Closing the Health Gap http://closingthehealthgap.org Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:19:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 2017 Election, Defining Moment for Political Power in the Black Community; 8/9/17 http://closingthehealthgap.org/2017-election-defining-moment-political-power-black-community-8917/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/2017-election-defining-moment-political-power-black-community-8917/#comments Wed, 09 Aug 2017 19:58:49 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6803

 

2017 Election, Defining Moment for Political Power in the Black Community

 

Already, there is much excitement regarding the Mayor and City Council races.  With the departure of Councilmembers Winburn, Flynn, and Simpson, there is a large number of candidates seeking seats on the Council.   What is very critical to watch is the vacating of the of two seats held by two black members of city council, and if those seats are a loss, it could set back the black community to the days of the seventies ...

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2017 Election, Defining Moment for Political Power in the Black Community

 

Already, there is much excitement regarding the Mayor and City Council races.  With the departure of Councilmembers Winburn, Flynn, and Simpson, there is a large number of candidates seeking seats on the Council.   What is very critical to watch is the vacating of the of two seats held by two black members of city council, and if those seats are a loss, it could set back the black community to the days of the seventies when only two blacks served on City Council.

 

Since 1995, city council had four blacks out of nine members and twenty years later, it hasn’t picked up another seat which would give it majority representation on the council. However, unless the black community begins to see what is at stake here, it may have only two blacks on council notwithstanding a black population of fifty percent.  So far, Kelli Prather, Lesley Jones, Tamaya Dennard, Ozie Davis III, and BJ Odom are first time candidates.  For the most part, these black candidates have their work cut out, and some political watchers see very little chance for them to win a seat.

 

Meanwhile, Greg Landsman, Brain Garry, Laure Quinlivan, Michelle Dillingham, and Derek Bauman are council candidates running but are white.  Landsman and Quinlivan are the greatest threat to the black community regarding the possible loss of those seats held by Winburn and Simpson.  Quinlivan’s defeat last election was by two hundred votes and no doubt will raise the kind of money needed to wage a successful campaign.  She has substantial name recognition and will be formidable.  Landsman finished right behind her and has already a boatload of money.  Landsman has used pre-school promise as his entry into the black community.  He’s made no secret about targeting the black community with a program on black radio for three years and a well-funded campaign under weigh. Michelle Dillingham finished twelfth and also will be a strong competitor for the vacant seats.

 

Lastly, there are an unusual number of black candidates whose names are not mentioned at this time.  Of course, having such a large number of black candidates can deplete the resources and voting strategy that is necessary for the black community to have fair representation on city council.  White candidates overwhelmingly raise more money than the average black candidate and the white community historically votes for the majority of white candidates. On the other hand, black voters have always voted disproportionally more for white candidates.  Councilmember Smitherman has spoken much about the need for bullet voting, and I agree with him.  With the black community being over fifty percent, the question remains whether we will break the glass ceiling of being a minority on the city council to a majority or will we lose the Winburn and Simpson seats setting the black community back over forty years of political progress.

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Black in America Press Release; 7.25.17 http://closingthehealthgap.org/black-america-press-release-7-25-17/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/black-america-press-release-7-25-17/#comments Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:22:15 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6793

Black In America Press Release

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Black In America Press Release

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Friday, July 28 marks World Hepatitis Day, a global disease-awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization http://closingthehealthgap.org/friday-july-28-marks-world-hepatitis-day-global-disease-awareness-day-sponsored-world-health-organization/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/friday-july-28-marks-world-hepatitis-day-global-disease-awareness-day-sponsored-world-health-organization/#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:40:41 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6778

 

Friday, July 28 marks World Hepatitis Day, a global disease-awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, usually because of a virus, may also be caused by heavy drinking and drugs. Many people infected with a hepatitis virus do not know they have it until long after they are exposed. This can happen anytime between 2 weeks and 6 months after being infected. Affected people can then go a long time developing severe liver disease, and they can pass ...

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Friday, July 28 marks World Hepatitis Day, a global disease-awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, usually because of a virus, may also be caused by heavy drinking and drugs. Many people infected with a hepatitis virus do not know they have it until long after they are exposed. This can happen anytime between 2 weeks and 6 months after being infected. Affected people can then go a long time developing severe liver disease, and they can pass the disease to other people without knowing it.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C occur the most frequently, and they both can lead to severe, life-long conditions, such as liver cancer. Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread when blood of an infected person comes into contact with a non-infected person’s blood. Hepatitis B can also be spread by contact with semen and saliva of an infected person. Sharing needles and syringes is one of the most common ways that hepatitis B and C can be spread.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, belly pain, dark urine, grey stool (poop), joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing skin). There is no medication available to treat hepatitis B, but infected people can be monitored by their doctors to manage their liver disease. Vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B. Antiviral medicine has been shown to be effective in treating, and even curing, hepatitis C. Monitoring liver disease progression is also important for hepatitis C patients.

