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Issuing of an evidence review to the Nutrition-Friendly Schools Initiative (NFSI) – World Health Organization

Posted: January 30, 2021 at 11:50 am

The Department of Nutrition and Food Safety is happy to announce the issuing of Nutrition action in schools: a review of evidence related to the nutrition-friendly schools initiative. This review summarizes the synthesized evidence from 117 reviews identified as relating to the following five components and the 26 essential criteria of the NFSI.

The findings may be used in conjunction with existing UN and WHO guidance and tools to inform the work of governments, policy-makers and researchers concerned with school-based health and nutrition promotion programmes and initiatives.

The NFSI was developed in 2006 to provide a framework for ensuring integrated school-based programmes which address the double burden of nutrition-related ill health and to serve as the updated nutrition module of the Health Promoting Schools. The NFSI has since been used around the world, including as a self-appraisal tool for schools in 18 countries, in developing national NFSI programmes and as part of academic research and evaluation projects.

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Issuing of an evidence review to the Nutrition-Friendly Schools Initiative (NFSI) - World Health Organization

New dietary guidelines: 5 things nutrition experts want you to know – The Albany Herald

Posted: at 11:50 am

New federal dietary guidelines encourage Americans to focus more on eating healthy throughout life, to be flexible in their eating patterns and to cut down on empty calories.

The recommendations, released every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, are designed to promote nutrition and prevent chronic disease. The guidance influences food and nutrition programs at the federal, state and local levels, and impacts how food companies formulate their products.

"The high prevalence of diabetes, cancer and heart disease could be reduced if people ate better," said Judith Wylie-Rosett, a professor of health promotion and nutrition research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "Chronic diseases are often related to obesity and poor nutritional habits."

Time for the kids to put down the mobile devices and tablets for a break. Click for more.

Here are five important takeaways from nutrition experts:

There's flexibility to customize

The recommendations emphasize that healthy eating comes in many forms and can be adjusted to fit cultural traditions, personal tastes and different budgets.

Swapping out red meat, for example, doesn't mean people have to force down their least-favorite source of protein.

"You can go with a plant-based diet or eat seafood, poultry and legumes rather than red meat," said Penny Kris-Etherton, a distinguished professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

The new focus on customization based on culture, budget and personal preference is a departure from the guideline's past one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating.

"Tailoring the message engages people in making choices, which means it is more likely they will be able to make changes," Wylie-Rosett said. "In the past, guidelines have been aimed at the majority, and we are moving toward a minority-majority population. We need to respect and address the needs of the diversity within our society."

For the first time, the guidelines say children under 2 should completely avoid foods and drinks with added sugars, such as cake, ice cream and fruit drinks.

But the guidance for added sugars otherwise remains unchanged, despite a report last summer from the dietary guidelines advisory committee that called for everyone ages 2 and older to cut consumption to 6% of daily calories, down from the currently recommended 10%.

Similarly, the guidelines stuck with previous advice on alcohol no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women in adults who choose to drink. The advisory committee had suggested men limit alcohol to only one drink a day.

Alcohol is not recommended for adults who don't already drink, and pregnant women should avoid it completely, the guidelines say.

"Sugar and alcohol don't have any nutrition whatsoever," Kris-Etherton said. Sugar is often added to a variety of foods where you might not expect it, including bottled spaghetti sauce, ketchup, breads and cereals. It's important to read nutrition labels and select foods accordingly, she said.

It's never too late (or too early)

The guidelines for the first time outline recommendations "by life stage, from birth through older adulthood." For example, babies should exclusively have breast milk for the first six months of life. If breastfeeding isn't an option, babies should be fed an iron-fortified infant formula.

In addition, the guidelines recognize that people 60 and older have slightly different nutritional needs. For instance, vitamin B12 deficiencies are more common in older people because the ability to absorb the nutrient naturally decreases with age, but also can decrease because of certain medications. So, older adults are urged to eat the recommended amount of protein, a common source of B12, as well as B12-fortified foods.

Foods are not eaten in isolation but in a wide array of combinations over time a dietary pattern.

The idea, Wylie-Rosett said, is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables rather than focusing on specific nutrients. For example, beta carotene is a plant pigment and antioxidant found in carrots and other vegetables.

"There are over 600 carotenoids, but the only one we talk about is beta carotene," she said. "We've created our nutrient guides to avoid deficiencies, (but) what we need to do is focus on optimal health."

To that end, the guidelines recommend people vary their source of protein, fill half their plate with a mix of different fruits and vegetables, select low-fat dairy or soy alternatives, and avoid foods high in sugar, saturated fat and sodium.

To help people get started, the USDA offers MyPlate Plan, an online tool that makes recommendations based on age, sex, height, weight and activity levels.

The theme of the 164-page guideline is to "make every bite count." That means avoiding high-calorie junk foods such as potato chips, cookies and calorie-laden (and nutrient-poor) fast foods in favor of healthier options, Kris-Etherton said.

Think whole grains, fruits and vegetables; vegetable oils instead of butter or coconut oil; and low-fat dairy and leaner proteins.

The guidelines offer several ideas for making dishes healthier. For example, shave calories off a burrito bowl by using reduced-fat cheese and adding vegetables in place of some rice and beans. Choose brown rice instead of white rice to add fiber, which will help you feel full and more likely to skip dessert.

"When you fill up on all the right foods, you don't want the other foods, because you're full and satisfied," Kris-Etherton said.

And the benefits multiply, Kris-Etherton said. People will likely sleep better, be less stressed and have more energy to exercise.

"It just goes on and on," she said. "Good nutrition really helps with overall well-being."

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New dietary guidelines: 5 things nutrition experts want you to know - The Albany Herald

Sensible snacking tips from a UNLV nutrition expert – Las Vegas Weekly

Posted: at 11:50 am

The pandemic has done a number on our stomachs. Were mostly stuck at homewhether working remotely or just staying safe in quarantine. And its too easy to just snack all day.

Rather than trying to accomplish the impossibleditch snacking altogetherthe Weekly reached out to Samantha Coogan, the director of UNLVs Didactic Program in Nutrition & Dietetics, for some expert snacking tips.

A teacher of community nutrition and food science, Coogan knows how the mind and body work when it comes to temptation. She advises against being too strict and attempting a full health overhaul in one fell swoop. When it comes to your kitchen, Coogan says, stock it with items youll actually eat, not just foods you think youre supposed to eat.

Coogan says snacking is all about balance: Dont be afraid to have some of your favorite snacks in the house, but also be careful not to overindulge. She says if youre too restrictive and ban all fun foods, youll be more likely to overindulge when you inevitably give in. Had you just allowed yourself that fun snack two to three times a week, the curiosity and cravings will subside, Coogan says. We always want what we cant have, so why limit ourselves now?

Just dont forget the balance. Be smart and responsible in the remainder of your food choices, and you can still incorporate any of the foods you love into your day-to-day life, Coogan says.

Pair smartly.To feel fuller longer, Coogan says pair a carbohydrate source [like fruit] with a protein or fat source [like nuts, nut butters or cheese]. In addition to helping achieve satiety, it can stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing an energy crash, also known as the 3 oclock slump.

Eat whole foods. Nuts, seeds, nut butters, dried fruit, hard boiled eggs, cheese, produce and ground meats are great options, Coogan says.

Choose whole-grain baked goods over those with a white flour base. Whole grains are healthier and less likely to create the exhausting blood sugar spikes you get from, say, doughnuts.

The freezer is your secret weapon. Frozen produce is typically as nutrient-dense and healthy as its fresh counterparts, due to the required freezing process by manufacturers, Coogan says. The method of blanching and then flash-freezing produce retains most, if not all, nutrients, and chlorophyll pigmentation allows for the natural vibrancy of color to remain.

Canned fruits and vegetables are OK with caveats. Coogan suggests opting for fruit preserved in water, not syrup. And she says canned vegetables should be rinsed to remove excess sodium.

Protein shakes and powders can help.These are always great in a bind, or if your hunger cues have kicked in but your appetite hasnt quite caught up yet, Coogan says. Liquid nutrition can be a viable option depending on the circumstances, or if youre in the middle of a big project, heavily focused and just need a quick dose of nutrients.

