News & Events

Equity of Mental Health Services Coverage

Public Health in the National News – As part of the fallout from the recent school shootings and outbreaks of gun violence, the Obama administration promised to improve mental health services. One of the 23 executive actions taken to reach this goal was to issue the final rule to fully implement the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008. Overall, the MHPAEA does not require insurers to provide mental health and substance abuse benefits unless they are being offered through the state… Continue Reading

Surveillance Testing for Influenza Virus

Public Health in the National News – During the recent government shutdown, news media frequently mentioned that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had stopped surveillance testing for the influenza virus. What is surveillance testing and why is tracking influenza outbreaks important? The Nebraska Public Health Lab’s assistant director, Anthony Sambol, and state training coordinator, Karen Stiles, help shed some light on the process recommended by the CDC. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Office of Epidemiology has had a comprehensive,… Continue Reading

Herd Immunity?

Public Health in the National News – If you mention “herd immunity” to someone in the agricultural belt of the United States, your conversation will likely turn to livestock. For infectious disease experts, the term means something similar, but it is used in reference to large groups of humans rather than animals. “Herd immunity” and immunization have played a historic role in combating human disease and stabilizing human populations. History gives us many examples of contagious diseases that decimated populations, for example the plague outbreak… Continue Reading

Winter Weather Safety (already?)!

Public Health in the National News – Did you know that Omaha averages 28 inches of snow per year, Des Moines averages 33 and Chicago 38? Going west Scottsbluff averages 40 inches, Denver 60, and Cheyenne 55?  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting that a ‘wavering’ El Nino will mean a warmer and drier winter for the Midwestern US. Good news, right? It is good news, but don’t let this early prediction fool you. Ice and snow can be dangerous, and it’s… Continue Reading

Affordable Care Act Supports for Nursing Mothers in the Workplace

Public Health in the National News –  Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010 improved the picture for breastfeeding women in the workforce. PPACA amends Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) of 1938 by adding provisions requiring employers to provide reasonable break times for nursing employees to express milk and that they provide a place, other than a bathroom, shielded from view and free from intrusion in which to express milk (Section 7(f) of the Fair Labor… Continue Reading

Organ Donation

Public Health in the National News –  The statistics are sobering: 118,288 people are waiting for an organ as of June 10, 2013; 18 people die each day waiting for an organ. The statistics are also hopeful: 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives; 1 eye and tissue donor can enhance the lives of as many as 50 people. The percentage of transplant recipients who are still living 5 years after transplant ranges from 54.4% for lung transplants to 74.9% for heart transplants…. Continue Reading

Gluten and Health

Public Health in the National News – The relationship between gluten and health is currently receiving quite a bit of attention. Gluten is a major storage protein component in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease triggered by ingestion of gluten. It is estimated that 1% of the population in the United States is affected by CD. In this disease, the immune system reacts to gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine (villi) in genetically susceptible individuals, leading to… Continue Reading