January 28, 2016
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Letter From Dr. Stephen I. Katz: NIAMS Makes Strides in Reaching Diverse Communities

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

Over the past year, the NIAMS has made great strides in creating culturally and linguistically appropriate health information and distributing it through communication channels most used by multicultural communities. These activities reflect our commitment to implement the NIAMS Language Access Plan, part of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH's) broader effort to help ensure that people with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to NIH programs, activities and resources.

Read more.

Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.


NIH Announces Publication of Action Plan for Lupus Research

people collage images

In response to a request from the Congressional Lupus Caucus, the NIH has released an Action Plan for Lupus Research. This report was a collaborative effort, led by the NIAMS on behalf of the NIH. It represents a synthesis of internal and external input on promising future research directions to improve the lives of people with lupus.

Dr. Mariana Kaplan Receives Evelyn V. Hess Award

Mariana Kaplan receiving Evelyn V. Hess award

Mariana Kaplan, M.D., chief of the NIAMS Intramural Research Program’s Systemic Autoimmunity Branch, was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Evelyn V. Hess Award by the Lupus Foundation of America. The award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to lupus research, diagnosis and treatment.

Image: Mariana Kaplan, M.D.

Americans Who Practice Yoga Report Better Wellness, Health Behaviors: Analysis Reveals Reasons for Use of Yoga, Supplements and Spinal Manipulation

woman doing yoga

People who practiced yoga or took natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals) were more likely to do so for wellness reasons than to treat a specific health condition, according to analysis of data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Yoga users reported the most positive health benefits, compared with users of natural products and spinal manipulation. The analysis by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) was published in a National Health Statistics Report by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Advancing Health Equity in Native Communities

group of Native Americans

The American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research Advisory Council addresses health disparities in Indian Country by supporting collaborative research efforts between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and tribal partners. The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is currently recruiting to fill several vacancies on the council. Learn more about joining the council, including the eligibility, selection process and how to nominate a candidate.


Behavioral and Social Sciences Lectures

The Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research regularly convene a series of guest lectures and symposia on selected topics in the behavioral and social sciences. These presentations by prominent behavioral and social scientists provide overviews of current research on topics of scientific and social interest. All seminars are open to the public.

Upcoming Lecture:

To Tweet or Not To Tweet: Community-Based Participatory Research Approaches To Advance Wellness and Violence Prevention via Social Media

February 11, 2016
2 p.m. Eastern Time
Natcher Conference Center, Building 45, Balcony C, NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland


Voices of the NIH: Overcoming Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI)

Screencap of video featuring Kristal Nemeroff and Dr. Scott Paul

Sharing Our Stories: Voices of the NIH Community was developed in partnership with StoryCorps, a national oral history project, to capture the stories of those who have been impacted by the NIH. This story involves Kristal Nemeroff, a young woman with OI who has been coming to the NIH since she was 8 months old. Now 26, Kristal talks with one of her NIH physicians, Dr. Scott Paul, about her disease and how he helped her get into a vocational rehabilitation program and attend college to become a registered nurse.

Want To Keep Your Bones Strong? These Two Nutrients Are Key

left shows scan of normal bone, right shows scan of bone with osteoporosis

As we get older, keeping our bones strong reduces the risk of falls and fractures. Although some bone loss is to be expected with age, getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help maintain, and even improve, your bone strength. But are you getting enough of these two nutrients every day?

For more on bone health, see “Osteoporosis: The Bone Thief,” an Age Page from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the NIH.

Get the Right Tests at the Right Time

As we get older, a key part of managing our health is getting the recommended screening tests and immunizations at the right time. Do you know which tests and shots you should have and when to get them? Learn the facts from Health Screenings and Immunizations for 50+, a series of three new videos from NIHSeniorHealth that describe:

6 Things To Know About Massage Therapy for Health Purposes

The term “massage therapy” includes many techniques, and the type of massage given usually depends on your needs and physical condition. In general, massage therapists work on muscle and other soft tissue to help you feel better. A lot of scientific research on massage therapy is preliminary or conflicting, but much of the evidence points toward beneficial effects on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions. Read NCCIH's list of the six things you should know about massage therapy for health purposes.

