Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Roundup - Current Awareness

Here is a listing of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

Topic: Health
Healthiest state for kids?, 7/27/10
Brief Intro: "The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its report Tuesday on how the 50 states fared in 10 categories of children's health. Survey organizers said the numbers do not reflect the current economic downturn. The data were collected from 2000 to 2008, before most U.S. families were hit by the recession."

New insurance pool set up for Kansans with pre-existing conditions, 7/30/10

Brief Intro: "The state of Kansas is taking applications for a temporary insurance program that would offer coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions who have not been able to find other insurance for six months or more."

New sensor brings fresh hope to diabeteics,
, 7/30/10

Brief Intro: "In the July 28, 2010 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, the article titled “Function of an Implanted Tissue Glucose Sensor for More than 1 Year in Animals” describes the use of this glucose-sensing device as an implant in animals for over one year

At the conclusion of human clinical trials and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the device may be a welcome alternative for people with diabetes currently required to use finger sticks, and short-term needle-like glucose sensors that have to be replaced every three to seven days."

Topic: Immigration
Judge blocks controversial parts of Arizona law, 7/28/10

Brief Intro: "The law will still take effect Thursday, but without many of the provisions that angered opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. The judge also put on hold a part of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places."

U.S. senator Lindsey Graham: Deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, 7/30/10

Brief Intro: "Senator Lindsay Graham announced today that he has talked with other key senators about drafting an amendment to the Constitution that would deny citizenship to illegal immigrants' children born in the United States."

In Colorado, debate over program to check immigration history of the arrested New York Times, 7/29/10

Brief Intro: "Now, as Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. weighs whether to use Secure Communities, already in effect in 480 jurisdictions in 27 states, immigrant rights groups have been privately pushing him to reject the program. Critics say it promotes racial profiling by the local police and would undermine trust between immigrants and law enforcement, in a state that has particularly strict immigration laws."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Walking the Line: Documentary about the illegal immigration issue in Arizona

Walking the Line provides a 360 degree view on the topic of illegal immigration in Arizona. From interviews with militia members concerned about property rights and the effect of illegal immigration to a member of a Native American tribe who has faced backlash for his efforts in providing water to those crossing the desert into the U.S. This documentary is recommended for those who are interested in multiple viewpoints on the topic.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Birthing Project

A recent article on CNN provides readers with information on Birthing Project USA. The founder of the nonprofit organization, Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, noted that while she was working as the public health administrator for the state of California, she learned that it cost about $300,000 to stabilize a sick baby for the first 90 days compared to $2,000 to ensure care for expectant mothers that would help with a healthy pregnancy and proper delivery.

Since the start of the project, the program has helped with more than 12,000 babies in 94 community chapters in the U.S. At-risk pregnant women are paired up with more experience women who have further education and a more stable income. This partnership helps improve birthing outcomes as both work to ensure that the mother-to-be is engaging in healthy behaviors and attending prenatal appointments.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Least of These - Documentary on family detention

The Least of These is a 2009 documentary that takes a look at a family detention facility in Texas. The facility was formerly used a medium-security prison and is run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a private prison operator. Three attorneys set about to bring changes in both the policy and conditions of the facility by making their findings public and filing a historic lawsuit.

Click on the link above to view this 62 minute documentary in its entirety or visit the film website to learn more.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alienated: Undocumented immigrant youth - Documentary

Alienated is a short documentary that takes a look at the issue of undocumented illegal youth in America. Focusing on Licia, an undocumented young woman who has taken on a job of a live-in nanny, Licia discusses why she came to the U.S. and what life is like for her currently, earning $4/hr as a nanny.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Current awareness - Friday roundup

Here is a list of articles of interest that have been published within the last 7-10 days:

Topic: Economics

Nevada retains highest state unemployment rate - New York Times, July 20, 2010
Brief Intro: "Michigan had previously held the highest state jobless rate for four years running. But that changed in May, when Nevada overtook it. And according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released today, Nevada held onto that top slot with a rate of 14.2 percent in June. Michigan, by comparison, had a rate of “only” 13.2 percent."

The gender pay gap by state - New York Times, July 13, 2010
*Interactive map
Brief Intro: "For all full-time wage and salary workers across the country, women’s median weekly wages were 80.2 percent of men’s last year. But there is considerable variation among the states."

Study finds Americans' economic insecurity at 25-year high - Newsweek, July 22, 2010
Brief Intro: "Newsweek published a story today that takes a look at the findings of a recent Rockefeller Foundation study that found that Americans are less economically secure than in any time over the last 25 years".

Topic: Health
What the doctor is really thinking - New York Times, July 20, 2010
Brief Intro: "A study currently under way, called the OpenNotes project, is looking at what happens when doctors' notes become available for a patient to read, usually on electronic medical records. In a report on the early stages of the study, published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers say that inviting patients to review the records can improve patient understanding of their health and get them to stick to their treatment regimens more closely."

