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Chronic pain is one of the world's leading causes of disability, afflicting ~1.5 billion people globally. According to the National Pain Foundation , about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and the toll on the American economy is estimated at $635 billion.

The Effect of the Affordable Care Act on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare Access

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April 7, 2015 

April is Minority Health Month

This year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Minority Health celebrates 30 years since the ground breaking Heckler Report ( Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health) was released by then Secretary of Health, Margaret Heckler in 1985. The Heckler Report gave rise to many of the federal, state and local efforts designed to eliminate health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. Many of the advances made in health disparities research today were the direct result of the findings in the report, including the Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1990 and the   Office of Minority Health Resource Cente r, formed in 1987. Join in as the country celebrates Minority Health!  
 Regional Spotlight 

 The Community Services Foundation




The Community Services Foundation (CSF) is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for its residents through programs that provide young children, teens, adults and seniors the skills to progress and become more self-sufficient. These programs include after school activities, job readiness training, computer literacy and health information sessions. CSF has a network of over 20,000 residents among 23 apartment communities in Maryland and the District of Columbia. This unique organization collaborates with community, academic and private entities to advance social and physically well-being. Through a strategic partnership with CSF, HPRC is able to work with a diverse cohort of participants that range in age, race, ethnicity, sex and zip code. 



 Town Highlight  



Capitol Heights, MD is an incorporated town located outside the District of Columbia. As of 2010 the population in Capitol Heights was 4,337,  91% of which  were African American and 5.4% Hispanic. Capitol Heights has invested a great deal of resources towards policies that increase economic  development , a sustainable transportation system, adequate housing and healthy lifestyle behaviors. One example of this commitment is the adoption of the "Complete Streets" policy, which encourages streets that create a safe environment for  pedestrians , bikers, and motorist. The town is also part of the HEAL (Health Eating Active Living) initiative-pioneered by Kaiser Permanente to create healthy thriving  communities and sponsors a community garden and provides residents with opportunities for civic engagement .

Food Policy Councils and Health Equity


In recent years Prince George's County, the District of Columbia the Common Wealth of Virginia and many other regions have formed groups that serve to create a more sovereign and equitable food system. These bodies are frequently referred to as Food Policy Councils. This is a noteworthy trend because these boards often seek to influence state and local policies which may improve access to quality nutrition and potentially lead to improved health outcomes. Food policies can effect how food is grown or cultivated, processed, distributed, acquired, food accessibility, the consumption of food and how goods are repurposed. To learn more about the food-focused policy councils in your area visit the Interactive Map of Food Policy Councils and view this presentation from the Montgomery County Food Council.


Food Councils in Region III 



**Delaware had no record of food policy councils.**

Will the ACA Close the Health Gap for Communities of Color?


Historically, African Americans and Latinos have been far less likely than Whites to have health insurance or to have a regular healthcare provider. The ACA has played a critical role in closing the racial gap in insurance coverage - with 2.3 million African American adults and 4.2 million Hispanic adults gaining coverage since the start of the ACA. A recent report from the Commonwealth Fund explains why a decline in uninsured rates among African Americans and Hispanic adults has "the potential to reduce, though not eliminate, racial and ethnic disparities in access to care." healthcare.jpg

In the News
Precision Medicine Initiative Brings Both Promise and Unknowns

In his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined the $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).  Courtesy of new advances in deciphering the human genome, the initiative holds the promise of enabling doctors to improve diagnosis and treatment by identifying precise, individualized characteristics of disease for each patient. The initiative also poses ethical considerations as well as important implications for addressing health disparities.  In a recent HPRC blog we explored the promise of Precision Medicine for improving healthcare for all patients and for potentially reducing healthcare disparities.  In contrast, Craig Klugman, PhD, a bioethicist and Chair of the Department of Health Sciences at DePaul University, poses key concerns about ethics and stigma.  He asks: Will precision medicine increase or decrease health disparities?  


Community Health and the DOJ's Ferguson Report

Community policing practices and policies have important implications for the health and well-being of communities of color, especially for individuals with mental health conditions.  Police officers require proper training to respond to person who are experiencing a physical or mental health crisis.  In March 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice released the Ferguson Report, which, among other major findings, found a tendency among officers in the Ferguson Police Department "to use unnecessary force against vulnerable groups," including people with mental health conditions and juvenile students.  The report offered important policy recommendations that would provide officers with the tools and training needed to properly respond to and protect these vulnerable populations.

