Vaccine-preventable diseases take a heavy toll on U.S. adults despite the widespread availability of vaccines. Office-based providers can do more to promote adult vaccinations but need clearer guidance and a better business case to offer them.
This bulletin for child welfare professionals describes child abuse and neglect of children with disabilities in terms of the scope of the problem, risk factors, and strategies for prevention. The background section looks at statistics and research and highlights what might be happening with families that come into the child welfare system. The second section offers tips to identify and assess abuse and neglect in children with disabilities, respond collaboratively, and locate training resources.
The Relationship between the EEOC’s Decision that Title VII Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and the Enforcement of Executive Order 11246
New analysis finds that a recent ruling from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that gender identity discrimination is unlawful will likely be extended to federal contractors. The EEOC opinion held that gender identity or expression discrimination violates the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. By executive order (EO 11246), federal contractors are similarly prohibited from sex discrimination.Sex discrimination complaints against federal contractors filed pursuant to the existing executive order are enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), an agency within the Department of Labor. The OFCCP has an explicit policy of interpreting the executive order in a manner consistent with Title VII, and has followed the EEOC’s regulations and guidance in enforcing the order. Further, complaints filed with the OFCCP are either directly enforced by the EEOC or enforced by OFCCP officers acting as agents of the EEOC.
+ Full Report (PDF)
Senior Hunger Report Card™ from Meals On Wheels Research Foundation Finds America Failing Nation’s Seniors
The Meals On Wheels Research Foundation (MOWRF) today issued the first annual Senior Hunger Report Card™ (Report Card), which evaluates the nation’s performance in reducing food insecurity and eradicating hunger. The Senior Hunger Report Card™ examined America’s progress in eight categories and assigned grades including the following:
- A grade of “F” for Overall Performance: 8.3 million seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2010. This reflects a 78% increase since 2001 – and a 34% increase since the start of the recession in 2007.
- A grade of “F” for Economics: Since 2009 and the end of the recession, the risk of hunger for the overall US population has declined. However, during the same time period food insecurity increased among those age 60 and older – primarily among the near-poor, with income one to two times the poverty level.
- A grade of “F” for Women’s Studies: The effects of food insecurity are disproportionately borne by women, who make up over 60% of seniors facing the threat of hunger. Senior women are more likely to face the threat of hunger than their male counterparts – and the gender gap has widened since 2009.
- A grade of “F” in Ethics: In the richest nation on Earth, more than 1 in 7 seniors is threatened by hunger. This increase from 1 in 9 seniors in 2005 foretells an alarming human cost if this national crisis is not reversed.
- Other grades include: a “D-” for Geography, a “D+” for Multicultural Studies, a “C-” for Home Economic and an Incomplete for Health & Physical Education.
Lists the brands and generic names of various anti-depressants. Learn the side effects, who should not take them, and warning signs regarding harmful drug and food interactions.
Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher EducationSource: National Research Council
From Summary (PDF):
Higher education is a linchpin of the American economy and society: Teaching and research at colleges and universities contribute significantly to the nation’s economic activity, both directly and through their impact on future growth; federal and state governments support teaching and research with billions of taxpayers’ dollars; and individuals, communities, and the nation gain from the learning and innovation that occurs in higher education.
Notwithstanding its prominent role, effective use of resources is (and should be) a serious concern in the delivery of higher education, as it is for other sectors of the economy. In the current environment of increasing tuition and shrinking public funds, a sense of urgency has emerged to better track the performance of colleges and universities in the hope that their costs can be contained while not compromising quality or accessibility. Metrics ranging from graduation rates to costs per student have been developed to serve this purpose. However, the capacity to assess the performance of higher education institutions and systems remains incomplete, largely because the inputs and outputs in the production process are difficult to define and quantify. For higher education, productivity improvement—increasing the number of graduates, amount of learning, and innovation relative to the inputs used—is seen as the most promising strategy in the effort to keep a high-quality college education as affordable as possible.
