Posts tagged with "health care"

Health clipboard graphic via Rita Azar for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Propel × BDHEA

The Propel Center, the global HBCU innovation and learning hub intended to level the playing field and open greater doors of opportunity for their students, announced the creation and launch of its Propel-BDHEA internships, a national program focused on select HBCU and other African American students interested in pursuing medical and related healthcare careers.

The internship partnership will reimagine health equity and advance the goal of the Black Directors Health Equity Agenda (BDHEA) to foster collaboration among top health systems. BDHEA programs address the social determinants of health, provide best practices, ensure equitable access to care and advocate for long-term, meaningful healthcare policies impacting Black people and other communities of color. BDHEA unites healthcare leaders in efforts to diversify their organizations and achieve long-term health equity. INROADS, Inc. will execute the program.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. will have up to 122,000 unfilled posts for physicians by 2032. This skills shortage in the medical profession is even more alarming as it relates to future healthcare professionals of color: Only 7.3% of those enrolled in medical schools in 2020 identified as Black or African American. “The Propel-BDHEA internship program addresses the urgent need to recruit and train Black healthcare professionals and to give them pathways to leadership in our nation’s top healthcare organizations,” said Michele Richardson, BDHEA board member and executive sponsor. “HBCU students are an incredible source of talent who can help bring quality care to under-resourced urban and rural areas, improving access to care and patient outcomes. The intensive Propel-BDHEA program cultivates the leadership skills that will magnify their impact on healthcare organizations and communities of color.” 

“We recognize that representation must be more reflective of the populations being served to bring about real, long term systemic change addressing these health disparities,” Propel Chief Development Officer Julie Sills Molock states, adding that “increasing the numbers of Black physicians is not only about diversity and inclusion; it’s also about establishing greater patient access to doctors with whom they can confide in, connect with culturally, trust and build a better overall patient-provider rapport. This ultimately leads to more preventive care and healthier African American communities, but it starts with initiatives like this collaborative internship with our phenomenal partners.”

INROADS has a proven, 50-year history of preparing young people from underrepresented communities for success in business and STEM careers,” shared Forest T. Harper, Jr., president and CEO of INROADS, Inc. “We know well that career disparities start with a lack of internship opportunities for African American students—with only six percent of paid internships going to them. We’re committed to our exciting new collaboration with Propel and BDHEA to address these disparities and are especially pleased to be a channel for providing the resources and expertise to execute this invaluable initiative. Our goal here is clear: To prepare and convert more African American students into healthcare professionals who can excel and make an impact in the communities they serve.”

With the guidance of INROADS, Propel and BDHEA will secure a total of 100 students for the internships, which are open to collegians and will serve as a unique opportunity for immersion, focused clinical study, leadership access and exposure that the partners believe will accelerate early talent development and help advance the nation’s diverse medical pool and workforce of tomorrow.

The selected interns will engage in innovative, work-based learning experiences, research opportunities with R&D-focused institutions, augmented academic coursework and mentoring. These future healthcare professionals will additionally benefit from unprecedented access to Propel, BDHEA and INROADS’ corporate partners and senior advisors, as well as select medical schools in collaboration with the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative (AUC) and specific HBCU medical and pre-med programs, while working on emerging medical health technology projects. 

Propel and BDHEA’s joint vision and commitment to health equity will ensure that all HBCU students have the access and ability necessary to achieve their full healthcare career potential. The partners emphasize that the most effective pathway toward eliminating persistent health disparities mandates leveraging data-informed strategies to help create a society where neither race nor poverty determines health or overall life outcomes.

Prime areas of focus for the new national internship program will include infant and maternal health, internal medicine, preventive and health equity, clinical algorithms, data science, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, app development, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and more. To apply or find out more, interested students may click HERE. The application period is currently open, and all applications are due by May 1, 2022. The selected interns will be announced and matched to internships in May of 2022. Employers willing to sponsor interns may contact the BDHEA HERE.

About the Propel Center

Supported by founding partners Apple and Southern Company, the Propel Center is a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the entire HBCU community that will serve as a catalytic epicenter of learning, providing students with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources necessary to transform the nation’s talent pipeline and workforce. Through a robust virtual platform, on-campus activities at partner institutions and a physical campus located in the Atlanta University Center, Propel will offer innovative curricula and unprecedented leadership opportunities to HBCUs across the nation in an effort to produce the next generation of capable and conscientious Black leaders.

