Thursday, July 30, 2015

OHD Grant Funding Opportunity

The Office of Health Disparities is pleased to announce a request for proposal (RFP) to address birth outcomes/infant mortality among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders in Utah.

Due date for applications: Friday, August 14 at 4:00 p.m (MDT)

For a copy of the RFP go to: .

Contact Dulce Díez at or 801-273-4139 or Brittney Okada at or 801-273-4135 with further questions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Results of OHD pilot project now available

In Spring 2015, OHD, in collaboration with the MAHINA (Maternal Health & Infant Advocates) Task Force conducted a pilot project to raise awareness about birth outcomes disparities among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities.

The pilot program consisted of six weekly sessions. The sessions began with a pre-questionnaire survey. Two facilitators were present at each session to provide support and direction for implementation of curriculum. The program curriculum focused on the community's definition of health, norms and practices surrounding birth outcomes, preconception health in the family setting, the mental and emotional wellness for mothers and babies, and making a difference in the community. Guest presenters attended many of the sessions to offer specialized knowledge, skills, and activities. Some of the sessions also included a physical activity component such as zumba or hot hula. The program concluded with a final presentation by participants about what they learned as well as a post-questionnaire. Session were held at a faith-based organization in Salt Lake County.

Read the summary report.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Pacific Island Heritage Month activities

Pacific Island Heritage Month

Islands In A Common Sea 


Pacific Island Heritage Month Kick Off:  Mayor Becker 
10:00 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. 
Sorenson Unity Center 600 East 900 South, Salt Lake City

Mo'olele Hawaii Storytelling Event
12:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. 
Utah Lake State Park 4400 W. Center Street, Provo

In Football We Trust  Free Community Screening & Director Panel
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sorenson Unity Center 600 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

MZL Annual Carnival 4:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

AUGUST 6 - 8 
Friendly Island Festival
Jordan Park 1060 South 900 West, Salt Lake City

When The Man Went South Free Community Screening & Director Panel
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Tower Theater 876 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

Back 2 School Back 2 Work Career & Resource Fair
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Valley Fair Mall 3601 S 2700 W, West Valley City

In Football We Trust Free Community Screening & Director Panel
6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. 
UVU - Utah Valley University 800 West University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058

Retro Community Dance & Potluck
Acknowledgment of the appointment of Jacob Fitisemanu Jr. to the AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) Whitehouse Commission
6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m

Free Community Screening & Panel TBA 
6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. 
UVU - Utah Valley University 800 West University Parkway, Orem

Kuma Hina Free Community Screening & Director Panel
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
DRAG SHOW Tower Theater 876 East 900 South, Salt Lake City

AUGUST 28-29
Polynesian Cultural Festival
Hatch Park 50 West Center Street, North Salt Lake, UT

Pasifika Enriching Arts of Utah Art Exhibit 
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Salt Lake City Arts Hub 663 West 100 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84104

For information of the above events, by PIK2AR's (Pacific Island KnOWledge 2Action Resources) and sponsorship/exhibiting opportunities, please email info@pik2arinfo or 801-793-4639.

*This is a tentative schedule of events.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Are Women at Greater Risk for Alzheimer’s – Or Do They Just Live Longer?

Nearly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Since age is the greatest risk factor for the disease, this disparity has traditionally been explained by the fact that women live longer than men. While that is still a reason – and perhaps the predominant reason – researchers are increasingly questioning whether there may be more at play in explaining the difference in the number of women and men who develop the disease.

The results of two studies released at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) underscore the idea that women’s life expectancy may not the only factor at work, even if they don’t yet explain what those other factors may be. A study from Duke University Medical Center found that women with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) declined cognitively almost twice as fast as men with MCI. And, researchers from the University of California-San Francisco discovered the levels of amyloid plaque on the brains of women with Alzheimer’s disease were the same regardless of whether the women had the APoE ε4 gene that increases a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In contrast, brain scans of men with Alzheimer’s showed a marked difference in amyloid levels based on the men’s APoE ε4 status.

