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Gastonia to dock pay for employees who ditch health assesssments - Gaston Gazette - 09 Dec 2016 20:34

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[[html]]&#13;By Michael Barrett moc.ettezagnotsag|tterrabm#moc.ettezagnotsag|tterrabm&#13;<br><br>Beginning next year, Gastonia city employees will be asked to take part in a new program aimed at monitoring and improving their health.<br><br>And if they decline, they'll pay for it.<br><br>The expanded wellness initiative, approved by City Council members Tuesday, will encourage workers to go through a periodic biometric screening process. It will involve getting a "finger stick" to have blood work done, and having other measurements taken to monitor weight, blood pressure, body mass index, glucose levels, and the like.<br><br>A two-year contract the city has signed with CaroMont Health will also provide health education counseling for employees, as well as health risk assessments.<br><br>A "wellness program incentive clause" will be part of that new venture. Employees who choose not to participate in the health risk assessment program and biometric screening will have $20 per pay period deducted from their paychecks. The city will apply that $20 toward the cost of the employee's health insurance premium.<br><br>City Councilman David Kirlin, who chairs the city's Audit/Bids/Insurance Committee, said there was a lot of discussion about whether to apply such an incentive clause.Based on the best practices of other municipal wellness programs of similar size and complexity to Gastonia's, city leaders decided the 'insurance premium adjustment method' would be the most effective.<br><br>Only participation, not health improvement or performance, is what will matter. The idea is to get employees to become more receptive and inspired to live healthier lives, said Kirlin, who likened it to the classic 'carrot on a stick' incentive.<br><br>"That is to say, hey, all were going to ask of you is to fill out this questionnaire, get some blood work drawn, get your weight taken, and if you do that, youre good to go," he said. "If you dont, were going to ding your paycheck $20 every two weeks."<br><br>The new wellness program marks just the latest example of the city's efforts to lower its employee health care costs in the last decade.Gastonias health insurance costs were skyrocketing eight years ago when City Council members agreed to implement a wellness clinic in City Hall. It serves as a cheaper option for employees, who can pay $3 to see a licensed physicians assistant, rather than enduring a much pricier standard co-pay at a doctors office or minute clinic.<br><br>When the clinic debuted, a nurse practitioner on site could handle minor injuries, such as administering stitches, or writing prescriptions for colds, allergies or the like. As time went on, more services have been offered, such as biometric screenings for high cholesterol, and providing certain care for worker compensation claims.<br><br>The city is also negotiating discounted memberships for its employees at a number of local gyms, which will be available early next year. And as part of the new health initiative, other programs will be offered to get workers thinking about being more healthy. That will include 12 "lunch-and-learn" sessions hosted by local physicians each month, exercise classes, and targeted disease and wellness programs throughout the year.<br><br>You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Grant Awarded to UTEP, Jz University Professors to Identify Occupational Risk of Hispanic Construction Workers - 22 Sep 2016 07:05

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[[html]]Related Articles&#13;&#13;<br><br>Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in UTEPs Department of Public Health Sciences, and Aurora Mynez-Guaderrama, a professor and researcher at the Instituto de Ingeniera y Tecnologa in Ciudad Jurez, were awarded a $30,000 grant by PIMSA to identify cultural barriers that influence the perception of occupational risks and work-related injuries among Mexican migrant construction workers in the Paso del Norte region.<br><br>PIMSA is the Programa de Investigacin en Migracin y Salud, a program from the Health Initiative of the Americas at the University of California, Berkeley, that funds binational research teams whose research proposals focus on migration and health.<br><br>According to Ibarra-Mejia, migrant workers of Hispanic origin in the United States have a higher rate of work-related injuries and mortality compared to other population groups.<br><br>As part of the study, researchers will examine the cultural barriers that influence workers safety in association with their health and safety behaviors.<br><br>The results generated from the study will be used to design culturally appropriate prevention programs that will reduce occupational risk behaviors and injuries among Hispanic construction workers.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

World's largest medical imaging study will scan 100000 Britons - The Guardian - 14 Apr 2016 00:08

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[[html]]The bodies and brains of 100,000 Britons will be scanned, measured, shared and compared, in the worlds largest medical imaging study to shed light on the onset and progression of major diseases.<br><br>The project, which launches on Thursday, will create an unprecedented library of images that capture details of volunteers bones, brains, arteries and hearts, alongside the distribution of fat around their midriffs.<br><br>Combined with other information already held on the participants, the stack of images equivalent to 500 ebooks-worth of data per person will help doctors understand how the environment, genetics, lifestyle and diet affect human health and, eventually, death.<br><br>With the haul of data to hand, researchers expect to learn more about the ways in which specific diseases trigger damage throughout the body. For example, scientists will investigate how diabetes and heart disease may trigger changes in the body that ultimately cause harm to the brain.<br><br>Researchers will scan volunteers from the 500,000 middle aged people already taking part in UK BioBank, a massive project set up in 2006 to gather medical and lifestyle data on the UK population, in sickness and in health. Participants have donated blood and tissues, had their DNA read, their lifestyles analysed, and cognitive abilities scored with online tests. Compiling the data should help scientists develop new tests for diseases in their earliest stages, and highlight factors that either protect or predispose to illness.<br><br>These images will help us understand the risk factors that could be used to prevent future disease, just as the discovery of a link between smoking and cancer helped us change the entire prevalence of that disease, said Paul Matthews, head of brain sciences at Imperial College, London.<br><br>Armed with the images, researchers hope to gain deeper insights into the multiple causes of frailty in old age, a state influenced by muscle and bone condition, heart and lung function, and the health of the brain. In old age, calcium loss makes the bones brittle. With thousands of images of bones from different people, researchers can learn how other common conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and muscle weakness affect bone health.<br><br>Stephen Smith at the Oxford University Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, said that in one 30-minute session, each volunteer would have six different brain scans. Together they will provide information on the brains anatomy, electrical activity and the wiring of the white matter. All of this can change with ageing and disease, said Smith. This is truly big data. We can learn early, possibly subtle, markers for diseases like Alzheimers. Discover those, and doctors can identify people for early interventions.<br><br>Data from the project will be made available to scientists all over the world. Images of the heart, the major artery, the aorta, and others in the neck, can be compared as people age, to show how they thicken and stiffen. Other images can help doctors test hypotheses, such as whether visceral fat creates inflammation that ultimately damages neurons, leading to accelerated ageing in the brain. The promise, said Matthews, is for new breakthroughs, faster.<br><br>Those who volunteer for the scans do not, as routine, receive feedback about their health. But if imaging experts spot serious abnormalities in the scans, the information will be passed on to the participants so they can have further medical checks.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0


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