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New Act May Worsen Staffing Crisis

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, said that two provisions in the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) will have a devastating impact on nursing homes and could force thousands more facilities to further limit admissions or possibly close their doors.

The provisions, one that would require nursing homes to have a registered nurse (RN) on-staff 24 hours a day and another that would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a study on minimum staffing ratios and implement the regulations within one year, are unfunded mandates that conservatively, would cost the nursing homes industry billions of dollars a year and require hiring more than 150,000 new caregivers. 

“We strongly support having a RN on staff in nursing homes 24 hours a day, as we originally proposed in our reform agenda earlier this year. However, current data shows that the nursing homes are facing the worst job loss among all health care providers. We’ve lost 221,000 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, and recovery is a long way away. Nursing home providers are doing all they can to attract and retain new workers, but the applicants simply aren’t there. The provisions in this bill do nothing to help us strengthen our workforce and will only force thousands of nursing homes to further limit the number of residents they can serve,” said AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson. 

AHCA/NCAL estimates that if the HHS study found that nursing homes need to increase clinical and direct care staff by 25 percent, it would require hiring more than 150,000 RNs, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), costing $10.7 billion per year. 

Current requirements mandate that nursing homes have a RN on staff eight hours a day. Under the proposed mandate in the legislation, AHCA/NCAL estimates it would require hiring 21,000 more nurses, costing $2.5 billion a year.

Phil Fogg, President and CEO of Marquis Companies, who operates more than 20 long term care facilities in California, Nevada and Oregon, said if Congress enacts these provisions without the necessary resources and recruitment programs, it could have a devastating impact on nursing homes and the residents they serve across the country.

“The workforce and economic crisis long term care providers are already experiencing is unprecedented. Lack of qualified workers is forcing providers to limit their admissions and, in some cases, close their doors permanently. Providers simply cannot attract more caregivers to our profession and meet the requirements of these mandates without financial support from Congress,” said Fogg, who is also the chair of the AHCA Board of Governors.

“We all share a common goal and that is to strengthen our workforce and provide the best possible care for our residents. But these unfunded mandates could further exacerbate the challenges we face and ultimately limit access to care for millions. We are eager to work hand-in-hand with lawmakers to find meaningful solutions that will ensure seniors continue to receive the highest quality care and caregivers have access to good-paying, rewarding jobs,” said Len Russ, operator and administrator of Bayberry Care Center in New Rochelle, NY.

Health via 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Supplemental Health Care Coverage: Six Things to Know About Medigap Plans

Protecting yourself and your loved one with health insurance is essential, and there are lots of packages and options to consider.

Some people choose to go a step further with the help of supplemental health care coverage, which offers additional protection on top of what a standard plan includes.

Known as Medigap, this type of cover is increasingly popular, so here is a look at what it is, what is included and how you can take advantage of additional insurance yourself.

What is Medigap?

When you are looking to find a suitable Medicare plan, you might believe that the basic level of cover which is included across the board is not adequate for your needs.

This is where Medigap comes into play, letting you account for any inadequacies that you perceive in a Medicare policy with the help of private insurance providers.

In essence, this not only allows you to make claims in more healthcare scenarios, but should also reduce the amount owed in others. This should prevent you from being left out of pocket compared with if you just stuck with an entry level Medicare plan.

What do Medigap plans cover?

The type of coverage offered by Medigap insurance policies varies depending on the type of plan you select, of which there are a total of 12 different options that have been officially recognized by the government.

Because of this, you should research prospective plans closely to get a full idea of what is covered. It is better to talk about what is not covered by Medigap policies; specifically, things like long-term care for chronic illnesses, prescription drugs, as well as elements like dental treatments and optician services, are usually not included in such a plan.

Things that are included across the majority of plans are the costs of blood transfusions, the hospital costs incurred for an emergency visit, and the use of hospice services where relevant. Some plans also cover overseas medical costs that you incur while travelling, usually up to about 80% of the total bill.

How much can Medigap plans cost?

Medigap plans are purely supplemental, not a replacement for Medicare, so the cost needs to be calculated in addition to the existing insurance premiums you are already paying.

