August is National Immunization Awareness Month! This year, the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) has designated a specific population focus for each week:
August 3-9 — A Healthy Start: Babies and Pregnant Women
August 10-16 — Back to School: Children, Preteens & Teens
August 17-23 — Off to the Future: Young Adults
August 24-30 — Not Just for Kids: Adults
Immunizations are important for individuals of all ages. Often times there are concerns as to whether or not we should continue immunizing our children (and ourselves), however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains vaccinations are worthwhile:
It’s true, some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are becoming very rare in the U.S. Of course, they are becoming rare largely because we have been vaccinating against them. But it is still reasonable to ask whether it’s really worthwhile to keep vaccinating.
It’s much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, “Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax.” But the leak hasn’t stopped. Before long we’d notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.
Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.
For more information on vaccines and immunizations, visit the CDC website. On this page you’ll find topics such as Basic & Common Questions, information on Vaccine Side Effects & Safety, recommendations for parents, and immunization schedules for all populations.
To participate in National Immunization Awareness Month, download the toolkit from NPHIC and join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #NIAM14.
The August issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research is now available:
Can You Recognize a Heart Attack or Stroke? What to Do When Every Moment Counts
How would you react to a medical emergency? When it comes to life-threatening conditions like heart attack or stroke, every minute counts.
Surviving Sepsis: Taming a Deadly Immune Response
Many people have never heard of sepsis, or they don’t know what it is. But sepsis is one of the top 10 causes of disease-related death in the U.S. The condition can arise suddenly, and it’s often hard to recognize.
Transplant Reverses Sickle Cell Disease
Mind and Body Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Featured Website: Diabetes Health Sense
Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you!
Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and often deadly virus found in humans and primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas. It is still unknown how the virus first appears in humans at the start of an outbreak, although scientists believe an individual is infected through contact with an infected animal.
In humans, the virus can be passed from person to person in a number of ways including direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected individual and exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been in contact with infected secretions
Because of the nature of transmission, Ebola can spread quickly within health care settings without adequate sterilization procedures and those working with infected individuals are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, as are friends and family. Symptoms of Ebola typically include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. These symptoms can occur anywhere from 2-21 days after exposure to the virus, however most begin around days 8-10. Some infected individuals may recover, while many do not (Ebola outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90%). There is currently no cure for Ebola, therefore treatment is limited to balancing the patient’s fluids, maintaining oxygen status, and treating complicating infections. Isolation precautions and proper sterilization are the primary methods of prevention.
As of August 1, 2014, “the World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1603 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 887 deaths”. This is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first of its kind in West Africa. Because of this, the CDC has issues a number of level 3 travel notices and has set up a screening process for those traveling to and from Africa.
Currently, no individuals have contracted Ebola in the United States, however two American healthcare professionals working in Liberia have contracted the virus and been transported for treatment to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. In light of this, a number of precautions have been put into place and the CDC has determined that the spread of Ebola poses no significant risk in the United States.
For the most recent updates on the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, visit the CDC’s West Africa Outbreak page. Information for the public, travelers, and healthcare workers is also available from the CDC.
The National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) has recently announced changes to PubMed Commons. PubMed Commons is a pilot commenting system for authors in PubMed. PubMed is the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s database of the biomedical literature. PubMed Commons enables authors to share opinions and information about scientific publications in PubMed. All authors of publications in PubMed are eligible to become members.
Members play a pivotal role in ensuring that PubMed Commons remains a forum for open constructive criticism and discussion of scientific issues. They can comment on any publication in PubMed, rate the helpfulness of comments, and invite other eligible authors to join.
Among the changes are modifications to streamline the homepage. Information about joining and using PubMed Commons has been consolidated in a single page to help you get started. There will be synopsis of the most recent blog post at the top of the homepage to help you stay up-to-date on PubMed Commons.
For several months, comment rating has given members the chance to weigh in on what comments they find useful. Visitors to PubMed can see these ratings alongside comments. Ratings are a key element in calculating the comment and commenter scores that determine the appearance of comments in the “Selected comments” stream on our homepage.
Some new site modifications will highlight contributions to PubMed Commons. On homepage, “Top comments now” will feature the top three recent comments. On PubMed records, “Selected comments” (from the homepage stream) prompt the appearance of an icon above abstracts, directing readers to comments below.
In response to community feedback, corresponding authors of comments on their publications are being contacted to invite them to join PubMed Commons. This new procedure has resulted in an increase in author responses.
More information is available on the PubMed Commons Blog.
