CDPH Announces Intent to Award $13 Million in Grants to California Reducing Disparities Pilot Projects

Source California Department of Public Health  |  2016-07-28

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith announced today the intent to award nearly $13 million in grants to help reduce mental health disparities in communities that have traditionally been underserved.

The funding will be distributed to 11 pilot projects statewide that provide mental health services to five target populations, including African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ), and Native American communities. The grant monies, which will be distributed over the course of five and a half years, are part of CDPH’s California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP). This will be the third release of CRDP grant funds. In all, CDPH will award $60 million to 41 contractors and grantees between 2016 and 2022.

“The California Reducing Disparities Project recognizes that many of the promising mental health services in our most diverse communities need additional support in order to improve their effectiveness,” said Dr. Smith. “CDPH is committed to funding organizations that are doing meaningful work in their communities to reduce mental health disparities but are not often considered for large grants.”

Disparities in mental health services are found among all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities and expressions. Even though they make up the majority of the state’s population, communities of color are less likely to receive quality mental health care services than their Caucasian peers. Members of the LGBTQ community frequently report that mental health providers do not know how to address sexual orientation and gender identity concerns, or overemphasize these issues in treatment, even if it is not the reason the person sought care.

The primary goal of the CRDP grants is to invest in new and existing community programs that have shown promise in reducing mental health disparities in these underserved communities. The grants are awarded to small organizations that have annual budgets of less than $500,000 and need organizational support in order to meet the Project’s implementation and evaluation requirements. Each organization receives six months of technical support to develop a scope of work, detailed five-year budget, and an evaluation plan.

The CRDP is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) that was passed in November 2004. This act imposes a one percent income tax on personal income that exceeds $1 million.

The 11 awardees receiving grants totaling $1,180,000 in funding for include:

African American:

  1. California Black Women’s Health Project – Los Angeles County
  2. Healthy Heritage Movement – Riverside County
  3. Whole Systems Learning – Riverside County

Asian and Pacific Islander *:

  1. Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County – Butte County
  2. Muslim American Society:  Social Services Foundation – Sacramento County

Latino:

  1. Humanidad Therapy and Education Services – Sonoma County
  2. Integral Community Solutions Institute – Fresno County
  3. Latino Service Providers – Sonoma County

LGBTQ:

  1. Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield – Kern County
  2. Gender Health Center – Sacramento County
  3. San Joaquin Pride Center – San Joaquin County

* Only two applications were submitted, and these organizations met or exceeded the minimum application requirements.

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Carmichael Physician Group Selected in National Initiative Promoting Better Cancer Care

Source: Jack Cheevers, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services  |  2016-07-06

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it has selected 16 physician group practices in California among nearly 200 practices and 17 health insurance companies throughout the country to participate in a care delivery model that supports and encourages higher quality, more coordinated cancer care.  The Medicare arm of the Oncology Care Model includes more than 3,200 oncologists and will cover approximately 155,000 beneficiaries nationwide.

Sierra Hematology & Oncology Medical Center of Carmichael will be serving Medicare beneficiaries in the Sacramento region.

Cancer is one of the most common and devastating diseases in the United States: more than 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and cancer will kill an estimated 600,000 Americans in 2016. According to the National Institutes of Health, based on growth and aging of the U.S. population, medical expenditures for cancer in the year 2020 are projected to reach at least $158 billion (in 2010 dollars) – an increase of 27 percent over 2010. A significant proportion of those diagnosed are over 65 years old and Medicare beneficiaries.

“The Oncology Care Model encourages greater collaboration, information sharing, and care coordination, so that patients get the care they need, when they need it,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “This patient-centered care model fits within the Administration’s dual missions for delivery system reform and the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force – to improve patient access to and the quality of health care while spending dollars more wisely.”

