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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Community Health Status Indicators Website Launch

The CDC just released the updated Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI), an interactive online tool that provides public health profiles for all 3,143 counties in the United States. Each profile includes key indicators of health outcomes, which describes the population health status of a county and factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes, such as health care access and quality, health behaviors, social factors, and the physical environment. First issued in 2000, CHSI 2015 represents the collaboration of public health partners in the public, non-profit and research communities. The re-designed online application includes updated peer county groups, health status indicators, a summary comparison page, and U.S. Census tract data and indicators for sub-populations (age groups, sex, and race/ethnicity) to identify potential health disparities. In this new version of CHSI, all indicators are benchmarked against those of peer counties, groups of counties that are similar to each other based on 19 variables, the median of all U.S. counties, and Healthy People 2020 targets. CHSI 2015 is designed to complement other available sources of community health indicators including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. Organizations conducting community health assessments can use CHSI data to:

  • Assess community health status and identify disparities;
  • Promote a shared understanding of the wide range of factors that can influence health; and
  • Mobilize multi-sector partnerships to work together to improve population health.

To promote awareness of the new tool, the CDC and the National Library of Medicine are co-hosting two sessions of a one-hour briefing that will provide an overview of the new features and redesign of CHSI. Registration is available for either March 24, 12-1:00 PM PDT, or March 26, 8-9:00 AM PDT. Once your registration request is approved, you will receive instructions for joining the meeting.

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

As announced in the Federal Register, the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is now available. Individuals are encouraged to submit written comments to the federal government on the Advisory Report. Written comments will be accepted online through midnight EDT on April 8, 2015.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages individuals to eat a healthful diet — one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent chronic disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines every 5 years. HHS and USDA will host a public oral comment meeting on March 24, 2015. Meeting registration is now open, and the meeting agenda is available. Please direct all media inquiries to ASHMedia@hhs.gov or call (202) 205-0143.

NLM Resource Update: ToxLearn Module II Now Available!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) ToxLearn, Module II: Cells and Tissues: Injury and Repair is now available. It offers an introduction to biological molecules, cells, tissues, and organs, and to how they might be affected by toxicants. It also explains principles of cell damage and tissue repair and reviews physiological and morphological changes. Created in partnership with the Society of Toxicology, ToxLearn is a multi-module online learning tool that provides an introduction to basic principles of toxicology. It can be used as a supplementary curriculum to a first-level undergraduate toxicology course and can assist users in interpreting search retrieval from NLM’s TOXNET databases.

ToxLearn Module I: Introduction to Toxicology and Dose-Response, is also available. ToxLearn Modules 1 and 2 update some of the information in the earlier Tox Tutor.

PHPartners.org Website Redesign: Volunteers Needed for Usability Testing!

The National Library of Medicine is currently assessing and redesigning the Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce website. PHPartners is a collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations, and health sciences libraries which provides timely, convenient access to selected public health resources on the Internet. To better serve and understand the needs of audiences, volunteers are being recruited for surveys and usability testing, involving participation in seven 15-30 minute sessions spread over a 12-16 month period. You are not required to participate in all seven sessions. Anyone interested in participating in the testing should complete an online form by March 5. Your feedback is invaluable to the improvement of the PHPartners.org website!

Deadline Extended for Public Comments on Proposals to Enhance Transparency of Clinical Trial Results

In November, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released 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. One 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 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 March 23, 2015.

Grant Announcement for the National Resource Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Adolescents

The HHS Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with the purpose of funding an organization that will support the maintenance, operation, and re-launch of a national HIV/AIDS resource center. The Resource Center will promote practical strategies to assist in the implementation of evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions and best practices targeted to adolescent youth, in particular adolescents at high risk and African American and Hispanic/Latino adolescents. Funding for this project comes from the HHS Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). OAH anticipates funding one grantee with an annual budget of up to $350,000 per year for a three-year project period. Applications are due by Friday, April 10, 2015.

