News & Announcements

Health Care Innovation Challenge: New Funding Available for Next Generation of Innovations

Posted: December 04, 2011

Up to $1 billion dollars will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money. Launched by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers. 

Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will award grants in March 2012 to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, particularly those with the highest health care needs. The Challenge will support projects that can begin within six months. Additionally, projects that focus on rapid workforce development will be given priority when grants are awarded.

Awards will be expected to range from approximately $1 million to $30 million over three years. Applications are open to providers, payers, local government, community-based organizations and particularly to public-private partnerships and multi-payer approaches. Each grantee project will be evaluated and monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated. Letter of intent is due December 19, 2011. Applications are due January 27, 2012.

For more information, including the slides (pdf) and audio recording (mp3) of the Health Care Innovation Challenge webinar, please see the Health Care Innovation Challenge initiative website.

Local Collaborative Provides Resources and Support to Native Americans

Posted: December 02, 2011

Rain Cloud is a local collaborative that was created as a result of the state of New Mexico’s behavioral health transformation initiative, Local Collaborative #17. Rain Cloud, represents the off reservation Indian community in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was allowed local collaborative status in January 2009. New Mexico has one of the largest Indian populations in the United States. Indian people in New Mexico account for 11 percent of the population. Albuquerque has the third largest off reservation Indian population in the country. An estimated 60,000 Indian people live in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, New Mexico. It is important to note that many off reservation Indians in Albuquerque are from the surrounding tribal communities in New Mexico, that vast majority are from the Navajo Nation.

While New Mexico ranks low in almost every socio-economic indicator, Indian communities, especially the off reservation communities rank even lower. Racism, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, alcohol and substance abuse, and violence, along with a lack of resources and a unified or united community have had a disastrous impact on the community.

Rain Cloud was created in response to the total lack of resources for off reservation Indians in Albuquerque and the associated appalling socio economic indicators of the people. Rain Cloud is a grass roots community based organization. They are almost completely consumer and family driven. Rain Cloud is comprised of off reservation Indian people and was established to address many of these disparities and to insure that all Indians have a voice in their treatment and access to culturally appropriate services.

Read more on the National Alliance for Mental Illness website.

In Language Fact Sheets on Mental Health Issues among Asian American & Pacific Islander Communities

Posted: December 01, 2011

The Multicultural Action Center of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released new series of fact sheets that are available in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese with the following titles:

  • Mental Health Issues among Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities
  • Mental Health Issues among Asian American and Pacific Islander Children and Youth
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health: A Guide on How to Get Support for Your Loved One
  • Recovery for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Living with Mental Illness

Additional fact sheets addressing issues specific to Chinese American and Korean American communities include:

  • Chinese American Mental Health Facts
  • Korean American Community Mental Health Fact Sheet

The culturally competent materials are a product of the Multicultural Action Center’s 2010 Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Listening Session. The proceedings of the special event held by the NAMI Multicultural Action Center in November 2010 which brought together a cadre of experts (researchers, providers, family members and those with lived experience of mental illness) to discuss key issues in mental health among AAPI communities have been documented in the report entitled Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health: Report from a NAMI Listening Session.

Read more on the NAMI website.

HIV Rates Rising Among Black Women in Rural States

Posted: November 30, 2011

Blacks account for 50 percent of HIV infections in rural counties, according the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, whose research suggests that the rural epidemic may be shifting toward African-American women. “There are huge disparities in rural states such as Iowa,” said Taz Clayburn, community-outreach coordinator at the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. “African Americans are only 2.8 percent of the population but 56 percent of our state's HIV and AIDS cases. We're seeing a huge increase in infections among African-American women in Des Moines,” Clayburn added. “It’s important to link African-American women to care and persuade them to motivate themselves as a priority. As Black women, we don’t take care of ourselves--we take care of everybody else first.”

It’s a similar story in the southwest, where Blacks are few in number but disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Blacks are only four percent of Arizona’s population but are three times as likely to become infected, reported the East Valley Tribune which adds: “The HIV rate for Black women in Arizona is nearly nine times higher than that for white women.” According to Kathy Donner, HIV prevention manager at the Arizona Department of Health Services “The Black community is very small here, but we’re targeting resources to Black women and Black men who have sex with men”.

“First the epidemic was first thought of as only affecting white gay men,” added Clayburn. “Then gay men, now African-American gay men. When will women become a priority?” Dr. Parker led a workshop entitled What’s Next and What’s Needed with HIV Research with Women?, “Nine out of ten Black women are contracting HIV through heterosexual contact," Dr. Parker said. "So to understand Black women and the epidemic, we also must address their partners. And for Black women, socially and historically it’s going to be Black men.”

Read more on the Black AIDS Institute website.

Elder Substance Abuse a Growing Concern

Posted: November 28, 2011

For older adults, drinking too much and misusing medications are the major substance use problems, affecting as many as 20 percent of them. They are particularly vulnerable to the mental and physical effects of alcohol and drugs because of physiological and cognitive changes that take place with age. And, even if they are not addicted to alcohol or illegal substances, they are at risk for serious problems including: adverse drug reactions, including fatal overdoses, accidents -- including falls and traffic accidents, exacerbation of health problems, social isolation, sleep disturbances, inactivity, loss of cognitive capacity and suicide -- which is more likely among older adults than any other age group.

In general, substance abuse and misuse vastly limit the potential to live well in old age. During the elder boom there will be tremendous growth of the number of older adults with substance use problems, in part because of the growth of the population of older adults, but also because baby boomers use substances -- including illegal substances -- much more commonly than their parents' generation.

For example, a study done by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) projects the growth of people 60 or over who need substance abuse treatment from about 700,000 in 2000 to about 2,300,000 in 2020. Recent surveys confirm that this is already happening, with marked growth of the use of marijuana. In addition, the CDC recently released a report projecting a vast increase in addiction to prescription painkillers and in deaths due to overdoses, which already kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

Read more on the Huffington Post website.

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