HRSA eNews March 21, 2019

HRSA Administrator Attends Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

Left to Right: Michael Saag, M.D., HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas, HAB Associate Administrator Laura Cheever, and HAB Deputy Heather Hauck

L-R: Michael Saag, M.D., Director, University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for AIDS Research; HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D.; HAB Associate Administrator Laura Cheever, MD, ScM; and HAB Deputy Associate Administrator Heather Hauck, MSW, LICSW.

HRSA Administrator Dr. George Sigounas attended the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) last Thursday, March 14, where new members were announced and sworn in. The Council members represent a diverse set of stakeholders with expertise across the field of HIV.

PACHA provides advice, information and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS on programs, policies and research to promote effective treatment and prevention methods and quality services to people living with HIV and AIDS, including those affected by common co-morbidities.

Learn about PACHA.

HRSA Awards More Than $100 Million to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes and Reduce Infant Mortality

photo of a doctor with an infant

Today, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded more than $100 million in grant funding through its Healthy Start Initiative: Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health (known as Healthy Start). Administered by HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Healthy Start aims to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy and, to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in rates of infant death as well as negative health outcomes in the first 18 months of life.

"Healthy Start programs provide information, resources, and support to pregnant and parenting women and their families to ensure a healthy pregnancy and to help nurture their newborns," said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. "This support is critical to addressing the significant racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of preterm birth and infant death in the U.S."

Read the press release.

Meet Our New Associate Administrator for the Office of Regional Operations

Natasha Coulouris, HRSA Associate Administrator for the Office of Regional Operations (ORO)

Natasha Coulouris became the Associate Administrator for the Office of Regional Operations (ORO) in March 2019. HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Natasha Coulouris has served as a public health leader for over 20 years across local, state, regional and federal levels. She has recently served as a Senior Advisor and Acting Deputy Associate Administrator of HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, where she oversaw a budget of $1.3 billion, over 200 staff in headquarters and the regions, and a broad portfolio of programs.

Read her bio.

National Poison Prevention Week

For poison emergencies, make the right call. 1-800-222-1222. HRSA Poison Help

National Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23) raises awareness of poison prevention nationwide during the third full week of March every year. The week is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of poisonings for people of all ages and promote community involvement in poisoning prevention.

Use our infographics and publicity materials to help plan and implement your own activities to raise poison prevention awareness.

NCHWA Releases Health Workforce Program Highlights

photo of a doctor examining a child with a stethoscope

HRSA’s National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) recently released its AY 2017–2018 Program Highlights, which include accomplishments from the following:

  • Advanced Nursing Education Programs
  • Area Health Education Centers
  • Behavioral Health Training Programs
  • Diversity and Pipeline Training Program
  • Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Programs
  • Nursing Education and Practice Programs
  • Oral Health Training Programs
  • Primary Care Research Fellowship Program
  • Primary Care Training and Enhancement Programs
  • Public Health Training Programs
  • Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program.

These highlights showcase HRSA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the health workforce. Learn more.

HRSA Grants Dashboard

screenshot of the hrsa grants dashboard

The site features a useful dashboard to explore HRSA grants visually. The dashboard lets you view and filter data in different ways, including by year, by geographic area, and by HRSA program area.

Check out the dashboard.

HRSA-Funded Study Develops a New Clinical Approach to Help Emergency Rooms Care for Febrile Infants

photo of a doctor holding an infant

A new clinical prediction rule for emergency department physicians, recently published in JAMA Pediatrics, could help rule out life-threatening bacterial infections among infants up to 2 months of age with fevers, potentially eliminating the need for spinal taps, unnecessary antibiotics and expensive hospital stays.

The new prediction rule recommends using three measures: the levels of bacteria in urine, and serum procalcitonin (a substance produced in response to bacterial infection) and neutrophils (an infection-fighting white blood cell). The researchers can then better rule out a serious bacterial infection (SBI) if tests showed low levels of bacteria and procalcitonin and a normal neutrophil count. They were able to accurately rule out all but three of the 170 cases of SBI ultimately detected, including all cases of meningitis.