According to the World Hepatitis Day website, the closest WHD event is in Ottawa, Canada. You feel like celebrating in Cincinnati instead, WHD is started a photo campaign to increase awareness to eliminate hepatitis. This campaign, #ShowYourFace, is a selfie campaign to help put a human face and message to stopping the spread of viral hepatitis.

First, google World Health Day and go to the #ShowYourFace selfie tool (under “Get Involved” tab). Next, take a selfie. And add an “I AM” statement, a personal message that explains why you want hepatitis to be eliminated. After you hit “Submit”, your photo and message will be placed in a gallery, and you will be free to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your other favorite social media platform. Then, encourage your loved ones to participate, too.

If you experience hepatitis symptoms or you believe you were exposed to viral hepatitis, talk to your doctor about possible treatment plans.

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/abc/index.htm

http://www.worldhepatitisday.info/en

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Most American children do not drink enough water, which is especially risky in the hot and humidity of summer; 7/20/17 http://closingthehealthgap.org/american-children-drink-enough-water-especially-risky-hot-humidity-summer-72017/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/american-children-drink-enough-water-especially-risky-hot-humidity-summer-72017/#comments Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:22:23 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6790

 

Most American children do not drink enough water, which is especially risky in the hot and humidity of summer. According to the Institute of Medicine, children ages 4-8 should drink 2 quarts a day, teenage boys should drink 3.5 quarts a day, and teenage girls should drink 2.4 quarts a day. This is because children are more likely to overheat than adults because of their developing sweating mechanisms; kids may be sweating out all of the water in their bodies, so they need water to ...

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Most American children do not drink enough water, which is especially risky in the hot and humidity of summer. According to the Institute of Medicine, children ages 4-8 should drink 2 quarts a day, teenage boys should drink 3.5 quarts a day, and teenage girls should drink 2.4 quarts a day. This is because children are more likely to overheat than adults because of their developing sweating mechanisms; kids may be sweating out all of the water in their bodies, so they need water to keep up for all the fluid they may lose from being in the heat.

One study suggests that most American children are dehydrated. Dr. Patrice Evans from Tulane University School of Medicine says that decreased times a child urinates is a telltale sign of urination. She suggests that parents check if their child is peeing every four to five hours. She also says that signs of urination include darker urine, chapped lips, headache, and a fast heart rate. Even a child’s attitude may be a sign of dehydration, like a child who was previously playing happily who suddenly just wants to sit.

It is important for parents, caregivers, coaches, and camp counselors are making sure that children are drinking enough. According to Dr. Kelsey Logan from Cincinnati Children’s, kids will drink water when it is available to them, and plenty of it. It is also important to schedule water breaks during sports practices or outside play time. This is because kids may become so focused in playing that they would forget to drink on their own. Putting water in a favorite sippy cup is also a useful tool for encouragement.

If it is still difficult for your child to drink water, experts allow for any fluids to count toward your child’s daily fluid intake. These all contain water, so it contributes to the daily intake. Although water is the preferred and healthiest options, children can receive their daily fluid intake from fresh fruit such as watermelon, milk, juice, and popsicles. Be sure to avoid energy drinks because their high levels of caffeine, which may lead to dehydration down the line, as well as changing sleep patterns. Sports drinks are also very high in sugar, which may lead to obesity and tooth decay.

As the days only getter hotter and more humid, make frequent checks that your child is drinking enough water, or find creative and healthy ways to make sure they are properly hydrated.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/05/31/136722667/pediatricians-warn-against-energy-and-sports-drinks-for-kids

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/05/31/136722667/pediatricians-warn-against-energy-and-sports-drinks-for-kids

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March for Racial Justice; 9/23/17 http://closingthehealthgap.org/march-racial-justice-82317/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/march-racial-justice-82317/#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:32:33 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6730

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March Mailer - Front

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STATEMENT FROM DWIGHT TILLERY, CENTER FOR CLOSING THE HEALTH GAP May 19, 2017 http://closingthehealthgap.org/statement-dwight-tillery-center-closing-health-gap-may-19-2017/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/statement-dwight-tillery-center-closing-health-gap-may-19-2017/#comments Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:17:23 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6707

 

The City of Cincinnati has released the findings from its compliance audit of the Center for Closing the Health Gap. Despite the unfair and unbalanced media reporting by the Cincinnati Enquirer and WCPO, the findings confirm what the Health Gap has contended all along: that while improvements may be required in the City’s internal administration of contracts with human service agencies, the Health Gap was in compliance with City processes that have been in place over the past five years.

