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Tag: vulnerable populations

Technology Helps Bring Health Equity to Underserved Communities

Article Excerpt: Health equity, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. It requires concentrated efforts to eliminate health and healthcare disparities and, more than ever, technology has become a major tool in the process. “From my perspective, technology has a huge value to provide health equity,” says Albert Blankley, COO of Common Ground Health, a health research and planning organization for the nine county Finger Lakes region founded in 1974. The organization’s mission is to bring greater focus to community health issues via data analysis, resident engagement and solution implementation, via regional collaboration and partnerships.

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Article Source: Rochester Business Journal


Recreational Cannabis Has Arrived in Minnesota. What Are Its Health Benefits, Risks?

Article Excerpt: Despite its use in medicine, cannabis is a cause for concern for some clinicians, especially when they consider the developing brains of children and young adults. It is also an understudied substance, due in part to its federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug, limiting what we know, scientifically, about its potential benefits and harms on the human body. “Cannabis is not one drug,” said Jacob Borodovsky, a senior research scientist at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “The cannabis plant itself, we’ve identified over 150 cannabinoid compounds that are present in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are just two of those 150 or more identified compounds.” So, what do we know about cannabis and its health impacts?

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Article Source: Post Bulletin


Despite Room for Improvement, Telehealth Assists Incarcerated Patients

Article Excerpt: A report from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) described the various state-level efforts to expand access to telehealth that benefited justice-involved and incarcerated patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) throughout the pandemic, along with the lessons to guide future use. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with SUDs experienced many adverse outcomes, including healthcare access barriers along with buying drugs off the street and using them alone… To address these issues, federal and state governments took action to remove telehealth access barriers and support those with SUDs.

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Article Source: mHealth Intelligence


Dementia, Substance Misuse, and Social Determinants of Health: American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples’ Prevention, Service, and Care

Crouch MC, Cheromiah Salazar MBR, Harris SJ, Rosich RM. Dementia, Substance Misuse, and Social Determinants of Health: American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples’ Prevention, Service, and Care. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2023 Jan 18;7:24705470221149479. doi: 10.1177/24705470221149479. PMID: 36699807; PMCID: PMC9869198.

A qualitative study was conducted to understand the cultural practices and beliefs among American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) Elders about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). Interviews investigated the etiology, course, treatment, and cultural meanings of ADRD as well as the social determinants of health related to ADRD and role of substance use disorder. AI/AN tribal Elders are identified as individuals who are designated culture bearers, wisdom holders, and role models in their respective communities. Twelve AI/AN Elders (mean age=73) who speak English participated in semi-structured interviews. The sample was predominantly female (66.7%), Athabascan Tribal heritage (58.3%) and retired (66.7%). All participants had a family member with ADRD but did not themselves have an ADRD diagnosis. Qualitative analyses identified 6 themes of etiology, barriers to treatment, and social determinants: (1) postcolonial distress; (2) substance misuse; (3) distrust of Western medicine; (4) structural inequities; (5) walking in two worlds; and, (6) decolonizing and indigenizing medicine. Findings highlight potential causal factors in disease development and manifestation as viewed by AI/AN Elders. This study exemplified historical and ongoing discrimination and stress in Western medicine and the importance of adopting a holistic view to address cultural health disparities.


New mHealth Intervention Aims to Curb Smoking Among Black HIV Patients

Article Excerpt: Following a $1.3 million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Lorra Garey, a researcher from the University of Houston RESTORE Lab, plans to lead a research project to assess the impact of an mHealth application to mitigate smoking among Black people with HIV. HIV, a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, affects a large portion of the worldwide population. According to the World Health Organization, it has led to 40 million deaths globally. In addition, the US Department of Veterans Affairs noted that about 20 percent of US citizens with HIV are not aware that they have it, according to the press release.

