$100,000 Awarded to 18 Native Students Pursuing Health Degrees

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

The American Indian College Fund announced that the United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative has awarded copy00,000 for scholarships to 18 academically deserving Native students pursuing health or health-related degrees.

The scholarships were announced at the fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings more than 60 scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., July 24-26 to celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event gives these future health care professionals the opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress and leaders from a variety of health care fields.

Five scholarships will be awarded to New Mexico tribal college students attending Navajo Technical College; five scholarships will be awarded to Arizona tribal college students attending Dine College or Tohono O’odham Community College; four scholarships will be awarded to students attending Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, or the University of Arizona; and four scholarships will be awarded to students attending San Juan College-Farmington, University of New Mexico-Albuquerque, or Western New Mexico University.

According to the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example, while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5 percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American.

Given the changing demographics in the United States and the volumes of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, there is an even greater need for a more diverse health care workforce.

Research shows that when patients are treated by health professionals who share their language, culture and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and adopt the medical treatment they receive[1]. Increasing the diversity of health care providers will reduce the shortage of medical professionals in underserved areas, reduce inequities in academic medicine and address variables — such as language barriers — that make it difficult for patients to navigate the health care system.

The scholarships announced today are part of United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, which has provided nearly $2 million in scholarships this year through partnerships with organizations like the American Indian College Fund. The initiative aims to increase diversity in the health care workforce by supporting promising future health professionals.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support these exceptional students in their efforts to achieve their educational goals and work to improve our health care system,” said Kate Rubin, president of United Health Foundation. “The Diverse Scholars Initiative helps these scholars fund their education, and gives them an opportunity to learn from one another and interact with experts who are leading the way in improving patient care.”

“The American Indian College Fund is thrilled to continue its partnership with the United Health Foundation. Inequity in health care combined with the highest rates of diabetes, cancer, and other serious diseases have created a vital need for Native health care professionals across Indian Country. These scholarships will help train the next generation of Native healers,” said Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html.

About the American Indian College Fund

With its credo “Educating the Mind and Spirit,” The American Indian College Fund is the premier scholarship organization for Native students. Created in 1989 to provide scholarships and support for 34 of the nation’s tribal colleges, the Fund receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators, including the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and received its third consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator. It provides more than 4,200 Native students with scholarships annually.

About United Health Foundation

Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. Since established by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $210 million to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.


Read more at https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/07/28/100000-awarded-18-native-students-pursuing-health-degrees-150619

Common agricultural chemicals shown to impair honey bees’ health

Source: University of Maryland

Commercial honey bees used to pollinate crops are exposed to a wide variety of agricultural chemicals, including common fungicides which impair the bees’ ability to fight off a potentially lethal parasite, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to watermelons.

The researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.

On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides found most frequently in the bees’ pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil, used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by beekeepers to control Varroamites, common honey bee pests.

In the study’s most surprising result, bees that were fed the collected pollen samples containing chlorothonatil were nearly three times more likely to be infected by Nosema than bees that were not exposed to these chemicals, said Jeff Pettis, research leader of the USDA’s Bee Research Laboratory and the study’s lead author. The miticides used to controlVarroa mites also harmed the bees’ ability to withstand parasitic infection.

Beekeepers know they are making a trade-off when they use miticides. The chemicals compromise bees’ immune systems, but the damage is less than it would be if mites were left unchecked, said University of Maryland researcher Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s senior author. But the study’s finding that common fungicides can be harmful at real world dosages is new, and points to a gap in existing regulations, he said.

“We don’t think of fungicides as having a negative effect on bees, because they’re not designed to kill insects,” vanEngelsdorp said. Federal regulations restrict the use of insecticides while pollinating insects are foraging, he said, “but there are no such restrictions on fungicides, so you’ll often see fungicide applications going on while bees are foraging on the crop. This finding suggests that we have to reconsider that policy.”

