Video highlights issues in accessing health care for transgender people

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

Visiting a doctor can be unnerving for anyone. But for people who are transgender, it can be a lot worse. From one-size-fits-all medical forms to health care providers who are confused or insensitive about diverse gender identities, issues abound that can make the experience traumatic.

A video written and directed by an IU School of Public Health-Bloomington graduate student aims to help change that. “The Waiting Room: Transgender People and Health Care” is being used in classrooms to raise awareness of transgender issues. And it will debut this month on WTIU, IU’s public TV station.

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Student volunteers drive campaign against mental illness stigma

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

IU students with Glenn Close

IU students involved with U Bring Change 2 Mind have their picture taken with Glenn Close. From left are junior David Haggerty, sophomore Lauren Smith, Close, junior Elliott Hudson and freshman Hannah Powers.

The U Bring Change 2 Mind initiative to combat the stigma associated with mental illness is backed by serious star power in the person of award-winning actress Glenn Close.

But the project has something else that may be even more essential to its success: student power.

Dozens of IU Bloomington students signed on to help when U Bring Change 2 Mind announced its formation last fall and started to roll out its Campus Toolbox Project, aimed at developing activities that will change the way people think about mental illness.

Dozens more made presentations this week for a competition to help create anti-stigma public awareness campaigns — presentations that were judged by Close and Pamela Harrington, executive director of Bring Change 2 Mind, the foundation Close started in 2010.

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Urban farmer-activist to speak Friday at IU School of Public Health-Bloomington

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

Will Allen’s official biography describes him first as a farmer and second as CEO of Growing Power, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve access to health food by helping people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

Keep reading, and you’ll learn he has also been a professional basketball player, worked in corporate sales and marketing, been awarded a McArthur Foundation “genius grant” and, not to mention, remained a powerful advocate for small-scale agriculture and its ability to transform urban communities.

Will Allen

Will Allen

Allen will be at IU Bloomington Friday to deliver the Reynold E. Carlson Lecture sponsored by the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. The lecture will be at 1 p.m. in the school’s Mobley Auditorium.

It’s the Milwaukee-based activist’s second visit to Bloomington in the past year. He was here in April 2014 to give the Ben Brabson Lecture for Sustainable Ideas, a preview event for last fall’s Themester 2014: “Eat, Drink, Think: Food from Art to Science.”

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IU student addiction recovery program OASIS wins grant

Post by IU Communications colleague Milana Katic:

OASIS

OASIS director Jackie Daniels counsels an IU student in recovery.

Did you know an estimated 500 students on the Indiana University Bloomington campus identify themselves as being in recovery from substance abuse?

Maybe you didn’t know, but fortunately OASIS does.

OASIS is IU Bloomington’s campus-wide alcohol and drug prevention, education, intervention and counseling service. Since 2012, OASIS has dedicated its services to helping students in need of any type of support related to substance abuse.

OASIS director Jackie Daniels says it’s the program’s clear commitment to students that sets it aside from other counseling services provided by the university.

“There is a lot of counseling support at IU, but students want multiple avenues of support,” Daniels said. “On campus, what was really missing was an active network of students supporting each other in their recovery, so we’re trying to widen that avenue by finding other people who can help.”

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IU sociologist appointed to National Academy of Sciences committee

Post by IU Communications colleague Milana Katic:

As we all learned from the shocking death of Robin Williams last summer, mental health disorders are often hidden in plain sight.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that only 39 percent of people with mental health disorders actually get treatment.

So why is such a widespread health issue so kept so silent? Perhaps it’s due to the equally as widespread stigmatization of mental health disorders.

Bernice Pescosolido

Bernice Pescosolido

Bernice Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, has dedicated a large portion of her research to finding an answer to why mental health stigma is such an issue and how it develops.

Recently, her work has earned her a spot on the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council’s Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms, dedicated to assisting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in communicating ways to change attitudes and behaviors about mental health disorders in the U.S.

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IU students take a first-hand look at public health advocacy and policy-making

Post by IU Communications colleague Milana Katic:

IU Students' "Day at the Capitol"

On Jan. 29, a group of IU Master of Public Health students gathered at the Indiana Statehouse for the American Cancer Society’s “Day at the Capitol.”