Throughout the life of our contract ...

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The City of Cincinnati has released the findings from its compliance audit of the Center for Closing the Health Gap. Despite the unfair and unbalanced media reporting by the Cincinnati Enquirer and WCPO, the findings confirm what the Health Gap has contended all along: that while improvements may be required in the City’s internal administration of contracts with human service agencies, the Health Gap was in compliance with City processes that have been in place over the past five years.

Throughout the life of our contract with the City, the Health Gap has always abided by the City’s requirements and processes, and we will continue to do so. If more specific language and performance measures are requested as part of the City’s revamped internal review process, than we are more than pleased to comply.

My team and I have spent the past thirteen years dealing with the most difficult health issues affecting our most vulnerable populations and specifically the black community. By its nature, the issue of Health Disparities is among the most challenging we face as a society – not just for Cincinnati but for the entire nation – because of its complexity and because of the long list of social determinates that create it. Instead of simple band-aids that address only the symptoms, we’re doing the hard work of addressing the root causes. Like any worthy effort, that takes time and it takes people and it takes money.

Since our launch, several of Cincinnati’s major hospitals have funded the Health Gap and served on our board. They have contributed almost 18 million dollars because they believe in our work, and they continue to do so. They know firsthand the depth of our healthcare problem – they scrutinize our programs to justify the money they provide – and they continue to support us year in and year out. Like these trusted hospital partners, the City of Cincinnati has continued to understand the value of our work and support the decision to invest in it, year in and year out. Even in the midst of this audit, the City Manager has placed the Health Gap in the City’s 2018-19 budget at a level of $750,000. Like with previous taxpayer dollars, that investment in the Health Gap will yield an extraordinary return in the improved health and well-being of our urban residents.

Despite a legion of corporate, civic and government supporters and neighborhoods filled with people and families who have been positively impacted by our work, some local media outlets continue to focus on misleading language and facts that suggest wrongdoing. Yes, a significant portion of our budget goes to staff salaries. We are a service organization, after all. Yes, we pay contractors to assist us with fundamental marketing, promotion and infrastructure services. I can’t think of a single non-profit that doesn’t invest in those important things. Yes, we recognize a minor oversight on an invoiced program that amounted to less than one percent of our annual budget. We proactively worked to correct it.

It’s important to note the differences in media reporting of the Health Gap audit and the currently pending audit of another local non-profit. The Health Gap audit was called an “investigation” and it was repeatedly suggested that Health Gap spending was irresponsible if not illegal. When City Manager Black was asked for comment on the Health Gap audit findings, his remarks that the Health Gap was not at fault never found their way into the coverage. For the other non-profit, meanwhile, the reporting says it’s simply an “audit.” The organization’s spending on marketing, public relations and staff salaries was never questioned. Mr. Black’s positive sentiment about the organization’s “forthrightness” was front-and-center in the reporting. All of this despite the fact that its executive director was placed on administrative leave.

Why the ongoing, unnecessary, biased attacks on the Health Gap? Why are articles printed without an invitation to us for comment? Why are the thousands of people who directly benefit from our work never asked for their perspective? The reporters didn’t want those stories to interfere with the story they wanted to tell. But our impact stories are worth telling all the same. Here are a few:

The Health Gap’s Annual Health Expo has reached nearly 100,000 individuals since 2003. Nearly 30,000 health screenings have been conducted – 38% of which were for individuals who had not received a health check in past three years. More than 3,400 volunteers have supported this event and help to make it a success year after year. We have a stack of letters and emails that document the impact. People whose lives have been changed and saved because of the Expo and the chance it gave them to receive healthcare they couldn’t have received anywhere else in our community.

  •  There’s our Do Right! Campaign in Mt. Auburn, where we’re working directly with residents to help them change their lifestyles with a focus on physical activity and healthier eating. We’ve served almost 20,000 participants since 2008.

 

  • We’re working to address Food Deserts in Cincinnati’s most impacted neighborhoods. These areas where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain is an epidemic with no easy solutions. But take away what the Health Gap is doing through the Cincinnati Fresh Food Retail Financing Fund and the City of Cincinnati Food Access Task Force and there would be nothing for the thousands of residents in our urban core who struggle daily.

