A monthly list of story ideas for journalists
Alternative breast cancer detection to reach hispanics
In a report released last week, the National Cancer Institute noted that rates for some top cancers among Hispanics may rise. Hispanics are less likely to get screening because many lack health insurance, and they are unlikely to seek health care unless they have symptoms, aches or pains. While Hispanic women get breast cancer at the same rates as other racial groups, they often don’t receive the diagnosis until after the cancer has reached its later stages. Part of this challenge is a culturally-specific awkwardness for Hispanics about breast self-exam or allowing a doctor to look for lumps. To address this, Scripps’ Women in Action Program uses Spanish-speaking peer educators (known as “promotoras”) at schools, churches and clinics to get Hispanic women to overcome their fears about breast-cancer prevention. This very successful project reaches more than 2,400 women annually and helps more than 1,200 women to access screening services. To cover this story, contact Monica Montano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Myths and realities about accutane
Accutane, the powerful acne drug already known to cause birth defects, seems to raise the risk for potential heart and liver problems more than doctors had expected, according to a new study just published in Archives of Dermatology. While the drug is already known to increase levels of cholesterol, liver enzymes and blood fats called triglycerides that can raise the risk of heart disease, the new study found higher than expected percentages of patients developing these abnormal lab results. Is Accutane safe in the long-term, and who should be using it? To arrange an interview with Scripps Clinic dermatologist William Burrows about this topic, contact Johnny Hagerman at Hagerman.email@example.com.
Voters decide on new tobacco tax
Appearing on the November ballot, Proposition 86 seeks to raise the cigarette tax by $2.60 per pack as a measure to meet several public health goals, including tobacco prevention programs, chronic disease research, improved emergency care, nursing education and children’s health insurance.Of importance to Scripps Health and other hospitals is that if passed, Prop. 86 would stop the financial hemorrhaging of hospital emergency departments. If passed, the Tobacco Tax Act of 2006 will generate more than $750 million for hospital emergency facilities, equipment, and personnel, and provide some reimbursement for the large amount of emergency care provided to the uninsured. Scripps could receive $12-$14 million annually to support its emergency departments in Hillcrest and Chula Vista.Last year, Scripps Mercy Hospital provided more than $39 million in uncompensated care while operating one of the busiest emergency departments in the county. To arrange an interview with a Scripps spokesperson about this proposal’s impact on hospital emergency facilities in San Diego, contact Don Stanziano at Stanziano.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heart walk to attract 10,000 participants
The 15th annual Heart Walk San Diego is set for Sat., Sept. 16 at 7 a.m. in Balboa Park. More than 10,000 walkers are expected to attend and raise $2 million to advance the prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke. The chair of this year’s event is Gary Fybel, chief executive of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. To arrange an interview with Heart Walk Chairman Gary Fybel, contact Lisa Ohmstede at Ohmstede.email@example.com.
New VP of Clinical Research
Scripps has named Dr. Brian F. Issell, to fill the new position of Vice President of Clinical Research. An accomplished academic oncologist and clinical research leader, Dr. Issell will lead a new department dedicated to clinical research across the Scripps system. Scripps Health currently adds 100 new clinical trials a year among its five hospital campuses, the Scripps Clinic medical group, and Scripps Cancer Center. In addition there are major contributions from investigator initiated research projects, some of which have produced new, state-of-the-art medical devices and technologies that are used worldwide. Dr. Issell will assume overall system wide responsibility for the development and support for these research efforts at Scripps and continue the longstanding collaborative working relationship between Scripps Health and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). To arrange an interview, contact Don Stanziano at Stanziano.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creating the perfect plate
Tuesday, September 12, 6 - 7:30 p.m., Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas
Stumped on how to give your life an energy kick-start? Balanced nutrition is at the core of healthy living and longevity. Eileen Ackerman, R.D., is offering healthy eating strategies and techniques to help manage weight, promote wellness, and minimize the risk of chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease. To arrange an interview with Scripps Encinitas registered dietician Eileen Ackermann, contact Nichole Warren at email@example.com.
Stressing out your heart
Recent studies indicate a possible link between long work hours and stress to high blood pressure and other cardiac problems. Dr. Jerrold Glassman, cardiologist, is available to discuss the implications of these conclusions and the dangers of high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as common screening methods, and the importance of reducing stress to improve your cardiac and overall health. To arrange an interview with Dr. Glassman, contact Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corporate wellness programs keep employees healthy
According to a new report from a national health advocacy group, America’s obesity problem is only getting worse. To help solve the problem, the group is calling on employers to offer corporate wellness programs and subsidized health club memberships. This spring Scripps launched a major employee wellness program and provided free wellness assessments with cholesterol, blood sugar and other basic readings to all of its 10,000+ employees who chose to participate. The program allows employees to enter their own data and monitor it throughout the year using a confidential online tracking system, complete with stress-reduction seminars, nutritional and exercise advice and organized activities to promote a healthy lifestyle. Employees are offered gift cards and discounts on health insurance premiums based solely on their level of participation (not the results). To arrange an interview about this program, contact Don Stanziano at email@example.com.
Accommodating older workers: staged retirement
As more “baby boomers” contemplate retirement, employers like Scripps are offering senior workers the option to enter their retirement by gradually reducing their hours over a period of time. Staged retirement benefits both the employer and the employee: It allows mature workers a smoother transition to the next chapter of life while keeping their benefits throughout the process and allows new staffers more time to address the steep learn curve they face in inheriting a position from a seasoned professional. To arrange interviews with a Scripps employee or executive about this unique workforce trend, contact Don Stanziano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The differences between what we really eat and what we should be eating are astounding. Danielle Lipparelli, R.D., works regularly to educate the community on portion distortion and making sense of the amount of food we typically are served vs. the serving size recommended by most registered dieticians. To arrange an interview with a Scripps Mercy dietician, contact Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.email@example.com.
Make your home baby-safe
Ninety percent of unintentional injuries suffered by children occur in their homes, and in some chilling statistics, childhood injuries continue to be the number-one killer of American children. Learn from Scripps Mercy pediatrician Bret Gerber, M.D. about some simple precautions parents can take to “baby proof” their living spaces. To arrange an interview with Dr. Gerber, contact Kristin Reinhardt at Reinhardt.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Female libido in 2006
Low sex drive is the most common sexual complaint made by women – up to 30 to 40 percent of them.Various stages in a woman’s life, communication differences between men and women, and cultural background are just a few of the factors which affect the female libido. Obstetrician Diana Hoppe, M.D. offers the top 10 reasons for decreased sexual desire in women and suggests ways to improve the female libido. To arrange an interview with Dr. Hoppe, contact Nichole Warren at email@example.com or **.