Once again, the price will also vary depending on the plan you pick, as well as your own circumstances, medical history and preferences. Your age also comes into play; those under 65 may either be ineligible for Medigap insurance, or might have to fork out more for the privilege.

Can I get an extension if I don’t use my plan?

With all of the variables involved, individual eligibility for plan extensions and exceptions can vary wildly on a case-by-case basis.

It is also worth noting that different states have different rules regarding Medigap plans and how they can be used.

How can I get help paying for Medigap?

Medigap premiums have to be covered by the customer, as this is an additional service that is not factored into Medicare itself, even if it operates alongside it.

If paying is a problem, you may be eligible for other forms of health insurance, such as via your employer.

How do I choose a plan?

Be sure to shop around for Medigap plans that are available in your area, as this market can be competitive. Prices may vary, but so long as the plan in question sticks to the government-approved standards, it should give you identical coverage regardless of the provider.

Also keep your own requirements in mind when looking for a plan, so that you can find the perfect package for you.

illustration by Maria Soloman for use by 360 Magazine

First Public Health Insurance Option For Nevadans Passed

USofCare on Assembly Passage of Nevada Public Option to Make Health Care More Accessible and Affordable

United States of Care’s Liz Hagan, Director of Policy Solutions, issued the following statement today in response to the Nevada Assembly’s passage of SB 420, a bill to create a public health insurance option in Nevada:

“Today is a day of great progress and promise for Nevadans, as the Assembly has now joined the state Senate in passing a public insurance option (SB 420). This critical legislation will significantly reduce both the cost of health coverage and the number of Nevada residents forced to go without health insurance because they can’t afford it.

“The Silver State ranks 49th overall in state health system performance and it’s one of the least-insured states despite having expanded Medicaid. The pandemic has shone a light on many of the longstanding shortcomings in Nevada’s health care system and has made all too clear that people need dependable coverage that is with them through life’s changes, like losing a job or starting their own business.

“The number of people without insurance is especially high among Hispanic/Latino Nevadans, over 20% of whom are uninsured. The approved legislation goes a long way towards increasing access to coverage options that people can depend on and afford — all while helping to reduce disparities. We look forward to the governor signing this legislation into law, which will make the Silver State the second in the nation to enact a public option and will be a national model for expanding access to equitable, quality, affordable health care.”

Space Foundation illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Space Foundation Nominations

Space Tech Hall of Fame Nominations

Since 1988, Space Foundation has opened the doors of the Space Technology Hall of Fame (STHOF) to recognize life-changing technologies that have emerged from the world’s space programs. By honoring the innovators that have made these breakthroughs possible, it helps us to better convey to the public the important return on investment space technologies bring to life on Earth.

Nominations for the Class of 2022 inductees into the Space Technology Hall of Fame are now being sought. For more than 30 years, the Space Foundation has honored some of NASA’s greatest works that have bettered our nation’s and the world’s health care, communications, public safety, environmental protection, transportation, and more. It is encouraged to submit nominations for the 2022 Class of inductees.

With nearly 100 inducted technologies, honoring nearly 500 people and over 250 different organizations, the Space Foundation is committed to ensuring that life-changing work and talent are duly recognized. The value added and impact the space program brings to our nation and the world is incredibly important. Bringing more of those talents and works to light helps the Space Foundation advance space awareness to everyone.

Join the Space Foundation to celebrate the 2022 Class of Inductees at the 37th Annual Space Symposium (April 4 – April 7) in Colorado Springs, CO.

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

An Interview with Vax Force

By: Matthew Anthenelli

VAX Force is a team of all-black women from Springfield, Massachusetts who are bringing vaccine awareness and accessibility to their community. Beginning earlier this spring, the COVID-19 vaccination began its rollout to non-essential workers all across the globe. Whether it be from misinformation or lack of access, many people both in the United States and worldwide have not yet been vaccinated. Studies show that many marginalized communities are lacking access to vaccination sites and other resources. There’s also a concerning percentage of the population that are receiving and spreading misinformation about the science behind the vaccine.

VAX Force is a group of amazing and inspiring black women from Springfield, Massachusetts who have taken these matters into their own hands. We were lucky enough to be able to ask VAX Force a few questions about their mission in their community. Read what they had to say below.

