National Immunization Awareness Month

Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health. Diseases can quickly spread among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school – or even a college freshman – parents should check their child’s vaccination records.


Child care facilities, preschool programs, schools and colleges are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs, and other factors such as interacting in crowded environments.


When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.


Additionally, states may require children who are entering child care or school to be vaccinated against certain diseases. Colleges and universities may have their own requirements, especially for students living in residence halls. Parents should check with their child’s doctor, school or the local health department to learn about the requirements in their state or county.

It’s World Hepatitis Day

Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year – that’s as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Together, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.


Viral hepatitis is not found in one location nor amongst one set of people; It is a truly global epidemic that can affect millions of people without them even being aware. Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status. This can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.


With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable, but greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is a must, as is access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment.


Read the article and know why baby boomers should get tested for Hepatitis C?

Every Community Has Opportunity. ECHO me!

Donate Life ECHO is a national two-week outreach campaign, held each year during the second and third full weeks in July and focused on the importance of donation and transplantation in multicultural communities. ECHO stands for Every Community Has Opportunity – the opportunity to save and heal lives.


Get involved by registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor and spreading the word of organ, eye, and tissue with the members of your personal networks and extended communities.

Visit Donate Life America for more information.

Protecting Your Eyes – UV Safety Month

UV rays can also penetrate the structures of your eyes and cause cell damage. According to the CDC, some of the more common sun-related vision problems include cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium (non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva that can obstruct vision).


Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your vision, wear a wide-brimmed hat that keeps your face and eyes shaded from the sun at most angles.


Wear wrap-around style sunglass with 99 or higher UV block Effective sunglasses should block glare, block 99 to 100% of UV rays, and have a wraparound shape to protect eyes from most angles.


Contact OPTIMUS to find out what services and supports are available in your community. 

Tickets for the 2017 CT Chef’s Challenge are Now On Sale


Enjoy an evening of culinary delights, while CT’s top chefs compete for the 2017 championship title!

Tickets are now on sale for the 7th Annual Connecticut Chef’s Challenge!

Taking place on September 14, 2017, from 5:30PM–9:00PM. This year the event will be held at an amazing new venue – Aitoro’s Appliance and Electronics in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Discounted “Early Bird” tickets are available until August 18, 2017.


For more information about the event, please visit –

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the OPTIMUS Foundation, which serves the health care needs of the under-served communities in Southwestern Connecticut. Optimus believes that a healthy community leads to an improved quality of life for all of us who work, live and play in our community.

Know the Warning Signs – July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

– Excessive worrying or fear
– Feeling excessively sad or low
– Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
– Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
– Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
– Avoiding friends and social activities
– Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
– Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
– Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
– Changes in sex drive
– Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
– Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
– Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
– Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
– Thinking about suicide
– Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
– An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

– Changes in school performance
– Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
– Hyperactive behavior
– Frequent nightmares
– Frequent disobedience or aggression
– Frequent temper tantrums

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step.

Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor or state/country mental health authority for more resources.

Contact OPTIMUS to find out what services and supports are available in your community.

Wear Blue and Support! Men’s Health Month

June is all about the fellas because it’s Men’s Health Month. See these tips of easy things you can do during the month to help raise awareness about men’s health issues like prostate & testicular health and general well-being. 

Show Us Your Blue and spread the message of Men’s Health Month! Wear and share pictures of things that are blue, and tell the men in your life how to be healthy and happy. 

Visit OPTIMUS and know how we can help you TODAY!

Hosted System Helps Healthcare Organization Expand & Centralize

Optimus Health Care is a tax-exempt organization operating in southwestern Connecticut. Its mission is to serve as the patient-centered medical home for the surrounding communities to achieve and maintain a positive state of wellness, particularly for the uninsured and underinsured. As the largest primary care provider in the area, Optimus operates Bridgeport’s largest Ryan White HIV/AIDS program; the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program; and provides primary care for families in Bridgeport, Stamford, Stratford, Milford and the surrounding communities.

The organization had been relying on a security provider that had an in-house server. The combination of a lack of storage capacity, non-user-friendly system, and the inability to centralize their information led Optimus to see what other solutions were available in the market. At the time, Optimus was planning to grow its presence throughout the state and had a desire to have information/technical operations centralized.

