Archive for the ‘News’ Category

SAMHSA opens nominations for Voice Awards to TV, film, and consumer/peer leaders in behavioral health

March 2014

National awards program to spotlight the unique mental health and substance use challenges of young adults

WASHINGTON—The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is now accepting nominations for the 2014 Voice Awards. The awards program recognizes consumer/peer leaders and TV and film professionals who use their work and personal stories of resilience to demonstrate that people with mental and/or substance use disorders can and do recover and lead meaningful lives.

To be eligible, consumer/peer leaders must personally demonstrate that recovery is real and possible; have experience in leading efforts to reduce the discrimination and misperceptions associated with behavioral health problems; and be making a positive impact on communities, workplaces, or schools. Television and film productions must contain a positive behavioral health storyline and must have aired in a public setting between April 15, 2013 and April 14, 2014.

In 2014, the theme of the awards program is the behavioral health of young adults and their experiences in dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders. Special consideration therefore will be given to young adult and other consumer/peer leaders who educate the public about the needs of young adults and empower them to seek the services and supports that enable recovery.

The 2014 Voice Awards also seeks TV and film productions that accurately and respectfully portray the behavioral health experiences of young adults and their journeys of recovery.

All nominations are due Friday, April 18.

To submit nominations, visit the Voice Awards Web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/voiceawards. Nominations are open to anyone. There is no limit to the number of nominations an individual can submit, and self-nominations are welcome. All nominees are reviewed by a panel of judges that includes TV and film professionals; consumer/peer leaders; and representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, behavioral health advocacy organizations, and other Voice Awards program partners.

This year’s award winners will be recognized at the ninth annual Voice Awards event that will take place on August 13 at Royce Hall on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus.

For more information about the Voice Awards, event updates, and instructions on how to submit a nomination(s), visit http://www.samhsa.gov/voiceawards.

To connect with the Voice Awards and SAMHSA, follow @samhsagov on Twitter and visit http://www.facebook.com/samhsa on Facebook.

For more information about SAMHSA visit: http://www.samhsa.gov.

###

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

SAMHSA’s Voice Awards program honors consumer/peer leaders in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders who have played a vital role in raising awareness and understanding of behavioral health problems. The awards also recognize TV and film writers and producers who have given a voice to people with behavioral health problems by incorporating dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of these individuals into their scripts, programs, and productions.

4 Million Uninsured People With Mental Illness Will Be Denied Health Insurance Because Their Home States Refuse to Participate in the ACA Medicaid Expansion Program

February 2014

Nearly 75 Percent of These 4 Million Uninsured People With Mental Health Conditions Reside in 11 Southern States That Opted Out of the New Program

Alexandria, Va. — A new groundbreaking study shows that nearly 4 million people with mental illnesses who are uninsured reside in the 25 states that have refused to participate in the Medicaid Expansion program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of these individuals have severe mental health conditions and currently have no health insurance coverage through any public or private plan, but will be denied the opportunity to obtain coverage for treatment since those states have refused to participate. States declining Medicaid Expansion represent 55 percent of all uninsured people with major mental health disorders who are eligible for coverage in the new health insurance access initiative.

The comprehensive study — “Dashed Hopes, Broken Promises, More Despair: How the Lack of State Participation in the Medicaid Expansion Will Punish Americans With Mental Illness,” released by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) — shows that 6.7 million uninsured people with a mental illness are currently eligible for coverage under the Medicaid Expansion that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. But the majority of these individuals with mental health conditions will be left out in the coverage cold due to their state’s antagonism toward the Medicaid Expansion health insurance initiative.