In US cities, HIV linked more to poverty than race - Yahoo News (AP), July 19, 2010
Brief Intro: "The study, released Monday, suggests that HIV is epidemic in certain poverty-stricken urban neighborhoods. And, more significantly, poor heterosexuals in those neighborhoods were twice as likely to be infected as heterosexuals who lived in the same community but had more money."

Economic status may affect kids' hearing aid care - Yahoo News (Health Day), July 20, 2010
Brief Intro: "Poor children with hearing loss are as likely as other children to receive cochlear implants, but they may experience more complications afterward, a U.S. study has found."

Topic: Education
NC protesters march over school busing decision
- Yahoo News (AP), July 20, 2010
Brief Intro: "About 1,000 people marched through North Carolina's capital to protest a school busing policy that they say will lead to resegregation of area schools."

NBC hosting education summit in September
- Yahoo News (AP), July 19, 2010
Brief Intro: "NBC News is convening its own summit with education and political leaders in September to talk about ways to improve schools in light of statistics showing the U.S. lagging in student achievement."

Topic: Juvenile justice
Federal oversight for troubled N.Y. youth prisons - New York Times, July 14, 2010
Brief Intro: "Four of New York’s most dangerous and troubled youth prisons will be placed under federal oversight, strict new limits will be imposed on the use of physical force by guards, and dozens of psychiatrists, counselors and investigators will be hired under a sweeping agreement finalized on Wednesday between state and federal officials."

Juvenile detention center offers education to kids - The Spokesman Review, July 19, 2010
Brief Intro: "In the 2009-’10 school year, the programs at Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center and Martin Hall in Medical Lake reached more than 2,200 kids between the ages of 8 and 18. About 200 additional young people were served by the Structured Alternative Confinement School, which is for juveniles on electronic home monitoring or who are court ordered to go to school."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The role of incentives to change unhealthy behavior

Today, Newsweek published an article that takes a look at the role of health incentives meant to change behavior. The article describes research that was released at this week's International AIDS conference that shows that cash payouts made to young women in South Africa has been successful in deterring the spread of HIV.

Would a similar strategy of financial rewards help those in the U.S. engaging in unhealthful behaviors change their ways? Programs are being made use of by companies trying to reign in out of control healthcare costs. But do these programs provide meaningful gains in the long-run? One small study points out that while participants were enrolled in a program that provided financial incentives as well as lifestyle counseling, the average participant lost between 13-14 pounds while participants in another group that only received counseling lost almost 4 pounds. But for participants in both groups, the weight returned once the program was over.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Lady and MLB join up to fight childhood obesity

The First Lady and Major League Baseball have joined forces to fight childhood obesity in the Let's Move Campaign. Hoping to reach a broader audience for the campaign, members of the MLB will participate in 30 public service announcements that feature players from different teams.

You can learn more about this partnership by clicking here to access the article.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Perversion of Justice - Documentary on the effect of mandatory sentencing on mothers

Perversion of Justice is a documentary that takes a look at the effect of mandatory sentences for mothers convicted for actions that are indirectly associated with drug selling/distribution. One mother is sentenced to life in prison for her role in wiring money that is associated with drug sales. The judge presiding over her case was forced to give her life in prison even though he had misgivings due to her having no previous convictions. The woman fought her sentencing and had the life sentence brought down to twelve years. But how does her incarceration affect her children?

Mississippi Chicken - Documentary on immigrant poultry workers in Mississippi

Mississippi Chicken is an excellent documentary on the plight of Hispanic immigrants in a poultry town. The documentary provides a background of poultry industry in Mississippi detailing how the jobs were once occupied by white workers then blacks workers and finally Hispanics. The two main characters is a woman who is working to create a worker's center to help immigrant workers and a matriarch of a family, Guillermina.

Viewers will be provided with a better understanding of the kind of hardships immigrants face. While one hopes that the workers profiled in this work will succeed in making their way out of the situation, you'll end up being surprised and saddened at how their lives actually turnout.

Viewer's notes: The documentary does not have subtitles and much of the discussion is in Spanish. Warning:The first five minutes of the documentary shows raw footage of a pig being killed and prepared for a party.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Art of Overcoming Poverty - Documentary on homelessness

The Art of Overcoming Poverty is a short five minute documentary that takes a look at the homeless issues that Atlanta is facing. With input from a professor of medicine at Emory, a homeless man, and a volunteer who helps provide meals to those in need, the documentary provides a multifaceted review of the homeless issues that Atlanta faces.

Caught in the Crossfire - Documentary on gay parents and their children

I came across an interesting documentary that takes a look at gay parents and the children they parent. The documentary mainly focuses on seven children (ages 9-17) and their feelings about their gay parents. Some have struggled accepting their parent's sexuality and others aren't really troubled by it. With those that have come to terms with their parent's sexuality, some show apprehension about how their friends will react.

