Our Friends at SAMHSA remind us to 'Stay Safe and Healthy' This Holiday Season 

Posted by Andi Walsh Sexton Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:56:02 PM

Stay Safe and Healthy this Holiday Season


The winter holiday season can be a wonderful – though stressful – time of year. To help keep a balanced mindset, we at SAMHSA want to remind everyone to take time to focus on your mental, emotional and behavioral health and well-being during the holidays. We also ask you to be aware that traffic fatalities involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs increase during the holidays. Due to the number of driving fatalities during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays,[i] President Barack Obama has declared December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and set a national goal of reducing drugged driving by 10 percent by 2015.

Although impaired driving increases during the holiday season, drunk and drugged driving are problems that occur year-round. On average, 30 million Americans drive drunk and 10 million Americans drive drugged each year. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in the past year, 13.2 percent of all people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent drove under the influence of illicit drugs. We should all be aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and encourage others to drive responsibly.

There are steps you can take to help ensure that you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and happy holiday, including focusing on the prevention of alcohol abuse and drunk and drugged driving. Talk openly about this issue with young people in your life and set a good example. We’ve seen time and again that parents and adults have a big influence on children’s decisions not to drink. For evidence-based approaches on preventing underage drinking, visit the Too Smart To Start and Stop Underage Drinking Portal of Federal Resources Web sites.

If you are hosting or attending holiday parties this year, there are some key things you can do to prevent dangerous “binge alcohol use” and impaired driving.[ii]

  • Avoid making alcohol the main focus of social events. Enjoy holiday parties through music, dancing, games, food, and lively conversation.
  • Be sure to offer plenty of nonalcoholic choices such as sparkling water, fancy juice, soft drinks, and bottled drinking water.
  • Stop serving drinks at least 1 hour before the end of the event. Instead, serve coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and desserts at that time.
  • Avoid salty foods, which are known to encourage people to drink more.  Serve high protein and carbohydrate foods, such as cheese and meats, which can help to slow the effects of alcohol.
  • Recruit designated drivers ahead of time to make sure that everyone has a safe ride home. Be prepared to offer or use other transportation such as cabs or “safe ride” programs in your area; keep the phone numbers of local cab services on hand for yourself and guests.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to stop a friend or loved one from getting behind the wheel.

To learn more about what SAMHSA is doing to prevent alcohol abuse, visit; visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site, Stop Impaired Driving, for information and resources to address drunk and drugged driving in your community.

We wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season!


[i] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2007). Fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods. Traffic Safety Facts. From (accessed December 13, 2011).

[ii] Party Planning Tips for an Alcohol-Safe and Drug-Free Holiday Season to Remember.

National Preparedness Month: What People with Disabilities Can Do to take Action 

Posted by Andi Walsh Sexton Monday, September 19, 2011 9:21:14 AM

September is National Preparedness Month!  The CHD Public Health Preparedness Program encourages all individuals, and their families, to take part in preparing themselves for emergencies and disasters.  The following article from the Ready Campaign focuses on what people with disabilities can do to better prepare themselves; this includes putting together a ‘go kit’ and coming up with personalized emergency plans.  For more information, please visit or contact the CHD Public Health Preparedness Program.


All individuals, including people with disabilities, should take the time before a disaster to plan for survival at home, in a shelter, or elsewhere in the event of an actual emergency.

In addition to’s recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit (, people with disabilities and other access and functional needs may wish to consider the following in their preparations.

Now is the time to plan ahead for what you may need to stay safe, healthy, informed, mobile, and independent during a disaster. Remember that a disaster may require sheltering-in-place at home or evacuating to an emergency shelter or other form of temporary housing.

Plan to maintain your independence before an emergency strikes:

As you prepare, consider all the strategies, services, devices, tools and techniques you use to live with a disability on a daily basis. Keep in mind that you may need medications, durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, your service animal, assistive technology, communications tools, disability service providers, accessible housing, transportation, and health-related items.

