News & Announcements
March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Posted: March 10, 2014
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide observance that sheds light on the disease's impact on women and girls. Every year on March 10, and throughout the month of March, thousands of people, advocacy organizations, and local and state public health officials host events and share facts about HIV/AIDS.
Celebrate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) by hosting or attending an event in your area. This year, instead of registering events through womenshealth.gov, The Office of Women's Health is partnering with Meetup Everywhere to hold National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Meetups.
Applications Sought for Reducing Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Certificate Program
Posted: March 07, 2014
The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy are accepting applications for the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Certificate Program to be held July 28–August 1, 2014, in Washington, DC. This intensive training will focus on strategies for local jurisdictions to reduce overrepresentation of youth of color and racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice and other child-serving systems. Apply by April 18, 2014.
Read more about the program.
Request for Comment: White House Initiative on Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders 2014-2015 Plans
Posted: March 05, 2014
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) has released a request for public comments on WHIAAPI's 2014-2015 Agency Plans. You may submit feedback on plans from 24 federal agencies on their goals to improve services for AAPIs.
Executive Order 13515, signed by the President on October 14, 2009, requires each agency to prepare and submit for approval, a written implementation plan to increase participation and access to federal programs and services for underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).
In 2010, for the first time in history, 23 federal departments and agencies created plans that identified mission-specific and cross-cutting priority goal areas, including:
In 2013, federal agencies and departments released updated agency plans to align with the Initiative’s strategic goal areas and community recommendations. Plans now focus on four key areas: capacity building, data collection and disaggregation, language access, and workforce diversity. Agencies were tasked with streamlining efforts to deliver results on targeted goals, provide metrics on their progress, and be able to demonstrate tangible results.
HHS Releases FAQ on Disclosure of Mental Health Information Under HIPAA
Posted: March 04, 2014
The Department of Health and Human Services has released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document clarifying the circumstances under which healthcare providers are obligated to, permitted to, or prohibited from sharing information about patients who have a mental health diagnosis.
Privacy issues have taken a front seat in the recent national debates on how to improve the provision of mental health and substance use services. HIPAA and FERPA are the two major federal laws that govern disclosure of patients’ mental health information, in conjunction with widely varying state-level laws. In congressional hearings over the last year, healthcare providers, consumers, and family members have testified to the widespread confusion surrounding current law and potential changes to facilitate the provision of services while protecting patients’ rights.
The newly released FAQ aims to clarify some of the confusion around existing HIPAA and FERPA requirements. It covers when it is appropriate for healthcare providers to:
Mental Health Professionals Lack Understanding of African-Americans
Posted: March 03, 2014
Psychologists, counselors and other mental health professionals have a lack of understanding of African-Americans that leads to inaccurate diagnoses and harm to blacks with behavioral disorders, experts said Tuesday night, Feb. 25.
The symposium at UC Riverside, which featured editors of a state-commissioned report on black mental health, came as the California Department of Public Health is developing strategic plans to implement some recommendations of the statewide study. It was conducted by the African American Health Institute of San Bernardino and issued in 2012. The 379-page report, “We Ain’t Crazy! Just Coping with a Crazy System,” is one of five reports the department requested to improve services in communities traditionally underserved by the mental-health system.
One of the reasons for widespread misconceptions of blacks’ mental-health needs is the paucity of African American counselors, psychologists and other mental-health providers, said Diane Woods, CEO of the health institute and one of the report’s editors. African-Americans are less likely to seek treatment for behavior health problems in part because “they do not see people who look like them and do not know where to find them,” she said.
Carolyn Murray, a professor of psychology at UCR, said mental-health providers often don’t understand what African-American patients are going through. They don’t know what it’s like to be a black male who is constantly under suspicion by society. They may dismiss the real racism and discrimination that African Americans face – which can lead to mental-health problems – because, for example, they can’t believe race plays a role in why police stop people or who schools place in special-education classes. “When you try to have people understand you, and they haven’t experienced what you’ve experienced, you might as well be from Mars,” she said. The misunderstandings and misconceptions can lead to wrong diagnoses and to incorrect medications being prescribed – which can exacerbate the problems, Murray said.
The report calls for increased training of health providers, so they are more likely to question assumptions and biases and serve their patients better.