News & Announcements

Latinos and HIV/AIDS: Factsheet from the Kaiser Family Foundation

Posted: June 06, 2012

Latinos in the United States continue to be heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS, accounting for higher rates of new HIV infections, AIDS diagnoses, and people living with HIV than their white counterparts. Moreover, studies have shown that Latinos with HIV/AIDS may face additional barriers to accessing care than whites. Today, there are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., including more than 205,000 Latinos. As the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority group in the U.S., addressing HIV/AIDS in the Latino community takes on increased importance in efforts to improve the nation’s health.

Snapshot of the Epidemic

  • Latinos accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in 2009 and 17% of people living with HIV disease. Latinos also accounted for 22% of new AIDS diagnoses in 2010.
  • The rate of new AIDS diagnoses per 100,000 among Latino adults/adolescents was the 3rd highest of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S. in 2010—about 3 times that of whites, but one third that of Blacks. The rate of new HIV infections for Latinos follows a similar pattern.
  • HIV was the 6th leading cause of death for both Latino men and Latinas, ages 25–44, in 2007.

Read more on the Kaiser Family Foundation website. Download the factsheet (pdf).


Individual and Area-level Unemployment Influence Smoking Cessation among African Americans

Posted: June 05, 2012

A recent study published in Social Science & Medicine found that being unemployed or living in communities with high unemployment rates each are associated with unsuccessful smoking cessation among blacks. 

Blacks have the highest incidence rates of both lung cancer and tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Previous research also has shown that blacks are less likely to quit smoking and face numerous tobacco-related health disparities. In addition, blacks are more likely to report low socioeconomic status (SES), which previous research indicates has a negative impact on health behavior and health status. The authors sought to understand the influence of several measures of individual- and area-level SES on smoking cessation efforts among black smokers. The study utilized data from a randomized clinical trial at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, evaluating the efficacy of a smoking cessation intervention for black patients. The authors of this study sampled data from 379 black smokers who resided in 174 Census tracts in the Houston, TX, metropolitan area and participated in the clinical trial. All smokers in the final sample provided demographic information (age, gender, partner status); data on tobacco use (average number of cigarettes smoked per day before quitting); and data on their individual SES status (insurance coverage, employment status, educational attainment, and annual household income). The researchers used participants’ residential addresses to create additional area-level socioeconomic variables (neighborhood unemployment, neighborhood educational attainment, neighborhood income, and neighborhood poverty). The primary outcome variable of interest was continuous smoking abstinence, a measure of complete smoking cessation. Self-reports of complete smoking abstinence were verified through carbon monoxide or salivary cotinine tests. In the individual level analysis, unemployment was significantly associated with reduced odds of abstinence. In the neighborhood level analysis, unemployment, education, and poverty were significantly associated with abstinence status. In the combined analysis utilizing all variables, both individual- and neighborhood-level unemployment were still significant predictors of smoking relapse. 

The researchers speculated that a number of factors might explain why unemployment is associated with a lower rate of smoking cessation for blacks, including a lack of social support, workplace smoking restrictions, and employer-sponsored coverage of cessation programs. Additional research is needed to generalize these findings to the larger black population, as the dataset consisted of participants who volunteered for smoking cessation support, the authors noted.

Read more on the Kaiser Family Foundation website. Read the abstract of the study.

Guidebook: Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support

Posted: June 04, 2012

The guide Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support was created by the National Center on Trauma-Informed Care as a technical assistance document to help make trauma-informed peer support available to women who receive or have received services in behavioral health or other human service systems.  It is designed as a resource for peer supporters in these or other settings who want to learn how to integrate trauma-informed principles into their relationships with the women they support or into the peer support groups of which they are members. The goal is to provide peer supporters—both male and female— with the understanding, tools, and resources needed to engage in culturally responsive, trauma-informed peer support relationships with women.