In an unexpected finding, most of the crops that the bees were pollinating appeared to provide their hives with little nourishment. Honey bees gather pollen to take to their hives and feed their young. But when the researchers collected pollen from bees foraging on native North American crops such as blueberries and watermelon, they found the pollen came from other flowering plants in the area, not from the crops. This is probably because honey bees, which evolved in the Old World, are not efficient at collecting pollen from New World crops, even though they can pollinate these crops.

The study’s findings are not directly related to colony collapse disorder, the still-unexplained phenomenon in which entire honey bee colonies suddenly die. However, the researchers said the results shed light on the many factors that are interacting to stress honey bee populations.

Access to Plan B contraceptive now easier for all ages

The emergency contraceptive is now available over the counter at many pharmacies, regardless of age.

By Sharon Salyer, The Herald

An emergency contraception pill is now hitting drug store and pharmacy shelves, for the first time allowing women of any age to buy it without restrictions.

The pill, called Plan B One-Step, generally is effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of birth control failure or unprotected sex.

The first shipments of the pill began arriving at Bartell Drugs’ 60 Western Washington pharmacies late last week, said Barry Bartlett, a spokesman for the drug store chain.

At Bartell’s, the pill costs $49.99, and is stocked in the family planning section, he said.

“They can pick that up from the counter and purchase it at the check stand,” Bartlett said. “There’s no identification required or anything like that.”

Previously, the pill was available at area pharmacies over the counter to those 17 and older, and to younger teens with a prescription.

In June, the Federal Drug Administration cleared the way for the pill to be sold over the counter, regardless of age. It follows a U.S. District Court order instructing the federal agency to allow the sale of emergency contraception over the counter without age or point-of-sale restrictions.

Changes had to be made in labeling by the manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, so shipments are just now arriving at local stores.

“We are elated this is finally on the shelves and available to anybody who needs it,” said Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. “We hope that every pharmacy and drug store will soon have it on the shelves and available for women.”

Making the contraceptive widely available without restrictions is an issue the organization has been working on for years, she said.

“It’s a really safe and effective medication,” she said. “Just as condoms are over the counter, Plan B should be over the counter, too.”

Planned Parenthood has the pill in its clinics where it costs $35, Glundberg-Prossor said. It’s also available on a sliding fee scale to low-income women.

Calls to Costco, Walgreens and Haggens on the availability of Plan B One-Step were not returned Monday.

Group Health will continue to make Plan B available in all of its pharmacies, said spokesman Ed Boyle.

Although Plan B One-Step is now widely available, it doesn’t mean it will be available at every pharmacy.

The pill has never been sold at the retail pharmacy at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett or at its retail pharmacies in Mill Creek and Monroe.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes artificial birth control, such as condoms and various birth control pills for women.

Last month, spokeswoman Cheri Russum said there were no plans to change the hospital’s policy. The pill is available to victims of sexual assault in the hospital’s emergency department, she said.

Coca-Cola Tries To Keep Up With Growing Health Consciousness

(Photo/Marion Doss via Flickr)
(Photo/Marion Doss via Flickr)

By Trisha Marczak, Mint Press News

Coca-Cola sales are plummeting in the wake of a growing movement away from sugary soft drinks in the U.S. and increasing concerns over the link between sugar, obesity and diabetes.

Profits for the global soda giant dropped by 4 percent this quarter, compared to last year at this time. The overall drop was influenced by a total soda sale decline of 4 percent in North America, where consumers are caught in the midst of a battle between retail advertising and government warnings over the negative health impacts of soda.

In June, the American Medical Association labeled obesity a disease, pointing a finger directly at the increase of U.S. sugar consumption and calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to cut sugary drinks out of government-sponsored food assistance programs.

The call to cut back Americans’ intake of sugar comes after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda ban, a proposal that would have banned sale of sugary drinks — mainly sodas — that come in containers larger than 16 ounces. While the proposal is still being worked out in the courts, the Bloomberg’s proposal brought the debate about soda’s health impact to the front lines.

Coca-Cola isn’t pointing to the social debate over sugary drinks as the main component of its decline in sales. Instead, it’s talking about the weather.