Caught in the Crossfire is an eye-opening documentary that I recommend viewing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday roundup - Current awareness

Current awareness articles published within the last 7-10 days.

Topic: Health disparities

Poll: Fewer opportunities seen for minority kids – AP, July 7, 2010

Brief Intro: “Minority children have fewer opportunities than their white peers to gain access to high-quality health care, education, safe neighborhoods and adequate support from the communities where they live, according to a nationwide survey of professionals who work with young people.”

Disparities in Care: Grant secured to help get dental care to disadvantaged children – Redlands Daily Facts, July 15, 2010

Brief Intro: “A dental program targeting disadvantaged children expects to serve 3,000 kids and 1,000

pregnant moms in San Bernardino County over a three-year period.

UMMC seeks greater collaboration on health issues – Northeast Mississippi Daily

Journal, July 13, 2010

Brief Intro: “Mississippi is on the wrong end of several measures of health , and leaders at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine are reaching out statewide to help remedy one of the most glaring lacks.”

Topic: Children and obesity

Child obesity programs not created equal – Chicago Tribune, July 16, 2010

Brief Intro: “Researchers studied the success of three three-year community intervention programs, each targeting a different age group of more than 1,000 children — those younger than 5, primary school-age children and teens. Each group had a similar control population that received no intervention.”

Ambitious Best Food FITS! Program to combat obesity in San Marcos – Texas State University News Service,

July 15, 2010

Brief Intro: “Supported by a $150,000 grant from the Texas Department of State Health Services, Best Food for Families, Infants and Toddlers! (Best Food FITS!) will attempt a community-wide intervention designed to influence eating habits from an early age.”

Community works in fight against obesity – Herald Tribune, July 15, 2010

Brief Intro: “Area health care professionals, dietitians, teachers, fitness specialists and concerned parents attended a workshop Wednesday to help develop a school-based obesity intervention plan for students and families.”

Topic: Vulnerable populations
Economic security index – A new measure of economic risk for American families – Rockefeller Foundation, July 13, 2010
Brief Intro: “The Rockefeller Foundation & Yale University economic security expert Jacob Hacker invite
the media to attend the launch of the "Economic Security Index" (ESI). The ESI is the first simple,
integrated measure of income insecurity. The ESI launch will highlight new statistics on the percentage of
American families with a 25% or greater income loss in 2010 and in prior years.”

More families, single adults seek shelter – Journal Sentinel, July 15, 2010

Brief Intro: “A sharp increase in calls for emergency shelter in Milwaukee County shows that more and

more families and single adults exhausted their means and their housing options in the first half of the year.”


Brief Intro:Demonstrating the urgency to end housing discrimination, the U.S. Department of Housing and

Urban Development today announced that it will hold a national fair housing conference in New Orleans,

starting Monday, July 19. The five-day conference will feature leading scholars, advocates, government

officials, and community leaders focused on providing equal housing opportunities, increasing economic

opportunities for low-income individuals, and meeting the needs of persons with disabilities.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Children of Invention

I came across a spectacular film by Tze Chun called Children of Invention. The story is about a single mom, Elaine, who is struggling to support her two children. After being evicted, the mother attends a pyramid scheme informational session in search of a way to better support her family. Her participation in this pyramid scheme ends up with her disappearing, causing her children to fend for themselves.

Obesity in America 2010 - RWJF Report

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation along with the Trust for America's Health has put out a new report on the status of America's obesity epidemic called "F as in Fat." The report takes a look at the obesity rates in the U.S. and reviews both federal and state policy initiatives that are directed towards the issue. RWJF has provided a helpful site that provides the report and also provides helpful state-specific obesity information.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Autumn's Eyes - Documentary on the effects of poverty and parental incarceration on a child

Autumn's Eyes is a documentary that focuses on a little girl named Autumn and the effects of severe poverty and parental incarceration on children. With Autumn's teenage mother facing a long prison sentence for robbery and assault, what will end up happening to Autumn? With a child facing these kind of obstacles at such a young age, what kind of future does she have?

The Angry Heart - Documentary on Health Inequality

The Angry Heart is a 57 minute documentary that takes a look at health inequality with a focus on African-American heart health. The documentary focuses on Keith Hartgrove, a 45-year old African-American man who has had three heart attacks and reviews how institutional racism has affected his health. With input from experts like Cornell West and Drs. Camara Jones and Nancy Krieger, this is an excellent documentary that serves to educate the viewer of what factors contribute to the perpetuation of health inequality for African-Americans.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Small Act - An HBO Documentary

HBO will soon be broadcasting their documentary, A Small Act. The story is about how a woman provided $15 a month to keep a boy, Chris Mburu enrolled in a Kenyan school. Without this assistance, Chris would never have been able to continue his education. This small act of kindness helped Chris reach Harvard Law School. Now a UN attorney fighting against genocide, Chris has developed a foundation in honor of his sponsor to help other poor bright Kenyan children continue their education as well. You can learn more about this documentary by visiting: