NIH Awards More Than $24 Million to Help Eliminate Health Disparities
In November, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced that the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $24.1 million for research and support programs. The funding will support the advancement of health disparities research and the elimination of health disparities among racial and ethnic minority and medically underserved communities. NCMHD Endowment Program awards totaling $5 million have been made to four institutions for facilitating minority and other health disparities research. NCMHD Centers of Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities, and Training (Project EXPORT) award $4.3 million to 11 academic institutions. The funding supports the development of resources and infrastructure at these institutions as a prelude to initiating full-scale health disparities research, community outreach, and training aimed at eliminating health disparities. The NCMHD Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Program awarded $4.1 million to five biomedical behavioral research institutions to assist with development of research infrastructures, primarily through collaborations with research-intensive universities. Under the NCMHD Loan Repayment Programs, $10.7 million was awarded to 243 health care professionals to increase the number of persons conducting clinical or health disparities research. For a complete list of recipients, go to http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/nov2004/ncmhd-12.htm.
HHS Announces New Initiatives to Help Americans Quit Smoking
The HHS has designed a series of initiatives to help Americans quit smoking. The new resources include a national “quitline” number (800-QUITNOW or 784-8669) that puts users in touch with programs that can help them give up tobacco, and a new Web site (http://www.smokefree.gov) offering advice and information to make cessation easier. The toll-free number is a single access point to the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines. Callers are automatically routed to a state-run quitline, if one exists in their area. If there is no state-run hotline, the call goes to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) quitline. The quitlines offer advice, support, and referrals to local cessation services. The new Web site includes the NCI’s direct quitline number and an interactive map with toll-free state quitline numbers. Instant messaging text chat with an NCI specialist in tobacco cessation also is available. More information is available online at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20041110.html.
Web Site on Handwashing Offers Tips for Prevention of Influenza
William Sawyer, M.D., a family physician from Cincinnati, Ohio, has produced a Web site that may be useful for reminding patients that handwashing is instrumental in preventing the spread of illness. The site, http://www.henrythehand.com, encourages handwashing and lists the four principles of hand awareness approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the American Medical Association (AMA). The site offers materials for use at home and in schools, including posters, games, curricula, and guidance for parents of newborns and family members of persons who are immunosuppressed.
STFM Hosts 31st Annual Predoctoral Education Conference
The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) is hosting the 31st Annual Predoctoral Education Conference in Albuquerque, January 27–30, 2005. The conference, “The Future of Family Medicine Is Now: Innovations in Service, Learning, Technology, and Research,” will be at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque. To register online, go to http://www.stfm.org/conference/confdetail.cfm?confid=41. More general information, including a brochure and presentation schedule, is available at http://www.stfm.org/PreDocConf/pd05/index.htm, or you may contact STFM at 800-274-2237, ext. 5415; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
IQLM Offers E-Newsletter About Medical Laboratory Tests and Services
The Institute for Quality in Laboratory Medicine (IQLM) is publishing a free monthly newsletter with the latest information affecting medical laboratories. The newsletter covers laboratory practices that lead to improvements in the quality, effectiveness, safety, and appropriateness of care for patients. The IQLM is a public-private partnership organization formed and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The AAFP and other medical organizations are partners in this effort to engage the health care community in improving the use of laboratory tests and services. For more information on the IQLM organization and to sign up for the free newsletter, go to http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/dls/iqlm/default.asp.
ABMS Announces Participation in Maintenance of Certification
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has announced that its 24 member boards have committed to participate in a maintenance of certification program. The components of the program, including professional standing, cognitive expertise, lifelong learning and self-assessment, and practice performance, are aimed at ensuring that all board-certified physicians meet the highest standards of patient care and accountability throughout their careers. The new program is an effort to move from periodic recertification testing (every six, seven, or 10 years) to a continuous process. The ongoing process focuses on six general competencies integral to quality care: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communications skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. More information is available online at http://www.abms.org/MOC.asp.