Wednesday, May 27, 2015

OHD has new team of interns to serve diverse communities

OHD welcomes a new team of interns to help address health disparities facing Utah's diverse communities:

Birth Outcomes:
  • Brittney Okada-birth outcomes among Pacific Islanders/Nativie Hawaiians
  • Tashelle Wright- birth outcomes and health care access among U.S. born African Americans
Access to health care among the uninsured and underinsured:
  • Nancy Sengmanichanh
  • Kolenya Holly
  • Travis Olsen
  • Andrea Alfandre
  • Rachel Diederich
  • Felix Vivanco
  • Andrea Nishimoto
  • Tashelle Wright

Friday, May 22, 2015

Public Health and Cognitive Aging: Register Now for Webinar

Cognitive Aging Report Cover
Join us Thursday, June 4 from 1:00-1:45 p.m. EDT for a webinar onCognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action, which was recently released by the Institute of Medicine. Members of the IOM committee will provide an overview of the report’s findings and recommendations as well as implications for state and local public health. Please register online.

The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018, jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association, recognizes the need for clear and consistent public messages about brain health. The IOM report provides the foundation for such public awareness by reviewing the state of the science on risk factors.

Public Health Roadmap E-05The IOM report examines the public health implications of “cognitive aging,” the gradual and variable changes in mental functions that occur with age. It concludes that three key behaviors – being physically active, managing certain cardiovascular risk factors, and regularly talking with a health care provider about issues that might affect cognitive health, including medications – can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, protect cognitive functioning, and promote healthy aging in older adults. 

Dr. Kristine Yaffe – Vice Chair of the Committee on the Public Health Dimensions of Cognitive Aging – will review the report’s findings and recommendations. Committee member Dr. Jason Karlawish will discuss the public health implications.

We hope you will join us to learn more. Register online, mark your calendars, and forward this message to any interested colleagues

New FAQ’s on Birth Control Coverage

This week the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help insurance companies better understand the scope of coverage that is required (including contraceptive care) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to help people better the ACA and benefit from it as intended.
This guidance follows recent Kaiser Family Foundation  and National Women’s Law Centerresearch that reported variation in how the ACA contraceptive coverage provisions were being interpreted and implemented by health plans.
Some main points of interest:
  • All non-grandfathered plans and insurers must cover, without cost sharing, at least one form of contraception within each of the 18 methods of contraception that the FDA has identified for women.
  • If an item or service is not covered but is determined medically necessary by the woman’s attending provider, there must be an easily accessible process for the woman to get that item or service;
  • If an insurer covers dependent children, recommended preventive services for women (such as preconception and prenatal care) must be covered for the dependent children as well (i.e., not just the parent(s) on the plan); and 
  • Clarifies that insurance companies may still use reasonable medical management techniques within each of the methods of contraception (there are currently 18 identified by the FDA for women). For example, a plan can discourage the use of brand name over generic pharmacy items through cost sharing. 

Funding Opportunitis from RWJF: New Leadership Programs to Build A Culture of Health


Building on decades of successes through our human capital investments, RWJF is developing four new boundary-spanning leadership programs that reflect our vision to work with others to build a national Culture of Health.
RWJF will select up to four national leadership program centers to receive a three-month planning grant to co-develop the launch of the leadership program(s), with a maximum amount of $750,000 per award per program.
The four new programs (and their working titles) are:
  • RWJF Diversity in Health Policy Research will support a large cadre of doctoral students from diverse backgrounds whose research, connections, and leadership will contribute to a Culture of Health.
  • RWJF Interdisciplinary Research Leaders will support a network of researchers whose leadership and community-relevant, policy-relevant, and action-oriented research will help to drive social change that builds a Culture of Health.
  • RWJF Multisector Leaders for Health will develop and leverage a diverse group of leaders representing key sectors (e.g., education, transportation, public health and policy, social work, business, community engagement, urban planning, and health care) who, as a result of this program, will take their leadership and influence to the next level to lead communities, organizations, and the nation toward a Culture of Health.
  • RWJF New Clinical Scholars will develop networked cohorts of clinicians who have attained a terminal clinical degree and who have the competencies and capabilities to lead transformative change that helps to build a Culture of Health in communities across the country.
Applicants may submit a proposal for one or more programs; each of the individual program proposals will be considered separately.

