National Health Watch

Updated Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recent Links and Articles

PROVIDENCE, RI – Below are some links for those of you interested in the topics of Childhood Obesity, Access to Nutrition and Overcoming Health Disparities. They include short-form press releases, podcasts with Public Service Announcements, videos explaining local initiatives, and long-form studies especially posted for those that do Health Policy work. The sources and references for these links come from a variety of places, including (but not limited to) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We know there is a lot, so we leave you with these parting words (and requests): Take A Peek; Take Your Time; and Take A Minute – to leave a comment with your own links, resources or articles.

Recent Links on Childhood Obesity & Nutrition

Heavier and wider kids
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
HHS HealthBeat

A study says more American kids have been growing overweight – and, the study, which looked at different generations of kids, finds overweight kids have been growing even fatter. (…) The increase in waist size especially could cause more health problems.

Keep Reading
Download/listen to a Short Podcast:


School Environment Affects Diabetes Risk
(And School-based Obesity Intervention Works)
From the National Institutes of Health

Healthier foods at school, longer and more intense physical activity and lessons in healthy lifestyles can reduce obesity and other risk factors for diabetes. These findings, from an NIH-funded study, suggest that school-based changes might help at-risk kids improve their health. (…) At the end of the study, kids who had been overweight or obese at the intervention schools had a 21% lower obesity rate than those at the comparison schools. Other diabetes risk factors, like larger waist size, also fell more at the intervention schools.

Keep Reading


Carrots or Candy in Corner Stores?
Federal Facilitators and Barriers to Stocking Healthier Options
Listed in the CDC Public Health Law News

Sheila Fleischhacker and Joel Gittelsohn have written the article “Carrots or Candy in Corner Stores?: Federal Facilitators and Barriers to Stocking Healthier Options” in the Indiana Health Law Review. The article examines federal legal facilitators and barriers to stocking healthier options in the food environment, with particular emphasis on how healthy foods get to smaller grocery stores or “corner stores” in predominantly low-income areas.

Click here to download/read the 34-page article.


Other Links

Why The Poor Pay Virtually No Attention to Those ‘Quit Smoking’ Campaigns
By Carolyn Thomas

A fascinating study in the UK sheds some light on that question by observing that the poorer you are, the more likely you’ll be to take up smoking, and the less likely you’ll also be to quit smoking. It helps to explain the spectacular lack of success that otherwise effective anti-smoking campaigns have among lower socioeconomic populations. (…) [R]esearchers conclude that disadvantaged populations will continue to resist health promotion measures like ‘quit smoking’ campaigns until their more urgent short-term problems are successfully addressed. (…) Poor housing conditions, occupational hazards, and environmental dangers are more immediate threats to the health of those in lower socioeconomic positions than is smoking.

Blog/Article Link:

Original Study Link:


Improving Your Health Literacy
from “Navigating the Health Care System: Advice Columns from Dr. Carolyn Clancy”

In this article, found on the webpage of the Agency for Health Research and Quality, Dr. Carolyn Clancy gives great tips on how to improve interactions with pharmacists. October, she says, is “Health Literacy Month,” which is “a good time to try these suggestions,” writes Clancy, who writes an advice column called “Navigating the Health Care System.” Here are some excerpts from some of her suggestions:

  • Have another adult with you.
  • Bring all your medicines to your next doctor’s visit.
  • Ask questions. Then, make sure you get and understand the answers.
  • Repeat information back to your doctor or nurse. After your doctor or nurse gives you directions, repeat those instructions in your own words.
  • Let the doctor’s office know you need an interpreter if you don’t speak or understand English very well. You have a right to an interpreter, at no cost to you.

Read more


Looking at Native American Health on the Anniversary of Columbus

by Reza Corinne Clifton

Originally Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PROVIDENCE, RI – On Monday, October 11, many around the country were commemorating the explorations and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, for it was the annual federal holiday honoring his adventures of 1492.  Yet not everyone sees reason to celebrate this “discoverer” of the New World.  Here on Urban Health Watch, and in partnership with, we decided to take a look at another angle of the Columbus legacy:  Issues and Disparities in Native American Health. One of the experts we turned to was Donald Warne, M.D., who, according to the health documentary, Unnatural Causes, comes from “a long line of Oglala Lakota traditional healers,” and was “trained in medicine at Stanford and public health at Harvard and has studied diabetes education and minority health policy.” We also turned to the topic of sexual violence against Native American women, a topic that’s been covered in great detail by the activist and educator, Julianne Jennings, and by the nonprofit/NGO, Amnesty International (and Amnesty USA).

