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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

First COBRE of its size, only in the US to focus on women's health Pregnancy is a critical time in a woman's life and is recognized as a window into her future health. Although the overwhelming majority of patients have a healthy outcome, pregnancy complications have been on the rise globally. New and emerging data strongly suggest significant maternal health consequences after pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, diabetes and preterm birth. Likewise, children born to mothers experiencing these conditions are at significant risk of developing chronic diseases, including neurological, metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. Surprisingly, there is still little information about the causes of these pregnancy-associated disorders, as well as prediction and treatment. Toward conducting research that will shed light on these disorders and their potential future health implications, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island has been awarded a $12.2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant to boost interdisciplinary research related to women's reproductive health. (NOTE: This grant was previously reported on March 29, 2017 as $11 million.) The programmatic and scientific goals of this COBRE for Reproductive Health are to develop research infrastructure for a center that supports a multidisciplinary, translational and innovative program in women's reproductive health. This is the first COBRE of its size and the only one to focus on women's health. "Pregnancy is an important time in a woman's life, and while there are physiological changes in response to pregnancy, some of these changes persist later in life," said Surendra Sharma, MD, PhD, a research scientist and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Women & Infants Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. "The question that remains unanswered is how complications suffered by a woman during pregnancy provide insight into other future adverse health outcomes." Dr. Sharma will serve as the principal investigator for the COBRE for Reproductive Health. Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, chair and Chace-Joukowsky Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and assistant dean for Teaching and Research in Women's Health at the Warren Alpert Medical School, professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health, and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital and Care New England Health System, will serve as Deputy Director of the program. According to Dr. Sharma, the overarching research goals of this COBRE include the use of well-defined, pre-clinical models to understand mechanisms of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prematurity; identification of functional predictive biomarkers; and application of contemporary computational approaches to enhance understanding of the networks and pathways underlying these devastating pregnancy complications. Four investigators will be participating in this COBRE for Reproductive Health at Women & Infants Hospital: Lynae Brayboy, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Women & Infants Hospital and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Warren Alpert Medical School, proposes an intriguing new study on the prediction of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes in in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients. Shibin Cheng, MD, PhD, a research scientist at Women & Infants Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School, will continue his studies into preeclampsia. Interestingly, his study also focuses on the concept that preeclampsia may be a prelude to Alzheimer's disease, a significant disease affecting women later in life. Beatrice Lechner, MD, a neonatologist at Women & Infants and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School, will continue her studies into complications causing pre-term birth. Dr. Lechner's work represents cutting -edge science. Along with a high rate of mortality in newborns, preterm birth has also been associated with a high rate of mortality in mothers, suggesting its long-term health effects on women. Jessica S. Schuster, PhD, is an instructor of pediatrics and a computational biologist in the Department of Pediatrics at Women & Infants Hospital. Her study focuses on women diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and on using contemporary mathematical and computer science approaches to find answers to scientific questions related to preeclampsia. Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation's leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women's medicine, Women & Infants is the ninth largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children's Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country's largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit. Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation's first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation's only fellowship program in obstetric medicine. Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute's Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.


When House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, many Americans likely thought of their family and friends living with cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. These diseases are commonly referred to as “pre-existing conditions” – conditions which, under the Republican health care bill, could result in them being denied health insurance. But another, less publicised group of people were also concerned by the bill's passage: rape survivors. Before Obamacare, some insurance companies considered rape and domestic abuse pre-existing conditions. One woman, Jody Neal-Post, says she was turned away after telling a potential insurance that she was a domestic violence victim – despite otherwise being perfectly healthy. Half of the top 16 insurance companies in the US in 1994 admitted they considered domestic violence in factor in determining premiums, and whether or not to deny someone coverage. Under Obamacare, that changed: The law prohibited employers from denying coverage or racking up premiums for those with pre-existing conditions. It also prohibited insurers from “gender rating,” or charging more for insurance just for being a woman. The number of uninsured women went from 19 per cent to just 8 per cent after it was passed. The new American Health Care Act, however, contains an amendment allows states to opt out of protections for pre-existing conditions. That means women like Ms Neal-Post could once again find themselves unable to find coverage. That same amendment, called the MacAurthur Amendment, states that “nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to discriminate in rates for health insurance coverage by gender.” But women’s health advocates point out that many different pre-existing conditions – not just rape and domestic abuse – pertain disproportionately to women. Pre-existing conditions cited by insurance companies include postpartum depression, caesarean sections, and prior pregnancies. “A majority of people who get pregnant identify as women, so that's gender discrimination, straight up," Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, an Advocacy Fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told ELLE.com. The AHCA passed the House 217 - 213 on Thursday afternoon, but faces a tough fight to pass the Senate. Appearing in the White House rose garden, Mr Trump – who had promised that pre-existing conditions would be covered by the bill – called it a “great plan.” “What we have is something very, very incredibly well-crafted,” Mr Trump said. “...This has really brought the Republican Party together."


