Posts tagged with "Vaccines"

illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

DELTA VARIANT PUTS NORMAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON AT RISK

By: Clara Guthrie

There was a period in the late spring and early summer of this past year in which it seemed America’s COVID-19 struggles were nearing some long-awaited conclusion: the last few moments of breathlessness before a collective sigh of relief. At that time, students and their parents looked forward to a seemingly normal back-to-school season. Yet, the recent rise in the Delta variant has introduced a new wave of doubt.

On August 8 alone, The New York Times reported 36,068 new Covid-19 cases and a seven-day average of 110,360 total cases in the United States. Covid-related deaths are also on the rise, with a seven-day average of 516 deaths. This figure has risen from a weekly average of 188 deaths only one month prior, on July 6. Experts attribute these rising numbers to the highly contagious Delta variant overlaid with low vaccination rates in certain areas across the country. When asked about these trends in mid-July, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk.”

Unfortunately, as the Delta variant continues to run rampant throughout unvaccinated communities, people who are fully vaccinated are also being infected. Although, it is far rarer. These “break-through” cases speak mainly to the wild infectiousness of the Delta variant, coupled with the facts that no vaccine is 100% effective and that our knowledge of how long immunity lasts after vaccination is still quite murky. According to CNBC, however, “break-through” cases still represent fewer than 0.08% of those who have been fully vaccinated in the United States since the start of the year.

With that being said, the Delta variant is impacting the hopes of a normal back-to-school season in two distinct ways. The first, perhaps more obvious way, is that parents and teachers are fearing for students’ health. This fear suggests a potential return to online learning and more strict social distancing and mask mandates enforced within schools.

It is important to note that COVID-19 poses a far lesser threat to young children than to adults; the risk of becoming severely ill from the virus increases for those over the age of 50 and only grows with age. According to the CDC, the risk of serious illness or complications from COVID-19 for children is actually lower than that from the flu. However, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for any form of vaccination. This restriction is raising concerns about how susceptible younger age groups are to becoming sick, even if that sickness does not lead to any serious complications.

Thus, many parents and school districts are pursuing a range COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of students. Time Magazine shared a story last week of a school board in Des Moines, Iowa that has already decided to offer a virtual learning option for elementary school students. The ability to transition to in-person learning is available whenever the family feels comfortable enough to do so. This move was, in part, forced by the recent ruling of eight states, including Iowa, to ban schools from being able to require masks – despite the CDC’s recommendation that all students should wear masks inside schools, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated. “Had we been able to follow the CDC recommendations that everyone in school is masked, regardless of their vaccine status—if we were able to mandate that, then I think we’d be having a different conversation here,” Phil Roeder, a spokesperson for Des Moines’ Polk County public schools, said.

Other counties are having similar struggles, even without the imposition from state governments to ban mask mandates within schools. For example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in May that all online learning would be eliminated come fall, a decision that he has not yet reversed. But many parents are now petitioning for online options for their children as safety concerns continue to rise. One parent, Farah Despeignes, who is the president of the Bronx Parent Leaders Advocacy Group and has two middle-school-aged sons, said, “When you think about the conditions of the schools with old buildings, with not enough ventilation, that are co-located, that are overcrowded—for us, in the Bronx, in underserved communities, it’s not as simple as, ‘Well, let’s just get back to school.’”

In California, options for students are equally limited. According to The Los Angeles Times, the state has done away with “hybrid learning, ”a combination of in-person and online learning. As a result of such, Los Angeles County parents had until August 6 to choose between either solely in-person or online learning for their children. The latter option is expected to take the form of an independent study, rather than the supportive online learning of last school year. On August 6th, L.A. Unified School District reported that only 10,280 of their almost 665,000 students opted for the online option.

The second prominent way in which the Delta variant is affecting back-to-school season is through the shopping behavior of students and their families. Back when the hopes of a normal school year were still high, The National Retail Federation predicted that consumers with children K-12 would spend a record-breaking 37.1 billion dollars this year. Furthermore, it was predicted that back-to-college spending would reach 71 billion dollars. These predictions were due to the excitement associated with a long-awaited return to the classroom after over a year away, when items like lunchboxes and backpacks seemed superfluous.