The initiative to spread vaccine awareness amidst an age of misinformation is such a dire and important action to take. What inspired you to form the Vax Force and take matters in your own hands?  

Springfield, MA is the largest city in Western Mass and the third largest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts yet much of the attention and resources were being given to Boston and the Eastern part of the state so Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and Mayor Domenic J. Sarno took action and formed this committee so that the members could serve as direct resources for the citizens in Springfield, especially those living in vulnerable communities.  

Who are the members of the Vax force? How did you come together for this amazing and inspiring cause? 

There are wonderful leaders in public health, medicine, faith, research and diversity that are a part of Commissioner Caulton-Harris’s network .  The Mayor and the Commissioner extended invitations to join Springfield Vax Force to select individuals and they were excited to volunteer and lend their expertise, and in some cases roll their sleeves up and join our community outreach efforts.  

What groups or communities are being neglected from vaccine access the most? 

When we formed Springfield Vax Force Latinx, African-American, Caribbean, African, Vietnamese and immigrant communities did not have convenient access to the vaccine.  The vaccine was being distributed in suburban areas.  Fortunately, through the great work of Springfield Vax Force we now have access to the vaccine in all of the neighborhoods in the city.  Vaccine clinics are accessible within 1.5 miles of any neighborhood in Springfield.  

Why do you think misinformation is being spread about the vaccine? Anti-vax rhetoric was popular in the early 2000s, why do you think it returned ? 

There are anti-vaxxers using the digital platforms to spread misinformation and there are algorithms in place that widely circulate this disinformation wrapped in what looks like reputable sources, so folks are often seduced into sharing that information as if its factual – and it spreads like wildfire.  Aside from that, there is mistrust in the medical community by marginalized groups, and when those concerns that are often valid are not addressed, it provides an opportunity for anti-vaxxers to attach falsehoods to legitimate claims.  

How do you suggest that the average reader can convince loved ones or friends who may fear the side effects of the vaccine or the vaccine itself? 

The beautiful thing about social media is that is rich with narratives penned by people who have been vaccinated that are very open about their experiences and even those who have experienced the worst side effects were absolutely fine within 24 hours.  We also are over a year in and as time passes the studies become more longitudinal, so there is now evidence that supports the safety of the vaccine.  

You are making PSAs in order to inform and educate the youth on the significance of the vaccine. Do you think that the younger generation is the largest demographic of people spreading anti-vaccine misinformation or that the problem has more prevalence in older generations ? 

Older generations very quickly analyze risk versus reward when it comes to getting vaccinated and for them COVID-19 poses a far greater risk than the vaccine, and they were able to see that in real time with the death rate being more prominent in older individuals.  Additionally, older individuals have been around long enough to see the positive effects of vaccines throughout the decades and the eradication of viruses like measles, chicken pox, rubella and polio.  Individuals 45 and under are often the group spreading anti-vaccine misinformation.   

A big part of the Vax Force’s initiative had to do with the Faith and Science vaccination clinic. Do you think misinformation surrounding vaccinations is more prevalent in religious communities? 

Our research has shown that it is not. In fact, in our community, the faith leaders have been outstanding in sharing safety messages related to the COVID-19 vaccines.  

How can the average person who is already vaccinated help aid your cause? 

It’s important that we continue to be diligent with safety protocol. Being vaccinated does not mean that you are 100% protected against spreading COVID-19 or testing positive.  Although mandates are being removed, safety practices are still an individual’s right so we urge vaccinated people to remain cautious.  It also helps when vaccinated people share how seamless the process is from check in to receiving the shot, to observation.  

Where can people find out more about Vax Force and their mission? 

All the information you could possibly need can be found at the City of Springfield website

The Faith and Science event was a major success. What do you have planned next in Vax Force’s future? 

We are now targeting the young people in the City of Springfield ages 16-25. We have a young men’s and women’s basketball tournament coming up called Shot for Shot where young people who attend the tournament, receive promotional gifts and most importantly get vaccinated on site.  

The all-black VAX Force Team of Springfield, Massachusetts
Transgender illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original Photo Credit: Pixabay) for 360 Magazine

Parents Open Letter to Lawmakers

1,500+ Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth Condemn Anti-Trans Bills in Open Letter to Lawmakers

More than 1,500 parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth — from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — signed a letter imploring elected officials to oppose anti-transgender bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country.  