  • Create a support network to help you plan for an emergency. Consider family, neighbors, friends, people who provide services to you, faith-based and community groups. Tell these people where you keep your emergency supplies. Give at least one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment.
  • Contact your city or county government's emergency information management office and work with them to use their emergency planning resources.
  • If you receive dialysis or other life sustaining medical treatment, identify the location and availability of more than one facility and work with your provider to develop your personal emergency plan.
  • Show others how to operate your wheelchair or other assistive devices.
  • Keep contact information for local independent living centers and other disability services organizations in a safe and easy-to-access place. If you provide any organizations or service providers with information about your functional needs and what you may require in an emergency, keep that data up to date.
  • If you use in-home support services, Meals-on-Wheels, Life Alert or other support services, work with them to personalize emergency preparedness plans to meet your needs so you can keep in touch with them during and after an emergency. That contact may be your lifeline to other services in a disaster.
  • Work with local transportation and disability services (e.g., Paratransit, Independent Living Centers) to plan ahead for accessible transportation if you may need that for evacuation or other reasons during a disaster.
  • Develop back-up plans for personal assistance services, hospice, or other forms of in-home assistance.
  • Keep in mind that during an emergency, you may need to explain to first responders and emergency officials that you need to evacuate and shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, or personal assistance provider so they can provide the support you need to maintain your health, safety and independence.

Depending on your needs, items for your Go Kit may include:

  • Extra eyeglasses, hearing aids if you have them, or have coverage for them
  • Battery chargers and extra batteries for hearing aids, motorized wheelchairs, or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices
  • Copies of medical prescriptions, doctors orders, and the style and serial numbers of the support devices you use
  • Medical alert tags or bracelets or written descriptions of your disability and support needs, in case you are unable to describe the situation in an emergency
  • Supplies for your service animal Medical insurance cards, Medicare/Medicaid cards, physician contact information, list of your allergies and health history
  • A list of the local non-profit or community-based organizations that know you or assist people with access and functional needs similar to yours.
  • A list of personal contacts, family and friends that you may need to contact in an emergency
  • A laminated personal communication board, if you might need assistance with being understood
  • If possible, extra medicine, oxygen, insulin, catheters, or other medical supplies you use regularly
  • If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a light weight manual chair available for emergencies. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.
  • Even if you do not use a computer yourself, consider putting important information onto a portable thumb drive for easy transport in an evacuation.

For more information please visit

CHD Recognized for Integrating Mental Health Ciitizens Back Into Workforce  

Posted by Andi Walsh Sexton Friday, September 16, 2011 10:30:29 AM

Pictured (left to right):  Frankie Thamert, Clinical Supervisor for CHD, and Troy Davis, Supported Employment Specialist with CHD, holding the Oregon Supported Employment Center for Excellence Award

The Center for Human Development, Inc. (CHD) is pleased to announce a recent award from the Oregon Supported Employment Center for Excellence

 What is Supported Employment?  Simply put, Supported Employment is a program that helps integrate mental health citizens back into the workforce. The program was developed through the collaborative efforts of Dartmouth College and the charitable and humanitarian efforts of Johnson and Johnson, with very deliberate and specific methods for implementation. To begin, a therapist first has to determine that employment is medically necessary for the well-being of the client. “The idea is that working gives a client a sense of self-accomplishment, and satisfaction, and even though it is nice to earn money, the structure of a work environment may be paramount to the client’s treatment’, said Troy Davis, Supported Employment Specialist with CHD. 

