Monday, January 7, 2013

Triage System Helps Colleges Treat Mentally Ill Students

Miranda Dale had her first breakdown during her freshman year at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. It was 2 a.m. on a Saturday, and she hadn't left her dorm room in days.

"I honestly didn't know what to do," says Dale. "I heard rumors that at a big university you're just a number and you're not going to get through to anyone" at the university counseling center.

But when she called the school's counseling line, someone answered right away. Dale got help getting a prescription for medication, and she was booked for an appointment that Monday. She was eventually diagnosed with bipolar II, a mood disorder that usually requires medication.

Over the past decade, colleges and universities across the country have seen an influx of students like Dale with mental health needs.

Wayne State med students care for homeless, others on Detroit's streets

First the left arm. Then the right.

Jonathan Wong, a 29-year-old Wayne State University medical student, moved the blood pressure cuff from one of Thomas Wise's arms to the other to get a better reading. Then, another medical student tested the 45-year-old's cranial nerve response -- could he puff his cheeks? Could he move his tongue?

The students were at St. John Congregational Church in Detroit on Friday, treating some of the men in the church's shelter as part of a new venture between about 100 Wayne State medical students and the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO).

Called Street Medicine Detroit, the program takes doctors-to-be such as Wong and Paul Thomas, 25, out of the clinic and into the city, treating homeless people in the shelters, parks and underpasses where they often live.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bridge Card use grows at farmers markets

Michigan farmers markets saw a 42 percent increase in the number of purchases made using a Bridge Card last year, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

That’s good news to both the markets and farmers, who are growing their customer base and selling more produce, and to consumers, who have more access to healthy, locally grown food, according to those involved with farmers markets at the state and local levels.

“I think it’s just tremendous that families across the state who are experiencing economic hardship can support local farmers and have access to healthy foods,” said Dru Montri, director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association. “We feel very strongly that farmers markets and local farms should have access to food assistance benefits.”

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Story of Medicare

The Kaiser Family Foundation's history of Medicare.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

S.W. Michigan Schools Show Wide Range of Poverty Rates in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren

The following is a chart showing the childhood poverty rate by school district for school districts in three counties of far SW Michigan:  Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren

District Name Poverty Rate
Benton Harbor Area Schools 47.0%
Hartford Public School District 41.5%
South Haven Public Schools 37.4%
Bangor Public Schools 35.3%
Covert Public Schools 32.4%
Cassopolis Public Schools 30.4%
Bloomingdale Public School District 29.5%
Niles Community School District 28.7%
Decatur Public Schools 28.1%
Watervliet School District 27.6%
Paw Paw Public School District 25.7%
Eau Claire Public Schools 24.9%
Lawrence Public School District 24.4%
Dowagiac Union Schools 23.4%
Lawton Community School District 21.3%
New Buffalo Area School District 20.9%
Brandywine Public School District 20.3%
Galien Township School District 19.9%
Berrien Springs Public Schools 19.6%
Buchanan Community School District 18.8%
Gobles Public School District 18.6%
Marcellus Community Schools 18.5%
Coloma Community Schools 18.3%
River Valley School District 16.9%
Bridgman Public Schools 14.2%
Edwardsburg Public Schools 13.4%
Lakeshore School District 9.8%
Mattawan Consolidated School 8.5%
St. Joseph Public Schools 7.4%

Source of Data:  US Census Bureau 2011

Poverty rate is the percentage of school age children within the school districts boundaries in poverty who are attending public, private, charter, or home schools.

The average for the 3-county area is 24.2%

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adopt-A-Family program helps formerly homeless people with items for their new homes

Homeless and pregnant as a teen in New York state -- and again in Detroit two years ago -- Marquesa Monroe said she survived in homeless shelters and fast-food restaurants.
Last year, she moved to a rent-subsidized apartment in Chesterfield Township, thanks to Community Housing Network.

"I'm back in school, trying to better myself," Monroe, now 22, said this week.

"And I'm done having kids, totally done," she added with a laugh, after speaking of her love for 3-year-old daughter Anastasia, and sons Mikail, 2, and 1-year-old Jeremiah.

Monroe and her children are part of Community Housing Network's annual Adopt-a-Family program for the holidays.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Homeless students often suffer silently: Programs like St. Joseph's Bears Care look for telltale signs. Student homelessness is up dramatically statewide.

Bears Care, in its first year in the St. Joseph (Michigan) school district, is carrying on the district's long-standing practice of looking after homeless students.

"The teachers are doing this because they want to, and they're doing it because they know it's the right thing to do," said Lynn France, the district's director of special education and its homeless student liaison. "Teachers are the ones who see the student every day and can notice any changes. Having a student-teacher bond makes a big difference in a student's education."

France, in her first year with the district, said the teachers who are part of Bears Care have volunteered to mentor students who they know or suspect are homeless.

There were 21 homeless students in the district in the 2010-11 school year, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

Michigan's immigrant youths put in legal limbo

For Sergio Martinez, proving that he has been in the United States from the age of 5 hasn't been easy.

U.S. Immigration and Customs officials wanted every report card, school award, immunization record and transcript he has acquired over 21 years
Luckily, his mother provided him with all of his records, practically enough documentation to fill a Sunday newspaper.

"You name it, they asked for it. I'm surprised they didn't ask for a hair sample," said Martinez, 24, who lives in Detroit.

He is among the 308,935 young adults who were brought into the country illegally as children who have applied for a two-year deferment from deportation under an Obama administration policy announced this year.

But the stack of records will not be enough for Martinez to get a driver's license or state identification card in Michigan.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book tells of local efforts to combat poverty

Bonnie Bazata, executive director of the St. Joseph County (Indiana) Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative, has contributed a chapter to “From Vision to Action: Best Practices to Reduce the Impact of Poverty in Communities, Education, Healthcare, and More.”

The book, published in October by aha! Process, includes stories of South Bend and 10 other communities nationwide that are seeing impact in different fields from the Bridges Out of Poverty framework. The program operates in more than 80 communities.

“Bridges Out of Poverty starts with a set of ideas about how to think about the dynamics of poverty and economic class and what we can do differently,” says Bazata, who started the community effort eight years ago when she was working at Saint Mary’s College.,0,2374774.story

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Poverty Data, Still Not Looking Good for Millions

The Census Bureau recently released new data capturing the state of poverty in the U.S. using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The U.S. government uses two measures for quantifying poverty: (1) the official poverty measureand (2) the SPM.

The official measure, also known as the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), is used to determine the eligibility of individuals applying for means-tested public benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).