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Archive for December 5th, 2013

New report examines impact of credit card debt on African American middle class

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Washington, DC — African Americans face unique financial strain and suffer more negative consequences than other groups from their credit card debt, according to a new report from Demos and the NAACP. Having experienced the greatest economic losses and highest unemployment rates of any group in the wake of the Great Recession, the research illustrates ways in which the current economic difficulties of African American households are compounded even further by a legacy of discriminatory policies that have left African Americans with significantly fewer assets and lower rates of homeownership than white households.

Read the report: The Challenge of Credit Card Debt for the African American Middle Class

Download: http://tinyurl.com/knrc62q

Drawing from Demos’ National Survey on Credit Card Debt of Low- and Middle-Income Households, this new research shows that despite owing less today than in 2008, 42 percent of indebted African American households are borrowing to make ends meet, relying on credit cards as a “plastic safety net” to supplement earnings and pay for basic living expenses such as rent, groceries and utilities. Like the American middle class as a whole, African Americans also use credit cards to make critical investments in their future including higher education, entrepreneurship, and medical expenses.

Nearly all of the African American respondents in the survey who accumulated credit card debt from costs associated with starting new businesses have reported difficulties paying down these debts – 99 percent of African American households still carry that expense compared to 80 percent of whites. The African American middle class reports worse credit scores and vastly different causes of poor credit, with just two-thirds of households identifying a score of 620 or above, compared to 85 percent of white households. Among those reporting poor credit, African Americans were more likely to cite late student loan payments and errors in their credit reports as contributing factors, compared to late mortgage payments for white households. The study also reveals that African Americans are far more likely to have seen their credit tighten and to be pursued by debt collectors – 71 percent, compared to 50 percent of white middle-income households.

“Much of the disproportionate impact of credit card debt can be attributed to the fact that African Americans have fewer assets than other households to fall back on in emergencies,” said Catherine Ruetschlin, report co-author and Demos Policy Analyst. “Unlike white households, more than half of African Americans’ wealth is held in housing, which was devastated in the financial crisis. We’re also seeing African Americans turning to credit cards to cover their household finances as incomes continue to stagnate and unemployment rates hover around twice that of white workers.”

“African Americans rely on credit cards to make ends meet and invest in their futures because they have faced (and continue to face) persistent structural and economic barriers that limit their ability to create wealth and build a solid credit history,” states Dedrick Asante – Muhammad, report co-author and Sr. Director of NAACP Economic Department. “And when African Americans are engaging in the credit market, they are more likely victims to predatory and discriminatory lending which further increases their economic insecurity. Unless we want to maintain the nation’s historic and contemporary racial economic divide, we must confront the reality of today’s racial inequality and advance reforms that address these disparities, fairness and security around consumer credit.”

A system of credit reporting and scoring that reproduces racial inequality further undermines the economic opportunities of African American as their widespread use has expanded to encompass non-lending purposes including employment and housing decisions. Demos’ previous research shows employers may eliminate applicants with credit problems. Terms and rates of service often depend on credit reports, creating additional barriers for families trying to meet basic needs or control household budgets.

An optimistic finding in the survey, the 2009 CARD Act, which requires credit card companies to comply with fair and transparent practices for billing and fees, has helped African Americans in particular to pay down debt faster and save money by avoiding unreasonable charges. More than a third of the indebted African American households in the survey, reported paying more toward their credit card balance as a response to information in their statements mandated by the CARD Act. Since the passage of the Act, 25 percent of African American households experienced a drop in the interest charges on their credit card, proving that well-designed policy can have a positive impact on the financial security of many Americans.

While the study focuses on the specific circumstances of African American households, the difficulties facing all low and middle income Americans require renewed consideration of how the nation deals with debt and credit. The report highlights positive steps towards providing protection for the country’s weakening middle class, and makes policy recommendations in several areas including medical debt protection, financial regulation and credit scoring.

