News & Announcements

IndexUS: What Healthy Black Women Can Teach Us About Health

Posted: October 20, 2017

The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) have reached millions of women, sharing the latest research, life- saving programs and health-promoting policies. Recently, they released IndexUS: What Healthy Black Women Can Teach Us About Health, the first health index focused exclusively on healthy Black women. It’s based on 20 years of data from the Boston University Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), especically, information from 38,706 BWHS participants who reported their health as excellent or very good. In 2013, when they responded to questions about their health, the average age of women in this study was 55. 

It is a rare opportunity to get to listen to Black women talk about their health, and their voices, sorely needed, are seldom heard. anks to ESSENCE Magazine and the investigators of the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), BWHI has a unique and incredibly valuable look at Black women’s health, what is important to them, and what Black women are doing to maintain and improve our health. IndexUS is a result of listening to Black women—almost 60,000 strong.

The Black Women’s Health Study, led by researchers at Boston University, has contributed—more than any study—to the understanding of Black women’s health and wellness and the differences from White women and others. These differences have been examined over the past 20 years and determine that Black women’s health is worse than White women’s.  It has been learned that most of these differences are not due to genetics or biology, but to systems and structural barriers that prevent Black women and low-income women from choosing behaviors that help them to be as healthy as possible. And so, over time, a narrative that equates Black women with poor health, and poor health with poor behavior has been accepted. It is what is seen in media and read in the language of research reports. Medical providers accept this narrative and, as a result, often don’t offer Black women aggressive treatment or pain medication. Researchers accept this narrative and don’t ask questions of data, or don’t collect data that might change the narrative. And policymakers fail to advance legislation that would make engaging in healthy behaviors easier. 

Despite the constant narrative that something is wrong with them, Black women see themselves quite differently.  Black women exercise, eat healthy, are educated and work hard. It’s time to change the narrative. They do not see themselves as broken—stressed, yes, but not broken. They are inherently strong, resilient and passionate about our health. They are not defined by disease, obesity or poverty.

IndexUS visually represents data findings, provides an important narrative, shares useful tips, and explores a variety of topics including:

  • Still Gotta Get Up in the Morning: Stress and Mental Health
  • Our Black Bodies, Our Full Selves
  • The High Price of Health
  • Sexual Healing
  • Nothing But a Number? Healthy Aging
  • Why Black Women's Health Matters to You
  • Your Role in Black Women's Health
  • We Have Cause for Concern

Download a copy of IndexUS from

Learn more about the Black Women's Health Imperative at

Rural Impact County Challenge Community Coaching

Posted: October 19, 2017

Recognizing the critical role local officials play in supporting innovation and change, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has a national initiative to help advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of rural children and families living in poverty. The Rural Impact County Challenge (RICC) seeks to highlight and support counties making a real difference in the lives of children in rural communities. County teams will be selected to receive assistance from a Roadmaps to Health Community Coach from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Program

Community Coaches work with local, multi-sector teams through sustainable policies & programs addressing the broad factors that influence the health of communities. The County Health Rankings data and the Roadmaps to Health Action Center form the centerpieces of the coaching process.

The Roadmaps to Health Action Center is an online platform which provides practical help for communities working collectively to improve their communities. It provides guidance and tools to understand the Rankings data, and strategies that communities can use to take action. Coaches refer to the Take Action Cycle throughout coaching and are knowledgeable about its tools and resources. Coaches also bring expertise from a variety of disciplines—from public health to law to social work to urban planning to hospital community benefits—to support leaders in using Action Center tools and guidance to advance their goals.

How Can Community Coaching Help Your County?

Drawing upon tools and resources in the Action Center, Coaches provide support in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

  • Equipping new partnerships with tools and guidance as they get going
  • Providing guidance to partnerships looking to strengthen or revamp their approach
  • Propelling a community from data assessment to action
  • Assisting with issue campaigns or policy advocacy
  • Supporting teams in implementing new policies or programs
  • Suggesting frameworks, tools, and consultants, for evaluation efforts, and
  • Connecting communities to national leaders and expertise and other communities doing similar work.

Coaches customize their guidance for each community based on their assets and goals. Engagement with a Community Coach will last one year. Your county team may include as many members of the community as you would like, but for purposes of engaging with a Community Coach, four to seven core team members must be identified. These core members will engage with the Coach and their other team members during the year. Engagement might include webinars and monthly calls. The core team must be the same throughout the coaching process.The majority of coaching is conducted remotely using a variety of methods. Coaching sessions typically last from 60-90 minutes, but may vary depending upon the team's needs.

Additionally, RICC Community Coaching teams will have the opportunity to work closely with each other, forming a close network of communities doing similar work.

Apply by November 3 for this opportunity to receive tailored assistance for a year (2018 calendar year) from a CHR&R Coach and join a growing network of communities who share your goals.

Learn more at or apply now!

2017 Red Ribbon Week Campus Video PSA Contest

Posted: October 18, 2017

As part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Red Ribbon Week campaign, the DEA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are co-sponsoring a Campus Video PSA Contest for colleges and universities to promote the importance of preventing alcohol abuse and the non-medical use of prescription stimulants among college students. Eligible entrants create and submit a 30- to 60-second video PSA showcasing the underlying message behind Red Ribbon Week—commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle, especially among college students.