“Our second quarter volume results came in below expectations, reflecting an ongoing challenging global macroeconomic environment and unusually poor weather conditions in the quarter,” Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said in a press release following the second-quarter earnings release.

While Coca-Cola claims its downturn in North American soda sales is largely due to weather, arguing that people drink fewer sugary beverages when it’s just not nice out, it comes in the midst of a U.S. health-inspired trend that’s moving consumers away from the sugar-filled drinks that make up the company’s portfolio.

“Soft drinks are the devil product at the moment,” London Metropolitan University nutrition policy professor Jack Winkler told the Wall Street Journal.


Coca-Cola denial and the growing scientific debate

In an attempt to stay relevant in the midst of a society growing more aware of the impacts sugary drinks have on health, Coca-Cola is in the midst of attempting to create a soda that uses low-calorie sweetener while still providing a full-body taste.

This follows a campaign launched at the beginning of the year that attempted to brush off the obesity scare, urging Americans instead to get out, exercise and quench their thirst with a Coke product.

“We’re watching, we’re learning,” Steve Cahillane, who heads Coca-Cola’s North American division told CBS News.

The company is also engaging in the nationwide conversation, portraying itself as a leader in the fight against obesity. A commercial released recently aims to market Coca-Cola as a company intent on reducing calorie consumption and battling the obesity epidemic.

According to the American Medical Association, 36 percent of American adults are obese or overweight. If trends continue, experts predict that could rise to 50 percent of Americans by 2040.

On top of obesity, the nation is also seeing a rise in Type 2 diabetes. A recent Harvard study indicated that people who drank two cans of sugary drinks a day had a 26 percent greater risk of developing diabetes. It also found that men and women who increased sugar consumption with a 12-ounce serving per day gained an average of 4 pounds every year.

“For over 125 years, we’ve been bringing people together. Today we’d like to come together on something that concerns all of us: obesity,” the Coca-Cola commercial states. “The long-term health of our families and the country is at stake. And as the nation’s leading beverage company, we can play an important role.”

The commercial goes on to give a glowing report of just how hard Coca-Cola is working to provide “healthier options” for American consumers, claiming that a growing percentage of products are ones that have been severely limited in caloric content.

“Across our portfolio of more than 650 beverages, we now offer 180 low- and no-calorie choices and most of our full-calorie choices now have low or no calorie versions,” the ad states. “Over the last 15 years, this has helped reduce calories per serving across our industry’s products in the U.S. by about 22 percent.”


Will Coca-Cola win the ‘health’ battle?

By the end of 2013, Coca-Cola plans to help limit portion sizes by offering smaller bottles and cans of various sodas available in 90 percent of the country, according to the advertisement. This adds to what it claims are efforts to help consumers make the right choices.

The commercial states that elementary and high schools throughout the nation have been equipped with Coca-Cola vending machines that have increased the choice of low- and no-calorie drinks, including diet sodas.

According to a Wall Street Journal report in March, one-third of North American Coca-Cola sales came from low- and no-calorie beverages.

“We are committed to bring people together to help fight obesity,” Stuart Kronauge, Coke’s North America Sparkling Beverages Division general manager told Time magazine. “This is about the health and happiness of everyone who buys our products and wants great-tasting beverages, choices and information. The Coca-Cola Company has an important role in this fight.”

In line with Coca-Cola’s push for no-calorie drinks in U.S. schools, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that from 2007 to 2008, 12.5 percent of children were consuming artificially sweetened beverages during a 24-hour time period — double the amount children were drinking 10 years ago.

And while that gives the company a favorable statistic in terms of sugar content, with a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories sold in U.S. middle and high schools since 2004, it doesn’t eliminate health concerns.


Concerns over the no-calorie push

A mock Coca-Cola anti-obesity advertisement addresses this issue, citing health concerns related to the use of no-calorie sweeteners.

“Even though we’ve reduced the calories per serving, these beverages can still cause kidney problems, obesity, metabolic syndromes, cell damage and rotting teeth, which leaves 470 beverages which have extremely high unhealthy levels of calories,” the mock ad states.