Sometimes what you need isnt a snack. Mindless eating happens for many reasons: distraction, boredom, fatigue. And sometimes the answer to those feelings is simply improved time management.

Coogan suggests scheduling your workflow so you take purposeful, planned breaks and get up and move around. She suggests setting aside a 15-minute snack time every two to three hours. When its finally time to eat, focus on eating.

Youve dedicated enough time to the project youre working on; now dedicate some time to your own health and nutrition, Coogan says. Fifteen minutes can feel like an eternity for many highly productive people, but youll experience so many more benefits, and even more increased productivity, by allowing yourself to separate your responsibilities in order to fully focus on them in that moment.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has suggestions for finding healthy ways to satisfy the most typical cravings.

If youre needing a satisfying crunch, slice some produce in advance. The better the variety, the more youll be entertained. So while apples, carrots and celery are always great options, add in some bell pepper, cucumber or cauliflower. Other crunchy snacks recommended by the AHA include popcorn, nuts, seeds, whole-grain crackers and roasted chickpeas.

Thirsty snackers should ditch sodas for healthier options like fat-free milk, plain soy milk, vegetable juice, unsweetened tea, black coffee, and, yes, water (still or sparkling). Jazz up your water by adding fruits and herbs. If you must have fruit juice, the AHA suggests a small glass comprising 100% fruit.

Craving sweets? The AHA advises that you get your sugar fix through natural fruits. Add some glam to your grapes and bananas by freezing them. Baked and dried fruits can also help add variety.

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Sensible snacking tips from a UNLV nutrition expert - Las Vegas Weekly

IDS Working Paper 545 – Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition: A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework – World – ReliefWeb

Posted: at 11:50 am


This paper begins by locating the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition project (GODAN) in the context of wider debates in the open data movement by first reviewing the literature on open data (OD) and open data for agriculture and nutrition (ODAN).

The review identifies a number of important gaps and limitations in the existing literature. There has been no independent evaluation of who most benefits or who is being left behind regarding ODAN. There has been no independent evaluation of gender or diversity in ODAN or of the development outcomes or impacts of ODAN. The existing research on ODAN is over-reliant on key open data organisations and open data insiders who produce most of the research. This creates bias in the data and analysis. The authors recommend that these gaps are addressed in future research.

The paper contributes a novel conceptual SCOTA framework for analysing the barriers to and drivers of open data adoption, which could be readily applied in other domains. Using this framework to review the existing literature highlights the fact that ODAN research and practice has been predominantly supply-side focused on the production of open data. The authors argue that if open data is to leave no one behind, greater attention now needs to be paid to understanding the demand-side of the equation and the role of intermediaries. The paper argues that there is a compelling need to improve the participation of women, people living with disabilities, and other marginalised groups in all aspects of open data for agriculture and nutrition. The authors see a need for further research and action to enhance the capabilities of marginalised people to make effective use of open data.

The paper concludes with the recommendation that an independent strategic review of open data in agriculture and nutrition is overdue. Such a review should encompass the structural factors shaping the process of ODAN; include a focus on the intermediary and demand-side processes; and identify who benefits and who is being left behind.

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IDS Working Paper 545 - Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition: A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework - World - ReliefWeb

Trouw Nutrition opens Swine Nutrition and Health Unit in the Netherlands – The Pig Site

Posted: at 11:50 am

The commercial-scale, climate-controlled and bio-secure unit includes four research suites and allows researchers to simultaneously conduct multiple studies simulating swine production under diverse environmental conditions. Feed, farm and health management interventions can be evaluated in controlled conditions to investigate mode of action and validate the efficacy of innovations to support animal health and performance.

The Swine Nutrition and Health Unit was designed with high levels of animal welfare and biosecurity in mind. For example, heated floors contribute to animal comfort while custom-designed pens with slot openings allow for natural social behaviours such as nose-to-nose contact between piglets in adjacent pens. Each pen has its own water supply connected to individual reservoirs, allowing for volumetric analysis and monitoring of intake.

For optimal biosecurity, each room in the Swine Nutrition and Health Unit is equipped with separate ventilation to avoid cross-contamination. Other biosecurity measures include areas set aside for showering and dedicated clothing/footwear to protect against disease transmission from animals housed in different units. The new unit will support ongoing research in the areas of animal nutrition and innovations to improve swine health and performance without antibiotics. For example, research from the Trouw Nutrition Swine Research Centre has led to the development of Gestawean OxiLiv, a patented drinking water additive that improves piglets oxygenation during farrowing to reduce stillborns and support more quality piglets.

Coen Smits, Director of Research and Development at Trouw Nutrition, noted three primary areas driving Trouw Nutritions swine research.

Inaugurating the new research facility, Trouw Nutrition CEO Saskia Korink said the Swine Nutrition and Health Unit builds on Trouw Nutritions mission of Feeding the Future by improving production efficiencies and environmental sustainability. On average, production of farm animals worldwide is 30-40 percent below their genetic potential. Efficient production and sustainability go hand in hand, she added.

Trouw Nutrition conducts about 150 studies annually, half of which are run at its proprietary research centres. Researchers partner with some of the worlds most well-respected universities to conduct studies and develop innovations. Extensive validation trials are conducted in partnership with a network of farms spanning 26 countries.

Closing the virtual opening event, Prof Dr Leo den Hartog, Director of R&D at Nutreco and part-time Professor of Animal Nutrition in a Circular Economy at Wageningen University (NL) noted that in addition to inspiring animal nutrition interventions, the Swine Research Centre provides collaboration opportunities for stakeholders across the supply chain interested in practical, economic and sustainable solutions for swine production.

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Trouw Nutrition opens Swine Nutrition and Health Unit in the Netherlands - The Pig Site

School of the Week: Dublin High School Nutrition – 13WMAZ.com

Posted: at 11:50 am

The nutrition dream team of two prepare supper meals everyday for after school students.

DUBLIN, Ga. Dublin High School's nutrition staff is working over-time with their new 'supper meals program'.

Dublin City Schools Nutrition Director Pam Jones teams up with the high school cafeteria manager Ricketa Carr to prepare supper for students.

"It got started because of our superintendent, Dr. Fred Williams. When I was newly appointed to this position, he came to me and said he heard of this awesome program where we could offer supper to the after school kids, the athletes, whoever needed it you, know in our area." Jones said.

Carr starts her day at about 6 a.m. to prep for the daily school meals. She's putting in overtime now, cooking about 50 to 60 additional meals every day at 2:30 p.m.

"It starts as getting everything together. Most of their favorite meals is like cheeseburgers, the grilled cheese sandwiches, meatballs and mashed potatoes. They have a lot of different choices," Carr said.

"We want to help the parents out, but most importantly we want to make sure those students are getting good nutritious meals. Some of our athletes like our football team, I'm sure they eat again once they get home," Jones said.

The meals are funded by the federal Child and Adult Care Food program at no cost to the district. Carr says the extra hours are worth making sure the students get a good meal.

"They're just always reaching out to them letting them know the gratitude, and the gratitude it gives me. It makes me push 100% more to make sure they're happy and fed," Carr said.

"We don't want any of our students or any of this community to ever go hungry," Jones said.

Carr delivers the meals to the sports teams following COVID-19 protocols. The meals are available to all Dublin City Schools students. For more information on pick up times, call Pam Jones at 478-353-8000.

Baldwin County also provides supper meals through the federal program.

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School of the Week: Dublin High School Nutrition - 13WMAZ.com

Iran and FAO: Partnering for food and nutrition security and safeguarding natural resources – Iran (Islamic Republic of) – ReliefWeb

Posted: at 11:50 am

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has had a long lasting collaboration with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran since it joined FAO in 1953. The cooperation was strengthened with the re-opening of the country office in 1992, and over the years FAO has provided policy and technical assistance in promoting sustainable development of the countrys agriculture and rural sectors. More recently, the interventions have been focused on policy advice, capacity building and planning to increase agricultural productivity and improvements to forestry. Another key area of cooperation is the development of sustainable small-scale agriculture based on agro-ecological and climate-smart approaches.

Matching FAOs expertise to Irans development priorities

FAO assistance in Iran is shaped by the FAO Country Programming Framework (CPF), which is centred on four priority areas.