It was within this context that this panel was charged to identify an analytically welldefined concept of productivity for higher education and to recommend practical guidelines for its measurement. The objective is to construct valid productivity measures to supplement the body of information used to (1) guide resource allocation decisions at the system, state, and national levels and to assist policymakers who must assess investments in higher education against other compelling demands on scarce resources; (2) provide administrators with better tools for improving their institutions’ performance; and (3) inform individual consumers and communities to whom colleges and universities are ultimately accountable for private and public investments in higher education. Though it should be noted that the experimental measure developed in this report does not directly advance all of these objectives—particularly that pertaining to measurement of individual institution perfomance—the overall report pushes the discussion forward and offers first steps.
New GAO ReportsSource: Government Accountability Office
1. Air Emissions and Electricity Generation at U.S. Power Plants. GAO-12-545R, April 18.
2. Food and Drug Administration: Employee Performance Standards for the Timely Review of Medical Product Applications. GAO-12-650R, April 18.
CRS — Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees
Immigration of Foreign Nationals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Degrees (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Although the United States remains the leading host country for international students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields, the global competition for talent has intensified. A record number of STEM graduates—both U.S. residents and foreign nationals—are entering the U.S. labor market, and there is a renewed focus on creating additional immigration pathways for foreign professional workers in STEM fields. Current law sets an annual worldwide level of 140,000 employment-based admissions, which includes the spouses and children in addition to the principal (i.e., qualifying) aliens. “STEM visa” is shorthand for an expedited immigration avenue that enables foreign nationals with graduate degrees in STEM fields to adjust to legal permanent resident (LPR) status without waiting in the queue of numerically limited LPR visas. The fundamental policy question is should the United States create additional pathways for STEM graduates to remain in the United States permanently?
The number of full-time graduate students in science, engineering, and health fields who were foreign students (largely on F-1 nonimmigrant visas) grew from 91,150 in 1990 to 148,923 in 2009, with most of the increase occurring after 1999. Despite the rise in foreign student enrollment, the percentage of STEM graduate students with temporary visas in 2009 (32.7%) was comparable to 1990 (31.1%). Graduate enrollments in engineering fields have exhibited the most growth of the STEM fields in recent years.
After completing their studies, foreign students on F-1 visas are permitted to participate in employment known as Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Generally, a foreign student may work up to 12 months in OPT status. In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (HHS) expanded the OPT work period to 29 months for F-1 students in STEM fields.
Many F-1 visa holders (especially those who are engaged in OPT) often change their immigration status to become professional specialty workers (H-1B). Most H-1B beneficiaries are typically admitted to work in STEM occupations. In FY2010, the most recent year for which detailed data on H-1B beneficiaries (i.e., workers renewing their visas as well as newly arriving workers) are available, almost 91,000 H-1B workers were employed in computer-related occupations, and they made up 47% of all H-1B beneficiaries that year.
The H-1B visa and the OPT often provide the link for foreign students to become employmentbased LPRs. In total, foreign nationals reporting STEM occupations made up 44% of all of the 676,642 LPRs who were employment-based principal immigrants during the decade of FY2000- FY2009. Of all of the LPRs reporting STEM occupations (297,668) over this decade, 52% entered as professional and skilled workers. STEM graduates seeking LPR status are likely to wait in line to obtain LPR status. Those immigrating as professional and skilled workers face wait times of many years, but those who meet the criteria of the extraordinary ability or advanced degrees preference categories have a much shorter wait.
There may be renewed interest in establishing STEM visas in the 112th Congress, and several bills (H.R. 399, H.R. 2161, H.R. 3146, S. 1965, and S. 1986) have been introduced. The House Committee on the Judiciary held two hearings on these issues in 2011. These issues also arose during a 2011 Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing on the economic rationale for immigration reform. No legislation on STEM visas, however, has moved through committees thus far.
