News & Announcements
Yale Developing iPad Video Game to Prevent HIV Infection among Ethnic Minority Youth
Posted: August 28, 2012
Yale researchers are developing a video game for the iPad aimed at preventing HIV infection among ethnic minority adolescents. Their study appears in Games for Health, titled A Qualitative Study to Inform the Development of a Videogame for Adolescent Human Immunodeﬁciency Virus Prevention.
The video game, which is called Playforward: Elm City Stories, is being developed, in collaboration with Digitalmill and Schell Games, as an interactive world in which the players, using an avatar (virtual character) they have created, "travel" through life, facing challenges and making decisions that bring different risks and benefits. The player will have the ability to see how their choices affect their lives and subsequently will be able to move back in time to see how different actions might lead to different outcomes. By negotiating challenges in a highly repetitive and meaningful way, the player learns skills that translate to real life, equipping the player to avoid situations that increase their risk for HIV, says Hieftje.
The Yale team interviewed three dozen adolescent boys and girls in New Haven, Connecticut (known as the Elm City), to determine the factors that drive their behaviors, specifically risk behaviors. The researchers are using these first-hand reports to design a video game intervention that will be tailored and relevant to this specific at-risk population. According to lead author Kimberly Hieftje, associate research scientist and a member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale, “It is vitally important that we reach this age group with interventions that reflect where they are — that is, playing games. We hope using video games as a delivery vehicle will increase their level of engagement, with greater opportunities for positive and enduring behavior change.”
National Quality Forum Endorses Healthcare Disparities and Cultural Competency Measures
Posted: August 27, 2012
The National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors has endorsed 12 quality measures focused on healthcare disparities and culturally competent care for racial and ethnic minority populations. “Accurate and meaningful metrics to measure care quality for populations adversely affected by disparities are critically needed,” said Laura J. Miller, FACHE, interim CEO of NQF. “These endorsed measures will be instrumental in promoting equitable, high-quality, and compassionate care for all populations across the healthcare delivery system.”
These measures are the first endorsed by NQF that specifically address healthcare disparities and cultural competency. A commissioned paper on measurement concepts for healthcare disparities, completed in September 2011, served as the foundation for measure development in the field. In all, 16 measures were evaluated against NQF’s endorsement criteria, with 12 receiving endorsement status.
NQF is a voluntary consensus standards-setting organization. Any party may request reconsideration of any of the 12 endorsed quality measures listed below by submitting an appeal no later than September 10 (to submit an appeal, go to the NQF Measure Database). For an appeal to be considered, the notification must include information clearly demonstrating that the appellant has interests directly and materially affected by the NQF-endorsed recommendations and that the NQF decision has had (or will have) an adverse effect on those interests.
All CAHPS surveys are in the public domain, which means that anyone can download and use these surveys to assess experiences with care. Learn more about and access the CAHPS Cultural Competence Item Set, and the CAHPS Item Set for Addressing Health Literacy.
Rural Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions More Likely to be Referred by Criminal Justice System
Posted: August 25, 2012
A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found significant differences in demographics and abuse patterns of substance abuse treatment admissions in rural versus urban communities. The survey report, A Comparison of Rural and Urban Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions, was based on findings from SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for 2009.
The report found that rural and urban substance abuse treatment admissions in 2009 differed by nearly every aspect examined. For example, in 2009 rural substance abuse treatment admissions were more likely than urban admissions to be referrals from the criminal justice system (51.6 versus 28.4 percent) and less likely to be self-referrals or referrals from family members or friends (22.8 versus 38.7 percent). In addition, rural admissions were more likely than urban admissions to report primary abuse of alcohol (49.5 versus 36.1 percent) or non-heroin opiates (10.6 versus 4.0 percent), while urban admissions were more likely than rural admissions to report primary abuse of heroin (21.8 versus 3.1 percent) or cocaine (11.9 versus 5.6 percent). Rural admissions were significantly less likely than urban admissions to report daily use of their primary substance (23.5 versus 43.1 percent), and more likely to have first used that substance prior to turning 18 (32.1 versus 26.7 percent).
In terms of demographics, rural admissions were younger than urban admissions, less racially and ethnically diverse, and more likely to be employed (18 or older) full or part-time.
“There is a real need in this country for substance abuse prevention and treatment in both rural and urban areas. This report underscores that need,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “It’s a tool that policymakers and treatment providers can use to more effectively meet the substance abuse prevention and treatment needs of the communities they serve.”
Behind Mental Health Stigmas In Black Communities
Posted: August 23, 2012
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder has focused attention on the shame that sometimes accompanies mental health diagnoses in the African-American community. NPR's John Donvan interviewed Psychiatrist William Lawson to discuss why such a stigma exists. An excerpt from the interview:
HIV/AIDS Inequality: Structural Barriers to Prevention, Treatment, and Care in Communities of Color
Posted: August 22, 2012
This brief, HIV/AIDS Inequality: Structural Barriers to Prevention, Treatment, and Care in Communities of Color. Why We Need A Holistic Approach to Eliminate Racial Disparities in HIV/AIDS, highlights underexplored explanations for the disparities that exist and outlines possible solutions to begin addressing them.
For the first time in more than two decades the International AIDS Conference returned to the United States and more than 20,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries discussed a wide array of HIV/AIDS related issues in Washington D.C., including the troubling racial disparities of our domestic HIV epidemic, specifically:
The high rates of HIV/AIDS we see among communities of color are not the result of high-risk behavior in these communities, but structural inequalities that make them more likely to come in contact with the disease and less likely to treat it. Addressing the structural forces that shape the spread of infectious disease—or what the World Health Organization has termed “the social determinants of health”—represents a fundamental and necessary shift from the historic approach to the domestic HIV/ AIDS epidemic.