Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hispanic Physicians Launch Obesity Prevention Campaign

“The nation cannot afford to ignore the obesity crisis and its [health] consequences—especially among Hispanics, a fast-growing population that has a prevalence of being obese. Cheap fast food, a lack of safe areas to exercise in their neighborhoods and fatty diets contribute to Hispanics’ expanding waistlines.” So says Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), a nonprofit association of Hispanic physicians which recently launched a major national public awareness campaign aimed at reducing obesity in this high-risk population.

The campaign, conducted in partnership with the Office of Minority Health, kicks off in Galveston, Texas—a state where one in four Hispanic children is obese, compared to only one in 10 Caucasian kids. Through its member physicians, its Council of Medical Societies and local Hispanic medical students, NHMA will focus on educating patients and the public about diet, nutrition and exercise. The program will then expand to four other locations with sizable Hispanic populations: El Paso, Miami, New York and California.

—compiled by the editors of Minority Nurse magazine


Monday, May 22, 2006

Universal health care hearing report by Patricia Documet

Patricia Documet said: I had the opportunity to testify yesterday (May 21) at a Citizens Hearing on Health Care Reform, at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill.

Thirteen different people got to offer their testimony in front of US Representative John Conyers, Jr. and PA Senator Jim Ferlo and an audience of over 250 people.
They wanted testimony from the point of view of citizens (underscore "citizens"). They hearing was organized by the Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Health Care in support of bill HR 676 (a US house bill).

Below is a copy of what I said.

Thanks for the opportunity to testify at this hearing.

The Census Bureau estimates there are over 42 million Latinos in the U.S. In Allegheny County, in 2006, there are approximately 17,000 Latinos, just under 2% of the population. I have conducted research dealing specifically with health care access for the Latino population in southwestern Pennsylvania and I am involved in several local Latino organizations.

Much has been said about undocumented immigrants. However, over 30 million Latinos in the U.S. are legally here – some have been here for generations. Many Latinos who are uninsured are in this situation pretty much like other working poor in the U.S.

Thirty-eight percent of all Latinos are uninsured in our area, coinciding with national figures. Sometimes, Latinos have health insurance, but health plans exclude preventive care or exclude family members. Others work two or three part time jobs and therefore are not eligible for insurance.

The waiting period for the insurance plan to be operational, plus the high turnover in jobs results in many people being uninsured most of the time, even when they work at jobs with benefits. For example, for Rita, an American citizen and a full time employee in the service sector in Pittsburgh, the waiting period was one year.

Although she complained of pain in her knees and back, she had yet to see a doctor. When I met her, she hoped to be able to continue working eight more months, until she could get covered care. Shortly after her insurance became active, she changed jobs and had to face another waiting period. As other working poor, Latinos alternate between being employed and unemployed, insured and uninsured. It is those who have fewer years of schooling and less marketable skills who are hit the hardest. They are the ones who would most benefit from universal health care access.
Another crucial problem is that Latino citizen children tend not to be enrolled in CHIP. Their parents fear that receiving public assistance may get them into trouble. This happens even when they are legally here. The misconception may be perpetuated by a question asked when applying for permanent residency, that deals with having received public assistance.

Some Latinos in our area say they choose to go without insurance, or without a regular source of care. However, this is not a true choice, because they cannot afford health insurance. To complicate matters further, lack of information means many are unable to use the few resources that are available to them.

A single payer universal health care system would be the fairest way of addressing the needs of all these Americans.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Reminder-- ACS Cancer Survivor Conference-Sat. May 20th-Registrations still being accepted--by phone and at the door!

Are you in cancer treatment? Do you have questions?

American Cancer Society
Cancer Survivors

Taking the Cancer Journey Together

At the Great Hall in Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, May 20, 2006
11:30am – 4:30pm
FREE for ALL survivors – those currently in treatment, those who have completed treatment, and long-term survivors.

Workshops with practical information on:
• Managing Cancer-Related Fatigue
• Creating a Survivorship Plan

Guest speakers discussing:
• Cancer & your family – is there a genetic link?
• Cancer & the environment – what do you need to know?

Special support package for the newly diagnosed!
• Track medical appointments, medications & treatments
• Record insurance & financial information

Call 1.800.ACS.2345 to register!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Insurance Coverage and Health Care Access and Use

“Several studies conducted as part of the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism project have focused on documenting and explaining racial and ethnic differences in insurance coverage and health care access and use. ANF's National Survey of America's Families has enabled studies of trends in insurance coverage gaps, analyses of under-studied populations, and multivariate decompositions of the factors related to racial and ethnic differences. This paper reviews those studies and highlights their contribution to the large and growing literature regarding racial and ethnic differences.”

