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The Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation held its quarterly meeting for the Certificate Holders of Flagstaff Medical Center advisory group April 16 at the FMC McGee Auditorium. Joining them were speakers including university researchers and medical staff.

Professor and researcher Julie Baldwin, PhD, founding director of the Northern Arizona University Center for Health Equity Research, presented significant findings from a regional health equity study commissioned by the Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation and The NARBHA (Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority) Institute. Of specific interest were the 15 leading causes of mortality in northern Arizona, and the fact that deaths from accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, intentional self-harm/suicide, and chronic liver disease in the region significantly exceed the national and state averages. Suicide and self-inflicted injury rates were also highest among people ages 13-28 across the region.

Other meeting presenters included Kim Alexander, interim director and Todd Parker, clinical manager of the Behavioral Health Services department at Northern Arizona Healthcare. Their presentation addressed behavioral health trends in northern Arizona and included opioid use disorders, alcohol use disorders and suicide. Of particular interest was the fact that suicide in Arizona is the leading cause of death for ages 10-14, the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34 and the third leading cause of death for ages 35-44.

According to Rick Smith, president and CEO of the Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation, “We are working in collaboration with The NARBHA Institute and NAU to address several issues including adolescent mental health, and the Certificate Holders advisory group is one important channel for two-way communication with the Flagstaff community about these issues and related developments.”

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