Environmentally sustainable and climate-smart agriculture,

Food and nutrition security and food safety,

Inclusive and resilient rural development,

Knowledge-based economy and society.

Jointly developed and signed with the Government under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture Jahad (MAJ), the CPF ensures cross-sectoral participation, thanks to the involvement of the Ministries of Health and Medical Education; Energy; Cooperative, Labour and Social Welfare as well as academic institutions and field and decentralized institutions and structures.

In addition to supporting FAOs Strategic Framework and regional priorities, the CPF is closely aligned with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Iran and contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Iran and FAO: Partnering for food and nutrition security and safeguarding natural resources - Iran (Islamic Republic of) - ReliefWeb

Using nutrition to lose weight Film Daily – Film Daily

Posted: at 11:49 am

Consumers must create a better plan to lose weight, and they must address the reasons for weight gain and a declining metabolism. Diet and exercise are a great place to start when losing weight. However, dietary supplements can help them increase their metabolism and make it easier to decrease fat deposits.

A review of products that help with weight loss gives women and men new hope. They find that it is possible to lose weight and keep it off. By following the right plan, they can lose weight and achieve all their health and fitness goals.

Weight loss supplements provide an array of benefits for anyone who is trying to lose weight. The supplements may include ingredients such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and green tea extract. The supplements may have a higher concentration of caffeine to help both women and men lose weight faster.

When reviewing the supplements, users must consider any underlying health conditions. For example, if they have existing cardiovascular disease, they shouldnt take supplements with a high caffeine content and should take options that dont have caffeine. Consumers who are interested in FirstFitness supplements learn more about the products by contacting a supplier now.

The detoxification process is completed by taking supplements that flush all toxins from the body. Over time, women and men can experience general bad health because toxins have accumulated in their bodies. Contamination and pollution in the environment increase the risk of toxin buildup. If they live in areas where pollution is thicker, they will need to complete a detox more often to flush out these substances from their bodies. It will also help them with their weight loss efforts and make them feel healthier.

Fat deposits develop at an alarming rate as people age, and they are harder to get rid of once they are there. Fat deposits appear in problem areas such as the abdomen, the lower back, and thighs. Women and men face difficulties when trying to slim down because of these developments.

Dietary supplements and a healthy diet help them break down these fat deposits naturally, and the fat is eliminated from the body naturally. By burning fat at a faster rate, they can lose weight faster and keep it off as long as they follow the right plan. It is a great idea to take dietary supplements before eating and exercising to give the person the full benefits of an increased metabolic rate. They can also lose weight at a steady pace and keep it off.

Digestive systems must function properly or waste products will build up in the body because of constipation. Gastrointestinal diseases develop because of digestive problems that were not managed properly. Dietary supplements introduce adequate fiber into the body, and this improves the digestive system.

However, increased fiber intake requires the person to drink more water to keep their colon and intestines hydrated appropriately. If the colon and intestines are not hydrated, this leads to digestive slowdowns and constipation. If waste products remain in the body too long, the person could develop an infection that could become sepsis. By taking adequate amounts of fiber each day and drinking water, the digestive system is regulated, and serious health risks are avoided.

Major changes in the diet help women and men lose weight and keep it off. Meal plans help them combine foods correctly to get the most out of their weight loss efforts. For example, combining lean proteins with a small number of carbs and vegetables streamlines how well the body burns fat. The carbs will give the body energy without weight gain. The person must control how much they eat and follow portion control strategies.

If they start a healthier diet, they can lose weight and stabilize it. If they overeat, they will face health issues. It is best to find a balance and avoid sugary sweets that increase weight gain. They can cheat on their diet a little, but it is not wise to eat sugary snacks every day.

By exercising at least three days a week, women and men control their weight and improve the way their bodies look. It is recommended that they discuss their exercise plan with their doctor to avoid negative results. For example, if they have cardiovascular disease, the patient needs an exercise plan to improve heart function and give them a chance to lose weight. Low-impact cardio is a great choice for heart patients.

The right plan helps them lose weight and improve their health. By addressing underlying health concerns, the patient becomes healthier and avoids issues that could threaten their health or place them at risk.

By drinking hot green tea, they can detox their body and start losing weight quickly. The trick is to drink the tea without added ingredients such as sugar. Steeping the tea a little longer gives it more flavor and makes it a great choice for weight loss. Women and men can drink it twice a day to get the full benefits of the tea.

It will flush out impurities and improve the digestive system. Women and men will eliminate the toxins that build up in their bodies and improve the way they eliminate waste products. The caffeine in the green tea gives them a boost in their metabolism, too.

Consumers find new ways to lose weight that are efficient and wont present them with too many ingredients. Dietary supplements help people lose weight and achieve their weight loss goals. The products increase the metabolic rate and burn fat faster. Slowing digestive systems increase the risk of buildup in the body that derails weight loss and causes the opposite effects.

Several factors present difficulties for women and men who want to lose weight. Age is a major contender when it comes to weight loss, and fat deposits develop on the body faster especially after 40. The foods they eat and how often they exercise determine how well the person loses weight, too. With the right plan, they can achieve all their goals and slim down faster.

Using nutrition to lose weight Film Daily - Film Daily

Bulls need exercise, proper nutrition and shelter ahead of breeding season – Brownwood Bulletin

Posted: at 11:49 am

Brownwood Bulletin

Bulls need adequate exercise in the winter to maintain their stamina during the spring breeding season. Beef producers should spread out water, feed, and minerals to require bulls to walk.

It is a typical mantra of any sports coach the best athletes are made during the offseason. The same can be said of bulls.

How a cattle producer manages his bulls in the winter affects success during the breeding season. Bull management is important to reproductive success and optimum profitability of a cattle operation.

Keeping a bull in proper condition requires cattle farmers to focus on body condition, reduce stress and allow for adequate exercise.

Winter nutrition habits is a key to maintaining an optimum body condition score.

It is recommended a BCS of 6 before the next breeding season. Based on external appearance, bulls with this score will carry a modest amount of extra fat cover.

One management strategy to promote this healthy weight is to feed and manage bulls based on age. Cattle producers should separate yearling, 2-year-old and mature bulls into different feeding groups.

Often, bulls lose between 100 and 400 pounds during the breeding season. Therefore, nutrition in the offseason is important. Separating bulls by age and size allows farmers to target nutrient needs based on size along with growth potential. Beef producers should develop feed rations to fit each feeding group.

Winter months can result in cold stress for bulls. This stress could influence fertility during the next breeding season.

Since sperm is produced over 60 days before breeding a cow, cold stress in late winter may negatively affect sperm production and fertility, resulting in low fertility early in the spring breeding season.

Also, cold stress may cause frostbite on the scrotum and sheath, which negatively affects a bulls ability to breed cows, resulting in poor conception rates in the upcoming breeding season.

It is recommended that cattle producers to provide proper shelter and cover for bulls to reduce cold stress over the winter. Whether out on pasture or in a lot, access to a barn or lean-to gives bulls an opportunity to stay warm.

Exercise before the breeding season is important to make sure bulls are physically ready for breeding.

Since many bulls service females in pastures, they are accustomed to walking long distances. The breeding process demands physical activity. Therefore, cattle producers should make exercise a part of winter management.

Spacing out water, feed and mineral access in a pasture can promote exercise by requiring bulls to walk, building up their stamina.

However, if bulls are pulled into a lot for winter, Davis says, beef producers must watch conditions. Mud can lead to hoof problems that will affect the bulls ability to do his job come breeding time.

Cattle producers should implement strategies in bull lots to reduce muddy conditions. It can include occasional cleaning. If confined in a building, make sure to turn or replace bedding to keep it dry.

As you prepare bulls for the next breeding season, work with a veterinarian to make sure bulls are physically and reproductively sound, as well as in proper health prior to turnout.

To determine physical and reproductive soundness, Davis urges cattle producers to schedule a bull breeding soundness exam with their veterinarian within 30 to 60 days before the breeding season. It is a good time for booster vaccinations and parasite control.

Ultimately, winter should be a time to focus on the health and well-being of bulls before they enter the breeding season.

Poison ivy is an unwelcome plant on many Texas properties, and a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert has some tips on how to avoid and remove the pest plant that causes a painful rash.

