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  • 15 Dec 2022 9:41 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The percentage of adolescents reporting substance use in 2022 largely held steady after significantly declining in 2021, according to the latest results(link is external) from the Monitoring the Future survey(link is external) of substance use behaviors and related attitudes among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders in the United States. [NIH Dept. of Health and Human Services] 

    Reported use for almost all substances decreased dramatically from 2020 to 2021 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and related changes like school closures and social distancing. In 2022, reported use of any illicit drug within the past year remained at or significantly below pre-pandemic levels for all grades, with 11% of eighth graders, 21.5% of 10th graders, and 32.6% of 12th graders reporting any illicit drug use in the past year.

    Full paper here>


  • 14 Dec 2022 12:30 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Chicago needs to get the lead out a lot faster than it has done so far.

    The city has the nation’s most serious problem with lead in drinking water. No level of lead in water is safe. Even at low levels, lead can harm kidneys and developing brains, leading to lower IQs, hearing loss and learning and behavior issues.

    Lead in the water can come from old lead water service lines that connect buildings to city water mains, which are often made of iron. It can also come from lead-containing fixtures. It’s a widespread hazard because Chicago required lead pipes until 1986.

    Yet, as Brett Chase reported in the Dec. 4 Sun-Times, the city has replaced only 280 of an estimated 390,000 lead service lines over the past two years. Tests can detect the presence of lead, but because the amount of lead getting into the water goes up and down, tests must be done more than once.


    ”The current pace of replacement is disappointing,” Howard Learner, president and executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, told us. “Even doubling that would not be a sufficient response.”

    Full article here>


  • 13 Dec 2022 12:31 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Health equity has been a problem for years, but COVID shined a spotlight on this critical issue. Achieving true health equity will require sustained effort at massive scale. To better understand the current state of health equity, its strategic priority, and what healthcare organizations are doing to achieve it, Becker’s Healthcare partnered with TruLite Health on the first-ever survey to benchmark health equity among more than 100 organizations. [Beckers Hospital Review]

    What did this survey find? A newly published ebook summarizes insights and analysis on the First Annual Health Equity Benchmarking Survey. This ebook focuses on:

    Actionable steps that healthcare organizations are taking to address health equity

    • The main elements of health equity programs, budget commitments and status of the implementations
    • Tools and technologies required to support organizations in achieving health equity
    • Achieving health equity will take significant time, effort and investment. Discover what steps industry leaders are taking– and what your organization can do right now – to address this issue

    Download a copy here> 


  • 12 Dec 2022 11:54 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Illinois has taken notable steps in recent years to help address the rising mental health crisis, experts said during a panel last week.

    Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said at a luncheon hosted by the City Club of Chicago that they pinpointed behavioral health as an issue to address several years ago. The city is on track to serve 60,000 residents at its clinics this year, compared to roughly 3,600 in 2019.

    She noted the city launched a program in 2019 that provides free nurse visits to all Chicago families with newborns, with the goal of addressing the health needs of all individuals. That service has also acted as an access point for residents to mental health services.

    “I am incredibly proud that while all this has been going on, we're making real measurable progress,” Arwady said.

    Colleen Cicchetti, executive director for the Center of Childhood Resilience at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, said efforts must also focus on helping youth with mental health challenges.

    She said that about 70 percent of children who ever talk to a mental health professional only do so at their school. While the education system plays an important role in addressing the issue, she said partnering with leaders in the community is also crucial.

    “Who are the adults that are going to help them to thrive, to build on their strengths to hold them up and give them what they need to be successful — but also to know when they need more help to break down stigma through relationships and to connect kids to services?” Cicchetti said.

    The hospital has partnered with local and state leaders for the expansion throughout Illinois of a program to promote mental health services in schools.

    More details can be found at Health News Illinois>


  • 9 Dec 2022 4:50 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A randomized trial indicating that surgical masks are not inferior to N95 masks in protecting healthcare workers against COVID-19 has sparked international criticism. [Medscape Medical News]

    The study’s senior author is John Conly, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Alberta Health Services. The findings are not consistent with those of many other studies on this topic.

    Commenting about Conly's study on Twitter, Eric Topol, MD, editor-in-chief of Medscape, wrote, “It’s woefully underpowered but ruled out a doubling of hazard for use of medical masks.”

    The study, which was partially funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), was published online November 29 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

    Full article here>


  • 8 Dec 2022 5:30 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are now authorized for use in children as young as 6 months old, the FDA announced on Thursday.[MedPage Today]

    — Bivalent vaccines will offer better protection in the coming months, says FDA

    Under an updated emergency use authorization (EUA), Pfizer's updated vaccine is now authorized as the third dose of the primary series for kids ages 6 months to 4 years, following two doses of the monovalent vaccine. Under the terms of the EUA, Pfizer's monovalent vaccine is no longer authorized as a third dose for this age group.


  • 7 Dec 2022 10:34 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The leader of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that flu hospitalizations remain the highest they’ve been at this time of year in a decade, as the nation continues to grapple with a spike in respiratory illnesses. [Health News Illinois]

    CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also said there was an "unfortunate and expected” uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations last week, following Thanksgiving. 