Researchers from the HRSA Emergency Medical Services for Children supported Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) developed the rule from a study of more than 1,800 infants seen at 26 emergency departments around the country. Learn more information about PECARN HRSA Exit Disclaimer.

Read the abstract from JAMA Pediatrics HRSA Exit Disclaimer.

NSCH Data Reveal Prevalence for Children with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders (MBDD)

photo of four children playing

Data from HRSA’s 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health revealed that children aged 2 – 8 years living in lower-income households had higher prevalence of mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders (MBDD) as well as adverse health care, family, and community risk factors for MBDD than children living in higher-income households.

Compared with children in the highest-income households, those in lower-income households more often had received a diagnosis of an MBDD (22.1% versus 13.9%), and less often had seen a health care provider in the previous year (80.4% versus 93.8%). This raises concern that MBDDs might be undertreated in children from low-income households. Connection to health care services is especially important for this population.

Early identification and treatment of MBDDs could positively affect health outcomes for these children, and reduce the need for costly interventions over time. Public Assistance programs hold potential for connecting families to health services and enabling collaboration between public health professionals and pediatricians to improve appropriate treatment and care.

Read the abstract.

HRSA Study Finds Value in Mentorship As A Way to Stop Bullying and Improve Academic Outcomes

photo of four children working in a group

A study conducted by HRSA’s MCHB reveals mentorship’s benefits in preventing bullying and improving educational outcomes among school-aged children. The analysis evaluated 2011-2012 data from the HRSA National Survey of Children’s Health.

Overall, 23 percent of children without a mentor were less likely to be engaged in school, compared to 19 percent in a mentoring relationship. More than 5 percent of children without a mentor perpetrated bullying, compared to less than 2 percent in a mentoring relationship. In addition, 11 percent of children without a mentor repeated more than one grade in school, compared to less than 9 percent in a mentoring relationship.

Data reveal potential benefits in making connections between community partnerships and after-school mentoring programs as a way to prevent bullying and improve educational outcomes.

Read the Journal of School Health abstract.

HRSA Study Explores How Health Centers Can Conduct Research to Address Underserved Patient Needs

photo of two doctors talking

Researchers conducted a qualitative study of the Community Health Applied Research Network (CHARN), established in 2010 by the Health Resources and Services Administration. CHARN’s mission is to support research led by health centers that would address the needs of safety-net populations, populations not typically represented in research, across the United States.

The study identified barriers and facilitators to health centers engaging in research, and revealed three lessons when including safety-net populations in research: (1) linking research studies to health centers’ core clinical mission is essential for building their research capacity; (2) encouraging formal and informal mentorship between experienced researchers and health center providers can promote a culture of learning for both providers and researchers; and (3) sharing resources and knowledge across health centers enables them to collect data and enhance their translational research capacity. 

Read the journal abstract HRSA Exit Disclaimer and how HRSA’s health centers are making a difference for safety-net populations.  

Patient Safety Begins at Diagnosis

HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care Associate Administrator Jim Macrae addressed staff at HRSA's 7th annual Patient Safety Week observance

HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care Associate Administrator Jim Macrae spoke at HRSA's 7th annual Patient Safety Week observance, saying "we take (this) very seriously."

HRSA supports 1,400 health centers serving over 27 million patients – including quality assurance measures, technical assistance, trend-spotting and malpractice indemnity. 

One in twenty primary care patients have a health problem misdiagnosed every year – and 41 percent say in surveys that their clinicians have gotten it wrong at least once – Harvard University expert Dr. Gordon Schiff reported last week in an address during Patient Safety Awareness Week.

This, said Dr. Schiff, "means to me from a safety point of view … there's preventable things happening (that) are harder and harder to defend."

Learn more about patient safety.

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2019

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