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Black J.L.,University of British Columbia | Velazquez C.E.,University of British Columbia | Ahmadi N.,University of British Columbia | Chapman G.E.,University of British Columbia | And 5 more authors.
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2014

Objective To describe the development and application of the School Food Environment Assessment Tools and a novel scoring system to assess the integration of healthy and environmentally sustainable food initiatives in elementary and secondary schools. Design The cross-sectional study included direct observations of physical food environments and interviews with key school personnel regarding food-related programmes and policies. A five-point scoring system was then developed to assess actions across six domains: (i) food gardens; (ii) composting systems; (iii) food preparation activities; (iv) food-related teaching and learning activities; and availability of (v) healthy food; and (vi) environmentally sustainable food. Setting Vancouver, Canada. Subjects A purposive sample of public schools (n 33) from all six sectors of the Vancouver Board of Education. Results Schools scored highest in the areas of food garden and compost system development and use. Regular integration of food-related teaching and learning activities and hands-on food preparation experiences were also commonly reported. Most schools demonstrated rudimentary efforts to make healthy and environmentally sustainable food choices available, but in general scored lowest on these two domains. Moreover, no schools reported widespread initiatives fully supporting availability or integration of healthy or environmentally sustainable foods across campus. Conclusions More work is needed in all areas to fully integrate programmes and policies that support healthy, environmentally sustainable food systems in Vancouver schools. The assessment tools and proposed indicators offer a practical approach for researchers, policy makers and school stakeholders to assess school food system environments, identify priority areas for intervention and track relevant changes over time. © 2015 The Authors.

Taylor M.,British Columbia Center for Disease Control | Leslie M.,British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture | Ritson M.,Vancouver Coastal Health Authority | Stone J.,Fraser Health Authority | And 5 more authors.
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2012

An increase in the rate of human infections with Salmonella enteritidis (SE) occurred between 2007 and 2010 in British Columbia (BC). During the same time period, an increase in SE from poultry-sourced isolates and increased clinical severity in poultry were also observed in BC. This article describes a multi-sectoral collaboration during a 3-year investigation, and the actions taken by public health and animal health professionals. Human cases were interviewed, clusters were investigated, and a case-control study was conducted. Environmental investigations were conducted in food service establishments (FSE). Suspect foods were tested. Laboratory data from poultry-sourced isolates were analysed. Five hundred and eighty-four human cases of SE with the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern were identified between May 2008 and August 2010. Seventy-three percentage of cases reported consumption of eggs. The odds of egg consumption were 2.4 times higher for cases than controls. Implicated FSE were found to use ungraded eggs, which had been distributed illegally. Investigation suggested that there were multiple suppliers of these eggs. Collaboration between public health and animal health professionals led to data sharing, improved understanding of SE, engagement with the poultry industry and public communication. Multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral and multi-pronged investigations are recommended to identify the likely source of illness in large, protracted foodborne outbreaks caused by commonly consumed foods. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Uribe C.F.,University of British Columbia | Esquinas P.L.,University of British Columbia | Gonzalez M.,Vancouver Coastal Health Authority | Celler A.,University of British Columbia
Physica Medica | Year: 2016

Purpose: Beta particles emitted by radioisotopes used in targeted radionuclide therapies (TRT) create Bremsstrahlung (BRS) which may affect SPECT quantification when imaging these isotopes. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the characteristics of Bremsstrahlung produced in tissue by three β-emitting radioisotopes used in TRT. Methods: Monte Carlo simulations of 177Lu, 188Re, and 90Y sources placed in water filled cylinders were performed. BRS yields, mean energies and energy spectra for (a) all photons generated in the decays, (b) photons that were not absorbed and leave the cylinder, and (c) photons detected by the camera were analyzed. Next, the results of simulations were compared with those from experiments performed on a clinical SPECT camera using same acquisition conditions and phantom configurations as in simulations. Results: Simulations reproduced relatively well the shapes of the measured spectra, except for 90Y which showed an overestimation in the low energy range. Detailed analysis of the results allowed us to suggest best collimators and imaging conditions for each of the investigated isotopes. Finally, our simulations confirmed that the BRS contribution to the energy spectra in quantitative imaging of 177Lu and 188Re could be ignored. Conclusions: For 177Lu and 188Re, BRS contributes only marginally to the total spectra recorded by the camera. Our analysis shows that MELP and HE collimators are the best for imaging these two isotopes. For 90Y, HE collimator should be used. © 2016 Associazione Italiana di Fisica Medica.

McIntyre L.,Center for Disease Control | Vallaster L.,Vancouver Coastal Health Authority | Wilcott L.,Center for Disease Control | Henderson S.B.,Center for Disease Control | Kosatsky T.,Center for Disease Control
Food Control | Year: 2013

The purpose of this study was to examine food safety knowledge of trained food handlers certified under the FOODSAFE training program in British Columbia, Canada and to evaluate food safety knowledge, attitudes and self-reported hand washing practices in trained and untrained food handler groups. Data gathered in a telephone survey demonstrated knowledge scores significantly decreased in FOODSAFE trained workers over a 15 year period post-certification. Knowledge scores were significantly higher in trained compared with untrained food handlers. No differences were noted between groups based on sex. Supervisory status and years of experience resulted in improved knowledge scores in both trained and untrained groups, but increasing age was important for improved knowledge in only the untrained group. Food handlers' place of employment and level of education were also associated with significantly improved knowledge scores. FOODSAFE trained food handlers' reported significantly better hand washing practices and attitudes compared with the untrained food handler group. These results support a requirement for recertification of trained food handlers and demonstrate a need for education of untrained food handlers with a food safety training program such as FOODSAFE. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Montaner J.S.,British Columbia Center for Excellence in | Montaner J.S.,University of British Columbia | Montaner J.S.,University of California at San Diego | Lima V.D.,British Columbia Center for Excellence in | And 15 more authors.
The Lancet | Year: 2010

Results of cohort studies and mathematical models have suggested that increased coverage with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) could reduce HIV transmission. We aimed to estimate the association between plasma HIV-1 viral load, HAART coverage, and number of new cases of HIV in the population of a Canadian province. We undertook a population-based study of HAART coverage and HIV transmission in British Columbia, Canada. Data for number of HIV tests done and new HIV diagnoses were obtained from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. Data for viral load, CD4 cell count, and HAART use were extracted from the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS population-based registries. We modelled trends of new HIV-positive tests and number of individuals on HAART using generalised additive models. Poisson log-linear regression models were used to estimate the association between new HIV diagnoses and viral load, year, and number of individuals on HAART. Between 1996 and 2009, the number of individuals actively receiving HAART increased from 837 to 5413 (547 increase; p=0·002), and the number of new HIV diagnoses fell from 702 to 338 per year (52 decrease; p=0·001). The overall correlation between number of individuals on HAART and number of individuals newly testing positive for HIV per year was -0·89 (p<0·0001). For every 100 additional individuals on HAART, the number of new HIV cases decreased by a factor of 0·97 (95 CI 0·96-0·98), and per 1 log10 decrease in viral load, the number of new HIV cases decreased by a factor of 0·86 (0·75-0·98). We have shown a strong population-level association between increasing HAART coverage, decreased viral load, and decreased number of new HIV diagnoses per year. Our results support the proposed secondary benefit of HAART used within existing medical guidelines to reduce HIV transmission. Ministry of Health Services and Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, Province of British Columbia; US National Institute on Drug Abuse; US National Institutes of Health; Canadian Institutes of Health Research. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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