Grants Aim To Reduce Preterm Births By Encouraging Pregnancy Spacing, Enhancing Prenatal Care, and Improving Diagnosis of Heart Birth Defects SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - February 28, 2017) - March of Dimes announced today a substantial investment in California community grants. One-year grants totaling $139,000 are being distributed to four new recipients. March of Dimes is also distributing $139,000 to five recipients in their final year of 2015 - 2017 grant projects, with three-year funding totaling more than $560,000. This brings the multi-year investment to $699,000. March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit for pregnancy and baby health. Community grants support March of Dimes vision to close the health inequities gap and improve infant health by reducing the occurrence of birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. With the one-year California Community Grants, March of Dimes is funding innovative efforts to engage women in reproductive life planning and to encourage women to space pregnancies at least 18 months apart. "Thirty-nine percent of all pregnancies in California occur less than 18 months after the birth of a child," said March of Dimes State Maternal Child Health Committee Chair, Diana E. Ramos, MD, MPH, Director, Reproductive Health, Los Angeles County Public Health. "Interpregnancy spacing (the time between the end of one pregnancy and the beginning of the next one) of less than 18 months is associated with higher rates of premature birth, low birth weight, neonatal complications, neonatal death and maternal complications, with very short pregnancy spacing (<6 months) carrying the greatest risk. There is a two-fold increase in early preterm births among women with very short pregnancy spacing of fewer than 6 months."1 All of the one-year grant recipients will implement One Key Question®, an initiative created by the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health. This model provides primary care health teams, community health workers, and other providers with a simple question to incorporate pregnancy intention screening, "Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?" into routine care and services. Women are then offered essential preconception care and reproductive health services (or referrals) depending on their needs. The one-year grant recipients were selected from priority counties in California with a high burden or high volume of preterm births and high rates of pregnancies spaced less than 18 months apart. "We know we can make a difference in the lives of babies and their moms when we provide funds to community-based or statewide projects that have the potential to improve birth outcomes and reduce premature birth rates, especially among high-risk groups," said Kelly Ernst, MPH, March of Dimes Vice President of Maternal Child Health. "Fully one-third of all pregnancies in the U.S. occur less than 18 months after the birth of a child, which is a known risk factor for preterm birth. Ensuring that more women wait at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again can help reduce preterm birth rates. The March of Dimes has invested in community programs for more than 70 years. While we proudly fund innovative research in many of California's leading educational institutions, research to develop new interventions takes time. Our community programs can ensure that known evidence-based interventions are made available to women right now to improve birth outcomes." The goal of the Reproductive Life Planning Project is to improve La Clínica's capacity to proactively support female patients in meeting their reproductive health and family planning goals through patient-centered screening, follow-up, and care. La Clínica will implement One Key Question® at one clinic site in Alameda County, targeting women age 15-50. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Women's Health Programs and Innovation Division has added reproductive life preference questions to its new Electronic Health Record system to be asked of all women of childbearing age who come in for ambulatory care services. The project team will train nurses, medical assistants and community health workers to ask One Key Question®, document in the medical record and provide follow-up services and education. The Preconception Care Coordination Collaborative for San Diego will implement the One Key Question® model in 2-3 clinic and community locations. They will screen women who have had a baby in the previous 12 months. Women who answer the question with positive or uncertain pregnancy intention will be offered a class and home visit for preconception education, including reproductive life planning, and care coordination for any services needed. Women who receive a home visit will also receive a three-month follow-up visit to assess if they have made progress toward goals set during their first visit and to assist them with services. 