Dēmos is a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy. “The Challenge of Credit Card Debt for the African American Middle Class” is part of Demos’ on-going work creating pathways to ensure a strong and diverse middle class. Learn more at www.demos.org.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Black On Black Love and supportive organizations make Thanksgiving joyous for over 450 families

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – More than 450 needy families were gifted with turkey, trimmings and lots of joy and blessings during Black on Black Love’s (BOBL) Annual Holiday Food Give- A-Way.

This mission of love, now in its 18th year, was held in the Great Hall of the new Kennedy King College at 63rd and Halsted. Presiding over the event were Frances Wright, CEO of Black on Black Love and Henrietta Leak, Vice President – Leak & Sons Funeral Home.

Recipients of the Thanksgiving food blessings came from some of Chicago’s most impoverished and crime-plagued communities as well as from area churches, schools and community-based organizations.  Among the beneficiaries were those throughout the city of Chicago who were identified by various churches and community organizations.   Among those that received these “love baskets” were those from Resurrection Lutheran Church, Kennedy-King College students, New Zion Ministries Missionary Group, My Sister’s Keeper Program, Godfather Male Mentoring Program and King of Glory Church.

The food blessings consisted of a scrumptious full-course Thanksgiving feast including a 10-12 pound turkey, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, canned sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, one dozen eggs, dinner rolls, bread and an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables. The sumptuous food blessings all add up to make up a well-balanced holiday meal to feed a family of six.

In a brief ceremony prior to the food Give-A-Way, BOBL CEO Frances Wright explained that the holiday basket give- a-way is one of many initiatives sponsored by Black on Black Love, which is dedicated to spreading the message of increasing the peace and ceasing the violence through love, respect and self-discipline. Under its banner is the program My Sister’s Keeper, whose mission is to transition formerly incarcerated females back into society in a productive way. The agencies’ overall mission is to uplift the less fortunate and give hope to those seeking a better way, including those who have been incarcerated.

Others bringing words of praise and love during the program were Rev. Constance Jones, Founder – Image International Outreach Ministries, Pastor Jimmy Allen Thomas of New Zion Ministries, Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun Times, BOBL Board members Frances Oden, Grace Dawson and Rev. Helen Sinclair.  Andrea Wheeler Dean of Instruction at Kennedy King College, who represented interim president Arshele Stevens, delivered inspirational remarks from the College.

Providing an uplifting ministry of song was the Black on Black Love Inspirational Choir.

Among those who were grateful to receive the baskets were Darlene Funches and Kennedth McKenzie, a grandmother and grandson from Chatham who said they were “so thankful.”  Alicia Johnson of Chicago said the food would help her 11 grandchildren have a blessed Thanksgiving with a good meal.  Patricia Hibbler, a part of My Sister’s Keeper’s program who is currently in recovery, expressed appreciation.

Making the event possible were the following generous and compassionate sponsor/friends, which support Black on Black Love’s mission of love:

Black United Fund of Illinois, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Kenwood Liquors
King of Glory Church, Jewel-Osco, Leak & Sons Funeral Homes, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Aldi Foods, Meijer Foods, Terri Gardner, Ms. Felicia Browne, Mrs. Marguerite Compton, Gwen Duncan James, Seaway Bank & Trust, SCR Medical Transportation. REO Movers. Visionary Friends and Akers Packaging Service Group

Henry English of the Black United Funds of Illinois, Inc, extended greetings and explained why BUFI is a long supporter and sponsor of the program. Bob Simpson of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, another sponsor, praised the volunteers from CBTU for their role in making the event successful.

Black on Black Love is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization founded in 1983 by Mr. Edward G. Gardner, former CEO of Soft Sheen Products, Inc. Frances Wright is the CEO and Spencer Leak, Sr., of Leak & Sons Funeral Home, is Board Chairman.

For more information please call (773) 978-0868; e-mail the agency at info@bobl.org or Visit their website at http://www.bobl.org.

Photo Caption: Frances Wright (left), CEO – Black on Black Love, is joined by Rev. Constance J. Jones, (cemter) founder of Image International Outreach Ministries  and Queen Mother Helen Sinclair, retired prison chaplain and executive director of the Jessie “Ma” Houston Prison Ministry of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition at the Thanksgiving basket giveaway event.

