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Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(2):193-195

Awards Are Available to Increase Numbers of Nurses and Quality of Nursing Services

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced that $30 million in grants will be awarded to increase the number of qualified nurses and the quality of nursing services across the United States, in an attempt to ease the shortage of nurses available to provide health care. HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will award grants totaling more than $22 million to colleges, universities, and other organizations to increase the number of nurses with advanced degrees and help improve the quality of health care for elderly patients. These grants will include the following: 324 Advanced Education Traineeship grants totaling more than $18.5 million; 71 Advanced Education Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship grants totaling more than $3 million; nine Geriatric Nursing Knowledge and Experiences in Long-Term Care Facilities grants totaling almost $225,000; and three Nurse Faculty Development in Geriatrics grants totaling nearly $760,000. The additional $8 million will be used to repay educational loans of clinical care nurses who agree to work for two or three years in designated public or nonprofit health facilities that have a critical shortage of nurses. HRSA estimates that more than 400 new contracts will be made under this Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program.

AHRQ Partnership Will Help Turn Research into Improved Care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is attempting to establish a “Partnerships for Quality” program that will accelerate the process of translating research findings into practice and policy that will lead to improved quality of patient care. The program will focus primarily on improvements in the delivery and outcomes of health care, especially priority health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and priority health issues such as long-term care and bioterrorism. AHRQ grants will support various multiple-year partnership projects, with additional funds set aside for projects that respond to bioterrorism. To view and print the AHRQ's requests for applications, go, click on Grant Announcements, then click on Partnerships for Quality.

CDC Report Reveals Significant Decline in Prevalence of Teenaged Smoking

Results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show that the prevalence of cigarette smoking by high school students in the United States has been declining since 1997. According to the report, 28.5 percent of students surveyed reported being a current smoker (defined as having smoked cigarettes on one or more of the 30 days before the survey), compared with 36.4 percent in 1997. The percentage of students who had tried cigarette smoking at any point during their lives had also declined to 63.9 percent in 2001 from 70.4 percent in 1997. Current frequent smoking (defined as smoking on at least 20 of the 30 days before the survey) declined from 16.8 percent in 1999 to 13.8 percent in 2001. According to the report, factors that may be contributing to this decline in teenaged smoking include a 70 percent increase in the retail price of cigarettes between December 1997 and May 2001, increases in school-based efforts to prevent tobacco use, and increases in youth exposure to state and national mass media smoking prevention campaigns. The YRBS is part of the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which is a school-based survey that collects information from students in grades nine through 12 nationwide.

Study Shows Positive Results from Early Head Start Program

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently released results of a seven-year national evaluation of the federal Early Head Start Program showing that three-year-old children who completed the program had a positive benefit in cognitive performance, language development, and development of positive behaviors that prepared them for success in school (i.e., engaging in tasks, paying attention, and showing less aggression), compared with children who did not participate in the program. The study also showed that parents who participated in the Early Head Start program demonstrated more positive parenting behaviors, reported less physical punishment of their children, were more emotionally supportive of their children, and assisted their children more in learning at home. Early Head Start, a component of the Head Start program, provides high-quality child and family development services to low-income pregnant women, and infants and toddlers from birth to three years of age. A copy of the study can be obtained at the Head Start publication center

Survey Presents Parents' Views of Their Children's Health Care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released results of a national parent-administered questionnaire on parents' assessment of the quality of their children's medical care. Major findings of the study concerning access to care included the following: according to reports from parents, nearly 64 percent of children who needed urgent care from a physician's office, clinic, or emergency department, received care as soon as it was necessary; 70.3 percent of children under 18 years of age were reported to have had appointments made with a physician for regular or routine care in the past 12 months, but only one half of the parents reported obtaining the appointment as soon as it was wanted; and getting a referral to a subspecialist was more difficult for children with only public health insurance than for children with private insurance. The study revealed the following findings concerning experiences during health care: 65.5 percent of parents reported that their children's health care professionals always listened carefully to them or their children; 68.4 percent of parents reported having health care professionals who always explained things in a way the parents could understand; and 67.3 percent of parents reported having health care professionals who always showed respect for the parents' opinions. For more information about the children's quality-of-care data,

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Copyright © 2002 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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