 What does a Supported Employment Specialist Do?  An employment specialist helps facilitate job placement and retention.  The process starts by developing a vocational profile with the client, including the client’s skills and interests.  Next, an Employment Plan is put together for pursuing work.  The Employment Plan is focused around the client’s unique attributes and capabilities. The plan is used to support the person in preparing to enter the job market on a competitive level.   With the aid of the program the client is able to compete with the average citizen to obtain and retain gainful employment.  The plan is used, and altered, as necessary to insure long-term employment.   In some cases the specialist meets with prospective employers that might discover a mutually beneficial match for the client and the employer.  And, there is rigorous prep work.  The client and the specialist work together with other community resources, such as the Oregon Work-Source office and TEC services, where they complete the I-Match Skills, build a resume, fill out job applications and utilize other services as needed. They may also access the Department of Human Services (DHS) Vocational Rehabilitation program.  The specialist can even help with role-playing job interviews.  Once a job is obtained, the specialist is still available, to assist the client with training in the new position, or, to check in periodically to see how the transition is going and to see that the client and employer are both satisfied with work performance. Although the program is client centered, there can be profound benefits for employers too.  Skilled employees often want to work for different reasons other than just a paycheck; they often desire to be a productive tax paying member of society which can provide a sense of positive self-regard. It is known throughout the program that many of the clients become long tenured which, as any employer will say,  is of great importance when considering the costs associated with training new employees and staff turnover.

 Community Partnerships:  One of the fears for clients returning to the job market is that they will lose certain benefits, such as social security and food stamps.  To educate them, the client receives benefits counseling (Social Security, food stamps) from both the Work Incentive Network (a statewide agency with offices in Pendleton and Ontario), and from the Eastern Oregon Council for Independent Living (also in Pendleton and Ontario), so they know exactly how their benefits will be affected.  Other community partners include Vocational Rehabilitation of the Department of Human Services (DHS) which helps clients overcome physical or behavioral barriers to employment.  The supported employment program refers clients to these agencies and facilitates meetings to provide the best holistic support for people to become more self-reliant.

 The client and employer, it turns out, are not the only ones reaping benefits from the program.  Troy Davis shared the pleasant rewards of his position as the Employment Specialist.  “Sometimes we forget that there are past life experiences that our clients have had including histories of profound work achievement!  It is my pleasure to introduce those skills back to the workforce”, said Davis.

 For more information about this program contact Troy Davis at the CHD office, (541) 962-8899.  To learn more about the many services provided by CHD to the communities of Union County, please visit the CHD website at or call (541) 523-8800. 



CHD and Local Partners Work to Enforce Underage Drinking Laws  

Posted by Andi Walsh Sexton Monday, August 29, 2011 11:36:00 AM

La Grande Police, CHD and Union County Sheriff

Pictured:  Police Chief Brian Harvey, left, and Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen pose with Deanne Mansveld of CHD.


 $12,000 award seen as ‘win-win’ for City, Police Department Officers, area youth,  and the La Grande Community

 The Center for Human Development (CHD) is pleased to announce a recent award of $12,000 in the form of a one-year grant from the Oregon Health Authority, which distributes federal funds from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  “The purpose of this grant is to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages to, or consumed, by those under 21 years of age”, stated Carrie Brogoitti, Public Health Administrator for CHD.

 The funds, according to Brogoitti, will be used to purchase four new portable breath alcohol testers, which will be used by local law enforcement officers to enforce underage drinking laws.

 “CHD sees this as a win-win opportunity for our community members.  The grant not only will potentially save lives by reducing under-age drinking, but the dollars are also being used to fill the gap created by the loss of sworn law enforcement positions within the La Grande Police Department (LPD) due to city budget cuts”, said Brogoitti.  The funds will pay salaries for law enforcement officers called in to work during off-duty hours to participate in controlled dispersals of underage drinking parties, as well as pay for time spent preparing for court or appearing in court in relation to those enforcement activities. .  “We appreciate the working partnership with CHD, the Sheriff’s Department and our Department”, said La Grande Chief of Police Brian Harvey.  “This grant allows us to have the resources we need to enforce underage drinking to the level it is needed” stated Harvey, “It gives us the ability to find minors in possession and party dispersal which we could not do at the level needed due to limited resources at both agencies.  This grant helps to fill that gap.”  Union County Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen also shared his appreciation for the grant, “This allows us to take a team approach to enforcing underage drinking laws and it allows us to team up with the city.  Underage drinking affects people’s lives.  We have to have enforcement of the law.  We truly appreciate the efforts of CHD!”