2-1-1 Health Navigators will check in with new mothers 6 weeks following the birth of their child asking One Key Question®, educating them about spacing and risks associated with short pregnancy intervals and offering referrals for support services, with the goal of educating and empowering women to make knowledgeable decisions about their family planning and child spacing. (2-1-1 is the county-wide nonprofit resource and information hub that connects people with community, health and disaster services, with partnerships dedicated to serving pregnant and postpartum women and women with children 0-5 years old). "Birth spacing and preconception health is a key issue in our San Diego communities but one that hasn't received the attention it deserves, nor the resources," said Katherine Selchau, MA,Director, Local Capacity Strengthening & Collective Impact, California Border Healthy Start PLUS Project. "So many programs and resources are directed towards the health of pregnant women and infants, but not enough towards the health of women before and between pregnancies, which has a huge effect on positive outcomes for both mother and child. With this March of Dimes grant, we have an opportunity to pilot a great framework that is community- based and can set San Diego apart as a leader in strategies that can impact families from the earliest possible opportunity." March of Dimes is also distributing $139,000 to five recipients in their final year of 2015 - 2017 grant projects, with three-year funding totaling more than $560,000. These community grants are increasing and enhancing prenatal care, improving screening and diagnosis of heart birth defects, as well as, improving interconception health. Programs target diverse, underserved women, including those who are incarcerated, as well as the Latina, Pacific Islander, and African-American communities. The March of Dimes California 2015-2017 grant recipients are: Alameda County Department of Public Health: will strive to reduce preterm birth among Pacific Islanders by increasing early and regular prenatal care as a result of culturally appropriate care coordination in Alameda County. Alameda Health System: will strive to ensure healthy birth outcomes for mothers and newborns by increasing access to prenatal care through offering group prenatal care using the popular CenteringPregnancy® model at Highland Wellness, Alameda Health System's largest prenatal health clinic. City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services: will strive to decrease depression, increase positive coping skills and increase physical activity among African-American women, with the goal of improving maternal health and birth outcomes. Loma Linda University Children's Hospital: will strive to improve the prenatal diagnosis rate of complex congenital heart disease (CHD) in the Southern Inland Counties Regional Perinatal Program Region through health care provider trainings. Special Service for Groups, Families & Criminal Justice Division: will strive to improve maternal and newborn health through case management, education and support services for pregnant, jailed women. Each year nearly 4,000,000 babies are born in the United States, and March of Dimes touches each one of them through community programs, advocacy, research, education, and support. March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Premature birth and its complications are now the leading global cause of death for children under 5 years old. Premature birth costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or for resources in Spanish, nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Educational video resources are available on our YouTube channel.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Successful results of a University of Liverpool-led trial that utilised nanotechnology to improve drug therapies for HIV patients has been presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, a leading annual conference of HIV research, clinical practice and progress. The healthy volunteer trial, conducted by the collaborative nanomedicine research programme led by Pharmacologist Professor Andrew Owen and Materials Chemist Professor Steve Rannard, and in collaboration with the St Stephen's AIDS Trust at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, examined the use of nanotechnology to improve the delivery of drugs to HIV patients. The results were from two trials which are the first to use orally dosed nanomedicine to enable HIV therapy optimisation. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to the prevention and treatment of disease in the human body. By developing smaller pills that are better for patients and less expensive to manufacture, this evolving discipline has the potential to dramatically change medical science and is already having an impact in a number of clinically used therapies and diagnostics worldwide. Currently, the treatment of HIV requires daily oral dosing of HIV drugs, and chronic oral dosing has significant complications that arise from the high pill burden experienced by many patients across populations with varying conditions leading to non-adherence to therapies. Recent evaluation of HIV patient groups have shown a willingness to switch to nanomedicine alternatives if benefits can be shown. Research efforts by the Liverpool team have focused on the development of new oral therapies, using Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology which can improve drug absorption into the body, reducing both the dose and the cost per dose and enabling existing healthcare budgets to treat more patients. The trial results confirmed the potential for a 50 percent dose reduction while maintaining therapeutic exposure, using a novel approach to formulation of two drugs: efavirenz (EFV) and, lopinavir (LPV). EFV is the current WHO-recommended preferred regimen, with 70% of adult patients on first-line taking an EFV-based HIV treatment regimen in low- and middle-income countries. The trial is connected to the University's ongoing work as part of the multinational consortium OPTIMIZE, a global partnership working to accelerate access to simpler, safer and more affordable HIV treatment. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, OPTIMIZE is led by the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, and includes the interdisciplinary Liverpool team, Columbia University, Mylan Laboratories and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). OPTIMIZE is supported by key partners including UNITAID and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Benny Kottiri, USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS Research Division Chief, said: "The potential applications for HIV treatment are incredibly promising. By aligning efforts, these integrated investments offer the potential to reduce the doses required to control the HIV virus even further, resulting in real benefits globally. This would enable the costs of therapy to be reduced which is particularly beneficial for resource-limited countries where the burden of disease is highest." To watch the presentation please follow the link http://www. For more information about the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections please visit http://www. .


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.nanotech-now.com

Home > Press > New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half Abstract: Successful results of a University of Liverpool-led trial that utilised nanotechnology to improve drug therapies for HIV patients has been presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, a leading annual conference of HIV research, clinical practice and progress. The healthy volunteer trial, conducted by the collaborative nanomedicine research programme led by Pharmacologist Professor Andrew Owen and Materials Chemist Professor Steve Rannard, and in collaboration with the St Stephen's AIDS Trust at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, examined the use of nanotechnology to improve the delivery of drugs to HIV patients. The results were from two trials which are the first to use orally dosed nanomedicine to enable HIV therapy optimisation. Manipulation of matter Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to the prevention and treatment of disease in the human body. By developing smaller pills that are better for patients and less expensive to manufacture, this evolving discipline has the potential to dramatically change medical science and is already having an impact in a number of clinically used therapies and diagnostics worldwide. Currently, the treatment of HIV requires daily oral dosing of HIV drugs, and chronic oral dosing has significant complications that arise from the high pill burden experienced by many patients across populations with varying conditions leading to non-adherence to therapies. Developing new therapies Recent evaluation of HIV patient groups have shown a willingness to switch to nanomedicine alternatives if benefits can be shown. Research efforts by the Liverpool team have focused on the development of new oral therapies, using Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology which can improve drug absorption into the body, reducing both the dose and the cost per dose and enabling existing healthcare budgets to treat more patients. The trial results confirmed the potential for a 50 percent dose reduction while maintaining therapeutic exposure, using a novel approach to formulation of two drugs: efavirenz (EFV) and, lopinavir (LPV). EFV is the current WHO-recommended preferred regimen, with 70% of adult patients on first-line taking an EFV-based HIV treatment regimen in low- and middle-income countries. The trial is connected to the University's ongoing work as part of the multinational consortium OPTIMIZE, a global partnership working to accelerate access to simpler, safer and more affordable HIV treatment. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, OPTIMIZE is led by the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, and includes the interdisciplinary Liverpool team, Columbia University, Mylan Laboratories and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). OPTIMIZE is supported by key partners including UNITAID and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Potential applications Benny Kottiri, USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS Research Division Chief, said: "The potential applications for HIV treatment are incredibly promising. By aligning efforts, these integrated investments offer the potential to reduce the doses required to control the HIV virus even further, resulting in real benefits globally. This would enable the costs of therapy to be reduced which is particularly beneficial for resource-limited countries where the burden of disease is highest." For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

Successful results of a University of Liverpool-led trial that utilized nanotechnology to improve drug therapies for HIV patients has been presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, a leading annual conference of HIV research, clinical practice, and progress. The healthy volunteer trial, conducted by the collaborative nanomedicine research program led by Pharmacologist Professor Andrew Owen and Materials Chemist Professor Steve Rannard, and in collaboration with the St Stephen’s AIDS Trust at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, examined the use of nanotechnology to improve the delivery of drugs to HIV patients. The results were from two trials which are the first to use orally dosed nanomedicine to enable HIV therapy optimization. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to the prevention and treatment of disease in the human body. By developing smaller pills that are better for patients and less expensive to manufacture, this evolving discipline has the potential to dramatically change medical science and is already having an impact in a number of clinically used therapies and diagnostics worldwide. Currently, the treatment of HIV requires daily oral dosing of HIV drugs, and chronic oral dosing has significant complications that arise from the high pill burden experienced by many patients across populations with varying conditions leading to non-adherence to therapies. Recent evaluation of HIV patient groups has shown a willingness to switch to nanomedicine alternatives if benefits can be shown. Research efforts by the Liverpool team have focused on the development of new oral therapies, using Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology which can improve drug absorption into the body, reducing both the dose and the cost per dose and enabling existing healthcare budgets to treat more patients. The trial results confirmed the potential for a 50 percent dose reduction while maintaining therapeutic exposure, using a novel approach to formulation of two drugs: efavirenz (EFV) and, lopinavir (LPV). EFV is the current WHO-recommended preferred regimen, with 70 percent of adult patients on first-line taking an EFV-based HIV treatment regimen in low- and middle-income countries. The trial is connected to the University’s ongoing work as part of the multinational consortium OPTIMIZE, a global partnership working to accelerate access to simpler, safer and more affordable HIV treatment. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, OPTIMIZE is led by the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, and includes the interdisciplinary Liverpool team, Columbia University, Mylan Laboratories, and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). OPTIMIZE is supported by key partners including UNITAID and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Benny Kottiri, USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS Research Division Chief, says, “The potential applications for HIV treatment are incredibly promising. By aligning efforts, these integrated investments offer the potential to reduce the doses required to control the HIV virus even further, resulting in real benefits globally. This would enable the costs of therapy to be reduced which is particularly beneficial for resource-limited countries where the burden of disease is highest.”


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: phys.org

The healthy volunteer trial, conducted by the collaborative nanomedicine research programme led by Pharmacologist Professor Andrew Owen and Materials Chemist Professor Steve Rannard, and in collaboration with the St Stephen's AIDS Trust at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London, examined the use of nanotechnology to improve the delivery of drugs to HIV patients. The results were from two trials which are the first to use orally dosed nanomedicine to enable HIV therapy optimisation. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to the prevention and treatment of disease in the human body. By developing smaller pills that are better for patients and less expensive to manufacture, this evolving discipline has the potential to dramatically change medical science and is already having an impact in a number of clinically used therapies and diagnostics worldwide. Currently, the treatment of HIV requires daily oral dosing of HIV drugs, and chronic oral dosing has significant complications that arise from the high pill burden experienced by many patients across populations with varying conditions leading to non-adherence to therapies. Recent evaluation of HIV patient groups have shown a willingness to switch to nanomedicine alternatives if benefits can be shown. Research efforts by the Liverpool team have focused on the development of new oral therapies, using Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology which can improve drug absorption into the body, reducing both the dose and the cost per dose and enabling existing healthcare budgets to treat more patients. The trial results confirmed the potential for a 50 percent dose reduction while maintaining therapeutic exposure, using a novel approach to formulation of two drugs: efavirenz (EFV) and, lopinavir (LPV). EFV is the current WHO-recommended preferred regimen, with 70% of adult patients on first-line taking an EFV-based HIV treatment regimen in low- and middle-income countries. The trial is connected to the University's ongoing work as part of the multinational consortium OPTIMIZE, a global partnership working to accelerate access to simpler, safer and more affordable HIV treatment. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, OPTIMIZE is led by the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, and includes the interdisciplinary Liverpool team, Columbia University, Mylan Laboratories and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). OPTIMIZE is supported by key partners including UNITAID and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Benny Kottiri, USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS Research Division Chief, said: "The potential applications for HIV treatment are incredibly promising. By aligning efforts, these integrated investments offer the potential to reduce the doses required to control the HIV virus even further, resulting in real benefits globally. This would enable the costs of therapy to be reduced which is particularly beneficial for resource-limited countries where the burden of disease is highest." Explore further: New nanomedicine approach aims to improve HIV drug therapies More information: The presentation is available online: www.croiwebcasts.org/console/player/33376?mediaType=slideVideo&


