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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Polio Then and Now: From Salk’s Game-Changing Vaccine to Today’s Resurgence

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
polio-small
Credit: CDC photo by S. Smith. Member of an Emergency Citizens Group in Oklahoma City, radioing information to headquarters during the 1963 Polio Eradication Campaign. Public Health Image Library (http://phil.cdc.gov), #1624.

This is a guest post written by Ann Glusker, MLIS, MPH, Reference and Consumer Health Librarian at The Seattle Public Library.

The library world is a small one, and when I heard that a friend of a friend had worked with Jonas Salk, and that she would be interested in speaking about him and his work to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, a program was born!  What could be more timely than considering polio, which has yet to be eradicated, as we battle many other endemic diseases worldwide (and this was before the recent Ebola crisis)?   My planning partner and I asked Salk’s colleague, Kathleen Murray, and also Dr. Linda Venczel, who has worked on polio eradication for much of her career, including with the CDC and the Gates Foundation, to speak.  I’m happy to say that you can hear them present their program, “Polio Then and Now: From Salk’s Game-Changing Vaccine to Today’s Resurgence” this coming Tuesday, October 28, at 7 pm at the Seattle Public Library’s Central (downtown) location.

I have always been aware of polio, as my aunt had the disease (luckily with little lasting effect thanks to the innovations of Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny), but until I started reading more about it in advance of the program, I hadn’t really realized how terrifying it was.  It’s been recognized for a long time, perhaps dating back to the early Egyptians, but the epidemics that caused widespread fear really began in the 20th century (ironically, it’s thought, due to enhanced sanitation—if children didn’t get exposed to polio-laden water in very early life, when they still had maternal antibodies, it was harder for them to fight off the virus).  While most people with the virus are asymptomatic, the progress of the disease can be devastating to others, causing paralysis and even death.  Worst of all, it disproportionately affects children.

Salk’s achievement needs to be considered in this context; he was literally the savior of millions, but beyond that his vaccine allayed decades of fear.  It came at a time in post-WWII America when everything seemed possible—walking on the moon, and triumphing over the most dread diseases.  His accomplishment fit the zeitgeist of the that decade.  And yet, almost 60 years after the vaccine was declared effective, polio (unlike smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1980) still exists on earth; it is ALMOST (99%) eliminated, but in these days of international travel, that’s not a sure thing.  It’s unimaginable that it should have a resurgence, but it’s possible.

And, we still have more to learn about polio.  There are advances still being made in preventing polio by means of a combination vaccine, which may in turn have implications relating to the concerning increase in cases of Enterovirus 68, a “cousin” of polio (along with the question of whether it is related to rare instances of child paralysis).  And, the challenges in eradicating polio speak to many of the same issues we are seeing in areas stricken with Ebola: resource-poor areas, suspicion of modern technologies, widespread fear, and (in the case of Ebola) lack of an effective and cheap vaccine.

Basically, the story of polio continues and is deeply relevant to our modern world.  If you’re interested in doing some more reading (on a popular level), we’ve developed this booklist and these blog posts on polio then and now, to support our program.  And if you want to do more in-depth scientific reading, there’s always your friend and mine, PubMed.  MedlinePlus has a page on polio as well.  But, if nothing else, take a moment to appreciate that you probably haven’t had to think much, in your lifetime (or at least your children’s), about catching or dealing with polio.

Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Opportunities: How to Become a Certified Application Counselor and Marketplace Enrollment Information

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Thinking about having a Certified Application Counselor on staff to help with this year’s Affordable Care Act enrollment? Join this webinar on Thursday from the Partnership Center to learn how you can become a CAC Organization and Champion for Coverage. Or if you just want to be informed and get ready for enrollment (begins November 15) you might be interested to check out the Health Insurance Marketplace 101 webinar coming up next week:
Webinars on the Health Care Law
The HHS Partnership Center has updated webinars on the health care law for faith and community organizations. All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session.
To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred topic from the list below and submit the necessary information. After registering you will receive an e-mail confirmation containing information about joining the webinar. Please contact us at ACA101@hhs.gov if you have problems registering or if you have any questions about the health care law. You may also join the webinar by telephone only. All webinars are one hour.