The Medical Library Association (MLA) believes that access to high-quality information improves decision-making by health professionals, scientists, and consumers and is a major determinant in the quality of care and improved health for the nation and the world. MLA is interested in supporting individuals whose research will extend the underlying knowledge base of health sciences information management or enhance the practice of the information professions, particularly health sciences librarianship.
Areas of interest include the organization, delivery, use, and impact of information and knowledge on:
- Health care access and delivery;
- Public health services;
- Consumers’ use of health information;
- Biomedical research;
- Education for the health professions.
To that end, MLA is accepting applications for the Donald A. B. Lindberg Research Fellowship. Established in 2003, the annual fellowship provides a $10,000 grant to support research aimed at expanding the knowledge base linking the information services provided by librarians to improved health care and advances in biomedical research. Areas of interest include the organization, delivery, use, and impact of information and knowledge on healthcare access and delivery, public health services, consumers’ use of health information, biomedical research, and education for the health professions.
Deadline for Applications: November 15.
The Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment period for 2015 begins November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is hosting a free 1‑day Marketplace training event for partners and stakeholders who provide general information or help educate consumers about the Marketplace, and/or help them apply for coverage.
This session does not fulfill the certification requirements for Navigators or other assisters, or for agents and brokers. The web-based training for certification of Navigators/Certified Assistance Counselors will be available in August, and for agents and brokers in July.
The training sessions will cover the following:
- An Overview of the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Information on Health Insurance Literacy
- Current Marketplace Topics
- Best Practices and Lessons Learned
As with the South Central Chapter (SCC) of MLA, the states of AR, LA, NM, OK, and TX align exactly with CMS Region 6. Four training events are currently scheduled for Region 6: Houston, TX (August 5); Dallas, TX (August 27 & August 28); and Baton Rouge, LA (September 18).
For more information, including how to register, visit: http://www.seiservices.com/cmsmp2014/mp/MPHome.aspx
Several recently released studies indicate that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped reduce the number of uninsured Americans by between 8 and 11 million in the first year of the Marketplaces. Other key points from one report¹:
- Many of the previously uninsured have used their new coverage to obtain needed care
- The uninsured rate for people ages 19-64 declined from 20% in the period July – September 2013 to 15% in the period April – June 2014
- Young men and women (ages 19-34) made up a significant portion of the decline
- In states which expanded Medicaid coverage, the uninsured rate for people in poverty declined at an even higher rate (28% to 17%)
A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Navigators and Assister programs nationwide found that an estimated 10.6 million people received personal help from Navigators and Assisters during the Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014). In total, more than 4,400 Assister Program provided assistance for enrollment. Most Assister programs reported that people looking for health insurance sought help because they did not understand the ACA or health insurance and lacked confidence to apply on their own. In addition, the survey showed that 90% of Assister Programs have already been re-ontacted by consumers with post-enrollment questions and problems.²
The next Open Enrollment Period for insurance coverage will begin on November 15, 2014. If your organization is a community health center or other health care provider, hospital, a non-federal governmental or non-profit social service agency in a state with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace or a State Partnership Marketplace, and your organization would like to help by training your staff to assist people applying for coverage through the Marketplace, you can apply to be a Certified Application Counselor (CAC). Attend an informational webinar on July 23rd at 1:00 p.m. CT for clarification regarding eligibility requirements. For more information on the CAC program, visit: http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/cac.html
Information on the webinar:
From Coverage to Care (C2C) is a national initiative from CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), specifically designed to help people with new health care coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them. It also seeks to give healthcare providers the tolls they need to promote patient engagement. An overview of the full range of resources included in C2C will be presented in a webinar on Wednesday, July 30th, at 11:00 a.m. CT: http://ow.ly/zpUfo
¹Gaining Ground: American’s Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care After the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period
²Kaiser Family Foundation Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs
How do HIPPA, Personal Health Records and Online Health Information Sharing impact your library? What is the role of encryption and secure wireless networks in maintaining online privacy and security? What are password management tools and how can they affect your private information?
Want to know more? A recording of the NN/LM SCR’s free monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions entitled, Health Information and Online Privacy for You and Your Organization is now available in the archives.
This webinar will be available for one hour of Medical Library Association (MLA) Continuing Education credit. View the recording before August 1, 2014 to receive MLA CE.
The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering an online, asynchronous class called “Discovering TOXNET” from 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.
TOXNET is a web-based system of databases covering hazardous chemicals, environmental health, toxic releases, chemical nomenclature, poisoning, risk assessment and regulations, and occupational safety and health. The independent modules cover TOXLINE, ChemIDplus, TRI, TOXMAP, Hazardous Substances Data Bank, IRIS, Haz-Map, LactMed, WISER, CHEMM, REMM, LiverTox, and more. You’ll learn about the resources through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises.
