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HHS secretary announced $750 million investment in prevention, public health

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday announced a $750 million investment in prevention and public health, funded through the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the new healthcare law.

“Prevention is something that can’t just happen in a doctor’s office,” Sebelius said. “If we are to address the big health issues of our time, from physical inactivity to poor nutrition to tobacco use, it needs to happen in local communities.”

Building on $500 million in investments last year, the new dollars are being earmarked to help prevent tobacco use, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cancer; increase immunizations; and empower local communities with tools and resources to fund their own health initiatives.

Specific initiatives include:

  • Community Prevention ($298 million): These funds will be used to help promote health and wellness in local communities;

  • Clinical Prevention ($182 million): These funds will help improve access to preventive care, including increasing awareness of the new prevention benefits provided under the new healthcare law. They also will help increase availability and use of immunizations, and help integrate behavioral health services into primary care settings, HHS stated;

  • Public Health Infrastructure ($137 million): Rhese funds will help state and local health departments meet today’s challenges, including investments in information technology and training for the public health workforce to enable detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and other health threats; and

  • Research and Tracking ($133 million), these funds will help collect data to monitor the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health of Americans and identify and disseminate evidence-based recommendations on important public health challenges.

For more information about the FY2011 Prevention and Public Health Fund investments, click here.

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Supervalu assures it has shingles vaccinations available at stores

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu on Wednesday announced the supermarket chain had plenty of shingles vaccinations on hand, despite current reports about a shortage of the vaccinations.

The company has more than 2,100 specially trained and certified immunization pharmacists across its nationwide network of stores. Supervalu pharmacies have been providing adult immunizations since 2000 for many vaccine-preventable diseases, the retail pharmacy operator added, including influenza, pneumococcal disease, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, cervical cancer, and meningococcal meningitis.

Consumers can call 1-800-783-0458 to find an immunizing pharmacy within the company’s family of stores nearest them, or to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.

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Greenies JointCare treats named Product of the Year winner

BY Michael Johnsen

NASHVILLE — The Nutro Co. on Wednesday was awarded the 2011 Product of the Year title in the pet health category by TNS for its Greenies JointCare treats.

"As pet parents are increasingly interested in benefit-focused products, the Greenies brand strives to deliver innovative, targeted treats that allow [pet owners] to provide care in an enjoyable way," stated Brad Quest, product development veterinarian for the Greenies brand. "We discovered that green-lipped mussel, found only in New Zealand waters, provides a novel combination of joint nourishing properties.”

In a clinical study performed by Waltham, the nutrients contained in green-lipped mussel were found to have a beneficial effect on canine joint health, Nutro noted.

The 2011 Product of the Year U.S. shoppers survey conducted by TNS found that 68% of shoppers reported that a consumer-voted award meant more for a new product than an expert’s opinion.

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