The ad that took a stab against Coca-Cola is based on studies conducted on aspartame, the ingredient that is most often found as a substitute for sugar in low- and no-calorie beverages.

It wasn’t too long ago when no-calorie sweeteners were considered dangerous chemicals.

In 1958, Congress required the FDA to ban any additive that was known to cause cancer in animals or humans. In the 1960s, cyclamate was removed from U.S.-sold products when it was linked to cancer. Specifically, chicken embryos that were exposed to aspartame began to develop deformities. A later study showed rats fed the product grew bladder tumors, according to a Time magazine report.

By the 1980s, aspartame moved on to the market, becoming the preferred additive for diet colas. This was after a 1980 Food and Drug Administration Board of Inquiry study that initially deemed the additive to be potentially dangerous and a carcinogen.

“The Board has not been presented with proof of a reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive under its intended condition of use,” the report states.

However, a year later a new set of studies favorable to aspartame emerged, and it was approved for U.S. market consumption.

In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the company that owned the aspartame patent. Since then, it has become the go-to for the soda companies, including Coca-Cola in their quest to produce low- and no-calorie beverages not just throughout the U.S., but throughout the global market.

“The key here is to ensure that in every market where we operate to have no- or low-calorie beverages of our main brands available,” Kent said in a conference call, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We do not have that consistently across the world today.”

Grant helps EdCC support student wellness

Edmonds Community CollegeSheryl Copeland is the Counseling and Wellness Services director at Edmonds Community College.
Edmonds Community College
Sheryl Copeland is the Counseling and Wellness Services director at Edmonds Community College.

Theresa Goffredo, The Herald

One might say that healthy students and staff make for a healthy campus.

That’s the aim of a new program that’s set to begin in the fall at Edmonds Community College.

The college recently was awarded a $369,000 grant from Verdant Health Commission to create a Wellness and Health Promotion program for students and campus employees.

The ultimate mission of the new program is to keep students enrolled and employees working by helping them to find ways to address their wellness and health concerns so they can reach their goals, whether those goals are academic or professional.

“We are creating that culture of support,” said Sheryl Copeland, “That’s why I’m here, I want people to reach their goals.”

Copeland, recently named the college’s Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, will direct the new program.

The program will hire a full-time project coordinator and a part-time substance abuse specialist and two student programmers.

Copeland said she hoped to have several positions filled by early August so the program can start helping the campus community by the beginning of fall semester.

The grant will fund the program for two years and a half years. College leaders are in the early stages of talking about ways to fund the program to keep it going, Copeland said.

One of the top priorities for the college is to promote health literacy and healthy interpersonal relationships and promote the benefits of nutrition and exercise.

The new wellness promotion program can help students and staff identify health and wellness issues such as a learning disability or a substance abuse problem and get them help dealing with those issues.

“When a student is facing so many responsibilities, a lot of ‘now’ things crowd out the future,” Copeland said. “We want to look at the student holistically and get them connected to a resource to reduce the barrier, whether that’s an academic learning disability or medical or mental health concern. It’s hard to do homework when you think there’s no point.”

Copeland joked that the campus doesn’t have a force field that keeps life out and that many life stressors, such as juggling work and school or juggling a child and school, can lead to a student or staff’s failure to complete a degree or stay on the job. The new wellness and health center would offer a place for challenged students and staff to go to seek help.

Edmonds Community College has a diverse student population, made up of high school students, about 350 veterans using their GI bill, about 50 percent on financial aid, about 14 percent on disability, 25 percent in basic skills programs such as getting their GED, 31 percent have dependants and almost half are working.

So these are vulnerable populations, Copeland said.

So part of the program’s goal is to empower the students and staff to take an active role in their well being.

“Helping them be advocates for themselves,” Copeland said, and equipping them with important, lifelong self-care skills.

Unhealthy students create more of an impact in the classroom because of bad behavior that is manifested because “it’s life stuff going on how and that’s how they are exhibiting their reaction to the stress,” Copeland said.

“So let’s figure out how we can get you connected to the stress and see how that could be reduced.”

Copeland said she wants the program to look at the whole system.

