Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh on Faith Communities and World AIDS Day
by Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH
Assistant Secretary for Health
On December 1, 2013, we will mark the 25th observance of World AIDS Day. It offers us an opportunity to honor the past, plan for the future and educate ourselves and our loved ones about HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.
Furthermore, we can use this time to address the ongoing stigma that puts people at risk for two issues – HIV and suicide – connected by the linchpin of sexuality. HIV continues to disproportionately affect young, gay and bisexual men – especially those in the African American and Latino communities. A major driver is the stigma that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people continue to face, both in their homes and in their communities.
Specifically, stigma and discrimination increase the likelihood that LGBT persons will engage in behaviors that pose major health risks, including unprotected sex and attempted suicide. Of special concern are young people, since:
- LGBT youth are significantly more likely than their straight peers to be sexually active, to have had multiple partners, and to have engaged in unprotected sexual activity – greatly increasing their risk for HIV infection.
- LGB youth are 400% more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
- Nearly 50% of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and 25% report having made a suicide attempt.
- LGB youth who suffer from high levels of family rejection are 840% more likely to have attempted suicide compared to LGB peers who reported no, or low, levels of family rejection.
In short, family acceptance is key to helping LGBT youth develop into healthy adults and to lowering their risks for both HIV and suicide. Faith communities can play a major role in promoting this acceptance, and in supporting families whose children may be at risk.
On World AIDS Day, we must focus efforts on eliminating the stigma that puts so many of our children at risk for life-threatening challenges. I encourage you to visit AIDS.gov to learn more about HIV prevention. You can also find suicide prevention resources at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) website.
And, if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Families, as well as faith and community leaders, can all join in renewed national efforts to create an AIDS-free generation.
Pilot research funding - Center on Race and Social Problems
Dear Pitt faculty, the Center on Race and Social Problems is pleased to announce this year’s call for proposals for pilot research funding related to race and ethnicity. The Center provides up to $10,000 for research support for new pilot projects. The deadline is December 20, 2013. Information on previously funded projects is at http://www.crsp.pitt.edu/projects/internally-funded. In addition, we have attached a listing of other Pitt sources for pilot research funding. Please feel free to share this with other full-time Pitt faculty and researchers and contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Pitt Senior LaVonda Baldwin Named a Foreign Affairs Fellow
Native of Bensalem, Pa., among select students nationwide to receive coveted fellowship, paving the way for a career in diplomacy and foreign service. University of Pittsburgh senior LaVonda Baldwin has been awarded a 2013 Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which provides financial and professional support for undergraduate students preparing to enter the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service. Read more here...
BREAKING NEWS! UPMC Welcomes 1st Black Orthopedic Surgeon As of Sept. 1, UPMC Health System welcomed MaCalus Hogan, MD, its newest and first African-American orthopaedic surgeon. Read more here...
Academic Resources on Latinos in Western Pennsylvania
The Center for Health Equity, located in the Graduate School of Public Health, has created a new research database on Latinos in Southwestern Pennsylvania. This academic resource includes a compiled list of dissertations and theses, as well as peer-reviewed publications, which focus on a range of health and social issues that affect Latinos in our region. Please let us know of any additional peer-reviewed works that can be added to the database. The database can be accessed at: http://www.healthequity.pitt.edu/latino-health-southwestern-pennsylvania Questions? Please contact Patricia Documét, MD, DrPH, Scientific Director Center for Health Equity, firstname.lastname@example.org
NCI Research to Reality presents: Cultural Competency and LGBT Health Disparities: Identifying Barriers and Tailoring Strategies
Understanding and improving the health, safety, and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals is a growing public health concern and is a goal for Healthy People 2020. The June National Cancer Institute (NCI) Research to Reality cyber-seminar will explore several health disparities this population faces across the cancer continuum. Join us as we feature research, programs, and resources designed to assess and address cancer health disparities facing sexual minorities. Read more and register here...
Meghan Wilson's impossible dream to be doctor comes true: Paralyzed 17 years ago, she gets her M.D. from Pitt Monday
Read more here
BREAKING NEWS! Can Affirmative Action Be Fixed?
Experts weigh in on why, despite the Supreme Court ruling, the equity policy faces major problems.
By: Keli Goff Now that the Supreme Court has kicked Fisher v. University of Texas, its first major affirmative action case in a decade, back to the lower court, the outcome is still up on the air. But something that experts interviewed by The Root appear to be in agreement on is that regardless of what happens with the case, affirmative action is at a crossroads. Read more here...
