AAFP Urges Members to Use Vaccine Prebooking Plan for Next Flu Season
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has recommended that family physicians adopt a two-tiered vaccine prebooking plan for the 2005–2006 influenza season. The plan, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is intended to prevent the vaccine supply problems encountered during the past flu season. The CDC is encouraging health care professionals and vaccine manufacturers and distributors to submit prebooking orders for inactivated flu vaccine in two parts: doses needed based on anticipated demand by persons in priority groups, and doses needed based on anticipated total demand. The new policy encourages distribution of vaccine in partial shipments, starting with doses allocated for high-risk patients. Additional information is available online at https://www.aafp.org/x33959.xml and http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5412a4.htm.
NIH Starts Global Network for Research Training on Trauma and Injury
The Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected seven U.S. universities to participate in a new program that addresses the growing burden of trauma and injury-related morbidity and mortality in developing countries. The International Collaborative Trauma and Injury Research Training Program pairs institutions in high-income countries with institutions in middle- and low-income countries to train researchers in basic and applied sciences, risk factor epidemiology, acute care and survival, rehabilitation, and long-term mental health consequences of trauma and injury. Training also may focus on relatively low-cost technologies such as radiology and ultrasonography, ventilators, optimal resuscitation fluids, blood substitutes, and materials to cover wounds in burn victims. The program will provide up to $150,000 per year for up to five years for the following institutions: the University of Rochester (N.Y.), the University of Maryland (Baltimore), the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), the University of Washington (Seattle), the University of Iowa (Des Moines), Emory University (Atlanta), and the University of California at Los Angeles. Additional information about the program is available online at http://www.fic.nih.gov/programs/Trauma.htm.
Healthy People 2010 Achieves Goal of Reducing Foodborne Illnesses
For the first time, cases of Escherichia coli O157 infections, among the most severe foodborne diseases, are below the national Healthy People 2010 health goal. A recent report from the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also showed significant declines in other foodborne bacterial infections such as campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidiosis, and yersiniosis. From 1996 to 2004, the incidence of E. coli O157 infections decreased 42 percent. Campylobacter infections decreased 31 percent, Cryptosporidium infections decreased 40 percent, and Yersinia infections decreased 45 percent. The full report was published in the April 15 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is available online at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr.
CDC Requesting Family Physicians to Participate in Flu Care Survey
The CDC is asking physicians to complete a Web-based survey about the use of influenza testing, the availability of influenza vaccine, and the use of antiviral medications for influenza in clinical practice. Responses will help the CDC determine how rapid influenza diagnostic tests, influenza vaccine, and antiviral medications are being used in the primary outpatient and inpatient management and emergency care of children and adults. The survey, which the CDC estimates should take five minutes to complete, is available online at https://www2a.ncid.cdc.gov/WebServer/mrwebpl.dll?project=FLU1.
AAFP to Launch Federal Political Action Committee This Summer
The AAFP’s new federal political action committee, FamMedPAC, is expected to begin operations in June. FamMedPAC was created by the AAFP Congress of Delegates in 2004 to inform contributors about FamMedPAC activities, provide contributors with an insider view of the national political scene and how it could affect the priorities of family physicians, and make direct contributions to candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Candidates will be chosen to receive FamMedPAC contributions based on their membership on legislative committees and their voting records that relate to the priorities of family physicians and their patients. Additional information, including the committee’s board of directors, is available online at https://www.aafp.org/x34045.xml.
CDC Releases First Data from National Violent Death Reporting System
Suicide and homicide rates increased from 2000 to 2003 in the six states that initially participated in the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System. However, the CDC warns that data are too limited to determine how risk factors and trends might have changed in recent years. In 2003, homicide rates increased 4 percent and suicide rates increased 5 percent from the previous year in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia. Homicide rates in men younger than 25 years increased 18 percent in those states. The CDC established the reporting system in 2003 to address a gap in understanding national and regional trends in violent deaths. Seventeen states currently participate in the program; the next report, expected later this year, will include data from the six initial states plus Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The remaining participating states—California, Connecticut, Utah, and New Mexico—will not release data until 2006. Additional information is available online at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/profiles/nvdrs/facts.htm.
SAMHSA Awards $11 Million for Services to Hurricane Victims
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded $11 million to the state of Florida to provide mental health services to victims of the hurricanes that struck the state in 2004. The award is in addition to the more than $5.5 million already provided in emergency aid funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency Crisis Counseling and Training Assistance Program. The grants will be used to establish multi-disciplinary treatment teams in the 27 counties most affected. Teams will help provide mental health and other community services for displaced residents and special populations such as immigrants, migrant workers, and elderly persons.
AAFP Begins Student Loan Consolidation Program for Members
The AAFP is now offering its members a program to help them manage student loan debt. The Federal Consolidation Loan Program from College Loan Corporation allows family physicians to refinance their student loans and reduce monthly loan payments by up to 58 percent, lock in low interest rates, and combine multiple student loan payments into one monthly payment. The program is free, and there is no charge to apply. Additional information is available from the AAFP by calling a member services representative at 1-800-274-2237, ext. 6814.