Key findings from the AMHCA report include:

  • Nearly 4 million uninsured people (3.7 million) who have a serious mental illness, are in serious psychological distress or who have a substance use disorder are eligible for health insurance coverage through the new Medicaid Expansion program in the 25 states that have rejected participation in the initiative.
  • Nearly 75 percent (2.7 million adults) of all uninsured persons with a mental health condition or substance use disorder who are eligible for coverage in the non-expansion states (3.7 million), reside in these 11 Southern states that have rejected the Medicaid Expansion: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
  • More than 1.1 million uninsured people who have serious mental health and substance abuse conditions live in just two states — Texas (625,000) and Florida (535,000). These more than 1.1 million individuals are eligible for coverage under the new Medicaid Expansion program, but won’t receive it. Since officials in Texas and Florida (and other 23 states) have said they will not participate in the initiative, they are leaving their most vulnerable citizens without health insurance, even though the federal government will pay for it (at 100 percent for the first three years of the program and slowly tapering off to 90 percent in 2020 and thereafter). The funds for this are already included in the federal budget.

“If the 25 states do not participate in the new Medicaid Expansion program, uninsured citizens with mental illness who experience the misfortune of residing in those states will see their hopes of a healthier and better life dashed when they learn during the enrollment process that they will not be able obtain health insurance,” said Judith Bertenthal-Smith, president of AMHCA.

States expanding Medicaid will have enhanced capacity to meet the needs of millions of previously uninsured people with mental illness, which will intensify the treatment disparity gap between states. The 25 non-expansion states will be further left behind as those states that do expand Medicaid will see an influx of new federal monies to shore up their mental health systems, which have witnessed ruinous cuts since 2000.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the new Medicaid Expansion program — which started on Jan. 1, 2014 — is an optional program; states can opt into or out of it at any time without incurring penalties. But states that perpetually opt out of Medicaid Expansion will hurt people with mental illness.

“The burden of mental illness in the U.S. is incredibly high due to increasing numbers of uninsured people with mental health conditions. The lack of health insurance coverage keeps people with mental illness from obtaining needed services and treatments — and follow-up care — that lead to achieving long-term recovery and improving their quality of life,” said Joel E. Miller, executive director and CEO of AMHCA and author of the “Dashed Hopes” report. “Health insurance is the passkey to good, timely health care services, and state policymakers in 25 states are locking people out of the system.”

To read the full report, please visit www.amhca.org/assets/content/AMHCA_DashedHopes_Report_2_21_14_final.pdf.

Joel Miller, AMHCA executive director and CEO, is available for interviews.

The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) works to enhance the profession of mental health counseling through advocacy, education, licensure and professional development.

Improved Practice Laws Sweep 42 States and DC to Bridge Healthcare Gaps

February 2014

States Modernizing PA Practice Laws to Increase Access to Quality Care, According to AAPA

ALEXANDRIA, VA – As millions of new patients enter the U.S. healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), state lawmakers are working quickly to modernize physician assistant (PA) practice laws to increase access to quality healthcare and reduce patient wait times.

In 2013, 42 states and the District of Columbia adopted 109 such laws or regulation changes. While every victory has its own unique story, commonalities include authorizing expansion of the PA role, repealing barriers to effective PA practice and recognizing of the value of PAs.

Similarly, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)—the largest U.S. healthcare system employing PAs—recently issued a revised directive designed to enhance utilization of PAs while continuing to embrace a patient-centered, team-based approach to medicine. The updated scope of practice language in the directive authorizes PAs to practice medicine within defined levels of autonomy and exercise autonomous medical decision-making.

“Although we are greatly encouraged by recent progress made by state legislators and the VHA, we still have a lot of work to do. We must remove any antiquated laws at the federal and state levels that impede PAs’ ability to practice medicine,” said AAPA President Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA. “It’s critical that every state modernize their PA laws so that patients can have immediate access to the quality healthcare services they need.”

PAs practice in all medical and surgical settings and specialties, including family medicine, primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, oncology, psychiatry, radiology, pediatrics and more. New research shows that the average PA will practice in two or three different specialties throughout his or her career, making PAs the most flexible and dynamic health professional practicing medicine today. As part of that care, a typical PA will treat 3,500 patients in a year, and write as many as 5,200 prescriptions.