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Out of 17 commercial health plans in Virginia, Optima Health Plan rated among the top three in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Private Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2016-2017, with an overall rating of 4 out of 5. This is the second year in a row Optima Health has rated among Virginia’s top three, since NCQA initiated its current rating methodology in 2015. Optima Health is the only company in Virginia’s top three that serves the Hampton Roads and Central Virginia markets. Based on clinical quality, member satisfaction and NCQA Accreditation Survey results, the NCQA Health Insurance Plan Ratings are listed for Private (commercial), Medicare and Medicaid health insurance plans. NCQA rates more than 1,000 health plans to compile the report. The organization is widely recognized as the national leader in healthcare performance measurement. “Our high NCQA ratings affirm the tremendous dedication of Optima Health in providing innovative prevention and treatment services to improve the health of our members,” said Michael Dudley, CEO of Optima Health. “We are working hard every day to provide greater value for our members, through clinical partnerships, enhanced wellness programs and exceptional customer service.” Optima Health received a rating of 4 out of 5 for both Women’s Reproductive Health and Cancer Screening in the Prevention subcategory. The company also achieved scores of 4 out of 5 in the Treatment subcategory for asthma control; eye exams and glucose control for members with diabetes; providing beta blockers for heart-attack patients; and ensuring first-line psychosocial care for youth on antipsychotic medications. The Optima Health model of managed care features a clinically integrated network approach, to raise the bar of performance for effective member care and health outcomes. “A great example of how our partnerships are helping to improve the health of our members, and therefore our NCQA ratings, is our colorectal cancer screening program, where we use at home testing to screen members,” said Dr. Sam Basta, Senior Medical Director, Clinical Integration at Optima Health. “When using home testing, we were able to improve our screening rates for colon cancer by 10%, translating to early detection and ultimately, saved lives.” The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) (1) 5.0 survey, one of the measures used to determine NCQA ratings, also revealed a score of 4 out of 5 in the subcategory of Customer Satisfaction for Optima Health claims processing. Scores from the CAHPS, along with the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) (2) and NCQA Accreditation standards provide the basis for NCQA Health Insurance Plan Ratings. For 18 consecutive years, Optima Health has received NCQA Accreditation for its commercial HMO/POS health plans, as well as for its Medicaid HMO product. Since 2015, the company has achieved accreditation for its Marketplace HMO plans. (3) NCQA Ratings and Accreditation measurements provide evidence-based information for consumers and employers in identifying well-managed, high quality health care organizations. About the National Committee for Quality Assurance National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes clinicians in key clinical areas. NCQA's HEDIS® is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA's Web site (http://www.ncqa.org) contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices. About Optima Health Optima Health, based in Virginia, provides health insurance coverage to approximately 450,000 members. With 30 years of experience in the health insurance arena, Optima Health offers a suite of commercial products including consumer-directed, employee-owned and employer-sponsored plans, individual health plans, employee assistance programs and plans serving Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. Our provider network features 26,000 providers including specialists, primary care physicians and hospitals across Virginia. Optima Health offers programs to support members with chronic illnesses, customized wellness programs and integrated clinical and behavioral health services, as well as pharmacy management – all to help our members improve their health. Our goal is to provide better health, be easy to use and offer services that are a great value. To learn more about Optima Health, visit http://www.optimahealth.com. (4) (1) CAHPS is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). (2) HEDIS is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). (3) NCQA Accreditation Letters, 1998-2016. (4) The membership figure includes total membership in all group and individual insured products, Medicare Managed Care Plans, Medicaid and Famis Plans, and self-funded health plans issued or administered by Optima Health. Total Medical Membership based on Membership History Report, June 2016. Includes members from all Optima Health Licenses, products, Medicare and Medicaid products. Optima Health is the trade name of Optima Health Plan, Optima Health Insurance Company, and Sentara Health Plans, Inc. Optima PPO plans, and Medicare Managed Care Plans are underwritten or administered by Optima Health Insurance Company. Optima Vantage HMO plans, Medicaid, and Famis products are underwritten or administered by Optima Health Plan. Sentara Health Plans provides administrative services to self-funded plans but does not underwrite benefits. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are administered by Optima Behavioral Health Services, Inc. Wellness programs are administered by Sentara Health Plans. Source for provider network is Optima Health, Provider Status Report, February 2016.