Who should take the class?
Health sciences librarians and health or environmental sciences professionals interested in unlocking the information in TOXNET and the other environmental health and toxicology resources.
How much time?
You will work on your own time over a period of 4 weeks to complete the modules that are of interest to you. There is one required module; the remaining modules are optional. This class is offered for variable MLA Continuing Education credit. Each module will be offered for 0.5 to 2.0 credit hours, for a total of up to 12 hours. Credit will not be awarded for partial completion of a module. Total credit awarded will be based on completed modules with a minimum of 1.0 credit hours.
What happens during the class?
This course is offered asynchronously through Moodle; you will work at your own pace. Each module consists of guided interactive online tutorials AND/OR tutorial videos as well as discovery exercises. Instructors will be available to answer questions and provide assistance throughout the course.
The modules are:
- Introduction to TOXNET: 0.5 hour (Required)
- TOXLINE: 1.0 hour
- ChemIDplus: 2.0 hours
- Integrated Risk Information System & Risk Assessment: 1.0 hour
- Hazardous Substances Databank: 1.5 hours
- Toxic Release Inventory: 1.0 hour
- TOXMAP: 1.5 hours
- Household Products Database: 0.5 hour
- LactMed: 0.5 hour
- Haz-Map: 0.5 hour
- WISER & CHEMM: 1.0 hour
- REMM: 0.5 hour
- LiverTox: 0.5 hour
How do I register?
Space in the class are limited, so register today!
For questions, contact the NTC
Call for Nominations: As the U.S. Member of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) is soliciting nominations of potential candidates for the four IHTSDO Standing Committees – Content, Quality Assurance, Implementation & Education (formerly Implementation and Innovation), and Technical. These Committees have important roles in the ongoing development of the SNOMED CT clinical terminology and in the IHTSDO. Nominations are due to NLM by COB August 4, 2014.
The current roster, terms of reference, and recent reports of each Committee are available on the IHTSDO website. The Committees are described in Sections 9.4-9.5 of the Articles of the IHTSDO.
Roughly half of each Standing Committee’s 12 members are serving terms that expire in December 2014. People elected to these slots will serve for 2 years (Jan. 2015-Dec. 2016). There may be additional Committee vacancies caused by resignations; people elected to fill these mid-term slots will serve for 1 year (Jan-Dec. 2015).
Current Committee members whose terms are expiring are eligible for re-nomination to the same committee provided they have not served more than six consecutive years on that committee. Re-nomination to the same committee is possible after sitting out a minimum of one year from the date they left the Committee. There is no impediment to a Committee member leaving one Committee and being nominated to another. Current Committee members eligible for re-nomination must submit a nomination package (see details below).
U.S. Nomination Process: All U.S. SNOMED CT Affiliate Licensees (aka, all U.S. UMLS Licensees) may vote to select the U.S. candidates for IHTSDO Committees. The timeline for nominations and elections is:
- July 15 – August 4: NLM accepts nominations of potential candidates for the four IHTSDO Standing Committees. Only candidates with complete nomination packets will be accepted (see below for details and required forms).
- August 6 – August 25: U.S. SNOMED CT Affiliates cast votes for their top three candidates for each Standing Committee. Instructions for casting ballots will be sent to U.S. SNOMED CT Affiliates on August 5th. For each Committee, the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes will become the U.S. nominees for the Committee.
- September 1, 2014: NLM will submit the names of the three (3) candidates receiving the highest number of votes as nominees for each of the four Committees to the IHTSDO for consideration by the IHTSDO General Assembly.
- October 26-29, 2014: IHTSDO will announce the final results of the election process during the General Assembly Meeting to be held in conjunction with the IHTSDO Community of Practice Meeting.
Committee Obligations and Participation Logistics: English is the official language of the IHTSDO, but Committee Members must be willing to take extra steps to ensure understanding by those for whom English is a second language. Teleconference arrangements are available for all Committee meetings, but, given the geographic distribution of IHTSDO members (currently 27 Members from all corners of the globe), meeting schedules cannot be convenient for all relevant time zones. The IHTSDO encourages Committee Members to attend at least one of the two major IHTSDO meetings each year in person. Committee Members must participate (either in person or via teleconference) in at least 50% of their Committee’s meetings to retain their seat on the Committee. U.S. Committee members may also be called upon to provide advice and input to NLM on matters related to the IHTSDO and SNOMED CT.
Submitting your nomination: Nominations are due to NLM by COB August 4, 2014. Please submit your nomination packets to NLM by e-mail with the subject line “US Nominations – IHTSDO Standing Committees”. NOTE: Nominations MUST be for a specific Committee.