The letter — organized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council — was sent to elected officials Monday morning.

The letter comes in response to a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are currently more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of these discriminatory bills, 106 directly target transgender people, including efforts to ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and prohibit evidence-based, life-saving health care for transgender youth.

“Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: ‘You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power and you don’t,’” the parents wrote. “Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society.”

“Transgender children are children. They deserve the ability to play organized sports and have access to medically necessary care, just like all children. These bills are cruel — and parents are not going to be silent when elected officials attack their children through discriminatory legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth impacted by these bills are among the most vulnerable to experience depression and engage in self-harm, including suicide. Legislators must realize the seriousness of this issue and remember that they were elected to lead — not call into question whether certain children have the right to exist, to be happy, or to live authentically.”

“As a trans person, I know what it means to have lawmakers try to write me out of existence — imagine being a trans child trying to cope with this reality. There is a coordinated attack on transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth being waged in state legislatures across the country and it is having a devastating impact on the mental health of kids, who just want to be kids,” said Jay Brown, Senior Vice President, HRC Programs, Research & Training. “Parents will not back down when it comes to protecting their children, and they will not tolerate their elected officials using their positions of power to harm and further oppress them. We will never give up hope that if people — including elected officials — hear from people at the center of the policy debate, and their loved ones, that their hearts will open, and their minds will change.”

The full letter is below.

April 12, 2021

Dear Elected Officials,

Many of you are sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for legislation that would force transgender children to participate in sports based on a letter on their birth certificate rather than who they are – or not participate at all. Some of you are also sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for bills that would criminalize best-practice, evidence-based, life-saving health care that transgender youth need (and deserve!) to thrive. 

Parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth like us have called you, sent you emails, and have showed up in the midst of a global pandemic to testify about how devastating these bills are…not only if or when they pass and become law, but also right now because, by whipping up a firestorm of attacks on our kids, they have already caused damage to our families.

Parenting during a pandemic is hard enough. The fact that these bills exist at all—that the lives of our children are up for debate in any state in this nation—adds a layer of worry to an already fraught time. Let’s be clear: the impact of these bills goes far beyond sports and medical care; they call into question whether our children have the right to exist, to be happy, to live authentically. The answer is yes. They absolutely do.

We have shared studies with you explaining that trans youth are more susceptible to struggle with anxiety or depression, not because they are transgender but because of stigma and discrimination. You have heard that being able to participate in sports and being on a team with friends and classmates can improve their mental health. You have heard adolescents tell you how afraid they are of experiencing the wrong puberty or how terrified teenagers are of having their medically-prescribed hormones denied to them. 

This isn’t the first time. We tried telling you all of this a year ago before the pandemic thankfully cut many legislative sessions short and these bills floundered. After hearing some of these concerns last year, a senator in Missouri was quoted dismissively saying “We can’t be responsible for everyone’s mental health.”

We are pointedly telling you now that you actually are responsible for the mental health of these kids. We are holding you personally responsible for the amount of stress, anxiety, and fear our precious children are currently struggling with. We are holding you responsible for how some of our children are crying themselves to sleep every night, asking why so many people hate trans kids and want them to suffer. You are the reason they are asking to move somewhere where they will be protected, because their home doesn’t feel safe anymore with you in charge of creating its laws.

You were elected to your positions to lead. And leaders understand that in our great but imperfect system of government, we favor the concept of “majority rule, minority rights.” Leaders do not use their positions of power to harm and further oppress a struggling and hurting minority.

Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: “You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power, and you don’t.”

Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society. 

Here is a powerful quote from Nomi Ruiz, a Puerto Rican trans woman, artist and performer, that we’d like you to take time to think about…

“The outside world will never truly understand the magnitude of the trans experience, especially that of a child who has an undying need to live in truth despite being ostracized for it. The only way for trans children to thrive is to allow them to live freely in the face of a society that abuses them for it.”

Stop abusing our kids by creating legislation that targets them. Kill these bills now and leave our kids alone.

