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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

NCCAM Gets New Name!

As part of the omnibus budget measure signed by President Obama in December 2014, Congress changed the name of NCCAM to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, or NCCIH. The change was made to more accurately reflect the Center’s research commitment to studying promising health approaches that are already in use by the American public. Since the Center’s inception, complementary approaches have grown in use to the point that Americans no longer consider them an alternative to medical care. The name change is in keeping with the Center’s existing Congressional mandate and is aligned with the strategic plan currently guiding the Center’s research priorities and public education activities. The mission of the organization will remain unchanged.

Large population-based surveys have found that the use of “alternative medicine,” unproven practices used in place of conventional medicine, is actually rare. By contrast, integrative health care, which can be defined as combining complementary approaches into conventional treatment plans, has grown within care settings across the nation, including hospitals, hospices, and military health facilities. The goal of an integrative approach is to enhance overall health, prevent disease, and to alleviate debilitating symptoms such as pain and stress and anxiety management that often affects patients coping with complex and chronic disease.

The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) was established in 1992 within the Office of the Director, NIH, to facilitate the study and evaluation of complementary and alternative medical practices and to disseminate the resulting information to the public. In 1998, NCCAM was established by Congress, elevating OAM to the status of an NIH center. In February 2011, NCCAM released Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Third Strategic Plan 2011–2015, which continues to guide NCCIH’s work.

NLM Resource Update: TOXMAP Now Includes EPA Coal Plant Emissions Data

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXMAP’s new Flash-based beta now includes 2013 coal emissions data published by the US EPA’s Clean Air Markets program. Data was obtained from the Air Markets Program Data (AMPD) tool, a publicly-available data system for searching and downloading data collected as part of EPA’s emissions trading programs. In 2013, about 2.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions were attributable to electricity generated from coal.

TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund Programs.

Rural Health Needs Assessment and Program Evaluation

Rural and medically underserved areas often have challenges including both increased health disparities and population health issues combined with limited resources and healthcare providers to help meet these challenges. The use of appropriate program evaluation measures can help to assess what actually works for rural health settings since many evidence-based strategies are based on urban and non-rural populations.

The Rural Assistance Center has recently issued a freely available online guide, which is intended to help an organization:

  • Identify the similarities and differences among rural health research, assessment, and evaluation
  • Discuss common methods, such as surveys and focus groups
  • Provide contacts within the field of rural health research
  • Address the importance of community-based participatory research to rural communities
  • Look at the community health needs assessment (CHNA) requirements for non-profit hospitals and public health
  • Examine the importance of building the evidence-base so interventions conducted in rural areas have the maximum possible impact

AIDSinfo Releases Free Drug App for iOS and Android Devices!

AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Drug Database screenshotAIDSinfo has announced the release of the AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Drug Database app. Using data from the AIDSinfo Drug Database, the drug app provides information on more than 100 HIV-related approved and investigational drugs. The information, offered in English and Spanish, is tailored to meet the needs of both health care providers and consumers. The app is designed to automatically refresh when the user is connected to a wireless or cellular data network. The auto update feature eliminates the need to manually update the app to view the most current drug information. In addition, the app works offline, ensuring that health care providers and consumers can access vital drug information anywhere, even in health care facilities that may not have an Internet connection.

Health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo website indicated that access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels for HIV-related drugs would be a useful feature of a drug app. Thus FDA drug labels pulled from DailyMed are integrated into the app in an easy-to-navigate format. This feature, coupled with the auto update feature, makes it easy for health care providers to quickly find the latest drug information when seeing patients. In addition, information from the FDA labels is condensed in easy-to-understand summaries in English and Spanish for consumers. The app also includes information on HIV-related investigational drugs for both health care providers and consumers.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, users can personalize the free AIDSinfo Drug App to suit their needs:

  • Receive notifications when content is updated.
  • Bookmark frequently referenced drugs for easy access at any time.
  • Add personal notes to any drug.
  • Select from a menu of alarms to set pill reminders for any drug.