Despite the differences in prevalence of Alzheimer’s among women and men, evidence continues to mount that the incidence of dementia for both genders appears to be declining. Last year at AAIC, several studies reported such a decline in some populations (primarily Whites in Western countries). Data released at AAIC yesterday from the Einstein Aging Study in New York – which includes a significant percentage of African-American participants – adds to this body of evidence. The data show individuals who turned 65 after 1995 (those born after 1930) have a lower dementia risk than earlier cohorts.
Public Health Roadmap E-05

Across these studies, speculation on why there may be declining incidence centers on increased levels of educational attainment and better cardiovascular health. The latter point, in particular, underscores the possible benefits of public health officials integrating brain health messages into existing heart health campaigns. Such messages are even more important given that many researchers are warning any declines in incidence could be reversed in the future. Diabetes and mid-life obesity increase a person’s risk for cognitive decline and may also increase the risk for later-life dementia. Given the large rates of diabetes and obesity among middle-aged Americans today, it is easy to picture a scenario where dementia incidence increases as these Americans age.

AAIC is the world’s largest conference of its kind. Each year, thousands of researchers from around the world gather to report and discuss groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Each year, the Public Health sessions at AAIC offer the opportunity to hear the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease prevention, risk factors for cognitive decline, epidemiology, and early detection. For more information, visit

The Alzheimer’s Public Health E-News is supported by Cooperative Agreement #5U58DP002945-05 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the Alzheimer’s Association and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

About the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Feds Say 7.5M Paid An Average Penalty Of $200 For Not Having Health Insurance

By Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News

About 7.5 million Americans paid an average penalty of $200 for not having health insurance in 2014 — the first year most Americans were required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

By contrast, 76 percent of taxpayers checked a box indicating they had qualifying insurance coverage all year. Counting another 7 million dependents who were not required to report their coverage but also filed returns, the proportion rises to 81 percent, the IRS said.

The government had estimated in January that from 3 million to 6 million households would have to pay a penalty: 1 percent of their annual income or $95 per adult in 2014, whichever is greater.

Image result for irsFinal figures for the tax year aren’t available. The IRS has so far processed about 135 million of the estimated 150 million returns expected. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency was reporting preliminary figures because it has received “numerous requests” from members of Congress.

In addition to penalty totals, the IRS reported Tuesday on tax subsidies the health law provided for people who were buying coverage through the state or federal online exchanges and who qualified based on income. People had a choice of filing for credits in advance — money the government paid to their insurers — or when filing tax returns.

About 2.7 million taxpayers claimed approximately $9 billion in subsidies, reporting an average subsidy of $3,400. About 40 percent claimed less than $2,000, 40 percent claimed $2,000 to $5,000, and 20 percent claimed $5,000 or more.

Among taxpayers who claimed a subsidy, about 1.6 million, or half of taxpayers who claimed or received a subsidy, had to pay money back to the government because their actual income was higher than projected when they applied for the subsidy. The average amount repaid was about $800.

When looking at the individual mandate, the report said the vast majority of people automatically satisfied the individual mandate because they were insured last year. Another 12 million had exemptions, including people whose incomes were too low and Native Americans.

In all, the IRS said it has collected $1.5 billion from the individual mandate penalty included in the health law.  About 40 percent of taxpayers who paid a penalty paid less than $100.

About 300,000 taxpayers who made an individual mandate penalty payment should have claimed an exemption but did not, the government said. The agency is sending letters to these taxpayers telling them they generally have three years to file an amended tax return.

More than 5 million taxpayers did not check the box on their tax form saying they had coverage, claim a health care coverage exemption, or pay a penalty. “We are analyzing these cases to determine their status,” the government said.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Get Ready for Generation Alzheimer’s

Get Ready for Generation Alzheimer’s
AAIC 2015 v2
This weekend, researchers from around the world began gathering in Washington, DC, for the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). And this morning’s wake-up call was loud and clear: what has long been known as the Baby Boom Generation is on the verge of becoming “Generation Alzheimer’s.”

A new study presented at AAIC this morning estimates that more than 28 million Baby Boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease between 2015 and 2050, significantly higher than previous projections made nearly a decade ago. Of all Baby Boomers, 37 percent will develop the disease before they die. And, in 2050, among those Boomers alive (they will be ages 86 to 104), over half will be living with Alzheimer’s. The large prevalence combined with the high costs of caring for those with the disease will place an enormous burden on the health and long-term care systems. For example, the new study estimates that in 2040, nearly one-quarter of the Medicare budget will be spent just on Baby Boomers with Alzheimer’s disease.

For public health, it is time to ask: will we as a nation be ready? Will we have enough capacity in the long-term care system? Are we developing enough home- and community-based support services? Is enough being done to educate Americans about reducing the risk of cognitive decline? The oldest Baby Boomers turn 70 next year. It is not too early to begin preparing for the very-near day when the Baby Boom Generation becomes Generation Alzheimer’s.

