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NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit January 11, 2016

From the CEO's Office

Please accept our apologies for the NAO Monday Update coming out late. We experienced some technical difficulties which prevented us from sending it out on time. Thank you.

I hope everyone's first week back was good and that you're all back in the swing of things now. As evidenced by how busy last week was, it's clear the year is off to an invigorating start and I'm thrilled about the myriad opportunities 2016 will bring.

With the NAO 2016 Washington, D.C. conference only five and half months away, planning is ramping up considerably. As you'll see below, the slate of speakers we've now confirmed is reason enough to attend. Of course, with top-notch educational sessions (I was a reviewer for a few proposals and all were outstanding!), our 'Day on the Hill", opportunities to connect with colleagues and a number of special events, the 2016 conference promises to be one of the best. Please be sure to check the NAO website from time to time to stay up to date on conference information and be sure to attend the 2nd webinar in our 'Countdown to the Capitol" series this Friday at 12:30 pm EST ( info below).

There's quite a bit of important information in this week's Monday Update; grab a cuppa of your favorite hot tea or coffee and enjoy!

Tuesdays with Trachtenberg

A Tool for Connecting with Colleagues AND catching up on all things NAO

I've been quite pleased with the turnout on recent calls; it's heartening to know that there's strong interest in all things NAO. The next "Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" call will be Tuesday, January 12nd from 12:30--1:00pm EST. On the December 22nd call we discussed the FY2016 Federal budget, the federal appropriations process, and the on-going importance of local advocacy. Dial in at: 1-605-475-3220: Passcode: 245171#

Please note that this call will be only 30 minutes long.

NAO Special Interest Groups

NAO Special Interest Groups: Jump in and lead a group; there's no time like the present!

​Interest continues to grow in the 'Special Interest Groups' as evidenced by the calls and meetings that are both underway and planned, and by the addition of new SIGs. Let's keep the momentum going! I'll keep pushing participation for the SIGs in 2016. Remember: You DO NOT need to be an expert in your area or areas of interest; the only requirement is that you organize the group using the free conference call number we've provided for you. Go forth and engage with your colleagues!

Here's the link to the spreadsheet; and remember, you can edit and add areas of interest:

SIG Spreadsheets

National Training Center

Webinar capacity reached

More than 500 people have registered for the "You are the Key" webinar set for Thursday, presented by Dr. Robin Curtis of the CDC. The webinar room will hold 500 participants and access is granted on a first-come, first-served basis. If people attempt to log-in to the webinar after the capacity level has been reached, they will be denied access and receive a message. We are going to monitor registration and it may be necessary to set a limit our AHEC folks to make more room for health professionals. The webinar will be recorded and archived with a link provided next week. Unfortunately, the recorded webinar will not have CE credit attached. For those wanting CE credit, the self-study guide option is available! We would encourage you to accommodate the people who could not attend the webinar by providing your own live "You are the Key" event or webinar. Email with any questions.

Introduction to Comprehensive Cancer Control webinar scheduled

Our partners at George Washington University will be presenting the webinar "Introduction to Comprehensive Cancer Control," at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21. This webinar will provide strategies for plugging in to local comprehensive cancer work. Everyone involved in the CDC HPV Project is strongly encouraged to attend. Register Now

Importance of teen vaccines focus of video

With the help of the Montgomery County Immunization Coalition (PA), a student developed a teen vaccine awareness video for his Eagle Scout Badge. He found by talking to his friends that they had many questions on teen vaccines. He thought by having vaccine experts answering their questions, it would empower them to learn more about teen vaccines and get themselves vaccinated. Watch the video here, and feel free to share it with colleagues.

NLM-CPSC-NAO Teen Health Information Literacy Project

Today's post wraps up project awardee introductions with a shout out to the Montana AHEC Program. Naturally, the shout needs to be extremely loud, because distances between non-frontier regions in Montana are almost inconceivably large. For efficiency's sake, the Montana AHEC Program office is fortunate to be co-located with the Montana Office for Public Instruction (OPI) which has responsibility for approving the statewide Health Occupation Students of America/Future Health Professionals (HOSA) curriculum and for managing its funds. In collaboration with OPI and with existing school partnerships, Montana's health project will leverage the existing HOSA curriculum and structure to build a cadre of youth advocates for health information literacy. Despite the frontier nature and large distances, utilizing the existing HOSA program connection will allow Montana's youth advocates to reach nearly 350 additional peers to introduce them to health information literacy. Further, the intended cadre of youth come from a high school on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Nation. Montana AHEC's ability to serve this marginalized population makes its inclusion in National Library of Medicine (NLM) project all the more valuable.

