November 30, 2009
December 1st marks the twenty-second anniversary of World AIDS Day. Here in Minnesota, the occasion will be commemorated with dozens of events, educational exhibits, and free screenings, as well as a lecture on “Why HIV Still Matters” by Peter Carr, director of the STD and HIV Section, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
When: December 1, 2009, 12:15 – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Phillips Wangensteen Building, Room 2-470
516 Delaware Street Southeast, Minneapolis, MN 55455
As Carr notes in an MDH press release, “Nationally, a dangerous trend is emerging among persons between the ages of 13 and 24,” said Carr. “Statistics are showing that persons in this age group are being infected by HIV more so than ever before. We are monitoring this situation very closely in Minnesota.”
To learn more about World AIDS day and AIDS in Minnesota, visit:
For a full list of World AIDS Day events in Minnesota, visit:
November 27, 2009
We often say that if *public health* is working, you don’t even notice it.
In Madison, WI and the surrounding area the disparity between black and white infant death is shrinking - the infant mortality rate for blacks declining steeply since the early 1990′s – reaching parity with whites. This is good news – but public health and medical officials are not sure that all the factors contributing to this important achievement are fully understood. They report that during this time there were no major changes to the extent of prenatal care or medical technology. Something is working.
An article published on 11/27/09 in the New York Times highlights what seems to be a public health success story in Dane County, Wisconsin. Despite the steep decline in infant mortality observed in Dane county, nearby cities of Milwaukee and Racine have rates as high as 20 deaths per 1,000 live births – understanding the factors contributing to the success seen in Dane county has become an urgent issue.
The article suggests that perhaps the life-course perspective offers a framework to better understand the complex factors in the social milieu that impact women’s health – as well is infant mortality- and it describes the challenges associated with translating this success to other counties (including nearby Racine county) – and credits public health promotion efforts in Dane County for the decline in black infant death. To read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/us/27infant.html?em
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Birth Outcomes
November 24, 2009
In a letter to colleagues on November 4th, the Minnesota Department of Health described their preliminary analysis of this year’s data (January – September) showing an increase in the overall number of new HIV diagnoses in Minnesota and highlighting a few trends of particular importance:
1) The number of cases diagnosed among adolescents and young adults (ages 15 – 24), will be up compared to last year. In 2008, there were a total of 59 new cases diagnosed in this age group. Between January and September 2009 we have received reports of 75 new cases, a 27 percent increase over the 2008 total numbers;
2) While the above increase affects both males and females, it is greater among young men, particularly among young gay and bisexual men; and,
3) Overall numbers are up by 25 percent and if the trend continues through the fourth quarter, we will see the highest number of new diagnoses since 1992.
This information is not yet available online, but will be released with the complete 2009 MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report after January of 2010.
For more information about HIV in Minnesota, visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/index.html.
For the 2008 MDH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports, visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/hivsurvrpts.html.
November 19, 2009
Mattel is raising eyebrows! The toy manufacturer, who has repeatedly come under fire for Barbie’s unrealistic dimensions, and who has experienced controversy surrounding some of their other dolls, such as Teen Talk Barbie, who uttered the words “math class is tough”, is at it again. Introducing, “Sugar Daddy Ken.”
While Mattel defends the doll, stating that it is named after the doll’s dog Sugar and that it is being marketed as a collector’s item, it continues to perpetuate stereotypes. As a society, we continue to progress and move further and further away from these stereotypes, but Mattel and Barbie seem to have a knack for bringing us right back to where we started.
November 18, 2009
Clarence Jones, a MCH graduate student and director of community outreach at Southside Community Health Services, recently took part in a forum on minority health sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Program in Health Disparities Research.
As Jones noted, the need for organ donation among minorities is high. Certain diseases that can cause organ failure are more prevalent among minority communities (for example, Hispanics are three times more likely to suffer from kidney disease than their white counterparts). Transplantation, moreover, is often more successful when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic group.
To learn more about U of M’s Program in Health Disparities Research, check out the Connection, an online newsletter available here: http://www.med.umn.edu/ccr/hdresearch/newsletter/home.html
For more on organ donation among minority groups, check out the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Minority Health: http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=12.