New Infographic: The ACA & American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

New Infographic: The ACA & American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

Did you know that many American Indians and Alaska Natives and their families are eligible to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace?

A new infographic from the HHS OMH answers common questions about complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), defines eligibility for the Marketplace and benefits of enrolling, and identifies where to get more information. See the infographic [PDF - 2.2 MB].

Native One Stop: Online Resources

Woman holding feathers

The White House, in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has a new resource called Native One Stop. This online tool helps American Indians and Alaska Natives access benefits available from the U.S. Government. Learn more.

FDA Proposes Tanning Bed Age Restrictions and Other Important Safety Measures

Exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning is a preventable cause of skin cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is committed to protecting public health by informing consumers of the risks of indoor tanning. For this reason, the FDA is proposing ‎to prevent the use of sunlamp products (including tanning beds) among minors and reduce the risks of using these devices for adults. The agency also is proposing new standards that would require manufacturers and tanning facilities to take more actions relating to these devices to protect consumers.

Who’s in Clinical Trials?

collage of portraits for drug trial snapshots

Want to know who took part in research studies for new drugs? The FDA is making demographic information from clinical trials, such as the inclusion of women and minority groups, more easily available and transparent to consumers through its online Drug Trials Snapshots database. This section of the FDA website is written in an easy-to-read format so you can see who took part in research studies for new drugs by sex, race and age.

Volunteers Needed for Clinical Studies

Natural History of Rheumatic Diseases in Minority Communities

This study will explore the causes of rheumatic diseases and why many of them affect certain minority communities more severely. Rheumatic diseases may cause joint pain, stiffness or swelling. Some can involve bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments and can cause abnormalities of the immune system—the body’s defense against disease. Some rheumatic diseases are painful or deforming, and can be life threatening. Information obtained from this study will be used to learn about the disparities in rheumatic disease in the minority community and to design further, more targeted, research studies to address this issue.

Clinical Research Studies of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of different tissues of the body. The most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which affects different parts of the body including internal organs. The causes of SLE are unknown but are believed to be linked to genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. Women of childbearing ages are at greatest risk of developing SLE.

Yoga as Self-Care for Arthritis in Minority Communities

People with arthritis should be active. Regular exercise leads to less pain, more energy, improved sleep and better day-to-day function. Yet arthritis is one of the most common reasons people give for limiting activities. Yoga for arthritis has been studied before. However, few studies have included minorities. Making changes to yoga classes based on language and culture may help people use yoga to care for their arthritis symptoms. Researchers want to see if minority populations with arthritis will come to and benefit from yoga classes.

The OMH Blog for Health Equity

The OMH Blog for Health Equity is dedicated to raising awareness about health disparities and sharing the views, stories and ideas that unite us toward a common goal of improving the health of all Americans.

HHS Action Plan To Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: Implementation Progress Report

cover for HHS Action Plan To Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Five years ago, the ACA created a remarkable opportunity in the movement to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity. In addition to expanding access to quality, affordable coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, it provided the foundation for the HHS Action Plan To Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities—the most comprehensive federal commitment to addressing health disparities.

Other Resources

NIH News in Health

Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by the NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by the NIH’s own scientists or by its grantees at universities and medical schools around the country. Some stories are also available in Spanish.

Online Weight Management Gets Personal: NIH Body Weight Planner

A man searching for a body weight planner

It’s always a good time to resolve to eat better, be more active and lose weight. NIH now offers a free, research-based tool to help you reach your goals. Read more about the NIH Body Weight Planner.

We invite you to subscribe to the NIAMS Update e-newsletter for the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles and skin. The NIAMS also publishes the Honoring Health: Resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives e-newsletter, which is distributed three times per year and highlights a different health topic for each issue, along with helpful resources for community members and health professionals.
Last Reviewed: 01/28/2016