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Women’s Health

Linden residents needing health care can visit OhioHealth mobile clinic

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Kaitlin Drach was thrilled to hear her baby’s heartbeat for the first time on Wednesday, but it was an experience that might not have happened had she had to leave her own neighborhood.

If she had to go to a hospital for an ultrasound, Drach said she might not have been able to afford a full tank of gas to get there. Instead, she could visit a new mobile clinic down the street from where she lives in the Columbus Linden neighborhood.

The proximity made all the difference, said Drach, 19.

>> Read more:Franklinton residents have the lowest life expectancy in Ohio

“It’s nice to know that I don’t have to go that far, especially since we don’t have a lot of money,” she said.

Although the past year has tested many Ohioans, it has been especially difficult for Drach.

She was living in an apartment in Kent with her boyfriend when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and they both lost their jobs. Unable to afford rent, they were evicted on March 21, 2020.

After a brief stint with a few family members in Columbus, Drach said that she and her boyfriend moved on to living in their car in a parking lot. They stayed in the car until November when they found a rental apartment in Linden.

“We were essentially homeless … we lived in the car for about four or five months,” she said. “We didn’t have enough gas and his car was going to die. But then we didn’t have the money to eat, so we started starving.”

‘High risk’

Drach is exactly the kind of person OhioHealth wants to support with its new mobile clinic.

She is one of around 44,000 Linden residents who are more likely to encounter barriers to healthcare. As in Drach’s case, transportation is a major difficulty, said Dr. Pooja Lahoti, a family doctor who works in the mobile unit, on Wednesday.

Lahoti and other doctors switch between their stationary offices and the mobile clinics several times a week. For Lahoti, it is a way of giving back and helping people who “may not have been cared for before”.

“The acceptance part is really very important because a lot of these women are at high risk … I think it’s just a way to provide this care to people that they might not otherwise have had or had access to,” Lahoti said.

In addition to the usual obstacles to health care, the residents of Linden face challenges of their own. Violent crime comes first.

In 2019, Linden was Columbus’s deadliest neighborhood for homicides. South Linden saw 13 murders while North Linden had 11.

Another issue that hinders people like Drach is unemployment and lack of income.

At 10.6%, the unemployment rate in Linden in 2019 was more than twice as high as the 4.7% unemployment rate in the entire state, as data show.

>> Read more:In Delaware County, the high vaccination rate offers a glimpse into life after the pandemic

In each postcode that includes Linden, between 63% and 71% of the households bring in less than $ 50,000 a year, US Census Data shows. By comparison, 38.8% of households in the entire city of Columbus earn less than $ 50,000 a year.

People on lower incomes often have poorer health outcomes, said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Public Health Commissioner. That’s why it’s important to reach neighborhoods like Linden with things like mobile health stations and outreach.

“We know that the people who live in Linden have many health challenges and we know that health care is not always accessible to them,” said Roberts. “I commend OhioHealth for getting where the people in need of medical care are most.”

OhioHealth's mobile clinic is routed to the Linden Opportunity Center, 1350 Briarwood Ave.

“Historically undersupplied”

The 45 foot long motorhome has two examination rooms, a waiting area, two offices and two toilets. It looks like a more compact version of a doctor’s office, with the same exam tables, cabinets, and equipment you’d normally find in a hospital.

The clinic will be parked in front of the new Linden Opportunity Center at 1350 Briarwood Ave. The mobile unit is in Linden a few days a week, but OhioHealth plans to provide services there between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you want to book an appointment, you can call the number 614-788-3400. Patients do not need to have health insurance to qualify for treatment, and a social worker and community health worker are also stationed in the mobile unit to help patients, said Rebecca Barbeau, operations manager for community health partnerships.

>> Read more:What health problems have Ohioans reported after COVID shots? Everything from conjunctivitis to concussion

“This community, Linden, in particular, as we know, is historically underserved and access to medical care is limited,” said Barbeau. “What often happens is that community members then choose the emergency room for their services because they don’t have access to a doctor’s office nearby. So we can literally drive in, offer the care they need, and move to a different community. “

From January 2017 to June 2020, OhioHealth’s Wellness on Wheels program served 562 patients and had 2,612 completed visits according to the health system. The women’s health program of the mobile unit looked after a total of 6,947 patients and 37,486 clinic visits from 1994 to 2019.

The Linden mobile unit is OhioHealth’s third. Another of the three is also focused on providing obstetrics and primary care, and the third is a collaboration with the March of Dimes, a national organization dedicated to improving maternal and baby health, especially with regards to premature birth.

Infant mortality has long been a major concern in the Columbus and Ohio area.

In Franklin County, 6.7 infants died per 1,000 live births in 2020, according to Columbus Public Health. Even worse are the statistics for black families in Franklin County, with 11.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

About 5.7 babies died per 1,000 live births nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr.  Pooja Lahoti performs a lymph node check on Katlin Drach, 19, at the OhioHealth mobile clinic.  Drach said it was convenient for the new mobile clinic to stop near where she lived because she didn't know if she could afford the gas to drive to a clinic or hospital much further away.