Poison ivy is one of those plants that nobody wants to be aroundmuch less have on their property. If youve ever had a reaction or known someone who has, you know that its worth the time and money to effectively remove it.

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Bulls need exercise, proper nutrition and shelter ahead of breeding season - Brownwood Bulletin

Even when the pandemic is over, negative mental health impacts will persist – WATE 6 On Your Side

Posted: at 11:48 am

by: Michelle Robertson, Nexstar Media Wire

The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health across the world. (Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health across the world.

According to a CDC study from August, at least 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse in June, three months after the nationwide lockdown first started.

The study found an increase in anxiety and depression, trauma and stress-related disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation. A shocking 10.7 percent of study respondents said they had considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey.

But what comes after the pandemic? Will the negative mental health impacts persist?

According to Dr. David Cates, a clinical psychologist and Director of Behavioral Health at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, There will be a substantial percentage of people with lasting effects.

The literature suggests it depends on a whole variety of variables whether you lost someone or contracted COVID-19 yourself but we expect there will be some post-traumatic stress disorders and potentially stress and anxiety. There are unfortunately some people who will continue to experience effects.

Cates knows what hes talking about. He works as a behavioral health consultant for the National Quarantine Unit and the Nebraska Biocontainment unit, where people exposed to biohazards, such as Ebola, can come to quarantine. Hes seen firsthand the effects of quarantine on people.

There have been a variety of national surveys looking at rates of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms in the population at-large as well as suicidal ideation, and we do see higher rates of psychiatric morbidity in the general population, he said.

Cates has a few suggestions for people struggling right now:

But if someone is struggling to the point where they cant complete daily functions, including work responsibilities, its time to seek out professional help.

Whether you cant function or youre having intrusive memories or youre using drugs and alcohol more than usual, those are all indicators that you should seek professional treatment, he said.

But Cates stresses the importance of having hope. When looking at disasters, like hurricanes and tornadoes, the majority of people get through it and end up being okay.

Inside the word emergency is emerge, Rebecca Solnit writes in her book Hope in the Dark, on overcoming disasters, from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.

Cates seems to think Solnits words ring true.

Its important to have hope, he says. When theres so much bad news, hope can really get us through a lot. There is a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the pandemic.

If you or someone you care about are having difficulty in pandemic or otherwise, please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at (800) 273-8255.

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Even when the pandemic is over, negative mental health impacts will persist - WATE 6 On Your Side

Health policy researcher Stephen Shortell to be inducted into Health Care Hall of Fame – Modern Healthcare

Posted: at 11:48 am

One of the nations most prominent health policy researchers, Stephen Shortell has influenced the industry on a number of frontsfrom understanding how financial incentives can be used to drive improvements in quality of care to assessing how policy decisions impact care delivery at a local level.

Shortell will be inducted into the Modern Healthcare Health Care Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony on March 25. The celebration, which will also pay tribute to the late Bernard Tyson, the 2020 inductee, is held in conjunction with the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had to influence healthcare policy and practice, Shortell said. I am humbled by this honor. Our healthcare system provides benefits for many but not all. I hope that we can use the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to accelerate the changes needed to have a more responsive, accessible and consistently higher quality, more efficient healthcare system for all.

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Health policy researcher Stephen Shortell to be inducted into Health Care Hall of Fame - Modern Healthcare

3 big predictions for digital health in 2021 – Healthcare Dive

Posted: at 11:48 am

The coronavirus pandemic set in motion a cascade of changes in healthcare, and no sector was impacted more than digital health. The fledgling industry rapidly accelerated as COVID-19 changed technology helping patients receive care outside of the hospital or doctor's office into a necessity, instead of a luxury.

That acceleration has continued into 2021, and could even increase this year, experts say, creating a sea change in healthcare delivery and operations. Global healthcare industry revenues are expected to exceed $2.6 trillion by 2025, up from $2 trillion last year, with the majority of that growth propelled by artificial intelligence and telehealth, according to consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Much of that growth could take place as the U.S. continues to grapple with the pandemic. As tech and data sharing becomes more pervasive, healthcare will likely pivot to become more predictive instead of reactive. Virtual care will continue to invade previously analogue modes of care delivery, giving rise to new modalities of care, and companies will invest more in cybersecurity as a result.

It's a time of historic volatility and few sure bets. But here's what experts are prepping for in digital health this year.

Healthcare will become more proactive as it moves toward being more predictive, according to Thomas Kiesau, director and digital health leader with advisory firm The Chartis Group.

Connected devices, both at the consumer level and clinical grade, will become more common, helping physicians get real-time data from patients to better monitor their health status, making interventions more "timely and more context-aware," Keisau said.

Along with greater proliferation of wearables, artificial intelligence is a key facet of this change. Proponents of the technology have long heralded AI with potential to transform healthcare functions, from clinical trials and drug discovery, to back-end administrative processes, to complex illness diagnosis.

Investment in AI has exploded of late. With the advent of the cloud, which allows organizations to ingest and analyze large amounts of data, AI could help drive major insights in care while saving the industry a lot of money. According to a 2019 Optum survey, senior health executives plan to spend almost $40 million over the next five years on AI-related projects, compared to an estimated $32.7 million in 2018.

However, industry could also see this year a greater backlash on algorithms, which were used in 2020 to prioritize vaccine distribution and resource allocation in hospitals hard hit by COVID-19.The widespread use of AI to choose who gets what at such a pivotal public health time has raised valid yet difficult questions about how machines make decisions, and whether their decisions are in the best interest of patient care.

In 2021, industry could see further oversight of AI for healthcare use cases, especially those in the exam room, to try to address these questions of data bias, difficulties in scaling algorithms to different settings, interpreting the AI decisionmaking process and addressing liability, among others.

"If an AI makes a mistake, who's liable for that?," said Karen Howard, the director of science, technology assessment and analytics for the Government Accountability Office, at a late January webinar on AI policymaking.

Scant days before the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the outgoing Trump administration created a new office to oversee AI research and policymaking, while the Food and Drug Administration released an action planto improve oversight of AI in healthcare. The moves, though from a departed administration, could signal a desire in Washington to increase regulation of the nascent industry,though HHS also proposed in January permanently exempting a number of products using AI to diagnose illnesses on medical images from FDA review.

It's a thorny issue, and one that will likely get more play this year as predictive tools become more commonplace in the healthcare industry.

The virtual care industry saw unprecedented growth last year as the coronavirus pandemic led patients to look for avenues to access the healthcare system at home. Growth will likely continue if not accelerate in 2021, experts say, as virtual care options expand while integrating further with in-person care.

Automated screening, triage and routine care use cases will continue to move beyond simple urgent care and the prescription refills that used to characterize telehealth. This will be most evident in the areas of virtual diagnostics, patient-reported outcomes applications and digital homecare platforms,according to Avalere Principal Tim Epple.

"Healthcare will witness virtualization to a large extent," said Chandni Mathur, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, and "novel business models will emerge to support this paradigm shift."

Telehealth companies have already evolved beyond the direct-to-consumer models, with even some of the freshest startups inking coverage deals with major payers and employers and vendor partnerships with health systems, integrating into the traditional delivery ecosystem. Increased acceptance of virtual care could also result in more comprehensive value-based models, as payers and providers look to bundle the offering for specific patient populations, like end-to-end care for patients with chronic conditions, for example.

"Value-based payment models may create lasting financial incentives for virtual care," Nathan Markward, principal research scientist at Avalere, said.

Rampant telehealth adoption has been driven in large part by novel regulatory flexibilities, especially Medicare coverage, now temporary for the duration of the public health emergency. It's still unclear how many will outlast COVID-19, though proponents of the tech are banking that some level of increased access will remain. But the groundwork is laid for a broader, more pervasive change in healthcare delivery that will be hard to roll back, especially in 2021.

Virtual care will also continue to increase access and interest in previously niche fields, like women's health and telemental health. Last year was a banner year for both fields, with mental health seeing a record high of equity funding accelerating in the fourth quarter, and women's health companies reporting a record number of deals, according to CB Insights. Both fields also reported a strong number of early stage deals in the fourth quarter, suggesting the industry is poised for further snowballing even after the pandemic comes under control.

