Feb 14 2012

Public Health News Roundup: February 14

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APHA Comments on President’s Budget for Public Health, Prevention

The American Public Health Association released a statement on the current budget proposal for fiscal year 2013, released yesterday, saying it shortchanges key federal programs that protect public health and prevent the leading causes of premature death and disability in the U.S.

"APHA recognizes today’s tough economic environment, but in the midst of fundamentally transforming our nation’s health system to emphasize disease prevention and wellness, now is not the time to underinvest in our already underfunded, overburdened public health system," said APHA executive director, Georges Benjamin.

Dr. Benjamin said that with the proposed $664 million in cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency will have seen its budget authority slashed by $1.4 billion since fiscal year 2010, a more than 20 percent reduction. In addition, the Prevention and Public Health Fund established under the Affordable Care Act is slated for additional cuts of more than $4 billion over ten years. Read more on public health laws and policies.

HRSA Awards Millions in Loan Repayments to Medical Students Headed to Stints in Rural Areas

The National Health Service Corps has awarded $9.1 million in funding to fourth-year medical students in 30 States and the District of Columbia. The doctors chosen will serve as primary care doctors and help strengthen the health care workforce. The program, administered by the Health Resource Services Administration provides financial support to students who are committed to a career in primary care in exchange for their service in communities with limited access to care. The students will provide three years of full-time service or six years of half-time service in rural and urban areas of greatest need. Read more on rural health.

Smoking Bans Result in Less Smoking at Home

Smoking bans in public places, such as offices and restaurants, result in less smoking at home as well, according to a new study in the journal Tobacco Control. The study was conducted in four European countries and found that after smoke-free legislation was enacted, the percentage of smokers who banned smoking at home rose by 25 percent in Ireland, 17 percent in France, 38 percent in Germany and 28 percent in the Netherlands, according to the study.

According to the study, home smoking bans were more likely to be adopted when the smoker planned to quit the habit, when there was a birth of a child, and when the smoker was someone who had expressed support for a smoking ban in bars. Read up on tobacco policy and prevention news.

Childhood Leukemia Drug in Critically Short Supply

The New York Times and other news sources are reporting that Methotrexate, a critical medicine to treat childhood leukemia is in such short supply that hospitals across the country may run out of the drug within the next two weeks. That would leave hundreds to thousands of children at risk of dying. A key source of the shortage is that Ben Venue Laboratories was one of the nation’s largest suppliers of the drug but the company voluntarily suspended operations at its plant in Bedford, Ohio, in November because of manufacturing and quality concerns. Methotrexate is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Read more on cancer.

Tags: Cancer, News roundups, Public and Community Health, Public health law, Rural Health, Tobacco