For full study:

By Bowen Garrett and Alshadye Yemane, The Urban Insitute (Tuesday, May 09, 2006)

Consumer Health Coalition
650 Smithfield Street
Centre City Tower/Suite 2130
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 456-1877
Fax: (412) 456-1096


Monday, May 01, 2006

Citizens Hearing on Health Care Reform MAY 21

Chaired by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Prime Sponsor-HR 676 “United States National Health Insurance Act”. Also known as the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act”

Sunday, May 21, 2006 1:30-5:00 PM
Temple Sinai, 5505 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh (Squirrel Hill)
• Nearly 46 million Americans and 1.5 million Pennsylvanians are uninsured.
• 50 million have inadequate health insurance in the USA.
• 18,000 Americans die each year because of no Health Care Coverage.
• Half of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are related to debt from medical expenses.


Profits and administrative overhead currently take 25-30% of health care premium dollars. Medicare programs have only a 3% overhead. These savings and negotiated drug prices can help provide the necessary money to provide comprehensive high quality health care to all U.S. citizens.

Please join us to:
• Hear the testimony of local citizens concerning the health care crisis in our region.
• Learn about single-payer solutions, also known as Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, specifically HR 676, introduced by US Rep. John Conyers with 68 co-sponsors, and PA SB 1085, introduced by State Senator Jim Ferlo.
• Listen to the responses of our state and national elected officials to single-payer options.

Participate in building an action plan to advocate for single-payer health care.

List of Hearing Co-Sponsors: Healthcare-Now; Temple Sinai; Pennsylvanians United for Single-payer Healthcare (PUSH); Pennsylvanian United for Reform of Health Care (PUReHC); Consumer Health Coalition; Tikkun Community—Pittsburgh East; YWCA Greater Pittsburgh; Independent State Store Union; Pittsburgh Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program; Pediatrics South; Spector Studios; Clergy and Churches United; Centers for Healthy Hearts and Souls; Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute; League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh; Citizen Power; PA Senator Jim Ferlo; The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer; Steel Valley Printers; Branch 84 Nat’l Assoc. of Letter Carriers; Pa. Assoc. of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals; Women’s Intern’l League for Peace and Freedom; Assoc. of Pittsburgh Priests; Pgh. Area Pax Christi; American Friends Service Committee PA program; Citizens Budget Campaign of Western PA; Thomas Merton Center; S-W Division, PA Chapter of Nat’l Assoc. of Social Workers; Americans for Democratic Action—Pgh. Chapter; Social Justice Endowment Committee, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh; Working Families Win; AFSCME, AFL-CIO; Roots of Promise; Temple Sinai Brotherhood; Fourth Ward (Pittsburgh) Democratic Committee; Three Rivers Center for Independent Living; Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network; St. Thomas More Catholic Church Justice and Peace Committee; Butler Co. United Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Aquatic Journey; Pennsyl. Healthcare Solutions Coalition; Pgh Area Postal Workers Union; Dist. #6, PA State Nurses Assn; Dave DiSimone, Esq.

For more information, please contact Sandy Fox, Hearing Coordinator, at or write to the Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Health Care, P.O. Box 81915, Pittsburgh, PA 15217.


US-TOO & CDC Team up on Men Health issues for minorities

Please join Us Too International’s attempt to reach out and provide prostate cancer, early detection and survivorship information to minorities and underserved populations in Western Pennsylvania through its CDC grant program. Attached is the brochure giving a description of the program.

Many of you attended a Luncheon in November in which Program Director, Mr. Eugene Wheeler, outlined the program. We are proceeding with the next step, a training workshop for facilitators, to implement the program. The training workshop will be conducted Saturday May 6, 2006, in the Conference Room of The Hill House Association, 1835 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Mr. Wheeler, beginning at 9:00 am and lasting 4-5 hours, will conduct the workshop. Lunch will be served.

Topics include:
 Purpose for Prostate Cancer Awareness
 Prostate Cancer 101
 Program History and Achievement
 Program Goals and Objectives
 Is screening Right for you
 Rules of Confidentiality

Group Breakout Discussion and Report

1. How do we reach people in our community?
2. Best methods to present to different gender & ethnic groups
3. Access to local community resources

Facilitators attending the training workshop receive:

 One Training Manual
 Supply of “Special News” cancer brochures (English, Spanish, and/or Native American Sensitive)
 DVD or video in Spanish for distribution to Spanish speaking facilitators
 Supply of forms (pre-test, post-test, presenter evaluation, encounters form, and post community awareness survey)
 Blue ribbon pins to distribute
 Blue wrist bands to distribute
 Tote bag to carry supplies
 Us TOO Training Certificate of Completion

Please RSVP online no later than Tuesday, May 2, 2006. If you are unable to attend the workshop, we would appreciate sending a representative of your organization. If you have others who wish to participate in the program please also RSVP online.

Thanking you in advance,
Cornelius Harris, Pilot Site Coordinator – 412-371-5171
Jerry Bortman, Pilot Site Leader