Sec’y of State Jesse White Announces Arrest of Springfield Financial Advisor for Defrauding Senior of 65K

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that a Springfield financial advisor was arrested for defrauding an 84-year-old Sangamon County woman out of $65,000.

David Matthew Lisnek, age 45, was arrested at his home by special agents from White’s Illinois Securities Department, along with officers from the Springfield Police Department, on a criminal complaint filed by the Sangamon County State’s Attorney.

“It is terribly disheartening when someone uses their influence to scam our senior citizens out of their hard-earned money,” White said. “Our office is committed to prosecuting those people who defraud innocent investors.”

Lisnek, who was charged with one count of Financial Exploitation of the Elderly — a Class 1 felony, had been employed as a financial advisor by LPL Financial, LLC. He was terminated on November 13 after his registrations as an investment adviser and securities salesperson were suspended in a separate action by the Securities Department. A temporary order was issued by the department preventing Lisnek from offering or selling securities, or from providing investment advice. The order was based on the same information and evidence as the criminal complaint.

While serving as her “financial planner,” Lisnek encouraged the woman to write checks to him personally in order “to avoid problems with the feds,” according to the temporary order.

Ironically, Lisnek has written several columns for local newspapers on the subject of investing, and has published several books, including one on how to avoid being defrauded by unscrupulous investment advisors.

Additionally, the temporary order prohibits Lisnek from offering and selling securities and from providing investment advice.

Unless Lisnek requests a hearing on the matter, the order will become final after 30 days, which will result in a permanent suspension of his registrations and permanently prohibit him from offering and selling securities and providing investment advice.

“I encourage all Illinoisans to investigate thoroughly before investing,” said White. “Anyone with information about the matter or concerns about their own investments should call the Secretary of State’s Securities Department at 800-628-7937 or visit our website at www.AvoidTheScam.net.”

The Secretary of State Securities Department registers and regulates the following: entities offering and selling securities; broker-dealers; investment advisors; salespersons and representatives of dealers and advisers; loan brokers; business brokers; and those offering business opportunities.

Nonprofit Whisperer Takes Helm at Ford Foundation

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Nonprofit Whisperer Takes Helm at Ford Foundation

New America Media, Question & Answer

By Khalil Abdullah


Editor’s Note: In September, 2013, Darren Walker became the second African American and 10th president of the Ford Foundation, America’s second largest philanthropy organization with $500 million in annual giving. After a stint in international law and banking, Walker served as the COO of a non-profit agency in New York before moving to the foundation world, first arriving at the Rockefeller Foundation before being tapped to fill a vice president slot at Ford in 2010. He was interviewed in his New York office by Khalil Abdullah, national reporter for NAM.

What excites you most about taking on the presidency of the Ford Foundation?

Darren Walker: I have a chance to make a difference by leading a remarkable institution committed to social justice when the very notion of social justice is being contested. Our country’s policies and discourse sometimes feel retrograde, taking us back to when justice was more rationed…particularly for low-income people and people of color. I have a huge opportunity to fortify those voices.

We made great progress …in poverty reduction, employment for low income and low skill workers, in increased participation in higher education and high school graduate rates…When I hear, “Oh, the War on Poverty was a waste of time,” I don’t accept that. You have a hard time convincing me that investments in human capacity and in the potential of people like me to advance in society have somehow been for naught.

How would you describe youth unemployment as a social justice issue?

DW: This is not only a phenomenon in the United States, it’s a global phenomenon. If there are no job and career opportunities for young people, you’re going to have social unrest and instability. This is part of the broader challenge around inequality because it reduces opportunities for many while accreting huge benefits to a few. So, there is a global struggle around justice. Faces may look different but the social features in a given society are similar.

How do you explain Ford’s role to newcomers trying to learn how America works?

DW: The non-profit sector is a somewhat uniquely American phenomenon. It’s understandable for some immigrants to be unable to contextualize it when they arrive.

