Insight News

Oct 08th


Ellison participates in National HIV Testing Day

Ellison participates in National HIV Testing Day(D-Minneapolis) joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-California) last week on National HIV Testing Day to renew his commitment to ending the stigma of being tested for HIV.

“Today I received a rapid mouth swab HIV test in Washington where I was found to be negative.  I wanted to show the importance of being tested on a regular basis, it’s the only way you can know your status” Ellison said.

At the moment 1 in 5 people living with HIV do not know they are infected with HIV. As HIV rates in the United States climb it is increasingly important for individuals to be tested regularly. 

Shame, Stigma & Satan (and other barriers to seeking help)

When I was learning to be a psychologist I had lots of training.  One training was on the topic of shame.  Our professor talked about shame as being one of human being’s most frequently experienced (and least favorite) emotions.  She taught us that the acronym for “shame” (S.H.A.M.E.) stands for  “Secretly Hiding All My Emotions.”  I also learned that shame can be either healthy or unhealthy.  For example, if you steal someone’s wallet and now they can’t buy groceries, you cheat on your wife, or manipulate others so that you take advantage of them, then you should experience shame.  It is healthy to feel shame when we do something bad, wrong, sneaky, or under-handed.  If you don’t feel shame under those circumstances, then something is probably wrong with the way you feel about yourself and others.  Sadly, people who don’t feel shame about mistreating others either land up in jail, can’t find healthy relationships…or end up as somebody’s boss! Some examples of experiencing unhealthy shame, however, would include shame around the fact that you are single, overweight, don’t have money, can’t find a job, see a therapist, or have contracted some type of sexually transmitted disease. 

UCare hires Nancy Houlton as Behavioral Health Services Director

UCare hires Nancy Houlton as Behavioral Health Services DirectorUCare has hired Nancy Houlton as the organization’s Behavioral Health Services Director. Houlton previously was Manager of Long Term Care, Adult Protective Services, and Managed Care at Ramsey County Human. In that role, Houlton oversaw managed care services, home and community programs supporting the elderly and people with disabilities, foster care licensing, and adult protective services.

In her new position, Houlton is responsible for the clinical quality, operational efficiency, strategic planning, and fiscal management of UCare’s behavioral health services. She oversees UCare’s compliance with regulatory requirements from UCare’s oversight agencies, including the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Human Services, and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Houlton also is responsible for UCare’s business relationships with contracted and delegated behavioral service entities.

Maternal mortality rates increase for African-American women

SYNOPSIS: Nationally, Black women are four-times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than whites.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- High rates of obesity, high blood pressure and inadequate prenatal care cause death from childbirth more often for African-Americans in the United States than for whites and other ethnic groups. Worsening this trend are the increasing numbers of cesarean sections nationally. These procedures can result in deadly complications for women dangerously overweight or suffering from hypertension or other ailments.

Nationally, Blacks have a four-times greater risk of pregnancy-related death than whites -- a rate of 36.1 per 100,000 live births compared with 9.6 for whites and 8.5 for Hispanics, according to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mission: Smoke free homes

Mission: Smoke free homesProject STARS (Start Taking Action to Restrict Smoking) is urging mothers who smoke, to do so from afar. As part of a research study funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by a partnership between the University of Minnesota and NorthPoint Health and Wellness, Inc., Project STARS sets out to help African American parents raise their children in smoke-free homes.

Previous studies have found that, despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day than many Caucasian smokers, African Americans suffer far more from tobacco-related diseases and have more difficulty quitting. Children raised in homes where smoking is permitted are more likely to become smokers themselves.

The impact of HIV/AIDS on the African American community: Myths and facts

This past Tuesday, I was incredibly humbled and honored to be invited to the White House as a Champion of Change. As I toured the White House and met with administration officials I couldn’t help but think about how far we’ve come and how much more work needs to be done to end the HIV epidemic.

30 years later, we are still struggling with stigma, increased levels of miseducation and deep-rooted fear of those infected with HIV. Just this week, while drinking with friends and colleagues, I was reminded of how much more work we have to do when it comes to educating the public at large about how HIV is transmitted. We ordered a huge drink (bucket sized), one that came complete with six fun neon straws.  Folks were chatting, laughing and having a grand ole time. As the evening progressed, people began to forget which straws were theirs. One person exclaimed, “It’s okay if I drink from someone else’s straw—I’m not sick, its not like I have AIDS or anything!” That comment struck me like a lightening bolt… and I kept thinking, “Thirty years into this epidemic, and still, there are people that think HIV can be transmitted by drinking from the same glass or straw…”

Hunger-Free Minnesota launches unprecedented program to fight hunger

Hunger-Free Minnesota launched a three-year initiative recently with sights set on sustainably adding 100 million meals annually for hungry adults and children in the state. The organization was joined by corporations and community partners from across Minnesota that have pledged support. Hunger-Free Minnesota leaves the starting block with $3 million in financial support, a significant start toward the $20 million needed for phase one of the three-year target. 
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