Practices participating in the five-year Oncology Care Model will provide treatment following nationally recognized clinical guidelines for beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy, with an emphasis on person-centered care. They will provide enhanced services to beneficiaries who are in the Oncology Care Model to help them receive timely, coordinated treatment. These services may include:

  • Coordinating appointments with providers within and outside the oncology practice to ensure timely delivery of diagnostic and treatment services;
  • Providing 24/7 access to care when needed;
  • Arranging for diagnostic scans and follow up with other members of the medical team such as surgeons, radiation oncologists, and other specialists that support the beneficiary through their cancer treatment;
  • Making sure that data from scans, blood test results, and other tests are received in advance of patient appointments so that patients do not need to schedule additional visits; and
  • Providing access to additional patient resources such as emotional support groups, pain management services, and clinical trials.

“CMS is thrilled with how many physician groups chose to be a part of the Oncology Care Model,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “We have nearly doubled the number of participants that we anticipated. It’s clear that oncology physicians recognize the importance of this new performance-based, episode-based payment approach to cancer care. As a practicing physician and son of a Medicare beneficiary who died from cancer, I know the importance of well-coordinated care focused on the patient’s needs.”

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Effective June 10th, the minimum age of sale for tobacco products in California increases from 18 to 21, and for the first time e-cigarettes are added to the existing definition of tobacco products. California is the second state in the nation, following Hawaii, to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21.

“Today marks a significant moment in California history as new tobacco control laws go into effect statewide. This is the first time the Golden State has raised the age of sale for tobacco since the law first took effect 144 years ago,” said Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) director and state health officer. “Our focus is on reaching more than 34,000 retailers with tobacco licenses and vape shops to provide them the information and resources needed to comply with the new tobacco 21 law.”

To help retailers comply with these new laws, CDPH developed a series of educational materials, including age-of-sale warning signs, window clings reminding customers of the new law and tips to help clerks check identification.

About 34,000 Californians die each year from tobacco use. In addition, tobacco-related diseases cost Californians $18.1 billion each year in both direct and indirect healthcare costs due to premature death and low productivity due to illness.

As part of the new law defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products, e-cigarettes, e-liquids including vaping devices and accessories can no longer be sold in self-service displays. E-cigarettes are also not allowed in locations where smoking has long been prohibited, including public transit, worksites, restaurants, schools and playgrounds. Approximately 217,000 California youth between the ages of 12 and 17 currently smoke traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

“California is taking a big step forward in preventing a new generation of young people from becoming addicted to nicotine,” said Dr. Smith. “The surge in e-cigarette use among teens and young adults is no accident. The tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing of e-cigarette gadgets and candy flavors is jeopardizing the health of our young people.”

Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive neurotoxin. Research shows that the brain continues to develop until age 25, and nicotine exposure before that age may cause permanent brain damage and fuel a lifelong battle with addiction. According to the California Department of Education’s California Healthy Kids Survey, middle and high school teens are currently using e-cigarettes at much higher rates than traditional cigarettes. Studies also show that teens who use e-cigarettes are three times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes within a year.

For those struggling with nicotine addiction, resources are available at www.nobutts.org. Californians who want help quitting can call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO BUTTS.

The California Tobacco Control Program was established by the Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act of 1988. California’s comprehensive approach has changed social norms around tobacco-use and secondhand smoke. California’s tobacco control efforts have reduced both adult and youth smoking rates by 50 percent, saved more than one million lives and have resulted in $134 billion worth of savings in health care costs. Learn more at www.TobaccoFreeCA.com.

The California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch is charged with enforcing the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act, and conducts ongoing illegal sales enforcement operations. California retailers caught selling tobacco products to minors during these enforcement operations are subject to fines up to $6,000.

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Enhance Your Summer Look with These Style Tips

NewsUSA  |  2016-05-24

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - As we head into summer, it's important to find accessories that show off your style, while brightening up your wardrobe. Since summer brings an explosion of bold colors and vibrant patterns, this season's trends are no different.