However, according to a recent poll by First Insight, many consumers are feeling anxious about returning to stores, trying on clothing in dressing rooms and making big purchases due to the risk of the Delta variant. In fact, 56% of respondents said they are actively cutting back their spending at retailers. The CEO of Bath Bed & Beyond, Mark Tritton, told CNBC that their stores have observed people delaying their back-to-school investments, and that peak spending may extend further into September than usual.

As many students return to their classrooms and the Food and Drug Administration continues to work on improving vaccines for individuals under the age of 12, it will become more and more clear how great of a mark Covid-19 has left on the American schooling system and the children within it.

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Celebrating Black Descendants from Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Last week at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, Ad Council COVID Collaborative Black Coalition Against COVID-19 JOY Collective The Legacy: Tragedy to Triumph, featuring descendants of The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee speaking about the impact of the study and its relationship to present day’s COVID-19 vaccines.

The Legacy: Tragedy to Triumph is an extension of the It’s Up To You COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative that the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative developed to help consumers get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines, with a focus on Black and Hispanic/Latino communities. Many of the descendants who participated in the film were keen to stress distinctions between the study and the pandemic, highlighting that unlike the case for their relatives in the study, the COVID-19 vaccines are being offered to all Americans and not withheld from specific communities.

The event included a screening of the short documentary, followed by panel conversations about COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Black populations. Esteemed Director Deborah Riley Draper the first discussion with five descendants, where they shared how they first learned about family members involved in the study, their experiences filming the documentary, and a call to public service that compelled them to share their stories. The following descendants participated in the screening event: 

  • Lillie Tyson Head, daughter of Freddie Lee Tyson and President of the Voices For Our Fathers Legacy Foundation. Head is a retired high school teacher and education consultant. 
  • Carmen Head Thornton, granddaughter of Freddie Lee Tyson. Thornton is a Howard University graduate and currently serves as the Director of Research, Grants & Workforce, and Interim Director of Development at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 
  • Dr. Kimberly Carr, the great-great-granddaughter of John Goode. Dr. Carr received her Ph.D. in Integrative Biosciences in 2020 from Tuskegee University and currently works as a Community Resource Specialist at the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center. 
  • Omar Neal, nephew of Freddie Lee Tyson and Former Mayor of Tuskegee. Neal was born in the same hospital ward where the Tuskegee Study took place. 
  • Leo Ware, whose two grandfathers were both part of the study. Ware is a business owner and is active with the Voices For Our Fathers Legacy Foundation. 

The second panel discussion explored the science of vaccines and data related to current levels of vaccine adoption in the Black community and the need to keep this important yet painful history top of mind. 

  • Dr. Cameron Webb, Senior Policy Advisor for Equity White House COVID-19 Response Team. 
  • Dr. Reed Tuckson, co-founder of the Black Coalition Against COVID-19
  • Howard University School of Medicine medical students Micah Brown and Jasmin Thompson 
  • Descendants Dr. Kimberly Carr and Carmen Head Thornton 

Additional Participants Included: 

  • Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the D.C. Department of Health, sharing remarks on behalf of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser 
  • CEO of the Howard University Hospital Anita Jenkins discussing the imperative to center the needs of the Black community given the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic. 
  • Sherry Thompson, Coalition Lead, Ad Council COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative 
  • Kelli Richardson Lawson, CEO of JOY Collective, moderated the event by sharing with guests that the impetus for the project came from an article in The Washington Post Magazine about the  It’s Up To You campaign. 

About the Film 

Directed by award-winning director and head of Coffee Bluff Pictures Deborah Riley Draper, the film follows members of six descendant families as they discuss how the study connects to the present-day pandemic and why they encourage Black Americans to learn the facts about the COVID-19 vaccines so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Accompanying the film are five 60-second PSAs that together comprise the film. Each of the PSAs and the full documentary film are available online here.

