Monday, January 31, 2011

Documentary of Interest: Africa's Daughters

Africa's Daughters is a short 25 minute documentary that takes a look at two young women from Uganda whose families have struggled to ensure that these students finish high school. The fact that they have been able to continue their education in a culture that doesn't value the education of girls is something to take note of.

This documentary may be of interest to those who are interested in learning more about the educational realities that young women face in some parts of Africa.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Roundup

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

1. Why Americans aren't living longer,, January 27, 2011
Brief Intro:"A new report from the National Research Council finds that Americans fall short on life expectancy compared with other high-income countries because of two vices – smoking and obesity."

2. CDC: Almost 26 million Americans have diabetes,, January 26, 2011
Brief Intro:"Almost 26 million Americans older than age 20 have diabetes and more than a quarter or 7 million do not know they have the disease, according to estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday."

3. Financial rewards for a doctor's care,, January 26, 2011
Brief Intro:"In their efforts to improve the quality of medical care, policy makers here and abroad have focused on ways of providing financial incentives to doctors that reward them when they provide better care.

But a new study published in Tuesday’s BMJ, the online version of the old British Medical Journal, casts serious doubt on whether pay-for-performance programs are an effective way of improving the quality of care."

1. Pennsylvania school experiments with 'segregation',, January 27, 2011
Brief Intro:"A Pennsylvania high school says some students are separated by race, gender and language for a few minutes each day in an effort to boost academic scores, raising controversy over the historically contentious issue of segregation in schools."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clinton announces agreement for healthier lunches

A recent article in the Washington Post tells of an agreement announcement from former President Bill Clinton concerning leading food manufacturers and the push for healthier school lunch options. Seven companies have agreed to increase the sale of foods that meet science-based nutrition standards by 50% within five years. In addition, the manufacturers have agreed to set prices for healthy food options no higher than for those that are unhealthy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WHO recommends food marketing curbs for child obesity

A recent Reuters article discusses the recent recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) that encourage governments to work with industry to restrict child focused advertising of foods high in salt, sugar and fat in order to tackle the epidemic of obesity and other related diseases. According to Dr. Armstrong who heads the WHO's efforts on promoting healthy diet and physical education, non-communicable diseases now account for 90% of premature deaths in low and middle-income countries, where obesity is a rising problem.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

U.S. to send more insurance exchange money to states

According to a Reuters article, the federal government has made grant money available to U.S. states that are seeking to open marketplaces for health insurance. Through these exchanges, individuals, families and small businesses will be able to buy affordable health insurance with insurance companies competing for business by lowering their premium charges. The law requires that these exchanges be set up by 2014.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ariz. governor signs bill seeking Medicaid waiver

According to a recent article on MSNBC, Arizona governor Jan Brewer has signed an emergency bill allowing the state to seek a federal waiver to temporarily remove nearly 300,000 people from its Medicaid roles in the first such request by a state. If the waiver is granted by the federal government, the state expects to save $541.5 million.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Roundup

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

Health/Vulnerable Populations
1. Distrust of health system keeps black males from getting care, Business Week/Health Day, January 14, 2011
Brief Intro:"It's not because they want to appear tough or self-reliant that black men delay going to the doctor; it's because they don't trust the health-care system, researchers at the University of North Carolina report."

2. Walmart pledges to makes food healthier, more affordable,, January 20, 2011
Brief Intro:"The largest grocery chain in the country has announced an extensive five-year plan to make its food healthier and more affordable. Walmart, which serves roughly 140 million consumers a week, announced the initiative as a collaboration between its corporation and first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.

3. Doctor fills health-care gap for homeless women,, January 20, 2011
Brief Intro:"Means started her nonprofit -- Women of Means -- after working for seven years with the city's established homeless health care programs. She found that, despite all of the quality medical resources for the homeless population, few women were actually using the services."

1. In Florida, virtual classrooms with no teachers,, January 17, 2011
Brief Intro:"Naomi is one of over 7,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools enrolled in a program in which core subjects are taken using computers in a classroom with no teacher. A “facilitator” is in the room to make sure students progress. That person also deals with any technical problems.

These virtual classrooms, called e-learning labs, were put in place last August as a result of Florida’s Class Size Reduction Amendment, passed in 2002. The amendment limits the number of students allowed in classrooms, but not in virtual labs. "

2. Teacher training taught by students,, January 14, 2011
Brief Intro:"The idea of using students to help teachers sharpen their skills came from the National Urban Alliance’s trainers, who, while working with Newark’s teachers, observed how easily students on the playground seemed to teach one another the latest dances or games. "

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vulnerable patients may lack access to trauma care

According to an article on MSNBC, vulnerable patients may have trouble accessing trauma care. The researchers found that urban communities where many of the members are foreign-born, faced up to twice the odds of having difficult access to trauma care compared to other populations with predominantly U.S.-born residents.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Study Finds Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Outcomes

According to a Health Day article, researchers in North Carolina has found that African-American women had worse outcomes no matter what kind of breast cancer they developed, suggesting factors such as disparities in access to care and treatment may contribute to the higher level of mortality.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Race a Factor in Obesity Counseling?

According to a Health Day article, a new study found that obese black patients receive less weight reduction and exercise advice than obese white patients. The researchers from John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed national data from 2,231 black and white obese patients. The study was published in the January online issue of Obesity.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Broad Racial Disparities Seen in Americans’ Ills

In a recent New York Times article, the CDC issued its first report detailing racial disparities in a broad array of health problems. You can read this in the supplement to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Roundup

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

Vulnerable populations
1. Teens and Blacks face highest unemployment, Jan 7, 2011,
Brief Intro:"The employment situation has improved overall over the last year, but large swaths of the U.S. population are lagging behind, including blacks, Hispanics and teenagers."

