Ballots are in the mail for Nov. 7 election

Engaged voters are fundamental to a healthy community and a healthy democracy.

If you’re registered to vote, watch for a ballot coming soon to your mailbox for Nov. 7’s consolidated election.

Depending on where you live, you’ll have a say in:

  • ward races for the Tucson City Council
  • ballot propositions that would raise the salary of Tucson’s mayor and council as well as to increase the sales tax to fund zoo improvements and early childhood education
  • bond or override elections in several school districts, including the Tucson, Sunnyside, Flowing Wells and Marana unified school districts
  • funding and other issues in several fire districts

Oro Valley, where voters will decide on a park improvements package, will have polling sites open on Election Day, but the other jurisdictions are holding mail elections.

Please mail your ballot by Thursday, Nov. 2 to ensure your ballot is ready for counting on Election Day.

You may also track the status of your Vote-by-Mail ballot online. Simply visit: and click on “Early Ballot Status” to ensure your ballot was received and processed.

For more information, please direct questions to the Pima County Recorder’s Office at (520)724-4330

Safe Kids Pima County – keeping kids safe through education and advocacy

Safe Kids Pima County LogoPlenty of us have practice patching up the skinned knees and elbows of active children in our lives.

Unfortunately, though, accidents are too often far more serious than bumps and scrapes. In fact, accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 0 to 19 – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The good news about this chilling statistic is that we have the power to change it. “Childhood accidents can (often? always? Almost always) be prevented – a few easy steps for children and adults can help keep kids safe,” said Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County coordinator.

Safe Kids Pima County is a network of organizations focused on preventing accidental, childhood injury by educating adults and children, creating safe environments, conducting research, and advocating for effective laws.

Mitchell is a part of TMC’s participation in the Safe Kids initiative, working with community partners to actively engage adults in taking action for stronger child safety. From providing free bike helmets and pool safety to education workshops and school presentations, Mitchell coordinates a full schedule of activities to facilitate child safety awareness.

Jessica MitchellRecently, Mitchell spent a week at Frances Owen Holaway Elementary School, educating each PE class on the merits of bike safety.

“We explain to the kids ‘the brain can’t fix itself’ and make sure every student has a helmet and how to put it on correctly,” Mitchell explained. “The kids also learn the proper hand signals, where it’s safe to ride and how to avoid taking dangerous risks.”

Many child accidents involve bike riding. Over the past three years, Safe Kids Pima County has provided more than 8,000 free bike helmets to children in our community.

Safe Kids Pima County provides information and resources to help keep kids safe. Going forward, look for Mitchell’s monthly blog posts on helping keep kids safe, happy and healthy.

For further information about Safe Kids Pima County, please email or call (520) 324-2783. If you are holding a community event and would like Safe Kids Pima County to attend or participate, click here.

TMC celebrates the economic impact of hospitals in building healthy communities, healthy economy

Hospital WeekWhat does $740 million in total economic impact look like?

It comes in the form of:

  • Salaries for 5,800 jobs
  • Vast deliveries of office supplies and medical equipment
  • Nutritious ingredients for 3,200 meals served each and every day
  • Technological innovation and capital investment

In short, it looks like Tucson Medical Center – the area’s sixth largest private employer – and its total annual economic impact, most of which occurs at home in Pima County.

Hospitals play a strong role in improving the physical health of a community, from caring for people in emergencies, performing healing surgeries and welcoming babies into the world.

Hospital Week 2Beyond that important work, National Hospital Week, starting May 7, is an appropriate time to celebrate the economic contribution hospitals make. The sector is the largest employer industry in the state, making up 13 percent of Arizona jobs and contributing $22 billion in direct economic impact.

Last year, TMC invested $58 million back into the community, in the form of providing charity care, engaging the community in wellness and helping to fund Medicaid expansion. In fact, nearly 80,000 people were touched by TMC outreach and education programs in 2016, spread across 751 events.

“As one of this region’s largest employers, and as Tucson’s locally-governed nonprofit community hospital, TMC is proud to play an active role in supporting our local economy and helping improve the community’s health and wellness,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of community benefit.

Indoor sports facility a tremendous boon for youth sports

130717 Sporting Chance Center-p1Kathunk. Kathunk. Thwop thwop thwop. Bonk.


It’s mid-day through a typical weekday and the Sporting Chance Center is filled with the sound of basketballs bouncing off rims, sneakers pounding across wood floors, volleyballs ricocheting off outstretched forearms, teammates cheering each other on.

