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SEA Currents

Newsletter of the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic Region

Archive for the ‘Outreach’ Category

What We Learned: Exhibiting at a Nursing Conference

Friday, June 28th, 2013

By David Midyette, Outreach and Communications Coordinator

SE/A coordinators exhibit at over 20 conferences every year, and many of those are for nursing associations and groups. Personally, I find these groups very interesting and quite diverse. Recently, while exhibiting at a nursing conference in Nashville, TN, I had the pleasure of speaking with many nurse educators about NLM and the resources we offer. While it was great to hear how much they love us and how they frequently use MedlinePlus and Pubmed, it was even more rewarding to help them discover new resources for their students.

To a person, they all commented on how their students lack awareness about toxic substances their incoming patients might have encountered. The discussions centered on teaching new nursing students about collecting patient histories and other intake information. I showed them ToxTown (http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/) and they were rather excited to have such a well-developed resource to share with their students and incorporate into their own curricula. They really appreciated having teacher resources to easily incorporate into their classes, the ability to direct students to an interactive website, and the wealth of supporting information at an accessible level.

Naturally, this led to a second discussion about another valuable resource, GeneEd (http://geneed.nlm.nih.gov/). Again, they loved the resources for teachers and the clear, accessible layout of the site. In particular, they liked that they could use the site to provide a refresher for their students, and in some cases, expose their students to the basics of genetics. The majority of their students are coming straight from high school and they felt that the site meshed well with the educational levels of incoming students without overwhelming them. One particular segment of GeneEd that they particularly liked was the section on Biostatistics. More than one of them remarked that they could benefit from the section in refreshing their own understanding of the topic.

I had the pleasure of speaking to nearly 100 people at this conference, and with over 300 visitors to the booth it was a very successful event for SE/A. The nursing community has a wide range of interests and it is very rewarding to show nurses in clinical practice how we can help them with databases like LactMed (http://lactmed.nlm.nih.gov), LiverTox (http://livertox.nih.gov/), and DrugInfo (http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov). Additionally, there was great interest in MedlinePlus Connect (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/connect/overview.html) and Clinical Trials (http://clinicaltrials.gov/).

MedlinePlus Connect is becoming increasingly important to nursing as Electronic Health Records have become ubiquitous in clinical settings. Many of the nurses I spoke with were familiar with EHRs but had little knowledge of where the patient care resources were coming from in the systems used by their institutions. Connecting a familiar resource (MedlinePlus) with direct patient care through an EHR system really resonated with them, and they had questions about how to make it happen. Having cards on the topic made it much easier to provide them with basic information that they could take back to their administrators and IT groups.

Clinical Trials is evolving into a well-rounded research database as more and more results are added. The attendees appreciated the ability to connect their patients to potential trials related to specific conditions, and those who were conducting research appreciated being able to connect to results and data in such a direct fashion.

It is truly amazing to get out of the library and into the places where practitioners, researchers, and educators gather to discuss issues crucial to their profession. Being able to help them at a place and time when their minds are focused on their practice and profession in such a directed manner is a unique opportunity for sharing the wealth of resources and services from NLM. If you would like to get involved in exhibiting, we offer exhibit awards throughout the year (http://nnlm.gov/sea/funding/exhibit.html). If you have any questions, want to exhibit with us, or just want to drop in at an exhibit, check with me (dmidyette@hshsl.umaryland.edu) and I can provide you with more information.

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National Public Health Week - April 1-April 5, 2013

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Sheila Snow-Croft, Public Health Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region

The first week of April is National Public Health Week (NPHW)! This annual event is organized by the American Public Health Association to recognize contributions and to spotlight issues important to the nation’s health. This year’s theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money,” developed “to highlight the value of prevention and the importance of well-supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending,” per their website, www.nphw.org. Books and resources, a planner’s guide and toolkit, media outreach materials, legislative information, downloadable logos and many other resources are available. For events across the country, see the calendar at http://www.nphw.org/events/calendar.

Each day of the week will focus on a different aspect of the overall theme:

  • Monday, April 1 – Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Home for Your Family: Health and safety begin at home. Make prevention a fun family tradition.
  • Tuesday, April 2 – Providing a Safe Environment for Children at School: Schools are the perfect setting for improving child health. Plus, children’s health is a rallying point few can ignore.
  • Wednesday, April 3 – Creating a Healthy Workplace: Wellness and safety in the workplace are good for health and for business. Let’s make prevention work for us.
  • Thursday, April 4 – Protecting You While You’re on the Move: Safety on the go is often in our own hands, but it’s also tied to community design. Together, we can turn our streets into roads to better health.
  • Friday, April 5 – Empowering a Healthy Community: Support public health efforts that create healthy opportunities for all. Good health is a community affair.

Does your organization have something special planned for National Public Health Week? Send us information about your activities so we can recognize the great efforts in the Southeastern Atlantic Region. Email Sheila Snow-Croft at ssnowcro@hshsl.umaryland.edu.

