News & Announcements

A Benefit For Rural Vets: Getting Health Care Close To Home

Posted: October 14, 2014

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment. Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem. He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

Even in the summer, the trip for Michaud — and other vets like him — meant a day, or sometimes two, of missed work, with a night in a motel, plus the cost of gas. The VA reimburses those costs, but this is not a rich area, and people don't always have the cash upfront. Michaud says the worst part is an empty, 100-mile strip of Interstate 95 north of Bangor.

To make it easier for vets to get care, the VA started a program called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH. A trial program began three years ago in five states. This summer, Congress extended the program for two years, as part of a law aimed at reforming the VA. It will allow veterans to use private doctors if they live far from a VA hospital or can't get a VA appointment within 30 days.

It means Michaud can make appointments only 10 miles up the road, at the 65-bed Cary Medical Center in the town of Caribou. Kris Doody, a registered nurse, and the center's CEO, says getting care near home and family is healthier for vets, and helps them avoid that 400-mile round trip.

"We actually keep track for the VA the number of patients who are seen every month and what their distance would have been. And the savings — and that's just savings in mileage — was $600,000," Doody says.


October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Posted: October 14, 2014

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). The 2014 theme is 'To End AIDS, Commit to Act' - 'Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprometete a Actuar.'

The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA), the Hispanic Federation and many other organizations organize this day. The NLAAD campaign works annually at building capacity for non-profit organizations and health departments in order to reach Latino/Hispanic communities, promote HIV testing, and provide HIV prevention information and access to care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanics/Latinos, despite representing only 16% of the U.S. population, accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 2010. CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 50 Hispanics/Latinos will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. 

For further information, statistics, social media toolkits, and other resources, please see National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), Greater than AIDS, AIDSinfo,, the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the CDC.

Alabama’s Black Belt Churches Join the Fight against HIV/AIDS

Posted: October 13, 2014

Churches in Alabama's Black Belt are trying to crack down on the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, WBHM reports.

According to the report, African Americans represent 75 percent of Alabama's HIV cases, but only a quarter of the state's population. What's more, several counties in the Black Belt have HIV rates triple the national average, and 20 percent of people living with HIV in Alabama don't know they have it, the report states. previously reported that Alabama had the 10th highest HIV incidence in the United States in 2010. A total of 19 percent of Alabama's teens say they were never taught in school about HIV or AIDS infection, a new study published by the Center for Disease Control shows.

Dr. Pamela Payne Foster, who works at the University of Alabama's School of Rural Medicine, has helped enlist 12 Black Belt churches to participate in an HIV and anti-stigma program similar to one used in Ghana, according to the report.

According to the report, each church enrolls 20 members into the program, which aims to spread HIV/AIDS awareness in its communities.

Read more on Read the news article on -- Churches Could Be Key To Ending HIV Stigma In Rural Alabama.

Fostering Resilience, Easing Transitions: Learning from Third Culture Kids

Posted: October 12, 2014

The following is an excerpt from a posting on the Children's Mental Health Network website:

I’ve been invited to the gathering as a guest speaker. Another group has come together to discuss what it is like to grow up global. Another group of parents is embarking on an  international relocation. Their decision has been made, but they want to know more, there are issues still left to discuss.

The meeting focuses on international mobility from the child’s perspective. I join some others who have spent childhoods away from their countries of origin, and we talk about our experiences being raised cross-culturally, growing up among expatriates in the global stream. The audience nods in understanding, smiles as we describe the benefits their children will reap, laughs at the silly mistakes we’ve made and learned from, grows serious when we talk of the grief inherent in saying goodbye so frequently to the places and the people we have loved.

And then, the inevitable question: Will this experience -- moving away -- be good or bad for my child?

And I wish there were an easy answer.

So much depends on the child, and the parent, and the circumstances of the relocation. What do we tell our children as they, and we, face a major life disruption like moving away from home? How can we be sensitive to their needs while we are busy unravelling the old and weaving the new connections we need to move on?

Read the full post on the Children's Mental Health Network website.

Request for Nominations for the Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee

Posted: October 10, 2014

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a request for nominations for the Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee (TCAC). The NIH TCAC will provide a venue for tribal representatives and NIH staff to exchange information about NIH research policies and program priorities. NIH seeks nominations for 17 TCAC members: 12 area representatives and 5 national at-large members. Deadline to submit nominations is October 17, 2014. Submit nominations to Kathy Etz.

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