News & Announcements
Hispanic Lesbians and Bisexual Women at Heightened Risk of Health Disparities
Posted: February 02, 2012
A recent study titled Hispanic Lesbians and Bisexual Women at Heightened Risk or Health Disparities, published in the American Journal of Public Health found Hispanic lesbian and bisexual women tend to be at a greater risk of worse health outcomes than Hispanic heterosexual as well as white lesbian and bisexual women. Little background literature covers health disparities among sexual minorities of color, especially Hispanics, according to the authors. This study aims to explore how Hispanic sexual minorities fare in health care access, health outcomes, health status, and health risk behaviors.
Hispanic lesbians and bisexual women, compared with Hispanic heterosexual women, were at elevated risk for disparities in smoking, asthma, and disability. Hispanic bisexual women also showed higher odds of arthritis, acute drinking, poor general health, and frequent mental distress compared with Hispanic heterosexual women. In addition, Hispanic bisexual women were more likely to report frequent mental distress than were non-Hispanic White bisexual women. Hispanic lesbians were more likely to report asthma than were non-Hispanic White lesbians.
The study used the weighted-data from a 7- year merged file of the Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2003 – 2009. The sample size for the analysis was 6,338. Only Hispanic and white women who self- identified as lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual were included in the study. Within the sample, 1.1% were Hispanic lesbian and 1.6% were Hispanic bisexual. Data were collected for health status, health risk behaviors, health outcomes, and health care access.
This study is one of the first studies to assess disparities among Hispanic lesbian and bisexual women according to the authors. The authors suggest that further research is needed in order to develop culturally appropriate programs that meet the needs of these subgroups. This in turn, as the authors argue, will achieve the goals laid out Healthy People 2020.
Helping Substance-Involved Young People in Juvenile Justice be Successful
Posted: February 01, 2012
Reclaiming Futures is an innovative evidence-based model and approach to systems and community change that is designed to enable young people who have substance abuse issues and are in the criminal justice system to become successful. Developed in the context of ten different demonstration communities and amidst numerous economic, geographic, political, cultural, and philosophical diversities, the initiative embraces a six-stage integrated service model that supports coordinated individual response and community-directed engagement with care. This article, titled Helping substance-involved young people in juvenile justice be successful: Conceptual and structural foundations of the Reclaiming Futures model, describes the background, rationale, and context of the change effort itself, as well as the conceptual foundations of the Reclaiming Futures framework. The role of the National Program Office (NPO) and the structures designed to support the shared transformational leadership required to launch, implement, and sustain these practice and policy innovations at the local, state, and national levels are discussed.
The National Indian Health Board Launches Meth and Suicide Prevention E-newsletter
Posted: January 31, 2012
The National Indian Health Board's Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) has launched a Meth and Suicide Prevention E-newsletter. The MSPI is a national pilot demonstration project dedicated to addressing methamphetamine use and suicide, two of the most pressing public health concerns in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This newsletter examines evidence-based practice, practice-based evidence, and best and promising practices related to methamphetamine use and suicide prevention. The recently-released winter 2012 issue describes the innovative Gila River MSPI Project's Kahv'yoo Spirit program.
The Gila River Indian Community designed its MSPI program to achieve two main goals. First, the program aims to increase community knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding methamphetamine use and suicide. Second, the program seeks to create and strengthen protective factors in youth by fostering cultural awareness and social connectedness, teaching leadership skills and supporting education efforts.
The Kahv’yoo Spirit program is an equine assisted growth and learning adventure program that provides youth with “hands on a horse” ground activities. The program uses the tendency of the horses to reflect their handlers’ feelings as a way to teach the youth about themselves and how they relate to those around them. Through a variety of exercises, with feedback from the horses and with guidance from the program staff, the youth develop healthy coping skills, resiliency, self esteem and social connectedness.
HIV-Prevention Campaign and Smartphone App Targeting African American Men
Posted: January 30, 2012
The bus-shelter installations are difficult to miss--colorful, eye-catching advertisements headlined Love Your Life, Keep It 100 that feature young Black male models and scannable "quick response" (QR) codes that instantly direct smartphone users to an HIV-prevention website. Posters and palm cards bearing the same catchy images and phrase carry the message into barbershops, hair salons, schools and elsewhere throughout New York City's Harlem and South Bronx neighborhoods. "Keep It 100" is urban vernacular meaning "keep it real" or "be honest." And the campaign that has adopted this slang as its slogan has become one of the first marketing campaigns to use QR codes as an interactive tool to prevent HIV/AIDS.
"It's also one of the first campaigns to target young Black heterosexual men around HIV prevention," says Ingrid Floyd, executive director of Iris House, the Harlem-based HIV/AIDS service organization that created the campaign. Black men "are often ignored or left out of the equation in HIV prevention and education," says Larry Bryant, the director of national organizing at New York City based Housing Works.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken a huge toll within New York's Black and Latino communities. One in every 38 residents in Central and East Harlem is HIV positive, compared with more than 1 out of 100 citywide. "East and Central Harlem and the South Bronx have the second- and third-highest HIV rates in New York City," says Floyd. "The highest rates are in Chelsea, which has a large population of gay men. But among African Americans? The highest rates are here." Black women and Latinas account for more than 90 percent of all new HIV infections among women in New York City. And "more than 90 percent of their cases were transmitted through heterosexual contact," says Floyd, whose agency was the first in the nation to address the needs of women living with HIV/AIDS. "But we didn't find any programs that were targeting heterosexual men. There is always the responsibility on women to negotiate condom use. We wanted to change that."
Until now, "There hasn't been much progress in reaching young straight Black men," Bryant says. "A disconnect remains between how we use technology and how to reach those young men." To help close this disconnection, Iris House created Keep It 100 to target 18- to 24-year-old straight men as well as MSM. "The goal was to increase condom use, HIV testing and hopefully visits to Iris House and one of our prevention programs," Floyd says. The campaign is funded by a one-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Read more on the Black AIDS Institute website.
Smoking Cessation More Challenging for Underprivileged
Posted: January 28, 2012
New research finds that quitting smoking is doubly hard if you are poor and uneducated. Researchers from The City College of New York followed smokers from different socioeconomic backgrounds after they had completed a statewide smoking cessation program in Arkansas. After a program of cognitive-behavioral therapy, either with or without nicotine patches, underprivileged and those from higher social economic backgrounds were able to quit at about the same rate. However, as time progressed, a significant number of the underprivileged returned to smoking. Those with the fewest social and financial resources had the hardest time staving off cravings over the long run. The study is titled Socioeconomic Disparities in Community-Based Treatment of Tobacco Dependence, published in the American Journal of Public Health.
“The poorer they are, the worse it gets,” said clinical psychologist Christine Sheffer, Ph.D., who directed the program. Shaffer discovered smokers on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder were 55 percent more likely than those at the upper end to start smoking again three months after treatment. By six months post-quitting, the probability of their going back to cigarettes jumped to 2-1/2 times that of the more affluent smokers.
As part of the study, Sheffer and her colleagues noted that overall, Americans with household incomes of $15,000 or less smoke at nearly three times the rate of those with incomes of $50,000 or greater. Smoking is still the greatest cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. today, noted Sheffer. “And it’s a growing problem in developing countries.” Sheffer believes there are several reasons why it may be harder for some to give up tobacco permanently. Stress is a common reason for nicotine addiction. Unfortunately, those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale suffer more hardships than those at the top, in the form of financial difficulties, discrimination, and job insecurity, to name a few. And for those smokers who started as teenagers, they may have never learned other ways to manage stress, Sheffer said.