Health Equity Alert

Written by admin   // June 17, 2012   // 0 Comments

Local Event

14th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference

Sponsor: UW Milwaukee – Center for Urban Initiatives & Research

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Location: Italian Community Center

Description: The 14th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference will be held June 20, 2012. Youth/Adult Partnerships: Engaging Youth in Community Transformation will feature national leaders and local experts in youth programming and development to discuss what effective youth engagement looks like.

Morning workshops will provide attendees an opportunity to learn new and improve current skills for working with youth. The afternoon will be dedicated to a ‘hands on’ example resulting from months of youth/adult partnership work. Local youth will share projects designed to engage peers in contributing to the Milwaukee Succeeds framework, a “cradle to career” community-wide initiative chaired by representatives from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Northwestern Mutual, and UWM.

Presenters include: Lisa Bouillion Diaz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Roberto Rivera, The Good Life Organization Rebecca Saito, University of Minnesota Wokie Weah, Youthprise

Local News/Research

International Urban & Small Farm Conference, hosted by Growing Power

Source: Milwaukee Courier

Growing Power, its board, staff, volunteers and Founder/ CEO Will Allen were on hand at a press conference last week to announce the details including tracks and keynote speakers to be featured during the 2nd National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference, hosted by Growing Power. About 3,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will be held Sept. 7-9, 2012, at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds.

Summit focuses on the social factors behind good and poor health

Source: Milwaukee Community Journal

(Excerpt) Dr. Iton’s statistics and findings were revealing. Graphically demonstrating the disparities in outcomes on a number of health issues, he stated “today one can take the date of birth, plus the zip code one lives in, and with a variant of a few percentage points predict one’s life span” . These findings, charted over a number of years, forces health professionals to look at the variants within all zip codes.

“Health outcomes are predictable because health is political”, Dr. Iton expounded. “Access to good healthcare, availability of resources such as groceries stores versus convenience stores, urgent care facilities, and educational preventive health resources all must be factored into a healthy community.”

“Milwaukee shows stark disparities. Already patterns can be spotted, yet they cannot be explained without digging deeply; these zip codes correlate to the lower socio-economic deaths.”

The Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, Inc. held its 9th Annual Walk for Quality Health

Source: Milwaukee Courier

The Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, Inc. held its 9th Annual Walk for Quality Health on Saturday, June 2, 2012. The event focused on “Reducing Childhood Obesity”. The walk route began at the Milwaukee Urban League at 435 W. North Ave. and ended at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society at 2620 W. Center St. Guest speakers were; Bevan K. Baker, FACHE Commissioner of Health City of Milwaukee who is also pictured holding the banner and walking (far left) and Dr. Earnestine Willis, professor of Pediatrics, Medical College of WI (pictured next to Baker). (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

Wisconsin AIDS Care a National Model (Radio link)

Source. WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio

Wisconsin recently reported a sharp increase in new HIV infections. They rose nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, with the most new cases in Milwaukee County. While the numbers are alarming and the population sometimes difficult to reach, those who connect early with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin are in good hands. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it has become a one-stop-shop for the many services patients may need and is considered a national model.

Youth group protest sale of tobacco at Family Dollar

Source: Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

(Excerpt) Marty Hagedorn, leader of the Youth Rising Up group and program coordinator at Pathfinders, disagreed, saying that the decision to sell tobacco conflicts with the store’s family-friendly image and also that it’s unfair that people in poor neighborhoods are bombarded with damaging products.

By protesting, Hagedorn hopes his group can open the eyes of the community and also county supervisors, who are expected to draft a statement soon opposing the ease in which stores are allowed to sell alcohol and tobacco in poor neighborhoods, according to Hagedorn.

“There are not enough limits or regulations keeping stores from selling harmful products in disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Hagedorn said.

National News/Research

Author Talks ‘Segregation’ in New Book

Source: The Root

In his latest book, Segregation: A Global History, author Carl H. Nightingale delves into the mysterious and elusive dynamics, as well as the many institutions, that motivated segregation throughout the centuries in some of the world’s largest cities, including London, Paris, Calcutta, San Francisco, New York and more.

More than a history lesson, Nightingale highlights the continued presence of de facto segregation in today’s metropolises, as well as its continued devastating effects.

Cancer in the Black Community

Source: BET News

When struck with cancer, any number of things can happen to a patient, and for any number of reasons.

When it comes to African-Americans with cancer, however, not only must they suffer the problems associated with their illness, oftentimes they must suffer personally with problems that can’t be fixed by medical science. New research offers some perspective on those problems, not to mention some insight as to why Blacks are more likely to die of cancer than whites.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Cancer Education, it turns out that many African-American cancer patients deal with social issues that can be awkward at best and, at worst, harmful to their treatment. For instance, when it comes to prostate cancer, Black men continue to suffer from higher mortality rates, and not necessarily because the cancer with which they come down is any worse than the cancer white men fight. Rather, much of the problem, say experts, has to do with how Black couples relate with each other and their doctors.

Foundations help to reshape plight and images of Black males

Source: The Louisiana Weekly

Concerned about the plight of African-American men and boys, several philanthropic organizations have launched initiatives to improve opportunities for them to succeed. Some programs address the structural bias that leaves these men more likely to be incarcerated, jobless and disproportionately affected by other social disadvantages.

