Tag Archives: HHS

Nominate a White House Champion of Change for Public Health and Prevention

Know someone who is doing extraordinary things to improve public health in your community? Nominate them (before Friday, August 9) as a Champion of Change for Prevention and Public Health.

The champion’s work may involve:

  • Supporting community and clinical prevention efforts to address chronic disease, increase education and outreach, and integrate primary and behavioral health;
  • Creating healthy and safe communities by promoting healthier schools, homes and workplaces that make the healthy choice the easy choice;
  • Working to address health disparities and empower all Americans to make healthy choices by addressing health concerns that disproportionately affect certain populations;
  • Strengthening public health infrastructure and improving public health’s capacity to detect and control disease and other threats;
  • Increasing the uptake of important preventive services; and
  • Promoting tobacco prevention.

“We know that efforts to promote the public’s health and prioritize prevention happen in America’s towns and cities, in schools and parks, in churches and community centers. Every day, local leaders across America’s communities are stepping up in big ways to make sure all Americans have the opportunity to live a healthy life,” said Paul Dioguardi, director, Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a communication.

Winners will be invited to the White House in September to celebrate their accomplishments and showcase their actions to support healthier communities.

If you have any questions, email ExternalAffairs@hhs.gov.

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May 12-18 is National Women’s Health Week

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is marking a week-long observance of Women’s Health. In a statement about 2013’s National Women’s Health Week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius points to the role of women as health care decision-makers in their families. Mothers, wives and daughters are often the first and primary care giver when a family member falls ill, and yet many women may overlook their own personal health. Continue reading →

April is National Minority Health Disparities Month

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have valuable resources on their websites in recognition of National Minority Health Disparities month. This year, CDC and HHS are focusing on health equity and access to affordable healthcare for all.

Health disparities can result from a number of factors – limited access to quality, affordable health care and preventative services, physical activity and fresh food and produce, and unhealthy environments at home and work.

In 2009, health disparities among African-Americans and Hispanics cost private insurers an additional $5.1 billion. Indirect costs associated with unscheduled absences and productivity losses associated with family and personal health problems cost U.S. employers $225 billion annually.  Medical and health research can reduce disparities, improve health care delivery and drive down health care costs. A diverse healthcare work force as well as multicultural training for healthcare professionals will also improve patient care.

Click here to learn more about minority health disparities and what can be done to promote health equity for all Americans. Also visit the CDC’s website to read about programs to reduce minority health disparities; their initiatives include vaccination strategies to reduce childhood infection and diabetes educational programs.

Supreme Court Rejects Request to Ban Federally Funded ESCR

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not hear a case that challenged the legality of federally funded human embryonic stem cell research.

The case, Sherley v. Sebelius, was brought by two researchers of induced pluripotent stem cells, James Sherley, MD, PhD, and Theresa Deisher, PhD in 2009. They argued that guidelines concerning government funding of hESC, adopted by the Obama administration, were in violation of the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment. The amendment forbids the Department of Health and Human Services — including the National Institutes of Health — from using appropriated funds to either create embryos for research purposes or conduct research in which embryos are destroyed.

After an initial ruling in 2010 in favor of the plaintiffs, an injunction was issued that allowed research to continue. Eventually, both the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found in favor of the government. The plaintiffs appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case and offered no further comment in Monday’s order.

Stem cell research advocates were pleased with the ruling.

“This is a major victory for scientifically and ethically responsible innovative research,” Bernard Siegel, spokesperson for the Stem Cell Action Coalition and executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, said in a statement. “With the cloud of this case lifted, researchers can now rest assured that the challenge to the NIH’s 2009 guidelines for funding for embryonic stem cell research is over. Patients and their advocates can now rejoice that this potentially life-saving research can proceed at the federal level.”

The ruling is “a victory for scientists, patients and the entire biomedical research community. Science can now continue to move forward, knowing the threat to promising research and funding has been eliminated,” said Amy Comstock Rick, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, according to ScienceInsider.

In a statement, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, reaffirmed the agency’s dedication to ESCR.

“I am very pleased with today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decline to review the Sherley v. Sebelius U.S. Court of Appeals ruling. This decision allows the ruling to stand, and enables NIH to continue conducting and funding stem cell research, following the strict ethical guidelines put in place in 2009. Patients and their families who look forward to new therapies to replace cells lost by disease or injury, or who may benefit from new drugs identified by screening using stem cells, should be reassured that NIH will continue supporting this promising research.”