Search Results for: Text4Baby

Aug 6 2013

Thinking Globally: A Q&A with Kathy Calvin of the UN Foundation

Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation believes that, for the biggest public health obstacles facing the world, it will take all nations and all sectors working toward solutions to succeed. So the Foundation works to make that a reality, bringing together partnerships, growing constituencies, mobilizing resources and advocating policies that can help everyone—in both the developing and developed world.

NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation, about the organization’s many efforts to improve health both globally and locally—and how these two goals can support each other.

NewPublicHealth: What changes have you seen in global health during your time in the field?

Kathy Calvin: The number of nonprofits dedicated to health issues has quadrupled it seems, and real progress has been made, which is the most important point—that we’re actually seeing a reduction in maternal deaths and newborn deaths and preventable diseases such as measles and diarrhea and pneumonia. I mean, there’s just been enormous progress, with still much more to happen. But it’s been an exciting time after what I think has been a pretty discouraging period where no amounts of foreign aid seemed to be making a difference. I attribute that partly to some innovations in research and financing, but also to the fact that a lot of governments in Africa actually have prioritized women and prioritized health in some pretty significant ways. And I think we’ve had a very enlightened government in the last five years here, too, in terms of what we’re doing overseas.

So, it’s been exciting to see it. Health is not my background. I’ve really been privileged to see both how serious and significant the challenges are, but also how much good can be done with just a little bit of organized effort.

NPH: When you talk about enlightened government, what are some examples? What is making the difference now?

Calvin: Well ironically it isn’t all that political. In fact, some of the biggest shifts took place under President George W. Bush’s administration with his creation of the President’s Malaria Initiative—until then, there had been zero real depth of interest and progress on malaria—as well as PEPFAR, which some people criticized because it was so bilateral, but it had a huge impact in allowing the current administration to really set some ambitious goals for reducing and eliminating parent-to-child transmission and setting that audacious goal of an AIDS-free generation.

Read more

May 14 2013

Public Health News Roundup: May 14

FDA’s New Food Defense Tool Helps Stop Intentional Contamination
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a new Food Defense Plan Builder tool to help owners and operators of food facilities create plans to minimize intentional contamination. While rare, intentional contamination, intentional contamination can be a serious public health problem. For example more than 40 people in Kansas became sick in 2009 when an employee put pesticide in salsa. Based on FDA’s food defense guidance documents, the tool uses a series of pointed questions to develop a customized food defense plan, including a vulnerability assessment; broad and focused mitigation strategies; and an action plan. Read more on food safety.

Text4baby Programs Gives Pregnant Women, Mothers Critical Information
The 2013 Text4baby State Enrollment Content will promote the mobile health tool while providing pregnant women with important information on their pregnancy and their child’s first year of life. By texting “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411, they will receive three free weekly text messages addressing issues such as labor signs and symptoms; prenatal care; developmental milestones; immunizations; nutrition; birth defect prevention; and safe sleep. The program is supported by more than 950 health departments, academic institutions, health plans, businesses and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under the contest, the states with the highest enrollment percentages will be recognized at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. in early November. Read more on maternal and infant health.

Citing High Cancer Risk, Angelina Jolie Undergoes Preventive Double Mastectomy
A mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene makes a woman five times more likely to develop breast cancer in her life. On Tuesday in an op-ed in The New York Times, Angelina Jolie — who carries a “faulty” BRCA1 — announced she has undergone a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing the cancer. Her physicians had estimated an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. "I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,” she wrote. “It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested." A woman with one of the faulty genes is at an average 60 percent risk of developing breast cancer; a woman without a mutated gene is at an average 12 percent risk. Today CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin also announced she is getting a double mastectomy. Read more on cancer.

May 11 2012

Text4Baby: Mother's Day Contest

In honor of Mother's Day and National Women's Health Week, May 13 through 19, Text4Baby is launching a 2012 State Enrollment Contest. The top three states that enroll the most users between May 17 and October 22, 2012, will be recognized during the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA in October.

Text4Baby is a novel text messaging service in the United States that provides health information and resources via cell phone text messages. Current research shows that over 85 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 72 percent of cell users send or receive text messages. In its first two years, Text4Baby has reached more than 335,000 users, and the program is working toward a goal of 1 million users by the end of 2012—hence the contest!

Pregnant women and new mothers who text "BABY" (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive weekly text messages, timed to their due date or their baby's birth date through the baby’s first year.

>>Bonus for Women’s Health Awareness Week: Throughout the nation, communities are sponsoring health-centered programs for women next week including such programs as free HIV testing, free sessions at gyms and more. See what’s on tap in your area.

Mar 1 2012

Public Health News Roundup: March 1

Severe Weather Kills Twelve in Midwest

Tornadoes in five Midwest states this week have left at least 12 people dead and hundreds injured. Severe weather could move to the Northeast by the weekend. Read more on public health disasters.

Judge Rules Tobacco Graphic Warning Labels Unconstitutional

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon has ruled that Food and Drug Administration regulations requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging violate free-speech rights under the Constitution. An earlier preliminary injunction resulted in an appeal by the Department of Justice to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and Reuters is reporting that it’s likely that the most recent ruling will be appealed as well. Read more on the latest tobacco news.

