Health, Medicine & Nutrition
American Red Cross National Blood Supply Drops to Critically Low Levels PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Theresa Kuhlmann   
Monday, 11 July 2011 13:38

All eligible blood donors asked to make and keep appointments

PEORIA, Ill. (July 11, 2011) Due to a critical shortage of donated blood across the nation, the American Red Cross – the single largest supplier of blood products in the United States – is asking eligible donors of all blood types to make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible.

With many donors busy or traveling, and with school out of session where up to 20 percent of donations are made during the academic year, donations have dropped dramatically. In fact, during May and June 2011, while the need for blood products remained steady, donations were at the lowest level the Red Cross has experienced in more than 12 years.

The Red Cross needs blood donors – now more than ever – to roll up a sleeve and give as soon as possible. All blood types are needed, but especially O negative, B negative and A negative. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

The American Red Cross has responded to more than 40 major disasters in over 30 states during the past three months – delivering help and hope to people affected by floods, tornadoes and wildfires. But there’s another, more personal, kind of disaster which can happen to any of us at any time if we need blood and it’s not available.

“As a physician, I have seen firsthand how blood transfusions can truly help save lives,” said David C. Mair, M.D., chief medical officer of the Mid-America Blood Services Division of the American Red Cross which provides blood products and specialized laboratory services to more than 326 hospitals in the Midwest and central U.S. “However, a critical blood shortage like the one we’re experiencing right now could have a devastating effect on patients whose survival may depend on blood being there when and where needed. Blood donors can help ensure a readily available blood supply locally as well as throughout the country.”

A year and a half ago, 15 year old Cora Peters of Princeton, Illinois was diagnosed with stage 4 synovial sarcoma. Since her diagnosis, Cora has gone through three surgeries and countless lifesaving blood product transfusions to replace the blood cells that her body was no longer able to make.

Cora’s story highlights the importance of each and every blood donation. Because of that, the Red Cross is reaching out to eligible blood donors, sponsors and community leaders to ask them to recruit blood donors to help meet the needs of patients in communities across the United States.

A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.

Upcoming Blood Donation Opportunities


7/11/2011, 11:00 am- 4:00 pm, DHL Global Forwarding, 3100 69th Ave #2, Moline


7/12/2011, 1:00 pm- 5:15 pm, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton, IL, Whiteside

7/13/2011, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock Falls, , IL, Whiteside

7/14/2011, 3:00 pm- 8:00 pm, Fairfield Amish Mennonite School, 29467 425 E. Street, Tampico, , IL, Whiteside

7/15/2011, 11:30 am- 6:00 pm, Sterling National Manufacturing Education Center, 1 First Avenue, Sterling, , IL, Whiteside

7/16/2011, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, Culver's, 1901 Harley Davidson Drive, Rock Falls, IL, Whiteside

7/16/2011, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Army National Guard, 716 Sixth Ave, Rock Falls, IL, Whiteside

$175,000 to the Iowa Department of Public Health PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 11 July 2011 13:33
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a $175,000 grant to the Iowa Department of Public Health.  


Distribution of the federal funds is determined by the Department of Health and Human Services.  The award is not an earmark determined by Congress.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Iowa will use the funds to conduct an early hearing detection and intervention project.    


Each year, local Iowa organizations, colleges and universities, individuals and state agencies apply for competitive grants from the federal government.  The funding is then awarded based on each local organization or individual’s ability to meet criteria set by the federal entity administering the funds.  



Governor Quinn Signs Legislation Requiring Child Care Workers SUID, SIDS Prevention Training PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Laurel White   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 23:33

Reforms Will Improve Infant and Newborn Safety Throughout Illinois

NAPERVILLE – July 6, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to increase the safety of infant and newborn children throughout Illinois. Under House Bill 2099, child care workers who care for newborns and infants will be required to complete regular training on how to prevent sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

“It is important that those who work with our children possess the most up-to-date health and safety information,” said Governor Quinn. “This legislation ensures that child care workers in Illinois will continue to provide the highest standard of care.”