For many Black Americans, the recurring theme over the last 16 months has been about Tuskegee and the collective distrust of both the medical field and government. The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative launched the It’s Up To You COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative earlier this year in full acknowledgment of the vaccine hesitancy among some members of the Black community that is often driven by The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, commonly referred to as the Tuskegee Study. 

Connections to COVID-19 

For descendants of the men in the study, sharing the truth about what happened during the study is an opportunity to move from tragedy to triumph. 

In addition, details released from the study sparked a wave of public health and clinical research reforms and protocols that continue today, including the creation of institutional review boards in the U.S. to ensure that every study conducted on human beings is examined; and informed consent requirements, not just for clinical trials but for medical procedures as well.

In between the two panels, Washington, D.C.-based artist and muralist, Candice S. Taylor presented a special painting she created in honor of the film and descendants of the study who participated in the campaign, for whom she will provide individual prints of the new artwork. Following the panel discussions, R&B singer and songwriter Raheem DeVaughn, also hailing from the Nation’s Capital, gave a special performance of his chart-topping hit song,  Woman.

The event celebrating  The Legacy: Tragedy to Triumph film was streamed live via Roland Martin Unfiltered and is now available on YouTube and clips will be available on the NAACP’s YouTube

To learn more about the It’s Up To You campaign, The Legacy: Tragedy to Triumph film, and the descendants of The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study At Tuskegee, visit GetVaccineAnswers.org/Legacy.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis, starting in the organization’s earliest days during World War II to September 11th and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Its deep relationships with media outlets, the creative community, issue experts, and government leaders make the organization uniquely poised to quickly distribute life-saving information to millions of Americans.

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology, and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels.

The Ad Council’s innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube

COVID Collaborative 

COVID Collaborative, a project of UNITE, is a national assembly of experts, leaders, and institutions in health, education, and the economy and associations representing the diversity of the country to turn the tide on the pandemic by supporting federal, state, and local COVID-19 response efforts.

The COVID Collaborative is co-chaired by former Governor and U.S. Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) and former Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) and led by CEO John Bridgeland and President Gary Edson. COVID Collaborative includes expertise from across Republican and Democratic administrations at the federal, state, and local levels, including former FDA commissioners, CDC directors, and U.S. surgeon generals; former U.S. secretaries of Education, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services; leading public health experts and institutions that span the country; the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the NAACP, UnidosUS and the National Congress of American Indians; the Skoll Foundation, The Allstate Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation; and associations representing those on the front lines, from the American Public Health Association and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools. Tim Shriver is Chairman of UNITE. To learn more, visit www.CovidCollaborative.us, and follow the COVID Collaborative on Twitter and LinkedIn.

AREA15 Vaccines After Dark event poster from Desiree Webb from The Vox Agency for use by 360 Magazine

AREA15 Announces June Entertainment + Events

AREA15, the art and entertainment district located minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, announces new and ongoing events and entertainment taking place this month.

AREA15 is open to the public at 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Mondays, 12 p.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. Admission to AREA15 is free and will be limited to guests ages 21 and older after 10 p.m. every day.

“Vaccines After Dark” Vaccination Site

Date: Monday, June 14

Time: 7 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free. All visitors who receive a shot will be given complimentary ice cream from Emack & Bolio’s.

Description: In partnership with Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones and Touro University, AREA15 will host “Vaccines After Dark” – a COVID-19 vaccination site for Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. The event is offered for first and second dose vaccinations and will take place outdoors in the shade, located in AREA15’s outdoor venue, A-Lot. Guests are also encouraged to stay late for Industry Night and enjoy 25 percent off experiences and activations after 10 p.m. Those who plan to stay after receiving their vaccines can enjoy Industry Night entertainment at Oddwood featuring DJs GRECO, GMBT and 530 beginning at 10 p.m. Must present a valid Nevada I.D. to receive the discount. After 10 p.m. AREA15 is 21 years or older only.

