Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tailored text messages for teen weight loss

A University of Michigan study recently published in Obesity studied which kinds of text messages would be well received among obese teens who were part of a weight management program. Six types of messages were tested: testimonials, meal and recipe ideas, targeted tips, reflective questions, feedback questions and tailored messages. The teens liked the messages that told them what to do, weight loss strategies from other teens as well as messages that were uplifting. The group didn't like the messages that included unhealthful behaviors and food.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Youth from Low Income Families Have Higher Prevalence of Heart Disease Risk Factors

According to a recent news release from the Emory School of Public Health, a recent study showed that youth between the ages of 6-17 from low-income families have an approximately 50% higher likelihood of being obese, centrally obese (belly fat), and sedentary when compared to those within the same age group in the highest-income households. In addition, they are twice as likely to be exposed to harmful levels of tobacco, either through use or exposure to secondhand smoke.

You can learn more by reading this article, "Household Income and Cardiovascular Disease Risks in U.S. Children and Young Adults," available online. It will be published in an upcoming issue of Diabetes Care.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reducing starchy food in school cafeteria lunches

A recent article in the LA Times proposed federal nutritional requirements for the National School Lunch Program would allow school cafeterias to offer students no more than one cup of starchy vegetables per week to take effect as early as fall 2012.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Roundup

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

1. Global rates of obesity doubled in 30 years, New York Times, August 25, 2011
Brief Introduction: Obesity rates have doubled in the last three decades, even as blood pressure and cholesterol levels dropped. You can read more about these three studies as they are being published today in the Lancet.

2. Vitamins may lower risk of pre-term births, New York Times, August 22, 2011
Brief Introduction: Taking a multivitamin around the time of conception may help women lower their risk of delivering low-birth-weight babies, new research shows.

1. Young Hispanic's college enrollment rose 24% in year, study says, New York Times, August 25, 2011
Brief Introduction: Hispanics in the United States have registered significant gains in education, with college enrollment among young Hispanics up by 24 percent from 2009 to 2010, a new report shows.


1. Explore the country by the numbers,
Brief Introduction: This is an interactive map that allows you to take a look at the population of the U.S.: total population, population by race, etc.

2. Arizona sues over Voting Rights Act, The Arizona Republic, August 26, 2011
Brief Introduction:

Arizona is the first state to challenge the constitutionality of sections of the federal law that forbid states from enacting a law or process that denies or limits someone's right to vote based on their race or color.

The sections at issue require states that failed to meet certain criteria in 1972 to get federal approval for any state legislation or procedural change that could impact voting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unintended pregnancy rates rise among poor women

According to an article in the LA Times discusses a report released by the Guttmacher Institute that showed that unintended pregnancy rates among poor women over 1994-2006 rose by 50% in that time period. Women in higher income brackets experienced a 29% fall during that time period. The study authors also wrote that "poor women who are married have unintended pregnancy rates more than twice as high as those of higher-income women who are unmarried or cohabiting."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New York Times Knowledge Network

The New York Times has created an interesting site called the Knowledge Network. It offers a wide range of distinctive adult and continuing education opportunities, including online courses, programs and Webcasts. Some of the programs are offered directly by The Times, while others are presented in collaboration with universities, colleges and other educational institutions. You can take classes online for certification programs, continuing education, etc.

What do you think about the NYT becoming a point for education provision?

Prescription discount card saves residents money and makes townships cash - but many wonder "What's the catch?"

Five Illinois townships have provided their residents with a prescription discount card that can save an average of 45% and also provides participating governments with the opportunity to earn 50 cents for certain prescriptions after their residents have used the card on over 1700 qualifying prescriptions.

Township administrators and Coast2 Coast Rx card company officials encourage those with insurance to compare prescription prices between their insurance and the discount card. But discounts through the card change weekly, meaning cost-conscious consumers must be vigilant.Because the card is free to residents and pays governments, residents and township officials alike have expressed skepticism about how it works.

Pharmacies pay Financial Marketing Concepts and its partnered pharmacy benefit manager, WellDyne Rx of Colorado, a "dispensing fee," or a marketing or advertising fee for bringing customers into their stores. Pharmacies are interested in getting foot traffic as they hope to make money on purchases made in addition to the prescriptions.

You can learn more about this by reading this Chicago Tribune article.

Bundling Medicare payments

An article published by Reuters takes a look at how Medicare health providers will be encouraged to help develop four models to bundle payments. The CMS Innovation Center, created under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul last year, has been looking into bundling payments as part of an effort to improve patient care and reduce costs.

To learn more about the program, click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Recession and child poverty rates

A recent article on CNN discusses how the recession has caused an increase in child poverty rates.
The articles discusses a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that found that the child poverty rate increased 18% between 2000 and 2009. 2.4 million more children fall below the poverty line and some 42% or 31 million, now live in low-income families, ones with incomes below twice the federal poverty line of $43,512 for a family of four.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Taxonomy and searches

I came across an interesting article that focused on how taxonomies are connected to search. Marjorie Hlava, on her TaxoDiary blog provides a great explanation to this question. She provides an overview of what a taxonomy is and how it is interconnected with the multiple resources that an organization may hold.