As dollars continue to flow into the sectors this year, more startups will crop up and existing players will turn increasingly to M&A in a bid to claim larger market share.

"The consolidation we saw in mental health during 2020 will continue into next year but I think we'll see new trends appear too," Trip Hofer, CEO of virtual behavioral health startup AbleTo, said. "There's such a proliferation of investment dollars in the market that we can expect to see some organizations come and go if they don't produce the expected returns."

With rising technology, hospital at home will become more of a reality, too. New non-clinical sites of care will crop up, further accelerating a trend made into a necessity by COVID-19, though it doesn't sound the death knell for hospital-based acute care for high-acuity cases, Chartis Group's Kiesau said.

Just as providers look to invest in health tech to cost costs and reach patients at home, telemedicine companies could even look to acquire in-person care assets, including primary care practices, ambulatory surgery centers and more to smooth the online-offline handoff in areas with high patient densities, predicts Nikhil Krishnan, founder of health newsletter Out-Of-Pocket.

"Telemedicine companies will race to build the online-offline handoff faster than hospitals can build telemedicine workflows," Krishnan said.

As a result of increased tech use and data sharing, along with the vaccine rollout effort and continuation of remote work, cybersecurity will become more of a focal point for healthcare companies in 2021, experts predict.

Over the past three years, the fourth quarter of 2020 was the second-biggest funding quarter to health cybersecurity companies, according to CB Insights. Reported data breaches in the U.S. healthcare sector increased by almost three times last year, per HHS data, with malicious actors targeting industry as it struggled to respond to COVID-19.

These worries carry into 2021, especially as the U.S. races to strengthen the vulnerable vaccine supply chain, according to Experian researchers. Additionally, the majority of COVID-19 contact tracing apps, meant to track and minimize the spread of the virus that need widespread use to be effective, don't employ sufficient security protections, making it easy for hackers to gain access to private information.

Attackers could look to the vaccine to conduct a massive phishing effort in 2021, as the public looks for information and updates on distribution, predicts James Carder, chief security officer for security company LogRhythm.

The rise of telehealth has also led to more cyberattacks. Telehealth providers reported a huge increase in targeted attacks last year as adoption skyrocketed, including a 30% increase in cybersecurity findings per domain, according to Security Scorecard.

And healthcare is still reeling from the massive ransomware attack on major hospital operator UHS in September, which brought the IT systems of all its 400 U.S. facilities down. The hospitals were forced to divert ambulances to other sites and fall back on backup paper operations, delaying test results and complicating needed care, though UHS said no patients were affected.

Heightened investment in cybersecurity also makes sense as two new HHS regulations meant to nudge the industry toward interoperability are taking effect in April.They will result in health data being shared more broadly, raising significant privacy and security concerns. Additionally, Trump administration regulatory rollbacks finalized in late 2020 include provisions allowing providers, including hospitals, to share cybersecurity software with one another, meaning the proliferation of such tech safeguards among physicians is likely to increase in 2021.

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3 big predictions for digital health in 2021 - Healthcare Dive

Nelson County Health System will operate clinic in Michigan, ND – Grand Forks Herald

Posted: at 11:48 am

Nelson County Health System will reopen the health care clinic, located adjacent to U.S. Highway 2, where Dr. N. Boyd Hagen practiced for decades. Hagen retired in September after practicing in Nelson County for more than 40 years.

The MCMC will open Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Michigan Job Development Authority remodeled the clinic building, which formerly was a car dealership, several years ago before Hagen moved in. The clinic includes two examination rooms, a laboratory and an injection room. Altru Health System in Grand Forks is the clinics tertiary referral hospital.

Hagen told Steve Forde, Nelson County Health System CEO, several months ago that he was planning to retire, Forde said. Nelson County Health System, Nelson Countys only health care provider, is made up of a hospital, clinic and nursing home in McVille.

The clinic in McVille, which is the only other in Nelson County, is a distance of 21 miles.

After Hagen told Forde of his retirement plans, Forde, Hagen and members of the Michigan Job Development Authority met to discuss Nelson County Health System operating a clinic in the building.

Access to medical care is critical for our population in Nelson County, Forde said.

In addition to the clinic, Michigan Job Development Authority owns buildings that also include the Horse Shoe Saloon and Michigan Hometown Foods grocery store. The job development authority rents the three buildings at cost to the tenants.

It's an ongoing thing with JDA, to keep these businesses afloat, said Rod Fisk, a member of the Michigan JDA board. While the organization could have searched for another tenant for the clinic building members, they chose to rent it to the Nelson County Health System because they believe it is important to have a health care facility in Michigan.

Nelson County Health System will be in the Michigan Community Medical Clinic, rent-free, for the first two years. An anonymous donor gave the JDA $11,000 to cover the rent for that time period.

The donor, who doesn't want to be named, is someone that wants to see the town succeed the best supporter Michigan has ever had, Fisk said. Anytime you need some funds or help, these people are there.

Darlene Kelly, Nelson County Health System advanced registered nurse practitioner, and Dori Baesler, NCHS family nurse practitioner, will provide patient care at Michigan Community Medical Clinic, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lynette Smaage is the clinics nurse and Jill Trostad is clinic manager.

Forde hopes Hagen's former patients will continue to get primary care at the Michigan clinic.

Were excited to be here in Michigan, Forde said. It will be exciting to provide services in the northern part of Nelson County. We couldnt do it without the support of the Michigan community."

For questions about Michigan Community Medical Clinic, phone (701) 259-2118.

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Nelson County Health System will operate clinic in Michigan, ND - Grand Forks Herald

Health Experts Agree that Reusable Coffee Cups are Safe During COVID Food Tank – Food Tank

Posted: at 11:48 am

Manycoffeeshops in the United States and around the globe no longer make drinks in reusable containers brought in by customers because of COVID-19, but research shows that basic hygiene makes reusables safe.

When asked if it is safe forcoffeeshops to make beverages in customers reusablecups, Dr. John Nwangwu, Professor of Epidemiology & Global Health and Consultant to the World Health Organization, told Food Tank simply, Yes. It is safe.

Both customers andcoffeeshops, Nwangwu says, must take responsibility for good hygienic practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These practices include disinfecting surfaces, washing hands often, covering their mouth and nose with a mask, and avoiding close contact with other people.

Before COVID-19, manycoffeeshops around the world encouraged customers to bring in reusable beverage containers to reduce waste. For example, in January 2020, Starbucks committed to aResource-Positive Futureand incentivized the use of reusable mugs by offering a discount.

But manycoffeeshops, including Starbuckswhich hasover 30,000 locationsworldwidehavesuspended the use of personalcupsas a result of COVID-19. There are no official bans on reusable containers from health agencies, socoffeeshops are making this decision on their own.

Many environmental groups including Greenpeace, FoodPrint, UPSTREAM, and Oceanic Global, are urging businesses to stop the ban on reusablecoffeecupsand limit single-use items. They cite scientific evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionand the World Health Organizationthat shows reusable containers are low-risk for spreading COVID-19. In June 2020 over 125 public health experts, including Nwangwu, signed astatementdetailing how to use reusable products safely during COVID-19.

I see global [plastic] pollution as a frightening health issue, Nwangwu tells Food Tank. He believes that reducing the spread of COVID-19 is a priority, but plastic pollution and material waste also pose an ominous and ongoing risk to public health.

According to Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, Americans use 120 billion disposablecoffeecupseach year. Due to the inner plastic coating, most of thesecoffeecupsare not recyclable and end up in landfills. The Plastic Pollution Coalitionstates that plastic never goes away, which means this waste releases toxins into the soil and water, contributes to climate change, and threatens wildlife.

The plastic industry has taken advantage of the pandemic to claim that single-use plastic products are safer. In a letter, The Plastics Industry Association urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to acknowledge the public health and safety benefits of disposable plastics.

But some coffee shops are making drinks in reusable cups from customers during the pandemic safely by following sanitation protocols. Zero Waste NYC Workshophas acrowd-sourced trackerlistingcoffeeshops in New York City accepting reusable mugs. Nwangwu suspects that these businesses are doing so because reducing waste and protecting natural resources is important to the owners and managers.

Waste is waste. The more we can limit waste, the better, Nwangwu tells Food Tank, We all want a better world to live in.