After drug traffickers murdered DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985, Red Ribbon Week has since become an annual event demonstrating intolerance for drugs in our nation’s schools, workplaces, and communities. Each year from October 23–31, people across the United States show their commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle by wearing or displaying the Red Ribbon.

This year, college students can win $1,000 to put towards prevention efforts on their campus by submitting a drug-free PSA.

To be eligible for judging:

  • The PSA must be between 30–60 seconds. PSAs that exceed 60 seconds will be disqualified.
  • The PSA must focus on the underlying message behind Red Ribbon Week and the commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
  • The PSA must focus on preventing alcohol abuse and the non-medical use of prescription stimulants among college students.
  • The PSA must resonate with its intended audience (i.e., college students) and inspire others to take action to prevent alcohol abuse and the non-medical use of prescription stimulants among college students.
  • The Submission must be uploaded to the entrant’s own YouTube, Vimeo, or Daily Motion account and a link to the video provided as part of the entry.
  • The Submission cannot have been submitted previously in a promotion of any kind or exhibited or displayed publicly through any means.
  • Entrants must obtain all applicable consents, approvals, or licenses to submit their entry.

All submissions must be received by November 10.

Learn more at

Call for Proposals for the NICWA National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

Posted: October 17, 2017

Presenters at NICWA’s 36th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, this year being held in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 15–18, 2017, are the heart and soul of this annual event, increasingly recognized as the premiere national gathering dedicated to tribal child welfare and well-being. Each year over 70 presenters are selected to lead vigorous dialogue about best practices, current research, advocacy efforts, policy implications, and other lessons learned with over 1,100 conference attendees.

NICWA provides meaningful programming to conference attendees, creating a space where participants can learn about the latest developments and best practices from experts in the field and from one another. Participants represent a cross-section of fields and interests including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal, state, and federal leaders.

About the Workshops

The highly competitive selection process aims to select presenters who represent an expertise and mastery of innovative and effective developments in these key areas:

  • Children’s Mental Health
  • Child Welfare, Foster Care, and Adoption Services
  • Judicial and Legal Affairs
  • Youth and Family Involvement

Workshop sessions will be 90 minutes in length. Participation varies depending on topic, but on average workshops will have between 20–70 participants. NICWA highly values interactive and participatory workshops. Please share in your submission how your workshop will help conference attendees learn through interactive learning. For more information on the workshops, click here.

Submission Process

All proposals must be submitted online here. NICWA has put together a tool to help you draft your proposal here. This year, NICWA will accept proposals until Thursday, November 16, 2017!

Submit a Proposal now!

Learn more at

Disparities in Health Outcomes, Barriers to Care Are About More Than Just Access

Posted: October 16, 2017

Black men wait 32% longer to cross the street than white men, according to a study from Portland, Oregon. Males in their 20s, identically dressed, had very distinct experiences: While the white men waited only 7.4 seconds to cross, Black men waited an average of 9.79 seconds for a driver to yield after signaling their intention to cross. 

Such an anecdote, at first glance, seems to have little to do with health care. Yet—as Dr. David Williams of Harvard University, the keynote speaker at the opening plenary of the 2017 U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), illustrated with diverse statistics—the overlap between structural racism that people of color, particularly Black people, face every day and significantly lower health outcomes is impossible to ignore. Even Black people with a college degree have a shorter life expectancy than white people without a high school diploma. When it comes to health disparities, there are systemic problems that run even deeper than the already very real and widely acknowledged problem of lack of access to poor and working class people.

Access to health care alone is not the only cause of disparities in health outcomes, and increasing access will not eliminate the disparities in the absence of other interventions. If we truly hope to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S., we must address all the barriers to care—we must indeed make access to affordable, comprehensive health care available to all people, but we also must ensure that providers treat and support their patients in an affirming manner and spirit of cultural humility, that people living with and vulnerable to HIV see people who look like and can relate to them when they seek or are offered services, and we must make sure that interventions are appropriate to the populations they are hoping to reach.

A person living with HIV who has a sustained suppressed viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV to their partner. It is clear that engaging and retaining people living with HIV in care is our greatest—and only–hope of eliminating new transmissions, as well as in preventing AIDS-related deaths. Yet far too many health care providers still fail to inform their patients living with HIV that adherence to treatment and maintenance of an undetectable viral load will prevent HIV transmission to their loved ones.

"No provider since I was diagnosed in 2001 has ever told me that being undetectable prevented transmission," said Shyronn Jones of Atlanta. "I learned about it last year, from Bruce Richman [founder of the Prevention Access Campaign]. I feel betrayed by my doctors, that they withheld this information from me."

Jones's example is echoed by numerous people living with HIV, especially women of color. Asked why they do not convey this critically important information to their patients, medical providers sometimes say that they don't think their patients can "handle the information;" they worry patients won't understand that continued viral suppression requires adherence to treatment; they worry that knowing will discourage condom use. Such excuses come off as patronizing, disrespectful of their patients' intelligence. This is just one example of how providers undermine their patients' trust in them—a powerful barrier to engagement and retention in care.

Journalist and activist George M. Johnson, a panelist in Wednesday's session hosted by the Black AIDS Institute highlighting their new report, the State of Healthcare Access in Black America, reminded that the history of being left out of the health care system entirely or used as lab rats by the health care system has created an intergenerational mistrust in the Black community that is hard to break. Even when there is access, people may be reluctant to take advantage of that access.


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