News & Announcements

The NNED turns 5—Happy Birthday!

Posted: July 01, 2012

In 2007, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, with support from the NIH/National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, launched the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (the NNED). Since then, the network has grown to include over 1,300 organization and individual partners. 

The NNED has:
  • Convened 14 groups of community-based organizations (Learning Clusters) to address a shared priority issue and develop products on topics such as Parental Depression in Diverse Populations and Linking Faith-Based Institutions with Behavioral Health;
  • Offered 4 virtual professional development opportunities on specific promising practices (Bienvenido, Project Venture (offered twice), and Latino Multifamily Group Program) that can be implemented in diverse communities (Communities of Practice)
  • Provided 2 on-site opportunities for community leaders and providers to build skills in evidence-supported and culturally appropriate clinical, consumer, and organizational practices (NNEDLearn) with continued post-training follow up.
  • Disseminated information and resources through our interactive website, webinars, social media networking tools, and an electronic newletter. receives over 5,000 hits each month.

We know that the NNED has touched many communities, and we would love to hear your stories. Please share with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

LGBT Community still has Hurdles in Health Care Equality: Healthcare Equality Index Report

Posted: June 30, 2012

This year the Healthcare Equality Index, a report produced by the Human Rights Campaign that shows which hospitals and health care facilities score best on measures relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, visitors and employees, is flashing some big numbers:

  • A 40 percent increase in the number of health care facilities volunteering to participate in the 24-question survey that makes up the Healthcare Equality Index.
  • A 162 percent increase in the number of health care facilities dubbed ‘leaders’ in LGBT heath care equality. Leaders, according to the report, are hospitals and facilities that meet practices and policies they consider to be “essential for equitable and inclusive LGBT care.” That means hospitals and facilities don’t discriminate against LGBT members as patients, visitors or employees.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that only 407 health care facilities in the U.S. participated in the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), a voluntary survey that’s been around since 2007. It’s a big gain in respondents over previous years, but considering that there are more than 5,700 hospitals in the U.S., there’s still a ways to go. And there are 18 states in the U.S. with no providers that have participated in the HEI.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says while the report shines a light on facilities that are giving great service to the LGBT community there is more to be done. At a press conference at Howard University Hospital on Tuesday, Sebelius announced that HHS released a new progress report on LGBT health care in the U.S.

Last year Sebelius promised to incorporate the LGBT community into federal health care data collection — something the federal government hasn’t done before — and said questions addressed to the LGBT community will be “market-tested” before they will be finalized. This report is expected to address those data collection concerns. But the secretary says there are still barriers for the LGBT community: “Today LGBT Americans face numerous barriers to health from providers who just don’t understand their unique health needs, to difficulty getting health insurance because they can’t get coverage through a partner or a spouse. And unfortunately way too many LGBT individuals face discrimination and bigotry in the health care system.”

Lambda Legal's 2010 report based on the Survey on Discrimination Against LGBT People and People Living with HIV, shows that 73 percent of transgender respondents and 29 percent of lesbian gay and bisexual respondents said “they believed they would be treated differently by medical personnel because of their LGBT status.”

This year’s survey asked participating facilities about how and if they give their patients a chance to identify themselves as LGBT. More than 57 percent of participating health care facilities said they allow their patients to note if they are in a “non-state-registered same-sex partnership.” Furthermore, 9 percent of this year’s participants in the HEI noted that they offer a transgender-inclusive health benefit plan — something that is atypical for most U.S. health care plans.

Read more on the Kaiser Health News website. Download the Healthcare Equality Index report (pdf).  Download the HHS progress report on LGBT Health care (pdf). Download Lamda Legal's report -- When Health Care Isn't Caring (pdf).

Affordable Care Act’s Coverage Expansions will Reduce Health Insurance Disparity by Race/Ethnicity

Posted: June 29, 2012

There are large differences in US health insurance coverage by racial and ethnic groups, yet there have been no estimates to date on how implementation of the Affordable Care Act will affect the distribution of coverage by race and ethnicity. The authors used a microsimulation model to show that racial and ethnic differentials in coverage could be greatly reduced, potentially cutting the eight-percentage-point black-white differential in uninsurance rates by more than half and the nineteen-percentage-point Hispanic-white differential by just under one-quarter. However, blacks and Hispanics are still projected to remain more likely to be uninsured than whites. Achieving low uninsurance under the Affordable Care Act will depend on effective state policies to attain high enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the new insurance exchanges. Coverage gains among Hispanics will probably depend on adoption of strategies that address language and related barriers to enrollment and retention in California and Texas, where almost half of Hispanics live. If uninsurance is reduced to the extent projected in this analysis, sizable reductions in long-standing racial and ethnic differentials in access to health care and health status are likely to follow.

Read the full article.

Special Issue on Measuring and Analyzing Racial/Ethnic Health Care Disparities

Posted: June 28, 2012

The Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research and the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program have collaborated on a new special issue in the Journal Health Services Research, focused on Measuring and Analyzing Health Care Disparities. The special issue is now available online and will be published in June 2012 in print. Read the full text of each article by clicking on the links below:

The Center is for Multicultural Mental Health Research based at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a large public hospital system, and collaborates with outside institutions such as the Harvard University Medical School and the Recinto de Ciencias Médicas at the University of Puerto Rico. Their mission is to generate innovative mental health services research that impacts policy, practice, and service delivery for multicultural populations. 

Access the special issue of Health Services Research.

HIV Diagnoses Falling Among US Hispanics: Rate Differs by Group

Posted: June 27, 2012

New HIV diagnoses among Hispanics living in the United States or Puerto Rico fell about 4% yearly from 2006 through 2009 in a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Declines were higher for women than for men and for Puerto Ricans than for other groups. The study is titled Diagnoses of HIV Infection Among Hispanics/Latinos in 40 States and Puerto Rico, 2006–2009 and was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Hispanics (people of Latin origin from Western Hemisphere countries outside the United States) are disproportionately affected by HIV in the United States. Because Hispanics of different national origins differ culturally, the CDC conducted this study to see if they differ in HIV diagnosis rate (incidence). The CDC team analyzed data on Hispanics diagnosed with HIV from 2006 through 2009 in 40 states and Puerto Rico. These data included place of birth and place of residence at diagnosis. The CDC researchers also estimated prevalence of AIDS diagnoses within 12 months of HIV diagnosis. Everyone studied was 13 or older and had their HIV diagnosis reported to the CDC by June 2010.

From 2006 through 2009, 33,498 Hispanics were diagnosed with HIV infection. The annual diagnosis rate dropped by an estimated 4.3% over the study period. The rate dropped more in women than in men. Puerto Ricans accounted for most of the overall decline in HIV diagnoses, with an estimated annual drop of 13.1%. A short HIV-to-AIDS interval was more common in nonurban areas than in urban areas.

“To continue to decrease the incidence of HIV infection among Hispanics,” the CDC team concludes, “prevention programs need to address cultural and regional differences.”

Read more on the International AIDS Society website. Read the complete study (pdf).

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