Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Thursday, May 15. Health Disparities Seminar - Forging a Research Program on the Health of the Black Middle Class -

NOTE:  For all.  
         Have you attempted to obtain a new physician?
           Are any physicians in your community accepting new patients?
           How far ahead do you have to schedule an appointment for your annual physical?
           Is the problem with the entire industry, and not just for minorities?
           Although disparity for health care is increased for blacks, other minorities and others of lower income

NIH Health Disparities Seminar - Forging a Research Program on the Health of the Black Middle Class - Thursday, May 15

Forging a Research Program on the Health of the Black Middle Class

Kris Marsh, PhD
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

Rashawn Ray, PhD
Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD

Thursday, May 15, 2014
3:00 - 4:30 P.M.

NIH Campus
Natcher Conference Center, Building 45, Conference Rooms E1 & E2   
45 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD

The black middle class is viewed as an example of racial progress. Yet, the health outcomes of middle-class blacks fall dismally behind those of middle-class whites. In this regard, the health outcomes among middle-class blacks stall this alleged progress because middle-class status does not seem to provide the same health benefits to blacks as it does to whites. Without a better understanding of racial differences among the middle class, we cannot devise effective policy solutions to combat health disparities among the most underserved of our population. In their presentations, Dr. Kris Marsh and Dr. Rashawn Ray will provide an overview of a research agenda centered on psychological distress, physical activity, and aging among the black middle class. Using U.S. census and national data, as well as a unique data set on middle-class blacks and whites, they will document how health disparities among the middle class are very much centered on the experiences of black women. They will focus on how the stigma of being single affects the mental health and wealth decisions of middle-class black women as they age and show how the structure of neighborhoods and the social construction of bodies are privileged to support other raced and gendered groups leading to lower levels of physical activity and higher levels of obesity among middle-class black women. Drawing upon the intersectionality framework, they will discuss how the interactive effect of race and gender can be costly for middle-class black women.

Dr. Marsh is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and affiliate faculty of the Maryland Population Research Center, Department of Women's Studies, and African American Studies Department. Previously, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Marsh has combined her interests of the black middle class, demography, racial residential segregation, and education to develop a research agenda. This agenda is divided into three broad areas: the black middle class, the intersection of educational attainment and racial identification, and intra-racial health disparities. The common theme in her work is decomposing what it means to be black in America by focusing on intra-group variability in class, space, identity and educational achievement. Dr. Marsh has published work on the demographic shift in the black middle class with the emergence of single and living alone (SALA) households and the residential segregation patterns and trends of black and white SALA households. She received a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Ray is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley/University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through racial uplift activism and social policy. Dr. Ray is the editor of Race and Ethnic Relations in the Twenty-first Century: History, Theory, Institutions, and Policy. His work has appeared in Ethnic and Racial Studies, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Journal of Higher Education, and Journal of African American Studies. He received a doctoral degree in sociology from Indiana University.  


There is limited parking on the NIH campus.  The closest Metro is Medical Center. Please allow adequate time for security check.  

The seminar will be video cast and made available in the NIH Video archives and on the NIMHD website after the seminar.  

Sign Language Interpreters will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations to participate should contact Edgar Dews at (301) 402-1366 or the Federal Relay at 1-800-877-8339.

CDC Disease Detectives Using New Software Tool in Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak

CDC Disease Detectives Using New Software Tool in Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak

Fri, May 02, 2014

For the first time, Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak disease detectives are using a new software tool to help find people exposed to the deadly virus faster. 
The new tool developed at CDC, an Epi Info viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) application, speeds up one of the most difficult parts of disease detection: finding everyone that was exposed to, and possibly infected by, someone with a contagious disease. This task, called contact tracing, is an essential step in breaking the chain of disease transmission and ending an outbreak.  In addition to facilitating contact tracing, the tool assists with the collection and management of epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory information for every case. This data is crucial for developing outbreak countermeasures. 
The Epi Info VHF tool is specifically designed for outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley, Lassa, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fevers. The open-source program runs on the Epi Info software platform that CDC has made freely available since the 1990s. It features virus transmission diagrams that help field workers visualize outbreak spread between people and automated tools that speed contact tracing and data analysis. 
“With a disease as often fatal as Ebola, quickly identifying and following up with those who may have been exposed is key to saving lives and containing the outbreak,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Epi Info, the ‘Swiss Army knife’ of field-deployed epidemiologists, can now help to track disease more quickly.” 
CDC began development of the VHF application for Epi Info after the 2012 Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Upon returning from the field, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer Ilana Schafer, D.V.M., M.S.P.H., approached CDC’s Epi Info team, saying, “There has to be a better way to do this. People are dying and we can’t collect, analyze, and act on the data fast enough.” 
Schafer worked on four outbreak responses in 2012 – three Ebola outbreaks and one Marburg outbreak. She was responsible for creating and maintaining centralized databases for all case epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory information collected by international response partners, including Ministries of Health, Doctors without Borders (Médécins sans Frontières), CDC, and the World Health Organization (WHO), during three of the outbreaks. She was on the CDC/WHO team recently deployed to Guinea for the West Africa Ebola outbreak, along with CDC Epi Info software developer Erik Knudsen, who is tweaking the new VHF tool on the ground as needed. 
“As Ebola outbreaks are rare, this is the first time we’re getting to put this tool through its paces,” said CDC Epi Info team lead Asad Islam, M.S. “Given that the Epi Info VHF tool has a tiny IT footprint and easily works in places with limited network connectivity, that it automatically updates as new information is added, and that it offers daily reports to guide follow-up, we are cautiously optimistic that it will make a significant difference.” 
An earlier version of the Epi Info VHF tool was presented in Uganda in September of 2013 to the Ugandan Ministry of Health, Doctors without Borders, and WHO; they provided valuable feedback that was incorporated into the current version. 
Epi Info software is used globally for rapidly assessing disease outbreaks and for speeding disease detection and response. Developing the VHF tool on the Epi Info platform was far more timely and cost-effective than contracting for development of a specialized system. In addition, once finalized as a standard feature and added to Epi Info, the tool will be available cost-free to be adapted for future public health needs. 
This innovation was the result of collaboration between CDC’s Epi Info team in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services and the Viral Special Pathogens Branch in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. It coincides with the launch of the U.S. government’s Global Health Security Agenda to strengthen national security by helping other nations prevent, detect, and effectively respond to disease outbreaks. Over the next five years, the initiative will strengthen the health infrastructure of at least 30 partner countries with 4 billion citizens. CDC has invested $40 million this year in the effort and President Barack Obama has requested an additional $45 million in his 2015 budget request toward this purpose. 
Ebola virus is transmitted through direct physical contact with body fluids of an infected person including blood, saliva, stool, urine, and sweat, as well as direct physical contact with objects that have been contaminated by the infected body fluids, such as needles and soiled linens. Outbreaks can spread rapidly, with easily misdiagnosed initial symptoms such as fever, body aches, diarrhea and vomiting and an incubation period as brief as two days and as long as three weeks. 
For more information about the current outbreak of Ebola in Guinea and Liberia, see
For more information about Epi Info, see