Check out these great links to learn more about the enduring health challenges facing Native Americans / American Indians.

Federal Indian Policies and Health
Featuring Dr. Donald Warne
From the UNNATURAL CAUSES series: Episode 4 – Bad Sugar

Historically, federal Indian policies have been destructive to Native American communities – ranging from removal to assimilation and termination. These policies have had a negative impact on health and health-related behaviors. More recent trends towards self-determination and tribal control provide reason to hope.

Info, extended:
Info, short:


Culture of Diabetes – Native Americans and Futurelessness
Featuring Dr. Donald Warne
From the UNNATURAL CAUSES series: Episode 4 – Bad Sugar

In some Native American communities, diabetes is so common that people grow up feeling that it is in some ways, inevitable. “I don’t have diabetes yet,” is what Dr. Warne often hears from his patients. Yet hope for the future is an important factor in preventing and controlling diabetes – something health care practitioners need to take into account when treating patients.

Info, extended:
Info, short:


No justice for alaskan and native american women
AmnestyUSA | May 19, 2008

One in three Native American or Alaska Native women will be raped at some point in their lives. Most do not seek justice because they know they will be met with inaction or indifference. Besides providing data and information on trends, it features Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International, Kate Gilmore.

Youtube Video Link:



More about Women and Native Americans From Julianne Jennings:

From Amy Stretten/

From and More from Dr. Donald Warne


Local and National Statements on Health Reform:

UHW Helping You with Health Reform
by Reza Corinne Clifton

Originally Posted: March 26, 2010

PROVIDENCE, RI – Earlier this week, here on, we talked about the fact that everyone would be effected by health issues one day or another, particularly with the recent legislative action around health reform. We wondered if people were ready for changes that would ensue as the process continued, and we asked you to fill out a survey – “How Can We Help You with Health Reform?”

There’s still time to take the survey by clicking here, but we’re ready to start helping now. Therefore check out the excerpts below; they come from updates and statements that have been sent by local and national organizations. Learn more about what’s left in the process, what changes you and your family can expect, and where to go for more information.

From Rhode Island Kids Count
(A Statement by Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT)

Health reform is a major victory for children and families. It delivers what Rhode Island families need: affordable, reliable health coverage that won’t disappear if they lose a job or get sick.

Health care reform

• Requires insurance companies to provide pediatrician-recommended care for children so they can grow and thrive.

• Allows parents to keep their children up to age 26 on their family health plans.

• Continues RIte Care, a successful federal-state partnership between Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that has worked to cover 79,000 children and 41,000 parents last year in Rhode Island with high quality coverage at an affordable cost.

• Ensures that losing a job no longer means Rhode Island families also have to worry about becoming uninsured.

• Ends insurance companies’ discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

Although health care reform will deliver on the promise of covering more people in the coming years, there will still be uninsured Rhode Islanders in the short-term. Thanks to RIte Care, we can start to cover some of those uninsured children and families right now.

As a first win for families, we can help the estimated 13,000 children in Rhode Island who qualify for RIte Care based on their family’s income to secure this coverage. Families who need health insurance can apply for RIte Care coverage today by going to or by calling 401-462-5300. Families that would like help in applying can find a Family Resource Counselor who can explain the application process and help with paperwork at or by calling 401-271-1171, extension 217.

Read more here.


From the National Urban League
(Urban Health Watch is run by Urban League of RI, a member organization to the National Urban League)

Over the last 48 hours, countless people like you and your neighbors called members of Congress and advocated for legislation that will empower 31 million people with a new right to health insurance. Your voices and the muted voices of the voiceless have finally been heard. No longer will those without financial means, previous medical conditions, or those subject to the whims of health insurance companies be excluded from basic health fairness.

The last 24 hours have witnessed a chaos and disorder that reared its ugly head in nasty language and hostile attacks. Despite attacks upon civil rights icons in the Congress, justice and truth continue to “march on.” That is why we must renew our efforts to mobilize like we did in the past. But this time, we must effectively use technology and online resources if we are to have an impact on future decisions of government. The spirit of the past must be empowered by the possibilities of today.