So pack away your dreary duds, your winter boots and clean out that closet to get yourself ready for some fun in the sun.

Unsure of where to start? The following summer accessories are a must:

  • Slip into a dress. A slip dress is a simple, elegant base layer that can be dressed up with accessories and is a trend worth paying attention to. To get a high-fashion look, layer them with frilly undershirts and jumpers.

  • Fancy your footwear. If you're anything like Carrie Bradshaw, the best way to dress up an outfit is with a pair of wedge sandals. The right pair of wedges can glam up your look, make your legs look long, yet still allow you to move comfortably. If, however, you prefer shoes with little to no heel, you'll be happy to know that flat-flats are in (think ballet slippers and gladiator sandals.)

  • Go glam with glasses. Choosing eyewear that's not only stylish but functional can be difficult. Transitions lenses are great because they block 100 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays and are available in nearly all prescriptions. They also come in a variety of colors that complement your personal style and frame choice. With one pair of lenses, your eyes will feel comfortable indoors or out, in bright light, low light and everything in between.

  • Choose a hat. As important as it is to get some natural vitamin D, too much sun is bad for the skin. A floppy hat is a great accessory that lets you flaunt a style that fits your personality, get a little sun, but still protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

  • Grab a bag. A statement bag is the perfect way to enhance your look. When choosing the right purse for your outfit, think luxe fabrics, contrasting textures, and bright patterns. Pair with a great pair of glasses to pull off a celebrity look.

For more information, please visit www.transitions.com.

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Are You Eating Enough Vegetables a Day?

NewsUSA  |  2016-05-24

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - Only nine percent of Americans are meeting their daily recommended consumption of vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This May, National Salad Month, make an extra effort to get your greens and meet the 2016 USDA Dietary Guidelines, which recommend that you consume between two and three cups of vegetables per day.

While this may sound like an impossible feat, it’s easy enough to accomplish with one simple dish, a salad. Not only can you make a dent in your daily consumption of vegetables, but you can also work your way towards achieving some of the other USDA Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

Here’s how:

  • Add meats such as steak or chicken and nuts such as pecans, walnuts and almonds to get a protein boost. It is recommended that an adult get anywhere from five to six-and-a-half ounces of lean and varied proteins per day.

  • Add fruits such as oranges or strawberries to try and hit the two cups of recommended fruit serving per day.

  • Crackers or quinoa can help you reach your allotment of three to four ounces of grains, half of which should be whole grains per day.

  • A little cheese can go a long way in helping you to meet the three recommended cups of dairy per day.

  • Salad dressings count towards the five to seven teaspoons of oils that you should be consuming each day and the oils in dressings, such as canola and soybean, help your body to absorb nutrients from vegetables.

Salads provide a healthy and easy avenue to gather several of the recommended nutrients. Here’s a simple recipe for Baby Greens with Roasted Pears, Feta and Walnuts to show you how easy it is to make a healthy and delicious salad.

All you need are pears, olive oil, baby greens, feta cheese, toasted walnuts, salt, pepper and your choice of salad dressings.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and drizzle four pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths, with one teaspoon of olive oil. Roast in the oven until the edges turn golden brown.

Once the pears have cooled, toss with eight cups of baby greens and your choice of salad dressings (champagne vinaigrette is one recommendation). Sprinkle half-a-cup of feta and half-a-cup of walnuts over the greens, and season with salt and pepper. Now you’re ready to start enjoying National Salad Month like a pro!

For more recipes and ideas, visit The Association for Dressings and Sauces at www.dressings-sauces.org.

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New Study Tests Stem Cells as a Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease

Source: Karen Finney, UC Davis Health System News Service  |  2016-04-28

As part of a multicenter clinical trial, UC Davis Health System researchers are testing whether a novel stem cell treatment can reduce the pain and mobility issues caused by degenerative disc disease. UC Davis is one of 25 sites nationwide -- and the only academic health-care system in California -- involved in the study.