A delegation of Indiana University master’s degree students from the School of Public Health-Bloomington and the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI participated in the American Cancer Society’s “Day at the Capitol,” on Jan. 29 in Indianapolis.

The day was organized by the society’s Cancer Action Network to communicate with Indiana lawmakers about making cancer prevention a public policy priority. IU students travelled to the Indiana Statehouse (made easier by the new Campus Commute shuttle) to experience advocacy coalition building and legislative engagement first-hand.

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Two IU faculty members serve as co-producers for Sundance documentary

Guest post courtesy of IU Communications colleague Milana Katic:

Indiana University sex researcher Debby Herbenick, Ph.D.

Debby Herbenick

Debby Herbenick, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and Bryant Paul, associate professor in the Department of Telecommunications at IU’s Media School, are receiving co-producer credits in a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 24.

That’s not even the best part. The documentary subject? Amateur porn.

The title of the film is “Hot Girls Wanted,” aptly named for the Craiglist ads consistently posted by the amateur porn industry’s talent scouts. Young women who are about 18 to 19 years old often respond to such ads with pictures of themselves, and within a few weeks, they can be completely immersed in the industry with all of the ups and downs that come along with it.

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IU Bloomington professor to lead Indiana Public Health Association

Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin

Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin

Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, a clinical professor and assistant chair of the Department of Applied Health Science at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, was elected president of the Indiana Public Health Association.

“I am looking forward to this leadership opportunity where I will be able to work more closely with colleagues and public health professionals across the state, focusing on public health issues and policies that affect out communities,” Sherwood-Laughlin said.

A member of the association’s Board of Directors since 2009, Sherwood-Laughlin plans to continue and enhance the organization’s mission of policy advocacy, professional development and partnership building. She also hopes to help sharpen its longstanding focus on local public health policy, capacity, and practice to address challenges including tobacco use, obesity and other lifestyle and environmental health issues.

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Optional campus sexual health survey to hit student emails this week

Guest post courtesy of IU Communications colleague Milana Katic:

The Center for Sexual Health Promotion is launching the Campus Sexual Health Survey this week.

The Center for Sexual Health Promotion is launching the Campus Sexual Health Survey this week.

The Center for Sexual Health and Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington will be sending out the Campus Sexual Health Survey to IU student email addresses starting this week.

The survey is completely optional and will be addressing a range of sexual health issues relevant to many college students today including STI testing, contraception, condom use, sexual assault, LGBT harassment, abstinence and perceptions of hooking up, as well as sexual satisfaction and relationship happiness.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that a campus-wide survey has taken such a broad approach to sexual health and behavior here at IU,” said Debby Herbenick, associate professor at the School of Public Health and director of the Center for Sexual Health and Promotion. Herbenick’s team at the center also administers the National Survey for Sexual Health and Behavior, a large, nationally representative study of the sexual lives of Americans ages 14 through 94.

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Patient control of medical data raises questions for ethics, policy

Guest post courtesy of Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog.

Should patients have control of their own medical records? For most patients, the question sounds like a no-brainer: They’re our records. Of course we should!

But for health care providers, the answer is more complicated. Should patients be able to conceal pertinent medical information from their doctors? What if doing so compromises the quality of care that doctors can provide? Who’s responsible when something goes wrong as a result of missing information?

William Tierney

William Tierney

A new study by the Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Eskenazi Health raises those questions and more. Described as the first real-world trial of the impact of patient-controlled access to electronic medical records, the six-month study involved 150 patients in an Indianapolis primary-care clinic.

Among the findings: Nearly half of the subjects withheld information in their medical records from some or all of their health care providers. And that’s cause for concern, according to Regenstrief President and CEO William Tierney, the principal investigator for the study.

“Without an understanding of how medicine is practiced, a patient may not appreciate why access to their health information is needed by medical team members other than their physician or nurse — for example, a specialist or a clinical lab or unit clerk,” he says in an IU School of Medicine news release. “While understandably concerned about privacy, they may not realize how important it is for their medical team to have access to the complete medical record.” Read more…