“By design, PAs and physicians work together as a team. In fact, PAs are often educated side by side with physicians via an intense graduate-level medical program,” Herman explained. “A team-based, collaborative model of delivering healthcare allows patients to have greater interaction with and exposure to healthcare providers, and it extends the reach of medical care to more people. As PAs prove their worth in every setting and specialty, smart state and federal legislators are seeing value in expanding the PA role.”

Additional legislation in progress already this year will likely continue the sea change of support for the PA profession:

  • In Michigan, Senate Bill 568 updates key sections of the state’s public health code and creates a patient care board of medical providers, which includes PAs. The bill modernizes how medicine is regulated in the state and focuses on a patient-centered model of care.
  • New Jersey Assembly Bill 1950 authorizes a PA’s scope of practice to be determined at the clinical setting, between physicians and PAs, and modernizes licensure requirements.
  • A collaborative effort in West Virginia between the state Board of Medicine, West Virginia Association of PAs and AAPA has resulted in the introduction of House Bill 4289. The bill was a year in the making and seeks to clarify the definition of PAs by making it clear that they practice medicine. It also increases the number of PAs with whom a physician may practice from three to five.

These bills provide other improvements to PA practice not listed above, and there are several other states modernizing PA practice in other ways.

For more information, contact Patrick Dunne, AAPA senior manager of communications, media relations and social media, at 571-319-4394 or pdunne@aapa.org.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for PAs. It represents a profession of more than 95,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of PAs and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org and www.pasconnect.org to learn more.

Physician Assistant Workforce Salary Report Reveals Compensation Varies by Specialty, Employer Type, Location

February 2014

ALEXANDRIA, VA – New research conducted by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) shows that the nationwide median compensation is $90,000 for PAs who are paid only a salary, and $100,000 when PAs earn a base salary plus a bonus.

Across all practice settings and specialties, nearly half (46%) of PAs report receiving bonuses on top of their base salary. Bonuses are largely determined by performance outcomes such as productivityand quality improvement. Three-fourths (75%) of PAs report their base pay is from annual salary. The remaining 25 percent are primarily compensated based on an hourly wage (22%) or based on productivity measures determined through relative value units (RVUs), patient encounters, charges or collections (approximately 3%).

Higher median compensation levels—which include both salary and bonuses—are found in PA specialties such as dermatology ($117,000), emergency medicine ($108,000) and surgery ($105,000), while PAs working in primary care and family medicine report earning less ($94,000 and $93,400, respectively).

“America’s 95,000 PAs clearly bring significant economic value to today’s healthcare marketplace,” said AAPA President Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA.  “It’s no surprise that PAs continue to be one of America’s most sought-after healthcare providers.”

Employer type is also an important factor in PA compensation, according to survey results. Higher median PA base salaries are reported in employer settings such as university hospitals ($93,000) and other hospitals ($95,000), while the lowest compensation is found in solo physician practices ($85,000). Thirty-seven percent of PAs provide medical services in hospitals and 10.3 percent work in solo physician practices.

According to survey results, location is also an important salary determinant. The top five metropolitan areas with the highest median PA base salaries include Los Angeles ($97,000); Dallas ($96,500); Houston ($95,500); Atlanta ($94,200); and New York ($93,300). When bonuses are taken into account, the highest median compensation for PAs is found in New York ($105,000); Los Angeles ($103,250); Houston ($103,000); Dallas ($102,500); and Boston ($102,000).

The survey found that professional development (PD) is widely supported by PA employers. Sixty-two percent of PAs report their employer directly pays for all of their state licensing fees, and 71 percent of PAs say their PD allowance covers continuing medical education (CME) expenses. The survey also shows that employers offer PAs a median of four weeks of vacation (20 days) per year.

