Jeffrey Koplan Resigns as Director of the CDC
Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., recently resigned as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, effective March 31, 2002. Among the accomplishments of his tenure at the CDC, Koplan cited the agency's efficient response to the nation's first bioterrorism event (the anthrax letters last fall) and the effort to build up the nation's capacity to respond to bioterrorism and other public health threats. Other highlights included addressing the nation's obesity epidemic, focusing on the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, maintaining the highest national immunization coverage levels, and pushing the world closer to eradicating polio. Dr. Koplan was named CDC director in 1998 and has spent 26 years in public service.
White House Budget to Cut All Funding for FP Training Programs
President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal year 2003 includes no federal funding for the primary care and dentistry cluster (Section 747 of Title VII of the Public Health Services Act), which includes family physician training. “We appreciate President Bush's recognition that significant areas of the country do not have enough doctors,” said Warren Jones, M.D., Ridgeland, Miss., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). “However, eliminating the only federal programs specifically designed to support family medicine training is the wrong response to the problem.” The budget summary states that a geographic maldistribution of physicians remains, with too few physicians in inner cities and rural areas. According to research by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care, students attending schools that receive Title VII family medicine funds are the most likely medical specialists to practice family medicine or primary care and to practice in underserved rural areas. Despite Bush's recommendation of zero funds for Section 747 programs in last year's budget, Congress appropriated $93.05 million.
HHS Budget for HIV/AIDS Research Increases 8 Percent
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced that President's Bush's proposed budget for fiscal year 2003 includes a total of $12.9 billion to fund HHS human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) programs. The HHS budget allocates $2.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research on HIV and AIDS, including $422 million for AIDS vaccine research. Another $939 million will go to the CDC to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS through HIV prevention programs in the United States, increasing HIV testing efforts, linking infected persons with appropriate care and treatment, and strengthening the nation's ability to monitor the epidemic and respond effectively. The Ryan White programs, which provide care and services to an estimated 500,000 Americans, will receive $1.9 billion. About $639 million of this funding will be made available for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides medications to about 85,000 people. HHS will use $100 million for the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Another $410 million will be allocated for efforts targeted specifically toward reducing the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on racial and ethnic minorities. For more information, visitwww.hrsa.gov and click on “Newsroom.”
Report Shows Improved Health Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Results from a report show significant improvements in the health of racial and ethnic minorities for 10 indicators of health, but also indicate that some important disparities in health remain among different populations, according to HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. The report presents national trends in racial- and ethnic-specific rates for 17 health status indicators during the 1990s. All racial and ethnic groups experienced improvement in the following indicators: prenatal care; infant mortality; teen births; death rates for heart disease, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, and work-related injuries; tuberculosis case rate; syphilis case rate; and poor air quality. For five more indicators (total mortality rate, and mortality rates for stroke, lung cancer, breast cancer, and suicide) there was improvement in rates for all groups except American Indians and Alaskan natives. The percentage of children under 18 years who were living in poverty improved for all groups except for Asian and Pacific Islanders, and the percentage of low birth weight infants improved only for black non-Hispanics. The report, titled “Trends in Racial and Ethnic-Specific Rates for the Health Status Indicators: United States, 1990–1998,” is part of the Healthy People 2000, a HHS-led effort to set health goals for each decade and measure progress toward these goals.
Physicians with Heart Completes Aid Project to Moldova
After a four-month delay, the 14-member delegation of Physicians with Heart arrived in Moldova on Feb. 18 to begin the second stage of the humanitarian aid project that began in October 2001 with the delivery of $7.7 million (U.S. wholesale) of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies. The delegates' postponed their original travel dates because of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, but the delay enabled the project to gather an additional $7.4 million in products that were delivered to Moldova in February. The team of physicians (including eight family physicians), medical professionals, business leaders and AAFP staff documented the use of the products and supplies, provided Moldovan health professionals with information regarding the clinical use of these products and supplies, and promoted the development of family practice in this former Soviet republic northeast of Romania. Moldova, one of the poorest countries in eastern Europe, copes with a poor health system and common health problems, including diabetes, tuberculosis, hypertension, hepatitis B and C, and cancer. Physicians with Heart is a joint venture of the AAFP, the AAFP Foundation, and Heart to Heart International, a humanitarian aid organization based in Olathe, Kan. For more information on the delegation's efforts, visitwww.aafp.org/airlift.