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  • 19 Jul 2024 7:37 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Portes Foundation Is Currently Accepting Letters of Intent: June 1 – September 1, 2024

    The Portes Foundation, in association with the Institute of Medicine of Chicago (IOMC), solicits letters of intent annually for research projects in health promotion and disease prevention. To be considered for an award to be granted in February of 2025, a letter of intent should be submitted no later than September 1, 2024.  After an initial review, select projects will be asked to submit a full proposal that will be due December 1, 2024.  Funding for awards will be available in 2025.  

    Research Proposals

    The Portes Foundation invites proposals that explore research or implementation ideas important in health promotion and disease prevention. These projects may be investigative in etiologic factors, preventive measures, primary and secondary prevention screening, and education. Projects in patient education or health professionals’ education will also be considered. All projects must include a complete and thorough evaluation component.


    Questions? Contact the IOMC office at 312.709.2685 or send an email to researchgrants@iomc.org. 


  • 18 Jul 2024 1:48 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Patients and health care professionals concerned about the high prices of US pharmaceuticals have urged the federal government to exercise its march-in rights on some pharmaceutical patents. [JAMA]

    Built into the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, march-in stands on the principle that if the government funds an invention, then the public should enjoy the benefits of using the invention. March-in rights allow the government to demand an invention developed with government dollars be licensed to a third party, including when the invention has not been put to practical use or when necessary to meet societal health needs. These rights are written into federal law and companies therefore know they exist when engaging with federally funded research. The federal government has never exercised its march-in rights.

    On December 8, 2023, the Biden administration proposed a framework for US agencies to utilize march-in, laying the groundwork for the federal government to assist in the generation of pharmaceutical and other goods that the public cannot sufficiently access. This Viewpoint explores the proposal and clarifies for physicians and the biomedical industry the likely impact on US drug prices.


  • 17 Jul 2024 4:07 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul backs a lawsuit against a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand a toxic materials disposal facility on Chicago’s southeast side.[Health News Illinois] 

    In a filing last week, he said the proposal would negatively impact the health and well-being of surrounding communities.

    Raoul said in the amicus brief that residents in the region have long experienced environmental hazards, from the current facility to the prevalence of steel production in the 20th century. That exposure, he said, has led to increased rates of asthma, cancer and other medical issues for local residents.

    “Prohibiting the expansion of this facility is an important step to prioritize residents’ quality of life and bring long overdue environmental justice to a Chicago community that has been overlooked for too many decades in our city’s history,” he said.

    The corps has sought regulatory approval to expand its operation to handle and dispose of dredged materials from local waterways, including toxic materials like mercury and arsenic.

    Community organizations oppose the project and have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the expansion.


  • 16 Jul 2024 1:55 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Today's news...The U.S. Census Bureau today released the 2022 Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) for Heat, an experimental data product that measures social vulnerability to extreme heat. [ US Census Bureau]

    While the standard CRE measures the social vulnerability that inhibits community resilience, the experimental CRE for Heat has new components of social vulnerability and information to account for exposure. Community resilience is the capacity of individuals and households within a community to absorb the external stresses of a disaster.

    Read more here>https://www.census.gov/data/experimental-data-products/cre-heat.html?utm_campaign=20240716pios1&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

    This latest version contains updates to better measure vulnerability and exposure to extreme heat, such as using data from the 2021 American Housing Survey to predict if a household has an air-conditioning unit.

    The 2022 CRE for Heat is produced in collaboration with Arizona State University's Knowledge Exchange for Resilience using information on individuals and households from the Census Bureau's 2022 American Community Survey (ACS) and the Population Estimates Program (PEP). 



  • 15 Jul 2024 11:43 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Long Covid — the name adopted for cases of prolonged symptoms after an acute bout of Covid-19 — is an umbrella diagnosis covering a broad range of clinical presentations and abnormal biological processes. Researchers haven’t yet identified a single or defining cause for some of the most debilitating symptoms associated with long Covid, which parallel those routinely seen in other post-acute infection syndromes. These include overwhelming fatigue, post-exertional malaise, cognitive deficits (often referred to as brain fog), and extreme dizziness. [STAT]

    Given the current gaps in knowledge, some neurologists, psychiatrists, and other clinicians in the United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere have suggested that an existing diagnosis known as functional neurological disorder (FND) could offer the best explanation for many cases of this devastating illness.



  • 12 Jul 2024 12:55 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    In a show of political and private force after a horrifically violent extended holiday weekend in Chicago, civic leaders joined Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Mayor Brandon Johnson and state legislative leaders to announce progress in their commitment to funding community-level violence prevention programs. [Chicago Tribune]

    The Chicago business community has raised $100 million to support on-the-ground programs, which typically take the form of nonpolice interventions in communities at risk of violence, in a first-of-its-kind effort from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. In addition, $175 million in state funding for those programs has begun to be distributed, Pritzker said.

    The gathering of CEOs, philanthropic leaders, police and violence interrupters came after more than 100 people were shot in Chicago over the extended Fourth of July weekend. Nineteen people died, including an 8-year-old and two family members in a mass shooting in the South Side Greater Grand Crossing community.