AAPA administered the online survey from March to July 2013. More than 18,000 AAPA members and nonmembers responded. The sample closely resembles the PA population, with an overrepresentation of responses from AAPA members. Margin of error for the survey: ± <1 percent. Survey responses were de-identified and analyzed in aggregate form.

Since 2006, the PA profession has grown by 34 percent, with more than 6,000 new PAs graduating and entering the workforce each year. Today, PAs can be found practicing medicine in every medical and surgical specialty and setting throughout the U.S.

Find highlights of the Salary Report at http://www.pasconnect.org/slideshow-highlights-of-the-2013-aapa-salary-report.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for PAs. It represents a profession of more than 95,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org and www.pasconnect.org to learn more.

2013 Farm Aid Grants Support Organizations That Are Transforming The Farm And Food System

January 2014

Cambridge, Mass. (December 19, 2013) -  Farm Aid today announced that it distributed $573,514 in grant program funding this year. Farm Aid provided grants to 73 family farm and rural service organizations in 36 states and the District of Columbia that are working to strengthen family farm agriculture nationwide.

“Efforts are underway in communities across the country to meet the needs of family farmers and eaters,” said Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. “We are proud that these grants from Farm Aid fund energetic and effective grassroots initiatives that strengthen family farmers and build the Good Food Movement.”

Farm Aid funds were invested in programs that:

  • Help farm families stay on the land.
  • Recruit and train new and beginning farmers and increase their access to farmland.
  • Build new market opportunities for farmers and increase everyone’s access to good food.
  • Confront corporate concentration in agriculture.
  • Advocate for fair farm policies on behalf of all family farmers.
  • Inform and organize farmers and eaters around issues such as factory farms, genetically engineered (GE) food, food safety, climate change and fracking.
  • Support farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices.

“Farm Aid grantees work every day to change our food system from the ground up,” said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “We are honored to call these innovative folks our partners in the movement for good food from family farms.”

Farm Aid also issued disaster grants of between $2,500 and up to $10,000 to organizations to distribute to farm families facing weather disasters, while additional individual emergency grants of $500 were awarded to 15 farm families facing either economic crises or natural disasters. In addition, Farm Aid launched a Farmer Leadership Fund this year, awarding $5,514 in funds to elevate farmer voices in arenas where their perspectives are crucial, such as the American Public Health Association conference.

In New York, where Farm Aid held its annual benefit concert in September of this year, Farm Aid invested $60,500 in programs that support family farm agriculture and the Good Food Movement, including $5,500 in emergency and disaster grants. Awardees included the National Young Farmers Coalition in Tivoli, N.Y., to reform federal farm programs to work on behalf of beginning farmers; the Agricultural Stewardship Association in Greenwich, N.Y., to develop the Greater Hudson Valley Farmlink; and the Regional Farm & Food Project in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to establish a farmer and consumer cooperative in the region.

Farm Aid’s grantmaking is one aspect of its work to keep family farmers on the land, growing good food for all. In addition, Farm Aid provides direct services to family farmers, inspires an increased demand for family farm food, advocates for policies that serve farmers and consumers alike, and calls on everyone to engage in building a thriving family farm system of agriculture.

Farm Aid’s annual concert is the organization’s largest awareness-raising event of the year, with performances donated by top artists; HOMEGROWN Concessions® made with family farm food; and the HOMEGROWN Village, featuring hands-on exhibits that showcase family farmers, soil, water and ways we all connect to the roots of our food. In 2013, Farm Aid also worked to advance policies in support of family farm agriculture, including advocating for the passage of the farm bill, pressing for the labeling of genetically modified foods, petitioning the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to fix federal food safety regulations and encouraging restrictions to prevent the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production. Farm Aid increased the capacity of its Farmer Resource Network (www.farmaid.org/ideas) and the Farm Advocate Link, a network of farm advocates working on behalf of family farmers. 

For a complete listing of Farm Aid’s 2013 grants, visit www.farmaid.org/grants.