The Medical Schools With the Highest Percentage of Graduates Who Are Black
There are 12 predominantly White medical schools where Blacks made up at least 10 percent of the 2011 graduating class. At Duke University, 20 of the 100 graduating medical doctors were Black, the highest percentage in the country. Ranking second was Weill Cornell Medical College, where 14 of the 93 graduates, or 15.1 percent were Black. In the third spot was the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where 14.1 percent of the 2011 graduates were Black. University of Pittsburgh (11.4%)The other medical schools where Black made up at least 10 percent of all graduates are listed here
Episode 7: Journey to Medicine
WQED's multiple-part series explores how the media portrays African American males and how society views them as a result. The episodes also report on people and organizations working to spotlight positive rather than negative images. Episode 7: Journey to Medicine continues a series that reports on African American men and boys in positive and mentoring roles. "Journey to Medicine" follows middle school students, medical school students and seasoned professional physicians as they pursue careers in medicine. Watch Now
New LGBTQ Affinity group for Pitt/UPMC: The Pitt/UPMC Health Sciences LGBTQA Alliance serves individuals in the Health Sciences LGBTQA community and its allies. Keep up with the latest news and views. We have many exciting additions to the newsletter including a partner spotlight, important healthcare news, and a link where you can join the Visibility Project - OUT List.
The Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) are pleased to announce the availability of one year predoctoral fellowship awards in clinical and translational research. The awards, which provide a stipend, partial tuition, and some research and travel support, are designed to encourage and support students at the University of Pittsburgh who wish to pursue a career in multidisciplinary, clinical and translational research.
We seek outstanding candidates from the Schools of the Health Sciences or from any other graduate department within the University who are engaged in clinical or translational research.
For more information, please visit the TL1 portion of the ICRE website. Please direct any further questions to Quinten Brown, Coordinator for the TL1 program.
Do Fewer Black Doctors Mean Worse Medical Care For Blacks?
By Debby ScheinholtzFewer Black males were enrolled in their first year of medical school than were enrolled 32 years ago. If this bleak trend continues, there’s cause for concern about the quality of medical care for Blacks in the United States and the profession’s ability to address health disparities.
A recent report from the Association of Medical Colleges shows that 2.5 percent of medical school applicants were Black men in 2011, a drop from 2.6 percent in 2002. That compares with 9 percent and 11 percent increases in the share of Asian and Latino male applicants, respectively, during the same period. Read more here...
University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences 2013 Health Disparities Poster Competition Results
Thank you again for your support of the third annual Health Sciences Health Disparities Poster Competition. The quality of the submissions was first-rate and the work displayed was excellent. Of 15 submissions, 12 were accepted for judging. The winners are:
Master's Category: Aishwarya Arjunan, GSPH – Human Genetics
"Improving Health Literacy among the Socio-economically Disadvantaged Scheduled Tribes for Sickle Cell and other diseases in Southern India"
Doctoral Category: Johanna Steenrod, GSPH – Health Policy and Management
"Rural Access to Primary Care: Evaluating the Quality of Research Through Citation Networking Analysis"
Postdoctoral Category: Laurel Peterson, SOM - Psychiatry
"Gender Moderates the Relationship between Perceived Racial Discrimination and African Americans' Hopelessness and Risky Health Behavior"
First Professional Category: Linden Wu - Nursing – Health Promotion and Development
"Prevention Curriculum of Teen Dating Violence in Urban High Schools"
It is clear that our students and trainees are asking important questions concerning health disparities in novel ways, and generating interesting data. I think all who attended came away having learned something new. Again, my congratulations on your phenomenal work exhibited at yesterday’s Health Disparities Poster Competition. Everyone in attendance mentioned their satisfaction with the quality of the posters. You are all to be commended!
Pitt School of Medicine Graduate, J. Nadine Gracia Appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, Office of Minority Health DirectorJ. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, was appointed the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week. The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.
"Dr. Gracia's appointment to lead the HHS Office of Minority Health reinforces the department's commitment to eliminate health disparities and to create a health care system that is accessible and affordable to all," said Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health. "Nadine brings to this position a wealth of expertise as a clinician and in public health policy, and a deep-rooted commitment to public service."
Dr. Gracia, who has served as Acting OMH Director since November 2011, plays a key role in the Administration's Affordable Care Act outreach to minority and underserved communities nationwide, and also leads the implementation of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities. See Dr. Gracia's bio.
“Motivational Hip Hop” is what 4 Wheel City brought to Pittsburgh on September 27th through their “Welcome to Reality” tour. Ricardo “Rick Fire” Velasquez and Namel “Tap Waterz” Norris, both left paraplegic by gun violence, performed in Pittsburgh to a sold-out crowd at the August Wilson Center.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a feature story highlighting a new study entitled "De la Mano con la Salud" (Lend a Hand for Health). The study is being conducted by the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, with partnership efforts from
Squirrel Hill Health Center and the Consumer Health Coalition. Patricia Documet, an assistant professor in GSPH's department of behavioral and community health sciences, is serving as the principal investigator for this study focusing on
the well-being of immigrant Latino men.
Implicit Bias in Health Care Unconscious bias in healthcare is a well-studied topic and statistics abound. Yet many in the healthcare industry feel overwhelmed at how to change it or where to start. The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants offers some guidance on first steps, using the tools available from Harvard University’s Project Implicit:http://bit.ly/RFT5Zt
Dean Larry Davis of the School of Social Work shares his thoughts on racial diversity and inclusion.
A research grant application from a black scientist to the National Institutes of Health is markedly less likely to win approval than one from a white scientist, a new study published in Science reports. more>