APHA projects big decline in public health workforce

first_imgSept 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The nation’s largest public health organization sounded an alarm this week about the public health workforce, citing a current shortage and projecting that the profession could lose up to half of its workers over the next few years.The American Public Health Association (APHA) outlines the problem in a report titled “The Public Health Workforce Shortage: Left Unchecked, Will We Be Protected?” It was released on the eve of the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.In a press release, the APHA called for immediate action to reverse the shortages, which it said could leave great numbers of Americans vulnerable to a number of health threats.The report says the number of public health workers decreased from 220 per 100,000 Americans in 1980 to 158 per 100,000 in 2000.”Our emerging public health workforce crisis comes at a time when Americans are facing a host of risks to their health and safety, from bioterrorism to pandemic influenza and environmental disasters,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the APHA. “At the same time, we risk losing ground on responding to ongoing health problems such as obesity, heart disease and cancer.”Federal funding to recruit and train public health workers must increase dramatically, and states should evaluate their public health workforce needs and establish development and training programs, Benjamin said. “Medical devices and disease tracking instruments are ineffectual without adequately educated and trained workers,” he said.The APHA says that in the next few years, state and federal public health agencies could lose up to half of their workers to retirement, the private sector, and other opportunities. A study from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Council of State Governments found that the average age of state public health workers is 47 years, 7 years older than the national average for all occupations. Current vacancy rates are as high as 20% in some agencies, and annual turnover rates have reached 14% in some parts of the country.The most severe shortages were found in epidemiology, nursing, laboratory science, and environmental health, the APHA says.Although the public health workforce has become more diverse in the past 30 years, there is room for improvement in that area, the report says. Minority group members make up about 25% of the US population but only about 10% of people in the health professions. Increasing diversity in public health work would help reduce many health disparities, because the profession could respond better to the needs of minority populations, according to the report.The APHA urges several strategies to stem the workforce shortage:Establish federally funded scholarship and loan repayment programs modeled after those outlined in the Public Health Preparedness Workforce Development Act, introduced by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.Renew investment in federal programs that address the shortage of medical personnel in underserved areas to shore up and diversify public health professions such as epidemiology, environmental health, maternal and child health, and nursingIncrease financial support for the public health infrastructureEnhance leadership development programsExpand internship and fellowship programs in agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

