Health Policy

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    Trends and Challenges Related to Food Insecurity Among Rural Households with School-aged Children–Before, During, and Beyond the Pandemic
    (2022-06-17) O'Hanlon, Julia; Minni, Nicole; Crowell, Emma; Pragg, Sarah
    This policy brief is part of a suite of tools developed by the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration and the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy. It presents Delaware-specific issues related to school-aged children from rural, low-income, and/or minority households, including a case study of food-security vulnerabilities in western Sussex County. Examples of how continual data and mapping resources can be used to better understand the communities in this region are featured. National food insecurity issues and efforts are discussed to provide broader context. This brief presents long-term considerations and opportunities to address barriers to accessing community food resources at the state and local levels.
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    A Landscape of School-Based Health Centers in Delaware
    (Institute for Public Administration, 2019-12) Chesser, Margaret Culpepper
    A school-based health center (SBHC), also referred to as a student wellness center, is a method of healthcare delivery that provides school-aged youth with comprehensive physical, mental, and preventive health services delivered by qualified medical and behavioral providers in a school setting. These health centers are designed to mitigate the barriers to health-care services that students may face, such as lack of transportation, health-care providers, and insurance coverage. It has been well documented that school-based health centers can effectively address such barriers and reduce emergency room visits in school-aged children and adolescents. These wellness centers are cost-beneficial and have the potential to close health disparity gaps between racial groups.3 In Delaware, every public high school has opened a school-based health center and key stakeholders are advocating for the expansion of schoolbased wellness programs to provide care in elementary schools. The following brief will examine the history and role of school-based health centers on a national and a statewide level, the differences between high school health centers and elementary school health centers, the existing model of high school-based health centers in Delaware, and the pilot public elementary school-based health centers, the first of which opened in April 2018.
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    Planning for Age-Friendly Communities: An Assessment of Two Sussex County Communities
    (Institute for Public Administration, 2019-10) O'Hanlon, Julia
    Between October 2017 and June 2018, a literature review was conducted and meetings with community leaders and stakeholders of two Sussex County communities were hosted to help identify the communities’ capacity to promote aging in place through aging-friendly criteria and domains endorsed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), American Planning Association, Village to Village Network, and other nationally recognized organizations with interests in supporting and planning for communities’ increasing older adult populations.
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    Access to Healthy Food: A Guide for Delaware Local Governments
    (Institute for Public Administration, 2019-07) Michalowski, Allison; Scott, Marcia
    Why are some individuals healthier than others? Social determinants of health—conditions where people live, work, and play—affect a wide range of quality of life outcomes. Poorly designed physical environments, sedentary lifestyles, and inadequate nutrition can all impact a person’s health. Our communities need basic elements to support health equity for all people. These elements include access to nutritious food, a quality education, good jobs, affordable housing, equitable health care, parks and recreation, and dependable transportation. Local governments (i.e., towns, cities, and counties) are recognizing the need to plan for, design, and implement policies to foster healthy and complete communities. Attention has focused on improving the built environment to foster walkable-, bikeable-, and transit-friendly communities; planning to address sprawling land use patterns; and advancing Complete Streets for people of all ages and abilities. Traditionally, food insecurity has been regarded as a public health issue. Recently, local governments have become more attentive to address and incorporate healthy food access as part of local public policy agendas. This guide recognizes the important role that Delaware local governments can play in improving access to healthy food. Comprehensive plans and community design, policies and regulatory tools, and local partnerships are key strategies that can be utilized by Delaware local governments.
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    The Role of Senior Centers in Mitigating Alzheimer's and Other Forms of Dementia
    (Institute for Public Administration, 2019-01) O'Hanlon, Julia; Jacobson, Eric D.; Perillo, Kelly
    Dementia, a common term associated with memory loss, causes problems with an individual’s memory, thinking, and behavior to the point where it affects day-to-day life and social functioning. Alzheimer’s, the most common and familiar form of dementia, is becoming more prevalent among the older adult population. Of all individuals diagnosed with dementia in the United States, Alzheimer’s accounts for sixty to eighty percent of the cases. Understanding the severity and impact of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia on older adults and their family members is crucial for policy makers, stakeholders, supportive services, and medical professionals due to the implications on national, state, and local governments, health and social services, nonprofits, and communities. To address national demographic trends, it is important to understand the appropriate programs and services necessary to prevent, treat, and evaluate Alzheimer’s, as well as the large impact the disease has on U.S. healthcare costs. With definitive ways to address prevention and a cure, it is vital that this disease become better known.