HRSA eNews November 7, 2019

HHS Awards $2.27 Billion in Grants to Help Americans Access HIV/AIDS Care, Treatment, and Support Services

photo of a group of people

October 25 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today approximately $2.27 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants were awarded to cities, counties, states, and local community-based organizations in fiscal year (FY) 2019. This funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication, and essential support services to more than half a million people with HIV in the United States.

“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program has played a major role in the in the improved outcomes we see for Americans with HIV,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Thanks to expanded access to treatment and medical advances, HIV/AIDS has gone from being a likely death sentence to a condition that allows a nearly normal lifespan if properly treated. Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients, despite often very challenging circumstances, have a viral suppression rate that far exceeds the national average. The successes of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program are in part thanks to how the program cares for the needs of the whole person, including non-health factors. With President Trump’s new initiative to end the HIV epidemic in America by 2030, we will build on the successes of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to connect Americans, especially in the communities most at risk, to the treatment and prevention services they need.”

Read the release.

HHS Awards $319 Million to Support Health Workforce Providers Caring for the Underserved

photo of doctors and residents

October 23 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $319 million in scholarship and loan repayment awards for clinicians and students through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

With these providers entering NHSC service, there are now more than 13,000 medical, dental and behavioral health care clinicians providing quality care to more than 13.7 million Americans in rural, urban and tribal communities. There are also almost 1,480 students and medical residents preparing to serve in the Corps.

"President Trump has prioritized improving healthcare for Americans in rural communities, which includes building a strong, sustainable rural healthcare workforce," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "These loan repayment awards and scholarships make it possible for dedicated clinicians to care for the patients who need them most, including Americans with opioid use disorder and other substance abuse challenges."

Read the release.

Study Finds Safe Infant Sleep Practices Need Improvement

photo of an infant sleeping on their back

October 21 - A new study conducted by researchers at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that improvement in safe sleep practices, particularly those other than back sleep position, is needed. The results suggest opportunities to improve messaging through health care providers and public awareness efforts. Published in Pediatrics, the analysis used data collected from 29 states in the 2016 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States due to sleep-related deaths. This accounts for the largest share of infant deaths from 1 month up to 1 year of age. This risk can be reduced through improvements in the sleep environment and other factors, such as breastfeeding and smoking cessation.

"Sleep-related infant deaths declined significantly in the 1990s after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants be placed on their backs to sleep, but since then, we haven’t seen much improvement," said lead author Ashley Hirai, PhD, of HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau. "This new information provides state-specific data on additional safe sleep practices that can help drive improvement going forward."

Read the release

National Rural Health Day is November 21

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy has supported at least 750,000 people each year since 2011 with over 200 grantees

National Rural Health Day was created to increase awareness of rural health-related issues and challenges; as well as recognize those who are working to improve the health and well being of the millions of people living in America’s rural communities. The week of November 18 - 21 there will be Twitter chats, webinars, a virtual job fair, and a special webcast HRSA celebration with Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and several HHS agencies.

Learn more and check out our events schedule leading up to Rural Health Day.

HRSA Debuts New Strategic Plan

Acting HRSA Administrator Tom Engels discussing HRSA's new strategic plan

With HRSA's Strategic Plan newly updated, the agency is renewing its message of cooperation to its many partners to deliver health care to people most in need, acting Administrator Tom Engels said Friday, calling the plan "a working and workable document" in an address to the National Organizations of State and Local Officials – a coalition of prominent non-federal agencies.

"Peruse it, ask questions, and advise us on ways we can work together," Engels told the group, which is working with HRSA under a cooperative agreement. "I 'get' what you do back in your states, the counties and the cities, because I've been there."

Learn more about HRSA's new strategic plan.

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Releases 2017 State Profiles

screenshot of one of the reports from the ryan white hiv/aids 2017 state profiles

The HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau’s (HAB) Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program 2017 State Profiles provide a national and state-by-state look at Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Services Report (RSR) client-level data for 2017. The data visualization tool offers a detailed look at national and state-level information on Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients, providers, and clients. The 2017 version of the tool incorporates new interactive resources and allows users to take a deep dive into the 2017 data and make comparisons between states, compare states to the U.S. overall, or compare 2017 data to data from prior years.

