Saturday, September 24, 2016

Celebrating the National Museum of African American History and Culture



"In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President recognized the museum for celebrating the many accomplishments of the African American community – and for telling the fuller story of America by facing the uncomfortable truths of our Nation’s history all while embracing the knowledge that America is a constant work in progress.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture not only tells the African American story – it tells the American story. By telling the fuller account of the American story, the President said, the museum will give all of us a chance to reflect and set the course for generations to come..."
Museum of African American History and Culture

Celebrating the National Museum of African American History and Culture


"In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The President recognized the museum for celebrating the many accomplishments of the African American community – and for telling the fuller story of America by facing the uncomfortable truths of our Nation’s history all while embracing the knowledge that America is a constant work in progress.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture not only tells the African American story – it tells the American story. By telling the fuller account of the American story, the President said, the museum will give all of us a chance to reflect and set the course for generations to come..."
Museum of African American History and Culture

Friday, September 23, 2016

Seeing is believing

"Fall is perhaps one of the most beautiful times of the year in North America and every year the U.S. Forest Service celebrates with the launch of our Fall Colors Webpage
The changing myriad of colors on trees from bright reds, brilliant oranges and bold yellows really make for a stunning backdrop to any family photo album. That’s why this year we have created our own road trip photo album with the help of a really cool app called Story Map..."

Fall colors

Wisconsin Court Rejects Employer’s Argument That Wellness Programs Are Insulated from Disability Law

"A federal court has ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a disability discrimination case involving wellness programs filed against Orion Energy Systems, the federal agency announced today. The court rejected the employer's argument that the insurance safe harbor provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) immunizes wellness plans from ADA scrutiny.

In the Orion lawsuit (EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-CV-1019 (E.D. WI)), EEOC argued that Orion required Wendy Schobert to submit to medical testing as part of a wellness program or pay 100 percent of the premium for the employer-provided health insurance. EEOC contended that this violated the ADA's prohibition against involuntary medical exams. However, Orion contended that its wellness plan was covered by the ADA's so-called "insurance safe harbor," and thereby was excused from ADA compliance except if it operated as a subterfuge. Orion also argued that the plan was lawful under the ADA because it was voluntary.

The district court rejected Orion's safe harbor argument, and held that the plan was subject to ADA review. The court concluded that EEOC's recently issued regulations on the ADA's safe harbor provision were within EEOC's authority, and further held that the safe harbor provision did not apply even without regard to the new regulations. However, the court found that the wellness plan was lawful under the ADA because it concluded that the employee's decision whether to participate was voluntary under that statute..."
Wellness programs

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer

"Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology—commonly referred to collectively as “nanotechnology”—is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention particularly to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; U.S. competitiveness in the field; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics and two others: nanomanufacturing and public attitudes toward nanotechnology..."
Nanotechnology

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff

"This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations. It includes governmental sources, such as Congress.gov, the Government Publishing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), and U.S. Senate and House websites. Nongovernmental or commercial sources include resources such as HeinOnline and the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) websites. The report also highlights classes offered by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Law Library of Congress..."
Researching federal regulations

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FDA Regulation of Medical Devices

"Prior to and since the passage of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, Congress has debated how best to ensure that consumers have access, as quickly as possible, to new and improved medical devices and, at the same time, prevent devices that are not safe and effective from entering or remaining on the market. Medical device regulation is complex, in part, because of the wide variety of items that are categorized as medical devices; examples range from a simple tongue depressor to a life-sustaining heart valve. The regulation of medical devices can affect their cost, quality, and availability in the health care system..."
Medical devices regulation

Flooding: A Checklist for Small and Very Small Meat, Poultry and Egg Inspection Processing Plants

"Rivers rise. The ground is saturated. Levees fail. Floods happen, and they happen beside rivers, along the coasts, in deserts and in city streets. Flooding might be a fact of nature but that does not mean you have to lose your business and possessions to flood waters. 
It is never too early to prepare.  Because September is National Preparedness Month, it is a good time to think about emergency planning.  Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make an Emergency Communication Plan.
That is why the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) developed the “Flooding: A Checklist for Small and Very Small Meat, Poultry and Egg Inspection Processing Plants.”  This brochure has simple and inexpensive steps that you can take right now to protect your business and employees from disaster. 
Every state is at risk from a flood and it is critical that every plant is aware of flood hazards no matter where they are located. It is especially vital if your business is in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. 
This brochure covers what you can do to prepare for a flood, respond to a flood that has occurred and the steps your business can take to begin the recovery process if the worst happens. 
Every page is filled with steps you can take to prepare your facilities and employees, and the products your plant produces. The flooding brochure is available on the web athttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/5ac6e4ee-7850-4366-8010-c146c6d56f52/Flooding_Brochure.pdf?MOD=AJPERES..."

Flooding

Adults Need Vaccines, Too

"Vaccines are not just for kids! Regardless of age, we ALL need immunizations to protect against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. Protection from vaccines you received as a child can wear off over time, and you may be at risk for new and different diseases.

Find Out Which Vaccines You Need

The specific vaccines you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, job, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel, and vaccines you've received in the past. Throughout your adult life, vaccines are recommended to get and maintain protection against:

  • Seasonal influenza (flu) (for all adults)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) (for all adults who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine and for women during each pregnancy)
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (every 10 years following Tdap vaccine)
  • Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
  • Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults younger than 65 who have  specific health conditions)..."