One of every 15 African-American men is in a U.S. prison or jail compared with one of every 36 Hispanic men and one of every 106 white men. Moreover, scores of African-American men are affected by chronic unemployment, lack of education, poverty and poor health outcomes.

Mainstream Anxieties about Race in Antipsychotic Drug Ads

Source: American Medical Association of Journal Ethics

(Excerpt) Both sides of the argument overlook an important point: in addition to creating new markets or providing new information about medications, ads also tap into existing cultural attitudes and beliefs. Pharmaceutical ads identify, reflect, and even distort prevailing popular sentiments about such matters as race, gender, politics, and class and then posit prescription medications as treatments for “social” problems as well as medical ones. Of course, many types of advertisements work by identifying social anxieties and desires. It would seem particularly important that physicians be aware of these tensions, so that they can best differentiate cultural expectations and biases from actual information about medications and diseases when they make treatment decisions. To do so, doctors need to become competent, not just in the effects and side effects of pharmaceuticals, but also in the nuances of cultural manipulation on which ads for these pharmaceuticals often depend.

Many didn’t benefit from preventive care before 2010, CDC Study

Source: Los Angeles Times

Before 2010, nearly half of Americans did not receive routine clinical preventive services that are known to save lives, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Their analysis, detailed in a supplement to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examined how many people with vascular heart disease were prescribed aspirin or antiplatelet therapy to prevent heart disease (just 46%) and how many adults with hypertension had their blood pressure under control (just 43%). Only 28% of adults between 18 and 64 had received the seasonal influenza vaccine. Only 7.6% of tobacco users over 18 were prescribed tobacco cessation medication.

Many Kids on Medicaid Don’t See Dentist: Study

Source: Health Day

Only about one-third of U.S. children on Medicaid receives dental care in a single year, and how often these kids see a dentist depends on where they live, a new study finds.

In 2007, the prevalence of visits to the dentist ranged from 12 percent in Nevada to 49 percent in Vermont, but didn’t reach 50 percent in any state or the District of Columbia, the researchers found.

The researchers also compared the 2007 findings with data from five years earlier.

Poor and fat: The real class war

Source: CNN

In fact, the five poorest states are also among the 10 fattest, and eight of the 10 poorest states are also among the 10 with the lowest life expectancy.

I guess one could dismiss this as one big coincidence, but is it also a coincidence that half of the top 10 states with the highest median incomes are also in the top 10 in life expectancy?

Strategies for Well-Being: Asthma and Urban Children

Source: Electronic Urban Report

(Excerpt) The troubling news is that children in inner cities all across this country are more likely to develop asthma, especially if they are from the lower socioeconomic groups of these cities. Medical experts still don’t understand why, but it is thought that the poorer living conditions, greater exposure to known asthma triggers, and in many situations, less access to proper health care, contributes to the higher rates of asthma.

American children with asthma in poor, urban areas are especially prone to respiratory health problems as a result of the poor air quality in inner-city most neighborhoods where they live, play, and go to school.

Stress + pollution = health risks for low-income kids

Source: Environmental Health Sciences

It’s long been known that children in poorer neighborhoods like one in Worcester, Mass., are more likely to be exposed to lead, vehicle exhaust and other pollution. Now, scientists are beginning to suspect that these low-income children aren’t just more exposed – they actually may be more biologically susceptible to contaminants, even at low levels. A growing body of research suggests that the chronic stressors of poverty may fundamentally alter the way the body reacts to pollutants, especially in young children. “It’s like having the fight or flight response turned on all the time,” said Harvard epidemiologist Rosalind Wright. Facing financial strain, racial tension and high crime rates can wear down immunity and disrupt hormones, making kids more vulnerable to everything around them, including the lead in their yards and the car exhaust in their neighborhood.

Study: Mediation may reduce heart disease in Black teens

Source: BET News

Meditation, an ancient practice that focuses on the mind-body connection, has plenty of health benefits. Whether it’s practicing yoga, tai-chi or sitting in a corner and clearing your mind, past research has suggested that it has helped those with arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, high-blood pressure, cancer, HIV/AIDS and heart disease.

But don’t think that meditation is just for older folks — it’s for young people, too.

A recent study from Georgia Health Sciences University Institute of Public and Preventive Health found that meditation helped African-American teens lower their risk for heart disease.

Study: Urban kids have higher incidence of food allergies than rural ones

Source: Chicago Tribune

Children in urban areas have a higher incidence of food allergies than those in rural America, according to a new study believed to be the first to assess allergic reactions in kids based on geography.

One of the urban centers tracked in the research is Cook County, where 9.8 percent of children have food allergies compared with 6.2 percent in more bucolic ZIP codes.

“That’s a big discrepancy,” said Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a lead author of the study. “What we’ve found for the first time is that population density and environment have an impact.”

Clarene Mitchell, Program Manager

Health Equity and Urban Clinical Care Partnerships, Institute for Health and Society

Medical College of Wisconsin | 8701 Watertown Plank Road | Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

(414-955-5656 | 7 414-955-6529 I Website:

The plague of racism is insidious, entering into our minds as smoothly and quietly and invisibly as floating airborne microbes enter into our bodies to find lifelong purchase in our bloodstreams.

By Dr. Maya Angelou

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