HRSA uses these client-level data to monitor and support the progress of improving care and treatment for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program clients. 

Explore the 2017 state profiles.

Ending the HIV Epidemic in Arkansas

HRSA's Jim Macrae and Dr. Laura Cheever with public health leaders at a community engagement meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas

HRSA, in partnership with ARcare, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hosted a community engagement session in Little Rock, Arkansas Tuesday to share updates on the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative and to discuss the progress being made across the state of Arkansas. Associate Administrators Dr. Laura Cheever (HIV/AIDS Bureau) and Jim Macrae (Bureau of Primary Health Care) participated in discussions with HIV public health leaders and HIV community members from across the state.

Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America is a 10-year initiative to reduce new HIV infections to fewer than 3,000 per year by 2030. The initiative will focus efforts in 48 counties, Washington, DC, San Juan (PR), and seven states with substantial rural HIV burden. Arkansas is among seven states with a disproportionate occurrence of HIV in rural areas.

Learn more about HRSA’s role in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative.

How Does a Father's Physical and Mental Health Status Impact Their Children?

photo of the cover of health equity journal

The article coauthored by HRSA's Romuladus Azuine, DrPH, MPH, RN, and Gopal Singh, PhD, MSc, MS, highlights the significant role fathers play in the physical and mental well-being of their children.

Researchers discuss the implications of the study, and the potential for interventions that would improve the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children.

Read the abstract.

Effort to End Violence 'Will Bear Fruit'

Acting HRSA Administrator Tom Engels speaking at HRSA's Strategy to Address Intimate Partner Violence Sustainability symposium

Decades later, Acting HRSA Administrator Tom Engels still remembers the little boy from Madison, Wisconsin – still thinks about him often. Engels was a member of the volunteer fire department back then, a fledgling first-responder on his first call. It was 2:30 in the morning, a few days before Christmas. He arrived to find a family in upheaval, and the swirling roof lights of police and paramedic squads...

"I looked over and saw, sitting by a Christmas tree, a little four-year-old boy playing with his toys," Engels recalled, visibly moved by the memory. "There was a lot going on in that house at the time. I just went over, sat down with him, and we played with his truck and some blocks. I've thought about him so many times since then, and wondered whatever happened to that little boy, where is he today and how is he?'... That's the last time I ever saw him."

Engels spontaneously shared his story at an Oct. 10 meeting of HRSA's Strategy to Address Intimate Partner Violence Sustainability symposium led by the Office of Women's Health (OWH).

Read more about HRSA's efforts to address intimate partner violence.

Human Trafficking and Public Health – New SOAR Online Training Module

SOAR Online is a new series of CE/CME training modules

SOAR Online is a series of training modules launched in 2018 by the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center and Postgraduate Institute, in collaboration with federal partners. A new SOAR for School-Based Professionals Module equips those serving middle and high school students to better understand how human trafficking-related issues impact youth. Visit the SOAR Online page for full CE/CME information and register for SOAR Online.

Deadline Extended: Comments Requested on Rural Community-Based Grant Programs

The deadline has been extended to November 23, 2019.

map of the us with a stethoscope lying on top of it

As part of our ongoing effort to assess the extent to which our rural health grant programs are meeting the needs of rural communities, we've published a Request for Information seeking public comment.

Specifically, we're looking for comments on the eligibility criteria governing the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy's (FORHP) community-based grant programs. Does the eligibility criteria affect the rural communities' ability to leverage FORHP grant funding? If so, how?

Your feedback may be used (without attribution) by HRSA and HHS for program planning and decision making in the future.

Send comments via email with the subject line, “Rural Health Grants Eligibility RFI.” Submissions are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday, November 23, 2019. We will not accept hard-copy responses or other formats.

HHS Guidance for Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Opioids

photo of someone writing on a prescription pad

HHS recently published a Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics (PDF - 119 KB). Individual patients, as well as public health, are best served when opioids are prescribed only when the benefits of using them outweigh the risks. Once a patient is on opioids for a prolonged duration, any abrupt change in the patient’s regimen may put the patient at risk of harm, and should include a thorough, deliberative case review. The HHS Guide provides advice to clinicians who are contemplating or initiating a change in opioid dosage to help inform tapering decisions in consultation with their patients.

Date Last Reviewed:  November 2019

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