Immigrants experience the Ford Foundation through organizations and people who look like them…If you are Hmong from Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, and you turn up in Minneapolis, you learn that Ford is supporting a local Hmong-run organization to help immigrants transition or with legal advocacy. We don’t say, “Hmong community, we’re the Ford Foundation; you need to know who we are.” Our job is to fund those organizations. They give us legitimacy. We don’t give them legitimacy. This is not about our brand.

How do you answer a community organization when its leaders say, “We want to go in a different direction from your top-down mandate”?

DW: I ran a community organization and have been on the receiving end of top-down dictates. When I worked in Harlem, people said, “Here’s what we think you need.” That experience has informed my posture more than anything.

You have to listen. Our programs have to be informed by those affected and whom we seek to empower.

The foundation world is enraptured by metrics. How do you measure effectiveness?

DW: Many great movements and societal transformations would not have been achieved if we started with “Can we measure it?” Not all that needs to be done is ‘metricable.’ Putting everything through a standardized metrics approach would squelch innovation and new ideas.

But knowing what works is important and necessary. We’ve known situations where things that are not working still get funded and things that are working get underfunded. I’m sensitive to this issue of balance.

An example of how you address that balance?

DW: There’s thinking that says, with respect to black men and boys, single-sex education is better. I would like to know if this works. That takes a rigorously designed program to actually know. Here, I like metrics. If you tell me this is better, in terms of achievement and success, that’s where I want policy to be directed.

But who is to say that litigation and public interest law, which are having a hard time, should be defunded because a metric would tell us, oh, well, they’re not succeeding right now? That doesn’t mean we should stop funding public interest and legal work.

Where do arts and culture fit in the social justice agenda?


DW:
There are aspects of cultural programming, like arts education, where you can measure impact on student achievement, particularly for low-income students.

But there is a more profound idea of understanding the human condition that comes from exploring our culture and all its forms and vibrancy…Engaging in ideas and self-examination is what great art does, whether it’s James Baldwin holding up the mirror to us about racism and homophobia, or Diego Rivera challenging our notions of economy and industry.

I know from my own experience that culture and the arts nurture the soul and allow us to have dignity. Inequality and poverty rob one, particularly children, of their dignity and aspirations. Culture encourages the imagination. My imagination saved my life; my ability to believe, beyond the experience I was having on any given day, in what the future could be.

Much ethnic media are dependent on advertising yet that for-profit model is being disrupted by the Internet. Can foundations keep this media vibrant?

DW: Ford can’t save media. We can engage the questions: what is the field going to look like or the future pipeline of journalists; who’s going to employ them; what business models are sustainable?

Foundations are not always best positioned to know the answer. We are best positioned to convene the people who can solve these problems.

Look, I grew up on the Houston Forward Times newspaper in Houston, Texas, going to my grandmother’s. It’s still there, I was just in Houston. When I was in Harlem, I was in a story someone did on an organization I worked for. My mother gave it to my grandmother who said, “Well, that is great that he’s in the New York Times. But when is he going to be in Jet?” To her, when I was going to be in Jet or the Forward Times, that’s when she would know I had arrived. That media is still so important.

Photo: Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation

LinkedIn Job Scams Take Advantage of Job Seekers, Warns Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – If you are looking for a new job, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns job seekers to beware of growing LinkedIn scams. LinkedIn is an open communication website that has made it easy for scammers posing as job recruiters to take advantage of users looking for new opportunities.

More than other social media websites, LinkedIn is appealing to job seekers because it allows them to be contacted by potential employers or recruiters. Scammers create fake profiles disguising themselves as recruiters and send messages that contain a link to gather personal information. The website that the link goes to may look legitimate but often asks for financial information and personal identity. That Information is then used to steal your identity, access bank accounts or install malware on your computer.


“These scams will tempt many but it should be noted that legitimate recruiters will never ask you for any banking information,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “An example of one of the most recent scams involves the use of attractive female recruiters pitching opportunities to bilingual job seekers.”


Bernas states, “Before working with a recruiter do some research to ensure you know who you are dealing with.”


