Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category
In response to a request from the US Congress, NIH is developing a 5-year NIH-wide Strategic Plan to advance its mission and outline a vision for biomedical research that ultimately extends healthy life and reduces illness and disability. NIH senior leadership and staff have developed a proposed framework for the Strategic Plan that identifies areas of opportunity across all biomedicine and unifying principles to guide NIH’s support of the biomedical research enterprise. The Strategic Plan is due to Congress in late December 2015.
NIH has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from stakeholders throughout the scientific research community and the general public regarding the proposed framework for the NIH-wide Strategic Plan. You are invited to review the framework and submit feedback by visiting the NIH web site or the RFI submission site. Comments are due by August 16.
Stakeholder organizations (e.g., patient advocacy groups, professional societies) are urged to submit a single response reflective of the views of the organization/membership as a whole. NIH will also be hosting webinars to gather additional input in early to mid-August. Your feedback is vital to ensuring that the NIH Strategic Plan positions biomedical research on a promising and visionary path!
MedlinePlus currently has over 950 health topics in both English and Spanish. These health topic pages contain collections of vetted links to consumer health resources. The links are organized into categories, such as Basic, Learn More, and Research; and subcategories, such as Start Here, Prevention/Screening, and Related Issues. A table of contents is included at the top of the pages to help users find the most useful information.
In response to feedback from usability testing and use patterns, MedlinePlus has made changes to the subcategories for the health topic pages. On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, subcategories were consolidated and reduced, with the goal of presenting better organized content and a better user experience. For a detailed description on how subcategories were combined or renamed, visit the NLM Technical Bulletin.
Asthma health topic page with new, revised subcategories:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institutes of Health have partnered to add the NIH Body Weight Planner to USDA’s SuperTracker online tool as a goal-setting resource to help people achieve and stay at a healthy weight. Created in 2011, the SuperTracker tool empowers people to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. With science-based technology drawing on years of research, the Body Weight Planner will enable SuperTracker’s more than 5.5 million registered users to tailor their plans to reach a goal weight during a specific timeframe, and maintain that weight afterward.
The math model behind the Body Weight Planner, an online tool published by NIH in 2011, was created to accurately forecast how body weight changes when people alter their diet and exercise habits. This capability was validated using data from multiple controlled studies in people. More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent complications related to overweight and obesity such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
The latest version of Health and Medical Reference Guidelines, developed by the Reference Services Section’s (RSS) Health & Medical Reference Committee of ALA’s Reference & User Services Association (RUSA), was approved by the RUSA Board at the ALA annual conference in June, 2015. These guidelines are for all information services staff, regardless of questions or library type. Health and Medical Reference refers to questions that pertain to any aspect of health, medicine, or biomedicine, including but not limited to consumer health, patient health, public health, environmental health, complementary and alternative medicine, biomedical research, and clinical medicine.
The purpose of these guidelines is to assist staff in responding to health or medical inquiries. For staff who rarely answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to assist staff to be prepared and feel confident that they are providing the best possible response. For staff who regularly answer medical questions, the Guidelines are intended to ensure that reference skills are well-rounded.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Medicare and Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just launched the official Medicare Facebook page, which will serve as an informational resource for those who will soon enroll in Medicare and people currently on Medicare. The Medicare and Medicaid programs were signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. For 50 years, these programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation. Though Medicare and Medicaid started as basic insurance programs for Americans who didn’t have health insurance, they have changed over the years to provide more and more Americans with access to the quality and affordable health care they need.
During the summer of 2015, CMS will mark the anniversary of these programs by recognizing the ways in which these programs have transformed the nation’s health care system over the past five decades. Use the following resources to help spread the word!
Medicare 50th anniversary pages:
Check out the July issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:
- Pregnancy Problems? Boost the Chance of Having a Baby
For those who dream of being parents, pregnancy problems can be tremendously frustrating and disappointing. In recent decades, scientists have developed a wide range of approaches to help struggling couples have healthy babies. And NIH-funded studies are continuing to search for even better ways to overcome the challenges of infertility.
- Minding Your Metabolism: Can You Avoid Middle-Age Spread?
As you age, you may notice you have less muscle and energy and more fat. Carrying those extra pounds may be harming your health. It’s easy to be confused by advice about diet and exercise, but they’re key to avoiding weight gain as you get older. As you move through your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, you can take steps to help fight the flab that can come with age.
- Milk Gland “Remembers” Past Pregnancy
A team of NIH-funded scientists found that an animal’s first pregnancy can lead to lasting changes in how genes are turned on and off in the milk-making mammary gland. The finding may help explain why humans and other mammals make more milk faster during second pregnancies.
- Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage
The sun helps your skin make vitamin D to keep your bones healthy. The sun can also help improve your mood and keep your sleep schedule regular. But too much sun can lead to sunburns and other damage that you can’t see. A new video from NIH — So Far and Yet So Close: The Sun and Your Skin — can help you learn how to avoid the sun’s harmful effects.
- Featured Website: Alcohol Calculators
So what’s in that drink, exactly? Summer cocktails may be stronger, more caloric, and more expensive than you realize. NIH’s alcohol calculators can help you assess calories, drink size, alcohol spending, blood alcohol levels, and the number of standard drinks in each cocktail.
NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!