Summer DJ Series: 4B + Disco Fries

Date: Saturday, June 19

Time: Doors at 9 p.m. Show starts at 10 pm.

Cost: General admission for ages 21+ are $15; General admission for ages 18-20 are $20. Click here to purchase tickets.

Description: Part of AREA15’s “A Series”, 4B and Disco Fries will perform live in the 32,000-square-foot, outdoor A-Lot. All shows are 18 years or older, with an outdoor beer garden open for guests ages 21 years and older.

About 4B: At 24 years old, DJ and producer Bobby McKeon, known as “4B”, has already spent 11 years relentlessly pursuing his sound and vision. During this period, he’s garnered significant support from industry heavyweights such as Skrillex, Diplo, Tiesto and DJ Snake.

About Disco Fries: Disco Fries, comprising Nick Ditri and Danny Boselovic, have become a staple in modern dance music by walking the sonic tightrope between mainstream and club-stream. Their music has been championed by some of the biggest names in dance: from artists such as Kaskade, Diplo, Steve Aoki and Hardwell to popular media outlets such as Billboard, MTV, Rolling Stone and Dancing Astronaut.

Father’s Day Whiskey Crawl

Date: Sunday, June 20

Time: 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Cost: $32

Description: Treat Dad to a drink – or three – throughout AREA15. Guests can enjoy Toki Japanese Whisky at Oddwood, Jim Beam at The Beast by Todd English and Makers Mark outside in AREA15’s new Art Garden. For more information and tickets visit here.

Summer DJ Series: Morgan Page

Date: Saturday, June 26

Time: Doors at 9 p.m. Show starts at 10 pm.

Cost: General admission for ages 21+ is $20; General admission for ages 18-20 is $25. Click here to purchase tickets.

Description: Part of AREA15’s “A Series”, Morgan Page will perform live in the 32,000-square-foot, outdoor A-Lot. All shows are 18 years or older, with an outdoor beer garden open for guests ages 21 years and older.

About Morgan Page: Morgan Wolf Page is an American DJ and music producer. Page has received two Grammy Award nominations: a personal nomination for best remix with Nadia Ali and best remix for “The Longest Road” (deadmau5 Remix) in 2009.

Draganza: A FIERCE VARIETY SHOW

Date: Every Friday night

Time: Shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Doors open an hour before the show begins.

Cost: General admission tickets are $20; V.I.P. Queen Meet and Greet tickets are available $45 which include general admission seating and one photo with one of the Queens performing in the show; VIP table packages are available and require $300 beverage minimum. Click here to purchase tickets.

Description: Draganza is Las Vegas’ newest and fiercest drag variety show featuring the city’s most fabulous queens: Alexis Mateo, Coco Montrese, Kahanna Montrese and special guest Elliott with 2 T’s. Guests can join the queens every Friday in The PORTAL, AREA15’s 360-degree projection-mapped entertainment space, for a night of epic lip syncs, celebrity impersonations, surprise performances, friendly audience competition, drink specials and more. Must be 21 years of age or older. Valid ID required upon check-in.

AREA15 Industry Night

Dates: Every Monday

Time: 10 p.m. to closing

Description: Feel the beats from a variety of DJs on the decks and underneath the glow of Oddwood. Industry locals will enjoy a 25 percent discount on activations, experiences and libations inside AREA15 with a local I.D. every Monday night. Discounts during Industry Night include Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite, Museum Fiasco, Five Iron Golf, Dueling Axes as well as off food and drinks at The Beast by Todd English and Oddwood Bar. More information here. After 10 p.m. AREA15 is 21 years or older only.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Date: Throughout the month of June (dark on Fridays and after 6 p.m. on Saturdays)

Time: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; ticket times are every half hour.
Cost: Click here to purchase tickets.

  • General admission adult tickets are $35; seniors 65 years and older and military are $28; children 12 years and under are $19.
  • VIP adult tickets are $45; seniors 65 years and older and military are $38; children 12 years and under are $29.
  • Discounts are available for Nevada residents with valid I.D.

