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July 2015

Last modified 2015-09-30 13:35

Inspiring work from your peers

A day in the life of someone who is visually impaired


The Department of Services for the Blind created a training film in 2012. This 18-minute film is worth the watch.  It takes the viewer through the everyday challenges that someone with visual impairment may face, in a way that is light-hearted and serious at the same time. Consider it a high-impact cultural competency training that is ideal for anyone who is sighted.

You will learn:

  1. Environmental conditions create everyday challenges for people who are visually impaired.
  2. Common myths and stereotypes that many sighted people believe.
  3. Simple courtesies that would improve interactions between people who are sighted and people with visual impairment.
  4. Considerations for creating an inclusive work environment.

The film is available on YouTube and at the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind’s website

Today in public health

Making the next generation the healthiest ever


Last summer Governor Jay Inslee launched the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative.

Vision:  Make our next generation the healthiest ever.

The goal:  Help our children maintain a healthy weight, enjoy active lives and eat well by creating healthy early learning settings, schools and communities.

The initiative was inspired by communities that have already made improvements to support children’s health.

The focus areas of the initiative are:

  • Increase physical activity
  • Improve healthy eating, including access to drinking water
  • Encourage and promote breastfeeding 

As part of the initiative, community organizations, local and state agencies are working closely with the Department of Health, Department of Early Learning, and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

While the state has addressed these focus areas in the past, there are new factors that have not existed before. These include:

  • The allocation of state resources that have the potential to make statewide changes and affect all communities in Washington.
  • Collaboration between three state agencies and the Governor’s Office.
  • An intentional decision to place a negative health issue—childhood obesity—in a positive light by focusing on healthy weight.

So far, the results are exciting! The Governor’s Council for the Healthiest Next Generation and the Outdoor Recreation Task Force gave advice about a series of proposed investments by Governor Inslee in the 2015-2017 state budget. Examples include:

  • $5 million for a Healthy Kids-Healthy Schools grant program
  • $10 million for the Youth Athletic Facilities grant program

Both of these achievements will help children become more physically active and eat healthier!

For updates related to the Initiative’s work visit the Governor’s Office or the Department of Health’s websites. We also want to hear from you about what your community, school, or early learning setting is doing to create the healthiest next generation! Join us at #HealthiestNextGen. 

For more information, contact the Healthiest Next Generation coordinators:

Material spotlight

Breastfeeding materials on H.E.R.E.

The first week of August marks Breastfeeding Awareness Week. We want to spotlight the many publications on H.E.R.E. that advocate for, support and provide resources for breastfeeding moms. Check them out and feel free to distribute throughout your communities!

What’s happening at Department of Health?

HPV vaccine is cancer prevention


Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by HPV. For full protection, both boys and girls need to get vaccinated at 11-12 years old – well before being exposed to the virus.  HPV vaccine is safe, effective and long-lasting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that HPV is responsible for nearly 26,000 new cases of cancer each year.

In 2014, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) received a grant from CDC to increase adolescent HPV immunization rates in the state.

Through the grant, we are starting a statewide public health campaign to promote HPV immunization.  The campaign strategy includes:

  • Sending post cards to parents of adolescents to remind them about the importance of vaccination and urge them to talk to their doctor about human papillomavirus virus (HPV). 
  • Providing online training for providers and clinic staff. The training aims to increase knowledge about HPV vaccine, safety and efficacy, and strategies to make strong recommendations to parents. Continuing education credits are available.
  • Statewide multimedia outreach that will run from August through mid-September. It will include radio, internet and social media. 

Please help us spread the message through your media channels that HPV vaccination is cancer prevention. Contact Ann Butler at or 360-236-3731 for more information about the media campaign and to request materials.

For more information about the HPV vaccine, talk to your health care provider and visit:

Something to think about

How would someone with limited English proficiency access your services?


Did you know that Washington is the third most linguistically diverse state in the nation? We have speakers of over 200 different languages here. We have people who move into our state for work, to join their families, or for freedom from conflict in their home country. Over one million people in our state speak a language other than English at home, and 500,000 people have limited English proficiency.

How would someone with limited English proficiency access your organization’s services or the information you provide?

Here are a few questions to consider:

Who does your organization serve?

  • How many of your customers, patients, clients or families are limited English proficient?
  • What are their preferred oral and written languages?

How do these families interact with your organization?

  • What services do they access?
  • What services are essential to good health and well-being?
  • How would someone get information about these services?
  • Would someone need to speak English to get information?

How do you communicate with your customers, clients, patients or families?

  • How do you accommodate needs for language and communication assistance?
  • How do you tell families that these services exist?

Think Cultural Health has a diagram that can help you think through effective communication at each interaction. This diagram is most appropriate for healthcare settings, but could be adapted to other settings.  

For more ideas on how to improve communication access, learn more about the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Standards.

New events on H.E.R.E.

For a complete list of trainings, conferences, and webinars check out our Trainings and Events page.

H.E.R.E. is taking nominations for inspiring work to spotlight!

Every newsletter, we spotlight a colleague or project making important contributions to public health. Do you know someone who has made an impact in public health? Are you a part of a program or project that is doing noteworthy work in your community? Click here and tell us your story!

New Colleagues Welcome!

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Be sure to explore the hundreds of materials, professional resources, and our trainings and events calendar while you visit our site.  

Nominate a Colleague to Spotlight in the Newsletter

Do you know someone who has made an impact in public health? Nominate them for the Colleague Spotlight article.