News & Announcements

Therapy to Reach Veterans’ Kids through Playtime

Posted: May 24, 2017

Helping kids cope may not be easy, but county officials are hoping the answer is child's play. "Children have their own language," said Sarah Holland, peer support specialist at Crossroads Area Veterans Center. Saturday, the Crossroads Area Veterans Center will debut the first session of a new therapy program just for kids, Holland said. Although play therapy, which is free for children and their parents, is currently only open to the children of women who have served in the military or who are spouses or widows to veterans, Holland said the program may expand. "If it's successful, we can do more," she said.

Play therapy will be funded by the Veteran's Mental Health Grant, which funds numerous other services at the Crossroads Area Veterans Center. This year's $75,000 grant, which ends June 30, provided about $1,000 for one month of play therapy services from Brenda Whitfield, South Texas Christian Ministries. That vastly discounted price was provided by Whitfield as a favor to the veterans center, Holland said. Whitfield will help kids work through their issues by observing them as they play with her collection of age-appropriate toys, Holland said.Because kids can sometimes have difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings, observing playtime can act as a window into their minds.

Although the center offers a variety of mental health programs, such as equine and yoga therapies, play therapy marks the center's first program designed specifically for children, Holland said. That approach is about helping not only veterans but also family members who live with and love them, she said. "If the veteran has PTSD, their anger issues roll out, and that affects not only the veteran but also the family," Holland said. "We just want to care for the whole family unit."


Improving Public Health Surveillance About Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

Posted: May 23, 2017

By the year 2043, the United States will no longer have any majority race or ethnicity, increasingly reflecting a vision of a multicultural society ( Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) are among the fastest-growing racial and ethnic populations in the United States, with families coming from more than 50 countries and speaking over a hundred languages and dialects. As our nation increases in diversity, the specific races and ethnicities of our people will continue to change and deepen in complexity, with a large proportion who are immigrants and refugees from all parts of the world. In all fields, but particularly in public health and medicine, communicating effectively with diverse populations and understanding who they are—their family origins, languages, and cultures—are fundamental to our work. Comprehensive and granular data are the lifeblood of how to understand trends in morbidity and mortality and the curative possibilities of improving the health of our increasingly diverse nation.

This newly created AJPH section on Surveillance and Survey Methods—and specifically the report by Paulose-Ram et al. (p.916 in this issue) about the data on Asian Americans in the 2011 to 2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)—is an important milestone for Asian American and NHPI epidemiologists, researchers, providers, and community leaders who have been calling for improved collection, analysis, and dissemination of data for our communities. We look forward to the publication of more articles that push the methodological envelope, improve understanding about the social determinants of health, liberate public data sets, and inform data-driven public policies for our Asian American and NHPI populations, and for all of our nation’s diverse population.

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Apply Now! Racial Empowerment Collaborative Summer Institutes

Posted: May 23, 2017

At the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC), they view the ability to cope with racial stress as a matter of skill, not character or morality. The REC Summer Institutes seek to increase racial literacy—the ability to read, recast, and resolve racially stressful social interactions—in our participants. The more we practice the skills of racial literacy, the more competent we become in navigating racially stressful encounters across various social contexts.

Hosted at onsite at the Racial Empowerment Collaborative in Philadelphia, participants join Dr. Howard Stevenson and the REC staff for three days of workshops, trainings, and practical applications. You will increase your own racial literacy, and uncover strategies and challenges in making practical and ethical decisions in your personal and professional practice. Registration deadline is June 30, 2017.

Program Dates:

  • July 26-28, 2017
  • Aug 2-4, 2017

Track One  Promoting Racial Literacy In Schools (K-16): This track is designed for superintendents, administrators, teachers, and students to engage with racial conflicts in that occur in schools. These often remain hidden at the expense of a healthy school climate and the well-being of Students of Color. Attendees will learn: A model that applies culturally relevant behavioral stress management strategies to address racial stress in schools; Workable solutions for students, parents, teachers, and administrators; Measurable outcomes and strategies for developing racial literacy skills that can be integrated into the K-16 curriculum and teacher/faculty/staff professional development; Teaching and leadership skills that will create a more tolerant and supportive school environment for all students.

Track Two  PLAAY! A Sports-Based Academic Success and Racial Healing Intervention: PLAAY! (Preventing Long-Term Anger and Aggression in Youth) is a Sports-Based Academic and Racial Healing Intervention. This culturally relevant intervention relies upon Recast (Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal and Socialization Theory) to promote the development of healthy coping skills and academic achievement for Black male youth. Recast theory suggests that the more racial socialization (the more youth receive feedback and skills in navigating racially stressful encounters) one receives, the better prepared and confident one is to engage rather than avoid these encounters and use better decision making toward positive health outcomes. This training will teach participants how to see the impact of racial and gender stress, conflict, and literacy on youth who must cope daily with rejection from teachers, peers, police, and neighbors. And, how to use these physical and psychological coping skills to promote academic engagement and success.


Adolescent Boys Treated At Urban ER for Violent Injury Want Mental Health Care

Posted: May 22, 2017

Adolescent males of color treated for violent injury and discharged from an urban pediatric emergency department (ED) overwhelmingly identified a need for mental health care, according to research from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)'s Violence Intervention Program (VIP), published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"We know that it is vitally important to listen to the voices and needs of youth," said lead study author Rachel Myers, PhD, research scientist at CHOP. "This work highlights how adolescent males receiving care in the ED with what may be physically minor injuries are suffering significant trauma. We also know that with real support, young people are resilient, go back to school, and go on to graduate and pursue their goals."

The study examined data from 49 adolescent males who were treated at CHOP's ED between January 2012 and August 2016 after suffering a violence-related injury, typically from peer assaults, and elected to enroll in VIP. Participants, predominantly young men of color between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, identified their needs and goals for recovery at intake and during the course of their participation in case management.

At intake to the CHOP VIP, nearly two-thirds of the adolescents reported significant traumatic stress symptoms. Most (75 percent) of the injuries were non-penetrating.

Nearly 90 percent of participants felt they needed mental health services, including therapy and suicide counseling. More than half (60 percent) said they needed legal help, including obtaining police reports. About half (56 percent) also identified a need for psychosocial support, and said they would attend peer group sessions with other injured youth. Adolescent males treated and discharged from the ED were significantly more likely to identify safety needs, such as addressing peer relationships in school and community, as compared to those admitted to the hospital, who may have experienced more serious injuries.

VIP utilizes resources provided by CHOP's Violence Prevention Initiative, an evidence-based effort to protect youth from violence and promote healing. Learn more at

Read more on Read the abstract of the study.



Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Accepting Applications for Advisory Committee

Posted: May 19, 2017

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is accepting applications to fill current and upcoming vacancies on the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ). Composed of members of state advisory groups on juvenile justice, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.

Candidates must be a member of their state’s juvenile justice advisory group (SAG) at the time of application and throughout their entire term. Applicants must also be from one of the following jurisdictional groups:

  • Youth: This applicant can be from any state and must be a youth member of their SAG.
  • Group 9: New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
  • Group 4: Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri.

Selected applicants will begin their term on October 1, 2017, and serve for 2 years with the possibility that their term will be renewed for an additional 2 years.

Download the application and email the completed form to OJJDP no later than Friday, June 30, 2017. For questions or concerns, contact Jeff Slowikowski at or Melissa Kanaya at

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