Description: On view through July 30, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a timed experience encompassing 35 minutes and mapped specifically to fit the nearly 7,000-square-foot PORTAL. Guests take an awe-inspiring journey into the incomparable universe of Van Gogh, one of the greatest artistic geniuses of the 19th century. Explore his life, his work, and his secrets as never before through cutting-edge 360-degree digital projections, a one-of-a-kind VR experience, and a uniquely atmospheric light and sound show. The exhibition is brought to you by the organizers of a collection of widely successful exhibitions present in cities across Europe, Asia and the Americas. General admission tickets include lounge seating where guests are enveloped in sensational artistry, while VIP tickets will include VR goggles to experience “A Day in the Life of the Artist in Arles, France,” a virtual stroll alongside Van Gogh himself to explore the countryside settings that inspired his artwork.

Starry Light Package: An Immersive Art Ticket Package

Date: Monday through Wednesday in June

Time: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: $50 per person (equaling $20 off the full retail price). To book this package, click here.

Description: Enjoy all the art AREA15 has to offer with a bundled ticket package. Guests can experience Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite and Museum Fiasco for one price.

Van Gogh Family Ticket Package:

Cost: $21.25 per person

Description: Includes tickets for two adults and two children ages 12 and under. Family Ticket Packs will be validated upon entry. No substitutions may be made.

Van Gogh Nevada Resident Family Ticket Package:

Cost: $15 per person

Description: Includes tickets for two adults and two children ages 12 and under. Must present a valid Nevada I.D. to receive entry. Family Ticket Packs will be validated upon entry. No substitutions may be made.

Kappa Toys Pop-Up:

Description: New to AREA15 is Kappa Toys. Kappa Toys is a design-minded toy store, with a wide selection of never-before-seen oddities combined with a carefully curated selection of nostalgic classics. This special edition Kappa Toys Glow location is dedicated to illuminated playthings for youngsters and the young at heart, from lava lamps to glow in the dark stars – if it is awesome and glows in the dark you’ll find it here! Visit Kappatoys for additional details.

About AREA15

AREA15, located minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, is the world’s first purpose-built experiential entertainment district offering live events, immersive activations, monumental art installations, extraordinary design elements, unique retail, ground-breaking technology, bars and eateries and much more. With a growing collection of dynamic destinations including Dueling AxesEmporium Arcade BarLost Spirits DistilleryOddwood Bar, “Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite,” Museum FiascoRocket FizzFive Iron GolfThe Beast by Todd EnglishOZ Experience and anchor experience, Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, AREA15 is an ever-changing art, retail and entertainment attracting locals and tourists of all ages.

AREA15 represents a collaborative venture between real estate development firm Fisher Brothers and creative agency Beneville Studios, both of New York.

Public Health Notice

AREA15 and all its experiences follow the latest recommendations of leading health experts and government authorities, including the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AREA15 will no longer require face masks to be worn by guests who are fully vaccinated. For guests that are not fully vaccinated, AREA15 strongly encourages that masks continue to be worn. AREA15 employees will still be required to wear masks until further notice.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: @AREA15LasVegas

Instagram: @AREA15Official

Twitter: @AREA15Official

YouTube: AREA15

Hashtag:

#AREA15

MIT Study Shows the Power of Accurate Information to Increase Vaccination Rates

Despite the availability of multiple safe vaccines, vaccine hesitancy may present a challenge to successful control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, vaccine hesitancy may be caused not simply by fears about the safety or efficacy of the vaccine, but instead by the inaccurate belief that many of your peers or social cohort are not being vaccinated.

A recent working paper entitled “Surfacing Norms to Increase Vaccine Acceptance” written by two MIT Sloan Professors, Dean Eckles and Sinan Aral, of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, with Sloan PhD student Alex Mohering, post doctoral researchers Kiran Garimella and Amin Rahimian, and Avi Collis of the University of Texas, set out to study the relative importance of the beliefs that people hold about the acceptance of vaccines by others.