Justifiably angry,

Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth

Trans Rights illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The “Slate of Hate”

Anti-Trans Bills Moving in State Legislatures Across the Country, Explained

Many state legislatures across the country have embraced a discriminatory agenda as hundreds of bills that would weaken protections and rights for LGBTQ people—more than 100 of which vilify and marginalize transgender people, particularly trans youth—are moving through statehouses at an alarming rate. Despite widespread, overwhelming public opposition to the bills, a closer look reveals this onslaught of discriminatory legislation is being driven by a group of well-funded, national anti-LGBTQ organizations—including the Heritage Foundation, the Eagle Forum, and Alliance Defending Freedom, which is designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • These national organizations have launched a full-throated strategy to chip away and weaken LGBTQ rights and protections by fomenting clashes in the states—using state legislatures to spread misinformation about LGBTQ (particularly transgender) people, and fabricate a groundswell of  seemingly anti-LGBTQ sentiment.
  • Using state legislatures as the strategic vehicles to embrace and pass a flurry of anti-LGBTQ legislation, the strategy is gaining ground — as discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ copycat bills are being pushed through state legislatures at an alarming rate.
  • This strategy, in many cases, seeks to vilify trans youth to undermine broader LGBTQ progress, and to reignite culture wars that most of the country has moved beyond.

Anti-LGBTQ Bills Seek to Vilify Trans Youth

So far, there are more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 106 directly target transgender people and 56 of those would ban transgender girls and sometimes women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. The legislation moving in these states seek to vilify and marginalize transgender youth by denying them the fundamental opportunities to participate in youth sports activities and — more egregiously — deny them health care:

  • Denying health care for trans kids: The anti-transgender effort to target transgender youth by denying them medically necessary services and gender-affirming care have sprung up in 20 states. These bills are opposed by organizations dedicated to children’s health, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Association of Social Workers, and more. Some of these bills moving through state legislatures include:
  • The Alabama House of Representatives passed SB 10, which would make it a felony for medical providers to provide age-appropriate, best practice, medically-necessary care.
  • Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto of HB 1570 was overridden by the legislature.
  • The Tennessee state legislature is considering HB 578 (SB 657), which would classify providing gender-affirming care as child endangerment, triggering criminal, civil, and professional penalties.
  • Denying organized sports opportunities for trans youth: We’re seeing many extremely similar bills in states across the country that would ban transgender girls and sometimes women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level. These bills have been introduced in 30 states. We’ve already seen some of these bills signed into law, including:

Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to justify these bills, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact. State athletic associations, as well as collegiate and professional sports organizations, have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason states need a ban on transgender participation in sports.

Top Businesses, Athletes, Advocates Oppose Anti-Trans Hysteria  

These discriminatory bills—driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local stakeholders or public concern—will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people, particularly transgender youth. Legislators pushing these bills forward are also ignoring the views of leading corporations, health and welfare organizations, and the majority of voters, all of whom oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation.

  • Earlier this month, nearly 70 major U.S. corporations stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.
  •  The nation’s biggest advocates for women and girls spoke out in support of full and equal inclusion of transgender women and girls in sports, including the National Women’s Law Center, American Association of University Women, and the Women’s Sports Foundation, among many others.
  • This week, leaders of four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States — Danone North America, Mars, Inc., Nestlé USA, and Unilever — spoke out against anti-LGBTQ legislation and called for the swift passage of the Equality Act in the Senate.
  • Nearly 550 college athletes have stood up to anti-transgender legislation by demanding the NCAA pull championships from states with anti-trans sports legislation. At the height of March Madness, NCAA President Mark A. Emmert also spoke out against the slate of discriminatory, anti-transgender bills in state legislatures across the country and committed to hosting championship games in locations that provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination.
  • The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters.

Transgender Sports illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam

NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam facilitators publish open letter condemning anti-transgender legislation

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam, a group of NCAA- trained facilitators at colleges across the country published an open letter condemning the actions taken by 28 states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation. 2021 has been a record year for anti-transgender legislation, with 93 anti-transgender bills introduced across the country, the vast majority of which attempt to ban transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports or ban transgender youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming health care.

Laws have been signed banning transgender women and girls’ participation in girls’ sports in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with Executive Orders being signed to the same effect in South Dakota.  Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact.  Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports.