That is why we need you and many like you to go to, take the I AM EMPOWERED pledge for a better America, and get involved in today’s battles; battles that are increasingly won or lost online using technology. We must be part of the revolution in engagement that has so often left us behind. Take the pledge, get involved, and congratulations on this historic victory.

Learn more here.


From the New England Alliance for Children’s Health
(A Community Catalyst Initiative)

The House voted 219-212 to pass the Senate bill and then passed the reconciliation “fix-it” bill by a vote of 220-211. Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) was the only House member from New England who did not vote for the Senate bill.

The legislation that passed last night will improve the health care system for children and families in a number of ways. The bill includes provisions to:

* Expand Medicaid to all children and families up to 133% FPL
* Maintain the CHIP program through at least 2015
* Simplify and coordinate enrollment processes for coverage in Medicaid, CHIP, and the exchange
* Provide funding for school-based health centers, oral health education campaigns, and pediatric quality improvement programs
* Ban insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions

Please contact your senators and encourage them vote for the reconciliation package. We must ensure quick passage of this bill in order to guarantee that the health care reform legislation is as strong a bill as possible for children and their families.

Read more here.


From the Prevention Institute

We did it. With the heroic and historic steps toward health reform that were taken yesterday, communities across the country will be able to start building better health tomorrow. Health reform represents a major step forward in supporting those with greatest need, and by insuring more coverage for more people.

And we won’t be waiting around: prevention money will be funneled directly towards communities in the coming months. The minute the president signs the health reform bill, approximately $15 billion dollars dedicated to community prevention will be made available to expand and sustain national investment in prevention and public health programs over the next ten years.

Here are our recommendations for next steps from the Federal Government:

1) Expand the understanding and funding of prevention, focusing not just on chronic disease prevention, but including other community concerns such as violence prevention and other safety issues, where communities would benefit from prevention.

2) Set aside significant additional resources to fund and build capacity in those communities where there is a vital need for prevention work, but where skills and expertise need further development.

Read more here.


Join Families USA for National Grassroots Health Conference: January 28 – 30, 2010

Originally posted here on December 30, 2009

Families USA invites you to learn more about health legislation, field strategies for moving reform initiatives forward, and trends for the upcoming year. For more info on the Health Action 2010 conference, click on the flyer or visit

WASHINGTON, DC – In January 2009, approximately 800 people dropped into Washington, DC to hear about current initiatives in the health reform movement. That was because they were participants in an annual conference organized by Families USA, a national nonprofit organization “dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

Well Families USA is back at it in the new year with Health Action 2010, “a conference for consumer health advocates.” Scheduled from January 28-30, 2010, the meetings and presentations will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Organizers at Families USA pledge to offer an agenda where attendees will hear the history, current state, and future direction in national health reform efforts as well as “learn more about the legislation, share field strategies with advocates from across the country, and gear up for the year ahead.” Guests they have targeted for this swath of information include Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NAACP President and CEO, Benjamin Todd Jealous; and Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General. In addition, there is a track dedicated to “minority health issues.”

Below is an excerpt with additional details on the hours, registration, and lodging for the conference. Early registration, and the discounted fees associated with it, ends on Thursday, December 31. For more information, click here.

Health Action 2010 begins with a Welcome Reception on Wednesday, January 27, from 7-10pm. The conference officially opens on Thursday, January 28, at 9am and ends on Saturday, January 30, at 2:30pm.

In addition, there is a Special Early Bird Registration of $395 available until Thursday, December 31. After that, registration is $445. This fee includes three continental breakfasts, 3 lunches, afternoon snacks, music and political satire by The Capitol Steps, a thumb drive chock full of resources—and a great meeting of like-minded people, working for justice and health care for all of us.

The conference is being held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. – 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW. There is a special conference rate available until January 2, and those looking to share the cost of a hotel room with a roommate can indicate it during registration or by emailing

For more information, please visit or contact Families USA: 1201 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20005, 202-628-3030, To see details about last year’s conference, click here.


Links and Reflections from Urban Health Watch

by Reza Corinne Clifton
Originally posted here on December 11, 2009

PROVIDENCE, RI – December is a month for reflection and wrapping up as we assess, discard, and add new goals and pieces to improve our lives in the new year. Here on, we are taking up that cause as well. From the recent survey we distributed, to this and the last few posts we’ve selected, we are making sure to share information that, upon closer examination, needs to be distributed and mirrors your requests. Here are are some links to articles and other websites in the spirit of December reflection:

From the Diversity@Lifespan Newsletter
Diabetes – from health disparities to survival

According to the American Diabetes Association, in comparison to the general population, African-Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes:

• 14.7% of all African-Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes.
• African-Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites.
• Twenty-five percent of African-Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have diabetes.

The higher incidence of diabetes among African Americans when compared to whites may have more to do with living conditions than genetics, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“I don’t mean to suggest that genetics, play no role in race differences in health, but before we can conclude that health disparities are mainly a matter of genetics, we need to first identify a gene, polymorphism or gene mutation that exists in one race group and not in others. And when that gene is found we need to then demonstrate that the gene is also associated with diabetes,” said [Thomas LaVeist, PhD, director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions]. “On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence that behavior, medical care and the environment are huge drivers of race differences in health. It seems more likely that the answer to health disparities will be found among these factors.”

To read the full article and the entire October/November issue of Diversity@Lifespan newsletter, visit


From Rhode Island Kids Count
RIte Care Workshop: Materials Available Online

On Thursday, November 19th, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and The Poverty Institute co-sponsored the latest in a series of RIte Care workshops for direct service providers, Access to Health Care for Children in Immigrant Families in Rhode Island.

To access all of the materials from the workshop in PDF form, most of it in English and Spanish, visit or click here.

Materials on the site include the powerpoint presentation they delivered, an analysis of Cultural Diversity in RI’s Community Health Centers, and Documents You Need to Apply for RIte Care/RIte Share.


From the National Institutes of Health, Research Matters:
Childhood Maltreatment Linked to Adulthood Economic Problems

According to a new study, the long-term impacts of child maltreatment also include higher rates of unemployment, poverty and use of social services.

Adults who had been physically abused as children were 60% more likely than non-victims to be living in poverty. Those who had experienced 2 or more types of childhood maltreatment were 180% more likely to be living below the poverty line.

Childhood physical abuse increased the risk of unemployment by 140%. A history of multiple types of maltreatment increased the risk by 190%. In contrast, survivors of sexual abuse or severe neglect didn’t have greater unemployment rates than non-victims.

To keep reading, click here.


From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
$10 Million in Grants Aimed at Enrolling American Indian, Alaska Native Kids in Health Care to be Awarded

Tribes and Indian Health Providers Urged to Apply

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of up to $10 million in grants to help reach American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children who qualify for, but are not yet enrolled, in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

These new grants are part of a broader effort to find and enroll uninsured children who are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but not enrolled. The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) set aside $100 million for fiscal years 2009-2013 expressly to help find and enroll eligible uninsured children, including $10 million specifically for Indian health providers.

Applications are due by Jan. 15, 2010, and the grants will be awarded on April 15. Grants will be available to:

* The Indian Health Service;
* Tribes and Tribal organizations operating a health program; and,
* Urban Indian organizations operating a health program.

For more information about the outreach and enrollment grants, go to or click here.


From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
HHS Announces Plans to Make $80 Million Available to Support Health IT Workforce

Dr. David Blumenthal, HHS’ National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, today announced plans to make available $80 million in grants to help develop and strengthen the health information technology workforce. The grants that will be made available include $70 million for community college training programs and $10 million to develop educational materials to support these programs.

Any U.S. non-profit institution of higher learning currently engaged in providing training in health IT that is interested in drafting curriculum or establishing a consortium that includes community colleges may apply for the grants.

For more information, click here.



A Clear Conference Message: Everyone Can Make A Difference to Achieve Health Equity

By Reza Corinne Clifton

Click on the picture to see more photos from NERHMC.

Originally posted here on November 11, 2009, this article features additional reporting from Michelle Wilson, Director of Community Services, Urban League of RI. In addition, an abbreviated version of this article appeared in the November edition of The Providence American Newspaper.

That was the message last month at the New England Regional Minority Health Conference (NERMHC). Held from October 14 through 16 at the Westin Hotel in Providence and hosted by the RI Department of Health, the theme of NERMHC was “From Disparities to Equity: the Power to Make Change.” The New England Regional Minority Health Committee has been holding conferences like these every two years for the past 10 years with the larger umbrella goal of “Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities by 2010.”

Despite what was clearly a success, in terms of the number of attendees this year and the general cohesion of the organizing group, last month marked the end of an era; a founding premise of the committee was to only convene these special regional conferences for ten years. Notwithstanding a few quick comments and attention during the final afternoon of the conference, the business at-hand remained front and center.

A Recognizable Health Leader Addresses the Attendees

The first keynote address of the conference was given by Adewale Troutman, MD, MPH, the Director of the Louisville (Kentucky) Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and, as some may have noticed, a specialist featured in the health documentary, “Unnatural Causes.” His words were powerful and full of imagery.

One of Dr. Troutman’s most memorable remarks included when he explained that disparities cause a number of “excess deaths” in the African American community, alone, that is the equivalent of a 747 airplane crash with no survivors – every day. Furthermore, this trend of avoidable deaths has been happening for years, says Dr. Troutman, as the heyday of health equity was several decades ago, during the most active periods of the Civil Rights Movement.

In terms of today, Dr. Troutman recommends that advocates and community residents analyze the different levels of racism that exist in society – “individualized, institutionalized, and internalized, ” he says, borrowing a concept created by Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, a nationally acclaimed doctor, health equity advocate and public health leader Specifically, he says look at things like treatment by doctors and support staff, bus routes and schedules, and telling convenience store owners in low-income areas about the profitability of selling fresh fruit.

Dr. Adewale Troutman and conference attendee, Beau Stubblefield-Tave talk after a keynote address by Dr. Troutman at NERMHC in October.

Regional and Federal Leaders Lend Their Voices Too

NERMHC was filled a number of thematic workshop slots, while other keynote speakers included Garth Graham, MD, MPH; Lisa Renee Holderby, LSWA; and John Ruffin, PhD.

Garth Graham, MD, MPH
Dr. Graham, who is a federal-level Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in the office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services, reminded audiences of the absence of people of color in many medical studies and programs. He talked about the significance of comparative research in relation to achieving health equity, and he called on more inclusiveness in outreach that’s done for medical research. Dr. Graham also referred to a new group he is serving with, the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which was authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). He also urged healthcare providers to do their part with staying informed and proactive about health-related digital upgrades and IT advances.

Lisa Renee Holderby, LSWA
Holderby’s feedback was important to physicians and providers as well. Speaking from her almost 20 years of work “to improve health in Massachusetts,” Holderby emphasized the value that health educators, grassroots outreach specialists, and devoted community advocates play in reaching target residents and closing gaps in disparities. Referring, in part, to a recent study published by RI Departments of 1) Labor and Training and 2) Elementary and Secondary Education, and Brown University’s Center for Primary Care and Prevention, Holderby – who is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers – spoke proudly of how numerous and vital her and her colleagues are to the workforce of today and tomorrow. Holder, who is reportedly the first community health worker in the nation with full-time management responsibilities over a statewide association for community health workers, also served on the NERMHC planning committee.

John Ruffin, PhD
Dr. Ruffin, the final keynote speaker of the conference, also spoke in part to the conference’s community health workers. As the Director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), Dr. Ruffin oversees several funding initiatives, including those supporting “collaborative research” between scientific researchers and members of the community who are addressing “health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities or other underserved populations.” He also talked in detail about NCMHD’s loan repayment program, which has opportunities for those who have or will earn advanced degrees including, but not limited, to MD’s. “If you are doing health disparities work, we’ll pay for it,” was his clearly stated pitch. He also mentioned opportunities for small businesses through NCMHD.

As if the speakers’ remarks were not enough, through workshops, breakout sessions and more, NERMHC offered dozens of other opportunities and workspace for attendees to cull and share lessons, meet new partners, and reinvigorate those in the movement for health equity. The message to all, whether in attendance or not: There is room for you to make a difference.