Inspiring People in our Region: Ronnie Bass, MSCM – Founder, CEO, Executive Director of Someone Cares, Inc. of Atlanta EDIC (Early Detection Invervention Clinic)

Friday, March 8th, 2013

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“Have a passion for serving people with patience, dignity, and respect first and foremost!”

Ronnie Bass, MSCM
Founder, CEO, Executive Director of Someone Cares, Inc. of Atlanta EDIC (Early Detection Invention Clinic)
Atlanta, GA

What is your position?

Founder, CEO, Executive Director of Someone Cares, Inc. of Atlanta EDIC (Early Detection Intervention Clinic)

Someone Cares (S1C) is one of the leading African American, Latino, MSM (Men who have Sex with Men), and Transgender HIV/AIDS community based outreach organizations in the Southeastern Region of the United States. We address health disparities and connection to care in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  Someone Cares Inc. provides HIV/AIDS/STD prevention education, interventions, advocacy, support services, counseling, testing, research, screening, and treatment.

Is there something in your own personal story that led you to do the work you do?

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the United States was just beginning to acknowledge that human immunodeficiency virus was not just a homosexual disease, but a disease that kills anyone; men, women, children, straight, gay, and lesbians. It took the deaths of famous people to draw attention to how this disease has no respect of person. I remember hearing about Rock Hudson’s illness, and later death, which shook America. His death, as sad as it was, became an awakening to many. It made the people of this country stand up and take a more urgent interest in this disease, which resulted in funding into research to combat it. Black America woke up when basketball great Magic Johnson disclosed his HIV status. While growing up, several of my friends had become infected or died. I wanted to help do my part in educating the community of this dreadful disease. By God’s Grace and Mercies, I am here today. God, by perpetually providing the agency with the resources that we need to help, has kept me focused on what I can and should do with my life. I am in my purpose.

I had my first experience with HIV/AIDS in Jacksonville Florida where I was an Outreach Worker. In the early 90’s, Jacksonville was ranked third in the top cities with the number of HIV cases reported. As an Outreach Worker I had hands on experience with infected and affected people. There I had counseled and tested thousands. I was particularly touched when an 18-year-old youth came to me for a test, and after testing him, found that not only did he have HIV, but also AIDS. His T-cell count was below 200 and he had no knowledge of the disease. It was then that I started “Someone Cares.”

What do you love most about your outreach work?

I enjoy meeting people where they are.

SC has extraordinary access to the communities and places where the African American, Latino, MSM, and Transgender congregate and address health disparities. We have become “Gatekeepers.” The S1C agency has access to parks, bathhouses, clubs, adult bookstores, private sex parties, internet chat rooms, etc. In these settings, S1C is able to convey prevention messages and provide HIV/AIDS/STD testing, condom distribution, interventions, and educational information. Having obtained their confidence in a non-judgmental way, the African American, Latino, MSM, and Transgender communities have become more open to discussions about reducing “at risk” behavior. They have also become more open to invitations to attend weekly social network gatherings and empowerment group meetings. It is here where we reach one, teach one.

What is the biggest challenge in what you do?

My biggest challenge is reaching the younger African American MSM generation. Each day there are new opportunities for unprotected sex in the youth community, and I am concerned that my antiquated prevention methods might not be able to do the job.

The CDC fact sheet report is alarming about the African American community.

CDC Reports that:

African Americans have the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Compared with other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease—from new infections to deaths.

African Americans accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections occurring among adults and adolescents (aged 13 years or older) in 2010, despite representing only 12% to14% of the US population.

In 2010, black gay, bisexual, and other MSM represented an estimated 72% (10,600) of new infections among all black men and 36% of an estimated 29,800 new HIV infections among all MSM. More new HIV infections (4,800) occurred among young black MSM (aged 13-24) than any other age or racial group of MSM ages of disease—from new infections to deaths.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your work in terms of health outreach to your community’s underserved populations?

The most fulfilling part of each day as I work toward fulfilling the Someone Cares Mission, is reaching out to the LGBTQ community to empower each individual we encounter to make safe, responsible choices in their sexual decisions. My desire is to enlighten people in the hopes that some subconscious intervention seed(s) are being planted that will eventually take hold in their conscious minds and protect them from getting infected.

For those who are already infected, or affected, I feel fulfilled when reassuring them that they are not alone and that their diagnosis of HIV/ AIDS is not a death sentence. We do this by offering them a structured support system for treatment, no matter their prognosis.

Fulfillment also comes in the form of assisting those who are constantly misjudged, rejected, and abandoned because of their authentic sexual identity or due to multiple issues regarding their HIV/AIDS status.  They can feel overwhelmed by their situation, which increases their at-risk behaviors and self-neglect. If I can only reach one a day, or one a week, I feel that we are doing our job by being more than just another nonprofit agency; we give them confidence that we are there for them as a friend!