“Ours is going to be much more global and more visible and accessible,” Copeland said. “We could be a model for other community and technical colleges and it’s very exciting.”

Celebrating Two Years of Let’s Move! in Indian Country

By Jodi Gillette, White House Blog, May 8, 2013
Jodi Gillette at Chimney RockMatthew Mooney, Jodi Gillette, and Dakota Lorenzo at Chimney Rock (by Harry Burell, Southwest Conservation Corps)

I recently had the honor of attending an event to mark the 2nd Anniversary of Let’s Move! in Indian Country at Chimney Rock National Monument in southwestern Colorado. I hiked and learned about this magnificent landscape on our way to the top with fifty youth from the Southern Ute Montessori Elementary, the Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture Butch Blazer, and a handful of youth from the Pueblos who work with the Southwest Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps partner organization that engages and trains a diverse group of young women and men and completes conservation projects for the public benefit.

I had lengthy conversations with Aaron Lowden, an Acoma Pueblo, regarding the strength and resiliency of the ancient people who built and lived in that space, and how their journey is connected to his own. Below I’d like to share some of his thoughts:

Guwaatse howba tu shinomeh kuwaitiya eshte e Aaron Lowden madiganashia kuhaiya haanu stu da aakume’ haanu stu da! Hello everyone my name is Kuwaitiya in Acoma and Aaron Lowden in English and I come from the bear clan of the Acoma people. I am a program coordinator for the Southwest Conservation Corps’ (SCC) Ancestral Lands regional office in Acoma Pueblo, NM.

Our day began in the way I began this blog with a greeting to all attending the Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC) 2nd Anniversary event and by saying a prayer. The prayer was done for the entire group before we entered the ancient Puebloan site of the recently designated Chimney Rock National Monument, CO.  It is as a sign of respect for those who came before to let them know we were there to learn from them. When we started at the trail head we were joined by Southern Ute schoolchildren, the Southwest Conservation Corps, the US Forest Service and US Department of Agriculture to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of LMIC. We were also joined by Jodi Gillette, the White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs and Butch Blazer, the Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment at the Department of Agriculture.

Finally, we were ready to do what we all came there to do: get outside and get active. Led by the Chimney Rock Interpretative Association guides, we hiked with anticipation to see the ruins. Walking through the Great Houses on steep inclined trails the group gained knowledge by experiencing the difficult and active living conditions of the original occupants of these sites.

Aaron Lowden Welcomes Hikers to Chimney RockAaron Lowden welcomes hikers and youth to Chimney Rock (by Harry Burell, Southwest Conservation Corps)

We learned how every single bit of rock and mortar had to be transported up to the top of this steep peak. If you were to talk with one of the ancestral inhabitants today and ask them about environmental stewardship, exercising, and eating right it’s reasonable to assume that they wouldn’t know what you were talking about, it’s just how they lived.

Today, Native Americans – particularly youth – have one of the highest obesity rates in the country. Although progress can be a good thing and has made our lives extensively easier, it is imperative that we keep these reminders and retain our old ways to have a healthy future as indigenous peoples. I feel this is even more appropriate when on the subject of Native American issues of our health and environmental stewardship. After all, if we can’t take care of the haatsi (land), how can we expect it take care of us.  By getting outside and being active in our country’s public lands, and by eating right and caring about where our food comes from, we can raise a healthier, more environmentally conscious generation.

After the group finished the hike, the Southwest Conservation Corps Ancestral Lands staff prepared a popular Pueblo dish: green chili stew. We were all ready to eat after our hike! Everyone enjoyed the nutritious meal and discussed the hike while the students played outdoors.

As the day winded down and once everything was finished, we all headed home thankful for the beautiful day we had been given.

Please click here to learn more about Let’s Move! in Indian Country.

Jodi Gillette is the White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs

HHS announces the winners of the reducing cancer among women of color challenge

 Apps help undeserved and minority women take control of their health

Source: Department of Health and Human Services

HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE announced the winners of the Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color Challenge. A first-of-its-kind effort to address health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities, the winning apps will help women of color prevent and fight cancer.

