Should babies without microcephaly but who were born in regions affected by Zika be tested for eye disorders that have been linked to the virus? UIC pediatric ophthalmologists will examine that question under a one-year, $30,000 grant from the Blind Children’s Center.
Dr. R. V. Paul Chan and Dr. Marilyn Miller, professors of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the UIC College of Medicine, will work with their colleagues and long-time friends Drs. Liana and Camila Ventura of the Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, to determine if children born in areas where the mosquito that carries the Zika virus is prevalent should be screened for eye problems.
The port city of Recife is considered ground zero for the recent Zika outbreak, which began in 2015. Between April and November of last year, 18 of the 27 states of Brazil reported cases. Since then, Brazil has seen a 20-fold increase in cases of microcephaly among newborns.
The virus is carried by Aedes mosquitos, the same genus that transmits several other tropical fevers. Symptoms of Zika infection are numerous, including neurological disorders and eye disorders. For some, the symptoms may be mild or even undetected, but infection during pregnancy can lead to devastating neurological diseases including microcephaly, or small head.
“There are so many questions we still have not yet answered about the effects of Zika infection,” says Chan, who is also vice chair for global ophthalmology at UIC and director of pediatric retina and retinopathy of prematurity service at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at UIC. “We still don’t know the extent of problems that can result if the mother is exposed.
“Right now, most people just know about microcephaly,” Chan said. “And we do know that in some babies with microcephaly there are also changes in the eye, so we want to know if these eye changes can occur in babies who may have been exposed but for some reason don’t develop microcephaly.”
The Altino Ventura Foundation includes a non-profit clinic and rehabilitation center that provides eye care to low-income patients, as well as speech and occupational therapy and other services. Many of their patients include mothers and babies affected by Zika.
The Venturas were the first to publish on the eye manifestations of Zika infection, Chan said. They and their colleagues in Brazil documented changes the retina and optic nerve in about 55 percent of babies born with microcephaly during the Zika outbreak.
The Venturas will send Chan and Miller retinal photographs of all babies born at a maternity hospital near the clinic. The UIC ophthalmologists will review the images and note any abnormalities, particularly in the area of the retina where the optic nerve arises. Babies with eye abnormalities will be followed up with a pediatric ophthalmologist every three months and retinal imaging every six months to see if changes worsen or if new changes arise.
“We don’t know if the virus can sit latent in the eye, or for how long, so we need to keep checking in with these children to see if eye issues arise,” said Chan.
Blood samples will also be taken to be screened for Zika as well as a host of other infectious diseases, including dengue and chikungunya, which are also carried by Aedes mosquitos.
“If we determine that babies born without microcephaly can still have eye changes likely caused by the virus, that means that all babies born during the outbreak should be screened for eye issues,” Chan said. “If we can characterize what these changes are, and can catch them early, many of them can be treated and the risk to vision reduced.”
Prescription medication costs are expected to rise at least 11 percent, and possibly up to 13 percent, in 2016, according to a new report on national trends and projections in prescription drug expenditures.
The report, by a team of experts led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of
Pharmacy, reviews recent cost changes and future factors likely to influence drug costs in the current year, using the IMS Health National Sales Perspectives (NSP) database.
Contributing to the overall increase, drug spending in clinics will increase 15 percent to 17 percent, while spending in nonfederal hospitals will grow 10 percent to 12 percent, said Glen Schumock, professor and head of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at UIC and lead author of the report.
“These estimates for growth are considerably higher than those we have made in the past but consistent with recent trends and other forecasts,” Schumock said. “We have observed consistent increases in growth over the past three years in hospital settings.”
In 2015, drug prices continued a steep climb that began in 2013 in both clinics and nonfederal hospitals. More than $419 billion was spent on prescription drugs last year, an 11.7 percent increase over the previous year. The increase resulted from higher prices for existing drugs (8.4 percent), spending on new drugs (2.7 percent) and changes in the volume of drugs used (0.5 percent), and was higher than anticipated, Schumock said.
“Individual drugs with the greatest increases in expenditures in 2015 were specialty agents and older generics,” he said. “These agents are likely to continue to influence total spending this year.”
The dual combination hepatitis C drug ledipasvir-sofosbuvir was the top drug, accounting for $14.3 billion in expenditures in 2015. It was followed by the rheumatoid arthritis drug adalimumab ($10.6 billion); insulin glargine for diabetes ($9.2 billion); and etanercept (for autoimmune diseases) and rosuvastatin (a statin used to treat high blood pressure to prevent cardiovascular disease), each at about $6.5 billion.
The increase in the number and use of high-priced specialty medications could cause costs to rise even higher this year, Schumock said. These pharmaceuticals will constitute a significant portion of new medications on the market in the future.
