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October 2010

October 29, 2010


World Problems + Your Solutions = Challenge.gov

By Read Holman, New Media Strategist at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Challenge.gov Beta.  Government Challenges, Your Solutions

Good ideas are everywhere. No organization, individual, or government has a monopoly on good ideas. Recognizing this, a new federal website, Challenge.gov, has been created as a place where the public and government can solve problems together. Federal agencies post “challenges”, or contests, on the site, and members of the public can offer innovative solutions to these challenges. Challenges are great for encouraging public/private partnerships, as well as stimulating an interest and innovation around a particular topic. Challenge.gov was launched in response to the Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive, which calls for the Federal government to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration with the public. Check out the White House Guidance on the Use of Challenges and Prizes to Promote Open Government (PDF 98 KB).

Continue reading "World Problems + Your Solutions = Challenge.gov" »

October 28, 2010


Development of National HIV/AIDS Strategy Operational Plan Advances

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

photos from NHAS implementation meeting

See below for individuals photographed (left-to-right)

Making significant strides toward developing the Department-wide operational plan to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, representatives of 10 agencies and more than 13 staff offices from across HHS gathered for a two-day retreat last week. Getting down to specifics, participants shared details and received feedback on agency-specific plans, identified opportunities for cross-agency/office collaboration, and refined the outline of the operational plan due to the White House on December 9, 2010. 

To further inform HHS efforts, participants first heard perspectives from three non-federal representatives who were invited to share their expectations of the HHS operational plan. Sharing their thoughts were Dr. Monica Sweeney, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Mr. Chris Collins, Vice President and Director of Public Policy, amfAR; and Ms. Heather Hauck, Director, Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. All expressed optimism for the great potential inherent in the HHS plan and the NHAS generally, but also communicated high expectations. Recognizing the importance of a continuum of prevention, care and treatment efforts, they urged a thoughtful approach that diminishes “silos” and encourages and even facilitates greater degrees of flexibility with and collaboration among agencies across the Federal government as well as with state and local health departments. Additional input on the HHS NHAS operational plan received in writing by the Office of the Secretary from community organizations, associations, and other parties was also shared with the meeting participants. This input included a written summary of the 10/13/10 Community Check-in meeting.

Continue reading "Development of National HIV/AIDS Strategy Operational Plan Advances" »

October 27, 2010


The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy on Bullying and Teen Suicide

By Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director

We recently wrote a post about the very serious problem of bullying and teen suicide. Children or adolescents who are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are at particular risk.

People from across the country and around the world, including President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, have created videos to spread the message to LGBT youth that "it gets better" Exit Disclaimer. The Office of HIV/AIDS Policy and AIDS.gov staff made the video below based on the article We must protect kids from bullying, by HHS Secretary Sebelius and Education Secretary Duncan. In addition, the Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights issued guidance to support educators in addressing bullying in schools in a Dear Colleagues letter (PDF, 295 KB).

If you need to talk to someone, the Trevor Project's hotline for LGBT youth is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1.866.488.7386 or online at www.thetrevorproject.org Exit Disclaimer.

October 26, 2010


Join us in Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day

By the AIDS.gov Team

Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day

For the past two years, we've asked people from across the country (and around the world) to share why they are Facing AIDS in honor of World AIDS Day, December 1.

Facing AIDS is an initiative based on a simple idea: we believe that we are stronger together, and that by sharing our faces and words Exit Disclaimer we can make a difference in the response to HIV and AIDS. We can reduce stigma. We can promote testing. We can support the goals and vision of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to make them a reality.

At AIDS.gov, we are Facing AIDS so that "The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination." (National HIV/AIDS Strategy Vision Statement)

We kicked off Facing AIDS again this year at the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), and over 200 people stopped by, filled out a sign about why they are Facing AIDS, and took a photo in our photo booth -- check out our Flickr group Exit Disclaimer to see what people had to say.

But USCA was just the beginning. Now it's up to all of us.

Check the video below which explains more about how Facing AIDS works.

Continue reading "Join us in Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day" »

October 21, 2010


What’s in it for Non-AIDS Infectious Diseases Researchers?

Future Directions for National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Research

By Hugh Auchincloss, M.D., NIAID Deputy Director, Carl W. Dieffenbach, Ph.D., Director of NIAID’s Division of AIDS, and Carole Heilman, Ph.D., Director of NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

So far all of the postings on this blog series have been about HIV/AIDS research or about diseases that are major comorbidities. This is appropriate since we have been discussing the upcoming re-competition of a clinical trials infrastructure that until now has been funded entirely with AIDS-appropriated funds.  However, several times over the past year, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has said publicly that we are exploring the possibility of using this infrastructure for research on a broader range of infectious diseases. In this posting we will discuss our current thinking about how this might be accomplished, and how non-AIDS infectious diseases clinical researchers can participate.

The first consideration that is important to understand is that funding for NIAID comes in three separate categories: 1) AIDS and AIDS-related, 2) Biodefense, and 3) Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IID). AIDS funds can be used for critical AIDS comorbidities such as TB and infectious hepatitis, whether or not those diseases are studied in HIV-infected patients. That is why the AIDS research agenda that has been described in previous postings by Carl Dieffenbach, director of NIAID’s Division of AIDS (DAIDS), has included TB and infectious hepatitis as high priorities. The inclusion of these two co-infections represents a great opportunity for infectious diseases investigators with expertise in TB and hepatitis to develop and execute cutting-edge clinical trials on these infections. Biodefense funding can be used for a broad range of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and conditions. For example, research on both antimicrobial resistance and influenza can be funded with Biodefense dollars. However, many other infectious diseases must be funded by IID dollars. Given these constraints, expanding the scope of the research conducted in our DAIDS-sponsored clinical trials networks obviously requires that we introduce new sources of funding from non-AIDS appropriated funds. Since NIAID funding has been nearly flat for several years, this can only be accomplished incrementally. Clearly, our goal is to maximize the value of these non-AIDS dollars by avoiding duplicating many elements of the clinical trials infrastructure that already exist.

Continue reading "What’s in it for Non-AIDS Infectious Diseases Researchers?" »


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