Utah's Juneteenth Festival: June 19-20

Utah is celebrating the 26th Annual Juneteeth Freedom Festival

Friday and Saturday, June 19-20, 2015
Weber State University - BELL TOWER

Family Centered Festivity

Live entertainment
Soul Food
Health Screenings
Games for all Ages
Go to for more information.

New Release: 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System-Adolescent Health

CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health has released the 2013 National, State, and District Combined Datasets on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) website at

The combined datasets are unique because
  • they include more than 1.3 million records from 820 YRBS high school surveys conducted from 1991-2013;
  • the standard variables have been aligned across the years to facilitate trend analyses and combining data; and
  • they include selected additional data from optional questions about sexual identity, sex of sexual contacts, HIV testing, bullying, and other topics.
The website includes:
  • documentation that explains the contents of the datasets and how to use the data;
  • MS Access® and ASCII versions of the data; and
  • SAS® and SPSS® programs to access the data.

The YRBS website has been redesigned and reorganized to make it easier to view and access content across devices.  Learn more!

May 21 - The White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education


Improving AIAN Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities

The White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) leads the implementation of the President's Executive Order 13592 by working closely with Federal agencies and offices to help ensure American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) participation in the development and implementation of key Administration education priorities.

 Ron Lessard, Chief of Staff, WHIAIANE will discuss the impact of the Initiative in improving educational outcomes for all AI/AN students. He will also provide information on activities for the students to learn their native language, receive complete and competitive education, and prepare for college and careers. The presentation will highlight how the program can close the achievement gap for Native American students, decrease the alarmingly high dropout rates, and help to preserve and revitalize Native languages. The webinar will highlight updates on the Native Student Environment Initiative, the Native Language Memorandum of Agreement and the 2015 Native American Language Summit. Mr. Lessard will share updates on capacity building efforts related to Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU); Native Serving Institutions Initiatives, and the progress of the US Department of Education's efforts to implement the President's Generation Indigenous Initiative.

The White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education: Improving AIAN Opportunities  and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities
  Ron Lessard, Chief of Staff, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education
DATE: May 21, 2015
TIME: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Click Here for Full Abstract and Speaker Biographies:

Friday, May 15, 2015

About 137 million individuals with private insurance are guaranteed access to free preventive services

Contact: HHS Press Office  202-690-6343
May 14, 2015                                                                                                          

About 137 million individuals with private insurance are guaranteed access to free preventive services

Nationwide, about 137 million individuals, including 55 million women and 28 million children, have private health insurance that covers recommended preventive services without cost sharing, according to a new ASPE Data Point from the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans are required to provide coverage for recommended preventive health care services without copays. Increased access to preventive services can reduce and prevent costly chronic diseases and help Americans live healthier lives. 

  • These services include but are not limited to:
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Well-baby and well-child visits 
  • Obesity screening and counseling
  • Flu vaccination and other immunizations
  • Well-woman visits
  • Tobacco cessation interventions
  • Domestic violence screening and counseling
  • Vision screening for children
  • Breastfeeding support and supplies
  • HIV screening
  • FDA-approved contraceptive methods
  • Depression screening

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans have access to preventive services, including vaccinations, well-baby visits, and diabetes and blood pressure screenings," said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “These services can substantially improve the health of families, and in some cases even save lives. We urge all individuals with health care coverage to take advantage of these services. This can make a tremendous difference in the health of Americans.”

The data released today are broken down by state, age, gender, and race and ethnicity.  Of the about 137 million individuals with access to recommended preventive services without cost sharing:

  • 28.5 million are children, who have access to free preventive service coverage for flu vaccinations and other immunizations, vision screening, and well-baby and well-child visits.
  • 55.6 million are women, who have access to free preventive services such as well-women visits, breastfeeding support and supplies, and recommended cancer screenings.
  • 53.5 million are men, who have access to annual wellness visits, blood pressure screening, and cancer screenings.
  • And an estimated 15 million are Black, 17 million are Latino, and 8 million are Asian-Americans who have access to recommended preventive services without cost sharing.