 

  • There’s our Hands Helping Hands program and our Community Health University to equip individuals with the tools to navigate and utilize the health care system efficiently.

 

I’m proud of the work we do every day, proud of the community leaders who continue to support and fund us, proud of the residents who use our programs to take back control of their health. There is no secret recipe to cure the root causes of ethnic health disparities and a system that’s been broken for decades. But the Health Gap is using every tool at our disposal. The impact is real and it’s all around us. And we’ll continue to work hard to make a difference no matter the obstacles.

 

Dwight Tillery

Center for Closing the Health Gap

 

 

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14th Annual Health Expo Pictures http://closingthehealthgap.org/14th-annual-health-expo-pictures/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/14th-annual-health-expo-pictures/#comments Wed, 14 Jun 2017 19:34:16 +0000 Ava Jones http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6698

Thank to everyone that attended the 14th Annual Health Expo.  Here a couple of pictures with more to come.

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Thank to everyone that attended the 14th Annual Health Expo.  Here a couple of pictures with more to come.

IMG_0332_edited-1IMG_0388_edited-1IMG_0488_edited-1IMG_0515_edited-1IMG_0538_edited-1

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Indigent Care Levy Hearing; Monday, June 12th http://closingthehealthgap.org/indigent-care-levy-hearing-monday-june-12th/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/indigent-care-levy-hearing-monday-june-12th/#comments Fri, 09 Jun 2017 13:24:31 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6726

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Tax Levy Social Media Post

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Despite lower numbers of black women diagnosed with breast cancer, African American women have breast cancer mortality rates that are 41 percent higher than their white counterparts 6/3/17 http://closingthehealthgap.org/despite-lower-numbers-black-women-diagnosed-breast-cancer-african-american-women-breast-cancer-mortality-rates-41-percent-higher-white-counterparts-6317/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/despite-lower-numbers-black-women-diagnosed-breast-cancer-african-american-women-breast-cancer-mortality-rates-41-percent-higher-white-counterparts-6317/#comments Sat, 03 Jun 2017 19:34:48 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6721

Despite lower numbers of black women diagnosed with breast cancer, African American women have breast cancer mortality rates that are 41 percent higher than their white counterparts. Additionally, black women are often diagnosed with breast cancer at later stages, sometimes with more aggressive forms of cancer, and at younger ages. Breast health advocates from the Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise are fundraising and creating projects such as bringing mobile and free mammograms to low income neighborhoods to help combat barriers to timely diagnoses and ...

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Despite lower numbers of black women diagnosed with breast cancer, African American women have breast cancer mortality rates that are 41 percent higher than their white counterparts. Additionally, black women are often diagnosed with breast cancer at later stages, sometimes with more aggressive forms of cancer, and at younger ages. Breast health advocates from the Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise are fundraising and creating projects such as bringing mobile and free mammograms to low income neighborhoods to help combat barriers to timely diagnoses and care.

“Breast Health Advocates Focus in Disparities among African American Women” https://lasentinel.net/breast-health-advocates-focus-on-disparities-among-african-american-women.html

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According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate for African Americans is on the decline, yet life expectancy for blacks is still nearly four years less than whites 6/2/17 http://closingthehealthgap.org/according-new-report-centers-disease-control-prevention-death-rate-african-americans-decline-yet-life-expectancy-blacks-still-nearly-four-years-less-th/ http://closingthehealthgap.org/according-new-report-centers-disease-control-prevention-death-rate-african-americans-decline-yet-life-expectancy-blacks-still-nearly-four-years-less-th/#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 19:31:05 +0000 Matt Vander Laan http://closingthehealthgap.org/?p=6718

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate for African Americans is on the decline, yet life expectancy for blacks is still nearly four years less than whites. Furthermore, blacks in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. One positive finding from the report is the 80 percent decline in HIV related deaths among ...

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According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate for African Americans is on the decline, yet life expectancy for blacks is still nearly four years less than whites. Furthermore, blacks in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. One positive finding from the report is the 80 percent decline in HIV related deaths among blacks ages 18 to 49. These findings come with numerous policy and practice recommendations for public health professionals, community organizations, the federal government, and healthcare providers, which include monitoring and addressing health conditions that disproportionately affect black Americans, conducting intervention programs, and collaborating with primary care physicians.

“Despite Narrowing Gap, Racial Health Disparities Remain” http://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20170509mmwr-healthdispar.html

“African American Health—Creating equal opportunities for health” https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aahealth/

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