The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam open letter reads as follows:

An Open Letter in Support of Transgender Student-Athletes

We, the undersigned, are facilitators of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA)Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program, which is a national training program that fosters LGBTQ+ inclusion in NCAA Division III athletics, and members of the NCAA’s Division III LGBTQ Working Group. Given the recent rise in legislation that is focused on excluding transgender people from athletics across the country, we have decided to use our collective voice to condemn such actions. We call on elected officials across the country to immediately halt legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport.

In our role with the NCAA’s LGBTQ OneTeam Program, we train coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes across the whole of Division III athletics. This program is aimed at helping to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics, while also identifying strategies and best practices for institutions and conferences to better ensure that all student-athletes–regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, and/or gender expression–can participate in an inclusive and safe athletic climate. We cannot, in good conscience, fail to speak out at this critical moment.

In the past several weeks, actions–which are aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport–have been taken by elected officials inseveral states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. At the time of this writing, the Governors ofArkansas,Idaho,Mississippi, andTennessee have already signed such dangerous legislation into law. 

Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people–and particularly transgender girls and women–from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often “informed” by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly “informed” byfear instead of fact. Conversely, trans-inclusive policies, such as those established by theNCAA and theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC), are better informed by the current scientific evidence, and this evidence shows that transgender women do not have an inherent competitive advantage over cisgender women.

Furthermore, discriminatory legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender people from sport has a number ofserious consequences for transgender students. Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.

We immediately call for 1) an end to such legislation in all states and 2) a repeal of such laws in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And finally, we also encourage our legislators to better consider theNCAA best practices and importance of an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Timothy R. Bussey, Ph.D.

Pronouns: they/them

Associate Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Kenyon College

Kayla Hayes, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Denison University

Kyrstin Krist, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Faculty Athletic Representative | Methodist University

Melynda Link, M.B.A.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletic Facilities & Game Day Operations, Dept. of Athletics | Haverford College

Kathleen M. Murray

Pronouns: she/her

President, Office of the President | Whitman College

Jess Duff

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services & Internal Operations Dept. of Athletics | Bates College

Jessica Weiss

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Randolph-Macon College

Jennifer Dubow

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)

Maura Johnston

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Fairleigh Dickinson University

Scott McGuiness

Pronouns: no pronouns

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | Washington & Jefferson College

Danielle Lynch, M.S.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Athletic Department | Penn State University – Harrisburg

Melissa Walton

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Associate Athletic Director Athletic Department | Albion College

Amy Reed

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Rochester Institute of Technology

Donna M. Ledwin

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)

Donnesha Blake, Ph.D.

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dept. of Student Affairs | Alma College

Tim Wilson

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Track and Field Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Stevens Institute of Technology

Anne Kietzman

Pronouns: she/her

Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Washington College

Ashley Crossway, D.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education Dept. of Kinesiology | SUNY Cortland

Melissa Brooks

Pronouns: she/her

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Athletic Department | Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham 

Tiffany Thompson

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Gender and Sexuality Initiatives, Intercultural Center | Swarthmore College

Kirsten Clark

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Director, Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | Clark University

Kate Levin

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Sports Information Director Dept. of Athletics | Ramapo College

Cori Collinsworth

Pronouns: she/her

Head Softball Coach, Athletic Department | Hanover College

Bethany Dannelly

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Director of Athletics, Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics | Washington and Lee University

Jennifer Childress-White, M.Ed.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and University Title IX Coordinator Dept. of Athletics | Pacific Lutheran University

Elise Fitzsimmons, M.S., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Trainer, Dept. of Athletics| SUNY Oswego 

Amanda Walker

Pronouns: she/her

Athletic Program Coordinator Athletics Department | Lake Forest College

Danielle O’Leary

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Athletics Department | Mount Aloysius College

Crystal Lanning

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Neil Virtue

Pronouns: he/him

Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Swimming Coach | Dept. of Athletics, P.E., and Recreation Mills College

Jose’ Rodriguez, M.Ed.

Pronouns: he/him

Chief Diversity Officer, Office of University Diversity Initiatives | Cabrini University

Karen Moberg, M.Ed., L.A.T., A.T.C.