Some of the estimated 137 million individuals that are guaranteed access to preventive services without cost sharing today may have had access to one or more of those services without cost sharing prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Survey in 2012, 41 percent of all workers were covered by employer-sponsored group health plans that expanded their list of covered preventive services due to the Affordable Care Act. Based on this and available Health Insurance Marketplace data at the time, HHS previously estimated that approximately 76 million Americans – and 30 million women – received expanded coverage of one or more preventive services because of the Affordable Care Act.

To read a fact sheet explaining today’s data point, please visit:


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Utah Ranks in Top 5 of the 2015 Most 'Bicycle Friendly' U.S. States

For the second-straight year, Washington and Minnesota took the top two spots on an annual list of states that are best for cyclists. But the League of American Bicyclists' rankings also show that no state scored higher than 67 points out of 100.

Last on the list was Alabama, which has occupied the No. 50 slot in four of the past eight rankings. The state earned a score of 12.3 points.

Here are the top 5: Washington, Minnesota, Delaware, Massachusetts, Utah; the bottom 5: Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Alabama.

Image result for bikingThe league's rankings are based on a range of criteria that reward areas such as new policies, advocacy, legal protections and infrastructure. The league also issues a "report card" for each state, including a feedback section. One common suggestion: "Adopt a statewide, all-ages cell phone ban to combat distracted driving and increase safety for everyone."

A look at recent years' rankings shows that some states have moved up and down the list. For instance, Ohio has maintained its No. 16 spot after rising from the list's lower half in 2014. Rankings by state for 2015.

Two of the sharpest declines were in Hawaii and South Carolina, which fell from 2008 ranks of 14 and 15, respectively, to 40 and 47 this year.

This year, the league advised South Carolina officials, "Repeal the state's mandatory bike lane law. These types of laws ignore the quality and safety of available bike lanes."

The "Top 10 Signs of Success" for cycling in U.S. states, according to the League of American Bicyclists are:
  •     1 percent or more of people commuting by bike
  •     Safe passing law (3 feet or greater)
  •     Complete streets policy
  •     Dedicated state funding
  •     Active state advocacy group
  •     State bicycle plan (adopted 2005 or later)
  •     Share the road campaign
  •     Vulnerable road user law
  •     Bicycle safety emphasis in strategic highway safety plan
  •     2 percent or more federal funds spent on bike/ped
Read the entire story at or visit The League of American Bicyclists.

Monday, May 11, 2015

U.S. Health & Human Services, Treasury and Dept of Labor Issue Guidance on Preventative Services under the ACA.

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury are issuing important guidance to insurance companies and consumers today to help ensure that Americans have the coverage they are entitled to under the Affordable Care Act.

The law required that important preventive services, such as contraception and well-woman visits, be covered without out-of-pocket expenses (such as a co-pay or deductible).  These recommended preventive services are designed to help people stay healthy and to catch illnesses earlier on, when treatments can be more successful and costs are often lower. 

But as the law has been implemented, issues have been raised by some women and from members of Congress that insurance companies were not covering the contraceptive method recommended by doctors, as well as concerns from issuers that the existing guidance did not provide enough detail about how specific types of contraception should be covered.

Today’s guidance seeks to eliminate any ambiguity. Insurers must cover without cost-sharing at least one form of contraception in each of the methods (currently 18) that the FDA has identified for women in its current Birth Control Guide, including the ring, the patch and intrauterine devices, according to the guidance. 