Avoid becoming a victim of a LinkedIn scam by following these tips:

  • Do not add just anyone on LinkedIn. Before adding someone, check out their profile and connections. If you have doubts about their legitimacy, do not add them.
  • Remember that you will never be asked to pay for a job. If a “recruiter” mentions an opportunity where you must pay for training, block them. A real job will never ask you to pay to work.
  • Be wary of work-at-home jobs. Real work-at-home jobs are hard to acquire so be cautious when you find these postings.
  • Search for the photo of the recruiter. Scammers usually use a fake, generic photo and you can most likely find the photo elsewhere.
  • Ask to call them. If a recruiter contacts you via message, request to speak on the phone. If they seem to avoid a phone call, consider that a red flag.
  • If you find yourself a victim of the scam, act fast. If a scammer was able to access your computer, they could have collected your personal information including passwords and banking information. Change your passwords immediately. If you see any strange banking activity, notify your bank.

For more tips on protecting your identity, visit www.bbb.org

Merit School of Music to showcase top music students at Conservatory Winter Concerts on December 13, 20, and 21 at 9:30 A.M.

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Merit Tuba Christmas kicks off full day of free live music Saturday, December 21 at 9:30 a.m.

CHICAGO, IL – If you enjoy hearing live classical, chamber, jazz or holiday music – for free – then Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria in Chicago’s West Loop, should be your entertainment destination on Friday, December 13, Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21.

That’s when Merit will gather Chicago’s top music students enrolled in the school’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory program to perform five free concerts over two weekends full of carols, spirituals, pop standards and traditional and international songs.

Merit’s Conservatory Winter Concert series kicks off on Friday, December 13 at 7 p.m. with the Chamber Winter Concert.

The series returns Friday, December 20 at 7 p.m. with a concert headlined by the Merit Symphonic Band and the Merit Wind Symphony. Highlights of the Wind Symphony program are SHOUTOUT by Chicago composer R. Etezady and the Chicago premiere of Concerto for Three Trombones by Chicago composer J. Stephenson featuring soloists Sean Tripp, Kevin Dombrowski and Timothy Riordan.

On Saturday, December 21 at 9:30 a.m., a full day of live music starts with the Merit Tuba Christmas, an annual holiday tradition at the school. A contingent of more than a dozen Tuba players will serenade concert-goers as they arrive for the 10 a.m. concert featuring Merit’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Opera and Music Theater Ensemble, Junior Choir and Conservatory Choir.

At 1 p.m., enjoy the Merit Trombone Choir, Brass Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Merit String Orchestra and Merit Chamber Orchestra.

At 3 p.m., swing to the sounds of Merit’s Junior Jazz Band, Merit Jazz Ensemble and the Honors Jazz Combo.

Click here to view and download the full schedule of repertoire.

Merit invites the public to warm up your holidays while building an appreciation for the high caliber of music talent that the school has been fostering among Chicago’s youth for 35 years. Students are accepted into Merit’s Tuition-free Conservatory by audition only and receive free of charge a college preparatory level of musical training, valued at $2,500 per year.

Conservatory students represent an economically and ethnically diverse cross section of the Chicago area, and most graduates continue their music studies at top colleges, universities and music conservatories. The 36-week Saturday Conservatory program is still accepting students interested in auditioning. Parents and children interested in learning more about Merit School of Music and its Conservatory program are strongly encouraged attend this Winter Concert.

More about Merit School of Music

Merit School of Music is devoted to giving children-especially children living in economically disadvantaged communities-the opportunity to grow through music. As part of Merit’s commitment to providing access to a high quality music education, substantial financial support is provided to young musicians through program subsidies, need-based tuition relief, low-cost instrument rental, and music supplies so that motivated students can participate in every program regardless of their economic circumstance.  The goal is to ensure that children, regardless of their family income, have access to high quality music education and all of its benefits in developing personally as well asmusically.

To learn more about Merit’s music education programs, visit meritmusic.org or call 312.786.9428.

Can the Black Church Save the Black Community?

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Soap Box Rants

A Weekly Column to CopyLine Magazine

By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan
President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.

