and Health is available on the study website. Or you can contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-848-4079.


Survey gives educators voice on workplace strengths, needs

School leadership is the working condition that most affects a teacher’s willingness to stay working in their school, according to the more than 4,000 Delaware educators who responded to the 2017 TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Delaware survey.

The majority of Delaware educators feel their schools’ curricula is aligned to state standards, use assessment data to inform their instruction, have time to collaborate with peers and have school leaders who facilitate using data to improve student learning and encourage trying new things to improve instruction. They also feel they work in a safe environment, are held to high professional standards for delivering instruction and provide families with useful information about student learning.

Those are a few of the highlights of the results, available at the school, district and state-level at www.telldelaware.org/results.

The survey also showed remaining challenges, particularly around the constructive use of time. Many educators feel class sizes don’t allow them enough time to meet the needs of all students, more non-instructional time is needed for teachers and more could be done to minimize paperwork and differentiate professional learning to meet individual educator needs.

“Teachers’ voices are critical to shaping Delaware’s education policy. The results of this survey will help the state better equip districts and schools with the tools they need to help our students succeed,” Governor John Carney said. “I look forward to working with educators across our state to improve outcomes for all students.”

Districts and schools that had at least a 50 percent participation rate in the survey now have local reports that will allow their leaders to closely review their own data to and identify strengths and areas for growth for their districts and schools. The responses of those educators whose schools or districts did not meet the threshold are included in the aggregate district and state data.

This was the second time Delaware conducted the TELL survey, following the inaugural administration of the anonymous survey in 2013.

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting thanked educators for taking the time to share their opinions.

“This was an opportunity for our teachers and school leaders to let us know what is working well and where more focus is needed. This information can help shape policy and programs that support work and learning environments that meet our educators’ needs and support student achievement,” she said.

The 2017 results show strong progress made in some areas when compared to the responses to the same questions in 2013. For example, more educators said new teacher supports and professional learning are meeting their needs, indications that state investments in Delaware’s novice teacher mentoring and induction program and professional learning are paying off.

Mentoring/induction

  • 78 percent of novice teachers (those with less than three years of teaching experience) said the additional support they received as a new teacher improved their instructional practice, compared to 64 percent in 2013
  • 79 percent of novice teachers said the additional support they received as a new teacher has helped them to impact student learning, compared to 65 percent in 2013.
  • 82 percent of novice teachers said support from their mentor teacher influenced their practice of instructional strategies, compared to 60 percent in 2013.
  • 81 percent of novice teachers said support from their mentor teacher influenced their practice of providing emotional support, compared to 62 percent in 2013.
  • 84 percent of novice teachers said support from their mentor influenced their practice of classroom management, compared to 56 percent in 2013.

Professional learning

When teachers were asked to identify professional learning needed to teach students more effectively, their responses indicated that more educators feel they are getting the professional learning they need:

  • 70 percent said they needed professional learning related to standards in 2013, compared to 30 percent in 2017.
  • 51 percent said they needed professional learning related to student assessments in 2013, compared to 35 percent in 2017.
  • 50 percent said they needed professional learning related to reading strategies in 2013, compared to 38 percent in 2017.
  • 63 percent said they needed professional learning related to closing the achievement gap in 2013, compared to 53 percent in 2017.
  • 63 percent said they needed professional learning related to special education in 2013, compared to 56 percent in 2017.

The 2017 results indicate some other areas for continued focus. For example, only 46 percent of responding teachers agreed that state assessment data are available to teachers in time to impact instructional practices, suggesting the state needs to do more to promote use of Smarter Analytics, which provides teachers with in-depth data on their students’ performance within three weeks of test administration. Using the system, which launched in 2016, teachers have the ability to determine each student’s understanding of the Smarter claims and targets and how they align to the Delaware standards.

The TELL Delaware survey is an anonymous statewide survey of licensed school-based educators to assess teaching conditions at the school, district and state level. The Delaware Department of Education, partnered with Delaware State Education Association, Delaware Association of School Administrators, Delaware School Boards Association, and the national New Teacher Center to conduct the 2017 TELL Delaware survey this spring. The TELL Survey is a full population survey designed to report educators’ perceptions about the presence of teaching and learning conditions. School-based licensed educators were able to complete the survey anytime 24 hours a day, from any Internet location using the anonymous access code provided.

 

Media Contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, (302) 735-4006

 


DNREC seeks public’s reporting of Delaware wild turkey sightings for 2017 survey

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is asking the public to assist with the state’s 8th annual wild turkey survey by helping identify locations where the birds are successfully reproducing in Delaware. The data collected helps biologists track the health, distribution and reproductive success of the state’s wild turkey population and ensure the sustainable harvest of this important game species.

The survey period begins July 1 and continues through Aug. 31. If you see a turkey, you are asked to record the date, county, and number of adult hens, gobblers, and poults (young of the year) observed on a survey data sheet. The data sheet and instructions are available for download at Wild Turkey Survey. Participants are asked to submit their results to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Sept. 10, 2017.

The wild turkey continues as one of Delaware’s top wildlife restoration successes after nearly becoming extinct by the early 20th century. In the early 1980s, the Division of Fish & Wildlife partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation and other northeastern states to re-establish a wild turkey population in the state. By 1991, the population had grown large enough to enable a wild turkey hunting season, and the birds continue to thrive and multiply.

For more information about the wild turkey survey or to obtain a survey data sheet, please contact Justyn Foth, Wildlife Section, at 302-735-3600, or visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Documents/Wild%20Turkey%20Observation%20Survey%20Form.pdf.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 47, No. 156

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