Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council Seeks Candidates for Game Commission Board

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation is seeking a qualified candidate to represent District 4 on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s board of directors.

District 4 includes the counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset.  The district is currently represented with distinction by Commissioner Tim Layton, whose term expires June 29, 2021.  Commissioner Layton can continue to serve for six months after his term expires, or until his replacement is named, whichever occurs first.

“The Governor is reaching out to the hunting and trapping community in District 4 to find a diverse group of applicants, one of whom will be nominated by Governor Wolf to fill this upcoming vacancy,” said Robb Miller, director of the advisory council.  “We’re encouraging anyone interested in volunteering to serve on the board to send us a letter of intent and their professional resume.”

Per the Game Code, applicants must be well-informed about wildlife conservation and restoration and be residents of the district. Commissioners receive no compensation for their service but are reimbursed for travel expenses. Preview (opens in a new tab)

Candidates will be interviewed by the advisory council and rated on their responses, as well as their professional and volunteer experience with wildlife conservation and related activities.  Governor Tom Wolf will select the final candidate to be presented to the Senate for confirmation.

Individuals interested in applying should email a resume and cover letter to Robb Miller, Governor’s Advisor for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation,  Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 26, 2021.

Pennsylvania Governor’s Administration Awards $1.3 Million to Fund Research to Grow PA Agriculture Industry 

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced grants totaling $1.287 million to eight organizations for research on issues critical to sustaining and growing Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. Grant recipients include Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, American Mushroom Institute, Baarda Farms, Coexist Build, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture and Team Ag, Inc.

“Meeting the challenges of feeding a growing population amid rapid changes in climate, technology and animal and plant diseases demands investment in research and development,” said Redding. “These investments hold the promise and potential to spur the innovation we need to increase productivity; advance human and animal medicine; and support cleaner water, healthier soil and a safer food supply.”

The grants, awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, focus on a broad range of research topics including detecting COVID-19 exposure in livestock, increasing farm productivity and profits, protecting pollinators, safely controlling Spotted Lanternfly and other invasive species and improving soil and water quality and sustainability through regenerative farming.

This funding supplements $900,000 in agricultural research support through the department’s budget to Rodale Institute, the Penn State University Center for Agricultural Law, Penn State Extension, and the Centers for Beef, Dairy, Poultry and Livestock Excellence.

Following is a list of 27 grantees, amounts awarded and project titles:

  • American Mushroom Institute, Avondale, Chester Co. – $42,242 – Carbon Sequestration through Spent Mushroom Compost
  • Baarda Farms, Mt. Bethel, Northampton Co. – $6,000 – Refrigeration to Expand Capacity for Fresh Food Access
  • Coexist Build, Blandon, Berks Co. – $4,500 – Developing Marketing Strategy for Agritourism Highlighting Regenerative, Organic Farm Featuring Hemp-based Construction
  • Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, Millheim, Centre Co. – $87,791 – Soil Health and Economic Benchmarks for Conservation and Climate Resiliency
  • Pasa Sustainable Agriculture – $91,179 – Understanding Keys to Direct Market Success through Collaborative Financial Benchmarking
  • Pasa Sustainable Agriculture – $79,533 – Linking Soil Health and Nutrient Density for Improved Specialty Crop Marketing
  • Pennsylvania State University, State College, Centre Co. – $89,044 – Assessment of Farmers’ Adoption and Implementation of Conservation Plans: A Case of Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania State University – $86,862 – Re-envisioning Multifunctional Buffers to Improve Water Quality, Profitability and Manage Risk
  • Pennsylvania State University – $34,987 Pennsylvania State University – Establishing Pennsylvania’s First Digital Pollen Library
  • Pennsylvania State University – $130,300 – Drug Delivery Systems Using Milk Proteins
  • Pennsylvania State University – $87,999 – Protecting Bees from Fungicides Applied to Tree Fruits and from Insecticides Used to Control Spotted Lanternfly
  • Pennsylvania State University – $104,236 – Impacts of Spotted Lanternfly Feeding on Tree Health
  • Pennsylvania State University – $87,614 – Are bee pollinator populations declining in Pennsylvania?
  • Pennsylvania State University – $60,291 – Spotted Lanternfly Monitoring Pole Traps; Saving Labor and Increasing Monitoring
  • Pennsylvania State University – $9,906 – Spotting and Stopping Spotted Lanternfly in Vineyards: Economic Impact and Decision Management Tools
  • Pennsylvania State University – $42,953 – Innovative LIPS Assay to Evaluate Exposure of Livestock to COVID-19
  • Pennsylvania State University – $22,080 – Dynamics of the Respiratory Resistome in the Pre- and Postweaning Dairy Calf
  • Pennsylvania State University – $11,870 – Improving Molecular Characterization of C. Perfringens and Correlating Strain Type with Histology
  • Pennsylvania State University – $25,000 – Molecular Serotyping of Avibacterium Paragallinarum Using Next Generation Sequencing
  • Pennsylvania State University – $28,800 – Establish a Metagenome-based Surveillance System to Determine Prevalence and Distribution of Commercial, Backyard and Wildlife Birds in PA
  • Team Ag, Inc., Ephrata, Lancaster Co. – $60,000 – Connecting Capital with Pennsylvania Farmers using Regenerative Farming Practices to Draw Down Carbon
  • Temple University, Philadelphia – $24,455 – Detection and Genotyping Method Targeting the Apicomplexa Mitochondrial Genome: Piroplasmida
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia – $25,000 – Targeted Next Generation Sequencing Panel for Equine Pathogen Detection
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine – $10,000 – Evaluation of Reproductive Efficiency on Pennsylvania Dairy Farms
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine – $9,348 – Novel Implementation of FARM on Dairy Farm: A Pilot Project
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine – $14,432 – Development of Sensitive Method for Analysis of Cannabinoids in Bovine Serum and Hemp Seed Samples
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine – $10,578 – Comparison of Different Management Strategies on Quality of Reclaimed Sand Used for Bedding