What do you see as the biggest health concerns in the communities you serve?

Lawmakers have been slashing funding for HIV testing and treatment that falls under Medicaid. Although the U.S. Preventative Task Force recommended that all community health clinics, which serve poorer regions, conduct free HIV testing, many centers have not had enough resources to follow through. The issue has been exacerbated by governors who have refused to implement Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Expanding Medicaid would extend insurance coverage to millions of low-income Americans, including more access to HIV testing and treatments. Instead, some leaders are making aggressive cuts to their state-level Medicaid programs. For example, Louisiana recently cut a case management program for low-income HIV patients.

How did you first come to know NN/LM SE/A?

A fellow agency provided us with NN/LM SE/A funding information. S1C submitted a proposal and was awarded funding for “The REACH Project,” through which we conduct research, and train HIV positive Transgender individuals on how to access reliable health information.

In what ways has NN/LM SE/A been of help to you?

Through the funding provided by NN/LM SE/A, Someone Cares has broadened the HIV Transgender knowledge base in the areas of HIV medicine and hormone therapy to better understand effects on the physical body of the infected Transgender. Our project has been a great success in transforming mental health and implementing necessary lifestyle changes for the HIV Transgender community. We bridge the gap in healing for individuals frustrated by their desire to be physically identified by their true gender while also dealing with the many challenges of adhering to their HIV medications and/or hormone treatments.

Can you share a success story about the impact of health outreach in your community?

Someone Cares has been humbled and blessed to have numerous success stories in our 17 years of existence, but there is one that stands out from the rest, when S1C received its state certified CLIA waiver to provide rapid HIV testing, that was a joyful day! That meant S1C could test in alternative LGBTQ venues, reaching people where they are. This enabled S1C to have a greater reach into the LGBTQ community, which helped to alleviate barriers that prevent people from becoming aware and knowing one’s HIV status.

What advice would you give others who are interested in doing health outreach work in their communities?

My advice to others, who have an earnest interest in doing health outreach work in their communities, is:

  • Have a passion for serving people with patience, dignity, and respect first and foremost!
  • Don’t be motivated by a paycheck, but rather by a focused purpose with your passion.    (It will take you further than you could ever imagine.)
  • Your outreach work should be as much a calling to your vocation as is a ministry.    (This agency is my purpose and my ministry as well, to which I have dedicated my life!)
  • Act upon whatever your hands, put to work, can do.
  • Get the job done with urgency for progress in their communityIf you would like to share your story or suggest another person for our “Inspiring People” feature, please email Nancy Patterson:  npatters@hshsl.umaryland.edu

Increasing Public Health Awareness through Technology

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

by Sheila Snow-Croft, Public Health Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region

The Centers for Disease Control has released a new iPad app called Solve the Outbreak that allows users to “assume the role of a disease outbreak investigator in the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) by navigating three fictional outbreaks based on real-life events, ” per Carol Crawford, branch chief of the CDC’s Electronic Media Branch in a press release (http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0220_ipad_app.html).

I downloaded and played the free game and I must admit: it’s pretty addictive. It definitely “delivers in a kind of CSI-meets-public-health-policy mashup,” as the Kansas City Business Journal noted,  (http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/blog/2013/02/cdc-app-turns-ipad-users-into-disease.html). There’s learning involved, points and badges to be earned, and results can be posted on Facebook and Twitter in the hopes that social media will assist in both promotion and interest. Users get clues, analyze data, solve cases, and save lives, just like real disease detectives, while gaining familiarity with terminology and learning from health tips along the way. Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, noted that people do not need to “experience an outbreak investigation through fictional Hollywood films like Contagion,” since they can now experience it virtually through this game (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/02/20/cdc-turns-from-zombies-to-outbreak-ipad-app).

This use of technology aims to raise awareness about public health issues and increase engagement with the CDC, along with encouraging young people to enter the field of epidemiology. CDC spokesman Alex Casanova told ABCNews.com that “the app was developed in-house and cost $110,000 to develop, minus salaries.”  It appears to be less controversial than the 2011 “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic” campaign that was developed after Twitter users responded to a CDC query regarding the types of disasters for which people are prepared.  The Outbreak app currently has only three scenarios but more are in the works. Who knew epidemiology could be so exciting?

Congratulations: Someone Cares Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Monday, February 18th, 2013

By Nancy Patterson, Community Outreach Coordinator, NN/LM, SE/A Region

Please join us in congratulating our awardee, Someone Cares of Atlanta, on their recognition by the Black AIDS Institute as a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Congrats to Ronnie & everyone at Someone Cares! http://goo.gl/CTmJ5 and http://www.thegavoice.com/blog/health/5823.

Someonecare

Last updated on Friday, 22 November, 2013

Funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2011-00004-C with the Health Sciences and Human Services Library of the University of Maryland