Additionally, the Departments are further clarifying a series of other important preventive services protections. The guidance:

  • Clarifies that if a woman is at increased risk for having a potentially harmful mutation in genes that suppress tumors – the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 cancer susceptibility gene - a plan or issuer must cover the preventive screening, genetic counseling, and BRCA genetic testing with no cost-sharing, as long as the woman had not been diagnosed with BRCA-related cancer. Women with the BRCA-1 and 2 mutation have a risk of breast cancer that is about five times the normal risk, and a risk of ovarian cancer that is about 10 to 30 times normal.
  • Makes clear for transgender people that issuers cannot limit preventive services based on an individual’s sex assigned at birth, gender identity or recorded gender. Issuers should cover the preventive services that an individual’s provider, not an insurance company, determines are medically appropriate.
  • Clarifies that if a plan or issuer covers dependent children, they must provide recommended preventive services for those dependent children. This includes recommended services related to pregnancy, including preconception and prenatal care.
  • Indicates that issuers cannot impose cost-sharing for anesthesia services performed in connection with preventive colonoscopies.

The following quote can be attributed to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell -

“The Affordable Care Act was a major step forward in helping women get the health care services they need to stay healthy. Tens of millions of women are eligible to receive coverage of recommended preventive services without having to pay a co-pay or deductible, including contraception,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.  "Today, we are clarifying these coverage requirements, including access to the full range of contraceptive methods identified by the FDA, access to genetic counseling and testing for the BRCA gene as a preventative tool in the fight against cancer, and access to preventive services for transgender individuals.”

Read the clarification online on the U.S. Department of Labor website: FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation (Part XXVI)

National Women's Health Week- May 10 - 16

This week is National Women’s Health Week!

National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority.  Focusing on women’s health is a critical issue.  A recent article in the Washington Post, highlights some alarming trends in women’s health in areas involving STDs, mental health, disparities, and chronic disease prevention. Click on the following link to read the full article.

What steps can I take for better health?
To improve your physical and mental health, you can:

Find out what additional steps you should take based on your age.

How can I participate in National Women’s Health Week?
The Office on Women’s Health invites women across the country to:

Visit Office of Women's Health to find out more.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Free Community Screening of Dark Side of the Full Moon

The Utah Maternal Mental Health Collaborative

proudly presents a free community screening of:

Dark Side of the Full Moon

Thursday, May 14th at 7:00 p.m. sharp
The Salt Lake City Library
Main Floor Auditorium
210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Learn the chilling truth about the most common complication of childbirth for American women and what we can do about it in Utah.

Community discussion immediately following the film from 8:15-8:45. The nature of this film and venue are best suited for adults. Nursing babies in arms are welcome. This film may be triggering for women with personal experience with maternal anxiety and depression; caution is advised.
Preview a movie trailer.

This event is made possible by:
Intermountain Healthcare
Healing Group
Better Birth
University of Utah College of Nursing BirthCare HealthCare
The Community School of Midwifery
Utah Department of Health Maternal and Child Health

Contact Amy Rose White with questions 541.337.4960 or visit

OHD and Partners Celebrate Minority Health Month

OHD and many community partners marked Minority Health Month in Utah with exciting events.

Health screenings at Somali Community Self-Management Agency
OHD and Somali Community Self-Management Agency continued an ongoing commitment to link uninsured/underinsured individuals with primary care and medical homes.  This partnership, one of OHD’s funded efforts, provides monthly health screenings at the Somali Community offices and at the Olive Pharmacy.

“Screenings are a great way to find out what some of your risk factors are, and a lot of people that may not have gone to the doctor recently or may not have access to a doctor can actually come and get free screenings,” Jake Fitisemanu, OHD.

Ghulam Hasnain, an adviser for Somali Community Self-management Agency, also spoke about the value of that testing.  “If it’s found through testing that they do have those issues, sometimes people don’t know they have those issues, they then are referred to clinics that can help with this sort of financial profile,” he said.

Read more or watch a featured news story about the event on Fox 13 news at

Breakfast hosted at Comunidades Unidas

ComunidadesUnidas also held an event, Utah Latino Health Breakfast, to discuss how to better serve the Latino community.  Discussions included how to collaborate with partners and building trust with clients.  CU organized this unique event in an effort to share and learn from shared challenges and successes.