Each of the awardee AHECs brings a special culture, mix of staff experiences, and environmental contexts that brings important diversity to the learning collaborative established by the NLM, Center for Public Service Communication, and NAO. In our next post you'll hear about the NLM model program that these five awardees individually and unanimously selected to replicate for their regions.

2016 Conference Information

National AHEC Organization
2016 Biennial Conference Award Nominations

An Invitation to the AHEC Community
To Recognize Our Most Outstanding Projects and Individuals

The NAO Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the NAO Awards for Excellence, which will be presented at the 2016 National AHEC Conference in Washington, DC.

At each of the biennial national conferences, the National AHEC Organization recognizes projects and individuals that epitomize the AHEC spirit of excellence in the following categories:

AHEC Center Awards for Excellence (Continuing Education, Educational Resources, Health Careers Student Recruitment, Research or Evaluation Tools, Health Professions Student Training, and Special Community-Based Program)

  • Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award

  • Red Koelling Distinguished Service Award

  • Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice

We encourage you to visit the NAO website ( and click on the link to the nomination forms for each individual award categories to review the criteria and instructions for nominating candidates. Only NAO members are eligible for awards. No individual or organization may receive more than one award.

The deadline for nominations is March 4, 2016.

For further information about the 2016 NAO AHEC Awards, please contact any of the Awards Committee leadership team members:

Mary Mitchell
Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC

Bob Alpino
Eastern Virginia AHEC

Marty Schaller
Northeastern WI AHEC

Save the Dates!

The National AHEC Organization’s Countdown to the Capitol webinar series is designed to prepare the entire NAO membership to join together as one strong voice on Capitol Hill during the 2016 NAO Conference; AHEC on the Hill: A Capitol Idea. The 2016 NAO Conference will be held June 27th- 30th, 2016 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel.

NAO is planning activities throughout the coming months to support the membership as you prepare to visit Washington, D.C. and tell your important story to your elected officials.

Please save the dates for the upcoming Countdown to the Capitol webinar series.

Friday, January 15, 2016         12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time

Friday, March 11, 2016          12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time

Friday, May 13, 2016              12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time

More information on each webinar will be shared in the near future.  The content for each topic in the series is designed to meet the membership needs and is based on results from NAO advocacy survey.  Each webinar will present a different Advocacy topic and will build upon the previous webinar.  This interactive robust webinar series will share proven strategies, provide tools, allow for dialog and time for questions.

The Countdown to the Capitol is brought to you by your NAO leadership, the NAO Conference Planning Committee and its Advocacy Subcommittee,  Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington, NAO Public Policy Committee and through the coordination and efforts of many, many others within NAO.

Stay tuned for more details and registration information and welcome aboard as we Countdown to the Capitol!

For more information, please contact your NAO Public Policy Co-Chairs:

Angela M. Boyer (Indiana AHEC Network)

Kristina Fjeld-Sparks (New Hampshire AHEC)


Check out this amazing slate of keynote speakers for the 2016 Conference.

  • Patti Dobrowolski – a visual goal setter – will kick off the conference by boosting our organizational genius. Patti captivates and inspires audiences, helping them tap into their innate creativity to identify compelling visions and craft bold plans. This TEDx speaker, critically acclaimed comic performer, writer and business consultant will provide an innovative visual keynote guaranteed to inspire employee and leadership creativity.

  • Dr. Damon Tweedy, author of the New York Times bestseller Black Man in a White Coat, will share with us his frontline look at race and medicine. This passionate and profound memoir grapples with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black Americans. It was one of TIME Magazine's Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2015, and USA Today described it as "A timely, thought-provoking examination of our heartbreaking health care system." Dr. Tweedy is a graduate of Duke Medical School and Yale Law School. He is assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham VA Medical Center.

  • Dr. Jonathan Oberlander, a national health policy expert from UNC Chapel Hill, will wrap up the conference by sharing his perspectives on health care politics and policy and health care reform. His work explores ongoing political fights over and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health care cost control, Medicare reform, and the fate of CHIP. He has been featured in articles and interviews in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the BBC, CBS News and PBS.

Look for registration information and highlights on additional speakers soon.


