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Efforts Address Health Issues Affecting Minorities

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Efforts seek to address mental health, HIV testing, death rates, sickle cell disease, other health issues affecting minorities.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: Participants on Friday at the foundation's annual Legislative Conference are expected to discuss mental health among black women. The session, co-hosted by the Depression Is Real Coalition, included speakers Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.), singer Eddie Levert andTerrie Williams, a mental health advocate and author. Panelists also will address racial health disparities, depression's link to breast cancer, workplace-related depression, families' roles in mental healthcare, racism, gender bias, poverty and social disadvantages that black women face (Depression Is Real Coalition release, 9/28).

Maryland: CDC has awarded the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene AIDS Administration a $2.7 million grant to increase HIV testing in the state, particularly among black communities, the Baltimore Examiner reports. The grant seeks to reach at-risk populations that do not have regular access to health care clinics (Hille, Baltimore Examiner, 9/24).

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HHS Administration for Children and Families: ACF on Monday announced the creation of the Native American Children& Youth Task Force, which will address death and school dropout rates among American Indian youth, the AP/News Examiner-Enterprise reports. According to the agency, American Indian youth have the highest death and school dropout rates of any racial or ethnic group in the nation. In addition, almost 50% of American Indian youth live in communities with high rates of drug abuse, malnutrition and child neglect and come from single-parent homes. Many also lack access to health care. Channell Wilkins -- former director of the Office of HeadStart who will chair the task force -- said the new task force "will aid us in finding solutions that will remediate these alarming trends" (AP/News Examiner-Enterprise, 9/26).

Polk County, Fla.: A panel at the third annual health summit on Partnerships for a Healthier Polkdiscussed racial and ethnic health disparities, including how to improve the quality of care, access to care, and health education and prevention efforts. Panelists also addressed health literacy; how to change unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and being overweight;cultural differences; and distrust of the medical system among certain populations (Adams, Lakeland Ledger, 9/28).

San Antonio: PBS affiliate KLRNon Saturday will host a bilingual women's health conference, Hablandode la Salud de la Mujer -- Talking About Women's Health, the San Antonio Express-Newsreports. The conference is part of an effort by the station to educateand support Hispanic women and will feature more than 12 sessions onhealth, family issues and beauty (Felix-Ortiz, San Antonio Express-News, 9/26).

Sickle Cell Adult Provider Network:SCAPN, a network of health care professionals from more than 30 states,is developing a set of guides for health care workers to follow when treating adult sickle cell patients, the Associated Pressreports. The guides will address pain management and the benefits of blood transfusions. The disease mostly affects blacks, but a number of Hispanics are being diagnosed with the disease (Gross, Associated Press, 9/27).

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