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $45 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms. Join the Farm Aid conversation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FarmAid. For more information about Farm Aid, visit www.farmaid.org.

—30—

Contact: Brittany Vanderpool, 202-248-5487

bvanderpool@vancomm.com

Environmentalist Brock Evans Launches Campaign Calling for a New Generation of “Eco-Warriors”

January 2014

New book “Fight & Win: Brock Evans’s Strategies for the New Eco-Warrior” to serve as a how-to for young environmental activists

Washington, D.C. — Endangered Species Coalition Board President and legend in the environmental protection movement Brock Evans will release his new book, “Fight & Win: Brock Evans’s Strategies for the New Eco-Warrior,” this Saturday, January 25. With the book and a corresponding fundraising campaign to get free copies into the hands of young adults, Evans aims to ignite a new movement of environmental activism and give novice advocates the tools they need to fight for lasting change.

Part memoir, part how-to manual, the 200-page hardback — now available for purchase at www.barclaybryanpress.com and www.amazon.com— provides readers with tactics and first-hand accounts of how to effectively form an environmental grassroots campaign, take part in the lobbying process, maximize the potential impact of social media, and take on the oil, timber, mining and energy industries — as well as other corporate interests — in defense of our nation’s air, water, forestland and wildlife.

“I’ve known Brock as a leader among conservation activists through two generations,” says Grammy award-winning performer and environmentalist Carole King. King is hopeful that the book will teach thousands of young activists “to carry the conservation movement forward with courage, wisdom and persistence!”

Evans has partnered with his publisher, Barclay Bryan Press, to start the Fight & Win fundraising campaign. Donations to the campaign will be used to purchase at-cost copies of the book for interested high schools and colleges across the U.S. In addition, proceeds will also be used to provide the book to environmental organizations and help develop the next generation of activists though trainings. To donate to the campaign, visit www.bbpress.squarespace.com/fight-win-campaign.

“I know there are armies of high school and college students and other young activists out there who are ready to help stop global warming,” says Evans. “And my generation in the conservation movement is proud of the thousands of young people who are as passionate as we veterans are about saving our still-beautiful planet.”

Award-winning filmmaker and writer Chris Palmer is excited about the impact of Evans’s unusual how-to guide. “It’s a gem of a book,” Palmer says, “and a must-read for aspiring eco-warriors and citizen activists.

For more information about the book, including how you can purchase it, visit www.barclaybryanpress.com.

Interviews with Evans are available by request. Contact Scott LaLonde at 202-248-5459 or
slalonde@vancomm.com.

About Brock Evans
Currently Board president of the Endangered Species Coalition, Evans served as vice president for national issues at the National Audubon Society for 15 years. Earlier, he served for eight years as head lobbyist for the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C., and for six more years as the Sierra Club’s Northwest Representative, responsible for its interests from the North Pole to California. An attorney, Evans has worked for the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, was a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and was a visiting professor at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel. A writer and public speaker, he has received numerous awards for his work, including Lifetime Achievement Awards from the League of Conservation Voters and the Natural Resources Council of America, as well as the John Muir Award, the Sierra Club’s highest honor. Evans served in the United States Marine Corps and is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School.

About Barclay Bryan Press

Barclay Bryan Press is a small, independent book publishing company in Port Republic, Md. Founded in 1995, Barclay Bryan’s current focus is on publishing children’s books in both paperback and hard cover, as well as outstanding nonfiction books dealing with science, history and environmental issues. (www.barclaybryanpress.com)

About Vanguard Communications

Vanguard Communications is a Hispanic woman-owned firm committed to communications initiatives that can change attitudes and perceptions and encourage public debate about critical social issues such as the environment, safe food and farming, health, mental health, education and other quality of life concerns. For more information about Vanguard Communications, visit www.vancomm.com, “like” Vanguard on Facebook at facebook.com/vancomm and follow Vanguard on Twitter @VanComm.