UK roundup: Aon on dwindling DB actuarial valuations

first_imgMatthew Arends at AonAon said the actions and aolutiona open to schemes range from gaining clarity over the covenant strength of a scheme sponsor, taking stock of the options available for recovery plans, and reviewing potential investment options.Arends said: “When it comes to measuring covenant strength for spring 2020 valuations, relying on the process from 2017 isn’t going to work.“Instead, there may be merit in forming a provisional view of covenant strength but waiting for a few months to monitor the actual progress by the sponsor before finalising the view.”“These are exceptional circumstances, so it will not only be funding plans that are affected – sometimes significantly so – by current events,” he continued.He said that this is a time to review long-term funding and investment plans as well. “Schemes’ existing plans may now look overly optimistic and simply not suited to the environment we are experiencing and expect to face in the short to medium term.”Barnett Waddingham on inflation and DB schemesAs the UK’s inflation rate, CPI, fell to 1.5% in March from 1.7% in February, Ian Mills, principal and senior investment consultant at Barnett Waddingham, has highlighted the positive impact of low inflation rates on final salary pension schemes.“The dip in the CPI inflation rate to 1.5% could be a precursor of lower inflation to come. The COVID-19 crisis is already having a huge impact on the economy and it’s inevitable that this will feed through to consumer prices.”He added that there could well be further falls in inflation in future months, “but while the nation remains in lockdown and market volatility persists, the lower inflation rate may warrant a glimmer of hope for the funding levels of some final salary pension schemes”.“If the lower inflation rate is sustained, it will ease the pressure for some DB schemes with sizable deficits,” he said, adding that employers of such schemes could then see the value of their liabilities drop, “offering a window of opportunity for struggling schemes to address their deficits and edge closer to their endgame”.For pension funds that are already in the process of de-risking, a lower inflation rate may accelerate the drive to make buyout a reality, he said.Mercer launches Financial Wellbeing hubMercer has today launched a complementary Financial Wellbeing resources hub to assist employers and their staff and pension members through challenging times brought on by COVID-19.The hub’s website, which provides practical information for employers to help their employees maintain their financial wellbeing, also includes an associated site with toolkits aimed directly at individuals.Both sites and all the resource within are free to access for employers, employees and their friends and families.The employer resource site will see regular updates on current and emerging best practices in financial wellbeing benefits and approaches.Mercer will also regularly post expert commentary and information around evolving government and financial institution assistance measures relevant to employers and their employees.The employee tool-kit site offers videos, podcasts and articles with practical financial information, money saving hints and tips, checklists and planners, and links to other useful association and government sites providing support and information.Sylvia Pozezanac, Mercer’s UK CEO, said: “Many organisations have been focusing on the immediate business and employee health implications of the coronavirus. As the economic impact of the pandemic comes to the fore, the short and long-term financial wellbeing of employees is now rising up the agenda.”She said that many companies like Mercer are “well aware that many families rely on incomes now affected by the many businesses impacted by COVID-19”.“Drawing on our own approach to financial wellbeing, as well as the personal experience and expertise of our colleagues across our business, we have created this hub of information to support and give back to our clients and their people.”A Mercer spokesman confirmed to IPE that Mercer’s own Master Trust also provides its own members with access to the hub. For a typical pension scheme with a liability value of £250m (€280m), a 6% worsening of funding level corresponds to deficit increasing by £15m, it added.Matthew Arends, head of UK retirement policy at Aon, said: “Actuarial valuations with effective dates on 31 March or 5 April 2020 will be anything but repeats of 2017 valuations, given the impact that COVID-19 has had on pension scheme funding and sponsor covenants.“And this is despite, in many cases, significant deficit contributions having been made over the last three years.”He added that the degree of impact of COVID-19 on scheme sponsors has also been “very mixed”.“Some sponsors have seen little impact so far, whereas others are badly affected, restricting the affordability of pension contributions,” he said, adding that the priority for schemes should be “to understand their specific circumstances – of both the scheme itself and of the scheme sponsor”.“Only then can they determine the appropriate actions for their particular scheme.” Aon has said that the actuarial valuations of a quarter of UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes are likely to be badly impacted by the recent COVID-19-related disruption to financial markets.Using its Risk Analyzer tool, Aon has reviewed the movement in funding levels of 190 pension scheme clients since their last valuations in the spring of 2017. The analysis shows a very diverse range of experiences.While the last month or so has been challenging, overall across the last three years, the consultancy found that a quarter of schemes were likely to have seen an improvement in funding level, but half of schemes would have seen anything from little or no change to a 6% worsening in funding levels.Aon said the remaining quarter of schemes’ funding levels would have fallen by more than 6% due to market conditions.last_img read more

Down’s syndrome advocacy group condemn Jacinda Arden’s pledge to introduce abortion up to birth for disabilities

