Weekly Wednesday Wire: April 26, 2017

Federal News

Proposals Re: Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, from OMB

The Office of Management and Budget requests input from the public on the proposals that it has received from the Federal Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity (Working Group) for revisions to OMB's Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The Working Group's report and proposals are the results of a two-year, focused review of the implementation of the current standards, reflecting public comment received in response to a prior Federal Register Notice as well as empirical analyses of publicly available data. None of the proposals has yet been adopted, and no interim decisions have been made. OMB plans to announce its decision in mid-2017 so that revisions, if any, can be reflected in preparations for the 2020 Census. To ensure consideration during the final decision-making process, comments must be provided in writing to OMB no later than 60 days from the publication of the notice (3/1/2017).

Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women, from NIH

The National Institutes of Health has given notice in the Federal Register of the meetings of the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. The task force's formation was mandated by the bipartisan Safe Medications for Moms & Babies Act (H.R. 5219) that was incorporated into the final 21st Century Cures Act passed in December. Task force meetings are scheduled at the NIH headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, on August 21-22 and November 6-7, 2017. Meetings will be open to the public, with attendance limited to space available. Any interested person may file written comments by sending them to the Contact Person listed on the notice, including the name, address, telephone number and when applicable, the business or professional affiliation of the interested person.

New Drug Recommendations for Children and Breastfeeding Mothers, from FDA

The Food and Drug Adminstration is restricting the use of codeine and tramadol medicines in children and is also recommending against their use in breastfeeding mothers due to possible harm to their infants. As a result, several changes are being made to the labels of all prescription medicines containing these drugs, including the addition of a strengthened Warning to mothers that breastfeeding is not recommended when taking codeine or tramadol medicines due to the risk of serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants. These can include excess sleepiness, difficulty breastfeeding, or serious breathing problems that could result in death.

Childhood Obesity Reduction Funding Opportunity, from USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced $6.3 million in available funding for initiatives that focus on prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. The funding is part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area, which supports projects that develop or expand effective interventions to prevent childhood obesity and explain factors associated with weight gain in children. In FY 2017, this Challenge Area is only accepting applications for integrated research, education, and extension projects. The funding is available to colleges and universities, 1994 land-grant institutions, and Hispanic-serving institutions. Applications must be received by Wednesday, June 28.

National Women's Health Week, from OWH

The Office on Women's Health has published a webpage in celebration of National Women's Health Week, taking place May 14–20. National Women's Health Week empowers women to make their health a priority. The week also serves as a time to encourage women to take steps to improve their health. There are many ways to get involved in #NWHW activities: join the #NWHW Thunderclap, use the social media toolkit to spread the word, or host a women's health event or activity.

American Health Care Act Update, from Congress

Although the American Health Care Act died before going to a vote in the House last month, new attempts are in progress to bring it back to life. An amendment offered by Rep. Tom MacArthur would allow states to waive preexisting conditions and essential health benefits. With this amendment, the bill is now supported by leaders of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus. Several Republican moderates have already reconfirmed their opposition to the amended bill, while others who opposed AHCA in March are being looked to for an updated position. Many lawmakers leaving a meeting of the moderate Tuesday Group said they were undecided and needed to learn more about the new amendment. Action is expected to move quickly, and questions still remain about the bill's chances in the Senate.


Member News

Merger of Breastfeeding Organizations Serving Military Moms, from Mom2Mom Global & BF in Combat Boots

Mom2Mom Global and Breastfeeding in Combat Boots have announced their intent to merge to provide world-class information, advocacy, and support to breastfeeding military families. Breastfeeding in Combat Boots and Mom2Mom Global are both pioneers in the world of breastfeeding support within military communities. The two organizations have separate, but overlapping, missions. Breastfeeding in Combat Boots provides advocacy, information, and support for breastfeeding mothers serving on Active Duty, in the National Guard, and in the Reserves. Mom2Mom Global is the only breastfeeding support group dedicated specifically to providing support, education, and advocacy for U.S. military families worldwide, including those stationed overseas. Looking to the future, Breastfeeding in Combat Boots and Mom2Mom Global are excited to work together to expand both reach and services to military families worldwide. 

