News & Announcements

Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities (posted 12/23)

Posted: December 22, 2009

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America has released a new brief that provides guidance on how to effectively frame the importance of social determinants of health in order to raise awareness and achieve greater consensus among diverse leaders about the social factors that affect health and the need to act across sectors to improve the health of all Americans—particularly those who face the greatest obstacles.

There are rich resources–decades of research and scholarly articles–documenting health disparities in America and the importance of social determinants of health. But how can we make sure that these findings are well-understood by policy makers?  One objective of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America was to engage public and private sector decision makers. The challenge was how to “translate” the wide-ranging, highly-specific and technical information about social determinants and health disparities into language that would resonate with a diverse group of leaders.  For more information click here.  To download the issue brief click here.

Poor Children Liklier to Get Antipsychotics (posted 12/23)

Posted: December 22, 2009

The New York Times reports that children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance.  A team from Rutgers and Columbia in a federally financed drug research initiative found that chlidren from poor families not only receive powerful psychiatric drugs more than their peers covered under private insurance, but that they also receive the drugs for less severe conditions.  These findings which are not yet published but are available on the internet are fueling a long-running debate framed by the question, "Do too many children from poor families receive powerful psychiatric drugs not because they actually need them — but because it is deemed the most efficient and cost-effective way to control problems that may be handled much differently for middle-class children?"  The Rutgers-Columbia study will be pulished next year in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs.  To read the New York Times Article click here.  To view the study's initial findings on the internet click here.

Analysis of Federal Programs to Assist Transition-Age Youth (posted 12/16)

Posted: December 16, 2009

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has released an updated document that outlines and analyzes 56 programs funded by the Federal government to assist transition-age youth with serious mental health conditions.  In this document entitled, Moving On, the Bazelon Center identifies 56 programs, run by 20 or more different agencies in nine departments of the federal government and provides fact sheets that have information about the program’s purpose, services and funded activities, the administering federal agency, grantee and beneficiary eligibility, and a brief assessment of the program’s impact. To download the document click here.  For more informatoin click here.

Medicare to Pay for HIV Testing (posted 12/10)

Posted: December 10, 2009

On December 8th the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its decision to cover HIV screening for Medicare beneficiaries.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 19 percent of all U.S. residents with AIDS are age 50 or older.  The U.S. Preventive Task Force found that the evidence is adequate to conclude that screening for HIV infection is reasonable and necessary for early detection of HIV and is appropriate for individuals entitled to benefits.  For more information click here.

SAMHSA News Bulletin Provides Grant Writing Tips (posted 12/10)

Posted: December 10, 2009

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) most recent news bulletin contained a section entitled, How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal.  Tips include: planning ahead, having someone who hasn't helped to write the application read it over, and creating good boiler-plate language that can be re-used in future grants.  To download the section of the newsletter on grant writing click here.  To download the grant writing manual that SAMHSA developed in 2007 from the SAMHSA website click here.

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