Traumatic Brain Injury Webinar

Do Head Injuries Cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Jan. 14, 2016; 1-2:30 p.m. (ET)

Contact sports have long been suspected of causing prolonged or permanent neurologic injury in some athletes; the 2005 findings of unusual brain pathology in a retired NFL football player magnified concern for this association. The brain pathology involved accumulation of the protein tau in masses called tangles or threads. To date, more than 150 cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have been confirmed by autopsy, with the vast majority being athletes in contact sports. Records show these individuals suffered a range of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and motor symptoms. In some cases, co-occurring neurological conditions were present that could also account for observed symptoms.

The distribution of accumulated tau masses, the criteria for diagnosis, and the clinical presentation of CTE remain controversial among researchers. At this time, there is no consensus regarding the clinical presentation of CTE that could enable diagnosis in living persons. There is no fluid or neuroimaging biomarker validated for diagnosis, although some imaging approaches show promise in their ability to differentiate different neurological conditions and normal aging. The literature on CTE is also limited by the strong influence of a few individual researchers, whose studies may be influenced by selection bias.

The webinar will address the current neuropathological diagnostic criterion for CTE and highlight recent findings that support or refute the association of CTE with multiple concussions.

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the brain pathology observed in CTE

  • Recognize the cognitive, behavioral, and neurological signs attributed to CTE

  • Understand the limitations of the current literature on CTE

  • Articulate what is proven or not proven regarding the association of multiple concussions and CTE

  • Discuss the potential risks of contact sports, such as football, and later development of CTE


Anne E. Bunner, Ph.D.
Program Analyst
Research Division Contract support to Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC)

Silver Spring, Maryland
Donald W. Marion, M.D.
Senior Clinical Consultant
Clinical Affairs Division
Contract support to DVBIC
Silver Spring, Maryland


Katherine M. Helmick, MS, CRNP, ANP-BC, CNRN
Deputy Director
Silver Spring, Maryland

Continuing Education

Continuing education credit is available from Professional Education Services Group (PESG).  You must register by 3 p.m. (ET) Jan. 14, 2016, to qualify for the receipt of continuing education credit.

The awarding of continuing education credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide psychological health and traumatic brain injury care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and their families.


Sign up for the webinar at Please note, registration is required for each webinar regardless if the participant has an existing PESG account.

Upon completion of registration, a confirmation email will be sent providing webinar event details.

Once registered, you may use Adobe Connect or Defense Collaboration Services to attend the webinar.

If you have questions or need assistance, please email the DCoE webinar team.

Military Health System Speaker Series
Continuing Education Opportunity

January 20, 2016 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (EST)

"The Knowledge to Save Lives and Move Medicine Forward…DHA the Force Behind HealthCare"

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physical therapists, medical coders, health care executives, social workers, pharmacists, case managers, psychologists, speech language professionals, counselors and other healthcare professionals who support/care for U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and/or their families.

Statement of Need/Program Overview

The 2016 Military Health System (MHS) Speaker Series is intended to drive performance higher by sharing knowledge and best practices across the MHS. Attendees will be able to apply the information learned during the speaker series to the work they do that relates to the military healthcare environment. The topics covered during this event support a joint, integrated, premier system of health, supporting those who serve in the defense of our country and the newly established DHA objectives.

The event will:

  • Educate MHS personnel on how their (individual) contributions help to successfully improve readiness, health, care, and management of costs.

  • Provide specific training and leverage peer networking with military, civilian and private sector experts so attendees can return to their workplace and apply the lessons learned.

Educational Objectives Nearby Nature Experiences for Human Health and Wellness

  • Access key research literature concerning nearby nature and human health and wellness.

  • Recognize the range of populations that are served by parks, gardens and city trees.

  • Identify the beneficial mechanisms nature-based facilities and programs have on mental wellness.

Obesity and Weight Management: The Role of Behavioral Health Providers in Primary Care

  • Understand the definition and classifications of overweight and obese.

  • Understand the rates and costs of obesity.

  • Identify interventions appropriate for use in the primary care setting.

Using Technology to Improve the Mental Health Literacy of Military Youth

  • Define mental health literacy and how it relates to military youth.

  • Apply the latest research of military youth behaviors as it pertains to mental health literacy and technology.

  • Integrate the use of web- and mobile-based applications resources into outreach and clinical settings.