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Article Source: mHealthIntelligence


Implementation and impact of a technology-based HIV risk-reduction intervention among Thai men who have sex with men using “Vialogues”: a randomized controlled trial

Anand T, Nitpolprasert C, Jantarapakde J, Meksena R, Phomthong S, Phoseeta P, Phanuphak P & Phanuphak N (2020) Implementation and impact of a technology-based HIV risk-reduction intervention among Thai men who have sex with men using “Vialogues”: a randomized controlled trial, AIDS Care, 32:3, 394-405, DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2019.1622638

A randomized controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the impact of a technology-based intervention on HIV risks and condom use behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Thailand. Seventy-six participants who were at least 18 years of age and reported unprotected sex in the last 6 months were recruited from the Thai Red Cross Anonymous Clinic. Participants were randomly assigned to control (N=39) and intervention arms (N=37). The intervention group received HIV/STI prevention education videos delivered online via and video sessions with a counselor monthly for 12 months. The control group received HIV counseling and testing alone for 12 months. Researchers compared attendance rates of recommended clinic visits and HIV testing, changes in HIV/AIDS knowledge, behavioral intentions, attitudes for engaging in safer sex, condom use self-efficacy, and risky behaviors at baseline, 6-month and 12-month follow-ups for both groups. Eighty-nine percent of participants in the intervention arm completed all monthly Vialogues sessions. At 12 months, participants in the intervention arm had significantly more clinic visits than those in the control arm (p=0.03). At 12 months, the intervention group also reported a significantly higher percentage of condom use for anal intercourse than the control group (p=0.003). Participants receiving the intervention also reported significantly reduced self-perceived HIV risk (p=0.001), popper use (p=0.002), and number of sexual partners (p=0.003), and increased condom use (p=0.006) from baseline to 6 months and 12 months. Results demonstrated that the Vialogues program was effective for improving safer sex behaviors and attitudes to lower HIV risk among Thai MSM.


Improving Behavioral Health Care For Older Americans: If Not Now, When?

Article Excerpt: Telemedicine and technological procedures have important roles in the care of older adults as this population and its demand for behavioral health care grow. Despite access limitations and some age-related health challenges such as vision or hearing problems, cognitive decline, and decreased motor skills that may make telemedicine difficult for some, older adults want to follow technological developments and can successfully adapt to telemedicine. Moreover, age-related challenges have not been shown to block older adults from successfully using telemedicine. Provider best practices have been developed and can include practice runs with specified platforms, collaborating with patient family/caregiver, using assisted technologies, and so forth. Providers can set up older adults with training and tools necessary for successful telemedicine adoption, and older adults demonstrated high stakeholder satisfaction with telemedicine.

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Article Source: Health Affairs


Meet Grandma’s New Robot Pal

Article Excerpt: New York State is giving hundreds of “companion robots” to seniors at risk of social isolation, The Verge reports. Named ElliQ, the lamp-esque robots — from Israeli AI firm Intuition Robotics — are designed to make small talk, crack jokes and more. ElliQ’s “face” pivots toward whomever it’s speaking with, lending the bots a disarming, Pixar-like quality. A companion touchscreen can display pictures and other data (like weather reports) and handle video calls. Why it matters: Researchers have linked social isolation to all sorts of negative health outcomes: Loneliness is associated with a 50% higher risk of dementia, 32% increased risk of stroke and 29% greater risk of heart disease, and “significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes,” per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Article Source: Axios


A New Study Finds that A Smoking Cessation App Can Reach a Diverse Group of Users

Article Excerpt: A new study published in the open access journal JMIR Public Health and Surveillance shows that a digital cessation app to quit smoking can draw a diverse audience, including at-risk and underrepresented groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death, disease, and disability in the United States. For years, the state of Washington has been investing in helping residents quit tobacco. In 2015, the state broadened its offering to include free access to the 2Morrow Health tobacco cessation smartphone app. Washington State public health prioritizes the needs and well-being of all residents and assures that underserved and at-risk populations are reached. This digital solution allowed the state to cast a wider net to reach more and different tobacco users.

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Article Source: Newswise