House Bill 2099 requires all licensed child care facility employees who care for newborns and infants to complete training at least every three years on sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and the safe sleep recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The bill was an initiative of SIDS of Illinois, an organization of parents who have lost children due to SIDS or SUID and are committed to educating others about preventable infant death. SUID and SIDS are leading causes of death in infants under two years of age, and approximately 20 percent of SIDS deaths occur while the infant is in the care of a non-parental caregiver.

House Bill 2099 was sponsored by Representative Emily McAsey (D-Lockport) and Senator A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

In July 2010, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 5930, which requires birth hospitals to provide safe sleep information to parents as they leave the hospital. This legislation took effect at the beginning of 2011.


Independence from Health Care Restrictions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 22:26

Report examines how Affordable Care Act will revive and sustain small towns, farms and ranches



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lyons, Nebraska - According to a new report to be released July 6, 2011 by the Center for Rural Affairs, nearly 15 million young adults (19-29 years of age) in America are without health insurance. However, the report estimates that over 12 million of that young adult uninsured population will obtain coverage under provisions of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions are especially important for small towns and rural areas.

A full copy of the embargoed report can be viewed and downloaded immediately at: th-care-young-adults.pdf  and will remain available after the embargo is lifted.

Members of the media are asked to contact Elisha Smith ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 402.687.2103 ext 1007) to set up interviews.

“Access to affordable, quality health insurance means more young adults can stay, return, or relocate to rural communities,” said Alyssa Charney with the Center for Rural Affairs and the author of the report.

The report examines how the Affordable Care Act significantly benefits young adults, specifically those in rural areas, with provisions that include the ability to remain on their parents’ policies, the creation of health insurance marketplaces, the elimination of pre-existing conditions, and incentives for employers to provide coverage. 

According to Charney’s report, of the approximately 7 million rural residents between 20 and 29 years of age, 600,000 will be eligible to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 pursuant to the Affordable Care Act. Nationally it is estimated that 3.4 million young adults will be eligible for coverage under this provision. 

“The Affordable Care Act benefits rural young people in ways that extend well beyond individual health and affordability, because supporting the younger generation means supporting our rural communities for generations to come,” explained Charney. 

“The places where young people choose to live, the work they pursue, and the passions they follow shouldn't be decided by limitations on how or where to find health insurance. The Affordable Care Act addresses these limitations,” Charney added.

Rural communities are quickly declining in population, with many young adults leaving in search of outside opportunities and benefits. However, it would be incorrect to assume that this migration is driven by a lack of desire to live in rural places.

Forty percent of Americans would prefer to live in a rural area or small town, compared to the less than 20 percent who currently do, according to a survey from the National Association of Realtors. 

The author concludes that access to affordable, quality health insurance means more young adults can stay, return, or relocate to rural communities. Young farmers, entrepreneurs, and rural health care providers not only have much to gain from the Affordable Care Act, but they also have valuable skills and knowledge to contribute to rural communities.

This is the 13th report in a series dealing with how health care reform and the Affordable Care Act will impact rural America. Visit lth-care/research  to review or download earlier Center for Rural Affairs health care reports.

Cooperative Guiding Principles Support Community Well-being PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:35

AMES, Iowa -- Stephen Ronstrom, Sacred Heart Hospital CEO, wanted the healthiest foods available served at the Eau Claire, Wis., hospital. So, in 2008 he gave his hospitality service director the go-ahead to begin buying local food for the institution’s kitchen. The directive stemmed from Ronstrom’s belief that healthy, fresh, nutritious foods are part of the healing cycle of the patient. He was tired of sending the hospital’s money around the country and beyond to truck in food that could be grown and raised better by people in the hospital’s own community.

Rick Beckler, Sacred Heart Hospitality Services Director, admits it took a bit of fumbling around to figure out how to work with local producers to get the quantities of product needed by the hospital on an ongoing basis. “I knew I couldn’t just show up at the farmers' market and buy 1,500 pounds of ground beef,” Beckler said. The other thing he knew was 10 percent of the hospital’s food budge twas committed to purchasing local food products. He used that to publicly challenge growers and producers to address this compelling community need and opportunity. As a result of that public challenge a new business, the Producers & Buyers Co-op, rose to meet the need.

Forming the cooperative
In communities across the country, people are working together through cooperatives to get the things they need. From telecommunication, electric and farmer cooperatives in rural areas to housing, organic food and childcare cooperatives in metropolitan areas – cooperatives bring people together to improve their quality of life and financial well-being.