first_imgMedia Release – Saving Downs 6 September 2017Family First Comment: Mike Sullivan, head of Down’s syndrome advocacy group Saving Downs and father of Rebecca who has Down’s syndrome said: “Thinking of my daughter, I can’t believe that in 2017 in Aotearoa, New Zealand we would see the Labour Party clamouring for the introduction of abortion through to birth for babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities. This send a strong discriminatory message and a progressive New Zealand can do better for people with disabilities like my daughter than introducing abortion up to birth. Jacinda Ardern should be putting her focus on positive policy changes that will create a better future for people with disabilities and their families, and lead the world in showing how better information and support for parents with a prenatal disability diagnosis is the real and humane response to prenatal disability.” Well said Mike. #chooselifeDown’s syndrome advocacy group Saving Downs have condemned a pledge from Labour leader Jacinda Arden to decriminalise abortion, introducing abortion right through to birth for disabilities.Under the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act there is currently a gestational time limit of 20-weeks for abortion for disability.In handful of jurisdictions that have decriminalised abortion – China, Vietnam, Canada and two states in Australia – gestational time limits for disability-selective abortions have been removed and abortion for babies with disabilities are available right up to birth.The main group who have been lobbying for the introduction of the policy, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, have made it clear that they want to introduce abortion right up 40 weeks for children who have disabilities.Arden’s proposed change to the law could also see New Zealand fall foul of international disability rights obligations, as the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has consistently criticised countries that provide for abortion in a way which discriminates on the basis of disability.Already the majority of babies in New Zealand diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are screened out by termination and if this proposed policy became law it could put us on the path towards the situation in Iceland where close to 100% of babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are aborted.Mike Sullivan, head of Down’s syndrome advocacy group Saving Downs and father of Rebecca who has Down’s syndrome said:“Thinking of my daughter, I can’t believe that in 2017 in Aotearoa, New Zealand we would see the Labour Party clamouring for the introduction of abortion through to birth for babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities.”“This send a strong discriminatory message and a progressive New Zealand can do better for people with disabilities like my daughter than introducing abortion up to birth.“Jacinda Ardern should be putting her focus on positive policy changes that will create a better future for people with disabilities and their families, and lead the world in showing how better information and support for parents with a prenatal disability diagnosis is the real and humane response to prenatal disability.”ENDSlast_img read more

Syracuse prepared for home opener after 4 weeks on road

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 18, 2012 at 12:14 am Contact Jacob: [email protected] Syracuse has seen how beneficial a large, vocal home crowd can be.When the Orange played against Creighton and Iowa State, assistant coach Stephanie Cantway noticed the size and commitment of their home crowds. Cantway said the crowds were involved and supportive, and it created a great atmosphere for both sides.Now the Orange is looking to have a similar advantage at its home court.Syracuse (7-6) plays its first home match of the year at 7 p.m. at the Women’s Building on Wednesday night against Binghamton. Cantway and head coach Leonid Yelin are working to morph their home court into a dynamic atmosphere for volleyball, similar to those they saw in Nebraska and Iowa.“There hasn’t been a volleyball family, a volleyball program here that the community has bought into,” Cantway said. “We’re not expecting our first game to be sold out, but we’re trying to build.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe players enjoy the comforts of playing in front of the home crowd. Junior Lindsay McCabe said the team is relieved to play a game in Syracuse, especially because of the distance they’ve traveled in early tournaments this season.“Just to be able to take that energy from the crowd, it’s a huge advantage,” McCabe said. “We’re really excited.”Still, the crowd commitment is lacking in the Women’s Building.The program took its first steps in trying to build support from the community during the summer when it held a volleyball camp for local students. The camp offered instruction for high school teams, practices for specific skills and a youth camp. Cantway said the goal was to create excitement for the sport while making the Orange players identifiable.Cantway said if local volleyball players and community members can get to know the Syracuse players on a more personal level, the program’s influence and public support for the team should increase.“We really feel like if the kids in the community know the girls, if they know Lindsay McCabe, come up and give her a hug in the supermarket or at the game, that’s what’s going to bring people to the games,” Cantway said.Cantway said SU’s non revenue sports can create a bond with the community with more ease than the larger sports like basketball and football. But successfully promoting the sport in the community will be a tough task for the Orange. Gathering large crowds depends on creating interest in the sport.Yelin said many people in America lack passion for volleyball because they don’t know the sport. Those who have never played competitively often can’t understand how the game works at a high level.“A lot of people have a perception that it’s a picnic game, and you know what a picnic game is like,” Yelin said. “Some people came in for the first time and they were shocked at the level of play.”Yelin said misconceptions about the sport are often what keep people away. Syracuse has a unique opportunity to dispel the notion of volleyball lacking competitiveness when it plays in a much larger setting later in the season.The Orange will play the program’s first-ever matches in the Carrier Dome on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11. Volleyball becomes the latest non revenue sport to make its debut in the Dome, after the softball team played there last spring.Until then, Yelin and Cantway continue to work toward making the Women’s Building an engaging environment for spectators.“It’s entertainment, it’s a production,” Cantway said. “That’s really what we’re going for.” Commentslast_img read more