Like Drach, many of the women who received treatment at the OhioHealth mobile clinic in Linden had obstetric appointments. This is Drach’s first pregnancy, and so far she has said the first 13 weeks have been tough.

She struggled with a lot of nausea and joked that the baby doesn’t seem to like Chinese food.

Having a starting point like the mobile unit is a starting point, Drach said. She found out about the clinic when she went to the community center to pick up a card for the Special Nutritional Supplement Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Upon arriving at the clinic on Wednesday morning, Drach said she was nervous and excited to see how her baby was doing. Drach’s own mother gave birth twice prematurely, so she was concerned that her own baby might not be well.

Drach’s face lit up with a smile as the doctor played the baby’s heartbeat from the ultrasound machine. She asked the doctor to play it twice more so she could record the heartbeat and send it to her friend.

“This is my first pregnancy so I don’t really know how to deal with it,” she said. “I was trying to find one (obstetrician) so I just wanted to see how it goes today … I just wanted to make sure my heart was beating.”

mfilby@dispatch.com

@MaxFilby

Social worker Cynthia Ward also has an office in OhioHealth's mobile clinic to help patients meet all of their needs - not just their medical ones.

Women’s Health

Israeli CEO seeks quantum of solace for women’s diseases – Sponsored Content

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Severe stomach pain. Nausea. Fatigue. Infertility. These are just some of the symptoms that millions of women with endometriosis suffer – an incurable disease caused when tissue that lines the uterus grows elsewhere in the abdomen.

Shahar Keinan, the Israeli CEO of Polaris Quantum Biotech, is working with another female CEO in the field to use superfast quantum computers to find a cure for endometriosis that doctors estimate affects around 10% of women worldwide.

“This will help bring drugs to market quickly, especially in areas that have long been neglected,” says Keinan of her company’s new partnership with Californian Auransa Inc., which is using artificial intelligence to find new treatments . “This really solves an unmet need.”

The two companies will also work together to find treatments and cures for ovarian and breast cancer and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

“I believe that we will be able to combine our individual expertise in biology and chemistry to develop high quality solutions for these very difficult to control or neglected diseases that affect women’s health,” says Pek Lum, Auransa’s CEO.

Solutions to these diseases are just a fraction of what Polarisqb, a North Carolina-based quantum computing startup, is researching in the fast-growing field of computational chemistry, where scientists use computer models instead of laboratory equipment to identify new compounds that stop or prevent can disease.

The technology, which is dramatically accelerating drug development, holds great promise in areas that are still under-researched – such as women’s health – and rare diseases, where drug companies often have poor return on investment.

Polarisqb is currently conducting an investment round. Private investors can find out more about OurCrowd and participate.

Traditional laboratory-based drug development methods are now becoming more expensive. Each new drug costs about $ 1 billion on average, a price that includes the many failed trials and studies, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The costs are passed on to the patients.

The quantum computing used by Polarisqb calculates up to 10,000 times faster than conventional computers, helps to make more drugs available faster and at lower prices, and to reduce the average time to market for a drug from 10 to seven years, says Keinan.

To test the concept, Polarisqb’s scientists built on previous Novartis laboratory research on dengue fever, which it took about four years to identify molecules that could stop the disease that causes nausea, rash and limb pain, and in patients can be fatal about 25% of the cases. Although there is a vaccine for certain age groups, it can only be given to people who have had the virus in the past. The virus infects up to 400 million people worldwide every year.

“We were able to use our platform and identify the same molecules from a library of billions in less than a minute. We also use the system to identify new molecules in order to overcome the problems with the old ones, ”said Keinan. The company will now commercialize these molecules to pharmaceutical companies.

The same work can be done with conventional computers, but “it’s a long and complicated operation,” says Keinan, and it would not save much compared to laboratory research. “We were looking for something faster and more efficient to be able to scale.”

Quantum computers allow the system to do super-fast calculations to figure out which molecules are best to use and quickly eliminate those that don’t work.

The platform works by scanning computer models of billions of different molecules. It identifies the molecules that could treat a particular disease by attacking and stopping the activity of a particular protein that changes the course of the disease. In cancer, certain molecules could stop the cancer cells’ DNA from replicating. In viruses, certain molecules could stop the replication of the RNA.

“Finding these molecules will stop the disease,” says Keinan, adding that these molecules then become prescriptions or blueprints for drugs.

“We’re just trying to find the perfect molecule or key that fits exactly into the protein’s keyhole,” she says.

Polarisqb used a digital annealer, a quantum-inspired technology developed by Fujitsu that is able to perform parallel optimization calculations in real time with a speed, precision and size that is unmatched by classical computing. The collaboration with Fujitsu expands the number of molecules sought from 10 million to trillions of molecules and thus increases the probability of finding new, useful drug candidates.

“The new solution from Polarisqb and Fujitsu shortens the time frame for drug discovery and lead optimization from up to 48 months to just eight months,” says Alex Brown, Drug Discovery Consultant at Fujitsu.