Hope Credit Union Honored for Rebuilding Low-Income Communities One Financial Investment at a Time

October 2013

William Bynum and Hope Credit Union Win 2013 McNulty Prize

Washington, D.C., October 22, 2013 — The Aspen Institute and Institute Trustee Anne Welsh McNulty today announced William Bynum and Hope Credit Union (HOPE) as the winners of the sixth annual John P. McNulty Prize — a $100,000 prize that recognizes the spirit of innovation and excellence of private sector leaders who use entrepreneurship to address important global social issues.

Burdened with the highest poverty rates in the nation, individuals, businesses and communities in the U.S. Mid South have long suffered from a lack of access to traditional financial services. Bynum, an advisor to Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on community development issues and Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, founded HOPE to provide financial services that support jobs, housing, access to health care and other critical needs in the region’s most distressed communities.

“Our goal is to ensure that hardworking people have access to the tools they need to buy homes, start businesses, educate their children and otherwise support their families regardless of their station in life,” said Bynum. “Hopelessness in a community is when there isn’t a clear path to a better future. At HOPE, we provide a vehicle for people to work together and boost each other up to that next rung on the economic ladder.”

Since 2008, as other institutions were closing their doors in underserved communities, HOPE has responded by extending a lifeline to residents in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas. During this period, HOPE has expanded from three to 15 branches; increased its member-owners from 9,000 to 28,000; and closed more than 7,200 consumer, mortgage and small business loans totaling more than $260 million. HOPE is working to double the number of people and places it serves in “bank deserts” in the region.

“Each year, the McNulty Prize recognizes the outstanding work of individuals and organizations who have made a positive impact on the lives of others,” said McNulty Prize judge and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “By opening the doors of economic opportunity to underserved individuals across the country, HOPE has proven that financial institutions focused on community development can truly transform weak economies into stronger, sustainable ones, and improve the lives of thousands of people in the process.”

The John P. McNulty Prize is given annually to honor the visionary work of an Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellow of the Aspen Institute. An international panel of judges including Madeleine Albright, African diplomat Olara Otunnu and international development expert Brizio Biondi-Morra selected the 2013 winner.

Bynum and HOPE were one of four finalists in this year’s competition. The other 2013 finalists include India Leadership Initiative Fellow Manoj Kumar of Araku Originals LTD in India; Catto Fellow Adam Lowry of Ocean Plastic Project in San Francisco, Calif.; and Henry Crown Fellow Chinwe Onyeagoro of FundWell in San Francisco, Calif. Each finalist received $10,000. You can learn more about each finalist and their project at www.mcnultyprize.org.

Bynum and HOPE will be honored at the annual McNulty Prize reception in New York City on November 6. To learn more about Bynum and HOPE, visit www.hopecu.org and watch an interview with Bynum here: http://bit.ly/175pG2T. Follow @TheMcNultyPrize on Twitter and join the conversation with #McNultyPrize.

About the John P. McNulty Prize
Founded by Anne McNulty in honor of her late husband John, the Prize aims to galvanize efforts to address the foremost social, economic and political challenges of our time by recognizing the very best in high-impact leadership. Each year, the winner is selected by an international jury that has included Mary Robinson, Bill Gates Sr., and Sir Richard Branson.

The Aspen Global Leadership Network is a growing worldwide community of entrepreneurial leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector — currently, more than 1,700 “Fellows” from 46 countries — who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their extraordinary creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. All share the common experience of participating in the Henry Crown Fellowship or one of the dozen Aspen Institute leadership initiatives it has inspired in the United States, Africa, Central America, India, China and the Middle East.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colo.; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

Physician Assistant Workforce Critical to Expanding Healthcare Access in Crowded U.S. Marketplace

