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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

TOXMAP News

NLM’s TOXMAP beta now includes a Native Lands map layer that shows geographic areas of certain native populations, including American Indian Reservations and Off-Reservation Trust Lands, Alaska Native Village Statistical Areas, and Hawaiian Home Lands, as defined by the US Census. This layer can be toggled on and off via the Map Contents side panel (refer to the TOXMAP and Native American Populations page). Many of these areas can be zoomed to via the “Zoom To” Location window located on the toolbar. In addition, a set of new classroom exercises has been developed by Thomas R. Mueller, Ph.D., GISP Professor at the California University of Pennsylvania and his graduate students. The exercises are available on the TOXMAP teachers’ page.

NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine Summer 2016 Issue Available Online!

Padma Lakshmi on the cover of Medlineplus Magazine summer issueThe Summer 2016 issue of NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine features topics including the Zika virus, alcohol-medicines interactions, oral health and aging, colorectal cancer, precision medicine, age-related macular degeneration, and endometriosis. The cover features Padma Lakshmi, author, actress, model, and Emmy-nominated host and executive producer of the hit TV show Top Chef, who endured a 23-year struggle to find relief from endometriosis. The condition occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside a woman’s uterus grows outside the uterus, and can cause pain, infertility, and very heavy periods. Padma recently revealed to NIH MedlinePlus magazine how the experience shaped her advocacy efforts for those with the condition.

The issue also features an article about the Zika virus. Discovered in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947, the mosquito-borne virus has very recently become a public health concern in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. NIH MedlinePlus magazine spoke about Zika with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dr. Fauci answers questions regarding the risks to the American public and pregnant women and current efforts in developing a vaccine.

NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine is the free, trusted consumer guide to the vast array of authoritative online health and medical information in MedlinePlus. Published four times a year, the magazine showcases the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) latest medical research and healthcare information. NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine is freely available as a print subscription, e-mail alerts, and online.

Call for Applications: Sewell Travel Awards to Attend 2016 APHA Annual Meeting in Denver!

The Sewell Travel Award for Public Health (STAPH) Committee is currently accepting applications for the Sewell Stipend to attend the American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting & Exposition, which will be held in Denver, CO, from October 29 to November 2. Applications are due by Sunday, July 17. The conference theme is Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health. Consider applying for a stipend if you are in a position in which you have public health-related responsibilities. The committee expects to make at least nine awards, including a minimum of seven non-local awards and two local (Denver area) awards. Librarians new to public health are especially welcome to apply. Membership in the Medical Library Association is not required of applicants.

There is an extensive LibGuide designed to answer just about every question about the awards, and it also has the application form. For additional information, contact Helena VonVille, Chair, STAPH Committee, Library Director, University of Texas School of Public Health Library, Houston, TX.

New Tox Town Page Available on Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a man-made chemical that is toxic and persistent in the environment. It is used to make products resistant to heat and to repel oil, grease, stains, and water. If you are wondering about exposure to PFOA or how it might affect your health, visit the new Tox Town page on Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). The page is also available in Spanish.

National Library of Medicine Flags Incorrect Pesticide Toxicity Values

International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) is part of the National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET) and is compiled by Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA). It provides comparison charts of international risk assessment information and explains differences in risk values derived by different organizations. ITER provides chemical toxicity values or cancer classifications from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Health Canada, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), NSF International, US EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and other Independent Peer Reviewed Values (IPRV). Chemical toxicity values in ITER are estimated to protect the general population assuming daily exposures to environmental chemicals for a lifetime. The TERA Center and the NLM provide periodic updates to keep the database as current as possible.

The US EPA IRIS chemical toxicity values (RfDs or RfCs) are considered by many to be a “gold standard of toxicity values.” However, up to 187 pesticide chemical toxicity values are currently incorrect, either for the RfD/RfC, for the cancer classifications, or both. ITER/TOXNET has added an alert flag for the IRIS pesticide toxicity values to ensure that users can access the more current pesticide toxicity value developed by the US EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP).

