State Facts on Medicaid and Family Planning Tool
This tool, provided by the Guttmacher Institute, provides an overview of Medicaid spending on family planning throughout the United States. It also provides state-by-state data on the adoption of the State Plan Amendment, which was included in the ACA. The State Plan Amendment is designed to facilitate states’ adoption of an expansion program. Under that new authority, known as a State Plan Amendment, a state may set the eligibility level for family planning up to the highest level for pregnant women in place under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program; the state may not exclude individuals based on age or gender. The provision also greatly simplifies the process for a state seeking to implement an expansion program and allows the program to be permanent (rather than having to be renewed periodically, as is the case for waivers). The website also provides valuable insight on Medicaid expansion that is part of the ACA. For more information on the tool, click here.
CDC Writing for Social Media Guide
Find guidance and lessons learned from three years of creating social media message in the CDC Guide to Writing for Social Media. The guide helps you understand how to write more effectively for multiple social media channels, particularly Facebook, Twitter and mobile phone text messaging. Developed for a beginner audience, though intermediate users may find some useful information, the guide includes: how social media should be part of your overall health communications efforts; how to incorporate the principles of health literacy in your messages; and writing for Facebook, Twitter and text messaging. Click here to view the guide.
Roots of Health Inequity Web-Based Course
This course provides an online learning environment from which to explore root causes of inequity in the distribution of disease, illness, and death. Funded by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, its audience is primarily the local public health workforce. It seeks to ground participants in the concepts and strategies that could lead to effective action. The curriculum specifically prompts participants to reflect on how our institutions, as historian Elizabeth Fee says, "structure the possibility for healthy or unhealthy lives and how societies create the preconditions for the production and transmission of disease," (see Resources, Elizabeth Fee, p.xxxviii) and the implications for acting on those systems to eliminate inequity. For more information, click here.
Findings from New Study on Drinking in Early Pregnancy Released
Recently, the Lifestyle During Pregnancy Study released five papers electronically in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The papers released findings that suggested no serious effects on three specific neurodevelopmental functions in five-year-old children whose mothers drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol in pregnancy. However, no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy has been established and alcohol is known to cause birth defects and developmental disabilities, as well as other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Therefore, advice continues to be that women should refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy because fetal alcohol syndrome deaths are 100 percent preventable if alcohol is not consumed during pregnancy. To view the papers, click here. The CDC also has put together the key findings from the study, which can be found here.
SAMHSA Toolkit Helps To Prevent Suicide among High School Students
The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools. This toolkit represents the best available evidence and expert opinion on preventing suicide among high school students. It provides schools with recommended steps and accompanying tools to guide them in creating and implementing strategies and programs that prevent teen suicide and promote behavioral health among their students. The toolkit will help schools and their partners assess their ability to prevent suicide among students and respond to suicides that may occur; understand strategies that can help students who are at risk for suicide; understand how to respond to the suicide of a student or other member of the school community; identify suicide prevention programs and activities that are effective for the needs of individual schools; respond to the needs and cultures of each school's students; and integrate suicide prevention into activities that fulfill other aspects of the school's mission such as preventing the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. To download the toolkit, click here.
New NCSL Report Outlines State Action to Prevent Childhood Obesity
State legislatures in 2011 continued to enact laws to promote healthy communities and prevent childhood obesity, according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Thirteen states passed bills related to school nutrition/nutrition education, complementing federal legislation enacted in 2010 that reauthorized the national School Lunch and School Breakfast programs and set higher nutrition standards for school meals. State legislative action also progressed on complete streets policies, which consider and accommodate the needs of all transportation users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Three states passed complete streets bills in 2011, bringing the total number of states with such policies to 26 – more than half the nation. The findings are part of the 2011 edition of State Actions to Promote Healthy Communities and Prevent Childhood Obesity: Summary and Analysis of Trends in Legislation, an annual analysis conducted by NCSL and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that examines state legislative action to address childhood obesity. To view the full report, click here.
New Home Visiting Toolkit from CLASP
Home Away from Home, a newly released toolkit from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), offers guidance for states exploring partnerships between home visiting and family, friend and neighbor (FFN) caregivers. Home visiting is an important strategy for reaching vulnerable children in FFN care and providing their families with needed services, as well as improving the quality of FFN care and the learning environment for children in that setting. This toolkit provides detailed information on available home visiting models and their potential for use in partnership with FFN and also includes a planning guide for states to explore home visiting partnerships. The toolkit also provides case studies of existing partnerships between home visiting models and FFN providers in specific states and communities. To view the toolkit, click here.