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  • 15 Sep 2021 6:28 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently released the 2021 Annual Update to the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research to keep pace with ever-evolving scientific approaches and research priorities. The Plan, originally published in 2020, guides NIMH grantees, potential grant applicants, and staff in the design and implementation of future research.

    The updated Strategic Plan continues to emphasize investments in the research workforce and research on mental health disparities, while also highlighting new efforts, such as the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® - Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ) initiative. In addition, it includes an updated Message from the Director and a new section on COVID-19.

    NIMH also developed a companion Progress Report, highlighting significant accomplishments made during fiscal year 2020 toward achieving the goals described in the Strategic Plan. The shareable one-page Progress Report can be found in the Our Progress section in the digital version of the Plan. We also encourage you to visit the Progress pages, where we highlight key contributions of NIMH-funded investigators in advancing research toward achieving the four Goals of the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research and the Institute's mission.

    More details and Strategic Plan 

    Download NIMH Strategic Plan 

    Progress Report 

    Check back with us and register for the upcoming Mental Health program session in early 2022. 


  • 14 Sep 2021 11:34 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that median household income in 2020 decreased 2.9% between 2019 and 2020, and the official poverty rate increased 1.0 percentage point. Meanwhile, the percentage of people with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2020 was 91.4%. An estimated 8.6% of people, or 28.0 million, did not have health insurance at any point during 2020, according to the 2021 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC).

    The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rate in 2020, also released today, was 9.1%. This was 2.6 percentage points lower than the 2019 SPM rate. The SPM estimates reflect post-tax income that include stimulus payments. The SPM provides an alternative way of measuring poverty in the United States and serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being.



  • 14 Sep 2021 11:24 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and may not build the same level of immunity to 2-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised. CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This additional dose is intended to improve the response of people who are immunocompromised to their initial vaccine series.

    Although CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time, HHS has announced a plan to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots this fall. 



  • 13 Sep 2021 7:46 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Tackling Maternal Health Equity to Achieve Maternal Health Justice in Illinois with Dr. Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Feinberg School of Medicine, Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago 

    Persistent and worsening racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidity and mortality in the US are urgent public health concerns requiring innovative, sustainable solutions. The perinatal period, the time before and after birth, has important implications for a woman’s health and that of her child. Unfortunately, standard perinatal care fails to meet the needs of women from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, especially with consideration to the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and the systemic racism that drive health disparities. 

    Institute of Medicine of Chicago
    Tackling Maternal Health Equity to Achieve Maternal Health Justice in Illinois
    A State of Health of Chicago session
    CEU 1.0

    By attending this session you will: 

    -Learn the drivers of maternal health inequities
    -Identify ways to advance maternal justice through implementation science
    -Obtain ways to advance maternal justice through clinical care practices

    Open to all

    More details and register here: Institute of Medicine of Chicago - Tackling Maternal Health Equity to Achieve Maternal Health Justice in Illinois (iomc.org)


  • 10 Sep 2021 5:35 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Thursday it was "unacceptable" the Food and Drug Administration delayed its decision on whether Juul Labs and other major e-cigarette companies could continue to sell their products in the United States. (Health News Illinois 9.10.2021) More>

    Other news on this topic here


  • 9 Sep 2021 6:00 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 62 new COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, the highest single-day total in nearly seven months. (Health News Illinois 9.9.2021)

    Wednesday's number is the highest since 63 deaths were reported on Feb. 19. The death toll is 24,194.

    There were 3,961 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 1,554,336.


    As of Tuesday, 2,327 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, down six from Monday and up 85 from the prior week.


    Of the patients in the hospital, 565 were in the ICU, an increase of 14 from Monday and 53 from the prior week. There were 343 patients on ventilators, up 43 from Monday and 60 from the prior week.


    The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests is 4.5 percent. The seven-day statewide test positivity using the number of COVID-19 positive tests over total tests is 5.1 percent.


    About 77.8 percent of eligible Illinoisans ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 60.4 percent are fully vaccinated.