NLM Resources for National Safety Month 2016

June is National Safety Month. Check out the following resources from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for reliable heath and safety information. The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) at NLM provides access to disaster and chemical safety resources for all age groups and populations, and MedlinePlus provides overviews of basic first aid skills:

  • Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for Special Populations – Access links to trustworthy disaster preparedness information for a wide range of populations, including different age groups, cultural and ethnic groups, and groups with specific health conditions.
  • Disaster Lit – Search a curated collection of links to disaster medicine and public health documents.
  • Haz-Map – Learn how to avoid workplace accidents by searching Haz-Map for diseases and other risks associated with specific jobs.
  • Household Products Database – Protect yourself, children, and pets from dangerous health effects for a wide range of household products, such as personal care, pet care, and arts & crafts products.
  • MedlinePlus – Read about First Aid resources, such as CPR, choking, drug abuse first aid, and creating a sling.

NIH Issues Single IRB Policy to Streamline Reviews of Multi-Site Research

Accelerating clinical research studies benefits researchers, research participants, and all who stand to gain from research results. Today, the time it takes to go from a sound research idea to the launch of a new, multi-site clinical research study is too long. A major contributor to the delay is that too many institutional review boards (IRBs) are reviewing the protocol and consent documents for the same study, often with no added benefit in terms of the protections for research participants. To address this bottleneck, NIH has issued a new policy to streamline the review process for NIH-funded, multi-site clinical research studies in the United States. The NIH Policy on the Use of a Single Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Multi-Site Research sets the expectation that all sites participating in multi-site studies involving non-exempt human subjects research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will use a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) to conduct the ethical review required by the Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects.

IRBs play a critical role in reviewing and approving studies involving human research participants. IRBs evaluate the potential benefits of research and risks to participants. In the past, most clinical research studies were carried out at single institutions. Now studies are increasingly conducted at multiple sites to help increase the number and diversity of the participants, improve operational efficiencies, and accelerate the generation of research results. However, for the majority of multi-site studies, the IRB at each participating site continues to conduct an independent review. This review adds time, but generally does not meaningfully enhance protections for the participants. This new NIH policy seeks to end duplicative reviews that slow down the start of the research.

NIH will support applicant and awardee institutions as they implement the new policy with guidance and resources, such as a model authorization agreement that lays out the roles and responsibilities of each signatory, and a model communication plan that identifies which documents are to be completed, and when. You can learn more about the process that NIH followed to come to this final policy, including gathering public feedback, by visiting the Office of Clinical Research and Bioethics Policy (OCRBP) web site.

New OMH Webinar Series: Fighting Hepatitis and HIV Co-infection in Minority Communities

Hepatitis and HIV co-infection is a major concern among many racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. Prevention and education efforts are hindered by many challenges, including stigma, language barriers, cultural competency and knowledge among providers, and access to services in hard-to-reach communities. The HHS Office of Minority Health Resource Center kicks off a new five-part webinar series on June 24 designed to help health professionals, agencies and clinics get past these challenges and address the rising rates of hepatitis and HIV co-infection in their communities. The series examines the current state of hepatitis and HIV among minority groups, as well as best practices for culturally and linguistically appropriate testing and outreach efforts.

Register now for the first webinar on June 24, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm PDT, Innovative Strategies for Addressing Hep C in Indian Country. To be notified of dates and agendas for all webinars in the series, sign up for OMH email updates.

Six Lab Exercises for Creating Community Health Maps!

Learn how to use free and low cost mapping tools to create community health maps through a series of six lab exercises available at the NLM’s Community Health Maps blog. The lab exercises cover the entire Community Health Mapping Workflow from field data collection through online data presentation. For each of the six labs, an instructional PDF document and a Zip file of data to be used for each exercise are available for downloading. The topics for the six labs include:

  • Lab 1 – Field Data Collection (with either iOS or Android)
  • Lab 2 – Bringing Field Data into QGIS
  • Lab 3 – Combining Field Data with other Organizational Data
  • Lab 4 – Basic Spatial Analysis
  • Lab 5 – Cartography with QGIS
  • Lab 6 – Data Visualization With CartoDB

Now Available: Recordings of NLM Theater Presentations at the 2016 MLA Conference!

The NLM exhibit booth at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA) featured theater presentations to bring users up-to-date on several NLM products and services. Presentation recordings are now accessible from the NLM web site. The average video length is 20 minutes.