OHD also presented at the annual Utah Public Health Association conference.  OHD showcased a new video, A Class About CLAS, which is an introduction to the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service Standards or CLAS Standards.  OHD provided attendees with tools and information about how to personalize a program or practice. OHD has created practical tools to help health care workers provide the best services possible to Utah’s diverse communities.  A Class About CLAS and CLAS tools can be found on the OHD website

Project Success and Harambee Tobacco & Health Network continued their commitment to services targeting minorities in Northern Utah with a Senior Health Fair at Second Baptist Church in Ogden in celebration of Minority Health Month.  A wonderful day for African American seniors and others included health screenings, information tables, pedicures, door prizes, and lunch.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

HHS announces $2,305,900 in Affordable Care Act funding to 4 new community health centers in Utah

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today approximately $2,305,900 in Affordable Care Act funding to 4 new health center sites in Utah for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services to the communities that need them most.  These new health centers in Utah are projected to increase access to health care services for nearly 5,101 patients.  Nationally, approximately $101 million was awarded to 164 new health center sites in 33 states and two U.S. Territories to increase access to health care services for nearly 650,000 patients.

“The Affordable Care Act has led to unprecedented increases in access to health insurance.  Part of building on that progress is connecting people to the care they need,” said Secretary Burwell. “Health centers are keystones of the communities they serve in Utah. Today’s awards will enable more individuals and families in Utah to have access to the affordable, quality health care that health centers provide. That includes the preventive and primary care services that will keep them healthy.”

Nationally, this investment announced today will add to the more than 550 new health center sites that have opened in the last four years as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Today, nearly 13 health centers operate more than 44 service delivery sites that provide care to nearly 123,116 patients in Utah.

Health centers have also been critical in helping Utah residents sign up for health insurance through the Marketplace. Since 2013, health centers assisted more than 69,127 Utah residents in their efforts to become insured.

“More people have insurance in the United States than ever before,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae. “Health centers provide an accessible and dependable source of culturally competent primary care for many of the newly insured.”

The recently enacted bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act builds on this progress by extending  mandatory funding for health centers in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
To see a list of award winners, visit
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit
To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit

Friday, May 1, 2015

U of U School of Medicine study suggests moving 2 minutes every hour improves health

 Story from

We know that sitting all day is hazardous to our health, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, inflammation and atherosclerosis. It all sounds pretty dismal, since many of today's jobs require us to be nearly glued to our computer screens. But a tiny two-minute break may help offset that hazard, researchers say.

People who got up and moved around for at least two minutes every hour had a 33 percent lower risk of dying, according to researchers the University Of Utah School Of Medicine.

"It was fascinating to see the results because the current national focus is on moderate or vigorous activity," says Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, lead author of the study and a professor of medicine. "To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing."
You don't need a starting line to avoid arthritis pain, researchers say. Just put on that pedometer when you get up in the morning.

The researchers looked at data from 3,626 participants in the federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), who wore accelerometers to measure the intensity of their activity during the day. They looked at "light" activities, things like walking around the office, up and down a few flights of stairs, even a short walk to get a cup of coffee. Beddhu says: "Our study suggests that even small changes can have a big impact."
People use energy less efficiently as they age. Running seems to help prevent that slowdown.

People who had chronic kidney disease saw a 41 percent lower risk of dying in the time period studied, which was just under three years on average. And those 383 people were also the most sedentary, spending 41 minutes of each hour immobile, compared to 34 minutes in the group as a whole. The study was published Thursday in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

While many of us are getting standing desks to combat the ills of sitting all day, Beddhu says there's not enough evidence to confirm solid benefit from standing all day versus sitting. So he suggests even if you do stand all day you may want to add a spin around the office every hour. Day to day, week to week, it adds up, he says. Varying speed while walking may make the activity much more effective.

If you're awake say, 16 hours a day and you move about two minutes every hour, that adds up to 32 minutes a day. Multiply that by five work days, you end up with 160 minutes per work week of light activity. And if you can do more, even better, says Beddhu. "If you can do five minutes every hour, you can actually end up burning 1,000 additional calories a week." That can decrease fat tissue and help maintain or even lose weight.

As for that two-minute burst of activity satisfying federal guidelines for physical activity, forget it. You still have to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week. This more intense activity has numerous benefits of its own, including strengthening the cardiovascular system.