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UMN, community groups partner to address mental illness in the homeless

In 2005, the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry partnered with People Incorporated Mental Health Services and other service providers to address this issue. Together, they created two Safe Haven shelters to help those who are homeless and suffering with mental illness on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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Award-winning bovine tuberculosis research

Photo: Scott Costello via Flickr CC

Minnesota is among the top cattle-producing states in the nation. From red meat to milk cows, cattle are an intrinsic part of the Minnesota economy.

But in July 2005, disease was detected in cattle in northwest Minnesota.

Bovine tuberculosis – an infectious disease weakening the immune system – threatened Minnesota’s cattle population for the next six years.

João Ribeiro Lima, a doctoral candidate in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and his advisor Scott Wells, D.V.M., Ph.D., set out to investigate how to stem the spread of future outbreaks.

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Just what the doctor prescribed: A lesson in Rx dangers for middle schoolers

Photo: Dennis Hill via Flickr CC

From prescription drug abuse to “skittles parties” and medication missteps, the growing need for education about proper prescription drug use is here to stay.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs trail only marijuana and alcohol as the most frequently abused substances by people 14 and older. Teens and pre-teens nationwide are seeing more pills pop up, too, as the number of medications prescribed increases.

As the opportunities to misuse medicine grow, an education in the dangers of taking too many pills, not the right kind of pills, someone else’s pills, and counterfeit medication found online has become an important part of growing up healthy.

Programs like the University of Minnesota’s branch of AWARxE are providing just that kind of information to Minnesota’s preteens.

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Pitch in to prevent cancer!

Did you know that brain tumors are the second leading cause of death in people under age 20?

May is Brain Tumor Awareness month, and at the University of Minnesota we are dedicated to tackling this serious disease, particularly through our innovative Brain Tumor Program.

The third Cancer Prevention Study by the American Cancer Society is a longitudinal study aimed at finding root causes of cancer.

But you don’t have to be a neuroscientist to make a difference in the life of patients battling brain tumors. This year our community has a unique opportunity to impact the lives of many.

The third Cancer Prevention Study of the American Cancer Society will be enrolling participants at the University of Minnesota on June 19, 2013, and in several places around the Twin Cities around the same time.

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What role can school nurses play in the obesity epidemic?

Photo: via Flickr

A new University of Minnesota School of Nursing partnership with the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district is looking into what school nurses can do to help curb obesity in schoolchildren.

Slated to begin in fall 2014, research led by School of Nursing associate professor Martha Kubik, Ph.D., R.N.,  received a $3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to investigate how school nurses and other community health advocates can help address the childhood obesity epidemic.

The research “has the potential to inform public policy,” said Kubik in a Pioneer Press article on the announcement made at an early-May school board meeting. “If all goes as we hope it goes, it will expand access to obesity prevention programs for children and families.”

Second and fourth-grade students who are currently overweight and who volunteer alongside their families for the research will participate in a nine-month-long program. School nurses will lead the program charge by encouraging healthy food and activity habits through small group work with children and parents, one-on-one coaching sessions and collaboration with other groups that offer active play and healthy eating opportunities.

To read the full Pioneer Press article on the NIH grant award and its potential effects, click here. You can also check out the Burnsville-Eagan Sun Thisweek story here.

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U of M expert raises awareness of public health impact of violence against women

Sen. Al Franken stands with Cari Clark after the Violence Against Women Act press conference.

Cari Clark, Sc.D., M.P.H., never sought out to be a crusader for women’s health. However, her work has positioned her as a true champion for women’s health as she’s advanced an understanding around the public health impact that violence against women has on our society in the U.S. and abroad.

In early April, Clark, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and adjunct assistant professor in the School of Public Health, presented the public health impact of violence against women at a press conference convened by U.S. Senator Al Franken and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau to support the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.

The bill provides funding for victim services, law enforcement, and violence prevention. Importantly the bill also supports research on the health effects of violence against women, the impact of violence on the health sector, and improvements in the health sector’s response to violence victimization.

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