Ultimately they decided they needed to upgrade their security and started looking for better options. “Optimus has always put the security of our health center sites first,” said Tom Hill, chief operations officer. “Our goal is to maintain a safe environment to serve our patients. To that end, we were seeking a strategic partner that would support our goal and our mission.”

Optimus was committed to looking for a local business to become a true partner in security. Beacon Protection had a local office and provided detailed information on the high- tech equipment available.

“We found Beacon pricing to be competitive and having shown high levels of responsiveness to our needs, Beacon was an easy choice,” Hill said. “Beacon [is] not merely a vendor. Beacon is committed to delivering service and supporting our efforts to raise funds to offset costs associated with caring for the underserved populations within the southwestern Connecticut communities.”

Another contributing factor that lead Optimus to ultimately choose Beacon Protection as its new provider was their ability to offer mass evacuation and lockdown services. A growing concern — not only for Optimus, but for many other health providers — is the ability to combat a threat that could harm both workers and patients inside the facilities. A terrorist attack, gang-related event, or hazardous contamination situation are just a few examples in which the facilities would need to implement a lockdown or evacuation plan.

To decide which solution would be best for Optimus Health’s operational obstacles, Beacon met with the management team at Optimus Health to evaluate their objectives. One of the biggest challenges a multi-locational organization has is centralizing information, as well as the ease of access to that information.

“When we met with Optimus Health, we immediately saw an opportunity to introduce Brivo’s [hosted] product and recognized the positive effects it would have on their overall business operations,” said Adam Wilder, managing partner, Beacon Protection, Totowa, N.J. “Brivo is able to provide a system that functions properly across all premises while having a centralized hub where all functions can be controlled.”

With the data from the access control system, Optimus Health can improve operations with targeted training and feedback. All of their facilities contain highly valuable equipment and reports that are properly secured via Brivo Access control. Additionally, the cloud-based system allows management to select which employees can gain access into various restricted areas. Brivo’s user-friendly system and customer-facing platform, allowed for an easy recommendation for Optimus Health.

One major challenge Optimus had with the previous system was usability. For the new Brivo system, Beacon Protection conducted extensive on-site training to all administrative staff and technical personnel as well as providing 24/7 professional support. Additionally, the Brivo solution provided Optimus with unlimited storage capacity linked. As Optimus has grown and expanded into new locations, this has been vital to the development of their services throughout the state.

Optimus Health is currently providing services in 13 facilities covering nearly a 60-mile radius. Beacon Protection was responsible for installing 45 doors readers, and controlling all of the points of access in all of these locations. In addition, Beacon Protection was responsible for the distribution of approximately 1,000 access cards, all of which needed to be properly programmed into the newly installed Brivo system. Brivo’s advanced technology allowed for a seamless integration as well as creating a centralized hub of information for Optimus’s chief security team, Wilder said.

“One of the major challenges we needed to address when installing the system was making sure our installation team did not cause any disturbances to their daily medical operations,” Wilder added. “Areas we were accessing had sensitive information and we had to be sure to adhere to medical privacy laws.”

The resulting system and change in providers has had the desired effect, Hill added. “We needed a change in vendor services and realized the equipment we had needed a technology upgrade. Beacon has made tech improvements that are affordable and innovative for the security of the Optimus Health Center sites.”


Risky Business – May Is National Mental Health Month

Since 1949, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings.

It’s important to educate people about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. These include risk factors such as risky sex, prescription drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending or gambling, marijuana use, and troublesome exercise patterns.

Visit OPTIMUS Behavioral Health Department where you will find useful tools and resources about mental health. OPTIMUS is here to help you.

May Is High Blood Pressure Education Month!

High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. The focus of this observance is to increase awareness about the prevention and treatment of this life-threatening condition.


It is possible to have high blood pressure and not know it. That is why it is called the silent killer. It is also why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked. If you know family or friends who haven’t had their blood pressure checked recently, make it a point to ask them to do it during National High Blood Pressure Education Month in May.


Please see below to get more information about how to manage hypertension. Make an appointment with OPTIMUS Primary Care Physician to know your numbers and prevent hypertension by lowering your blood pressure.

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