 For more information about this project contact DeAnne Mansveld at the CHD office, (541) 962-8822.  To learn more about the many services provided by CHD to the communities of Union County, please visit the CHD website at or call (541) 523-8000. 




Taking Steps Toward Building a Healthier Union County  

Posted by Andi Walsh Sexton Wednesday, August 17, 2011 10:17:00 AM

Natalie Linton - Public Health Associate

Natalie Linton Joins CHD's Public Health Department through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control.

The Center for Human Development, Inc. (CHD) whose mission is ‘working for healthy communities’ provides many important services for the members of Union County, such as veteran’s services, vaccinations, family planning, and individual or group counseling. In addition to these, and other important services, CHD has been working over the past year to develop a community wide plan to help prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Why care about chronic disease in Union County? According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation roughly 3/4 of all healthcare costs are used to treat chronic disease.  Many of these diseases are associated with behaviors such as using tobacco, not eating healthy foods, not exercising, or not effectively managing an existing chronic condition.  In other words, behaviors that can be modified through lifestyle changes have a direct impact on ones health.  And, interestingly, factors within a community in turn affect lifestyle changes.

Background: In August of 2010 CHD received funding from the state of Oregon to develop a plan to help reduce the burden of chronic disease in Union County. CHD used the Community Health and Group Evaluation tool (CHANGE) developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to focus its efforts. The CHANGE tool was designed specifically to help communities look at policies and environmental factors that help increase access to healthy lifestyle options. For example, sidewalks can make it easier and safer for kids to walk to school. Although it can be argued that we all have an individual responsibility to take charge of our health, there are important community wide changes that can be made to help foster healthier communities. The places where we live, work and play truly also affect our individual and community health.

Community Involvement: Over the past year community members from a variety of backgrounds came together and helped complete the assessment and developed a community action plan. After reviewing all of the information gathered, the Union County Healthy Communities Coalition has set the following priorities: 1. Expanding Access to the Living Well with Chronic Conditions program (a hands-on class which helps participants better manage chronic diseases so they are not as dependent on costly treatments), 2. Working with faith communities and existing coalitions to encourage healthier eating habits and 3. Encouraging worksite wellness policies. The coalition will be implementing the plan over the next three years.

Next Steps for Community Members who want help with individual lifestyle changes, or to be part of community wide efforts: On August first, Natalie Linton, a Center for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Associate, began her workwith CHD to begin the process of implementing the plan.  If you would like more information on any of the plan priority areas, or to find out how to start working toward changing your own lifestyle behaviors, please contact Natalie Linton (541) 962-8836.  To read the full report please visit the CHD website at: (case sensitive).

Are you a community member who would like to be involved in implementing the plan and steering Union County toward a healthier community?  If so, please contact Natalie Linton at (541) 962-8836 or at for more information.

Thank You, Susan Hughes!  

Posted by Andi Walsh Sexton Thursday, August 11, 2011 2:57:00 PM


 Susan Hughes was awarded a plaque from AC Team members Carrie Brogoitti, Rico Weber, and

Dwight Dill for her many years of service with the CHD Board.

Susan Hughes recently resigned from the CHD Board of Directors.  A Board member since  2002, Susan has had a large impact on CHD and the individuals we serve.  Her expertise and experience at Child Welfare has provided a perspective that has enabled us to better meet the needs of children, and their families, in Union County. 

Susan’s resignation comes about as a result of her acceptance of a new position as the regional Vocational Rehabilitation manager for this area.  As CHD is a contractor for the local VR office, Susan felt it would be a conflict of interest to continue serving on the CHD Board.

CHD appreciates all of Susan’s contributions over the past 11 years and wishes her success in her new endeavor. 

We look forward to continuing our relationship with Susan, albeit in a new capacity.

Dwight Dill

Director, Mental Health


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