How to Become a Certified Application Counselor (CAC) Organization and Champion for Coverage
October 23 at 1 pm ET
(Noon CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT)
To Join By Phone Only, Dial +1 (415) 655-0051, Access Code: 581-376-365
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key.
Certified Application Counselors (CACs) are volunteers who enroll people in the Health Insurance Marketplace. CAC organizations train CACs and plan enrollment events. Champions for Coverage educate people in their community about the health care law and receive invitations to conference calls and webinars. Please join us on October 23 at 1 pm ET to learn more about CACs, CAC organizations and Champions for Coverage. Please email ACA101@hhs.gov by October 23 at 10 am ET with any questions.
For more information on the Certified Application Counselor (CAC) program and basic eligibility criteria go to: http://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/tips-for-cacs-in-ffm.pdf.

Getting Ready to Enroll: Health Insurance Marketplace 101
October 29 at 3 pm ET
(2 pm CT, 1 pm MT, Noon PT)
To Join By Phone Only: Dial +1 (702) 489-0004, Access Code: 818-992-963
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key

Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts on November 15, 2014 with coverage available as early as January 1, 2015. This presentation will discuss how to enroll in the Marketplace, key websites and resources on the law. We will also discuss how to host an enrollment event. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar. Please send any questions to ACA101@hhs.gov prior to October 29 at noon ET.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘To End AIDS, Commit to Act‘ – ‘Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprometete a Actuar.

Established in 2003, the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day campaign works annually at building capacity for non-profit organizations and health departments in order to reach Latino communities, promote HIV testing, and provide HIV prevention information and access to care. The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA), the Hispanic Federation and many other organizations organize this day.

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which now guides all federal HIV/AIDS-related efforts and programs, recognizes the disproportionate impact of HIV on Hispanics/Latinos communities. Although Hispanics/Latinos represent about 16% of the US population, they account for an estimated 21% of new infections each year. In 2010, the estimated rate of new HIV infection among Hispanics/Latinos in the US was more than three times as high as that of whites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a number of factors contribute to the HIV epidemic in Hispanic/Latino communities. These include greater overall number of people with HIV, high rates for other STDs, complex socioeconomic factors, and fear of discrimination or legal action. To build support and encourage action around these issues, the CDC offers several campaigns that encourage Latinos to talk openly about HIV/AIDS with their families, friends, partners and communities.

If you provide resources for Hispanic/Latino populations in your community, consider adding these to your toolbox: Resources for Your Health: Get Connected! Latino Health! From NN/LM, Hispanic American Health on Medline Plus, Spanish language resources from Federal agencies from AIDS.gov, and the Spanish-language AIDS information site, Infosida, which combines information derived from several authoritative resources. Learn more about health disparities at the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities site.

 

Free Online TOXNET Class Offered This Fall

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering an online, asynchronous class called “Discovering TOXNET” October 20 – November 14, 2014.  Discover TOXNET and other NLM environmental health databases through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises.  The class is taught online in thirteen independent modules. (more…)

TOXNET Gets A Facelift

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

The National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET (TOXicology Data NETwork) resource – http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov - is a group of databases covering chemicals and drugs, diseases and the environment, environmental health, occupational safety and health, poisoning, risk assessment and regulations, and toxicology.  Recently the TOXNET interface was updated and features:

  • Improved appearance
  • Intuitive interactive capabilities
  • Improved multi-database search
  • Easy selection of item to save in “My List”
  • More accessible menus and pull-downs
  • Type-ahead Browse
  • Hover-over Help

(more…)

RML Rendezvous January 22 – Health Literacy in Context

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Health Literacy in Context: A Non-clinical Framework for Research & Intervention presented by Sandra Smith, PhD, MPH of the Center for Health Literacy Promotion

January 22, 2013 at 1 PM Pacific (noon Alaska 2 PM Mountain)

In the national vision of a health literate society articulated by the Institute of Medicine, everyone – not only patients – obtains actionable information about health and healthcare, along with support to use it to take health promoting action. National public health objectives aim to promote the health literacy of  the population – not only patients. As healthcare shifts from episodic to chronic and the from clinic to community, health literacy practice and research must evolve accordingly. In this edition of RLM Rendezvous, Dr. Sandra Smith makes the case for a non-clinical approach to health literacy practice and research. She presents a non-clinical framework that views health literacy as a personal and collective asset that enables people to make health related choices and transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. The framework guides practice to develop and improve health literacy and empowerment for health.

If you are unable to tune in live, we invite you to view a recording of the webcast, posted to the Rendezvous website later.

Due to a recent Adobe Connect system update, please test your computer ahead of time to help avoid technical difficulties as a plugin may be needed.

As part of our Federal agency services regarding electronic and information technology resources being accessible to people with disabilities, closed captioning is available on this and future RML Rendezvous webcasts.