Dec 5 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: December 5

HUD Adjusts Rent Rules to Help Families Affected by Sandy
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is allowing public housing agencies to change the way they calculate rent in order to help families displaced by Hurricane Sandy. The changes to how payments related to “Fair Market Rent” are designed to give families more options. “We understand that in the wake of a disaster like Sandy, available rental housing becomes increasingly difficult to find, especially for lower income families,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a release.  “Simply by giving local housing authorities greater flexibility in calculating rental assistance to these families can make all the difference in finding a suitable home or not.” Read more on Hurricane Sandy.

Study: Racial Disparities Show Need to Improve Guidelines on Treating Breast Cancer
Black women are 12 percent less likely than white women to undergo improved, less-invasive surgical procedures to treat breast cancer, according to findings to be presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The treatments include sentinel lymph node biopsy, which targets and removes the lymph node that is likely to be affected by the cancer cells next. "These findings are an example of the need for continued improvements in disseminating national practice guidelines for breast cancer to surgeons and other breast cancer providers in all of our communities," said Dalliah Mashon Black, an assistant professor of surgery in the department of surgical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in a release. "When we think of disparities, it doesn't only mean that patients might be undertreated, but they could be overtreated with unnecessary and more radical procedures.” Read more on cancer.

FDA in Public-Private Partnership to Advance Regulatory Science
The new Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC)—an independent, nonprofit corporation—will include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of its public-private partnership to advance regulatory science. The goal is to improve patient care by speeding up the development and approval of new medical devices. MDIC was created by the biomedical science trade association LifeScience Alley. “By sharing and leveraging resources, MDIC may help industry to be better equipped to bring safe and effective medical devices to market more quickly and at a lower cost,” said Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a release. Read more on access to health care.

Tags: Access to Health Care, Cancer, Hurricane Sandy, News roundups, Public and Community Health