Friday, June 4, 2010

Some links - I know, again

We're all about to leave for the CSTE Annual Conference in Portland, OR. So there's not too much time for a full blog post.

However, here are some links for some plane reading:
  • A May MMWR article discusses attitudes toward mental illness. It's an interesting read. Hopefully the public will give more well-needed sympathy to those suffering from mental illness after more attention is given to the subject.
  • Jerome Groopman discusses toxic chemicals in a recent New Yorker article.
  • You may have already seen this NY Times article about salt.
  • Ah, how to allocate the huge pot of cash from the health care reform law to the public health community? Is there such thing as too much money? Robert Gould discusses in Kaiser Health News.
  • This is a long report, but the executive summary of this GAO report about food safety weaknesses should prove to be interesting.
Happy reading!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Interesting links

Things are crazy here while we prepare for the CSTE Annual Conference, but here are a couple of links to satisfy your public health craving:
Happy reading, readers!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Links and Lyme

First, some web links:
  1. The Produce Safety Project is calling for food safety reform, says this article in Cattle Network (yes, Cattle Network). The report recommends improved data collection, creating a cabinet-level agency for food safety, and use best practices from Europe.
  2. A little food safety reminder, speaking of reform: We can all reduce our risk of foodborne illness with a little supermarket safety, and this article from CBS News can tell you how.
  3. This article raises the red flag that only 58% of Idaho's 2-year-olds are vaccinated to current recommendations. This situation is not exclusive to Idaho; other pockets of the U.S. have extremely low vaccination rates.
  4. It's that time of year when the risk of contracting Lyme disease increases with our outdoor activities. Read some articles about Lyme disease and how to prevent contracting it: 1 from The Signal, 1 about a rally to promote Lyme disease awareness, a page from CDC, and the American Lyme Disease Foundation, an advocacy organization. The bottom line is cover up and use a bug spray with DEET to prevent tick bites.
  5. And while we're at it, here's some info about West Nile Virus and CDC's "Fight the Bite!" campaign. Bug spray, guys! It's worth it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Health care reform: Public health gets into the mix

Now that the health care reform bill is law, the money is out there and waiting to be spent. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care law, previously H.R. 3590, provided for a $15 billion prevention fund. Nonprofit organizations and public health officials are now looking to allocate those funds, and there is quite a bit of competition for the money.

This article from MSNBC and this one from Kaiser Health News discusses some of the pulls from different organizations. Paul Jarris, Exec Director of ASTHO (Association for State & Territorial Health Officials), is pushing for a big chunk of the fund to go directly to state and local health departments, who are hurting from the economy, having to cut back services and experiencing severe capacity problems. This table from ASTHO shows the various public health funding opportunities in the law.

Take a look - it's a lot of money, and a lot of organizations and agencies deserve some of it. But... a lot don't. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

H1N1 - vaccine, lessons learned

Reuters has posted an article saying there are 71 million doses of H1N1 vaccine left in the U.S. That's right, readers, million. Holy cow! (Or should I say chicken... get it?)

And here is a USA Today editorial on 5 lessons to be learned from the pandemic. Some points are well-taken; for example, the feds can't do it all. State and local health departments and other responders are vital to the fabric of our public health infrastructure and are critical to maintain in order to bolster preparedness.

Here are lessons learned from Jeffrey Levi, of Trust for America's Health, as posted on The Huffington Post. He, again, mentions public health department resources and the need to increase resources to be able to adequately respond to a situation such as the H1N1 pandemic.
Overall, the county is significantly more prepared to respond to a pandemic now than we were a few short years ago, but there are still major gaps in our core public health capabilities that must be addressed if we're going to be able to protect the American public from future threats.
Here are lessons learned from CIDRAP, the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. This article also highlights infrastructure and capacity but touches on risk factors for pregnant women and obese populations as well.

And here is a previously-posted Op-Ed by Richard Wenzel in the NY Times about what has been learned from the H1N1 pandemic.

Happy reading, and feel free to post your own lessons learned!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Qatar's growing health problems

The NY Times reports on chronic disease and other health problems suffered by Qataris in the Middle East. Very interesting how the American lifestyle has spread to other countries that are gaining in wealth.