News Article | November 11, 2016
Site: www.npr.org

Women Rush To Get Long-Acting Birth Control After Trump Wins Women across the country are rushing to get IUDs. Or at least, they're tweeting about rushing to get long-term birth control, according to a surge of messages on social media. They're concerned that the Trump administration might end Obamacare provisions that require insurers to cover intrauterine devices and other contraception and cut funding for abortion and reproductive health overall. So women are looking for long-term solutions like IUDs: ones that will outlast a presidency. But they may have a bit more time than they think. They're not just talking about it on social media; they're looking for more information, too. Google Trends showed a massive peak in searches for "IUD" "birth control" and "Planned Parenthood" on Wednesday. The online conversations have left a lot of women wondering how much longer their birth control will be available without copays, as is required under the Affordable Care Act. The short answer is that while memes say women should get their IUDs before Inauguration Day, things might not be quite so urgent. The wheels of government take time to turn, so nobody will lose coverage on Day 1 of the Trump administration. But women are already acting. "I booked an appointment with my gynecologist the instant North Carolina went red," Kate McPhillips, a young professional in Boston, posted to her Facebook page Wednesday morning. She is considering the switch to a copper IUD, the type that lasts for 10 to 12 years, "just in case the unimaginable happens." Dr. Anne Davis, consulting medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Health and an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, says that on Wednesday six women called "in a panic" to schedule IUD appointments. Normally, only about one woman calls to book an IUD insertion each day. "And these women weren't just looking for an appointment somewhere in the future. They wanted one right now. They were very, very scared and distraught that they would lose access to birth control," Davis says. Others who work in women's' health and reproduction are very concerned about the long-term changes a Trump presidency might bring. "It's an understatement to say that we're nervous," says Dr. Eve Espey, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. There are multiple ways Trump's administration and Congress could make access to birth control more difficult, beyond repealing the Affordable Care Act, which Trump has vowed to do. They include: Although Trump could put these changes into motion on his first day in office, insurance plans already purchased for 2017 would probably still be honored. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell tweeted that signups at HealthCare.gov for 2017 have spiked since the election. There's been a rush on reproductive health centers, too. We called over a dozen regional Planned Parenthood divisions across the country. They all report more women than usual calling to book appointments, and more women asking questions about IUDs. Even though women won't lose access to copay-free birth control immediately, Davis says women should take action soon. "This isn't something to put off, and if you're on corporate insurance sometimes it takes a while for IUDs to be ordered. If you need a long-acting form of birth control, you need to take care of that now." On the other hand, there's Espey. She agrees that choosing long-lasting contraceptives may become a priority for more women, but she is also concerned that women might be making these moves a little too quickly. "When people are under stress, they're more likely to make decisions that they regret later." Women shouldn't rush to make decisions about birth control, she says. They should speak with their doctors and learn the side effects. But she notes that long-lasting reversible birth control like IUDs and hormonal implants, while not 100 percent effective, are pretty much foolproof ways to prevent pregnancy. Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington D.C., has seen an increase in women looking for birth control since Tuesday. The uncertainty "makes women nervous," says Laura Meyers, the president and CEO. We asked representatives for Trump on Wednesday if birth control will stay copay-free during his presidency, but did not hear back. This could be because Trump's team has since rolled out a new website and media hotline, where we have followed up. We will update this page if they reply.


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