Traditionally, scientists have done this in laboratories and conducted experiments to exclude molecules or find effective ones. But this process of trial and error is lengthy and costly, and one of the reasons why the average drug takes about a decade to develop.

“Either you do it slowly and very expensive,” says Keinan. “Or you find a new technology; and we do. “

You can find more information about investing in Polaris Quantum Biotech HERE.

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Women’s Health

Why a former Ro exec set out to start her own digital health startup

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Rachel Blank left Ro last year to start Allara. The startup focuses on helping women cope with PCOS and other complex diseases. Image credit: Allara

After serving two years as Director of Strategy for Digital Health Unicorn Ro, Rachel Blank set out last year to start a new company based on her own health experiences.

In September, she founded Allara Health with the aim of helping women treat polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects an estimated one in ten women. It’s a common cause of infertility, but it affects much more than that – a large percentage of people with PCOS are also insulin resistant, and the condition is also linked to anxiety and depression.

In most cases, it takes years to diagnose and little is known about what actually causes the disease.

Blank found this out from personal experience. She was diagnosed with PCOS 10 years ago after dealing with unexplained health problems for years.

“That was not only a surprise, but especially for me because I grew up the daughter of a gynecologist,” she said in a Zoom interview. “Even when I was diagnosed, I didn’t feel like I ever made a good path in the healthcare system. I never knew where to go, which doctors to see, what to do. I found doctors very dismissive or said things like, ‘If you’re not trying to get pregnant, I don’t really know what to do for you.’ “

The pandemic spurred her to think more about her health and she started doing her own research. She found large communities of women on the internet trying to put together the same questions she was faced with.

“That was that big aha moment for me,” she said. “I can bring in not only my personal experience, but also my professional experience in the field of digital health and, to be honest, build something better.”

Blank is no stranger to women’s health. While at Ro, she ran one of the company’s direct-to-consumer brands, Rory, which offered prescription and wellness treatments for menopausal women. Before that, she worked as an investor for General Catalyst.

At Allara, her goal is to focus more on improving access to specialized treatments, an area that is often overlooked by other women’s health startups that are more focused on primary care or fertility.

“Where I saw this massive void was the specialty care,” she said. “What to do if you not only need contraception but are also not ready for IVF? There is really nowhere you can go in traditional healthcare or digital healthcare right now. “

The New York startup offers virtual visits to gynecologists and endocrinologists as well as nutritional advice and coaching. You also have the option of ordering diagnostics such as a blood test or medication if necessary. Allara currently charges a $ 125 monthly subscription model for all of its services, although going forward, Blank said the company plans to offer it as an employee benefit and offer more point solutions.

Allara currently operates in six states but hopes to be in all 50 states by the end of the year. The company has started visiting patients in the past few months. Around 35,000 women have either signed up for the service or expressed their interest.

In the longer term, Blank hopes to expand to other, often overlooked diseases such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

“This motivates me and motivates my entire team to understand the massive impact we have not only on a woman’s everyday life and her daily feelings, but also on her health outcomes,” she said, “.

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Women’s Health

County needs a trauma-informed facility for female inmates

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On Tuesday, June 15, the Travis County Commissioners Court will vote on whether or not to approve a $ 4.3 million design services contract for the proposed Travis County Trauma Informed Women’s Facility Project. The design of the project is influenced by the tremendous efforts of an advisory committee that issued recommendations based on months of work with interviews with female inmates and research into best practices.

The purpose of this project is not to increase detention capacity; Rather, it is about replacing outdated and inefficient facilities and building a holistic facility that houses female inmates in one building, with access to on-site gender-specific medical services, trauma-informed care and counseling, psychosocial support system, vocational training and other programs.

This project is the first of many outlined in Travis County’s current prison facilities master plan, which suggests that at least seven buildings in the prison complex are in disrepair and have been in use for longer than originally intended. I do not support the replacement of all of these buildings. I support the proposed women’s facility that addresses the needs of women from a trauma-informed perspective. If women were placed in a facility with only women and their medical needs attended to, the facility would be safer for women and the officials who protect them.

In addition, a facility that enables the continuous supply of mental health and vocational training services can begin to address the core issues related to the social determinants of health critical to the inmate’s rehabilitation and ensure successful re-entry into the to ease society after they have served their time.

Many prisoners have a background of poverty. The simple fact is that for people living near the poverty line, the prison is the primary place for mental health and medical care. I am not happy about this, but as a Travis County Commissioner, it is my duty to provide for the primary needs of the people who are in our care. I will not fail to improve the existing services without a specific program to replace these much-needed services.

The best of intentions without the appropriate resources can withhold necessary treatment options from members of the community. Lawyers who oppose the Women’s Facility Project fail to recognize the complexities of the issues or the fact that neither the state nor the local government has invested in the necessary resources to provide mental health services outside of prison. Travis County needs more access to drug beds and services for commonly diagnosed mental health problems.

I support parallel efforts to increase these services and provide more distraction, and I am ready to work with anyone who can help solve these complex problems; However, I cannot support pursuing this work at the expense of providing trauma-informed services to incarcerated women who, for various reasons, remain in our prison and under our care.

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