The winning apps, Big Yellow Star, Broadstone Technologies, Appbrahma, HW-Technology, and Netzealous, are designed to help women of color prevent and fight cancer by linking them to information regarding preventive and screening services and locations, including support groups and care services.

The apps all focus on providing high-quality health information in different languages to women and community health workers about screening and preventive services. The apps were developed to interface securely with patient health records and strengthen communication across a patient’s care team in an effort to better coordinate information and care.

“This challenge created an innovative opportunity to use new technologies and new platforms to engage women in communities that have too often been dismissed as ‘hard-to-reach,’” Dr. Gracia said.  “Through these innovative tools, we are addressing disparities by reaching women where they are – and taking an exciting step forward in implementing the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.”

“The Reducing Cancer Among Women of Color Challenge is a great example of the positive impact health information technology can make.  Getting timely cancer preventive and treatment information to patients has always been an effective strategy.  The winners of this challenge increase our capacity to empower women across a broad socioeconomic spectrum,” said David Hunt, M.D., F.A.C.S., medical director of health IT adoption & patient safety at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

In the United States, breast and gynecologic cancers are responsible for more than 68,000 deaths each year with over 300,000 new diagnoses made each year. Women of color are disproportionately affected due to various reasons, including the inability to access health care and preventive information, services, referral, and treatment.

The Reducing Cancer among Women of Color Challenge is a partnership between HHS’ Office of Minority Health and ONC.  It challenged innovators and developers to create a mobile device-optimized tool that engages and empowers women to improve the prevention and treatment of breast, cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancer in underserved and minority communities and that can interface with provider electronic health records.

Submissions were reviewed and judged based on:

  • Patient engagement
  • Quality and accessibility of information
  • Targeted and actionable information
  • Links to online communities and/or social media
  • Innovativeness and usability
  • Non-English language availability


To learn more about the app challenge, the winners, and information on how to download the winning apps please visit:
http://challenge.gov/ONC/402-reducing-cancer-among-women-of-color and http://www.health2con.com/devchallenge/reducing-cancer-among-women-color-challenge/


HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on National Women’s Health Week

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, HHS.gov

Starting with Mother’s Day, we celebrate National Women’s Health Week. As a nation, we honor the women in our lives – our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, friends, and colleagues – by encouraging them to make their health a priority and to take steps to live healthier, happier lives.

Women are frequently the health care decision-makers in their families. We take time off from work to drive a parent to the doctor. We hold our children’s hands while they get their vaccinations. We make the appointments for our spouses’ checkups – and then make sure they actually go. We stretch and re-work our family budgets to pay the doctor’s bills. And too often, we put our own health last.

But the truth is unless we take care of ourselves first, we cannot really take care of our families. That means we have to eat right, exercise, and get the care we need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, preventive care has not always been easily accessible or affordable for everyone, including young women.

But the health care law is helping to usher in a new day for women’s health. The Affordable Care Act is making it easier for women to take control of their own health.  For many women, preventive services like mammograms, Pap smears, birth control, and yearly well-woman visits are now available without cost sharing. The health care law improves women’s access to appropriate preventive health screenings, which can help detect diseases early, when treatment is most effective and least costly.

Starting next year, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to refuse us coverage just because we’re battling breast cancer or have another pre-existing condition – and they won’t be allowed to charge us more just because we are women.

If you’re one of the millions of women who are uninsured or who buy insurance on their own, more options are on the way because of the Affordable Care Act. Starting October 1, 2013, you will be able to visit a new Health Insurance Marketplace where you can compare and choose from a range of plans to find one that best fits your needs and budget. All of these plans must cover a package of essential health benefits, including maternity and newborn care.

To get more information about the Marketplace and to sign up for email and text updates to get ready for October, visit HealthCare.gov.

Being healthy starts with each of us taking control. So Monday on National Women’s Checkup Day, and during National Women’s Health Week, I encourage you to sit down with your doctor or health care provider and talk about what you can do to take control of your health.

There’s no better gift you can give yourself – or your loved ones.

FINAL NWHW Infographic_5.10