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources: What Partners Need to Know Now

As COVID-19 vaccines begin rolling out across the country CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers and keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 resources from HHS, CDC and CMS.

The CDC designed COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers    to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries, including child care, educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.    The toolkit contains a variety of resources including:

  • Key messages,
  • An educational slide deck,
  • FAQs,
  • Posters/flyers,
  • Newsletter content,
  • A plain language vaccine factsheet (available in several different languages),
  • A template letter for employees,
  • Social media content, and
  • Vaccination sticker templates.

COVID 19 Toolkit for Community Organizations  contains a variety of resources that you can use (active links here

  • Introductory letter
  • Key Messages
  • FAQs
  • Slide deck for virtual town halls or other informational meetings within your communities. You can use all or part of the set or also include your own organization’s information.
  • Fact Sheets in plain-language and available in several languages
  • Newsletter blurb
  • Stickers to use once immunized

With information coming from many different sources, CMS has compiled resources and materials to help you share important and relevant information on the COVID- 19 vaccine with the people that you serve. You can find these and more resources on the COVID-19 Partner Resources Page and the HHS COVID Education Campaign page. We look forward to partnering with you to promote vaccine safety and encourage our beneficiaries to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity.

If you are a healthcare provider:

Both the CDC and CMS have useful resources for your practice. Look to CDC for the latest science, vaccine administration information and patient-focused resources.

You can find additional resources on the CDC Resources for Health Care Providers Page.

CMS released aCOVID-19 Provider Toolkit to ensure health care providers have the necessary tools to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The toolkit includes information on:

You can also review the set of COVID-19 FAQs, which has information specific to health care providers who bill Medicare for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine, so there will be no cost to your patients with Medicare.  Medicare will reimburse you for administering the vaccine.
  • State governments are handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state and local officials as more doses of the vaccine become available for additional priority groups.
  • People without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can also get COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.  Providers administering the vaccine to people without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can request reimbursement for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund.
  • Most professional associations have pages devoted to COVID-19 vaccination.  Your association may have advice tailored to your discipline, specialty and/or location.

How can you help educate your patients?

  • You are a trusted source…encourage your patients to get the vaccine when it is available to them.
  • Let them know the vaccine is no cost and will help keep them from getting COVID-19. Learn more about the benefits of the vaccine.
  • Let them know the vaccine is safe and that safety is a top priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Remind them to continue practicing the 3Ws (Wear a Mask, Watch your distance, Wash your hands).

Questions? Please e-mail us:

Pennsylvania Allows Dentists to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines

With many more pending, Pennsylvania joins more than a dozen other states in allowing dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when delegated by a medical doctor or an osteopathic physician. As supplies of the vaccine are expected to increase considerably over the next few months, dental providers may play an important role in vaccine clinics.

Click here to view the authorizing document.

FDA Issues Alert on Hand Sanitizers from Mexico

As part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s continuing efforts to protect consumers from potentially dangerous or subpotent hand sanitizers, the agency has placed all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico on a countrywide import alert to help stop products that appear to be in violation from entering the U.S. until the agency is able to review the products’ safety. Over the course of the ongoing pandemic, the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products from Mexico that were labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening when ingested. Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient in hand sanitizer or other drugs.

Click here for more information.