PROVIDENCE – R.I. Department of Health Director Michael Fine detailed his agency’s public-health priorities and prevention strategies for 2012 in a presentation on Feb. 6 before the Rhode Island Public Health Study Commission.
Dr. Fine framed his discussion of goals and priorities within the context of the National Prevention Strategy Priorities, which include tobacco-free living, preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use, healthy eating, active living, injury and violence-free living, reproductive and sexual health, and mental and emotional well-being.
In Rhode Island, the strategies and focus indicators were potential years of life lost, days of lost work, days of lost school and social capital.
The No. 1 public-health goal in Rhode Island is “to eliminate prescription-drug overdose deaths” from prescription opioids. Rhode Island is one of 16 states in which death from accidental overdose is more prevalent that death from car accidents.
The No. 2 public-health goal is to eliminate native HIV transmission in five years, through a strategy of opt-out testing in primary-care settings. In 2010, there were about 100 new cases diagnosed.
The No. 3 goal is to reduce sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
The No. 4 goal is to eliminate colon cancer through increased annual screenings. •