Here at AAIC, not only have we learned new information on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s among Baby Boomers, we also heard the results of the first epidemiological study of dementia incidence among American Indians. Over a 14-year period, cumulative incidence of diagnosed dementia among American Indians was 26.9 percent – 15 percent higher than whites in the study group. Those with certain co-morbid conditions that are suspected risk factors for dementia had higher incidence rates. For example, those with depression were 58 percent more likely to develop dementia; those who had a stroke were 48 percent more likely; and those with diabetes were 24 percent more likely. These associations are consistent with findings from other studies and point to an avenue of opportunity for public health to address cognitive issues as part of existing and ongoing efforts related to multiple chronic conditions.

Could you one day spit and find out if you are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease? Maybe, according to a new study from Canada, which found that an excess of certain proteins in saliva may be a strong predictor of Alzheimer’s. Protein analysis technology was used to identify which substances in saliva were predominant in those with Alzheimer’s disease, those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and those with neither condition. Researchers reported strong associations between certain substances and a person’s cognitive abilities. Currently, many diagnosis techniques can be costly or invasive. But, saliva is easy to obtain, making it particularly useful for performing repeated assessments that span days, weeks, months, or longer. As lead investigator Shraddha Sapkota said, “Saliva is easily obtained, safe and affordable, and has promising potential for predicting and tracking cognitive decline.” Sapkota noted, however, that this work is in the very early stages and much more research is needed.

AAIC continues through Thursday.

About the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 
AAIC is the world’s largest conference of its kind. Each year, thousands of researchers from around the world gather to report and discuss groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Each year, the Public Health sessions at AAIC offer the opportunity to hear the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease prevention, risk factors for cognitive decline, epidemiology, and early detection. For more information, visit

The Alzheimer’s Public Health E-News is supported by Cooperative Agreement #5U58DP002945-05 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the Alzheimer’s Association and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

August marks Utah's 3rd Annual Pacific Island Heritage Month

Contact: Cencira Te’o, PIK2AR - Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources
Phone: 801-793-4639


Salt Lake City – Utah is home to the largest Tongan and 4th largest Samoan communities in the United States. 1 in every 4 US Tongans live in Utah.  Pacific Island Heritage Month is August, began in 2013 and declared by Utah’s Governor Herbert on behalf of the 35000 Pacific Islanders that live in the state of Utah.
The 2015 events have doubled from 2014 and offers free family events from North Salt Lake to St George.   Festivals, Free Film Screenings including Tongan Filmmaker, Tony Vaenuku’s Sundance Award Winning Film, “In Football We Trust” as well as a Career & Job Fair, Art Exhibit and a Community Dance & Potluck celebrating Jacob Fitisemanu’s appointment to President Obama’s Asian American Pacific Islander White house Commission.  So much to celebrate this year!
Utah’s Pacific Island Heritage Month is a platform for Pacific Island community organizations to showcase their heritage and culture educating across communities of the similarities and differences between Pacific Island cultures, instilling positive pride and self-identity for each, importantly for our youth, and to debunk the stereo types of Pacific Islanders to the broader Utah Community.
Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou, Co-Founder at PIK2AR, Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources and a founding organization of Utah Pacific Island Heritage Month explained that “One of our goals of Pacific Island Heritage Month is to give everyone the opportunity to contribute to inclusiveness through cross culture education via music, the arts, and activities that build relationships of friendship and tolerance in our neighborhoods, schools, and employment across the board”.

About PIK2AR, Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources
PIK2AR’s key initiatives are to Reduce Domestic Violence, Improve Economic Development, Cultivate Local Leadership with Cross cultural SolutionsBridging mainstream service providers to culturally relevant tools, & resources that empower and support Family values, Self-Reliance, Good Health, Charity and Community Involvement locally and in the South Pacific.

For more information, sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities contact PIK2AR Co-Founder, Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou or 801-793-4639

PCN (Primary Care Network) will soon be open for enrollment

PCN will open enrollment for parents/caretaker relatives

July 27, 2015

PCN will stay open until further notice.
To be eligible you must be uninsured, age 19-64, and have a dependent child under age 19 living at home. 
Click here for additional eligibility requirements..