Madeline Schultz, Iowa State University Extension cooperatives specialist, says there are a set of principles that define cooperatives. “Cooperatives have three basic principles that they adhere to – member benefits, member ownership and member control,” she said. “When we think about cooperatives, we think about businesses organized for the people that are going to use those products or services.”

The Producers & Buyers Co-op in Eau Claire has become a business that produces, processes and delivers nutritious local produce for institutional use, illustrating those principles. With assistance from River Country Resource and Development (RC&D) and Margaret Bau, Wisconsin-USDA Rural Development cooperative development specialist, the Producers & Buyers Co-op was formed using a multi-stakeholder approach with a membership that includes the producers, buyers, processors and local transportation. “This co-op is interesting from so many different perspectives,” said Bau. “For example, buyer-members are not mere customers. Buyer-members serve on the board, work on committees concerning product standards, work through fair pricing, and sweat through details of initial product runs.”
Through co-op membership, the Producers & Buyers Co-op buyers are part of the learning process about the seasonality of food, the constraints of not having enough processing facilities, crop failures, etc. “If a hospital likes the idea of obtaining locally grown food but isn’t willing to put in this extra effort or pay more for high quality food, then local food isn’t for them,” said Bau. “Cooperatives are all about being in an ongoing relationship with the other co-op members. It is a relationship of equals.”

The community benefits
As of September 2010, the Producers & Buyers Co-op had facilitated the purchase and transportation of more than $177,000 of locally grown product from more than 18 producer-members and four processor-members to three buyer-members.

There is growing interest in cooperatives especially among young adults, according to Iowa State’s Schultz. “Cooperatives are self-affirming – you see a need and you address that need through the business,” she said. “People can make a contribution to their community by becoming involved in cooperatives several ways. They can start a business, become a member or serve on the board of directors.”
Folks around Eau Claire recognize the value of the Producers & Buyers Co-op. Member Darrell Lorch of Lorcrest Farms Inc., in Blair, Wis., says having a stable market price allows him to do more long range planning with his farm operation. Sacred Heart’s Beckler reports an outpouring of warm compliments on the hospital’s food from patients, Meals on Wheels patrons and employees. “We have learned a great deal about our community through the co-op,” said Beckler. “The civic engagement has been good on many levels. We are eating healthier and supporting a healthier local economy.”

Producers and processors that sign up for the Producers & Buyers Co-op promise to employ growing practices and animal husbandry that’s good for the land, good for the animals and good for the people who eat the food. The buyers, in turn agree to pay a price that reflects the cost of producing food that lives up to those standards plus a small profit. Buyers also agree to be flexible if certain products or quantities aren’t available when they want them, filling the gaps through other suppliers.

Educational materials about cooperatives online
Schultz said that anyone interested in starting a cooperative, needing to know more about cooperative board of director responsibilities, or wanting to learn about the opportunities associated with cooperatives can easily access information at eXtension is an educational partnership of 76 land-grant universities collaborating with industry experts and the USDA. Information on specific topics is developed by teams of educators from across the country, called communities of practice (CoP).

“Cooperatives is one of about 50 communities of practice publishing on the eXtension website,” said Schultz who serves as chair for the CoP. “eXtension is an exciting place for us to be developing and delivering Web-based content on cooperatives because there are so many other topics of interest there.”

Schultz said it is the goal of the cooperatives CoP leadership team to bring the best information forward. “Many universities andorganizations have some information about cooperatives available online, but it’s often difficult to find,” she said. “The leadership team has gathered the best of the best available information and is creating new content where they see unmet needs. We are hoping by using the eXtension platform more people will be able to access this collection of resources.”Some cooperative experts believe economically challenging times foster the growth and interest in cooperatives, in part because start-up capital comes from member-investors and because of the civil engagement that is intrinsic to cooperatives. That interest is finding fresh support through models like the Producers & Buyers Co-op in Eau Claire, Wis., and the resources available at eXtension.

Youth and adults can increase their understanding of the cooperative business model; become more engaged as cooperative business members, employees, board directors and managers; and achieve greater economic and social improvements in their communities from the information available at eXtension.


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