An e-learning program to develop culturally and linguistically competent messengers, advocates and educators to promote health and wellness among their peers and within their communities is now available. Launched by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Promoting Healthy Choices and Community Changes program is a key component of the HHS Promotores de Salud Initiative, launched in 2011 as part of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. The initiative recognizes the important contributions of community health focused efforts to reach low-income, vulnerable members of Latino/Hispanic communities. While promotores de salud have intimate knowledge of their communities’ cultures and needs, the training resource launched today offers more tools, knowledge and skills to strengthen community health and to narrow the health equity gap.
Promoting Healthy Choices and Community Changes aims to build upon the capacity of promotores de salud to improve community health. Available in Spanish and English at no cost, this e-learning program is designed for any promotor de salud, regardless of years of experience or the type of outreach in which they are engaged (e.g., nutrition, cancer or diabetes). It is comprised of four units that provide promotores de salud with the basic knowledge to promote healthy choices at the individual and community levels; to apply principles and strategies to motivate behavioral changes among the community members they serve; and to empower those individuals to create change in their communities. Learners will receive a Certificate of Completion upon completing each unit.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) have announced a joint Health Information Ambassador pilot program to begin in Utah at the start of the fall 2015 academic year. The program encourages high school students (within HOSA chapters) to be familiar with, and teach peers how to use, MedlinePlus and evidence-based health information resources on the Internet. The pilot encourages the development of Health Information Ambassadors among high school students within HOSA chapters. Health Information Ambassadors are identified through a knowledge and Internet capability screening test that was developed at NLM. High school students who receive a high score on the screening test receive a certificate designating them as HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassadors.
Moreover, certified HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassadors are then encouraged to give talks (or develop media) to encourage peer use of MedlinePlus, NLM’s consumer health website for patients and their families, and evidence-based health information resources. Persons who receive high audience evaluations for their presentations (by peers) can receive an additional HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Certificate of Merit. Additionally, HOSA chapters can receive a program participation certificate if two or more students receive HOSA-NLM Health Information Ambassador Certificates of Merit.
The coordinators of the pilot program include:
- For HOSA – Denise Abbott, state advisor to HOSA in Utah, will coordinate the pilot program among HOSA chapters.
- For the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – MidContinental Regional Library, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah.
- For the National Library of Medicine – Robert A. Logan Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
If the Utah pilot is successful, the model will be taken to other states where HOSA is active.
The July 2015 issue of The Nation’s Health features a cover story on the link between climate change and health, new U.S. government initiatives aimed at protecting communities from the health impacts of climate change, and the effort to reframe climate change as an urgent public health issue. These initiatives are meant to help Americans understand climate change as not just an environmental issue, but also an important health issue.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides many sources of information to assist health professionals with the knowledge and resources they need to assess who is most vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, and teach patients how to minimize the impacts. The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) Arctic Health website is a central source for information on diverse aspects of the Arctic environment and the health of northern peoples. The site gives access to evaluated health information from hundreds of local, state, national, and international agencies, as well as from professional societies and universities. For example, the Arctic Health Climate Change page provides links to websites, publications, and multimedia presentations covering the impacts of climate change on the health, activities, and well-being of people in the Arctic. It includes climate-change observations from both the scientific-research and the traditional-knowledge points of view.
The SIS Environmental Health and Toxicology website features Enviro-Health Links – Climate Change and Human Health. This page provides a wealth of environmental health-related web resources from the U.S. government and other trusted sources focused on climate change and health. Resources include links to information about specific impacts on agriculture, extreme weather, general health, infectious disease, population displacement, preparedness and security, and water quality and scarcity. In addition to topic-related searches of NLM resources, the page offers overview materials, glossaries, information on law, policy, and regulation, links to blogs, news, podcasts and video, and educational material such as the NLM’s Environmental Health Student Portal.
The National Library of Medicine has announced a partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) through which ALA’s Public Programs Office will manage a national tour of a traveling adaptation of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness to America’s libraries and other Native-serving cultural institutions beginning in 2016. Four copies of the traveling exhibition will tour nationally for four years to dozens of sites around the country. The current tour of Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness to pilot sites and Regional Medical Libraries around the country will conclude in December 2015, making way for the ALA-managed national tour in 2016. As a project partner, the ALA Public Programs Office will create a project website for librarians, recruit applications from sites nationwide, manage the peer-reviewed application process, select venues for the exhibition tour in consultation with NLM, plan online training sessions for participating libraries, coordinate exhibition shipping, and manage the four-year tour to host venues. The ALA website will complement current NLM online resources. Additional information about NLM’s partnership with ALA, including details of the site-selection process, will be available later this year.
The exhibition explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Visitors discover how Native concepts of health and illness are closely tied to the concepts of community, spirit, and the land. Stories examine both past and present, and show how the determinants of health for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are tied to community, the land, and spirit. Speaking in their own voices, Native People tell how individual and community wellness were affected during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Individual stories show how epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land, and the inhibition of culture affect the health of Native individuals and communities today. The exhibition also presents a contemporary story about renaissance, recovery, and self-determination, and how the Native Peoples of the United States use traditional and Western methods to enhance wellness. The online version of the Native Voices exhibition includes interviews, lesson plans, a timeline of Native Peoples’ health that chronicles the survival and resurgence of traditional ways to promote well-being, and career-planning and educational resources.