    Illinois vaccinators have administered 14,099,513 COVID-19 vaccines, per state data. The seven-day average of doses administered is 21,251.

    More details here



  • 8 Sep 2021 12:55 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Not all unvaccinated Americans' opinions about COVID-19 vaccines are firmly anti-vaccine, as many people are still on the fence, according to a Sept. 1 CNET report. Understanding and addressing this populations' concerns in a compassionate manner could be key to raising vaccination rates. (Becker Health IT 9.2.2021) 

    The media often highlights the most extreme anti-vaccine voices, but many unvaccinated Americans aren't so resolute. Many people who are eligible to receive a vaccine but haven't gotten one are still grappling with their concerns, some of which have been fueled by the rapid online spread of health misinformation, according to vaccine expert Peter Hotez, MD, PhD.

    About 52 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC data updated Sept. 1. White evangelical Christians and people younger than 65 who don't have health insurance are the most likely to say they're "definitely not" getting vaccinated against COVID-19, according to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Younger adults ages 18-29 are also more likely.

    The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the key demographic differences between people who are adamantly opposed to getting vaccinated and those who are still on the fence lie in Americans' racial, ethnic, religious and political identities.

    For example, white adults make up 50 percent of unvaccinated Americans who are on the fence, but white adults make up 65 percent of unvaccinated Americans who are adamantly opposed to getting vaccinated. White evangelical Christians make up nearly twice the share (32 percent) of the group who says they definitely won't get vaccinated compared to the group that is unsure.

    Some common reasons for vaccine hesitancy include distrust in the media to provide quality information about the vaccines, distrust in American medicine stemming from racist trials testing experimental treatments, uncertainty about the vaccines' long-term side effects and worries about how rapidly the vaccines were developed.

    Addressing these concerns with evidence-based information without coming off as condescending could be an effective way to persuade hesitant individuals to get vaccinated, according to pediatrician Rhea Boyd, MD, who founded a campaign in which ​​Black and Latinx healthcare workers provide information and combat misinformation about vaccines. Four in 10 people who are on the fence about COVID-19 vaccination are people of color, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.

    Full article here> 

    Download copy of article here>


  • 7 Sep 2021 6:00 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The U.S. Census Bureau's Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) is experimental no more. It will now be a regularly updated data product that measures communities' ability to cope with disasters and other emergencies. (US Census Bureau 9.7.2021)

    The need for these estimates came to the forefront last year as the Census Bureau was inundated with data requests by government agencies that needed to make data-driven decisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Full article here 


  • 3 Sep 2021 12:30 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    More than 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still very few drugs authorized by the FDA to treat the virus. Just one drug, remdesivir, has gained full FDA approval as a treatment for COVID-19. (Becker's Hospital Review)

    Becker's asked physicians from top health systems which medications they're using most frequently to treat their COVID-19 patients, which they're avoiding and which have been most effective. 

    Editor's note: Responses were edited lightly for length and clarity. 

    Question: Which drugs are you using most frequently to treat your COVID-19 patients? 

    Sanjana Koshy, MD, infectious diseases physician at Mount Sinai (New York City): We recommend dexamethasone for all our hospitalized patients requiring supplemental oxygen. This was based on the RECOVERY trial that showed a survival benefit in patients on supplemental oxygen. We have increasingly used tocilizumab in combination with dexamethasone in our severely ill hospitalized patients with rapidly increasing oxygen requirements. We continue to use remdesivir for our hospitalized patients on low-flow oxygen. 

    See full article here


  • 1 Sep 2021 7:53 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)
    Attribution for Critical Illness and Injury Final Report

    The Attribution for Critical Illness and Injury Final Report is now available on the project page. This report includes the Committee's recommendations on the key elements of attribution models for mass casualty incidents and public health emergencies.

    It identifies relevant quality measures and measure concepts and outlines use cases illustrating how attribution considerations would apply to various high-acuity emergency scenarios. This work supports the development of attribution approaches that encourage collaboration and strengthen accountability at the system level to achieve favorable outcomes during large-scale emergencies.

    View the report online here. 

    Download a copy of the report. 


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