AIDSinfo also has the AIDSinfo Glossary of HIV/AIDS-Related Terms app, available for both iOS and Android devices, which includes English and Spanish definitions of more than 700 HIV/AIDS-related terms.

Thirty-Five U.S. Hospitals Designated as Ebola Treatment Centers

An increasing number of U.S. hospitals are now equipped to treat patients with Ebola, giving nationwide health system Ebola readiness efforts a boost. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health officials have identified and designated 35 hospitals with Ebola treatment centers, with more expected in the coming weeks. Four of the facilities are located in California. Hospitals with Ebola treatment centers have been designated by state health officials to serve as treatment facilities for Ebola patients based on a collaborative decision with local health authorities and the hospital administration.

Ebola treatment centers are staffed, equipped and have been assessed to have current capabilities, training and resources to provide the complex treatment necessary to care for a person with Ebola while minimizing risk to health care workers. The additional facilities supplement the three national bio containment facilities at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will continue to play a major role in the overall national treatment strategy, particularly for patients who are medically evacuated from overseas. Facilities will continue to be added in the next several weeks to further broaden geographic reach.

CDC also released guidance for states and hospitals to use as they identify and designate an Ebola treatment center. The guidance covers the range of capabilities hospitals need in order to provide comprehensive care for patients with Ebola. HHS, through the CDC and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR), also provided technical assistance to health departments and hospitals.

NLM Resource Update: Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) Website

The following updates and changes were announced in November, 2014, for the National Library of Medicine’s Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) website:

  1. Initial Actions for Responders after Nuclear Detonation: First Receivers: Emergency Department Staff and First Responders: Emergency Medical Service Staff.
  2. Multimedia: many new videos and graphics including 13 new teaching videos from DOE / Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program (TEPP) available on the REMM web site and REMM YouTube channel. Also links to various new CDC teaching materials, such as Videos: Radiation Basics Made Simple.
  3. Protective Actions and Protective Action Guides: page redone with re-organized information and tables. EPA PAG Manual Interim Guidance included.
  4. Burn Triage and Treatment: Thermal Injuries includes links to new references for managing burns in mass casualty incidents with austere conditions.
  5. Legal Advisors for Medical Response to Mass Casualty Incident: new references and 2 new sections including assessment of state and local laws regarding management of persons during radiation incidents including legal authority to decontaminate and quarantine (CDC and partners).
  6. Nuclear Detonation: Weapons, Improvised Nuclear Devices Key References entire list re-organized and updated, including Medical Issues: Planning and Response Practical Guidance and updated Blast injury references.
  7. Dictionary of Radiation Terms: 2 new key references, NCRP Glossary of Radiation Terms and NCRP Acronyms List.
  8. Biodosimetry References updated and re-organized.
  9. Software Tools for Radiation Incident Response includes additional applications listed for biodosimetry, managing incidents, and recording radiation levels.
  10. Incident Command System and Hospital (Emergency) Incident Command System page re-organized with links to HICS, Fifth edition, 2014, expanded to meet the needs of all hospitals, regardless of their size, location or patient care capabilities.
  11. Mental Health Professionals now includes updated references on Psychological First Aid.

New NLM Subject Guide for Genetic/Genomics Information!

The National Library of Medicine has released a new Genetics/Genomics Information subject guide as the latest update in its subject guide series. These guides, based on most frequently asked questions, are starting points for health professionals, researchers, librarians, students, and others. The guide is designed to help you find introductory materials relating to Genetics and Genomics, such as basic features of the human genome and its organization into chromosomes. It is not comprehensive in scope or coverage, particularly for specific genetic conditions or new and improved technologies. The guide provides links to bioinformatics gateways for more genetic information, and points primarily to free electronic items, or records for materials that may be available via your library. The guide has a section of links for professional education, and a section suggesting how to use PubMed to search for citations to published research journal literature for more information about a particular disease or condition. Other published guides in the NLM series include:

NLM will develop more subject guides as needed. NLM welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions about all of the guides.