After studying the responses of over 300,000 people in 23 countries, the study showed that accurate information about descriptive norms can substantially increase intentions to accept a vaccine for COVID-19, reducing the fraction of people who are “unsure” or negative about accepting a vaccine by five percent. In other words, clear and accurate information about the behavior of others can influence behavior in a positive way.

“While public health officials and the media have been emphasizing the potential negative impact of vaccine hesitancy, our study found that emphasizing the overwhelming vaccine acceptance expressed by most people is a better way to get those who are unsure to accept COVID-19 vaccines,” says Sinan Aral.

These results suggest that public health communications should present information about the widespread and growing intentions to accept COVID-19 vaccines—and not overly emphasize the fear that the vaccine will not be accepted among a large portion of the population.

“Humans are innately sensitive to the behaviors of others. This pandemic is tragic enough without adding to the suffering by overestimating and over-communicating the fear that some will not accept the vaccine. The best way forward, as is often the case, is the presentation of clear, accurate and timely information.” says Dean Eckles.

Covid Mental Health illustration by Mina Tocalini

The National Black Nurses Association – RETHINK & RE:SET

The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is excited to announce the launch of two new major campaigns for its members under its new wellness initiative, NBNA Resilient Nurse Resource. RETHINK, launched yesterday, was created to build awareness around the importance of vaccinations, with a focus on influenza and pneumococcal. The goal of RETHINK is to debunk common myths surrounding vaccines and to inform Black nurses and the Black community on the benefits of vaccinations. The website features an interactive Test Your Flu IQ quiz to test participants knowledge and understanding on the flu and vaccines. There is also a flu and pneumococcal vaccination locator to assist with identifying providers in nearby serving areas. Anyone interested in learning more about vaccines can click HERE.

On December 15, 2020, the NBNA will also launch its mental wellness campaign, RE:SET. This new initiative offers members FREE counseling services, education webinars, wellness podcasts and more, to aid them in maintaining their mental wellness throughout the current COVID-19 crisis. The free counseling services are only available for existing and new NBNA members, and their families.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma in the Black community surrounding mental health. This, in addition to the lack of providers from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds and culturally competent providers, contributes to only one-in-three African Americans receiving mental health treatment.

To provide the best patient care, nurses must be able to reset and recharge from the daily pressures and renew their resilience and strength. Creating tools for renewal and increased resilience is especially important as nurses have a high prevalence of anxiety and depression. With this comprehensive resource, NBNA members will receive holistic tools and resources designed to give nurses the boost they need to promote mental wellness and wellbeing.

“We know how difficult this year has been for nurses everywhere, especially Black nurses who are faced with both the pandemic and the current racial uprising,” states Dr. Martha A. Dawson, NBNA President. “It is crucial that we protect our nurses’ physical and mental wellbeing during such an unprecedented time in our country. With RE:SET we are able to provide them with the tools necessary to recover from the daily stresses of exhausting working conditions and challenges. It is essentially PPE for their mental and emotional health, which will help to impact their physical health.”

RE:SET provides NBNA members and their families with easily accessible options for mental wellness, including:

  • RE:SET Support Line: Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, members who need in-the-moment support, are connected with licensed clinicians for no-cost, confidential guidance and resources.
  • Free, Confidential Counseling: The RE:SET program provides up to five free sessions with experienced and licensed clinicians. This service removes the cost, access and privacy hassles of getting professional emotional support when NBNA members face a problem or situation that is difficult to resolve.
  • Text Coach, also known as text therapy is available to NBNA members via mobile phone or desktop computer to help with non-acute concerns. Licensed clinicians will help nurses and their families boost emotional fitness and wellbeing by exchanging text messages, voice notes, tip sheets, videos and resource links.

To learn more about the RE:SET FREE tools and other resources, visit, www.nbna.org on December 15th.

To become a member of the National Black Nurses Association and to gain access to the FREE counseling services, visit www.nbna.org.