Read more on the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors website. Download the complete guidebook (pdf), or download individual chapters from the guide by clicking on the links below:

Working to Reduce Behavioral Health Disparities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Posted: June 02, 2012

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) often lack access to mental health and substance abuse services and face stigma and cultural barriers to seeking care, and when they do seek treatment, culturally and linguistically appropriate services are often not available. In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE) recently hosted a roundtable on strategies for reducing behavioral health disparities and promoting integrated care for the AAPI population. Dr. Rocco Cheng, project director of the California Reducing Disparities Project’s AAPI workgroup, gave a presentation on his workgroup’s efforts and findings on AAPI-specific disparities and effective strategies for addressing them. Among them, Dr. Cheng reported that culturally and linguistically responsive strategies are critical for reaching out to and serving AAPI communities.

In addition, two SAMHSA Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration project grantees shared their organizations’ accomplishments in bringing primary care into a behavioral health care setting. Dr. Jane Yi of Asian Community Mental Health Services in Oakland, California noted the importance of developing extensive brokerage services such as interpretation and translation to ensure a warm handoff between the behavioral health care team and the primary care provider. Yoon Joo Han of Asian Counseling and Referral Services in Seattle, Washington shared the successes of culturally-focused wellness activities as part of a transformation from a behavioral health focus to a wellness approach.

The roundtable provided the opportunity for SAMHSA, other Department of Health and Human Services agencies, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), and AAPI organizations to focus on the behavioral health needs of the AAPI population and learn more about effective, culturally appropriate strategies for reducing disparities—outcomes that reflect OBHE’s mission. OBHE was established by the Affordable Care Act and focuses on addressing the mental health, substance abuse and related conditions of often underserved racial, ethnic and sexual minority populations. Their strategy and activities are driven by federal plans to address health disparities, and they look for ways SAMSHA can improve access to quality services.

Read more on the White House Initiative Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders blog.

Community Transformation Grants—Small Communities Program

Posted: June 01, 2012

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced available funding of $70 million to improve the health of small communities across the nation. Grants will be awarded to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations across a variety of sectors, including transportation, housing, education, and public health. The letter of intent deadline is June 18, 2012 and the application deadline is July 31, 2012, 5pm EDT.

The small-community investments are part of the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program, a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative launched in 2011 by HHS and administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CTG Small Communities program targets intervention populations of up to 500,000 in neighborhoods, school districts, villages, towns, cities and counties in order to increase opportunities for people to make healthful choices and improve health. These areas can be specific counties, cities, towns and villages with populations up to 500,000 or neighborhoods, sections, or subgroups of the population (e.g., children or seniors) within a metropolitan area.

The CTG Small Communities Program grantees will work toward one or more of the five outcome measures described in Section 4201 of the Affordable Care Act: changes in weight, proper nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use and social and emotional well-being and align with the five priority areas of the CTG Program:  (1) tobacco-free living; (2) active living and healthy eating; (3) evidence-based quality clinical and other preventive services, specifically prevention and control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol; (4) social and emotional wellness, such as facilitating early identification of mental health needs and access to quality services, especially for people with chronic conditions; and (5) healthy and safe physical environments.

Pre-application support calls will be held:

  • June 4, 2012 10:00 am-11:30 am ET – Interested applicants in the Atlantic, Eastern, and Central time zones.  This conference call can be accessed by calling 1-773-756-4793 or 1-800-857-2613, passcode: 3555436
  • June 4, 2012 1:00 pm-2:30 pm ET – Interested applicants in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.  This conference call can be accessed by calling 1-773-756-4793 or 1-800-857-2613, passcode: 3555436
  • June 4, 2012 3:00 pm-4:30 pm ET – Interested applicants in Alaska and Hawaii-Aleutian time zones.  This conference call can be accessed by calling 1-773-756-4793 or 1-800-857-2613, passcode: 3555436
  • June 4, 2012 8:00 pm-9:30 pm ET – Interested applicants from the Pacific Islands Territories and Jurisdictions.  This conference call can be accessed by calling 1-773-756-4793 or 1-800-857-2613, passcode: 3555436.

View the official funding opportunity announcement. Learn more about the CTG program. Download a factsheet about the CTG program.


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