HHS and NIH Request Public Comments on Steps to Enhance Transparency of Clinical Trial Results

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are releasing for public comment two proposals to increase the transparency of clinical trials via information submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov, a publicly accessible database operated by the National Library of Medicine. The first is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that describes proposed regulations for registering and submitting summary results of certain clinical trials to ClinicalTrials.gov in compliance with Title VIII of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA). A major proposed change from current requirements is the expansion of the scope of clinical trials required to submit summary results to include trials of unapproved, unlicensed, and uncleared products. The second proposal is a draft NIH policy that would extend the similar registration and reporting requirements to all clinical trials funded by NIH, regardless of whether they are subject to FDAAA. Both proposals aim to improve public access to information about specified clinical trials, information that is not necessarily available from other public sources. The proposals are not intended to affect the design or conduct of clinical trials or define what type of data should be collected during a clinical trial. Rather, they aim to ensure that information about clinical trials and their results are made publicly available via ClinicalTrials.gov. A summary of the proposed changes is available from the NIH.

The public may comment on any aspect of the NPRM or proposed NIH Policy. Written comments on the NPRM should be submitted to docket number NIH-2011-0003. Commenters are asked to indicate the specific section of the NPRM to which each comment refers. Written comments on the proposed NIH Policy should be submitted electronically to the Office of Clinical Research and Bioethics Policy, Office of Science Policy, NIH, via email; mail at 6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20892; or by fax at 301-496-9839, by February 19, 2015. All comments will be considered in preparing the final rule and final NIH Policy.

OCLC Announces Community Health Engagement Opportunity for Public Libraries!

As part of its IMLS-funded Health Happens in Libraries program, OCLC is seeking up to five public libraries wishing to collaborate with a local partner to develop and implement community health activities. These activities, to be conducted with the Health Happens in Libraries team from January through July 2015, will support the goals of each participating library and their partner(s), and enhance public library capacity to advance health and wellness priorities in the communities they serve. Activities may include a range of services, such as a workshop on healthy family meal planning, or training to patrons seeking reliable online health information. In addition to stipend support for any related travel, participating libraries will also be eligible to receive $500 for supplies, materials, or other necessary expenses to meet their goals. Actual time commitment will ultimately be proportional to the engagement goals of each library community

The Participant Overview provides a full description of this opportunity, including how to submit a statement of interest for your library to be considered for this exciting work. If interested in participating in this 7-month project, please submit a statement of interest by 5:00 PM PST Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Selected libraries will be notified by December 31, 2014. A panel will review all statements in an effort to select a variety of libraries, representing diverse perspectives and communities. Questions about the program may be directed to the Project Coordinator, Liz Morris.

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) Updates

CHEMM WebsiteThe National Library of Medicine (NLM) has released a new version of Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM). CHEMM is a Web-based resource that can be downloaded in advance to Windows and Mac computers to ensure availability during an event if the Internet is not accessible. CHEMM’s content is also integrated into the NLM Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER), which is Web-based and downloadable to Windows computers. CHEMM’s content is also available in WISER’s iOS and Android apps. The new CHEMM content will be incorporated into the next release of WISER.

New or updated content in CHEMM includes:

  • Updated and enhanced content on Decontamination Procedures, Discovering the Event, and Training and Education
  • An NIH CounterACT program funded database with information on twenty-two medical countermeasures (including efficacy, relevant publications, research in progress, FDA and other global regulatory status information)
  • Content for how emergency responders can recognize and handle events dealing with toxic gases generated by the combinations of consumer products or common household chemicals
  • A workshop report describing toxic chemical syndromes, or toxidromes, that lays the foundation for a consistent lexicon for use in CHEMM and for other uses that, if adopted widely, will improve response to chemical mass exposure incidents
  • A toxidromes outreach plan whose goal is to raise widespread awareness and encourage use of the toxidromes throughout the stakeholder community, and
  • An evaluation and validation plan for CHEMM’s Intelligent Syndromes Tool (CHEMM-IST) that, once completed, will move CHEMM-IST from its current state as a prototype to a product ready for use in an operational response environment.

For more information see the “What’s New on CHEMM?” section of CHEMM.