No one cared about the triple digits outside.

Sporting Chance, with 40,000 square feet of air-conditioned space for basketball, volleyball and some other team sports, opened a year ago in July as a result of a private-public partnership between Tucson Medical Center, Southern Arizona Community Sports and Pima County, as well as the Tucson Conquistadores.

The Center, a hub for tournaments, leagues, camps and clinics, is one of the few places where youngsters can engage in informal play to escape the heat and get some exercise. During the summer, the Center provides an average of 25 hours a week of open play basketball for youngsters ages 12 and older, as well as young adults.

Depending on how the courts are configured, the facility can accommodate five basketball courts or 8 volleyball courts simultaneously.

“In the first 12 months, we’ve more than surpassed our expectations in terms of how much the community is using the facility,” said Operations Manager Tom Carle, noting the facility is currently attracting an average of 20,000 visitors a month, including athletes and spectators. The vast majority of the users are young athletes from club teams, middle schools, high schools and Pima Community College.

With the nonprofit partners sharing in the cost of building the $6 million facility, Pima County donated the land and importantly, subsidizes utilities and handles the major maintenance of the facility. That ongoing assistance allows the facility to keep open play costs to a low $1 for minors and $2 for adults, and to keep court rentals to $25 to $60 an hour, Carle said.

“This was a great example of community partners working together to address a need, but what makes this building a success is the ongoing partnership with Pima County,” Carle said.

The facility is full September through April, and at about 70 percent occupancy in the summer months, Carle said. The site had 1,500 unique individuals participate in open play in less than a year.

“Seeing how much the community is using the facility just shows that there was a real need for this kind of facility for competitive indoor sports,” Carle said.

Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson said the usage the facility is seeing is impressive, particularly since a significant number of patrons are coming from underserved areas with fewer amenities. “Too many people in our community are struggling with chronic diseases, but with the right focus, it is a winnable battle to reverse some of these longstanding challenges.”

Julia Strange, the vice president of Community Benefit for Tucson Medical Center, said the facility fits with the hospital’s mission of enhancing the overall health of the community, particularly since the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment found rates of access to recreational facilities are far below national benchmarks.

“An active lifestyle is an important part of community health, but access can be difficult, particularly in the summer heat,” Strange said. “We were thrilled to be able to help provide an opportunity for young people and adults to get out there and play in a safe environment.”

For more information, please visit

Photo courtesy of Pima County.

TMC, Pima County join forces to attract federal funds

Pima County and Tucson Medical Center are working together to bring federal support for local health care initiatives.  The Arizona Daily Star prepared a health care blog on the subject:

The following news release was issued by Pima County Administration Monday, Aug. 20:

Pima County Joins With TMC to Attract More Federal Funds to the Community

The Pima County Board of Supervisors Monday unanimously supported a partnership with Tucson Medical Center that has the potential to infuse as much as $11 million in new federal healthcare funds into the local economy.

The initiative not only meshes with Pima County’s goal of reinforcing community health and wellness, but will help support Southern Arizona’s largest community hospital and a key driver of the local economy.

It is also part of a broader goal to enhance economic development opportunities, since access to healthcare is critical for business expansion and relocation.

TMC is eligible to draw down as much as $8.5 million in federal funding for ongoing physician training activities. The hospital trains an average of 50 physicians annually in internal medicine and general surgery through programs affiliated with the University of Arizona.

TMC also is eligible to secure federal funds set aside to help hospitals that provide a disproportionate share of indigent care. TMC wrote off $40 million in charity care and bad debt charges in 2011, with that number expected to climb to $70 million in 2012.

Because both of these new opportunities require a local match partner, Pima County’s $5.4 million investment ensures a 2-for-1 match will come back to the region to help build a healthy, sustainable community.

Discussions are under way with TMC to come up with creative strategies to ensure the budget is made whole and that the County will be better positioned to meet mandates for medical and behavioral health services.

“In this time of increasingly limited resources, it only makes sense to bring as many community partners to the table as possible to meet the needs of local residents,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “TMC shares Pima County’s commitment to ensuring that those who need care receive it, while also ensuring a robust healthcare workforce.”

Tucson Medical Center likewise looks forward to the collaboration.

“We applaud Pima County’s commitment to create a sustainable hospital and medical community for our Southern Arizona communities,” said Judy Rich, president and chief executive officer, Tucson Medical Center. “This investment will help us continue to address the critical physician shortage and access to care issues facing our community.”


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461