News & Announcements

Cross-Systems Financing Project for Vulnerable Populations (posted 7/8)

Posted: July 08, 2009

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has released a report on their Cross-Systems Financing Project , an initiative focused on individuals with substance use disorders and/or mental health issues with complex, often unmet, needs.  Cross-systems financing plans represent strategic, interagency collaborations. They create efficient and efficacious models of care, utilizing federal, state and community-based financial and human resources, and provide the most vulnerable populations with evidence-based, continuous support.  This report is intended to provide health care leaders, senior program directors, and policy makers with a process framework, pragmatic examples, lessons learned, and a compendium of resources to support unique initiatives in the ?eld of cross-systems ?nance.  Click here to download the report from the RWJF website.

HIV Testing in the Black Community (posted 7/6)

Posted: July 06, 2009

Phill Wilson, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), the only national HIV/AIDS think tank in the United States focused exclusively on African-Americans, addressed the annual convention of the National Newspapers Publishers Association where he discussed the reasons blacks have been so slow to address the threat of HIV/AIDS in their communities.  To the news article published by The Seattle Medium click here .  For more information from the Kaiser Family Foundation click here .

Additionally, a recent report from the BAI found that blacks are more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to have been tested for HIV, but need to be tested at much higher rates to curb the spread of the virus.  The report titled, "Passing the Test: The Challenges and Opportunities of HIV Testing in Black America," cites the major reasons HIV continues to spread in the black community and offers recommendations for how to curb the spread of HIV.  To download the report click here .

Cultural Competency Curriculum for Emergency Responders (posted 7/3)

Posted: July 03, 2009

On July 1, 2009 the Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced the release of its latest cultural competency e-learning program - Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response .

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., said emergency preparedness in minority communities is high on OMH’s list of priorities. “I’m pleased to announce that we are launching a comprehensive cultural competency education program for disaster personnel. The program trains individuals such as emergency managers, first responders, social workers, and disaster mental health workers in effectively serving culturally and linguistically diverse populations at every phase of the disaster – preparedness, response and recovery,” Dr. Graham said.  This set of courses is designed to integrate knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to cultural competency in order to help lessen racial and ethnic health care disparities brought on by disaster situations.

Comparative Effectiveness Research Report (posted 7/3)

Posted: July 03, 2009

Recommendations for how the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Secretary will spend $400 million in funds for patient-centered research, also known as comparative effectiveness research, were released June 30th by Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). The report, mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to help the HHS Secretary and lawmakers improve the quality of care for patients, and provide patients and doctors the best information possible to make decisions about health care.  The council was charged by Congress with the task of identifying key areas of comparative effectiveness research where funding could make the greatest impact to improve health outcomes for our nation. The council heard many perspectives, including public input from hundreds of diverse stakeholders, which influenced the entire report. The report includes a definition of CER, criteria for determining which research projects should be a priority, and a strategic framework to identify gaps and future priorities.

The council focused on the unique role that the Office of Secretary funds could play in complementing and leveraging funding currently allocated to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies.  Recommendations include the following:

  • It is critically important to be able to share the results of comparative effectiveness  research with doctors and patients and make better investments in how information is disseminated;
  • Research should focus on the needs of priority populations such as racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, persons with multiple chronic conditions, the elderly, and children;
  • Research should be in specific high-impact health arenas such as medical and assistive devices, surgical procedures, behavioral interventions and prevention; and
  • Investments should be made in data infrastructure such as linking current data sources to enable answering CER questions, development of distributed electronic data networks and partnerships with the private sector.

The council’s report will help to inform Secretary Sebelius’ submission of an operational plan for the combined $1.1 billion allocated for patient-centered research, which includes the $400 million allocated to the Office of the Secretary at HHS.  This investment will empower clinicians and patients with the information needed to achieve the best outcomes possible.

Click here to download the report from the HHS website (it is the document entitled Full Report at the bottom of the page).

Behavioral Health in Health Care Reform (posted 6/30)

Posted: June 30, 2009

In late May the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a consensus statement about health care reform entitled Ensuring U.S. Health Reform Includes Prevention and Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders - A Framework for Discussion .  The report states, "There is no health without addressing mental and substance-use disorders and it is time to give Americans the comprehensive care and support they need and deserve."  The report includes a list of nine "Core Consensus Principles for Reform" based on input from "hundreds of stakeholder and consumer groups and dozens of nationally and internationally recognized experts in the fields of mental health and addictions," according to the agency.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council of Community Behavioral Healthcare, and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America were among the groups that provided input into the report. Click here to download the report.  Click here to learn more.

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