Forty-five new medications for complex, chronic or rare diseases such as metastatic breast cancer, plaque psoriasis, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015, and more could be on the way, he said.
In the future, medication costs will also be influenced by an aging patient population, a growing U.S. economy, and greater patient access to healthcare from the Affordable Care Act, Schumock said.
One factor that could inhibit the rising cost of drugs is the introduction of “biosimilars” — biologic products that are nearly identical to an original product that is manufactured by a different company. “Drug spending will be reduced only when there are a sufficient number of these products on the market to create competition and drive down prices,” Schumock said.
The new report is published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. The forecast is “widely anticipated by hospital and health-system pharmacists each year who use it to help project drug spending and develop drug budgets in their own institutions,” Schumock said.
Co-authors include Edward Li of the University of New England; Katie Suda of UIC and the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital; Michelle Wiest of the University of Cincinnati; Jo Ann Stubbings of UIC; Linda Matusiak and Robert Hunkler of IMS Health in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania; and Lee Vermeulen of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
By Sam Hostettler
Join UIC grant writing experts for “Grant Writing for Beginners,” a one-day, interactive, on-campus workshop designed specifically for those with little or no experience in writing grants.
UIC Extended Campus is pleased to invite you to spend the day with UIC Certificate in Nonprofit Management instructors Noah Jenkins and Valerie Leonard. You will learn:
– Types of funding sources available to nonprofits today
– How to research grant opportunities and assess the best fit for your funding needs
– What your organization must have in place before writing a grant
– The primary components of a grant proposal and how they fit together
– How to communicate effectively with prospective funders
Due to high demand, we are offering this workshop four times:
– September 29, 2016
– December 8, 2016
– March 16, 2017
– June 29, 2017
Previous workshops have filled up quickly. We encourage you to register early.
For complete details and to register, click HERE.
The Chicago Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program, which provides yearlong fellowships to graduate health students for public service projects, awarded fellowships to University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry students Gabija Revis and Jessica Williams for 2016-2017.
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program is the local chapter of the Boston, MA-based Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. The program also is supported by the Chicago-based Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, an independent policy center that conducts research, educates, and collaborates with other groups to advocate policies and impact health systems to improve people’s health status
The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program is dedicated to developing a corps of emerging health professionals who enter the workforce with the skills and commitment necessary to address unmet health needs.
The program is highly competitive, and chose 31 students from Chicago-area medically related universities as 2016-2017 Schweitzer Fellows.
Revis said that the goal of her Schweitzer project is “to address the underlying health inequities faced by children with complex medical needs.”
These individuals are not only more likely to have serious unmet oral needs, but also are less likely to have access to a permanent dental home.
“My project will create and implement an oral health component for the Almost Home Kids caregiver training program used to teach caregivers of medically-complex children,” Revis explained.
Chicago-based Almost Home Kids is a transition facility for children being transferred out of intensive hospital care, and a site where the families of these children are trained to be caregivers.
“In addition to training caregivers on how to address oral health needs of the medically complex child, I also hope to shed light on the access-to-care issues facing this underserved community,” Revis said. “My ultimate goal is to help these children find permanent dental homes in the Chicagoland area.”
She noted that her experience at Almost Home Kids also will be used to educate dental and medical professionals on-site and at UIC “in hopes of encouraging more providers to consider working directly with children with complex medical needs.”
Williams’ Schweitzer project “will serve low-income older adults throughout the Chicagoland area, at various community centers and nursing homes,” she said.
“I have an overarching goal of improving oral health literacy with a specialized focus on the dynamic relationship between aging, chronic diseases, and oral health,” Williams added.
She will work with underserved older adults to develop a curriculum which promotes oral health literacy.
Williams also will host educational seminars in an effort to address the oral health knowledge gaps of the local senior community.
“I am still in the process of securing all of my sites,” Williams explained. “One of them will include Ravenswood Community Services, an organization which connects the community with basic, but essential resources, including food, screenings, and information about health and life skills.
“I will be providing oral health education to the ‘neighbors’ who participate in RCS’s weekly Community Kitchen dinners,” she added. “I will be volunteering at additional senior centers and homes in addition to RCS.”
“Since 2007, with the exception of one year, the College has had at least one student accepted into this highly competitive and prestigious program,” said Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the College.
For more information about the Schweitzer Fellowship Program, log on to http://www.schweitzerfellowship.org/chapters/chicago/.
UIC, which is in the top 30 for the third time, is the only institution in Illinois named in the 2016 ranking. The list, now in its eighth year, highlights the most LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities for policy, programs and practices.
“This recognition from Campus Pride is significant for our campus because it reflects the ways that LGBTQ-inclusion is a shared priority among many units,” says Megan Carney, director of the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center.