October 2013

Alexandria, Va.  (October 07, 2013) — As millions of Americans sign up for health coverage, the nation’s fast-growing physician assistant (PA) workforce is already on the frontlines practicing medicine and increasing access to high-quality, patient-centered healthcare.  Because of their critical role in meeting the demand for care, PAs are named one of three primary care providers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“Currently, there are more than 93,000 PAs throughout the U.S. whose education in general medicine prepares them to be extremely nimble, positioning  them very well to address an influx of 20 million new patients entering the healthcare system,” said Lawrence Herman, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA and president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

In light of a projected physician shortage—estimated at 90,000 by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges—PAs have the training, flexibility and agility to respond immediately to the healthcare needs of millions of previously uninsured patients. In fact, PAs practice medicine and in surgery across all settings and specialties including family medicine, primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, oncology, psychiatry, radiology and pediatrics.

“PAs can perform up to 85 percent of the duties of physicians, including prescribing medicine, which allows us to pivot easily in diverse practice settings, bridge gaps in care and solve patient problems in this new era of healthcare,” said Herman. “Now, more than ever, America needs PAs.”

Increased access to care is especially important in critical health arenas such as primary care and underserved areas. Nearly 1 in 3 PAs (32 percent) practice in primary care and 37 percent of PAs work in medically underserved counties of the U.S.

Results of AAPA’s annual survey of the PA profession exemplify the specific ways that PAs are meeting patients’ healthcare needs. According to the survey, the top clinical procedures performed by PAs include: writing prescriptions (82 percent), acute care management (80 percent), chronic disease management (64 percent), follow-up patient calls (63 percent), care coordination (58 percent), clinical consultations (55 percent), minor surgical procedures (52 percent), clinical preventive services (49 percent), first assisting in surgery (24 percent), phone triage (23 percent) and end-of-life care (14 percent).

Since 2006, the PA profession has grown 34 percent and is expected to continue growing. According to the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), more than 7,000 new PAs graduate annually from 173ARC-PA accredited programs throughout the U.S. The profession has nearly doubled in size in the last 10 years.

A PA is a graduate of an accredited PA educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine. PA master’s degree programs take about two and a half years to complete and are modeled on the medical school curriculum, a combination of classroom education and more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medicine.

The profession will honor PAs’ invaluable role in transforming healthcare during National PA Week. Held every year from Oct. 6 – 12, PA Week is a time when PAs and PA students celebrate their profession through local and national events designed to increase awareness of the value PAs bring to today’s healthcare team.

Eighty-six percent of PAs report being very satisfied with their jobs. See real stories and videos of America’s PAs in action at www.pasconnect.org.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 93,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services.

AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org and www.pasconnect.org to learn more.

 

Contact:  Matt Forke, (202) 248-5484 mforke@vancomm.com

Farm Aid 2013 Calls on All Eaters to Contribute to a Healthier Food System

September 2013

Saratoga Springs, N. Y. (September 20, 2013) — Standing with family farmers and more than a dozen artists, Farm Aid uses the platform of its annual benefit festival to urge all Americans to play a role in strengthening the country’s food system.

Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews emphasized the critical responsibility of businesses, policymakers — and everyone who eats — to help grow the Good Food Movement. More than 25,000 fans attended the sold-out event, hosted at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in Saratoga Springs, N. Y.

“Every time we eat, we determine the direction of our food system,” said Nelson, president and founder of Farm Aid. “Farmers are doing their part. When we all stand with them and do our part, we can bring about change that’s good for all of us.”

Curt Ellis, filmmaker and founder of the nonprofit organization FoodCorps, moderated a discussion about the challenges family farmers face and strategies for a strong Good Food Movement. Chuck Curtiss of Willow Marsh Farm in Ballston Spa, N. Y.; Ben and Lindsey Shute of Hearty Roots Community Farm in Clermont, N. Y.; and Jayson Rosado of GrowNYC’s Youthmarket joined Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Matthews, along with Jack Johnson and Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar, for the conversation.