Pronouns: she/her

Associate Athletic Trainer, Athletic Department | Macalester College

Yishka Chin

Pronouns: she/her

Coordinator for Tutoring Services and Trailblazer Program Director, Dept. of Student Success | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Renee Bostic

Pronouns: she/her

Director of Athletics & Wellness Dept. of Athletics & Wellness | Notre Dame of Maryland University

Megan Cullinane

Pronouns: she/her

Assistant Athletic Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | University of Massachusetts – Boston

Maureen Harty

Pronouns: she/her

Executive Director | College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)

Stephanie Dutton

Pronouns: she/her

Commissioner | North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC)

Sharia Marcus-Carter

Pronouns: she/her

Senior Woman Administrator and Director of Compliance, Athletics Department | Brooklyn College

Covid by Mina Tocalini

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

House-Passed American Rescue Plan Includes Key United States of Care Policy Priorities 

Today, United States of Care applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which includes a number of United State of Care’s most important policy priorities.

“Over the past year, United States of Care has made substantial recommendations to policymakers based on peoples’ needs to fight the pandemic and build a better, more equitable health care system in its wake,” said Emily Barson, Executive Director at United States of Care. “Whether it’s the $46 billion to help local and state public health workers engage in contact tracing and testing activities or our advocacy to ensure people are able to provide for themselves and their loved ones during the pandemic, we’re proud that so many of our suggestions made it into the House-passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. We urge the Senate to follow suit and provide people with the support that’s needed – and widely popular among Democratic and Republican voters – to put an end to this pandemic and allow our health care system to emerge from this crisis stronger than before.”

The House passed rescue proposal aligns with previous United States of Care recommendations, including:

  • $219.8 billion for state and local governments to maintain critical health care programs and services that help people take care of their families.

In January 2021, USofCare requested $350 billion for this purpose.

  • $7.6 billion to HHS to set up a permanent public health workforce, or Health Care Ready Reserve, with funds for state, local, and territorial health departments.
  • USofCare, along with our Entrepreneurs Council co-chair, John Driscoll, advocated for the establishment of a Health Care Ready Reserve.
  • $7.5 billion for the CDC to prepare, promote, distribute, administer, monitor, and track COVID-19 vaccines. This includes distribution and administration, support for state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, community vaccination centers, IT enhancements, facility enhancements, and public communication.

In January 2021, USofCare’s recommendations called for “funding to scale and implement the nation’s vaccine distribution capabilities” to the tune of $20 billion. USofCare’s vaccine distribution recommendations also explicitly focused on “underserved areas” listed in the bill.

  • $1.75 billion for funding for grants for community mental health services.

On July 15th, 2020, USofCare called for robust investment in behavioral health to ensure mental health services remain open, operational, and able to provide care during the pandemic.

  • People who are laid off or experience reduced hours are eligible for subsidies that cover 85% of their COBRA costs through the end of September 2021.

In January 2021, USofCare recommended that the full cost of COBRA assistance should be covered on a temporary basis for those who have lost job-connected health insurance.

  • $1 billion to educate the public on the vaccine in order to boost confidence in it.

In January 2021, USofCare recommended that Congress appropriate $200 million.

  • Encourage Medicaid expansion in states that have yet to implement it by having the federal government pay an extra 5% of all of a state’s Medicaid costs for two years.

USofCare urged policymakers to create incentives for states to expand Medicaid via a 100% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage match for those enrolled in expansion populations on several occasions including April 14, 2020July 15, 2020, and December 3, 2020.

  • Ensure that no one buying coverage from the Marketplace would pay more than 8.5% of their income for health insurance.

In January 2021, USofCare made this exact recommendation.

  • $20 million for youth suicide prevention.

USofCare called for confronting our nation’s suicide epidemic in its December 3rd transition memo.

  • $620 million for AmeriCorps to serve communities disproportionately impacted by COVID–19.

In calling for critical investment in our public health workforce on June 25th, 2020, USofCare cited the long-term need for such workers to connect vulnerable communities to care, particularly if they are recruited from the communities in which they will work.

“USofCare thanks our Board, Founder’s, and Entrepreneurs Council members for providing their expertise and guidance in shaping our policy recommendations,” added Barson. “This week’s tragic milestone in the U.S. of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths is the latest reminder of the devastating toll of this pandemic and the need for decisive action from the federal government. We wholeheartedly agree with the overwhelming majority of the American people from both political parties in favor of the American Rescue Plan.”