January-February Newsletter

FCC Completes Rural Health Care Pilot Program, Launches Healthcare Connect Fund

The Federal Communications Commission recently concluded a three-year Rural Health Care Pilot Program that provided “funding for state or regional broadband networks designed to bring the benefits of telehealth and telemedicine services to areas of the country where the need for those benefits was most acute.” Building on the successes and lessons learned from the pilot, the FCC announced the new Healthcare Connect Fund in late 2012. From http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/article/integrating-telehealth-and-ehr?page=2

According to the FCC, the Healthcare Connect Fund will provide up to $400 million “to create and expand telemedicine networks” and “increase access to medical specialists.” Broadband services and equipment, as well as network facilities, are eligible for coverage by the Fund. Individual rural public and non-profit health care providers and consortia of rural and non-rural health care providers (wherein more than 50% of consortia members are rural providers) are encouraged to apply for funding starting this summer.

Mixed News in the Battle Against Diabetes

Tuesday, March 26th is Diabetes Alert Day, “a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated” according to the National Diabetes Education Program. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 26 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million have prediabetes.  Rates of diabetes and complications from diabetes remain particularly high among Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic Blacks.

The National Diabetes Education Program recommends that individuals properly manage their diabetes by meeting individualized goals for A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, which are referred to as the ABCs of diabetes.  Proper diabetes management reces an individual’s risk for complications such as heart disease, amputation, and blindness.

Using the most recent data from NHANES, researchers found that each ABC goal was met by over half of the diabetes patients surveyed; 19% of patients met all three ABC goals.  These numbers are a significant improvement from earlier studies from 1988-1994. 

Despite this improvement among the general population, the researchers noted substantially lower ABC attainment levels among Mexican-Americans and young people (ages 20-49).  Public health practitioners should reach out to these groups in particular to reduce disparities in diabetes care and management.  For more information, click here.

Heart Health Resources for Women

Looking for Spanish-language heart health resources for women? The Office of Women’s Health released their “Haga La Llamada, ¡No Pierda Tiempo!” campaign earlier this month.  Designed for women 50 years of age and older, the campaign “aims to educate and empower Spanish-speaking women to call 9-1-1 when they experience any of the seven symptoms of a heart attack and to do the same for their mothers, sisters and friends.”

According to recent surveys by the American Heart Association, fewer than half of Latino women know the major signs and symptoms of a heart attack, which include chest pain and shortness of breath.  At the same time, 40% of Latina women have two or more heart attack risk factors, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and funded by HHS.

You can also check out the English-language version of the campaign, “Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat!”

Upcoming Events

25th Annual Arizona Indian Council on Aging Conference
: April 15-18, 2013
Presented by: Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.
Location: Talking Stick Resort and Spa, Scottsdale, AZ
Details: early registration available until March 1, 2013
Contact: Lee Begay, (602) 258-4822, lee.begay@itcaonline.com
Click here for more information.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps 101 – Webinar
Date: Tuesday, March 12, 12:00-1:00pm
Presented by: County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Location: Webinar
Details: Click here to register.

The Rural Policy Leadership Institute
: April 8th – April 10th, 2013
Presented by: Rural People, Rural Policy
Location: Double Tree Hotel, Dallas, TX
Details: on-line registration is now available
Contact: RPLI@ruralxchange.net
Click here for more information.

Women's Mental Health Symposium
Dates: April 27th, 2013
Presented by: Department of Psychiatry, The University of Arizona College of Medicine
Location: Westin La Paloma, Tucson, AZ
Details: on-line registration is now available
Click here for more information.

36th Annual Rural Health Conference
Dates: May 7-10, 2013
Presented by: National Rural Health Association
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Details: on-line registration is now available
Click here for more information.

Funding Opportunities

Dollar General Family Literacy Grants
: February 28, 2013
Purpose: to provide funding to family literacy service providers; Dollar General believes learning to read, receiving your GED or learning the English language is an investment that opens doorways for personal, professional, and economic growth
Amount: $15,000
Click here for more information.

Statewide Consumer Network Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
: March 8, 2013
Purpose: to enhance statewide consumer-run organizations to promote service system capacity and infrastructure development that is recovery-focused and resiliency-oriented. For the purposes of this funding opportunity, this program seeks to promote activities related to wellness, integrated care, health care reform, and trauma-informed care.
Amount: Up to $70,000 per year
Click here for more information

Wells Fargo Corporate Giving Program
: Ongoing
Purpose: Wells Fargo supports Arizona non-profits that that support low- and moderate-income individuals through community development, education, or health and human services.
Amount: Unspecified
Click here for more information.

Editor’s Note

The Arizona Rural Women’s Health Initiative (AzRWHI) is a project of the Center for Rural Health at The University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Jennifer Peters, Coordinator, (520) 626-2254, petersjs@u.arizona.edu

Jessica Hersh-Ballering, Graduate Assistant, hershballering@email.arizona.edu