Sign-On Letter in Support of Women's Preventive Services Bill, from ACOG

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is circulating a sign-on letter (deadline Monday, May 1) in support of a new bill to be introduced next week by Senator Murray, to codify the specifics of the list of the current Women's Preventive Services into the statute. Currently, ACA Section 2713 only says that the Women's Preventive Services will be defined by "comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration," which means the actual list of included services is entirely within the control of HHS. This bill, if passed, would make it an explicit part of federal law that all health plans must cover "comprehensive lactation support services (including counseling, education, and breastfeeding equipment and supplies) during the antenatal, perinatal, and postpartum periods, to ensure the successful initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding."

Research Program Funding Opportunity, from IBLCE

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners has begun dissemination of a Research Call for Expression of Interest. IBLCE is seeking contemporary research approaches that produce and expand knowledge in the areas of breastfeeding support and practices, with a focus on the impact and outcomes of the IBCLC. Specific aims of this Research Program are to generate evidence on the impact, outcomes, and capacity of the IBCLC at the individual, community and institutional levels, in both developing and developed countries; and generate knowledge on approaches to introduce and scale up the IBCLC credential in countries where few or no IBCLCs exist. Funding available is up to $150k per year for three years, and the possibility for additional research exploration may follow this initial three-year call. This funding call is for research only. IBLCE will not fund educational programs of study for this IBLCE Research Program. The new initiative hopes to advance breastfeeding, particularly among low-income populations and developing countries. The deadline for Expressions of Interest through the submission of the Concept Paper is Friday, May 19.

Parents' Attitudes Towards Food Marketing Report, from UConn Rudd Center

The University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has released a reported entitled, "Parents' attitudes about food marketing to children: 2012 to 2015." The report highlights parents' views about food marketing to children and food self-industry regulation, and their support for policies to help encourage healthy eating for their children. The Rudd Center surveyed over 3,500 parents with children ages 2 to 17. Researchers used a cross-sectional sample of parents, including black, Hispanic, and low-income parents, and assessed changes from 2012 to 2015. The findings indicate that parents in this survey would support a variety of actions to improve the unhealthy food environment that surround children and teens and highlights numerous opportunities for policy makers, the public health community, and food and media companies to help support parents in their efforts to raise healthy children.

Webinar on Strategies to Address Opioid Epidemic, from AMCHP & ASTHO

Join the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials on Tuesday, May 9, from 1-2 p.m. ET for a webinar on public health strategies to address the opioid epidemic among maternal and child health populations. The webinar will focus on prevention efforts and highlight cross-sector collaborations.


Partner News

Report Confirms WIC Works, from CBPP

The Center for Budget and Public Priorities released a report entitled, "WIC Works: Addressing the Nutrition and Health Needs of Low-Income Families for 40 Years." The report concludes that WIC is a cost-effective investment that has improved the nutrition and health of low-income families for the more than 40 years since its enactment. Mothers and infants who participate in the program experience many positive results, including healthier infants at birth, better health care and nutritious diets for children, and subsequently higher academic achievement down the road. There is also some evidence that early participation in WIC may improve breastfeeding rates. WIC promotes breastfeeding as the optimal infant feeding choice and supports mothers along the way. WIC offers new mothers breastfeeding counseling, peer support, and enhanced benefits, while also providing safe and appropriate food for formula-fed infants. In response to recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture strengthened the incentives and support for breastfeeding when the new food packages were implemented in 2009.    