NIH Launches Online Tool to Help Navigate Genetic Testing

An online tool launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help consumers make decisions about genetic testing. According to the NIH, genetic tests currently exist for about 2,500 diseases and the numbers of available tests are expected to increase rapidly. The tool will be updated frequently and include the purpose of each test, what is measured and the test’s limitations.

Read more

Feb 9 2012

Healthy Babies: HHS Adds an Initiative to Help Reduce Preterm Births

Healthy Babies is the focus of the annual President’s Challenge of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and this week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put funding behind the issue as well, announcing the Start Strong initiative. The first activity of the initiative will be to give out more than $40 million in grants, through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, to test ways to reduce the current high rate of premature births.

According to HHS, more than half a million infants are born prematurely in America each year, a rate that has grown by 36 percent over the last 20 years. Children born preterm are at risk for death and also often require significant medical attention, early intervention services and special education, and have conditions that may affect their productivity as adults.

The Center will award grants to health care providers and coalitions to improve prenatal care to women covered by Medicaid. The grants will support the testing of enhanced prenatal care through several approaches under evaluation, including:

  • group visits with other pregnant women,
  • birth centers providing case management, and
  • maternity care homes where pregnant women have expanded access to better coordinated, enhanced prenatal care.

Read more

Nov 29 2011

Text4babyUpdate: 250,000 Moms and Counting


A webinar convened today by Text4baby, a two-year-old project founded by partners that include the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shows the program is getting moms’ attention. Expectant mothers sign on for the text messaging service to receive three messages a week tailored to where they are in their pregnancy or baby’s first year. The goal is to reduce the number of babies born prematurely, and improve the health of mothers and their babies, particularly in their first year of life. The program numbers and innovations are impressive:

  • More than 250,000 people have enrolled in text4baby since its 2009 launch
  • 96 percent of text4baby users surveyed said they would refer text4baby to a friend
  • More than 130,000 people have signed up to receive pregnancy-focused messages
  • More than 120,000 people receive messages focused on baby’s first year

While most of the messages have been one-way informational ones, the project tested an interactive conversation recently with a flu module that asked users about their plans for a flu shot. Responders used numbers on the cell phone key pad to reply. For example, keying in the number “3” was the reply for cost being a factor in not getting the flu vaccine, which prompted the system to send out resources for free and low-cost shots. Moms who responded that they hadn’t yet gotten the vaccine will get updated messages next month to find out if they followed through.

And next year text4baby hopes to continue the interactivity relationship with moms by sending reminders about well baby and maternal checkups based on appointment dates moms key in, says Lauren Sogor, the campaign manager for text4baby.

The system was also used for critical emergency messages recently, says Sogor. Immediately after flooding in the east coast in the late summer, health information specialists keyed in and dispatched information to subscribers in affected zip codes, about the dangers posed by certain portable heaters often used when there are power outages.

>>Read more on innovations in health and technology.

Nov 2 2011

APHA Man on the Street: Who's Out and About?


While at APHA, we took the chance to talk to some of the meeting attendees and get their thoughts on the future of public health and more.

Ashante Reese

PhD Student of Anthropology

American University

What are you doing here at APHA?

I presented a poster on the effects of religious service attendance on depression. From here I’m about to launch into some qualitative research related to those whys – what is about services that make people less depressed, what they experience and what their social support network is all about.

What’s the best session you’ve attended so far?

I went to a poster presentation on community violence where the presenter was looking at different exposures to community violence and how that affected kids in a long-term continuum. That was interesting mainly because community violence research is still very new.

What are you excited about in public health right now?

I’m excited about bridging anthropology and public health. Anthropologists have a tradition of getting at people’s own perceptions and experiences within the context of their families and communities. I think that is a strength we can bring to public health with being able to contextualize some of their experiences and really getting at the heart of the “whys” as to people’s behavior. A lot of people know what to do but they don’t choose to, so why is that?

What will public health look like five years from now?

The first word that comes to mind is partnerships. I think a lot of public health people are starting to realize that partnering with the communities really does matter. So we should see more equal partnerships , not just researchers going in and saying this is what we need to do but instead having some of those changes emanate from the communities themselves. It takes more resources and time, but it may be more sustainable.

Read more

Oct 26 2011

HRSA's Mary Wakefield on Healthy Baby Efforts: A NewPublicHealth Q&A

Wakefield Mary Wakefield, Health Resources and Services Administration

The annual Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) President’s Challenge will focus on infant mortality and healthy babies this year. ASTHO’s Healthy Babies Project will support state health officials and their staff in improving infant health outcomes.

ASTHO is collaborating with several organizations and government agencies, including the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The latest HRSA data shows that 29,138 infants died before their first birthday—an infant mortality rate of 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births in 2007, which is unchanged from the previous year. And one in eight babies is born too soon, according to the March of Dimes, posing health and development risks for the baby and stress issues for the family. NewPublicHealth spoke with HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, about the partnership.

NewPublicHealth: This collaboration is not your first with ASTHO?

Dr. Wakefield: We’ve actually had a longstanding relationship with ASTHO and we’ve worked with their leadership and their board and members on different issues over the years. This year their new president David Lakey, from Texas, has a particular focus on improving birth outcomes, and this is one of those areas we focus on at HRSA, particularly through our Maternal Child Health Bureau. We very much share the same concerns and I think complement each other’s efforts. We’re working in partnership with ASTHO on this and also working with other stakeholders too, including state divisions of Maternal and Child Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes.

NPH: What are some programs at HRSA that address healthy babies?

Read more