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  • 22 Mar 2023 6:08 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    My mom lost her business…we were trying to maintain everything but the bills just kept piling up. Food prices went up, rent, everything went up.…We didn’t know if we were gonna get food the next day, if we were even going to have our place.…It got to the point where I wasn’t able to sleep properly anymore or eat properly anymore, and I did gain a lot of anxiety and depression.

    This is just one of many stories from children and youth who experienced the worst pandemic in US history. Although the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is set to end on May 11, 2023, it is clear it has, and will continue to have, deleterious effects on the children and youth who experienced the pandemic during sensitive periods of their development. [JAMA Network]

    The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a consensus report that reviews the impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of children and families thus far, and what needs to be done to attenuate longer-term negative effects.1

    The NASEM committee for this report was intentionally designed to address areas most relevant to children and families (education, social and emotional development, physical and mental health, economic well-being), and to focus on the groups who bore the brunt of the pandemic: those from racial and ethnic minoritized groups and low-income families.



  • 21 Mar 2023 6:14 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Public health, care delivery organizations, federal agencies, and researchers have advocated for better collection of patient social risk factor information. Social factors can determine referrals to community partners, increase awareness of patients’ needs, measure population health, or improve risk prediction models. [JAMA Network]

    Popular electronic health record (EHR) systems include screening questionnaires assessing various social risk factors.1 While these multidomain screening questionnaires are commonly used in practice, their accuracy has not been established.2 We assessed the accuracy of EHR-based multidomain questionnaires using single-domain questionnaires on food insecurity, housing instability, and financial strain as external standards. 



  • 20 Mar 2023 3:22 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Researchers have discovered new data around the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and WHO is calling on China to be transparent about their research and data, Science reported March 17. [Beckers Hospital Review]

    Recently, researchers found new genetic data that links SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with raccoon dogs sold at a market in Wuhan, China. The genetic data was made publicly available on Jan. 30 and showed a mix of COVID-19 and animal DNA, including raccoon dogs and civets. Although they don't prove the pandemic's origins, WHO said they support the theory that the virus likely jumped from animals to humans.

    "These data could have — and should have — been shared three years ago," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said at a press conference, according to the article. "We continue to call on China to be transparent in sharing data, and to conduct the necessary investigations and share the results."

    At the March 17 press conference, Dr. Tedros said the China market data had been taken down.

    Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, infectious disease epidemiologist who oversees WHO's program on emerging diseases and zoonoses, set up a meeting with the Chinese scientists who found the new data but reportedly still has a lot of unanswered questions due to the apparent lack of data disclosure, according to her interview with Science.

    "It's inexcusable," she told Science. "The scientific imperative, the public health importance, the moral importance of this should override everything else that's happening and it's not."

    Other news from WHO on this topic>


  • 17 Mar 2023 1:33 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    CVS Health announced earlier this year that Sinai Chicago was one of three initial partners of a new initiative to address barriers to care in underserved communities across the country. [Health News Illinois]

    As part of the initiative, CVS will provide funding to each institution for local initiatives that expand the community health worker workforce. Sinai will use those funds to recruit residents in local neighborhoods to become community health workers through a program that trains individuals to connect residents with critical health information and resources.

    The collaboration is just one way the Chicago-based health system works to address health disparities within the city’s south and west sides, said Debra Wesley, president of the Sinai Community Institute, which supports programs in those communities.

    She recently spoke with Health News Illinois about the collaboration and its goals, and what challenges remain to achieve health equity.


  • 16 Mar 2023 9:05 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    COVID-19 is known to cause some people to lose taste and smell, and to instill "brain fog," as well.

    Now, new research published in Cortex, links it to face blindness – or prosopagnosia -- the inability to recognize faces. [MedScape] 

    "Self-report survey data from 54 respondents with long COVID showed that a majority reported reductions in visual recognition and navigation abilities," researchers wrote. "COVID-19 can produce severe and selective neuropsychological impairment similar to deficits seen following brain damage, and it appears that high-level visual impairments are not uncommon in people with long COVID."



  • 15 Mar 2023 3:35 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    We are sharing an webinar coming up this Friday, March 17, 2023 at Noon CT hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. 

