MiDDC announces Dr. Yasmina Bouraoui as new executive director

From MiDDC: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-Congratulations to a long-standing and powerfl advocate…

We are excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Yasmina Bouraoui as our new executive director. Bouraoui replaces Vendella Collins who retired this summer.

“Dr. Bouraoui’s extensive public health experience and passion for advocacy, capacity-building and systems changes makes her the perfect fit to lead MiDDC as it supports people with developmental disabilities to live lives to their full potential,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director.  

Since 2007, Bouraoui has served as MiDDC’s deputy director. She has a proven track record leading the Employment First Initiative in Michigan to increase competitive, integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Before working at MiDDC, she served over 15 years at the city, county and state levels in the planning and delivery of maternal, infant and child health services. Bouraoui has also made numerous contributions to public health, including co-authoring several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientific briefs on breastfeeding, infant mortality and infant safe sleep.

Sen. McConnell Reminds Us That ‘Just a Fall’ Can Lead to So Much More

by Noor Shaik: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-Ableism is still abelism, and is cruel and unfair even if you don’t agree with someone’s politics…

Falls should not be taken lightly, especially in older adults.

When news broke earlier this year about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) hospitalization for a concussion (a type of traumatic brain injury [TBI]) after a fall, I thought back to the many patient-made paintings that graced the walls of a rehabilitation hospital where I rotated as a medical student. There I saw patients whose lives had quite literally been turned on their heads, whether from a stroke or motor vehicle accident or even “just a fall.” They were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, and very often, grandparents. And often the fall was just the start of their problems, similar to what we have seen in the news more recently with McConnell’s multiple speech arrests, which may suggest an underlying neurological issue.

Per the CDC, someone in the U.S. is hospitalized for a TBI-related problem nearly every 2.5 minutes, and nearly every 8 minutesopens in a new tab or window someone dies from a TBI-related issueopens in a new tab or window.

This problem is particularly notable in those above age 75, as this group has the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths — accounting for nearly one in threeopens in a new tab or window such hospitalizations and more than one in four deaths. Falls lead to nearly half of all TBI-related hospitalizations, highlighting how “just a fall” can lead to so much more for some patients.

Disaster relief often leaves disabled people behind. Disabled first responders are trying to change that

by Bianca Gonzalez: Complete Post through this link…

Disability inclusion in emergency preparedness and response doesn’t just mean supporting disabled victims of extreme weather—it also means including disabled communities in disaster relief strategy.

When disaster strikes, disabled people and low-income communities are hit the hardest and face higher mortality rates. They also take longer to recover. 

Germán Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis were protesting in Washington, D.C., for disability rights as they found out Hurricane Maria was on its way to Puerto Rico in 2017. Now the co-directors of The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, they were deployed as part of a disabled first responder team. Parodi, who was born and raised on the island, lives with a mobility disability, while Sluzalis lives with an invisible disability.

“Being culturally aware of the dynamics of the island … and knowing how to interact with people with different types of disabilities opened doors that we were being told wouldn’t open in some neighborhoods,” says Parodi.

The Partnership connected with MAVI, an independent living center for those with disabilities and the aging population in Puerto Rico, along with CEPVI, the island’s Ponce-based Center for Independent Living. By coordinating efforts with disability-led organizations and FEMA, The Partnership was able to support more than 100 families in the mountainous areas of the island over the three weeks that followed.

Face Equality International Wants Disfigurement Recognized As A ‘True Disability’

By Gus Alexiou: Complete Post through this link

Global non-profit Face Equality International is fighting hard to ensure that facial differences and other disfigurements are appropriately recognized and protected as a sub-category of disability rather than being dismissed, as is all too often the case, as less important primarily superficial and cosmetic concerns.

Over 100 million people worldwide live with a noticeable mark, scar or condition that affects their facial appearance either from birth or acquired later in life. Typical conditions that can cause FD include clefts, psoriasis or injuries arising from accidents or trauma such as automobile accidents, burns and acid attacks.

Within a legal paradigm, both the Americans With Disabilities Act in the U.S. and the Equality Act in the U.K. contain protections for individuals with severe facial disfigurement but a dearth of case law and successful prosecutions mean that guidelines are somewhat woolly and outright discrimination based solely on a facial difference is notoriously tricky to prove.

Quick Resources for People with Disabilities Experiencing Wildfires and Other Disasters

by naricspotlight: Complete Post through this link…

Our thoughts are with the families impacted by wildfires on the island of Maui, particularly people living in Lahaina. While authorities work to control wildfires, people in the affected communities are beginning the arduous task of recovery. This includes people with disabilities, who may need to find accessible temporary housing, replace assistive devices or medical equipment, and eventually rebuild or find new homes. These resources have information or services which may be able help:

For those not immediately impacted by this emergency, now may be a good time to put a plan in place for the future events, from local incidents to national disasters.