If you want to learn more about developing a taxonomy, make sure you sign up for CFL's upcoming learning session.

Speech recognition in health care analytics

An interesting article in Information Week discusses the use of natural language processing to crunch electronic medical data. In a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Nuance Communications, the use of an app will help doctors add information to their electronic medical record software and make it possible to crunch data to influence clinical decision- making.

Wouldn't it be interesting if a tool like this could be utilized in philanthropy to help program officers be more effective in recording notes during their site visits? If the tool can help influence clinical decision-making, might there also be an opportunity to re-purpose it to improve grantmaking?

Mozilla's School of Webcraft

While looking for news stories this morning, I came across an interesting Mozilla project that helps people learn with others the skills and theory used to create websites and apps using open web technologies. Participation is free and you can learn skills like HTML 5, CSS3, Javascript and jQuery.

This looks really interesting for those at nonprofits and foundations responsible for their organization's technology to learn new skills or get up-to-date on open web technologies.

Mandatory Schools of Choice bill coming up for consideration in MI state legislature

An article published in the Detroit Free Press today takes a look at the Mandatory Schools of Choice bill that could be introduced into the Michigan legislature as early as this week. The bill may include "universal choice K-12 up to capacity".

Tackling medicine shortages

A recent article on MSNBC takes a look at how federal officials, lawmakers, pharmaceutical companies, and doctor groups are looking for remedies to tackle medicine shortages. At least 180 drugs have been declared in short supply.

The government has considered creating a stockpile of crucial cancer medicines in addition to the stockpiles that the CDC has created for antibiotics and antidotes that are held in case of an earthquake or terrorist attack.

According to the FDA, some of the shortages have resulted because inspectors found problems like microbial contamination that can be lethal on injection or because of capacity problems at drug plants or lack of interest because of low profits.

In Texas, school misbehavior could be criminal

I came across an interesting article in the Washington Post that details how police in Texas offer Class C misdemeanor citations for offensive language, class disruption, schoolyard fights. These students land in court with fines of up to $500.

Federal officials recently announced an initiative to break what many call the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Suspensions, expulsions and arrests are used too often to enforce school order, officials said.

Electronic tattoos and vital signs

In a recent post on Time's Healthland blog discusses how engineers designed a new system of skin-mounted electronics that are small enough to fit under a temporary tattoo. These electronic tattoos could potentially be used for medical diagnostic purposes.

You can read more about this invention in this issue of Science.

NYT: Portraits from a job-starved city

The New York Times has an interesting feature they put together to showcase the lives of 24 people living in Rockford, IL - a city whose unemployment rate has reached 16%. Some of the 24 people interviewed had their thoughts recorded as a podcast.

This is an innovative presentation of information and serves as a nice example of storytelling that nonprofits and foundations should pay attention to.

South Dakota schools go to a 4-day week

A recent article in the Detroit News discusses how a rural school district has decided to go to a four-day school week to reduce costs and deal with South Dakota's education budget cuts. Superintendent Larry Johnke said that the $50,000 savings will preserve a vocational education program that otherwise would have been scrapped. The downsizing comes as schools in some larger cities like Chicago, are moving in the opposite direction.

U.S. Rejects Mayor’s Plan to Ban Use of Food Stamps to Buy Soda

A recent article in the New York Times discusses how federal officials recently rejected Mayor Bloomberg's plan to bar NYC food stamp recipients from buying sodas and other sugary drinks with the food stamps.

In October, city and state officials proposed a two-year experiment to see if the prohibition would reduce obesity among food stamp recipients. With obesity running rampant in low-income neighborhoods, it was thought that limiting consumption of sodas and other drinks with high sugar content could help reverse that trend. But the city received a letter from Washington stating the proposed experiment would have been “too large and complex” to implement and evaluate.

National Baptist Convention and health ambassadors

An interesting article in the New York Times takes a look at Baptist churches in the Delta that are looking to promote healthy eating to their congregations. The National Baptist Convention is developing a health campaign that will have a health ambassador in every member church by September 2012.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Asthma More Likely Among Children of Overweight Mothers

A recent post in the New York Times Well blog details new research that shows overweight/obese women who become pregnant have a higher rate of their children developing asthma when they grow to be teenagers.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Phone Messages Improve Care, Study Finds

A recent article in the New York Times shows that a study found that cellphones used to broadcast text messages reminding health workers in Kenya how to treat children’s malaria increased the number of cases handled correctly.