Unit Needs Assessments

  • Identify informal and formal methods of obtaining information on unit needs.

  • Identify the differences and benefits between the various formal needs assessment tools.

  • Demonstrate the process for administering and scoring tools.

Program Agenda

0900 – 0910

Opening Remarks Lavonne Williams DHA Learning and Development Lolita T. O'Donnell, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N. (Moderator) Events Planning Chief, Operations Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

0910 – 1040

Nearby Nature Experiences for Human Health and Wellness Kathleen Wolf, Ph.D., M.L.A. Research Scientist College of Environment University of Washington (Seattle)

1040 – 1045


1045 – 1215

Obesity and Weight Management: The Role of Behavioral Health Providers in Primary Care Silvia DeGirolamo, Psy.D., M.H.A., M.A. Womack Army Medical Center Fort Bragg, North Carolina

1215 – 1315

Lunch Break

1315 – 1445

Using Technology to Improve the Mental Health Literacy of Military Youth Kelly A. Blasko, Ph.D., M.A. Counseling Psychologist, Mobile Web Program Lead National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

1445 - 1450


1450 - 1620

Unit Needs Assessment Deanna Beech, Ph.D., M.A. Child Psychologist Child and Family Behavioral Health Service Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center

1620 - 1630

Closing Remarks Lavonne Williams DHA Learning and Development Lolita T. O'Donnell, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N. (Moderator) Events Planning Chief, Operations Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

Continuing Education

Continuing education credit is available from Professional Education Services Group (PESG). You must register by 6 p.m. (EST) on January 20, 2016, to qualify for the receipt of continuing education credit.

The awarding of continuing education credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and their families.


To sign up for the MHS Speaker Series, click on this link: Sign Up Here

Upon completion of registration, a confirmation email will be sent providing event details.

If you have questions or need assistance, please click on this link to send an e-mail: Send Email

Other Information

Opioid Prescription Management Toolkits

Improving Opioid Prescribing: Sustainable Solutions for Vermont Practice Fast Track and Facilitator’s Toolkits

What are these toolkits and why were they created? These toolkits collect the best practice strategies for managing opioid prescriptions in primary care (and other) ambulatory settings. The strategies resulted from a two-year project (The Opioid Prescribing Quality Improvement Project, 2012-2014) to identify the most helpful methods used to create predictable and well-managed opioid prescribing patterns for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants and their patients.

What are some of the best practice strategies for managing opioid prescriptions?

New regulations about the prescribing of chronic opioids require the use of consent forms/treatment agreements and use of the prescription monitoring system. The standard of care supported by boards of medical practice across the country recommend, under certain circumstances, a variety of practice strategies to safely prescribe and monitor chronic opioid treatment. These strategies include assessing risk for misuse, use of pill counts and urine drug testing, best-practice documentation, standardizing prescribing intervals to minimize communication issues between the patient, office staff and prescriber, and others.

What are some of the results from the Opioid Prescribing two-year project?

All ten practices enrolled in the project reported positive results from the best practice strategies they chose to implement from the toolkit. The strategies helped prescribers standardize their approach and increase confidence in managing opioid prescriptions, helped practices change their support systems, and increased provider and staff satisfaction regarding the way opioid prescriptions are managed.

Who should read these too lkits and how are they different?

Fast Track Toolkit: This toolkit is intended for ambulatory care practices whose leaders, providers, and staff want to improve the process of managing opioid prescriptions for their chronic pain, non-palliative care patients. It is for practices with a team ready to make a quick start on a few of the 17 strategies and provides practical advice on getting started, how to adjust practice workflow, and how to implement changes. The toolkit includes an extensive appendix with policies, sample tools, and references. Facilitator Toolkit: This toolkit is intended for practices that have not yet made a decision to work on opioid prescription management and need to develop a rationale, leadership support, and team to work on this topic. It provides three stages of development: preparation, design (of workflow), and implementation. It provides detailed guidance on measurement, team facilitation, work flow analysis, and follow up. It is best used by facilitators, staff, or leaders interested in supporting a transformative change in opioid prescription management. It includes the same appendix as the Fast Track Toolkit, with additional materials to support facilitation.

Where can I find these toolkits?

These toolkits are posted on the UVM Office of Primary Care and AHEC Program website at

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Email Contact: Robert M. Trachtenberg, MS

National AHEC Organization
7044 S. 13th St.
Oak Creek, WI 53154