Insight News

Feb 09th


A call for Black Americans to respond

You could be “the one.” Chances are you’re the match who could benefit your kin and kind with a life-saving donation.  Every day, thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases hope for a marrow donor who could make a transplant possible for them.  Black Americans can help one another by becoming activists and participants in bone marrow donations.

Good grief: Facing losses

Lately, I have seen a lot of grief and loss in my practice.  Over the last few months, there has been an increase in people who have lost jobs, homes, boyfriends, siblings, friends, children, mothers and fathers. Some of these losses were due to the tornado, others were due to the government shut-down.  Some were natural causalities of life.  But, no matter how you describe it, there is no easy way to face loss.  It hurts and it is stressful.  It is also important to understand that different people experience grief in different ways.  Grief, then, is described as a multi-faceted response to the loss of someone or something of value to which a bond was formed. Grief often entails emotional, physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, financial and philosophical dimensions.  With the recent government shut-down, many of us found ourselves anxious, worried, sad…and without jobs or income.  Consequently, discussing Grief and Loss is very relevant.

Affordable Care Act to improve data collection, reduce health disparities

Affordable Care Act to improve data collection, reduce health disparitiesHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced new draft standards for collecting and reporting data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, and announced the administration’s plans to begin collecting health data on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. Both efforts aim to help researchers, policy makers, health providers and advocates to identify and address health disparities afflicting these communities.

“Health disparities have persistent and costly affects for minority communities, and the whole country,” Secretary Sebelius said.  “Today we are taking critical steps toward ensuring the collection of useful national data on minority groups, including for the first time, LGBT populations.  The data we will eventually collect in these efforts will serve as powerful tools and help us in our fight to end health disparities.”

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).
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