    Thirteen speakers lined up inside a downtown office building to praise the funding effort, but many acknowledged it’s not enough and that more needs to be done.



  • 11 Jul 2024 4:08 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The most recent edition of Women's Health In Focus at NIH explores women and mental health across the lifespan. The feature story highlights several areas of research on the biological and social drivers of women's mental health.  [NIH]

    Letter from the Editor...

    More than 1 in 4 women have a mental health disorder, compared to fewer than 1 in 5 men.1 For several mental health disorders, the sex differences are stark: women have roughly double the lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders. Biological sex differences—including in genetics, gene expression, brain development and architecture, and hormones—may contribute to this greater prevalence of these disorders among women. Gendered power dynamics, early life experiences, and other social determinants of health also affect women’s mental health and can interact in complex ways with biological sex differences. In this issue of In Focus, we highlight several areas of research on the biological and social drivers of women’s mental health throughout the life course. The feature story describes how leading experts in the field are working to unravel the complex web of genetic, social, hormonal, and neurobiological influences on mental health disorders. The story highlights several important areas of research: the long-term consequences of early life adversity; the development and evolution of a community engaged postpartum mental health intervention for low-income women; the complex relationship between menopause and mental health; and how decades of NIH-led research on neurobiological effects of female reproductive hormones led to novel medications for postpartum depression.

    For our Women in Science interview, we speak with Jill Goldstein, Ph.D., M.P.H., the founder and executive director of the Innovation Center on Sex Differences in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (ICON-✘), about her decades-long efforts to understand the early life antecedents of sex differences in brain- and heart-related disorders and to drive innovative solutions and industry partnerships that promote women’s health through research on biological sex differences.

    This issue also spotlights several recent ORWH events and research articles relevant to women’s health. In addition, we are delighted to share several new NIH resources regarding women’s health. Please feel free to share In Focus with your colleagues.



  • 10 Jul 2024 12:28 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Why do people use drugs? It’s one of those neglected questions with answers right in front of our noses. We just refuse to look. [Scientific American and Kaisier Health News]

    Getting high—and overdosing—is after all, as American as apple pie. Over 46 million people in the U.S. have an alcohol- or drug-use disorder. Everyone knows someone who died, or who lost a son or daughter, mother or father, to a drug overdose, one of the 100,000-plus now yearly recorded nationwide.

    Lost in today’s raging debate over drug policy and how to curb this spiraling mortality is the deep malaise that lies at the root of substance use in America. We are stuck on a loop, veering from “drug war” to legalization to backlash against legalization, without a record of improving lives and setting people on a successful path of recovery. And that’s because we are frankly unwilling to fix the economic cruelty that drives and keep people locked in dangerous drug use.



  • 9 Jul 2024 1:28 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The federal government last week signed off on Illinois’ 1115 waiver application that targets social determinants of health and behavioral health. [Health News Illinois]

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the plan, which supports programs for treating substance use disorders, offering employment support for people with disabilities, violence prevention and intervention, housing and nutrition.

    CMS continues to review three requests related to a grant program to fund safety-net hospitals, the redirection of some disproportionate share hospital funding to fund strategies and interventions for improving the health of underserved communities, and funding for social determinants of health assessments and training of community health workers.

    It encouraged Illinois to “explore using the approved (health-related social needs) services and … infrastructure to achieve the policy goals” of programs still under review.

    The approval is effective through June 2029.

    Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Lizzy Whitehorn said in a statement that the approved plan “transforms and advances our state’s vision of an equitable and sustainable healthcare delivery system.”

    “We thank … CMS for recognizing the connection between health-related social needs and healthcare outcomes,” she said. “The new services will be designed to bring sustainable, community-driven solutions to some of our most vulnerable residents and incorporate non-traditional providers into the Medicaid program.”

    The agency said additional details will be announced later this month.

    The announcement drew praise from Illinois’ two senators, who wrote to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure this spring to urge approval.

    “Expanding the reach of Illinois’s health care network is key to making reliable behavioral health services more accessible to individuals across our state,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth. “This action by CMS helps move our state forward and ensures that we’re helping bring essential health services to Medicaid beneficiaries across Illinois.”


  • 8 Jul 2024 8:46 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    As Conspiracy Theories Abound, Can We Restore Trust in Public Health?  With the House still investigating the pandemic, its origins, and our government's responses -- and with perhaps the most well-known public health figure in the hot seat (Anthony Fauci, MDopens in a new tab or window) -- now seems a good time to reflect on how we might begin to restore our trust in public health.[MedPage Today]

    Understanding the Root of Conspiracy Theories

    In the mid-to-late 90s, I worked for a member of Congress who represented the high desert of California. If you have never visited this area, it is both beautiful and dangerous. Hot and dry with few people, it is home to two of the most famous military facilities in the world: Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake. Both are renowned, though one more than the other. While the Space Shuttle occasionally landed at Edwards, affording it more attention, China Lake is not as well-known. Yet, it is the home to the development and testing of some of the most advanced weapons in the military's arsenal.



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