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Newsroom - May

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Announces Launch of First Federally-Supported Test to Treat Site

whitehouse.gov, May 26, 2022
On his first day in office, President Biden mobilized an unprecedented, comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic-standing up a historic vaccination program that has gotten 220 million Americans fully vaccinated and over 100 million people boosted, and investing in other lifesaving tools, including COVID-19 therapeutics. One of the most effective treatments in our nation's medicine cabinet is Paxlovid, an oral antiviral pill, which reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by about 90 percent. Since Paxlovid was first authorized in December 2021, the Administration has moved quickly to ensure that these treatments are widely available and that health care providers and patients know about their availability and efficacy. These efforts include a Test-to-Treat initiative to help make it easier for people to quickly access oral antiviral treatments in one convenient location. There are now more than 2,500 Test-to-Treat locations across the country at local pharmacies and community health centers-up from 2,200 a month ago. Read more »

Mass shootings are taking a toll on our mental health

bostonglobe.com, May 26, 2022
More than two years of pandemic. A war in Ukraine that has led to fears of a global escalation. Deep political division, open racism, and economic worries at home. Mass shooting after mass shooting, more than 200 so far this year. In a time when bad news feels unrelenting, the killing of 19 children and two teachers in a Texas elementary school has sent many of us reeling. And no matter how far removed we might personally be from the events, experts say, they still take a toll on our mental health. Often those who have the strongest reactions can identify in some way with the victims, such as parents contemplating the school shooting in Texas on Tuesday and Black people hearing news of the racist killing of 10 at a grocery store in Buffalo less than two weeks earlier. Read more »

Biden says monkeypox is 'something that everybody should be concerned about,' World Health Organization expects more cases

bostonhearld.com, May 22, 2022
President Biden on Sunday said the rare monkeypox virus that has spread to non-African countries is "something that everybody should be concerned about" after a Massachusetts man tested positive for the potentially serious viral illness last week. Monkeypox clusters have been reported in the U.K., Spain, Portugal and Canada - which is where the Bay State man had recently visited before he was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital and was isolated. In addition to the case in Massachusetts, New York health officials have reported that a person tested positive for orthopoxvirus - in the same family as the monkeypox virus. The patient is isolating, and confirmation for monkeypox is pending Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing. Read more »

'We're losing lives.' Black, Latino leaders tackle racial health disparities

bostonglobe.com, May 17, 2022
Black and Latino health care and business leaders on Monday launched a new initiative, the Health Equity Compact, that aims to combat racial and ethnic disparities in Massachusetts laid bare by the pandemic. Among the 41 leaders are such names as Lee Pelton, president of The Boston Foundation; Dr. Kevin Churchwell, CEO of Boston Children's Hospital; and Cain Hayes, president of Point32 Health, the state's second-largest health insurer. The group's main objective is to design - and lobby the state Legislature to pass - an expansive reform bill aimed at closing the deeply entrenched gaps between health outcomes for Black and Latino residents and their white neighbors. Read more »

How 40 Black and Latinx leaders from around the state hope to change health care for good

wbur.org, May 17, 2022
Forty Black and Latinx leaders from across Massachusetts are coming together to address disparities and inequities in our health care system. The Health Equity Compact includes leaders from hospitals, businesses, public health, academic institutions and more. They'll be presenting the agreement at a press conference at the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury on Monday afternoon. Read more »

Healthcare industry leaders take a 'dollars and cents' approach to tackling racial disparities in care

wgbh.org, May 17, 2022
After years of urging an end to racial inequity in healthcare for the sake of moral good, a coalition of industry leaders in Massachusetts are taking a new approach: dollars and cents. A study commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation aims to determine the financial impact of racial disparities in care, a crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. "The injustice and inequity exists no matter where you look, the data tell us clearly that the playing field is not equal," Dr. Joan Reede, a Harvard Medical School professor, told a gathering of 40 Black and Latino healthcare leaders at a meeting Monday at the Dimock Center in Roxbury. "And for many, it's worsening." Racial health disparities result in significant economic losses nationally, including an estimated $35 billion in excess health care expenditures, $10 billion in illness-related lost productivity, and nearly $200 billion in premature deaths. Read more »

Two years after start of COVID, nearly half of Massachusetts parents are concerned about their child's mental health, statewide survey says

masslive.com, May 5, 2022
A statewide poll of Massachusetts K-12 parents has shown that 48% of parents are concerned about their child's mental health and risk of being infected with COVID while in the classroom. The poll, conducted by The MassInc Polling Group, surveyed 1,469 parents of K-12 students in Massachusetts from March 17 to April 11. The parents were evenly grouped by race and ethnicity, surveyors said. Age, gender, geography and education level for each group were also considered during the process. "The pandemic brought long-lasting academic and mental health concerns, which parents say remain serious challenges today," the poll group said. Read more »