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Health Experts Agree that Reusable Coffee Cups are Safe During COVID Food Tank - Food Tank

Biden Moves to Expand Health Coverage in Pandemic Economy – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:48 am

Dr. Natalia Kanem, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, said the decision would greatly help the agencys work not only in family planning, but in other health services for women and girls in poor countries.

We now have the support of a very important member state, Dr. Kanem said in a phone interview.

The rule has been riding a philosophical seesaw for decades in place when a Republican occupies the White House and overturned when a Democrat moves in.

Mr. Biden also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to, as soon as practicable, consider whether to suspend, revise, or rescind the so-called domestic gag rule a collection of regulations imposed by the Trump administration that prohibit federally funded family-planning clinics from counseling patients about abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute, which tracks access to abortion, wrote last year that the rules havecut the national family planning networks patient capacity in half, jeopardizing care for 1.6 million female patients nationwide. The presidential directive virtually guarantees that the health department will overturn those rules, though that could take months.

The presidents order will also direct federal agencies to review policies, including waivers granted to states, that discourage participation in Medicaid, the public health insurance program for poor and disabled people. Enrollment in Medicaid has grown substantially during the pandemic, in part because people who have lost jobs and health insurance have turned to it.

The Trump administration approved waivers in 12 states that would require certain Medicaid beneficiaries to work a minimum number of hours a week or risk losing their benefits. Four of those pilot programs have already been overturned by courts, and the Biden administration has the authority to end them all, although the Trump administration in its final weeks took steps to make that process more difficult.

Another waiver, completed this month in Tennessee, would give that state fixed funding or a block grant to cover its Medicaid population while loosening many of the rules about how the program is run. That waiver could also be canceled.

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Biden Moves to Expand Health Coverage in Pandemic Economy - The New York Times

Health Care Unions Find a Voice as the Pandemic Rages – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:48 am

The unions representing the nations health care workers have emerged as increasingly powerful voices during the still-raging pandemic.

With more than 100,000 Americans hospitalized and many among their ranks infected, nurses and other health workers remain in a precarious frontline against the coronavirus and have turned again and again to unions for help.

Its so overwhelming. Its unlike anything Ive ever seen before, said Erin McIntosh, a nurse at Riverside Community Hospital in Southern California, a part of the country that has been among the hardest hit by a surge in cases. Every day Im waist-deep in death and dying.

In her hospitals intensive care unit, Mrs. McIntosh said, nurses have sometimes cared for twice as many patients. Were being told to take on more than we safely can handle.

Her union, the Service Employees International Union, and another union, National Nurses United, which has a powerful presence in California, have pushed back against the states decision to let hospitals assign nurses more patients during the crisis.

HCA Healthcare, the for-profit hospital chain that owns Riverside, responded that it had recruited additional nurses and was keeping its employees safe.

Health care workers say they have been bitterly disappointed by their employers and government agencies response to the pandemic. Dire staff shortages, inadequate and persistent supplies of protective equipment, limited testing for the virus and pressure to work even if they might be sick have left many workers turning to the unions as their only ally. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 3,300 health care workers nationwide, according to one count.

We wouldnt be alive today if we didnt have the union, said Elizabeth Lalasz, a Chicago public hospital nurse and steward for National Nurses United. The countrys largest union of registered nurses, representing more than 170,000 nationwide, National Nurses was among the first to criticize hospitals lack of preparation and call for more protective equipment, like N95 masks.

Despite the decades-long decline in the labor movement and the small numbers of unionized nurses, labor officials have seized on the pandemic fallout to organize new chapters and pursue contract talks for better conditions and benefits. National Nurses organized seven new bargaining units last year, compared to four in 2019. The S.E.I.U. also says it has seen an uptick in interest.

Nurses across the country from various unions have participated in dozens of strikes and protests. National Nurses held a day of action on Wednesday with demonstrations in more than a dozen states and Washington, D.C., as it starts negotiations at hospitals owned by big systems like HCA, Sutter Health and CommonSpirit Health.

Hospitals claim the unions are playing politics during a public health emergency and say they have no choice but to ask more of their workers. We are in a moment of crisis that weve never seen before, and we need flexibility to care for patients, said Jan Emerson-Shea, a spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association.

At the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, the deaths of two nurses from the virus helped galvanize employees to strike for the first time last fall, said Paul Pater, an emergency room nurse and union official with the Illinois Nurses Association. People really took that to heart, and it really fomented a lot of disdain for the current administration at the hospital.

In their most recent contract, nurses there won provisions ensuring the hospital would hire more staff and keep sufficient supplies of protective equipment, Mr. Pater said. Weve been able to make, honestly, just huge strides in protecting our people.

The hospital did not respond to requests for comment.

Some nurses remain highly skeptical of the unions efforts, and even those who favor organizing acknowledge there are serious limits to what they can accomplish. Im not sure that the union is enough, because it can only take us so far since staffing conditions remain overwhelming, said Mrs. McIntosh, the Riverside nurse.

Many health care workers view vaccines as the beginning of the end of the pandemic. But large numbers especially those who work in nursing homes and outside hospitals, who tend to have higher rates of vaccine hesitancy are refusing to be immunized. During a crisis that disproportionately threatens health care workers of color, one recent analysis found that they are getting vaccinations at rates far below those of their white colleagues.

The unions find themselves treading a fine line between encouraging their members to get vaccinated and protecting them against policies that would force them to do so.

There are still unanswered questions, said Karine Raymond, a nurse at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and a New York State Nurses Association official. The union believes that all nurses should seriously consider being vaccinated, said Ms. Raymond, who would not say whether she personally would accept the vaccine. But, again, its the individuals choice.

The nurses and their unions do want to keep pressuring employers to safeguard workers and patients. Just because a vaccine is rolling out doesnt mean that we can let up on other important protections, said Michelle Mahon, a National Nurses United official, during a Facebook Live event last month.

The past year has created conditions ripe for organizing to address longstanding issues like inadequate wages, benefits and staffing, a problem exacerbated by health care workers falling ill, burning out or retiring early for fear of getting sick. The unions have successfully been able to use the pandemic to rebrand those same conflicts as very urgent safety concerns, said Jennifer Stewart, a senior vice president at Gist Healthcare, a consulting firm that advises hospitals.

They have also shifted many nurses view of their employers, she said. The perceptions and the experiences are being crystallized and starting to be viewed through a certain lens. And I think that lens is very favorable to unions.

At Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., safety concerns created by the pandemic added urgency to the nurses push to join forces with National Nurses United.

Some questioned the unions ability to deliver better working conditions and raised concerns about the union creating divisions within the hospital. A group of 25 Mission nurses signed a letter before the vote saying an outside third party, like the N.N.U., is not the solution.

But last September, 70 percent of nurses approved the union, one of the largest wins at a hospital in the South in decades. Susan Fischer, a Mission nurse who helped lead the organizing drive, called National Nurses United instrumental in helping us find our voice.

She said the union was already proving its worth, pushing management in bargaining talks this month to provide better access to protective equipment and to assign nurses fewer patients.

In a statement, HCA, which owns Mission Hospital, said its highest priority was to protect workers and that the unions were exploiting the situation in an attempt to gain publicity and organize new dues-paying members.

In addition to staging protests and strikes, unions have defended workers who are speaking up against their employers. Some unions have sued hospitals, including one lawsuit against Riverside by the S.E.I.U. Similar cases have been dismissed in court, and HCA called the Riverside suit a publicity stunt.

Industry executives say the unions are unfairly blaming hospitals for the horrors of the pandemic. While some had difficulty providing protective equipment early on, hospitals have done their best to follow government guidelines and to protect workers, said Chip Kahn, the president of the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents for-profit hospitals.

Mr. Kahn said the unions were leveraging the crisis to achieve their agenda of organizing workers. Theyll push whatever pressure points they can to try to force their way into hospitals, because thats what they do.

About 17 percent of nurses and 12 percent of other U.S. health care workers are covered by a union, according to an analysis of government data, and rates of union coverage have remained largely unchanged during the pandemic. The share of hospital workers with union representation has declined from above 22 percent in 1983 to below 15 percent in 2018, reflecting a decades-long decline in organized labor.