“UIC has been a pioneer in some ways, by founding a center for LGBTQ issues over 20 years ago and being the first to start a Lavender Graduation in Chicago 10 years ago,” Carney said. “Certainly, there’s still work to be done, but this listing helps us to better understand where we fit in the national landscape. I’m grateful to all of the staff, faculty, students and alumni whose contributions over the years have shaped UIC.”
According to Campus Pride, the universities highlighted this year were chosen based on their overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive benchmarks. This year’s list includes public and private colleges ranging from 807 to over 45,000 students.
UIC earned a 4.5 out of five stars and received top scores for LGBTQ student life, which looked at 14 areas, ranging from how the campus offers awareness of experiences and concerns of the LGBTQ community, to having LGBTQ representation and leadership opportunities.
The campus also earned a top score in LGBTQ housing and residence life based on 11 areas, including the option for LGBTQ students to be matched with a LGBTQ-friendly roommate.
UIC also earned five stars in 12 areas such as the recruitment and retention of LGBTQ students, and for developing programs focusing on gender identity and expression.
More information about UIC and the other ranked schools is available online.
“Prospective students and their families today expect colleges to be LGBTQ-friendly. They want to know what LGBTQ programs, services and resources are available on the campus, and which are the ‘best of the best,’” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “Now more than ever, there are colleges that are recruiting LGBTQ youth, and they are investing in a campus that is fully supportive of LGBTQ students. This Top 30 list showcases those top campuses leading the way.”
By Carlos Sadovi
Come cast your ballots and celebrate Jane Addams’ 156th birthday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th, at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted Street, with the opening of Aram Han Sifuentes’ Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for all who legally can’t. Reception includes birthday cupcakes, artists’ talk back , and soundscapes by DJ Sadie Rock.
The program includes:
6:00 – 6:30: Exhibit Open, Music and Refreshments
6:30 – 7:00: Aram Han Sifuentes and Lise Haller Baggesen
7:00 – 7:45: Artists and Collaborators Speak
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (JAHHM) presents Aram Han Sifuentes’ insurgent project Official Unofficial Voting Station: Voting for all who legally can’t. From September 8 through election day on November 8, the discontented and disenfranchised can cast unsanctioned ballots at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and other Unofficial Official Voting Stations across the country and in Mexico.
The Museum will host the voting station VOX POP: The Disco Party designed by Sifuentes and collaborator Lise Haller Baggesen. All ballots cast will be returned to and counted at the museum and contribute to an installation.
Hear from Sifuentes, Baggessen and other collaborators: Verónica Casado Hernández, Dr. Lisa Vinebaum, Sadie Woods, Yvette Mayorga, and Roberto Sifuentes. Come in your disco best!
To register for this free event, click HERE.
Jane Addams Birthday Conversations
Jane Addams was the co-founder of the Hull-House Settlement, a pioneer social reformer, internationalist, feminist, and peace activist. In 1931, she became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams and the residents of Hull-House advocated for public health, fair labor practices, full citizenship rights for immigrants, public education, recreational and public space, public arts, and free speech. We take the opportunity on her birthday to celebrate the Hull-House progressive tradition, but also offer an opportunity to host events that bring together people working on issues of justice broadly defined in the present day. Aligned with the museum and the early social reformers of Hull House, Aram Han Sifuentes’ project explores urgent questions about participation, exclusion, and citizenship in the United States
Do you know any high-school students? Encourage them to enroll into the Youth Leadership Program at the Asian American Business Expo to be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 10th, at UIC Forum.
The Youth Leadership Program is a full-day interactive training program designed to equip our high-school youths with skills to succeed in college and life.
Facilitated by leading business professionals as well as leaders from OCA National, the Youth Leadership Program offers students the following benefits:
8 AM – Report to the Registration Booth. Breakfast provided.
8:30 AM – Volunteer at the Registration Booth.
9:30 AM – Be recognized on stage during the Opening Ceremony.
10 AM – Attend the panel discussion on “The Making of An Asian-American Leader”
11 AM – Volunteer at the Lunch Station.
12 PM – Participate in the Youth Leadership Forum, facilitated by OCA National. Lunch provided.
3 PM – Volunteer to close the event.
Upon completion of the Youth Leadership Program, students will receive an official certificate from the Asian American Business Expo, certifying the students’ volunteering, community service and leadership hours.
Register now for the Youth Leadership Program. (Call Shelly at 312-233-2810 with any questions.)
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie in an effort to make neighborhoods safer, better place to live. The Chicago Police Department 12th District, in partnerships with organizations, including Connecting 4 Communities, celebrated National Night Out on August 2 in the 12th District station parking lot and featured a car show, dunk tank, balloon art, and other family friendly programming.
Historically, National Night Out has been held every year since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada.
For more information about Connecting 4 Communities, please click HERE.
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