BARRETT STATION – Harris County Public Health and Commissioner Adrian Garcia are bringing health services to this historic community in East Harris County.
Residents will now have access to the new Health & Wellness Center at the Riley Chambers Community Center. The historic community, founded in 1889 by Harrison Barrett, a former slave, has more than 5,000 residents and has limited medical or preventative health services in the community. The closest ones are several miles away.
“Residents in Precinct 2 do not have quick access to these type of facilities. This year, I am making health care access a major priority. I want to improve access, increase resources, and investments to support our families who desperately need it,” said Commissioner Garcia.
Community leaders and residents thronged the Center’s grand opening Friday, January 10, at 10:30 a.m. inside the Precinct 2 Riley Chambers Community Center.
HARRISBURG – Scott Stephens of the Cody Stephens Foundation spoke to a rally and senators in the Pennsylvania capital this week. They voted to advance a heart screening bill to the full senate for adoption.
Scott Stephens said, “Today I speak in the Capitol of Pennsylvania on the same topic, on the same date I first testified in Austin in front of the UIL seven years ago. I remember the date well because 26 years ago on this date my son Cody was born. A very special date indeed, you just can’t make this stuff up. Thank you for traveling this journey with me as the second state begins the journey to heart healthy students thru ECG screenings. #gbogh #screenemall.”
With assistance from the Cody Stephens Foundation, the Rotary Club of Highlands presented Dr. Bernard Mulvaney, Athletic Director of GCCISD, with an ECG machine to be used for heart screenings at Goose Creek Memorial High School and Highlands Junior High. ECG’s are quick, painless, and are used as a tool to help catch otherwise undiagnosed heart issues in students. Sudden cardiac arrest is preventable, and the Rotary Club wanted to provide students with easier access to this life saving tool.
CROSBY – August 17, the Big Event for the Cody Stephens GBOGH Memorial Fund was a rousing success held at Southern Lace Estates for a night of big band, big auction and big celebration.
A catfish dinner started off a packed program beginning with recognizing this year’s youngsters saved from sudden death by the efforts of the foundation. Awards for those that contributed effort generally in the form of belt buckles.
It was especially a celebration of the passage of House Bill 76, the Cody Bill — also excitement at the passage of House Bill #3 for education — with special recognition of Representative Dan Huberty, R. 127, Rep. Briscoe Cain, R. 128, and State Senator Carol Alvarado, all instrumental in passing the bill that gives parents the right to choose a heart screening for their students.
Cody Stephens, Scott Stephens son, died in 2012 from sudden death. In the last legislative session, the Cody Bill was signed into law by the governor.
The band Modulation, brought back memories, playing larger band sounds, including those from the 70’s band Chicago. Before the event, the goal was to raise about $275,000, but the event went all the way to “a smidgen under $300,000,” according to Scott Stephens.
“The event set wonderful records. The live auction brought in near $85,000 for 43 items. The silent auction brought in over $12,000. These resources will help us screen young hearts all over Texas and place ECG modules throughout Texas where they are needed.”
Sudden death is the #1 killer of student athletes, about 1 in 300 youths have an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk. The standard physical exam/history misses 96% of the youth at risk. Thanks to the generous donors supporting the mission, Cody Stephens Foundation can offer funding for first year screening. Thus far the foundation has screened more than 130,000 people and at least 100 young lives are referred to more extensive care to avoid sudden death. The ECGs are read by board certified Cardiologists.
C.E. KING – Last Saturday, the Go Big Or Go Home Cody Stephens Foundation scanned the hearts of over 250 kids with the help of C.E. King staff and faculty, North Shore Rotary, San Jacinto Pilot Club, and the North Shore Anchor Club volunteers.
ReACT in a Heartbeat, a Baytown Non-Profit that teaches life saving C.P.R. instructed some 200 students how to perform Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation at the same venue. These were not certification classes but exposure classes and man of the students went from having their hearts tested to learning to save someone else’s life.
“We always try to teach C.P.R. training at our screenings we don’t usually do it at school screenings because kids are supposed to get C.P.R. certification from their school but anytime we have a community screening we try to team up with someone group and teach the basics.
Now Stephens says, “We are going to try to help put EKG machines in schools so that athletic teams can check out their own members.”
The Stephens fight to save young lives for the last seven years as Scott’s family has attempted to impress upon the Texas Legislature that young athletes dying of sudden death can hopefully be avoided with early detection by the new E.K.G machines that have not only gone from being the size of an ambulance to the size of a paperback book and ranged in ability from being only able to tell if someone was having a heart attack to being able to read rhythms and irregularities. It began with a personal note for Scott, his son Cody died in May of 2012 from sudden death. His last words to his father were “Go big or go home.”
