Sexual Health Education Should be Comprehensive, Medically Accurate, Age-appropriate, Evidence-informed, and Inclusive,
but What Does that Mean?
By Shaina Munoz
Health Associate
May 31, 2017

The Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE) is a partnership between Advocates for Youth, Answer, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.  In 2008, FoSE helped convene 40 individuals from the fields of health education, sexuality education, public health, public policy, philanthropy, and advocacy for a two-day meeting to create a strategic plan for sexuality education policy and implementation. A key priority that emerged was the National Sexuality Education Standards. The standards outline best practices in philosophy and clear, consistent, and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum core content for sexual health education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades K-12. The standards were developed to address the inconsistent implementation of sexual health education nationwide and the limited time allocated to teaching the topic. According to FoSE’s rationale for sexual health education in public schools,

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How over 20 Private and Public Organizations in Northeast Ohio Came Together
in Support of Comprehensive Sexual Health Education
By Shaina Munoz
Health Associate
April 6, 2017

In this inaugural blog of a 3-part series on Community Solutions’ commitment to adolescent sexual health, I will be highlighting the work of the Collaborative for Comprehensive School Age Health.

Did you know, reviews of published evaluations on sexual health education have consistently found that comprehensive sexual health education does not: encourage teens to start having sexual intercourse, increase the frequency with which teens have intercourse, or increase the number of sexual partners teens have? Did you know that the same evaluations have found that these programs do: delay the onset of intercourse, reduce the frequency of intercourse, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase condom and contraceptive use? Additionally, national surveys of adults[i] demonstrate that 93 percent of parents of junior high school students and 91 percent of parents of high school students believe it is very or somewhat important to have sexual health education as part of the school curriculum. So, how is Northeast Ohio supporting comprehensive sexual health education?

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Repeal of ACA Would Deepen Benefit Cliff
By Emily Campbell
Associate Director & Williamson Family Fellow for Applied Research
March 15, 2017

For some low-income families, even a small increase in income causes a drop in the public benefits they can receive, effectively increasing their expenses and hurting their ability to make ends meet. This phenomenon is often called the “benefit cliff.” Eligibility for public benefits, such as child care subsidies, housing vouchers, and food assistance, is based on income. These benefits phase out or drop off as income increases. As families earn more, they qualify for less. Most of the time, such benefits function as intended and provide important support to help families make ends meet. However, there are instances when even a $1.00 increase in annual earnings results in the loss of a benefit worth hundreds of dollars to a family. 

In research released last year by The Center for Community Solutions, we found that the largest cliffs in Ohio are caused by copayments required to receive child care benefits and the loss of Medicaid health coverage, first for parents and then for children. As we described in our report, unlike many other public assistance programs, Medicaid has a hard cutoff where even $1.00 of extra annual earnings makes a family ineligible. Because they would lose the benefit completely, the largest dips in our model are caused by the loss of Medicaid coverage, first for the parent and later for the children. The chart below illustrates the benefit cliff under current law for a family of one parent and two children living in a mid-range cost county in Ohio.  

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Mission-driven and Investing for Impact: An AFC Success Story
By Lindsay Marcus
Program Coordinator, AIDS Funding Collaborative
September 22, 2016

 In May, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced it would not continue to fund AIDS United, and subsequently the AIDS Funding Collaborative (AFC), to operate its unique and longstanding AmeriCorps program for the 2016–2017 service year. As we manage the final details of closing out the program nationally, we have learned that through disappointment comes reflection. 

As anyone in the nonprofit field will tell you, mission-driven work is challenging. Rarely are nonprofit organizations, philanthropy included, able to embody their entire mission with one program or investment, and the AFC is no exception. The AFC’s mission is to strengthen the community’s response to HIV/AIDS as a public/private partnership by providing coordination, leadership, advocacy, and funding. It’s an ambitious mission, to the say the least, and over the last three years the AFC accomplished it with one investment, one program: AIDS United AmeriCorps. For more than 20 years, AIDS United has partnered with the CNCS to operate the largest national AmeriCorps program singularly focused on ending the HIV epidemic through public service and building the next generation of public health leaders.

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State Hard at Work on Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan

Tara Britton, Fellow
May 2, 2016

As mandated by the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA/HAB) and the Centers for Disease Control, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (CDC/DHAP), the State of Ohio has begun working on a five-year plan on HIV prevention and care needs, existing resources, barriers and gaps within jurisdictions, and how it plans to address them for 2017-2021. The plan is due to the federal government by the end of September, 2016, so there will be a full schedule to achieve this goal in the coming months. Traditionally, HIV care and HIV prevention produced separate plans and submitted them to their respective federal agencies. This is a great opportunity to think about integrated care and prevention and set goals for the state.

Presented with this opportunity to develop an integrated plan, the Integrated Plan Steering Committee (The Center for Community Solutions is a member) is looking at the big picture and assessing the barriers, gaps, and needs of all people living with HIV/AIDS in Ohio. In other words, the committee is looking beyond just people served by the Ohio Department of Health care (Ryan White Part B HIV/AIDS Program) and prevention programs to develop a plan that will improve services and target investments that provide the greatest impact. The committee has representation from the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation, and the Ohio departments of Health, Medicaid, Aging, and Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee (JMOC), the Cleveland and Columbus Ryan White Part A programs, AIDS service organizations, Medicaid managed care organizations, and many other stakeholders in order to take this broader look.     

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Will my insurance cover my IUD?
Navigating the maze of IUD and implant coverage in Ohio
Rose Frech, Fellow, Applied Research
April 12, 2016

It has been well-established that long-acting and reversible methods of contraception like IUDs and the implant are a good option for many women. They provide the most effective coverage of all available contraceptive methods available, with failure rates of less than one percent; they can last up to a decade; and they can be easily removed when a women decides to become pregnant. There are also significant public health implications associated with an increased use of these methods, including decreased rates of unintended pregnancy, teen births, and abortions. Clinicians and public health advocates are increasingly recognizing the benefits, and efforts are underway across Northeast Ohio to educate women about the benefits of IUDs and the implant. However, despite some growth, these methods remain underutilized. More work is necessary to increase access and to understand the challenges women face when receiving family planning services. 

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So Many Hospitals, But Where’s the Health?
Kate Warren, Policy & Planning Assistant
March 23, 2016

Those of us who are from Greater Cleveland know the pride with which Clevelanders talk about our local hospital system. People come from all over the world to be treated for chronic conditions at The Cleveland Clinic. MetroHealth’s Level 1 Trauma Center was Cuyahoga County’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, until this past December, when University Hospitals opened their own. UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital provides excellent healthcare for our region’s young people. All of these hospitals and doctors make Cuyahoga County a leader in the state for clinical care, but the data show that we’re not actually a very healthy county. So what’s the problem?

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