FACT SHEET: The Biden-⁠Harris Administration Launches the SAVE Plan

From White House: Complete Post through this link…

The Biden-Harris Administration believes that education beyond high school should unlock doors to opportunity, not leave borrowers stranded with debt they cannot afford. That’s why, from day one, President Biden and Vice President Harris have been working to fix the broken student loan system and make college more affordable. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the official launch of the most affordable repayment plan ever created – the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan and kicked off an outreach campaign to encourage eligible borrowers to sign up for the plan.

The SAVE plan is an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan that calculates payments based on a borrower’s income and family size – not their loan balance – and forgives remaining balances after a certain number of years. The SAVE plan will cut many borrowers’ monthly payments to zero, will save other borrowers around $1,000 per year, will prevent balances from growing because of unpaid interest, and will get more borrowers closer to forgiveness faster.

Key Update

From The National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse: Complete Post through this link…

Could Depression Be Considered a “Helpful Warning Sign”? And a Manual Offers Other Strategies to Fight Prejudice and Discrimination 

“A shift in perspective from seeing depression as a disease to recognizing it as a helpful warning sign can promote a healthier understanding and lessen self-stigma, researchers find,” according to Mad In America. For the article, click here. And prominent psychologists Eleanor Longden and John Read theorize that “framing individuals as ‘people with problems’ as opposed to ‘patients with illnesses’ is a more promising and robustly evidence-based strategy [than biomedical explanations] for reducing stigma and prejudice.” To read Tackling Mental Health Prejudice and Discrimination (2019), published by the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, click here.

“Peer-Operated Respites: Is It Time for National Standards?”

On August 30, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. ET, the Café TA Center will present “Peer-Operated Respites: Is It Time for National Standards?” “We will dispel myths, dig into controversial topics, answer some of the most frequently asked questions, and debate about defining peer respite and associated standards.” For details and to register, click here.

And More…

Unlocking Sound: Common Supplement Might Combat Age-Related Hearing Loss

From Neuroscience News: Complete Post through this link…

Summary: Researchers discovered a link between age-related hearing loss and decreased cholesterol in the inner ear. This cholesterol reduction affects the outer hair cells (OHCs), which are essential for amplifying sounds.

Experiments on mice indicated that phytosterol supplements, compounds similar to cholesterol, can replace the lost cholesterol and prevent sensory dysfunction. If applicable to humans, over-the-counter phytosterol supplements may offer a potential solution to combat age-related hearing loss.

Key Facts:

  1. Age-related hearing loss may be connected to a decrease of cholesterol in the inner ear’s sensory cells.
  2. Cholesterol is vital for the stretch response of OHCs, which amplify sounds.
  3. In mice, plant-based compounds called phytosterols were effective in compensating for the lost cholesterol and maintaining OHC function.

Audit: Michigan civil rights agency slow to investigate discrimination

By Lauren Gibbons: Complete Post through this link…

  • State agency reviewing discrimination claims took an average of 19 months to resolve complaints, well over its 6-month goal
  • The department ‘needs to significantly improve’ timeliness to boost public faith in the process 
  • Department officials say a $10 million boost in its budget will provide staffing support needed to address backlog

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights took 19 months on average to resolve complaints of alleged discrimination, far exceeding the department’s 6-month turnaround goal and resulting in delays in 62 percent of cases, a state audit released Thursday concluded.

A report from the Office of the Auditor General found that the department — which is tasked with handling discrimination complaints and determining whether they amount to a violation of Michigan’s civil rights law — was “not effective” at completing investigations in a timely manner. Agency officials said they agreed with the audit’s findings and blamed delays on staffing shortages.

First-in-the-nation integrated care:all for the uninsured, all for free.

From Hope Clinic: Complete Post through this link…

We believe that being health care providers means more than curing illnesses. True health is physical, mental, and spiritual.

True health care must address all three, every time. With your help, Hope Clinic is poised to become the first free clinic in the nation to provide fully-integrated, Whole Person care to the uninsured.

The need is great; Hope Clinic met more than 92,000 requests for help in 2023 alone.

For more than 40 years Hope Clinic has been serving those in need in our community. Hope Clinic supplies one of the most comprehensive menus of free services in the state of Michigan. It is one of the highest-rated charities in the nation on Charity Navigator and in 2022 was awarded a “Platinum Seal of Transparency” by Candid. In 2022, Hope was awarded a Gold Medal rating by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

“Hope Clinic has been a much needed support by offering mental health support, relief of food insecurity, and routine healthcare at a time when I need it most.” —Latrice, Hope Clinic patient