Seven years ago, Crosby student Cody Stephens died unexpectedly from a heart condition. He was at home, resting, and never woke up. After recovering from the shock of losing their strong athletic son, his parents Scott and Melanie decided they would work to keep this from happening to other families.
Their action took two directions. One was to start a foundation to pay for any student who wanted a heart screen to be able to get one, and the other action was to take their campaign for student athletes to receive heart screening to the Texas Legislature.
Scott knew that the problem was widespread, and needed the attention and support of school administrators and state legislators throughout the state. But since 2012, he has had a bill before the legislature three times, and it was only this year that he got it passed. He credits Dan Huberty and Carol Alvarado with aid in getting it passed.
He related to the Highlands Rotary Club the saga of his attempts, last week at a member’s luncheon.
The Cody Bill, or House Bill 76, that provides an opt-in opportunity for parents to have their children screened with an EKG before participating in competitive activities, passed the Texas Senate on May 20 by a vote of 20-11 after clearing the House overwhelmingly.
The bill goes back to the House for an amendment before going on to the Governor who can sign it or do nothing after 15 days and the bill become law. The bill probably comes into effect in 2020.
CROSBY – House Bill 76 has been dubbed by Dan Huberty, “expected to be voted favorably out of the Education Committee this week.”
Once in the Senate, although backed by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, is another world of politics.
The Cody Stephens bill is now in a form that fits agencies like the U.I.L. and other organizations in that parents and first time athletes will receive a letter informing them that in addition to the doctor listening to the athletes’ heart with a stethoscope a modern E.K.G. machine evaluation can also be obtained for $15 or $20.
The compromise is that it offers parents and students to opt in for the E.K.G. from information provided to them.
Several groups have formed throughout the nation in favor of adding the new technology to read the multitude of problems that can be present in the heart even though the youngster shows no outward signs of having a heart problem.
These groups generally have had loss experiences like Scott Stephens of Crosby. Scott’s son Cody died on May 6, 2012, a few weeks from graduating from Crosby High School. He was excited to be headed to Tarleton State University on a football scholarship, and working to stay in good physical condition to be prepared for college football practices.
At 6’9″ and weighing 289 lbs, he seemed to be in perfect health, with no indication he had a fatal heart problem. On that Sunday afternoon, Cody kicked back in his dad’s recliner, said he was tired and dozed off for a nap. He never woke up but died in his sleep, from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. His family had never heard of SCA and had no idea that young, seemingly healthy children were at risk with relatively few or no warning signs. The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Memorial Foundation was founded in memory of Cody. Before he died, Cody was talking to his father about his goals to play football in a big way in college and beyond. Cody told Scott, “Go big or go home, Dad.”
After Cody died, his family took Cody’s motto and turned it into an effort to screen young hearts to prevent another family from experiencing the same tragedy.
NEW YORK CITY – At a special awards gala on September 6th in the center of Manhattan, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice gave out three awards for outstanding work to save the environment.
One of these awards was presented to Houston’s Jackie Young, Director of the TxHEA or Texas Health and Environment Alliance.
The award was presented by Lois Gibbs, who is famous for exposing the hazardous conditions at the Love Canal. Also present was actress and film director Patricia Arquette, who is making a movie about New York. The ceremony was called “Champions for Change” and honored ongoing work with communities at risk from environmental harms.
Other recipients of the award were Dr. Beverly Paigen, a community scientist who documented health impacts at Love Canal, and PUSH BUFFALO, or People United for Sustainable Housing, Buffalo, New York. They worked on affordable housing, equitable jobs and ecological sustainability for the West Side of Buffalo.
After Hurricane Harvey, Oregon State University’s Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology send a research team to Houston, to ascertain the threat to human health from exposure to toxins in the water, soil and air. They worked with Texas A&M, and THEA to gather the results.
Data was collected by using passive wristband samplers to determine personal chemical exposure after the flooding.
These wristbands can measure up to 1,530 different chemicals. 41 Superfund sites in Houston were affected by the hurricane, and 13 of these were flooded.
Although the study was conducted throughout the Houston area, a subset of 32 people were recruited from the Highlands area, and of these 27 returned their wristbands and had them analyzed.
Researchers looked for 1,530 chemicals found in several different chemical classes. Some chemicals are included in more than one class. For example, triclosan is found in both personal care products and is considered a pesticide. On average, each person had 28 chemicals in their wristband.
They measured chemicals at the nanogram level, which is a very small amount. However, they are still learning how much of a chemical is needed to cause a negative health effect.
Of the Highlands sample group, 119 chemicals were found across all 27 wristbands. 1411 chemicals were not detected.