Sunburn and Sun Protective Behaviors Among Adults Aged 18–29 Years — United States, 2000–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
Skin cancer is an important public health concern. Nonmelanoma skin cancers, comprised mainly of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are the most common malignancies in the United States (1). Melanoma, although less common, is the deadliest form of skin cancer (2). Both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers can be disfiguring, negatively affect quality of life, and create economic burden (2,3). Furthermore, age-adjusted incidence rates of both have increased in recent years (1,4). Different patterns of sun exposure are associated with different types of skin cancer. Continuous, chronic sun exposure, such as that observed among outdoor workers is associated with squamous cell carcinoma (3). Intermittent exposure, such as recreational exposure, is associated with melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (3,5–7). Sunburn typically occurs after intermittent exposure, and the risk for melanoma increases with an increasing number of sunburns during all periods of life (4–7). Sunburn is more common among persons aged 18–29 years compared with older adults (8). To evaluate trends in sunburn and sun protective behaviors among persons aged 18–29 years, CDC and the National Cancer Institute analyzed data from the 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The results indicated that although protective behaviors such as sunscreen use, shade use, and wearing long clothing to the ankles have increased in recent years, sunburn prevalence remains high, with 50.1% of all adults and 65.6% of whites aged 18–29 years reporting at least one sunburn in the past 12 months. These results suggest that additional efforts are needed to identify and implement effective strategies targeting younger adults to improve their sun protective behaviors and prevent sunburn and ultimately skin cancer.
Summary Points+ Efforts to strengthen capacity in health research have, so far, concentrated on countries where there is existing capacity rather than those where it is almost completely lacking.+ Judged by absolute numbers of scientific papers, those with the fewest are mainly small islands and a few countries that are politically isolated.+ Judged by papers per capita, the lowest include countries in the former Soviet Union and Africa, both regions experiencing declines in life expectancy in recent years, and states experiencing conflict.+ Although there is a positive association between economic development and research output, some relatively wealthy countries seriously underperform.+ There are many examples of good practice, including regional networks and international partnerships.+ There is a strong argument for donors to look to the long term and consider how best to build health research capacity where it is virtually absent.
OBJECTIVE:To describe the epidemiology of injuries related to bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups among young children in the United States.METHODS:A retrospective analysis was conducted by using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for children <3 years of age treated in emergency departments (1991–2010) for an injury associated with a bottle, pacifier, or sippy cup.RESULTS:An estimated 45 398 (95% confidence interval: 38 770–52 026) children aged <3 years were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to these products during the study period, an average of 2270 cases per year. Most injuries involved bottles (65.8%), followed by pacifiers (19.9%) and sippy cups (14.3%). The most common mechanism was a fall while using the product (86.1% of injuries). Lacerations comprised the most common diagnosis (70.4%), and the most frequently injured body region was the mouth (71.0%). One-year-old children were injured most often. Children who were aged 1 or 2 years were nearly 2.99 times (95% confidence interval: 2.07–4.33) more likely to sustain a laceration compared with any other diagnosis. Product malfunctions were relatively uncommon (4.4% of cases).CONCLUSIONS:This study is the first to use a nationally representative sample to examine injuries associated with these products. Given the number of injuries, particularly those associated with falls while using the product, greater efforts are needed to promote proper usage, ensure safety in product design, and increase awareness of American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for transitioning to a cup and discontinuing pacifier use.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
On February 7, 2010, Viktor Yanukovych defeated Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko to win Ukraine’s presidency. International monitors praised the conduct of the election, although Tymoshenko charged that the election had been fraudulent. Yanukovych was able to quickly to form a new parliamentary majority in the current parliament by inducing scores of supporters of the previous government to change sides. Government opponents charged that bribery and threats to the business interests of members were used to effect the change.