    According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 3,013 individuals died of an opioid overdose in Illinois in 2021, which is a 2.3% increase from 2020 and a 33% increase from 2019.This nationwide increase is largely due to the rise of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, as reported in the Statewide Semiannual Opioid Report from May 2022. The rate of opioid overdose fatalities has increased disproportionately among non-Hispanic Black individuals who are 45-65 years old.2 

    To address this public health and health equity issue, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is sponsoring a presentation to providers on resources for the treatment of opioid use disorder, specifically medication-assisted recovery.

    The following speakers will present at the event:

    • Nicole Gastala, MD, board-certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine and currently serves as the medical director of the Substance Use Prevention and Recovery Division of IDHS.
    • Tanya Sorrell, PhD, PMHNP-BC, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush University College of Medicine and the Director of the Rush Substance Use Disorder Center of Excellence.
    • Seth Action, Project Manager at Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS).

    Register today!

    1Illinois Department of Public Health Statewide Semiannual Opioid Report - May 2022.  
    2Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Opioid Overdose Epidemic During the COVID-19 Pandemic.


  • 14 Mar 2023 8:40 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Every day in Illinois, specialists like Sadler are called in to schools, hospitals and homes to make these decisions. They’re on the front lines of the state’s child mental health crisis. Simmering for years, it’s been supercharged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In Illinois, mental-health emergency room visits by kids have spiked since 2020

    Emergency room visits by children 5-17 years old indicating a diagnosis of attempted suicide, self-harm or having suicidal thoughts have increased since 2020 [with the pandemic]. 

    Full article> 


  • 13 Mar 2023 6:31 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The collection, use, and meaning of race in biomedical research is complicated by the tension between the requisite interrogation of health disparities associated with race and the risk of continued insinuation of race as a biologic entity when interspersed with health outcomes.1-3 As a social construct, the literature supports that, assessed at the individual level, race as a category has a nontrivial change with repeated assessment. For instance, 12.5% of childrens’ US census records had a changed racial category from 2000 to 2010 at the individual response level.4 Thus, given the duality of race as important yet mutable, we sought to quantify the frequency of change in race category in the electronic medical record (EMR) of a pediatric population. [JAMA Network] 

    Download PDF or article here>

    Full paper here>  


  • 10 Mar 2023 8:51 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Still timely considering IOMC's webinar on Resistance to Adopting Childhood Vaccines- Is this a Rising Public Health Issue? 

    The University at Buffalo (UB) is one of five universities that received a grant from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Preventive (CDC) to dispel medical misinformation and vaccine hesitancy around the nation. [Patient Engagement HIT]

    Medical misinformation has become a significant threat to healthcare, especially as more people turn to social media for medical advice.

    The volume of medical misinformation has dampened the public trust in the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, studies have shown that people who greatly rely on family, friends, and social media for COVID-19 information have the lowest knowledge about COVID-19 and are among the least likely to engage in protective behaviors like social distancing or mask-wearing.



  • 9 Mar 2023 10:51 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Public health agencies that communicated clearly, led with science, and provided protective resources were able to build patient trust more than those agencies that appeared to be politically motivated, according to a new report in Health Affairs obtained via email. [Patient Engagement HIT]

    The challenge? Perceptions of how agencies communicate are certainly in the eye of the beholder. While one individual might see advice for universal masking as science-based public health communication, another might see it as politically motivated, setting the scene for the public health trust problem the US has faced since the pandemic’s onset in 2020.

    “Public trust in government and other major institutions across US society has been declining for decades, and the pandemic has raised concerns about trust in public health agencies in particular,” the Harvard University researchers wrote in the study. “Opportunities for misinformation to take root in the current social and traditional media environments raise concerns that trust will decline further.”

    In order for public health agencies, each at the federal, state, and local levels, to recoup their image, they will need to better understand what influences an individual’s trust.

    In a February 2022 survey of around 4,200 adults, the researchers found that people’s trust differed by agency and how that agency communicated. Generally speaking, trust in any public health agencies was low.

    READ MORE: RWJF: How Public Health Sector, CDC Can Focus on Health Equity

    Trust in federal entities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Surgeon General, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didn’t even reach the 50 percent mark. Trust in local and state public health agencies was even lower.

    Rather, people trusted their doctors and nurses, plus the scientists researching COVID-19.



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