At 2014, the prescription rate of opioids increased by threefold since 1999. This exponential growth means that there is an increasing number of substances available to the public.
According to a national survey, youth and young adults state that it is easy to obtain and share opioids. Specifically, 32.7% of the respondents say that prescription opioids are easy to acquire and 49.5% of them state that they could do so within 24 hours.
As the availability of opioids aggravate the psychological vulnerabilities of substance use, the youth become increasingly susceptible to using these substances. However, programs designed for adolescents are absent.
Amidst the growing availability of opioids, programs that helps specifically the youth is vital and urgent in effectively step toward to solving the adolescent opioid epidemic.
Recent studies have shown that teens have a higher risk of addiction to opioids if their parents struggle with the problem. This study shows similarity to the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana among teens in relation to their parents’ use of those substances.
Further analysis shows that 8% of teens who did not have parent that abused opioids compared with 14% of teens with parents that abused opioids.
As African Americans lack representation within the medical field American Indians and Alaska Natives have even less representation.
Only 62 American Indian or Alaska Native students have graduated from the University of Wisconsin of Medicine and Public Health within the past 37 years out of 5,481 graduates.
The low number of American Indian/Alaska Natives graduates can be attributed in part due to internalized learned behavior from boarding school experiences passed from one generation to the next. It can also be attributed to lack of representation of physicians to serve as role models to other American Indian/Alaska Natives. Even so, sometimes American Indians/Alaska Native do not have access to physician care so they do not view that as a feasible attainment for them.
This not only impacts the number of American Indian/Alaska Natives physicians but the knowledge and way to treat American Indians/Alaska Natives is not very well understood. A large majority of Americans lack knowledge of key health issues that impact their community the most and the best way to address such issues.
The national average medical school in United States is composed of 59% Caucasians. City University of New York (CUNY) School of Medicine, which has been in existence for two years, is comprised of 53% underrepresented minorities. Not only are racial and ethnic minorities take into consideration but also economically disadvantaged students as well.
CUNY is on a mission to diversify the medical profession in addition to providing healthcare to under-served communities. This is important because students from those under-served communities are highly motivated to become doctors to fix problems they have seen within their communities and deliver healthcare to people that resemble their families.
Research has proven that it is of the most importance that patients have physicians and clinicians that they are able to relate too. This goes beyond the ethnic and racial component but to the training of a physician/clinician. They must be trained with empathy, cultural competence, and comprehension.
Guardians Life Insurance Company of America committed $1 million to the Children’s Health Fund. The donation launched the Guardians of the Smile partnership to provide quality dental care and education to children in underserved communities across the United States. From January to June 2018, Children’s Health Fund’s programs provided more than 7,500 dental encounters to children in Washington D.C., Dallas, Idaho, Los Angeles, New York, and Southern Arizona thanks to Guardian’s support.
The spokesperson for the Austin branch of the Guardians of the Smile is former pro-football player Michael Griffin. Michael Griffin will lead the partnership in Austin starting with Cook Elementary School. Students at Cook Elementary School learn about the importance of good oral hygiene at a fun and interactive event. K-2 students at the Austin school will brush larger-than-life teeth, wrangle giant floss, and meet the Tooth Guardian. For more information visit check out their website:
The map today shows the geographic location of dentists currently practicing in the Dallas, TX. In the process of conducting our GIS research, we noticed some areas that were heavenly populated with oral health services as well as areas that are likely experiencing disparities in oral health care.
To bring awareness to the current health conditions in low-income areas in South-Dallas such as Oakcliff and other communities, the Oral Health Needs Index (OHNI) made an easy-to-access, oral health focused, Geographic Information System (GIS) based tool that allows people to find services based on their environment and resources.
Identifying dental providers who accept Medicaid/Medicare and forms of dental insurance in areas of low socioeconomic status can be difficult but it also essential in tackling disparities. With OHNI, users get a clear visualization of communities with lack of services. Lack of transportation and finding participating providers is a major barrier for low-income and rural populations. Identifying these barriers and how they contribute to health disparities experienced by under-served communities is important. It allows for a better understanding of ways to combat the health disparities in disadvantaged communities.
The Map of The Day shows the location of practicing dentists in the Miami,Fla area. Areas that are highlighted in orange/red are areas that experienced a high number of residents reporting not having a working vehicle at their home. Based on our research and maps created, you can see a huge shortage in availability of practicing dentists in areas that are lacking transportation. What you will also notice is a huge difference in the amount of practicing dentists in South Miami compared to North Miami. Being able to bring a clear visualization of health disparities such as oral care is important in decreasing healthcare in the USA.
With the use of these maps, we get clear visualizations of health disparities experienced by under-served communities and it allows for a better understanding of ways to combat these disparities.
This is an example of a choropleth map. From the map we can see the percent of teeth that have been extracted due to tooth decay or gum disease for 2006, 2008 and 2010. A large percent of teeth extractions occurred in southern states indicated by the counties in red compared to Western states indicated by the counties in yellow.
Interestingly, the South is known for having poorer health outcomes and higher rates of chronic disease. Maps like this allow for this information to be displayed in a picture.