About National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)

Founded in 1971, the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is a professional organization representing 308,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, and nursing students in 108 chapters and 34 states. The NBNA mission is “to serve as the voice for Black nurses and diverse populations ensuring equal access to professional development, promoting educational opportunities and improving health.” NBNA chapters offer voluntary hours providing health education and screenings to community residents in collaboration with community-based partners, including faith-based organizations, civic, fraternal, hospitals, and schools of nursing. For more information, visit nbna.org. #NBNAResilient

Steps Linked to Reduced Medical Costs

Proactive Steps Linked To Reduced Medical Costs, Hospital Visits for Children With Asthma

A new study looking at data from tens of thousands of children with asthma finds that several widely available interventions are associated with both reduced medical costs and a reduced likelihood that the children will need to visit an emergency room or stay in the hospital.

“This work shows that you can improve the quality of life for children with asthma and you can reduce government spending by implementing these proactive interventions,” says Julie Swann, lead author of the study. Swann is the department head and A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor of the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University.

The researchers looked at data from 2010 and 2011 on more than 70,000 children with asthma enrolled in the Medicaid programs in New York and Michigan. The researchers focused on four interventions: asthma self-management education (ASME); flu vaccine; the use of spacers, which are low-cost plastic tubes that improve the performance of inhalers; and the use of nebulizers, which are devices that convert liquid medicine into an aerosol that patients can inhale.

Specifically, the researchers analyzed the data to understand the extent to which each of these interventions was associated with three outcomes: asthma-related visits to the emergency room; asthma-related visits to a primary-care physician; and asthma-related stays in the hospital. The researchers also assessed the extent to which each intervention influenced costs associated with each child’s asthma medication and so-called “utilization costs” – which are the costs associated with other aspects of a child’s asthma treatment, such as the cost of visiting a primary-care provider or hospital.

To address these questions, the researchers plugged the healthcare data into models that allowed them to assess the impact of each intervention separately, compared to no intervention.

“One of the key findings, which should be of interest to policymakers, is that all four interventions were associated with lower medication costs and utilization costs,” Swann says.

And while the numbers varied between states, the decreases in cost could be substantial. For example, being vaccinated against the flu was associated with a 16.4% reduction in utilization expenses and a 15.6% reduction in medication expenses for children in New York. 

“There can be significant cost reductions associated with a fairly inexpensive intervention,” Swann says.

“Our results suggest that ASME training, and the use of spacers and nebulizers, are also associated with significant decreases in both emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” says study co-author Pinar Keskinocak. “And the flu vaccine helps reduce the number of visits to a child’s primary care provider.” Keskinocak is the William W. George Chair and Professor in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems at Georgia Tech.

“It’s important to note that we looked at the impact of these outcomes separately while accounting for other interventions,” Swann says. “You would expect that the more of these proactive interventions a child has, the greater the positive impact we would expect to see on both their health and on what Medicaid would be asked to spend on their care.”

The study, “Estimating the Impact of Self-Management Education, Influenza Vaccines, Nebulizers, and Spacers on Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures for Medicaid-Enrolled Children with Asthma,” is published in the Journal of Asthma.

The paper was co-authored by Fatma Melike Yildirim, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech; Paul Griffin, the St. Vincent Health Chair of Healthcare Engineering at Purdue University; and Jean O’Connor of Emory University.

The work was done with support from the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems and the William W. George Endowment at Georgia Tech, and the Edward P. Fitts and the A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professorship at NC State.

Heartland Institute Experts React to FDA

The advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration voted 5-to-4 to reject a claim from Philip Morris International Inc. that “Switching completely to IQOS presents less risk of harm than continuing to smoke cigarettes.” Phillip Morris claims that using their IQOS device, which heats tobacco rather than burn it, could reduce the risk of tobacco related health issues compared to cigarettes.

“How many more smokers will have to die on the FDA’s watch until they catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to supporting harm reduction technologies?” Director of Government Relations John Nothdurft said. “The rest of  the world is far ahead of the United States in terms of supporting policies that help smokers quit or at a minimum move to less harmful alternatives such as heat-not-burn products, e-cigarettes, and snus.”