The global economic crisis hit Ukraine hard. Ukraine’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15% in 2009. The economy began to recover in 2010, and GDP increased by 4.7% in 2011, due in part to a surge in demand for Ukrainian steel exports. However, living standards for many Ukrainians remain low, leading to a rapid drop in Yanukovych’s popularity when compared to the period soon after his inauguration. Expected slow growth in western Europe will likely result in slower growth in 2012 for Ukraine as well.
President Yanukovych has pursued closer ties with Russia, especially in the economic sphere. A major focus of his policy has been to seek reduced prices for natural gas supplies from Moscow. In April 2010, he agreed to extend the lease of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine for 25 years in exchange for a reduction in gas prices. However, the impact of the deal on gas prices has been less than anticipated, as oil prices (on which Ukraine’s gas price is calculated) have soared due to unrest in the Middle East. As a result, Ukraine has sought additional gas price cuts from Moscow, so far without success.
Yanukovych has said that EU integration is a key priority for Ukraine, but U.S. and European criticism of what is widely viewed as the politically motivated conviction and imprisonment of Tymoshenko in October 2011 on charges of abuse of power, has called into question whether a long-awaited association agreement with the EU (including a free trade agreement) will be signed and enter into force. Ukraine continues to reject Russian proposals that it join a customs union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Yanukovych has made clear that his country is not seeking NATO membership, but wants to continue cooperation with NATO, including the holding of joint military exercises.
The Obama Administration has worked to “reset” relations with Russia, but has warned that it will not accept any country’s assertion of a sphere of influence, a reminder of U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. The Administration has not publicly expressed concern about what some observers view as the pro-Russian tilt of Ukraine’s foreign policy under Yanukovych.
The Administration has focused on helping Ukraine rid itself of its supplies of highly enriched uranium, assisting Ukraine with the clean-up of the Chornobyl nuclear site, and diversifying Ukraine’s sources of energy, including advice on developing Ukraine’s shale gas reserves. Administration officials have expressed concerns about regression in Ukraine’s democratic development since Yanukovych took power, including in such areas as media freedoms, election laws and the conduct of elections, and selective prosecution of the government’s political opponents.
NATO’s Chicago Summit (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
NATO’s 2012 summit of alliance heads of state and government is scheduled to take place in Chicago on May 20-21. U.S. and NATO officials have outlined what they expect to be the Summit’s three main agenda items:
- Defining the next phase of formal transition in Afghanistan and shaping a longer term NATO commitment to the country after the planned end of combat operations by the end of 2014;
- Securing commitments to maintain and develop the military capabilities necessary to meet NATO’s defense and security goals, including through a new “Smart Defense” initiative; and
- Enhancing NATO’s partnerships with non-NATO member states.
- Although NATO is not expected to issue membership invitations to any of the four countries currently seeking NATO membership, it could reaffirm their commitment to do so in the future.
Congress has played an important role in guiding U.S. policy toward NATO and shaping NATO’s post-Cold War evolution. Members of the 112 th Congress have expressed interest in each of the key agenda items to be discussed in Chicago. For example, proposed companion legislation in the House and Senate—The NATO Enhancement Act of 2012 (S. 2177 and H.R. 4243)—endorses NATO enlargement to the Balkans and Georgia, reaffirms NATO’s role as a nuclear alliance, and calls on the U.S. Administration to seek further allied contributions to a NATO territorial missile defense system, and to urge NATO allies to develop critical military capabilities.
In the run-up to and aftermath of the Chicago Summit, Congress may consider a range of issues relating to NATO’s current operations and activities and its longer term mission. These include questions pertaining to:
- NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan, both during the ongoing transition away from a primary emphasis on combat and after the transition;
- Allied conventional military capabilities and burden-sharing within the alliance;
- Future NATO operations and allied military readiness;
- NATO’s future as a nuclear alliance;
- NATO’s relations with non-NATO member states and multilateral organizations; and
- Prospects and conditions for future NATO enlargement.