2. For minorities, new 'digital divide' seen, Jan 11, 2011, MSNBC.Com:
Brief Intro:"Today, as mobile technology puts computers in our pockets, Latinos and blacks are more likely than the general population to access the Web by cellular phones, and they use their phones more often to do more things."

1. America's healthiest and unhealthiest states,
Brief Intro:"For the second year in a row, residents of Vermont are the healthiest people in the nation, according to a new state-by-state survey by the nonprofit United Health Foundation, which is funded by insurer UnitedHealth Group."

1. 60 first graders, 4 teachers, one loud way to learn, Jan 10, 2011,
Brief Intro:"Instead of assigning one teacher to roughly 25 children, the New American Academy began the school year with four teachers in large, open classrooms of 60 students. The school stresses student independence over teacher-led lessons, scientific inquiry over rote memorization and freedom and self-expression over strict structure and discipline."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Can People Be Bribed into Healthier Habits?

According to a CBS article, the British government is looking at financial incentives in order to reverse the current obesity epidemic. The. U.K. has tested several programs that pay people to make healthy choices. Officials say that these programs have been successful enough to roll them out further.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine's Student Laptop Program

A Mashable article featured on Yahoo News takes a look at six important lessons that the state of Maine has learned from its student laptop program. In 2002, Maine signed a $37 million contract with Apple that provided 33,000 laptops to students and 3,000 laptops to teachers. In 2009, the contract was expanded to include some high schools. All 7th/8th graders and students at 55% of Maine's high schools are currently issued laptops. These are six major lessons that have been learned from the experience so far:
  1. Treat technology as a tool, not a curriculum area.
  2. Think differently about teaching.
  3. Decide to do it, not pilot it.
  4. Concentrate on current curriculum initiatives at first.
  5. Support teachers as much as possible.
  6. Make technology part of teachers' everyday language use too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tennessee tops states in child immunization rate

According to an article on Yahoo News, Tennessee is first in the nation when it comes to providing early childhood immunizations, according to a national health ranking report. America's Health Ratings looked at four different vaccines for its health rankings: polio, DTaP, MMR and hepatitis B. According to the data, Tennessee led with 94.1% coverage.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Too much fluoride in water?

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the federal government is planning to reduce the level of fluoride in drinking water due to increased cases of teeth spotting. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is announcing a proposal to change the recommended fluoride level to .7 mg per liter of water. The standard since 1962 has been between .7 and 1.2 mg/liter.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Roundup

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


1. New medical school model: Adopt a family to treat, Jan 5, 2011,

Brief Intro:"Medical education in the U.S. is going through a growth spurt. After decades without a single new school, five new medical schools have opened since 2009, and 10 more are being accredited — a response to the growing doctor shortage.

Besides producing more doctors, many of the new medical schools are also trying to reshape medical education. Florida International University's College of Medicine in Miami is one of these new schools. Its approach to rethinking medical school is a community-based medical curriculum."

2. Health spending rose in '09, but at a low rate, Jan. 5, 2011,

Brief Intro:"Total national health spending grew by 4 percent in 2009, the slowest rate of increase in 50 years, as people lost their jobs, lost health insurance and deferred medical care, the federal government reported on Wednesday."


1. To beat back poverty, pay the poor, Jan 3, 2011, (opinion blog)

Brief Intro:"Several factors contribute to Brazil’s astounding feat. But a major part of Brazil’s achievement is due to a single social program that is now transforming how countries all over the world help their poor."

Immigrant populations

1. State lawmakers outline plans to end birthright citizenship draws outcry, Jan 5, 2011,

Brief Intro:" Conservative legislators from five states opened a national campaign on Wednesday to end the automatic granting of American citizenship to children born in the United States of illegal immigrants."


1. Math that moves: Schools embrace the iPad, Jan 4, 2011,

Brief Intro:"A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad as the latest tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through “Jeopardy”-like games and math with step-by-step animation of complex problems."

2. Georgia facing a hard choice on free tuition, Jan 6, 2011,

Brief Intro:"The largest merit-based college scholarship program in the United States offers any Georgia high school student with a B-average four years of free college tuition.

But the Hope scholarship program is about to be cut by a new governor and Legislature facing staggering financial troubles."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Podcast: Interview with Mary Ellen Bates

This month's podcast is an interview with Mary Ellen Bates. She will discuss how as an information professional, she sells her value to current and future clients, what tools and techniques she utilizes for finding quality information quickly and suggestions on how foundation librarians can do the same.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1 in 7 Americans rely on food stamps

An article on CNN discusses the current reality of poverty in the United States. With one in seven Americans on food stamps, the number of food stamp recipients has increased by 16% over the last year. The article includes a video that is entitled, "Unemployed, kids and an empty fridge." The short video shows participants of Witnesses to Hunger - which documents participants' struggles in food insecure environments. The video provides an eye-opening look at how three women struggle to ensure that their children are properly fed and sheltered.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Political Battle on Illegal Immigration Shifts to States

A recent article in the New York Times discusses the issue of illegal immigration and how several states are implementing measures this year to crack down on illegal immigration. Some of these measures include limiting access to public colleges and canceling automatic citizenship for U.S. born children of illegal immigrants.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Universities Are Challenged as Demographics Shift

An article that appeared in the New York Times takes a look at the graduation numbers of minority students and how that may affect the workforce going forward. While enrollment numbers of minority students have increased at many colleges, the graduation numbers are still lacking.