Urban Health Watch ( is part of the RI Prevention Block Grant, a program funded by the RI Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The blog’s editor, Reza Clifton, joined the NERMHC planning committee in August 2009 as well as presented on community health work during two conference sessions. To learn more abut NERMHC, or to send your events, ideas, or personal stories about health, visit, email or leave a comment on


Updates from the New England Regional Minority Health Conference

PROVIDENCE, RI – As a member of the planning committee and a supporter of efforts to improve health in communities of color in general, wants you to receive some updates and reminders about the upcoming New England Regional Minority Health Conference ( Held every two years, the next NERMHC will happen Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, October 14-16 at the Westin Hotel in Providence, RI. This year’s theme is “From Disparity to Equity: The Power to Make Change.”

What else should you know?

– To register for the conference online, and to see the registration costs, visit

– On the evening of Thursday, October 15, the second day of the conference, NERMHC will present its first youth-focused summit: “Public Health in Action – Seeding the Pipeline.” Youth from across New England will attend and present during the evening event, which will begin at 5:15 PM, and several regional colleges will be on-hand for a panel discussion and networking. Seeding the Pipeline will be FREE to attendees, but registration is still required. For more information about the summit and to find a link to register, visit

– For those who caught the critically acclaimed PBS/California Newsreel video health series, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” we have a familiar face joining us. Dr. Adewale Troutman, MD, MPH, and Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, has been confirmed as the Keynote Speaker at the Morning Plenary Session on Wednesday, October 14. Viewers will remember him as the African American doctor featured in the first episode of the series who was filmed talking about health to Black and minority youth. For more information about Dr. Troutman, visit For more about Unnatural Causes, visit

– Volunteers are still being recruited to help the New England Regional Minority Health Committee. Duties to be filled include registration on the day of the event and outreach to confirmed presenters and speakers. Students and those interested in health careers are highly encouraged to respond. For more information on volunteer opportunities, and the conference as a whole, contact Michelle Surdoval by calling 207-839-6381 or emailing


Links on H1N1: An UrbanHealthWatch Perspective

PROVIDENCE, RI – Here at Urban Health Watch, we are keeping our eye on H1N1, and keeping the perspective relevant to you. According to the definition posted on the RI Department of Health website, “H1N1, also called ‘swine’ flu, is a pandemic flu virus that emerged in April 2009. Pandemic flu[es] occur when a new flu virus develops. Since most people do not have any immunity to new viruses, these viruses can spread quickly and infect many people at the same time.” Department of Health also reports that, to date, 75 people have been hospitalized and 3 deaths have occurred in RI – all attributable to H1N1; 593 deaths have been reported nationally.

Here is more information and additional links to keep you informed and ready.

From RI Department of Health, September 10, 2009: H1N1 Vaccination Campaign Announced

“Today, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announces plans…to embark on an aggressive, three-month H1N1 vaccination campaign. It is expected to begin in October and continue through December. As vaccine supply allows, our first priority for H1N1 vaccinations, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be children and pregnant women, healthcare workers and household contacts/caregivers for infants younger than 6 months of age. Current plans for the H1N1 vaccination program include [targeting the following populations at the indicated venues]:

• Children, 6 months – 5 years of age: Pediatric healthcare provider offices
• Children, grades K-12: School vaccination clinics
• Pregnant women: Birthing hospitals, prenatal care provider offices
• Household contacts/caregivers of infants younger than 6 months: Provider offices, public clinics
• Healthcare workers, first responders: Hospital-based (Healthcare Service Region) clinics
• Young adults, age 19-24 years of age: College/university clinics, public clinics

Click here to keep reading, click here.


From the Boston Globe, August 18, 2009: Cases of swine flu higher among city blacks, Hispanics

Since its arrival in Boston in late April, swine flu has proved to be a particular source of misery to the city’s African-American and Hispanic residents, causing hospitalizations at far higher levels than other groups, disease trackers report.

More than 3 of every 4 Bostonians who have spent time in the hospital because of the viral ailment are black or Hispanic, a finding that may reflect broader social ills, the top official at the Boston Public Health Commission said.

The same crowding in dense urban neighborhoods that fuels the spread of other germs may be spurring the transmission of swine flu, known scientifically as H1N1, disease specialists said. And the chronic conditions that are more prevalent in predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods – diabetes, for example – may make residents of those swaths of Boston especially vulnerable to the complications of flu.”

To keep reading, click here.