I recently attended an event for the grand opening of a small coffee house on the South Side of Chicago. The place was abuzz with excitement. It was an innovative spot with big screen TVs, free WiFi and a healthy selection of food and exotic coffees. The new owners were beaming with pride and joy as they should be. Frankly, it is no small feat to open a business. And it was obvious that their efforts and hard work had finally paid off.

One of the things that really stood out to me and others, was that one of them mentioned their church had put a lot of support and encouragement behind them by offering business startup classes and workshops. That is awesome that in times like these there is a church that is showing appreciation to their parishioners by showing them how to be independent and make their own money in a economy that has shown little mercy to the Black community.

Although the buying power of Blacks is trillions of dollars per year in the US, little of that money is funneled back into the community. When we want to have a good time, there is a tendency to spend our dollars downtown, near North and South or in the Suburbs. The sad thing about this is that the community misses out on jobs, opportunities and a beautiful environment by not keeping the dollars in their own communities.

How wonderful it would be if more churches would get involved with empowering their parishioners with free training and workshops with the very dollars the community has provided to them. After all, shouldn’t the church community look out for the well-being of their flock? Those evenings when many of these huge structures do nothing more than take up space while empty, there could be energy and lots of ideas being developed and nurtured to bring more money into the church and community pockets.

So if you belong to or work for one of those huge churches that sit quietly on the Southside, consider asking your church to provide these opportunities for young and old so they can figure  out ways to make money on their own and not be at the mercy of those outside of their community to feed them. And if they don’t give back anything other than hand-outs, shame on them! Change over to a church that is willing to help out.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on 7/12/13.

Pamela Bratcher-McMillan is a technology Expert and President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.

Women, Say No to Unavailable Men

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

New book urges women to say no to unavailable men

Author reveals the grim side of giving in to forbidden desires


Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — Autumn Girl Press announced the re-release of Single Black Female, a cautionary romance by Carrie Carr. It’s been more than two decades since Fatal Attraction sent a quiver down every married man’s spine by dramatically illustrating the consequences of a one-night stand. However, it’s not just married men who should be concerned, but the women they are fooling around with as well.

Single Black Female reminds readers of the consequences of dating unavailable men. The author nails the message by painting a dark tale of “getting a little on the side,” but this time, it’s the other woman that suffers the repercussions, not the unavailable man. The author attempts to answer the question every woman wants to know. “What does it take to keep a man monogamous?” Readers will be intrigued with her findings.

According to a recent survey, only 14% of married men actually leave their wives for their mistress, which should make the endeavor less appealing to the single women on the prowl. Though choices may be limited for the single woman in search of that special man, the author encourages women to rethink their decision before settling for an unavailable man. And although Single Black Female is not nearly as dark as “Fatal Attraction, the message is the same – stay clear of unavailable men.

Single Black Female will enlighten women about the male psyche, provide hope to the single woman in search of romance and inspire women to love and value themselves.


About The Author


Carrie Carr is a novelist and screenwriter. She lives in Illinois.The author would like to hear from women who still choose to date unavailable men for possible inclusion in her upcoming book. Those interested in sharing their views may send their thoughts about why they choose unavailable men to: carriecarr3@yahoo.com. All submissions should be fifty words or less. All submitters will receive a free e-book of Single Black Female, Alternate Version.

Single Black Female, Original Version was just re-released and is available at Amazon.com.

Photo Caption: Bookcover

Illinois Department on Aging kicks off a series of public hearings December 5 on expanding Long Term Care Ombudsman Service

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) will host a series of public hearings to receive input from stakeholders on the expansion of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocacy services for residents of long term care facilities.

The decision to expand the Ombudsman Program to home care and managed care settings ensures that long term care consumers have a voice regardless of the means of care.

The first of the public hearings, called stakeholder engagement meetings, is Thursday, December 5, at the

Mt. Vernon Convention and Visitors Bureau in Mt. Vernon. Preregistration is required to provide oral testimony. Send an email to Aging.ltcop@illinois.gov. Put “HCO and MCO comments” in the subject line.