Adult vaccines

Monday, September 19, 2016

New American Community Survey Statistics For Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Available For States and Local Areas

"The U.S. Census Bureau today released its most detailed look at America’s people, places and economy with new statistics on income, poverty, health insurance and more than 40 other topics from the American Community Survey.
Many states saw an increase in income and a decrease in poverty rates between 2014 and 2015. During that same period, the percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in all of the largest 25 metropolitan areas. The findings are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey, the nation’s most comprehensive  information source on American households. Today’s release provides statistics on more than 40 social, economic and housing topics for U.S. communities with populations of 65,000 or more.
"The American Community Survey allows us to track incremental changes across our nation on how Americans live and work, year-to-year,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “It helps people, businesses and governments in all of our states and local communities better understand the needs of their populations, the markets in which they operate and the challenges and opportunities they face.”
Below are some of the local-level income, poverty and health insurance statistics from the American Community Survey that complementthe national-level statistics released earlier this week from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The Current Population Survey is the leading source for national-level data, and the American Community Survey is the leading source for community and local-level data. For more information on the topics included in the American Community Survey, ranging from educational attainment to computer use to commuting, please visit census.gov..."

State & local areas income and poverty

Physical Inactivity Among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older — United States, 2014

"Physical activity can help delay, prevent, or manage many of the chronic diseases for which adults aged ≥50 years are at risk (13). These diseases can impact the length and quality of life, as well as the long-term ability to live independently.* All adults aged ≥50 years, with or without chronic disease, gain health benefits by avoiding inactivity (2,3). To examine the prevalence of inactivity by selected demographic characteristics and chronic disease status in mid-life and older adults, CDC analyzed data on adults aged ≥50 years from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Overall, 27.5% of adults aged ≥50 years reported no physical activity outside of work during the past month. Inactivity prevalence significantly increased with increasing age and was 25.4% among adults aged 50–64 years, 26.9% among those aged 65–74 years, and 35.3% among those aged ≥75 years. Inactivity prevalence was significantly higher among women than men, among Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites, and among adults who reported ever having one or more of seven selected chronic diseases than among those not reporting one. Inactivity prevalence significantly increased with decreasing levels of education and increasing body mass index. To help adults with and without chronic disease start or maintain an active lifestyle, communities can implement evidence-based strategies, such as creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity, designing communities and streets to encourage physical activity, and offering programs that address specific barriers to physical activity..."
Adult physical activity

Friday, September 16, 2016

Epilepsy in Children

"The term epilepsy is a broad term used for conditions that affect the brain and cause recurring seizures. About 460,000 children have epilepsy in the United States.1-2 Picture a school with 1,000 students—that means at least 6 students would have epilepsy.
A CDC study showed that students aged 6–17 years with epilepsy were more likely to miss 11 or more days of school in the past year compared with students who had health concerns other than epilepsy. Students with epilepsy were found to be more likely to have difficulties in school, use special education services, and have activity limitations such as less participation in sports or clubs.3 CDC researchers also found that a child or adolescent with epilepsy had an additional $9,103.25 per year in associated medical costs than children without the disorder..."
Children and Epilepsy

Thursday, September 15, 2016

FTC Charges Academic Journal Publisher OMICS Group Deceived Researchers

"The Federal Trade Commission has charged the publisher of hundreds of purported online academic journals with deceiving academics and researchers about the nature of its publications and hiding publication fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
The FTC’s complaint alleges that OMICS Group, Inc., along with two affiliated companies and their president and director, Srinubabu Gedela, claim that their journals follow rigorous peer-review practices and have editorial boards made up of prominent academics. In reality, many articles are published with little to no peer review and numerous individuals represented to be editors have not agreed to be affiliated with the journals.
According to the FTC’s complaint, OMICS does not tell researchers that they must pay significant publishing fees until after it has accepted an article for publication, and often will not allow researchers to withdraw their articles from submission, thereby making the research ineligible for publication in another journal. Academic ethics standards generally forbid researchers from submitting the same research to more than one journal.."
Academic journal fees

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

"Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan is the first in a series of lessons learned reports planned to be issued by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The report examines how the U.S. government—primarily the Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, and Justice, and the U.S. Agency for International Development—understood the risks of corruption in Afghanistan, how the U.S. response to corruption evolved, and the effectiveness of that response. The report identifies lessons to inform U.S. policies and actions at the onset of and throughout a contingency operation and makes recommendations for both legislative and executive branch action..."
Afghanistan reconstruction


Sea-Level Rise and U.S. Coasts: Science and Policy Considerations

"Policymakers are interested in sea-level rise because of the risk to coastal populations and infrastructure and the consequences for coastal species and ecosystems. From 1901 to 2010, global sea levels rose an estimated 187 millimeters (mm; 7.4 inches), averaging a 1.7 mm (0.07 inch) rise annually. Estimates are that the annual rate rose to 3.2 mm (0.13 inches) from 1992 to 2010. Although the extent of future sea-level rise remains uncertain, sea-level rise is anticipated to have a range of effects on U.S. coasts. It is anticipated to contribute to flood and erosion hazards, permanent or temporary land inundation, saltwater intrusion into coastal freshwaters, and changes in coastal terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems..."
Sea-levels