The study was recently published in the Lancet.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

15 minutes of exercise a day

A recent article on ABC News discusses a new study that found that 15 minutes of exercise a day helped reduce study participants' risk of cancer by 10% and extended their life expectancy by three years.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Texting for pregnant women & new moms

According to a recent article in the Arizona Daily Sun, a new program called Text4Baby targets pregnant women and new moms via text message. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and launched by the National Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Coalition, the program's goal is to give pregnant women and new mothers with the information they need to give their babies a healthy start.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Diabetes Infographic

Just came along this wonderful infographic that was posted to Alltop.
It visually represents data about diabetes around the world.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gym class and better grades

A recent article in the New York Times takes a look at studies who looked at children in Rome and the effect exercise/gym had on their school performance. They were then asked to take a written test right after. It seemed that endurance exercises had the most positive effect test performance.

Exchanging meat for nuts to lower diabetes risk

According to a recent article in the New York Times, a Harvard study has found that swapping out red meat for a serving of nuts or low-fat dairy can lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Dr. Hu, the author of the study, suggested that people should think about eating only one serving of processed meat per week and limiting red meat to 2-3 servings per week.

Racial bias in foster care system

According to a recent article in The Chicago Tribune, a forum held at Brown University took a look at the racial bias in the U.S. foster care system. Black children currently account for about 1/3 children in foster care and studies have shown that Black parents are more likely to be reported for alleged neglect. While poverty and racism are often blamed for the disparity, speakers at the conference believe that the over-representation of minorities in the foster care system needs to be addressed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The story of an undocumented worker and access to health care

I just came across an interesting story in the New York Times that chronicled the story of an undocumented immigrant known as "Carlos". Riding his red bike, Carlos regularly made use of the medical care provided by a mobile health care provider that focused on uninsured patients. During one visit, the health care provider saw a large lump near Carlos' clavicle. Carlos needed a $200 biopsy, but no health care provider would take on a patient that could not provide identification. He was told to go to the emergency room for the much needed care, but he was given a bag of saline solution, a bill for $1,085, and a note that told him to follow-up with his primary care provider.

The hospital ended up scheduling a biopsy five months and three weeks into the future. Carlos vowed not to miss the appointment but he soon started to miss his appointments with the health care van. Soon, his friends would visit the health care van to see if the staff had heard from Carlos. A while after that, news came that Carlos' red bike had been sold at a police auction for $32.

The author of the story fears that the lump found on Carlos was cancerous and wound up killing him.

What do you think about this story? What are your thoughts on health care for undocumented populations?

Baby's Palate And Food Memories Shaped Before Birth

An interesting podcast and story on NPR today discusses how an infant's food preferences can be shaped while still in the womb. While developing, the baby consumes several ounces of amniotic fluid daily which is flavored with the foods and beverages that the mother has consumed within the last few hours.

University of Florida taste researcher Linda Bartoshukuk believes that it might be possible to get a baby used to a healthier diet by exposing to flavors like carrots early on. If those taste experiences are reinforced as the baby grows, it may even promote healthy eating.

Learning Session: Making Taxonomies Interoperable

The next scheduled CFL learning session will be held on Thursday, September 8th @ 2PM (ET). The presenter, Josh Shortlidge, will be speaking about InterEthos, an open source project that makes taxonomies interoperable. Here is the session description:

InterEthos - Making Taxonomies Interoperable
What if internet users could search for your content in multiple languages? What if not only were your taxonomies internationalized, but they were also correlated with other important taxonomies of your choosing? What if all the time and energy that people spend indexing their own content is suddenly combined into a universal system of correlated indexed content?

Josh Shortlidge will provide a 30-minute presentation on an innovative taxonomy tool that allows for collaborative taxonomy building. Make sure to mark your calendars for September 8th at 2PM so that you can call in to the teleconference to learn more.

You can register for this session using this link - the deadline for registering is August 31st.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Updated Tools for the Trade now available!

An updated version of Tools for the Trade has now been released! With almost thirty pages of information resources handpicked by philanthropic information professionals, this resource is a must read! You can access the new resource here

Monday, August 1, 2011

CFL Self-Paced Technology Learning Program - Early registration has begun!

Early registration for the CFL Self-Paced Technology Learning Program has begun! This free 10-week program officially starts Sept 5, 2011, but you can complete your registration early by accessing this form.

At the conclusion of the program in November, three prizes will be awarded. If you know someone who works in a nonprofit or a foundation, make sure to share this blog post with them.

Nominate an outstanding CFL librarian

Do you know of a foundation librarian that has gone above and beyond? Nominate him or her for the CFL Librarian of the Year Award. The deadline for nomination is December 31, 2011. A framed award along with a $100 Visa prepaid debit card will be awarded to the winner at the 2012 CFL annual meeting in Chicago.

Visit this link to learn more about the requirements and submission requirements.

CFL Podcast: Magda Schaler-Haynes (Public health law)

This month, I decided to interview Magda Schaler-Haynes, who is a Lecturer of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. For those interested in learning more about public health law, this podcast provides an expert overview of the topic.

You can listen to the podcast here as a WAV file or MP3.