Those unable to attend a stakeholder engagement meeting and wish to provide comments may submit written comments to the Office of State Long Term Care Ombudsman at Aging.ltcop@illinois.gov. Put “HCO and MCO comments” in the subject line. The deadline to submit written testimony is January 16, 2014.

WHO: Illinois Department on Aging

Stakeholders in the field of aging and long term care

WHAT: Stakeholder Engagement Meeting: Expansion of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

WHEN: Thursday, December 5, 2013

9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Mt. Vernon Convention and Visitors Bureau

200 Potomac Blvd.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62864

The final report of the oral and written comments generated will be prepared by the Office of the State Long Term Care Ombudsman, distributed statewide and posted on the IDoA web page.

Additional stakeholder engagement meetings will be held, as follows:

· December 17, 2013, at the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland in Springfield

· December 18, 2013, at the Fairview Heights Library in Fairview Heights

· January 7, 2014, at AgeOptions in Oak Park

· January 8, 2014, at the City of Chicago Central West Regional Center

· January 10, 2014, at the DuPage County Community and Senior Services in Wheaton

· January 15, 2014, at the Champaign Public Library

First-of-its-kind U.S. Health Safety Preparedness Index

Posted by Admin On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Most comprehensive assessment of health security preparedness to date

SPRINGFIELD, IL –The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), in conjunction with the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 20 development partners, announced the release of the National Health Security Preparedness Index™ (NHSPI™), a new way to measure and advance the nation’s readiness to protect people during disasters.

The 2013 NHSPIâ„¢ looks collectively at the health preparedness of states, including Illinois. IDPH can use the index to inform policy and resource decisions, guide quality improvement, and encourage shared responsibility for preparedness across communities.

“The tornadoes and severe storms we experienced in Illinois last month are a stark reminder of the importance of being prepared,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “This first-of-its-kind Index is a growing measure of how well we are all working together, not just public health and healthcare, to best prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from public health threats. This tool can help Illinois zero in on our areas of strength as well as opportunities to advance our future efforts.”

The 2013 Index results identify the following strengths in Illinois:

· Health Surveillance/ Laboratory Testing – the ability to detect chemical and biological disease agents, to analyze and upload lab results during a public health food emergency and test for a broad range of infectious agents.

· Surge Management/ Acute and Primary Care – the timeliness of patient movement from emergency department triage to facility admission, the ability to reduce or eliminate medical surge bottlenecks, and the capacity to handle admitted patients.

The 2013 Index also reveals areas in greatest need of development.

· Community Planning and Engagement/ Management of Volunteers During Emergencies – the ability to pre-register volunteer health professionals, and to coordinate the identification, recruitment, registration, credential verification, training and engagement of healthcare, medical and support staff volunteers during a response.

· Community Planning and Engagement/ At-risk Populations – the ability to anticipate disaster management response for special needs populations, to care for children with disabilities during a public health emergency, and to provide behavioral and mental health services to children following emergency events.

The NHSPIâ„¢ was developed by a steering committee, chaired by John R. Lumpkin, MD, MPH of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (former IDPH director), and three workgroups comprised of more than 75 experts from public health, emergency management, private sector, nonprofits, government and academia.

“Policymakers, practitioners, researchers, communicators, and others interested in strengthening the health security of states and the nation are invited to explore and utilize the NHSPI™,” said Dr. Lumpkin. “Exploring the Index can deepen understanding of what influences our national health security and what is needed to sustain and advance it.”

To learn more about the NHSPIâ„¢ and the 2013 results, visit www.nhspi.org.

The Index highlights several priorities currently being addressed in the IDPH Five Year Strategy 2014-2018. The strategic plan is a roadmap for IDPH to build its capacity to better meet the public health needs of all people and communities in Illinois. The plan focuses on five strategic priorities: partnership development; data quality, utilization and dissemination; reducing health disparities; regulatory improvement; and branding, marketing and communication. The plan also emphasizes creating a culture of measuring performance, quality improvement and customer service, as well as aligning the Department with the State Health Improvement Plan. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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