Citing a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that industrial livestock agriculture is contributing to increased human antibiotic resistance, Mugar said there is new urgency for all Americans to fight for a safe, healthy, family farm food system.

“Farm Aid artists have all sparked a movement that many have now joined,” said Mugar. “Farmers, community leaders, food businesses, schools, parents, chefs and eaters young and old are seizing opportunities to make changes that support family farm agriculture. The possibilities for good food grow exponentially when we all step up in whatever way we can.”

Farm Aid 2013 featured performances by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, in addition to Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Pegi Young & The Survivors, Carlene Carter, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Bahamas, Sasha Dobson, Jesse Lenat, Insects vs. Robots and The Blackwood Quartet.

HOMEGROWN Concessions® brought family farm-sourced foods to concertgoers including organic burgers and corndogs, grilled cheese with family farm bacon and local tomatoes, and antibiotic-free pork chop sandwiches, poutine with organic fries and homemade gravy, and Chipotle Mexican Grill’s beef barbacoa chili. Seasonal menu items included grilled local non-GMO corn, a garden green vegetable wrap and local fresh fruit sold at GrowNYC’s HOMEGROWN Youthmarket. Dessert offerings included fair trade coffees and local cider donuts, ice cream and maple cotton candy.

Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village featured hands-on educational activities; concert attendees learned agrarian skills such as curing bacon, growing mushrooms and making cheese. Farm Aid partnered with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York to help meet the needs of the hungry across the region by collecting nonperishable food items from concertgoers at the main entrances to SPAC.

“Farm Aid 2013 Live Presented by Amy’s Kitchen,” aired from 5 to 11 p.m. EDT at farmaid.org, and Willie Nelson’s SiriusXM channel 56, Willie’s Roadhouse, also aired the show live. Farm Aid’s first-ever official festival app allowed users to view the entire Farm Aid 2013 schedule and add artists, workshops and artist briefings to make their own personal schedule for the day.

Farm Aid 2013 is sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Amy’s Kitchen, Farm Family Insurance, Horizon Organic, American Harvest, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Organic Valley Coop, Applegate, Greener Fields Together, EcoScraps, PLOTSAVER, Taste NY and Dean’s Beans.

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $43 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

Contact: Maria Enie, 202-248-5460 Maria Enie

Farm Aid: CDC Antibiotic Resistance Report Confirms Health Threat From Factory Farms

September 2013

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (September 19, 2013) — In response to the first-ever Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on antibiotic resistance, released earlier this week, Farm Aid issued a statement from the site of its annual benefit concert, scheduled for Sept. 21, calling for further investigation of factory farm-related health issues and an immediate curtailing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of non-therapeutic antibiotic use in food-producing animals, as recommended by the CDC.

The new CDC report, “Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013,” affirms that the factory farm approach to food production puts our health in danger. For years, Farm Aid has worked alongside family farmers to bring attention to the risks associated with taking animals off the land and confining them together in massive production facilities. We have already seen some of the consequences of factory farming, including diminished air and water quality and the loss of family farms and communities across the country. Now we have confirmation that this unsafe system is seriously threatening the health of all Americans. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in industrial animal production is causing the spread of deadly drug-resistant pathogens in humans, including Campylobacter and Salmonella — collectively, the source of more than 400,000 infections per year.

The costs of factory farming are too dire to ignore. We can’t afford an industrial food system that produces cheap food, propped up by dangerous practices that make people sick. Farm Aid urges the FDA to immediately act in the interest of the public by using its authority to enforce the CDC recommendations to limit antibiotic use in industrial farms. This should be the first step in a stronger move to research and report the health threats from factory farms, both to animals and humans.

Farm Aid encourages everyone who eats to stand with family farmers by holding the government accountable for creating policies and enforcing regulations that ensure a safe and healthy food system for all.

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $43 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

Contact: Maria Enie, 202-248-5460 Maria Enie