Community Voices
Prince George's County native, by way of Washington, DC, Michael Proctor Jr., has been influential in his community for the past six years. Mr. Proctor works with youth as the Founder/CEO of CollegeBound Entertainment, LLC (CBE). Michael is committed to bridging generational gaps in the community. 
CBE is a growing, College/University Entertainment Network that serves as an event and artist management network for student artists. The vision of CBE is to be the number one source for college art & entertainment by serving as a relevant urban source for college art, entertainment, and news.

CBE offers student-member artists from various form of artistry the opportunity to display their talents while serving as a representative for their education institution via promotional events and digital services. CBE also aims to provide new customers and networking opportunities for local entrepreneurs to promote their products and/or services via CBE self-produced platforms.

NIMHD Celebrates Minority Health Month

Fireside Chat April 14 2:30-3:30pm
Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH director, talks with Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama and assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison. *This event will be videocast.*

NIH Minority Health Promotion Day April 30, 2015, 11:00am-12:00pm
Mr. Kweisi Mfume, HPRC's Principal Investigator, will lead a discussion on minority health and health disparities at the NIH Campus

  • The Office of Research on Woman's Health has released the 2014 Women of Color Health Data Book.
  • Compendium of Federal Datasets: Contains datasets from several federal agencies under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services including the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Indian Health Services (IHS). Explore the site to learn more.

graphic-globe-people-sm.gif Upcoming Events  
When: April 9, 2015; 8:30 am, ET
Description: Researchers will discuss study design, inclusion/exclusion criterion and research methodologies that consider cultural diversity when recruiting for clinical trials. Social barriers, community engagement tailored for clinical research will also be addressed during the workshop. Click HERE to register.

When: Saturday, April 11, 2015; 10:00am-4:00pm
Where: Oakcrest Community Center 1300 Capitol Heights Boulevard, Capitol Heights, MD 20743
Description: This is the second annual Central Area Unity in the Community Parade and Festival hosted by the Town of Capitol Heights, MD; the District of Columbia, the MD-National Park and Planning Commission (M-NPPC) and many more.  The event is FREE and open to the public. Activities include: parade, a bike tour, food, entertainment and much more.

When: Saturday, April 25th; 11:00am-2:00pm
Where: Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex 7007 Bock Road Fort Washington, MD 20744
Description:  Join HPRC for a day of fun, prizes and learning. Our guest will discuss how to help your community through civic engagement . Local officials will be present to discuss how to improve community health. Register by clicking HERE.

When:  Friday April 10th, 2015; 1:00pm-2:30pm (EDT) 
Description:   This webinar is hosted by the Center for Public Health Practice as part of  National Public Health Week. T he possible usage of storytelling in public health to prevent chronic conditions will be  highlighted during this time. A panel of community workers and researchers will describe their efforts in trying to improve vulnerable communities through two innovative projects. Clic HERE  to register.

When: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM ET. 

Description: This is a webinar hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response Learning Office (OPHPR LO) and the Public Health Foundation. This webinar will focus on the introduction and launch of a living national preparedness training plan on TRAIN, where included trainings will be updated periodically to reflect changes in the preparedness landscape. Click HERE to register


April 10th is National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

Beginning in 2013, April 10th was designated as National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. You can recognize the day by educating people in your community about the lingering impact of HIV and AIDS on youth, helping a youth group host an event using the NYHAAD resources toolkit for states, or by creating an online campaign
The Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 (1973) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), were amended to ensure individuals with HIV/AIDS are protected from prejudices and have equitable access to opportunities regardless of their disability or HIV/AIDS status. Click HERE to learn more.

Funding Opportunities
  1. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funds research that addresses the gap in knowledge and understanding  between clinicians and patients. Qualified organizations can receive up to $50,000 from PCORI's Pipeline to Proposal initiative and Engagement Awards
  2. The Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance (MOTA) grant is available to community based, non-profit organizations in 19 Maryland jurisdictions. All applications are due Monday, April 27th, 2015 by 3:30pm. 

Please feel free to contact the HPRC Team at 301.375.2021 with any questions.

Thank you,

The Health Policy Research Consortium

Disclaimer: The Health Policy Research Consortium (HPRC) is a U54 partnership grant funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. HPRC only provides objective, independent advice, best practices and evidence based-recommendations. HPRC does not lobby on behalf of any private or public corporation, political candidate, advocacy organization or special interest group.
Health Policy Research Consortium
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Greenbelt, MD 20770
Phone: (301) 375-2021