Health Data for Action Call for Proposals, from RWJF

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched a new signature research program, Health Data for Action (HD4A), that seeks to fund up to five innovative, rigorous research studies that leverage health data to draw actionable insights to help inform health policy and build a Culture of Health. Applicants under this Call for Proposals will write a proposal for a research study using data from either the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) or athenahealth. Successful applicants will be provided with access to these data. The HCCI and athenahealth data provide a wealth of private claims data and rich detail on care delivery and patient obesity-related measures, respectively. The proposed studies should enable relevant, innovative, and actionable research that uses the available data to answer important, policy-relevant questions. The application deadline is Wednesday, May 24.


News from Field

Sign-On Letter to Modernize Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, from APIAHF/NCAPA/SARACenter/AAAJ

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and Asians Americans Advancing Justice are circulating a sign-on letter to coordinate efforts to ensure the Office of Management and Budget hears from community organizations and the general public who would benefit from modernizing data collection. Currently, federal agencies are not required to count detailed data for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, meaning these communities remain misrepresented, left out of policy and program decisions, and underfunded. The deadline to sign on is Friday, April 28. See the related news item in the Federal News section above for more information. 

Child Care Policy Reform Analysis, from EPI & CSCCE

The Economic Policy Institute and UC Berkeley's Center for the Study of Child Care Employment have released a report entitled, "What does good child care reform look like?" By outlining the necessary components of a high-quality early care and education system for all children, the paper provides a framework with which to assess proposed policy solutions. The report outlines the problems with the current childcare system, including lack of uniform paid family leave; poor and uneven quality of child care and education; and lack of access to affordable child care due to a lack of subsidies and programs for low-income families who need services the most. It also proposes policy reforms that revolve around these fundamental components of child care. Ultimately, researchers call for an effective childcare and education investment agenda that can benefit children, the economy, and society overall.

Zika Virus Transmission Systematic Review, from PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

The journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases has released a report entitled, "Transmission of Zika virus through breast milk and other breastfeeding-related bodily fluids: A systematic review." This review investigated evidence of breastfeeding transmission from ZIKV-infected mothers to their children and the presence of ZIKV infection in breastfeeding-related fluids. A systematic review was conducted of observational studies, case studies, and surveillance reports involving breastfeeding women with ZIKV infection in several international databases. The findings/conclusions describe three cases of ZIKV-infected breastfeeding mothers who were symptomatic within three days of delivery and two cases with ZIKV-infected newborns. While ZIKV was detected in the breast milk of all three mothers, the data are not sufficient to conclude ZIKV transmission via breastfeeding. More evidence is needed to distinguish breastfeeding transmission from other perinatal transmission routes.

Collection of Systematic Reviews Assessing Evidence on Interventions to Support Breastfeeding, from Cochrane Library

A new Cochrane Library Special Collection brings together Cochrane Reviews assessing evidence on interventions to support breastfeeding. This collection of hand-picked systematic reviews on breastfeeding has been developed to bring the best available evidence on effective care to the attention of decision makers, health professionals, advocacy groups, and women and families, and to support the implementation of evidence-informed policy and practice. The collection focuses on reviews of support and care for breastfeeding women, including treatment of breastfeeding associated problems; health promotion and an enabling environment; and breastfeeding babies with additional needs.


State/Community News

Lactation Consultant Practice Act Signed into Law, from New Mexico

New Mexico Governor Martinez has signed HB 138, the Lactation Consultant Practice Act, into law. The bill provides for licensure of and establishes a scope of practice for lactation care providers, and amends a section of the Nursing Practice Act to provide funding to the Board of Nursing to oversee the process. 


Collective Impact Connection

Collective Impact Self-Assessment and Planning Tool, from Tamarack Institute

The Tamarack Institute has released a Collective Impact Self Assessment and Planning Tool. This tool is designed as a reflective practice for members of Collective Impact planning tables that specifically focuses on the core elements required to advance collective work including governance and infrastructure; strategic planning; community engagement and evaluation and improvement.


News & Views

The Hill: "Parental leave would cause a boom in breastfeeding"

The Washington Post: "FDA warns of dangers of codeine and tramadol for children and breast-feeding mothers"

AAFP News (blog): "Twins Multiply Challenges -- and Rewards -- of Breastfeeding"

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