Some unions, including the outspoken National Nurses, have often seemed to occupy the fringes of the labor movement. For years it was better known for advocating proposals like Medicare for All, which would replace private insurance with government-run health care, and for enthusiastically backing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for president.

The pandemic, and the unions decision to endorse Joseph R. Biden Jr. after Senator Sanders left the race last year, have tempered that reputation. Mission nurses said that politics was not part of the allure of National Nurses United. Of all the unions we couldve gone to, they had the best track record, Ms. Fischer said.

The Biden presidency may give the unions an opportunity to flex their newfound muscle. Mary Kay Henry, the international president of the S.E.I.U., was among the labor leaders who met virtually with Mr. Biden last year.

In my 40 years of organizing health care workers, I have never experienced a time when people are more willing to take risks and join together to take collective action, Ms. Henry said. Thats a sea change.

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Health Care Unions Find a Voice as the Pandemic Rages - The New York Times

L.A. and Oregon disclosing workplace outbreaks. Most Bay Area health officers wont. Why? – San Francisco Chronicle

Posted: at 11:48 am

Is it safe to go to the grocery store? Why did that restaurant close its doors for a day?

A year after officials identified the first case of the coronavirus in the Bay Area, local health departments mostly arent saying which businesses have seen infections at work. A patchwork of rumor, employee notifications and media reports have taken the place of the systematic reporting seen elsewhere.

The Bay Areas approach stands in stark contrast to Los Angeles County, which has been transparent about workplace outbreaks well before a state law requiring some reports on outbreaks, AB685, took effect on Jan. 1.

Of the 10 local health departments, only one divulged the names of businesses that had seen outbreaks. Some cited policies protecting medical privacy for withholding it. Experts said health officials must balance public safety benefits with the risks of tarnishing businesses reputations or discouraging them from reporting infections.

The backers of AB685 sought to push for more transparency, requiring public reporting by the state health department on coronavirus outbreaks at workplaces by industry. The state health department has not yet made the information available, and it would not give the public the kind of detailed information available in Los Angeles and Oregon, which began a statewide disclosure system in May.

It is unclear whether publicly revealing the specific names and locations of affected businesses and the number of infections, as Los Angeles does, has helped slow the spread of the disease. The pandemic remains more severe in Southern California than in the Bay Area, while Oregon has been one of the best-performing states in fighting the pandemic.

The gravity of the pandemic and the need to share information is an important factor that can help protect the public, an L.A. County Department of Public Health spokesperson said in an email, adding that the county shares outbreak and contact tracing information to protect the public.

A Valley Transportation Agency bus stops to pick up riders on First Street in San Jose in January. The bus drivers union has raised the alarm about infections among their ranks.

L.A. County does not attach dates to its outbreak information, which makes it unclear where the virus is currently circulating.

There are so many confounders, its hard to ascertain what role releasing the data in L.A. County has had, said John Swartzberg, an epidemiologist at UC Berkeley. Theres a lot of noise in the system. I dont know how you would identify that this particular intervention works, and that study would be impossible to do.

But spotlighting businesses with direct interaction with customers could keep people safer, Swartzberg and other health experts said.

The California Department of Public Health would not say what information it is collecting from county departments on coronavirus outbreaks at businesses, or when it will begin publishing the AB685-mandated information on its website. The department does publish data about cases at skilled nursing facilties by county, including business names, which is also available on some local health department websites.

The law doesnt prevent health departments from listing business names as long as they protect sensitive information, like employee names, said Pam Dixon, a privacy expert and executive director at the nonprofit World Privacy Forum. AB685 prohibits the release of personally identifiable information about employees.

Listing outbreaks across the state by industry is the minimum requirement under the new law, Dixon said, and counties could do more if they chose to. Thats the floor and then theres wiggle room above that, she said of the new disclosure requirements.

Oregon limits its weekly workplace outbreak disclosures to ones involving at least five people at sites with at least 30 employees.

In California, reporting outbreaks is largely left up to businesses, with only a few hundred state workplace safety inspectors spread out statewide.

Business groups like the California Chamber of Commerce are worried that even general information about outbreaks could hamper economic recovery.

Any time an industry is labeled as having a COVID-19 outbreak thats not good for business, said Erika Frank, the trade groups general counsel. Industry-specific numbers also dont reflect steps a business has taken to curb the spread of the virus, or whether someone got it at work, Frank added.

Already struggling businesses could face enduring damage to their reputation and revenues if outbreaks, regardless of their cause, become public knowledge, said Rodney Fong, CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Legislation and executive orders signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year expanded a presumption in certain professions that workers infected with the virus got it on the job for workers compensation cases. Without those changes, workers might have struggled to prove where they got infected.

Many frontline workers in food and agriculture work in crowded conditions where social distancing is difficult but also live in cramped housing and share transportation to work, blurring the origins of viral spread. Studies have shown that essential workers passing the virus to one another at work is a significant risk, not just to themselves but their families.

Labor groups and unions have pushed hard for more transparency from employers during the pandemic.

Unions and workers advocated successfully last year for emergency regulations at the states Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. Those rules, which partly overlap with the new law, took effect last year. They require businesses to tell employees about outbreaks, along with creating plans to curb the virus, among other requirements. Regulators can issue fines and citations against companies that do not follow the new requirements. They do not require broad public disclosure, however.

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor also released guidance for businesses on creating infection prevention plans. That guidance is similar to the new California rules but is not binding

Groups including the state chamber opposed the new rules, calling them unclear and a burden on businesses.

Employees may be getting more information about the virus at work, but the public is still largely in the dark about outbreaks at businesses.

Only one Bay Area county, Contra Costa, released information on workplace coronavirus outbreaks to The Chronicle on request. That list showed almost 70 businesses with confirmed ongoing outbreaks as of Jan. 22. Fewer than 20% of recorded virus exposures happened in the workplace, according to an email from a county spokesman. Gatherings at homes or elsewhere made up about 70% of exposures while 10-15% happened at long-term care facilities.

Other health agencies declined to release names of businesses, offering varying justifications that some experts said did not always stand up to legal or logical scrutiny.

San Francisco said it does not provide public data on workplace infections.

Due to asymptomatic transmission and incomplete data, providing this sort of data could mislead the public, a spokesperson said.

Santa Clara County said it did not have workplace outbreak information to share and could not explain how it planned to comply with the new law requiring them to collect that information.

Napa County said that that since Jan. 1 there have been eight workplace-associated outbreaks reported affecting 34 workers, but declined to provide specifics, including the industry breakdown required by AB685.

Alameda County claimed HIPAA, a federal medical-privacy law, limited what they could disclose. Dixon, the privacy expert, said that law likely did not apply to the situation.

Solano County specified outbreaks at nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities but declined to provide names, citing ongoing health investigations. Officials said the responsibility of notifying employees about positive cases at work rests with employers.

Sonoma County declined to provide the names of businesses that had experienced outbreaks.

Laine Hendricks, a spokesperson for Marin County, said it was not required to by law to disclose detailed information and chose not to release it. Marin has seen at least 54 workplace coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic, she said, and nearly 1,400 employees who tested positive for the coronavirus have been referred for investigation to the county.

San Mateo County did not respond to requests seeking comment.

Berkeley, which has its own health department, tracks and investigates workplace outbreaks and cases, but does not disclose business names. Our primary goal for public health information has been to notify the public when there is actionable information that can protect public health and save lives, City Communications Director Matthai Chakko said in an email. We have publicized incidents, such as measles, when that information can help the public take action, he added.

Outing and punishing companies that knowingly and negligently put their workers, and by connection the public, at risk of infection could be a more effective approach than the blanket disclosure practiced in L.A., said Dr. John Balmes, a professor at UC Berkeley and UCSF and a workplace health expert.

He pointed to meatpacking plants that allowed the virus to run rampant through cramped facilities in California and elsewhere in the U.S. as examples of businesses the public should be made aware of.

The lack of a centralized approach to releasing and acting on such information posed public health risks, he added.

Grocery store outbreaks could also be crucial information for people in deciding where to shop, said Swartzberg, the epidemiologist. But even then, more information would be necessary, like how many workers were affected. What if only a single employee got sick, and they got infected at home? Swartzberg said he could see businesses viewing disclosure in such cases as unfair.