From RI Department of Health: Preventing the Spread of Flu

Vaccines are one of the best ways to prevent the flu and avoid spreading it to people at high risk. Good health habits can prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu. Flu viruses spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near another person. They may also spread when people touch something covered with infected droplets and then touch their eyes, mouth, or nose. Here are things you can do to prevent the spread of flu:

*** Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.

*** Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your cough and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.

*** Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

*** Stay home if you are sick. If you have flu-like symptoms (fever plus cough or fever plus sore throat), stay home from work, school, or childcare until you have been fever-free (temperature less than 100 ° F or 37.8 ° C) for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

*** Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

People who have the flu can spread it to other people 1 day before they become sick and up to 7 days after they develop symptoms.

To keep reading, click here.


From What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people

The symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 (swine) flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with H1N1 (swine) flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 (swine) flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish or gray skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

To see a video from or to keep reading, click here.

What are your questions or concerns about swine flu?


Pfizer Launches Free Medicines Program For Newly Unemployed Americans

The company’s employees inspire plan to help people continue Pfizer Therapy during unprecedented economic times. The new program will be fully operational on July 1, 2009.

NEW YORK – Earlier this year, Pfizer Inc announced that it would launch an innovative program to help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance maintain access to their Pfizer medicines for free. The inspiration for the new program, called MAINTAIN™ (Medicines Assistance for Those who Are in Need), was generated by Pfizer employees who were witnessing friends, family and neighbors struggle to make ends meet after losing their jobs.

“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” said Dr. Jorge Puente, Pfizer’s regional president of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, a leading champion of the initiative. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”

The program, which applies regardless of prior family income, will be open for enrollment through December 31, 2009 and applies to eligible Americans who have become unemployed since January 1, 2009. It is designed to help recently unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their insurance and who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment for free for up to one year. Nearly 46 million Americans lack health insurance coverage, and that number is increasing as unemployment rates reach their highest levels in 25 years.

Pfizer employees proposed the idea of MAINTAIN to the company’s senior leadership team just within the last month. Pfizer employees also asked to be able to do their part by donating their own money to the program, and the Pfizer Foundation will match their donations.

“The current economic environment has added considerable new stress to the daily life of millions of hard-working Americans, and our colleagues are responding to help their neighbors in the communities where they reside,” said Jeffrey B. Kindler, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer. “The speed with which we created and approved this program is proof of our commitment to help people access the medicines they need to live healthier lives. With the launch of this initiative, which I am proud to say was proposed by our colleagues, we are doing what we can to ensure that recent loss of employment does not preclude people from managing their health.”

Eligibility requirements of the new program include:

  • Loss of employment since January 1, 2009
  • Prescribed and taking a Pfizer medicine for at least 3 months prior to becoming unemployed and enrolling in the program
  • Lack of prescription drug coverage
  • Can attest to financial hardship

People who qualify will receive their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become re-insured (whichever comes first). More than 70 Pfizer primary care medicines will be available through the program.

To make it easy for people to apply, the program will be integrated into Pfizer’s existing family of patient assistance programs called Pfizer Helpful Answers®. A single point of entry makes it easy to get help:

  • All of Pfizer’s patient assistance programs, including the new program, can be reached by calling a single phone number (1-866-706-2400) or by visiting
  • Those who contact Pfizer Helpful Answers in need of medicines made by another company will be directed to the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a pharmaceutical industry initiative that serves to raise awareness of, and boost enrollment in, more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs.

The new program will be fully operational on July 1, 2009. However, people in need now can call 1-866-706-2400 for help. MAINTAIN is a part of Pfizer Helpful Answers, a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation.

About Pfizer Helpful Answers®

Pfizer Helpful Answers is a family of patient assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help getting Pfizer medicines. Today, it is the largest and most extensive initiative in the U.S. Pfizer Helpful Answers provides Pfizer medicines for free or at a savings to patients who qualify. Some programs also offer reimbursement support services for people with insurance. Pfizer Helpful Answers is a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation™.

About Pfizer Inc

Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world’s premier biopharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We discover, develop, manufacture and deliver quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. We also partner with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, more than 80,000 colleagues in more than 90 countries work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.

# # # # #


One response to “National Health Watch

  1. Pingback: Looking at Native American Health on the Anniversary of Columbus « Urban Health Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s