    She told reporters Monday that the rise is “especially worrisome as we move into the winter months when more people are assembling indoors with less ventilation and as we approach the holiday season where many are gathering with loved ones across multiple generations.” 

    Meanwhile, activity for respiratory syncytial virus remains high nationally, with some signs that it may be leveling off in areas like the Midwest. Hospital systems are “stretched” with high numbers of patients with respiratory illnesses, Walensky said. 

    Influenza cases continue to rise in Chicago, but RSV cases decreased in the past week, according to Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. She said she was surprised by the early start to flu season this year during a Facebook Live event Tuesday. 

    There were 28 influenza-associated intensive care unit hospitalizations in Chicago during Nov. 20 and Nov. 26, the most recent surveillance week, according to a report released last Friday. Sixty influenza-associated ICU hospitalizations have been reported since Oct. 2. Chicago's flu positivity rate was 28.5 percent.

    The positivity rate for RSV decreased from 9.1 percent to 5.8 percent in Chicago. The percent of emergency department visits for children under 5 also decreased from 5.9 percent to 4.7 percent. 

    Illinois is at a very high level of flu activity, according to the CDC. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Illinois, which has a dozen counties at the level where the CDC recommends public indoor masking.

    Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, board chair of the American Medical Association and a professor at Emory University School of Medicine, encouraged people to get vaccinated and stay home when sick. 

    "Flu is here — it started early," she said. "And with COVID and RSV also circulating, it's a perfect storm for a terrible holiday season."


  • 6 Dec 2022 8:46 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Angela McGhee never trusted the tap water flowing from the faucets of her more than century-old home. [SunTimes 12.4.2022]

    Now, beginning in January, the city will be required under state law to replace lead service pipes every time there is a break or leak in a water line. That will force the city to replace what’s estimated will be at least 4,000 lead lines a year, perhaps 5,000.

    “The problem is this city has the largest lead service line problem in the country, stated Erik Olson, senior strategic director of public health for the private Natural Resources Defense Council. 

    The 50-year-old Chatham resident gets her drinking water from store-bought bottles because she suspected her tap water might contain high levels of brain-damaging lead. 

    Last year, McGhee decided to look into a city of Chicago program that fully paid for replacement of lead service lines for low-income residents. A number of her friends and neighbors are suspicious of the program, McGhee said, but she went ahead. By August, her lead line was replaced with a copper pipe.

    “If we don’t have our health, we have nothing else,” she said.

    McGhee, who lives with her husband, is one of only 280 Chicago homeowners who have had a lead service line — the connecting pipe between a home and water main — replaced under city-sponsored programs the past two years. 

    Full article here>

    Related article> City asked to provide lead filters to address crisis. More>


  • 5 Dec 2022 2:44 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    65% say they are already living paycheck-to-paycheck

    A Harris Poll paints a troubling picture about America’s health care workers. The majority of those surveyed said stress about their personal financial situation has had a negative impact on their sleep (64%), mental health (59%), self-esteem (56%), physical health (53%), and relationships at home (53%). [Medical Economics] 

    More than half of health care workers (52%) are feeling less confident about their personal financial situation compared to a year ago, and 79% are at least somewhat worried that economy changes will have a negative effect on their personal financial situation in the next six months. The situation is already grim, with 65% saying their household lives paycheck-to-paycheck and 48% expect to need a short-term loan in the next six months.

    The biggest worries for the majority of health care workers are paying for groceries (58%), rent/mortgage (57%), gas for a car (56%), and utility bills (53%).

    The survey found that a majority of health care workers (71%) say their employer cares about their mental and physical health and the same proportion say their employer gives them the flexibility they need to manage their personal life during work hours.

    Despite the financial challenges, health care workers are interested in even more flexibility. The majority (58%) said they would be willing to reduce their paycheck for more flexible working hours. Nearly three-quarters (73%) say it is important to them that their employer provides tools and resources to help them manage financial stress.

    Full article here>


  • 2 Dec 2022 11:12 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Join us for an update on the DCFS Youth Placement Crisis in Illinois. Find out the hurdles involving the next steps for youth in Illinois. Changes are needed to improve the system, and support them move forward with their lives and wellbeing. Be aware of the current Illinois problem and join us to solve the solution.

    The program and event are for all leaders who are working to achieve health equity for all. New to this issue? Attend and find out how you can be involved and be part of the solution. Open to all. More details and to register here>

    Raul Garza, MBA, President of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago (Billings Fellow); and President and CEO of Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness will present issues involving this important issue. President Garza will be joined by: 

    • Dr. Matthew Davis, MD,MAPP, Chair of Dept. of  Medicine, Head of the Division of Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care, and Executive Vice President and Chief Community Health Transformation Officer, Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities, Lurie Children’s; Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University-Feinberg School of Medicine, and Fellow, Institute of Medicine of Chicago.
    • Marc D. SmithLCSW, Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and
    • Dana Weiner, PhD, a Senior Policy Fellow, Chapin Hall and the Director of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative.

    Donations are welcome for the Achieving Health Equity Fund! Be confident your donation is going to help achieve health equity initiatives. IOMC is a 107th year old organization with a solid history of making a difference.

    Donate on the event pageDecember 15, 2022 - More details here and to Register here>


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