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June 2016 
   The Health of Men and Boys of Color

Each year since 1994, when Congress passed two key resolutions - SJR 179 and HJR 209 - Men's Health Week has been observed as the week leading up to and including Father's Day. Men's Health Week has since evolved into a month-long observance. Today, Men's Health Month, observed each June, continues the original mission: "to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys." In 2016, Men's Health Week is June 13-19.

It is a well-established fact that women tend to outlive men, due to biological, social and behavioral differences. In the U.S., in 2014 the gap between life expectancy at birth for women (81.2 years) versus men (76.4 years) was roughly a half decade (4.8 years). Racial disparities in life expectancy at birth for racial and ethnic groups show similar disadvantages for males, with Black males showing the highest gender gap in life expectancy.

Life Expectancy at Birth in the United States  by Race/Ethnicity and Gender (2014)

Gender Gap
 Non-Hispanic Blacks
 Non-Hispanic Whites
 All Groups
National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Table 15: (page 2 of 2).  Life expectancy at birth, at age 65, and at age 75, by sex, race, and Hispanic origin: United States, selected years 1900-2014.  Hyattsville, MD. 2016.  Retrieved May 25, 2016 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf
Empowering Elders through the Cyber Seniors Program

HPRC promotes geriatric health by empowering elders with digital skills and electronic health information. On June 14, the HPRC team will facilitate the Cyber Seniors Program for older adults at the Frederica Senior Center in Frederica, Delaware. Seniors will learn about basic computer skills, how to navigate the internet for reliable health information, and how "telemedicine" serves rural areas.

June 14, 2016, 10AM - 2:30PM
Frederica Senior Center
216 Market Street
Frederica, Delaware 19946

Maryland Addresses Health Care Access for Ex-Inmates

Poised to become the first state in the nation to pass such a law, Maryland is pushing for a new policy that will cut the red tape, including the ID card barrier, that currently impedes ex-inmates from getting medical coverage for mental illness, addiction, AIDS, hepatitis C and many other medical conditions. 

More than 6,000 people are released from Maryland prisons each year.  Last month, roughly 20% of Medicaid applicants at Health Care for the Homeless - many of whom were just released from jail - couldn't be processed through Medicaid because of ID card glitches.   

More here  on Maryland's progressive effort to advance health policy and health care access for ex-inmates.   
Click here for interactive map.
Third Leading Cause of Death...Medical Error

According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, medical errors - removing the  wro ng body part, giving the wrong medication or the wrong dose, etc. - is no w the third  leading cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disea se and  cancer.  Dr. Martin Makary, the John Hopkins University researcher who led the new stu dy, puts it t his way: "It boils down to people dying fro m the care that they re ceive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care." Avoid able medical errors claim 251,000 live s ea ch ye ar, more than  accidents and stroke. More  here .

Racial and ethnic minorities - because they tend to receive inferior medical care - are more prone to experiencing medical errors. In fact, some researchers such as Sidney Watson view racial disparities in health care as medical errors. More  here

Rethinking Pain Pill Policy 

With  news reports  emerging that ostensibly link Prince's recent death to misuse of pain pills, public health leaders are now using this important window of opportunity to increase public awareness of America's pain pill addiction. The United States comprises only 5% of the world's population but consumes more than 80% of the world's supply of pain pills. 

This spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.  The new guidelines provide key recommendations for prescribing opioid pain medications for adults in the primary care setting. The guidelines address three key clinical practices:
  • Determining when to start or continue opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care
  • Opioid selection, dosage, durations, follow-up, and discontinuation
  • Assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use
  Learn more  here
SPOTLIGHT - Virginia Youth Violence Project

The Virginia Youth Violence Project at the Curry School of Education University of Virginia.

Schools across the country often report sharp racial disparities in disciplinary decisions, with minority students being punished at disproportionate rates, especially minority males.  The Virginia Youth Violence Project at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education has shown how to prevent school violence - while closing the racial discipline gap at the same time.  The Virginia "threat assessment" policy, which has been used in many Virginia schools over the past decade, "emphasizes early attention to problems such as bullying, teasing and other forms of student conflict."  The Virginia model, as opposed to the zero tolerance approach, uses a multidisciplinary threat assessment team of school staff to identify and intervene early before conflicts escalate into disciplinary actions or violence.  
The Virginia Youth Violence Project examined the 2014-2015 school-year implementation of the threat assessment policy and found that schools using the approach were safer and showed no racial disparities in disciplinary actions.  "This finding confirms on a statewide level what we have seen in smaller studies, which is that schools using the threat assessment approach are not making disciplinary decisions that punish minority students at a disproportionate rate," said Dewey Cornell, director of the Virginia Youth Violence Project.  Read the project's full report  here .
When: Mon-Fri, Aug 15-19, 2016
Where: NIMHD Campus, Rockville, Maryland, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892
Applications due June 1, 2016!  Click here for more info. 
When: Sun-Wed, June 12-15, 2016 
Where: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
Click here to register.
What : GENOMICS AND HEALTH DISPARITES LECTURE SERIES: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF GENOMICS IN ACHIEVING HEALTH EQUALITY Guest lecturer: Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, MD, FACP, Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics  
When: Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 10AM-11:00AM
Where: NIMHD, Building 10, Lipsett Amphitheater, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 800, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892
Click here for more info.
When: Wed-Thurs, July 13-14, 2016, 10AM-11:00AM
Where: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Turner Auditorium, 720 Rutland Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland, 21205
Registration Cut-off is July 7, 2016.  Click here for more info. 

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

Thank you,

The Health Policy Research Consortium

HPRC, a CTIS Inc. division, is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health under award number #1U54MD008608-01. This content does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Health Policy Research Consortium
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Phone: (301) 375-2021