He pointed out that health departments disclose other health and safety violations: I certainly appreciate public health announcements of salmonella outbreaks or rats at restaurants.

Health departments are trying to thread a needle between doing everything they can to protect the public but at the same time, trying not to harm businesses that are hanging on by their fingernails, he said.

Chase DiFeliciantonio and Shwanika Narayan are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: chase.difeliciantonio@sfchronicle.com, shwanika.narayan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ChaseDiFelice, @Shwanika Narayan

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L.A. and Oregon disclosing workplace outbreaks. Most Bay Area health officers wont. Why? - San Francisco Chronicle

Portland healthcare institutions work to build trust with BLM – Modern Healthcare

Posted: at 11:48 am

In 2020, Portland reported the most incidents of police brutality across the nation since the start of demonstrations in May, with nearly three times as many reports compared with second-place New York City, according to 2020PoliceBrutality, an open-source project that tracks officer violence in the U.S. Even as loud activists demanded institutional change, wildfires burned across Oregon and the COVID-19 pandemic raged, with both factors disproportionately impacting minority communities.

In September 2020, wildfire smoke created the most hazardous air quality conditions the Portland area had ever experienced, resulting in an 88% surge in visits to hospitals and emergency departments by patients with asthma-like symptoms during this time.

The trifecta of emergencies has magnified the need for culturally sensitive providers conscious of the social determinants of health in the city. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, healthcare providers are rethinking how they connect with the community.

As much of a dumpster fire and awful as 2020 was, it also taught me a lot about the power of mutual aid, Krieger said. Ive never been so excited to be in street medicine and street mental health. It feels like theres possibility here.

The EWOKs represent the only street medic teams in the city integrating physical and mental health services, according to Krieger, who works as a crisis therapist and supervisor at a local not-for-profit. But the city is aiming to implement a similar service.

In June 2020, the Portland City Council voted to direct $4.8 million from the police budget to a program called Portland Street Response, which will send trained mental health providers to certain 911 calls instead of law enforcement officers.

By tending to the full spectrum of a persons health, officials hope to bridge racial health inequities in the city, said Sam Diaz, a senior policy adviser in Portland Mayor Ted Wheelers office.

In 2014, a report by Portland State University and the not-for-profit Coalition of Communities of Color found that Black families lag behind whites in the area in health outcomes and law enforcement engagement, like many areas across the country. In these instances, hospitals and healthcare systems often pay for much of the cost of treatment. A 2020 study by the American College of Surgeons found that gunshot wounds cost the U.S. healthcare system $170 billion a year, with hospitals spending $16 billion on operations alone to care for patients.

In Portland, between 2003 and 2007, Blacks were more than six times as likely to die by homicide and twice as likely to die from diabetes as whites, according to the report. Black residents in Multnomah County, where Portland is located, were more than three times as likely to be represented in the criminal justice system than the population as a whole, according to the analysis. In 2019, the countys Black residents had an average annual income of $46,500, while whites income averaged upwards of $80,000, according to U.S. Census data.

This isnt new, Diaz said. We have report after report after report showing us the data, and it continues to be unacceptable.

Portland healthcare institutions work to build trust with BLM - Modern Healthcare

Enrollment in New Jersey’s Health Care Marketplace Extended to May 15 – TAPinto.net

Posted: at 11:48 am

TRENTON, NJ Uninsured New Jerseyans now have until May 15 to sign up for health care coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the states official health insurance marketplace.

Gov. Phil Murphy extended the deadline, which was expected to end on January 31, after the Biden administration earlier this week reopened enrollment on the federal Affordable Care Act exchange amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents can enroll in a health insurance plan through the marketplace or directly from carriers through this extended COVID-19 special enrollment period by visiting Get Covered New Jersey.

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Although residents are still encouraged to sign up by January 31 in order to have coverage in effect on February 1 providing the maximum benefit of health coverage for 2021 here are the coverage effective dates under the enrollment extension:

We want to ensure that New Jerseyans have the coverage they need to see a doctor when they are sick, but also to get the preventive care that is so vital to their long-term health,said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride.Keeping open the enrollment window for those who are uninsured will give residents the chance to choose a plan now, instead of having to wait until next year to get covered. Especially during a public health emergency, this extension is crucial to protecting our residents health.

Get Covered New Jersey is the only place where residents can apply for financial help to lower the cost of monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health insurance. To get free help choosing a plan, go toFind Local Assistanceon the Get Covered New Jersey website.

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is the official electronic newspaper of both municipalities. As a locally owned and operated news organization, TAPinto through its advertisers is able to publish online, objective news 24/7free ofcharge.

Sign up for its free dailye-News,and follow it onFacebook. Download the free TAPinto App:Click here for Android-Click here for iOSto get news as it is happening.

Have a news tip or a story idea? Email editor and publisher Cathy Goetz atcgoetz@tapinto.net.

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Enrollment in New Jersey's Health Care Marketplace Extended to May 15 - TAPinto.net

Mental well-being linked to better cardiovascular and overall health – Medical News Today

Posted: at 11:48 am

In 2019, National Institute of Mental Health data suggested that nearly 51.5 million adults in the United States had some form of mental health condition.

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that by late June 2020, 40% of adults had a mental health condition or substance use disorder.

Even when doctors do an excellent job of focusing on their patients physical condition, they can sometimes unwittingly overlook psychological health.

Nonetheless, healthcare professionals are increasingly acknowledging the connection between mental health and physical well-being. This could lead to more effective treatment and prevention strategies that focus on the patient as a whole.

To address this issue, the AHA in conjunction with the Council on Clinical Cardiology, the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, and the Council on Lifestyle and Metabolic Health published a scientific statement in the journal Circulation.

This statement is an evaluation and summary of 128 studies relating to the association between psychological wellness and cardiovascular health.

The statements authors began their investigation by looking at negative psychological health and its connection to cardiovascular disease. This included looking at research into chronic and traumatic stress, anger and hostility, anxiety, depression, and pessimism.

The overall data analysis showed an increase in heart rate irregularities, blood pressure readings, inflammatory markers, and reduced blood flow to the heart associated with the above traits or with mental health conditions.

People with mental health conditions or related traits were also more likely to have cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and weight-related issues.

Additionally, the authors found that these individuals were more likely to engage in behaviors that affect health, such as smoking, being inactive, eating an unhealthful diet, and not taking medications as prescribed.

The AHA team also reviewed a number of studies into how positive psychological factors affect cardiovascular health.

Study participants who reported greater optimism, sense of purpose, happiness, mindfulness, life satisfaction, emotional vitality, well-being and gratitude, and resilience were less likely to experience stroke and cardiovascular disease, and they had a lower risk of mortality.

Specifically, people who reported a positive mental health status were more likely to have lower blood pressure, better glucose control, less inflammation, and lower cholesterol.

In general, the mentally healthy study participants were more likely to engage in beneficial behaviors, such as having higher levels of physical activity, adopting heart-healthy eating habits, adhering to medication schedules, regularly visiting the doctor, and not smoking.

Data analysts also investigated how interventions for psychological conditions or symptoms impacted cardiovascular and general wellness outcomes.

The review team looked at research into interventions used to reduce stress, promote coping skills, or cultivate positive psychological well-being.

They found that, in the studies they reviewed, engagement in psychological therapy and mind-body programs led to better cardiovascular health and overall wellness.

Effective psychological health programs include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, collaborative care management approaches, stress reduction therapy, and meditation.

Dr. Glenn N. Levine, chair of the writing committee and a professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, summarizes the teams findings, saying: Wellness is more than simply the absence of disease. It is an active process directed toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life, and we must strive to reduce negative aspects of psychological health and promote an overall positive and healthy state of being.

In patients with or at risk for heart disease, healthcare professionals need to address the mental wellness of the patient in tandem with the physical conditions affecting the body, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, chest pain, etc.

Dr. Glenn N. Levine

Because many of the studies the team analyzed were observational and relied heavily on self-reporting, it is difficult to establish specific cause-and-effect relationships.

However, because of the sheer volume of study data that reflects an association between adverse psychological health and cardiovascular risk, the authors say that this is enough to suggest a tangible connection between the mind, heart, and body.

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Mental well-being linked to better cardiovascular and overall health - Medical News Today

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