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April 2011

April 26, 2011


Mobile Health 2011

By BJ Fogg Exit Disclaimer, Executive Director, and Tanna Drapkin, Managing Director, Mobile Health 2011

Mobile Health 2011

On May 4 and 5, over 400 people will gather at Stanford University to hear 45 experts Exit Disclaimer share what really works in creating solutions to improve health behavior using mobile technology.

Hosted by Stanford University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mobile Health 2011 Exit Disclaimer highlights real solutions for real people – practical, proven solutions. In fact, “What Really Works” is our official theme.

This is not a conference about speculation or ideas that live only in slides. That’s not helpful. This year we show what’s really working in many facets of mobile health, from early stage design to testing, from distribution to business models. And for the first time ever we’ll have a session on hacking for health (how people have used existing technologies to create quick health interventions), led by Google’s Chief Health Strategist, Dr. Roni Zeiger.

For two action-packed days, industry leaders, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, medical visionaries, and hard-working public servants will share their successes. We’ll learn from those with creative, cutting-edge approaches and from those who are working successfully within the confines of governmental security and privacy laws.

Our program Exit Disclaimer features short talks, fast-paced panels, and long breaks for quality conversations. That means attendees hear from all 45 experts and get to talk with them directly. Some of the most inspiring and exciting moments of the conference happen when attendees connect. Relationships blossom, collaborations ensue, and partnerships form to continue to the critical work of providing innovative and positive health impact through the use of mobile technologies.

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SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part II)

By Gretchen Stiers, PhD, HIV/AIDS Policy Lead, Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gretchen Stiers

Gretchen Stiers, SAMHSA

As the HIV/AIDS policy lead at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), I am pleased to return to the blog to discuss more of the activities that SAMHSA is engaged in to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). In my last post, I discussed SAMHSA’s commitment to addressing the behavioral health problems that can put individuals at greater risk for HIV infection, co-occur with HIV infection, and hinder access to treatment and maintenance in care for mental and substance use disorders as well as for primary medical services. I also discussed SAMHSA’s efforts to examine the funding criteria that allow States to use five percent of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funds for HIV/AIDS services, and our support of the 12 Cities Project. Today, I would like to provide an overview of how some of our current behavioral health activities are aligned with each of the three goals of the NHAS. Behavioral health refers to emotional health in general and the choices/actions that affect wellness. Behavioral health problems include substance abuse or misuse, alcohol and drug addiction, serious psychological distress, suicide, and mental and substance use disorders.

Goal 1: Reducing New HIV Infections

To reduce the number of new HIV infections, the NHAS calls for us to re-orient our prevention efforts by realigning resources to serve the populations at highest risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV including those with mental and substance use disorders1. The NHAS recommends that HIV testing and other comprehensive HIV prevention services be coupled with treatment and services for individuals with mental and substance use disorders. To help assess the need for additional services, SAMHSA is conducting a needs assessment to determine the distribution and frequency of HIV testing in SAMHSA-funded substance abuse and mental health treatment clinics. We will use the results from the assessment to determine areas for expanding HIV testing capacity in SAMHSA-funded clinics and centers. While many behavioral health service providers are not HIV specialists, their patient populations may be engaging in behaviors that put them at higher risk for HIV infection or hinder access to HIV treatment and maintenance in care. SAMHSA will develop resources, technical assistance and training to help substance abuse and mental health treatment providers offer HIV prevention services (such as access to rapid testing) and to increase their capacity to link people with HIV/AIDS to primary care in a timely manner.

Continue reading "SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part II)" »

April 25, 2011


Highlights from the National Transgender Health Summit

By Jennie Anderson, Communications Director, and Mindy Nichamin, New Media Coordinator, AIDS.gov


JoAnne Keatley, Director of the CoE for Transgender Health

What do empowerment, discrimination, data, and health have in common? They are several of the many themes we heard throughout the National Transgender Health Summit Exit Disclaimer that took place in San Francisco earlier this month. The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health (CoE) Exit Disclaimer organized this groundbreaking two-day Summit that brought together healthcare providers, health profession students, researchers, and other health leaders. In past posts we've discussed the disproportionate impact of the HIV epidemic on the transgender community, and so this Summit was an important opportunity for us to learn from and engage with experts on this topic. As the White House National HIV/AIDS Strategy [PDF] states, "Some studies have found that as many as 30 percent of transgender individuals are HIV-positive. Yet, historically, efforts targeting this specific population have been minimal." 

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April 22, 2011


A Bridge for ADAPs to 2014: A National Conversation

By Vera Yakovchenko, Public Health Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy,  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Red AIDS Ribbon

On April 7, 2011, on behalf of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, I attended “A Bridge for ADAPs to 2014: A National Conversation,” an event hosted by Dr. E. Blaine Parrish, Associate Dean of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, DC. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the anticipated impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  (ACA) on the  AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and to identify options that will allow ADAPs to meet growing demands for services, in advance of the full implementation of ACA in 2014. 

This important conversation took place among  representatives from national and local HIV service organizations, state AIDS directors and coordinators, HIV clinicians, administrators from health care facilities, national ADAP experts,  pharmaceutical industry representatives, and community advocates. The meeting covered topics revolving around implementation of the ACA, how ADAPs operate, and “environmental” changes on the horizon that will impact HIV/AIDS service delivery. With ADAPs continuing to experience increased demand, these types of conversations are  critical to begin formulating how ADAPs will move forward within the context of the implementation of the ACA.

Highlights of the meeting included discussions around the anticipated health impacts of ACA on uninsured and underinsured individuals, ADAP funding needs, client medication access issues, other sources of coverage for ADAP clients, Ryan White Reauthorization in 2013, and efforts to address  policy and program challenges. While many lingering questions remain, this meeting stimulated conversations on the many facets of the current ADAP situation and the Ryan White program reauthorization in light of the ACA. The meeting organizers promised to provide a summary of the discussion to share with  others in the HIV community and the larger health care and policy communities.


April 20, 2011


Illinois Commences Development of Statewide HIV/AIDS Plan

By David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO, AIDS Foundation of Chicago Exit Disclaimer

In a recent article Exit Disclaimer, my colleague at AIDS Foundation Chicago Exit Disclaimer, Keith R. Green, profiled efforts underway in Illinois to develop a statewide operational plan aligned with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Keith frankly observes that “coordinated efforts at the national level will only produce small results without similar coordination within local jurisdictions.”

I thought it was particularly timely to share his article given that on Tuesday I participated in a meeting that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened to discuss the development of state HIV/AIDS plans. Joining me at this meeting were representatives from the community, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors Exit Disclaimer(NASTAD) and the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS), several state AIDS directors, local health department representatives, and others. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is, afterall, a national and not merely a federal strategy. So the strategy counts on contributions to this national effort from all sectors, including state and local governments.  In recommending that the States develop individual HIV/AIDS plans, the Strategy suggests:

The purpose of State plans would be to enhance coordination between planning and resource allocation activities, which are often siloed in a way that separates prevention and care…In developing their plans, States will also be encouraged to identify all Federal, State, and local resources, and to the extent feasible, private and nonprofit resources to ensure that all HIV/AIDS resources are allocated in the most efficient manner to address the full range of prevention, care, and social service needs.  

AIDS.gov talked with James Albino, the Senior Program Manager in the White House Office of National AIDS Policy about this post and he told us that “. . . shortly after the launch of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy I began visiting communities from LA to Dover, DE to encourage them to look at ways to implement the Strategy at the local level.  I am pleased that Illinois is in the forefront of this important effort and hopeful that their efforts might serve to inform and inspire other States to pursue similar plans.”


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