Archive for April, 2010

National Infant Immunization Week

April 24 to May 1 is National Infant Immunization Week. The Centers for Disease Control has a website page devoted to the promotion of this week, as well as useful information on events and activities.

Outstanding progress has been made in immunization rates for children younger than two years old. Immunization coverage rates in the United States for vaccines routinely recommended for infants and young children remain at or near record highs. For example, rates for measles, rubella, and three doses of Hib and Hep B are greater than 90 percent. However, there is still much work to be done.

Over one million children in the United States are not adequately immunized and each day nearly 12,000 children are born and each in need of protection from diseases. Thousands of lives are in jeopardy from vaccine-preventable diseases, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on the care of disease stricken children whose illnesses could have been avoided. National and community organizations and health departments can play an important role in ensuring that all our children are appropriately immunized by the age of two. Healthcare providers need to actively communicate with parents and caregivers about immunization, especially when improvements in vaccines result in changes to the immunization schedule.

Parents and caregivers need to know that their children can and will be protected against many childhood diseases. During National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) and Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), efforts are made in hundreds of communities around the United States and throughout the Western Hemisphere to increase awareness of the importance of immunization and to achieve immunization goals.

Learn more on the CDC’s website for National Infant Immunization Week.

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Health Reform and Healthy Start

Prevention and Public Health Fund — The health care reform law includes $500 million in fiscal year 2010 for a Prevention and Public Health Fund.  This funding must be spent on prevention and wellness programs authorized by the Public Health Service Act, such as Healthy Start.  NHSA is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use a portion of this funding to strengthen existing Healthy Start programs and to expand Healthy Start into areas that are eligible for funding but currently unfunded.  The Fund will continue to grow each year, eventually reaching $2 billion in fiscal year 2014 and each year thereafter.

Home Visiting — The new law also provides $100 million in fiscal year 2010 for states to implement evidence-based maternal, infant and early childhood home visitation programs.  Grantees are required to measure improvement in maternal and child health, childhood injury prevention, school readiness and achievement, crime or domestic violence, family economic self-sufficiency and coordination with community resources. The first step in this progress will be for states to complete a needs assessment to identify communities that have few quality home visitation program and are at risk for poor maternal and child health outcomes. NHSA encourages Healthy Start projects to contact their state MCH office and learn how the state is planning to conduct the needs assessment.

25 U.S. Senators and 25 Members of U.S. House Sign Letter in Support of Healthy Start

We are extremely pleased to report that 25 U.S. Senators and 25 Members of the U.S. House signed onto an appropriations letter in support of increased funding for Healthy Start.   The letter, delivered to the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate early last week, requests $120 million in funding for the Healthy Start program.  Healthy Start is currently funded at $105 million. A list of the 25 Senators and 25 House Members who signed the letter are found at the bottom of this message.

Last year, 19 Senators signed the Senate letter and 19 House Members signed the House version of the letter. The additional signatures this year are directly attributed to the time spent on Capitol Hill during the NHSA Spring Conference in March.  Conference participants, including Healthy Start project directors, staff and consumers, participated in literally hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill and encouraged federal lawmakers to sign the letter.

An email sent to NHSA earlier this week from Senator Debbie Stabenow’s staff stated, “We got a total of six more signatures on the Healthy Start letter this year.  Many of the Congressional offices mentioned how persuasive your advocates were in their Hill visits, so the credit should really go to them!”  Senator Stabenow of Michigan and Senator Bond of Missouri were the two Senators who organized and spearheaded the letter in the Senate and Representative John Spratt of South Carolina led the effort in the House.

This letter of support represents the very first step in the appropriations process, but it is an extremely important way to show the Appropriations Committees that Healthy Start has strong support and deserves to be strengthened and expanded.

If you see your Senator or Representative listed below, PLEASE take a moment and send their office a short note.

Senators:

Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
Sen. Tom Udall (New Mexico)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
Sen. Russ Feingold (Wisconsin)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico)
Sen. Ron Wyden (Oregon)
Sen. Chris Dodd (Connecticut)
Sen. Richard Durbin (Illinois)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (New York)
Sen. John Kerry (Mass.)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey)
Sen. Robert Menendez (New Jersey)
Sen. Roland Burris (Illinois)
Sen. Al Franken (Minnesota)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
Sen. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii)
Sen. Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia)
Sen. Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)
Sen. Barbra Miklulski (Maryland)
Sen. Carl Levin (Michigan)
Sen. Tim Johnson (South Dakota)
Sen. Ben Cardin (Maryland)
Sen. Kit Bond (Missouri)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow  (Michigan)

House Members:

Rep. John Spratt (South Carolina)
Rep. Raul Grijalva (Arizona)
Rep. Michael Capuano (Massachusetts)
Rep. Gene Greene (Texas)
Rep. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii)
Rep. Rush Holt (New Jersey)
Rep. Bobby Scott (Virginia)
Rep. Steve Kagen (Wisconsin)
Rep. Dennis Moore (Kansas)
Rep. John Yarmouth (Kentucky)
Rep. Steven Cohen (Tennessee)
Rep. George Butterfield (North Carolina)
Rep. Kathy Castor (Florida)
Rep. Jason Altmire (Pennsylvania)
Rep. Pete Stark (California)
Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (Massachusetts)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Maryland)
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colorado)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (New York)
Rep. Danny Davis (Illinois)
Rep. Vern Ehlers (Michigan)
Rep. Bob Filner (California)
Rep. Andre Carson (Indiana)

Man Up for Your Health!

Healthy Men Move Our Communities Forward

As an annual celebration of National Minority Health Month, in 2010 the Office of Minority Health is promoting men’s health, with the theme Man Up for Your Health! Healthy Men Move Our Communities Forward.

A glance at some sobering statistics:

  • 55 percent of Latino men and 45 percent of African American men do not have a doctor they see regularly
  • In 2005, all men were 30 percent more likely to be uninsured for the previous year, as compared to women
    • Within this group, African American men were 75 percent more likely to be uninsured than White men, and Hispanic men were almost three times more likely to be without health insurance
  • For the first time in 2007 the life expectancy for black males reached 70 years, however that is still 5.3 years less than the general population
  • Black men have higher death rates than women for all the leading causes of death
  • Black men have higher rates of prostate cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and other chronic illnesses
  • Men are employed in the most dangerous occupations, such as mining, fire fighting, construction, and fishing
  • Society discourages healthy behaviors in men and boys
  • Men may have less healthy lifestyles including risk-taking at younger ages
  • Among the causes of death for white males, homicide is not even in the top ten; however it is ranked number 5 for black men and number 6 for Latinos
    • For young black men 15-35 years of age, homicide is the number one cause of death, for Hispanics, it’s number two

OMH monthly e-newsletter Healthy Minorities, Healthier America highlights important information such as Popular Men’s Health Topics, medical screenings, resources for organizations, downloadable posters and upcoming events. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to subscribe to OMH monthly publications or help get the word out by sharing this information with your constituents.

View latest edition: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=297

To subscribe OMH e-newsletter: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=48

or through Gov delivery:  https://service.govdelivery.com/service/multi_subscribe.html?code=USOPHSOMH

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– circulated by the Office of Minority Health