May is Hepatitis Awareness Month! By Kaia Gallagher

May 1st, 2013

Kaia Gallagher Called the “silent epidemic,” hepatitis affects millions of Americans, many of whom do not know they are infected.  Both hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can become chronic, life-long infections which lead to liver cancer.  To increase awareness of chronic hepatitis, CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis has initiated a national education initiative called Know More Hepatitis to encourage more people who may be chronically infected to get tested.

Population groups who have been disproportionately affected by viral hepatitis-related liver cancer include Asian and Pacific Islanders and increasingly African Americans, baby boomers, and men.  More than 75 percent of those infected with hepatitis C are baby boomers, most of whom don’t know they’re infected.  http://www.cdc.gov/KnowMoreHepatitis/

Since early detection allows those infected to receive lifesaving treatment that can limit disease progression, and prevent cancer deaths, the CDC has developed a five minute online Hepatitis Risk Assessment that can help identify those for whom testing is appropriate. The online assessment asks questions based upon CDC’s guidelines for testing and vaccination.

HEP-MONTH

In addition, May 19th has been designated as a national “Hepatitis Testing Day.”   In Colorado, the Hep C Connection offers free hepatitis testing and counseling to anyone born between 1946 and 1964 or with at least one of the following risk factors:  1) received blood or blood products before 1992 2) ever injected drugs and 3) had sexual contact with an hepatitis C-positive individual.  The Hep C Connection website also lists hepatitis testing sites throughout Colorado.

For more information see, the CDC Viral Hepatitis Homepage

CRS partners with the Hep C Connection in support of its efforts to increase awareness of hepatitis and HIV risk through the Colorado HIV/AIDS Prevention Grant Program (or CHAPP) and endorses May as a time for all who are potentially at risk for hepatitis to be tested.

Sisters of Color: Advocates for Health Equity! By Kim Riley

April 10th, 2013

Kim Riley Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE), www.socue.org, a community-based health care advocacy organization in West Denver, was one of 14 organizations that received funding through the Colorado HIV and AIDS Prevention Grant Program (CHAPP) to implement HIV prevention programming in their community. SOCUE has been serving the Denver Latino community since 1989.  The organization is widely recognized for its expertise in developing and delivering culturally grounded, relevant programming in English and Spanish with at-risk, hard to reach populations in the Denver metropolitan area. SOCUE’s mission is to create health equity in underserved communities, focusing on preventing and reducing harm caused by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases with co-morbid conditions and behaviors such as diabetes, substance abuse and domestic violence.

SOCUE’s CHAPP-funding program is titled Mi Vida Su Vida (My Life, Your Life).  Adapted from SISTA, an evidence-based behavioral intervention endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it uses a Promotora de Salud model to educate and train women from the community to become lay health workers, or promotoras.  The promotoras conduct healthy lifestyles/risk reduction education interventions in small and large groups to raise awareness and reduce high-risk sexual behaviors among its target population.  For their CHAPP-funded program, the target group is recently incarcerated Latina women. The program consists of 12 weekly 2-hour educational sessions conducted by the promotoras at halfway houses where the women live.  Participating women explore the personal barriers that prevent them from leading a healthy and productive lifestyle. Session content encourages self-exploration through discussions related to culture and/gender pride, psycho-sexual development, basic anatomy, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDs, substance abuse, domestic violence, depression and assertiveness training.

Research staff at the Center for Research Strategies and the University of Colorado- Denver have been contracted by the CHAPP grant program office at the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment to monitor intervention activity of all 14 grantees in the program. Over the past five months, Mi Vida Su Vida has been very successful in its efforts, reaching 20 women in the first 12-session class conducted so far this year and testing 25 women for HIV during that same time. Program staff will continue their efforts into the spring with a second cohort of women.  Congratulations on a job well done!

Colorado Celebrates its Healthiest Schools during Healthy Schools Month! By Kaia Gallagher

April 3rd, 2013

Kaia Gallagher Colorado should be proud of its 10 year history of supporting healthy school improvement efforts.   On April 17, 2013, the Colorado Legacy Foundation in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education will recognize 34 schools, which have been selected as being the state’s healthiest schools.  This recognition is based on a competitive process through the Healthy School Champions Score Card program.

The Healthy School Champions Score Card is based on the CDC’s Coordinated School Health model and enables participating schools to assess best practices across eight component areas that define best practices in implementing a coordinated approach to health and wellness strategies.  The Score Card can be used both as a program evaluation and planning tool and for purposes of monetary awards and recognition.

The Leadership Summit on April 17, 2013 will begin with the Healthy School Champions Recognition Breakfast, featuring a talk by 2011 MacArthur Fellow, Award-Winning Harvard Economist, Education Activist, and collaborator on the Bestselling book Freakonomics, Dr. Roland Gerhard Fryer, Jr.   The lunch time speaker will be American bioethicist, author of Healthcare, Guaranteed, and the Diane and Robert Levy University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel.

The daylong summit also features 16 workshops offered by local and national Health and Wellness experts as well as implementers of The Colorado Integration Project, an effort to promote best practices and tangible tools for advancing the professional growth of educators and academic achievement for all students.

CRS applauds Colorado’s healthiest schools and celebrates the Leadership Summit as an opportunity to showcase the critical link between effective educators, healthy, safe, and welcoming schools and increasing academic achievement for all Colorado students.