BCT Partners Encourages Entrepreneurs to Prepare Children for the Future

The below excerpt is from a very good article entitled “School’s Out for Summer: Rethinking Education for the 21st Century” provided by www.allthingsd.com.

If you have school-age children, you already know how hard it can be to get them to quit playing their video games and settle down to their school work. And with the summer upon us, it’s frightening to imagine how little time most children will invest to advance their knowledge and intellect in the next 80 days.

However, imagine education that is as entertaining and addictive as video games. Sound far-fetched? I believe that this is exactly the idea — driven by dynamic innovation and entrepreneurism — that will help bring our education system out of the stone ages (READ MORE).

New NGA Chair Announces Year-long Initiative

July 15, 2012

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA— Delaware Gov. Jack Markell officially became chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) today during the closing session of the NGA Annual Meeting. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin was named vice chair.

Gov. Markell announced his chair’s initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, which aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the initiative will focus on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities and the role that both state government and business can play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for these individuals to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market.

“The bottom line is that there are so many people with disabilities who have the time, talent and desire to make meaningful contributions to interested employers,” Gov. Markell said. “More companies are recognizing that creating greater economic opportunity for these workers improves their own bottom line as well. It doesn’t matter whether you were born with additional challenges to face or – in the case of our wounded veterans for example – acquired them later in life. What matters is what you have to offer.”

Successfully achieving this goal will require not only attention to appropriate training, job placement and work-based support, but also advancing best practices and meaningful engagement of the business community. This includes informing the business community about how productive, loyal and valuable these individuals can be to both the company’s culture and its bottom line.

A major emphasis of the initiative will be on people who have significant intellectual and developmental disabilities and may require supports like job coaches and personal attendants in order to live and work in the community. The chair plans to convene governors, businesses, disability leaders and other thought leaders throughout the year to share ideas and move forward with support for this population.

“It’s inspiring to see how many leaders from the public and private sectors are committing themselves to this cause and pledging to work together on something that builds both economic and social capital. There are major employers in every state who recognize the value of creating opportunity,” Gov. Markell said. “Let’s bring the attention of the public and private sectors to bear this year to create meaningful opportunities for these future employees and the companies that will grow from their efforts.”

In addition to providing governors and other state policymakers with better policy options to assess the environment in their state and strategies designed to support this population, the initiative will:

  • Create a blueprint for businesses and states that identifies best practices and outlines steps that can be put in place to increase employment of people with disabilities; and
  • Heighten awareness and launch a campaign to help governors put in place the practices that fit best in their states’ efforts to increase employment for people with disabilities.

The goals behind A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities will draw support from several sources. Last month, Gov. Markell joined a dozen senior leaders of some of the nation’s largest companies and bipartisan federal leaders including Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Congressman Pete Sessions, vice chair of the House Committee on Rules and co-chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, to announce a public-private partnership to remove obstacles to employing people with disabilities.

The final Annual Meeting session concluded with a session focused on supporting entrepreneurial activity and remarks by Steve Blank, author of The Startup Owner’s Manual. To view video and news from the Annual Meeting, click here.

The nation’s governors will reconvene in Washington, D.C., February 22-25 for the 2013 NGA Winter Meeting. For more information, visit www.nga.org.

Bill would expand VA mental health services

July 5, 2012. A group of senators is seeking to increase access to mental health services for military veterans.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Patty Murray (D, Wash.) has introduced legislation that would require more oversight of federal suicide prevention programs. The bill also would expand mental health coverage to family members of servicemen and women to help them cope with deployments.

“The Dept. of Defense and the [Dept. of Veterans Affairs] are losing the battle against the mental and behavioral wounds of these wars,” she said. “To see that, you don’t need to look any further than the tragic fact that already this year over 150 active duty service members have taken their own lives, or the fact that one veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes.”

The committee held a June 27 hearing to discuss the Mental Health Access to Continued Care and Enhancement of Support Services and several other pieces of legislation. The VA has taken steps to improve access, said Madhulika Agarwal, MD, MPH, the VA deputy undersecretary for health policy and services. For instance, the administration has launched a hiring initiative to increase the number of health professionals to meet demand for mental health services.

“We fully recognize there is no more critical need than effective and timely mental health care,” Dr. Agarwal said.

Another proposed bill would improve VA services for women and families. The bill outlines coverage for assisted reproductive technology and fertility treatment for the spouses of injured soldiers. The Dept. of Defense and Tricare cover advanced fertility treatments to injured soldiers, but the VA’s coverage is more limited, Murray said.

“VA’s services do not even begin to meet the needs of our most seriously injured veterans or their families,” she said.

The panel heard testimony from Tracy Keil of Denver. Keil’s husband, Matt, was shot in the neck while on patrol in Iraq in 2007, leaving him a quadriplegic. After weeks of rehabilitation, the couple discussed the possibility of having children. Doctors suggested in vitro fertilization, but the VA lacked a comprehensive program to cover the service. The couple had to pay out of pocket for fertility treatments, which allowed Keil to give birth to twins in 2010.

The agency is reviewing further health options for fertility care, Dr. Agarwal said. “VA’s goal is to restore the capabilities of veterans with disabilities to the greatest extent possible.”

By Charles Fiegl, amednews staff.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

Jun 07,2012 – Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recognizing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters. During PTSD Awareness Month in June, and throughout the year, we recognize the millions of Americans who experience this challenging and debilitating condition.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. PTSD may result in sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams about the trauma, intense reactions to reminders of the trauma, disturbances in relationships, and isolation. Some people may recover a few months after the event, but for others it may take years. For some, PTSD may begin long after the events occur.

PTSD can be treated. Effective treatments are available, such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and approved medications. Many people with PTSD also benefit from peer support.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD), are supporting new research to reveal the underlying causes of PTSD and related conditions, develop better tools to identify those at highest risk of developing the disorder, and develop new and better treatments and preventive interventions. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law, HHS is partnering with DOD and the VA to share our best ideas on how to improve the quality of health care for veterans and all Americans.