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: LiverTox

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) LiverTox resource is a free website providing up-to-date, comprehensive and unbiased information about drug-induced liver injury caused by prescription and nonprescription drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements. LiverTox represents a collaborative effort by medical and scientific specialists to provide a central repository of clinical information in support of clinical and basic research on the prevention and control of drug-induced liver injury. The site also provides guidance to clinicians and healthcare providers on the diagnosis and management of this important cause of liver disease. LiverTox contains approximately 850 drug and herbal records. It is a joint effort of the Liver Disease Research Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) of NLM.

Look for these LiverTox updates in the coming months:

  • Addition of about 100 new records.
  • New histopathologic imaging (microscopic structure of diseased tissue) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) included in drug records.
  • Section  providing public access to reference cases, initially populated with clinical cases from the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network, a consortium of eight academic medical centers throughout the United States. This repository will allow for statistical analyses of trends in drug-induced liver disease, as well as better characterization of clinical patterns of injury.

New Toolkit on Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy!

According to recent studies, and despite new private insurance coverage over the past year, many people do not understand the very terms and concepts necessary to make informed choices. A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit, Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy: Do Consumers Know What they are Buying? addresses the extent and significance of both health literacy and health insurance literacy for Americans buying and using health insurance.

A few highlights from the Toolkit:

  • Nearly nine out of ten adults have difficulty using health information to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Half of Americans don’t understand such basic health insurance terms as premium, deductible and copay.
  • Thirty-seven percent of marketplace enrollees did not know their deductible, and 47% of those receiving subsidies did not know the amount of federal assistance they were getting.
  • The cost of low health literacy in the United States currently represents between 7% and 17% of all personal health care expenditures.

Contents of the Toolkit include:

  • An overview of problems associated with health literacy as well as studies analyzing their impact.
  • Links to reports and news articles explaining and analyzing the issue.
  • Contact information for leading experts on the issue.

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: Alternatives to Animal Testing Portal

The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Alternatives to Animal Testing (ALTBIB) portal provides access to PubMed/MEDLINE citations relevant to alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in biomedical research and testing. The ALTBIB topics and subtopics are aligned with current U.S. and international approaches. For example, information is provided on in silico, in vitro, and refined or improved animal testing methods. Strategies that incorporate validated methods and other approaches are also covered. In addition to the topic areas for PubMed searches, the ALTBIB portal includes a searchable bibliographic collection of alternatives to animal testing, including citations from published articles, books, book chapters, and technical reports published from 1980 to 2000.

The Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), part of NLM’s Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), now includes subheadings (“/alternative/ and /in vitro tests/”) in the Human and Non-Human Toxicity Excerpts fields. These subheadings allow users to locate data from in vitro and other alternative methods. For example, users can search “ALTERNATIVE IN VITRO TESTS” to locate records with this data. Coverage includes results from methods validated by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) and the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL-ECVAM).

NAL Unveils New Search Engine for Published USDA Research!

The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has unveiled PubAg, a user-friendly search engine that provides public enhanced access to research published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and has one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive compilations of agricultural information available.

PubAg is a new portal for literature searches and full-text access of more than 40,000 scientific journal articles by USDA researchers, mostly from 1997 to 2014. New articles by USDA researchers will be added almost daily, and older articles may be added if possible. There is no access fee, and no requirement for a username, password or any other form of registration to use PubAg. Phase I of PubAg provides access for searches of 340,000 peer-reviewed agriculturally related scientific literature, mostly from 2002 to 2012, each entry offering a citation, abstract and a link to the article if available from the publisher. This initial group of highly relevant, high-quality literature was taken from the 4 million bibliographic citations in NAL’s database. Phase II of PubAg, planned for later in 2015, will include the remainder of NAL’s significant bibliographic records. PubAg has been specifically designed to be easy to use and to serve a number of diverse users including the public, farmers, scientists, academicians and students.