January 1, 2019

New Year, New Perspectives

The final comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes speaks to the understated genius of author Bill Watterson. Calvin and the tiger Hobbes are walking in a waist-deep field of snow discussing how “the world looks brand new…like having a big sheet of white paper to draw on.” Calvin turns to Hobbes and says “It’s a…

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December 1, 2018

Behavioral Health, Equity, and Opioid Prescribing: Looking Back at 2018

Our average life expectancy in America has declined again, as it has done for the past few years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released data showing that this trend is largely driven by increases in deaths by suicide and drug overdose. These two areas have been key parts of our work over…

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November 2, 2018

Dear Daughter: Building a Healthier Future for You

I spent the last three months on maternity leave getting to know my daughter. She came into the world like most babies, unwillingly leaving behind a nicer, easier place for the cold and the bright of a hospital room. I can’t say that my first thoughts were of how the health policies we create now…

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October 1, 2018

Supporting People with Chronic Pain Through Collaborative Care

Since early this year, the Bree Collaborative has been looking at ways to best organize care to support people with chronic pain. One of the systems with the best evidence is through collaborative care. Collaborative care is based in primary care and uses a team-based care model with a care coordination or care management function,…

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September 1, 2018

Born in the USA: A hard look at how we care for moms and babies

Being born in the United States is risky – for both mom and baby. More than 50,000 mothers have life-threatening complications every year. Birth outcomes for both mom and baby depend on where you live but also on race. It should not be the case that black mothers are three to four times more likely…

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August 1, 2018

Taking Action to Address Increasing Suicide Rates in Washington State

Suicide rates have increased in almost all 50 states and in all regions of Washington State. The health care community in Washington State has been concerned about the too-high suicide rates for years. Suicide is a preventable outcome, and our community is working to address this public health imperative through our Suicide Care workgroup. The…

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July 1, 2018

Wear Sunscreen

Sun protection has always been big in my family. We tend to burn instead of tan and are prone to skin cancer. Knowing this about myself has made me more vigilant. This was my first lesson in the fallibility of the human body and in my taking charge of my own health. Summer is often…

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June 1, 2018

Choosing Our Direction for 2019

Every year we have the chance to step back, look at our work, and choose our topics for the next year. We would also love to hear input from our community about our new direction. Typically we follow a two-step process, having a wide-ranging discussion at the end of which we narrow down our choices….

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May 1, 2018

Expanding Our Opioid Prescribing Recommendations

Many groups across the country are working to reduce overprescribing of opioids. Our new area of work is to add to the 2015 AMDG Interagency Guideline on Prescribing Opioids for Pain, endorsed by the Bree Collaborative in July 2015, on how many opioids should be prescribed after a patient has surgery. We have seen a…

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April 13, 2018

Conferences, Conferences, Conferences: Our Community At Work

Like many of you I spend many of my working hours in my office or in meetings – so I look forward to the opportunity to meet with and learn from people across the health care spectrum at conferences and other community events. Here is what is happening around Washington state in the next couple…

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