Utah's Premium Partnership for Health Insurance (UPP) may be able to help you pay for your monthly health insurance premium if you are:
  • Uninsured, but have access to health insurance through your employer
  • COBRA eligible or already have COBRA coverage

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

County-Level Data Release

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the number of Qualified Health Plan selections by county for 37 states that are participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace or have State Partnership Marketplaces or supported State-based Marketplaces for the initial open enrollment period from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015, including additional special enrollment period activity reported through February 22, 2015. 

The data can be found here.

Questions or Concerns? Contact

Special needs classes in August at Utah's Hogle Zoo

Image result for utah's hogle zooEngaging Enrichment (Physical Disabilities)
$10 per student, includes accompanying adult
It’s not an egg carton. It’s a game of hide-and-seek.
It’s not a log. It’s an obstacle course.
It’s not a toy. It’s animal enrichment.
Animals in the wild spend much of their time and energy finding food, building homes, defending their territories and escaping predators. Zoo life is more predictable, as most animals’ resources are provided for them. Discover firsthand the creative ways we come up with to help them to use that energy. You’ll experience some of the Zoo’s enrichment personally and then meet with keeper to see how the animals do it.  This class is specially designed for students with physical disabilities and is wheel chair accessible.
August 5, 2015  5pm-6pm
Ages 6-18

Class targeted for children with cognitive/developmental disabilities:

Let’s Go Ape (Cognitive/Developmental Disabilities)
$10 per student, includes accompanying adult
Join us for a class filled with monkey – and ape – business, as we learn about the many adaptations of primates. Children will have a chance to meet a primate keeper and learn how the animals are cared for and why its great to be a primate. This class has been designed for students with cognitive and developmental disabilities.
August 19, 2015  5pm-6pm
Ages 6-18

Because of the popularity of the class and the requests we have had to hold more sessions, we will hold an additional session of Radical Reptiles on Monday, August 3. This one will be open to kids ages 6-18.

Radical Reptiles
$10 per student, includes accompanying adult
Reptiles come in many shapes and sizes. Some slither, others crawl- some have sharp fangs, and others have no teeth at all! Come to the Zoo and see what the scaly creatures have in common, and what makes them different. Class includes a short instructional time with pictures, animal artifacts, live animals, interactive play, and a guided short visit in the Zoo. 
August 3, 2015  9am-10:30am
Ages 6-18

Questions?  Contact Elise Kelly, Utah’s Hogle Zoo(801) 584-4563 |

CMS cutting-edge technology identifies & prevents $820 million in improper Medicare payments in first three years


July 14, 2015                                                                                                                       

Contact: CMS Media Relations

CMS cutting-edge technology identifies & prevents $820 million in improper Medicare payments in first three years

The Fraud Prevention System is one part of the administration’s effort to protect the Medicare Trust Fund

After three years of operations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today reported that the agency’s advanced analytics system, called the Fraud Prevention System, identified or prevented $820 million in inappropriate payments in the program’s first three years. The Fraud Prevention System uses predictive analytics to identify troublesome billing patterns and outlier claims for action, similar to systems used by credit card companies.  The Fraud Prevention System identified or prevented $454 million in Calendar Year 2014 alone, a 10 to 1 return on investment.

"We are proving that in a modern health care system you can both fight fraud and avoid creating hassles for the vast majority of physicians who simply want to get paid for services rendered. The key is data," said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. "Very few investments have a 10:1 return on taxpayer money."

The Fraud Prevention System was created in 2010 by the Small Business Jobs Act, and CMS has extensively used its tools, along with other new authorities made possible by the Affordable Care Act, to help protect Medicare Trust Funds and prevent fraudulent payments. For instance, last month Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice announced the largest coordinated fraud takedown in history, resulting in charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $712 million in false billings. Over the last five years, the administration’s efforts have resulted in more than $25 billion returned to the Medicare Trust Fund

The Fraud Prevention System helps to identify questionable billing patterns in real time and can review past patterns that may indicate fraud.  In one case, one of the system’s predictive models identified a questionable billing pattern at a provider for podiatry services that resulted in Medicare revoking the provider’s payments and referring the findings to law enforcement. The Fraud Prevention System also identified an ambulance provider for questionable trips allegedly made to a hospital. During the three years prior to the system alerting officials, the provider was paid more than $1.5 million for transporting more than 4,500 beneficiaries.  A review of medical records found significant instances of insufficient or lack of documentation. CMS also revoked the provider’s Medicare enrollment and referred the results to law enforcement. 
 “The third year results of the Fraud Prevention System demonstrate our commitment to high-yield prevention activities, and our progress in moving beyond the ‘pay and chase’ model,” said Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Program Integrity. “We have learned a lot in the three years since the Fraud Prevention System began, and as we learn, we continue to become more sophisticated in detecting aberrant billing patterns and developing leads for investigations and action.”