Disc degeneration occurs when the cushions between vertebrae wear down, a natural part of aging that for most causes no symptoms. Those with degenerative disc disease, however, can experience serious, chronic and disabling low-back pain.

“Patients with this level of degeneration often try multiple treatments for relief, including pain medication, massage, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture,” said study principal investigator Kee Kim, professor of neurological surgery and co-director of the UC Davis Spine Center. “For some of them, nothing seems to help, and we end up operating to remove the degenerated disc and fuse the spine to eliminate motion that may cause increased pain. We want to know if a single dose of this investigational therapy can offer relief without the need for surgery.”

Kim and co-principal investigator David Copenhaver, assistant professor of pain medicine, are recruiting patients with lower back degenerative disc disease for the study. Participants will receive a single injection to the site of their pain with one of three treatments: mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs), MPCs combined with a carrier material (hyaluronic acid) or a placebo. The goal of the trial is to assess the safety and efficacy of the therapy.

Research has shown that MPCs can target damaged tissue and induce healing by organizing cells to form new tissue. The MPCs used in this study are isolated from the bone marrow of healthy donors, and then expanded and amplified to generate readily available therapeutic doses for use in patients without the need for tissue matching.

Following treatment, participants will receive six evaluations at the UC Davis Spine Center in Sacramento over the course of a year. They also will be given the option to participate in an extension of the study to track their progress for three years after the initial injection.

This phase III study follows a successful phase II trial, also conducted at UC Davis, which involved fewer patients. The phase II results were encouraging and support the current phase III program, according to Kim.

If the current trial has positive outcomes, it will support the study sponsor’s goal of seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which, if successful, would make the therapy more widely available. Even if the trial succeeds, however, MPC injections will not be the answer for all patients.

“Many patients with back pain will not benefit from this stem cell therapy and may still require surgery,” Kim said. “For some patients, it could offer improvement. For these patients, it is worth exploring this alternative.”

For more information on the study, including criteria for enrolling, please contact Janice Wang-Polagruto at 916-734-1727 or jfwang@ucdavis.edu.

More information about the UC Davis Spine Center is at http://spine.ucdavis.edu/

More information on the study sponsor, Mesoblast, is at http://www.mesoblast.com/

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Get Moving! 6 Ways to Add Steps to Your Day

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-26

(BPT) - If you spend a large portion of your day sitting, you’re not alone.

Inactivity is one of the key factors contributing to the nation’s high rate of obesity and its related health effects. Research shows 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours a day sitting, and 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV.

This type of inactivity - or ‘sitting disease’ - can lead to serious health conditions. For example, nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are among the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. is $147 billion. Annual medical spending on an obese patient is estimated to be $1,429 higher than it is for a person of normal weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While those figures are discouraging, there is one easy solution that could have a profound impact.

Walking is one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective ways individuals can improve their health. It does not require any special skills, expensive equipment or a gym membership.

Below are six easy ways to incorporate more walking into your day:

  1. Take a walk with a coworker at lunchtime or schedule a walking meeting.

  2. Schedule a walk with the family after dinner.

  3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

  4. Walk to see a colleague rather than call or e-mail.

  5. Get off the bus or train one stop early on your way to work.

  6. Start or join a walking or hiking group.

By getting just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week, you could realize significant health benefits. Walking has been shown to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, improve muscle, bone and joint health, maintain a healthy weight, lead to better sleep and provide a mental boost.

That’s why the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association encourages individuals, groups and whole communities to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle through its WalkingWorks® program. WalkingWorks, now in its 10th year, was developed in partnership with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to help Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country also host annual National Walk@Lunch day events as a way to promote healthy habits by incorporating walking into a busy work day.

So don’t just sit there and let that warm weather go to waste. Take steps to a better you, and see how walking does work!

* Before beginning any weight loss or nutritional program or new exercise regime, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.

For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

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