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HRSA eNews November 17, 2016

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Recognizing National Rural Health Day

with more than 9,800 service sites around the country, 47% of Health Centers are either located in or server rural communities
National Rural Health Day (Nov 17) helps raise awareness of the health-related challenges and opportunities facing rural communities, such as:
  • access to healthcare providers;
  • more people suffering from chronic conditions; and
  • more uninsured and underinsured citizens.
HRSA works with 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals and provides grants that serve more than 410,000 people across the nation.  And, thanks to community health centers in rural areas, more than 8.4 million patients received treatment in 2015. 

Opioid "syndemic" tests rural America

Battling the intertwined epidemics of opioid misuse, hiv, and viral hepatitis, image of a needle and a bottle of pills
Spurred by the opioid epidemic and the mounting use of replacement drugs like heroin, hundreds of U.S. counties – many of them rural -- are increasingly vulnerable to simultaneous outbreaks of HIV and Hepatitis-C, federal health officials declared in a recent national conference call.

Particularly notable to epidemiologists has been a sharp increase across at least seven states in acute hepatitis infections among young people -- a pattern now broadly recognized as a "marker" of local and regional opioid epidemics in at least 200 U.S. counties.

HRSA announces $17 million to reach populations in U.S. territories affected by Zika

image of a baby's feed being cradled in a mom's hands
HRSA plans to award approximately $17 million to health departments in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa to combat the Zika virus (ZIKV).
The funding is being made available under the Zika Response and Preparedness Act, and will help provide access to comprehensive health care and support services for children and families affected by Zika in these territories.

Bureau of Health Workforce launches new website

screen capture of the redesigned bhw homepage
The Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) just unveiled its new website in an effort to deliver consistent, streamlined, and targeted content to site visitors. 
New features include:
  • user-driven information architecture
  • a more intuitive user experience
  • improved navigation
  • plain language writing, and
  • cleaner page formatting  
Visit BHW’s new site to learn more about how BHW serves underserved communities.

Webinar: cultural competencies for an aging LGBTQ population

montage of people in the lgbt community
Join us for a webinar Tuesday, December 13 at 1pm EDT to discuss the health and social care needs of older adults in the LGBTQ community. We will highlight the special obstacles faced by this population, opportunities to improve cultural competency and best practices to integrate LGBTQ-friendly care into your organization.
The webinar should be of interest to HRSA grantees, healthcare providers, public health officials, community-based organizations and advocates wanting to improve competency in serving the needs of aging LGBTQ patients in their practices.
Free registration in advance is required and space is limited. Please feel free to share this announcement with your colleagues.

Help prevent birth defects & disabilities: free Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) courses

image of a family gathered around pregnant mom, with hands on her belly
Four free, CEU-accredited online courses on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) sponsored by HRSA are now available for physicians, nurses, medical and nursing students and other health professionals through December 31, 2016
FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual prenatally exposed to alcohol. 
Participants will learn how they can help detect and address risky drinking in patients that are pregnant or of reproductive age.

Healthy Start celebrates 25 years

celebrate health start with us, 25th anniversary
Celebrate MCHB’s Healthy Start 25th Anniversary: Changing the lives of pregnant women and new parents, providing them information and support to ensure a healthy pregnancy, and connecting them with the health care and resources they need to nurture their children.
Since the program’s creation in 1991, it has grown from a demonstration project in 15 communities to 100 Healthy Start projects in 37 states and Washington, D.C. 

Veterans Choice Program

VCP- a temporary program to improve Veteran access to health care by allowing eligible Veterans to use approved health care providers outside VA
In 2015, nearly 90% of HRSA-funded health centers provided care to veterans. As a veteran, find out how health centers can care for you and your family.  If you are already enrolled in Veteran Affairs (VA) health care, you can choose to receive care within your neighborhood community instead of traveling to the nearest VA facility through the Veterans Choice Program.
  • You have been (or will be) waiting more than 30 days for VA medical care.
  • You live more than 40 miles away from a VA medical care facility or face one of several excessive travel burdens.

Growing older: providing integrated care for an aging population

image of a young woman reading a book with an elderly man
The number of adults in the United States age 65 and older is expected to exceed 82 million by 2040. Approximately 16 million will have a mental health or substance use condition, and they’ll be turning to their primary care providers for care. Growing Older: Providing Integrated care for an Aging Population is a new publication from the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions that offers guidance to help you meet the behavioral health needs of older adults.