In future years, CMS plans to expand the Fraud Prevention System and its algorithms to identify lower levels of non-compliant health care providers who would be better served by education or data transparency interventions.

For more information, please see the Report under “Guidance and Reports” at:   


Monday, July 13, 2015

New funding opportunity: Data Across Sectors for Health

Displaying Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) is a new national initiative supported by RWJF to identify and support community collaborations and initiatives that have used shared data and information to increase their capacity for planning, implementing, and evaluating health improvement activities.

Interested in applying? Prepare a brief proposal on your vision for sharing or connecting data and information from different sectors in your community, and how doing so will improve the health of your community, promote health equity, and contribute to a Culture of Health. Application deadline: July 29, 2015

Register for an informational webinar or start your application >

Addressing Health Disparities through the National Prevention Strategy and Partnerships Presented by Region VIII Federal Partners

The Role of Health Care Systems, Insurers and Providers
Thursday, July 16, 2015, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, MT (4:00-5:30 ET)

2:00-2:05 Welcome and Adobe Connect Logistics
Speaker: Cherri Pruitt, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII Maternal and Child Health Consultant

2:05-2:20 What IS the National Prevention Strategy, it’s Strategy to Eliminate Health Disparities and the Role of Social Determinants of Health
Speaker: Lorenzo Olivas, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, Office of Minority Health, Region VIII

2:20-2:40 The Affordable Care Act: Changing the Healthcare Landscape to Address Disparities – Minority communities in the United States have historically faced disparities in access to healthcare services and management. In the presentation, you will learn all about those provisions in the ACA that address these disparities, and the historic strides that have already been made since its implementation.
Speaker: Adrian Schulte, Regional Outreach Specialist in the Office of the Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Region VIII

2:40-3:00 Choosing Partnership! An essential step in the elimination of health disparities is transforming the culture of health care systems to one that focuses on partnership, both among the health care team as well as with the individuals and families we work with. This session provides a model for interprofessional teams and communities to consciously choose the partnership model to effectively address our nation’s most pressing health disparities, and share examples from nursing schools and programs within Region VIII.
Speaker: Teddie Potter, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Diversity and Inclusivity School of Nursing, University of Minnesota

3:00-3:20 Developing a Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Framework – In this presentation you will learn how the Wyoming Office of Multicultural Health is using CLAS standards in supporting state, local and tribal organizations to develop into culturally competent organizations better equipped to address health disparities in Wyoming.
Speaker: Lillian Zuniga, Program Manager, Wyoming Department of Health, Office of Multicultural Health

3:20-3:30 Questions & Answers and Additional Resources

Please contact: RegionVIIIFedPartners@HHS.GOV with any questions, to be added to our direct webinar series distribution list, or to request a written transcript of this event.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Report Suggests Regular Exercise May be Potential Risk Reduction for Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer's & Dementia Journal logo
Participating in regular physical activity and managing certain cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity) reduces the risk of cognitive decline, according to an evidence review by the Alzheimer’s Association published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia earlier this month. This review adds to the growing scientific consensus, including a recentInstitute of Medicine report, that modifying certain behaviors can protect cognition and support brain health.

Dementia EvidenceBased on an examination of the current state of the science, the analysis concludes there is sufficiently strong evidence, from a population perspective, to link physical activity and management of certain cardiovascular risk factors to a reduced risk of cognitive decline. The report notes that a healthy diet and engaging in lifelong learning may also reduce the risk (see image at right).

To date, the only risk factors conclusively associated with dementia, according to the report, are formal education (more of it reduces the risk) and moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (it increases the risk). However, physical activity and cardiovascular risk management may also reduce the risk of developing dementia.

The authors call for expanding efforts to raise awareness and educate the public on ways to decrease their risk of cognitive decline, including by governments. The Public Health Road Map, a guidebook for public health officials to promote cognitive functioning – which was jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Aging Program and the Alzheimer’s Association – encourages disseminating evidence-based messages about risk reduction for preserving cognitive health (action item E-04).  Brain Health as You Age: You Can Make A Difference!,  from the Administration for Community Living, is one existing resource that public health professionals can use. You can  also partner with your local Alzheimer's Association chapter  to conduct workshops on ways individuals can care for their bodies and brains to age as well as possible.