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Report: H1N1 Hospitalizations Higher But Vaccinations Lower for Minorities

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H1N1 flu hospitalization rates for African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaska Natives were nearly two to one higher than rates for Whites during the 2009-2010 flu season, according to a new report, Fighting Flu Fatigue, from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). At the same time, both H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccination rates were lower for African Americans and Hispanics than for Whites.

During the 2009-2010 flu season:

• African American hospitalization rates were 29.7 per 100,000 people compared to White hospitalization rates of 16.3 per 100,000 people. Hispanic hospitalization rates were 30.7 percent per 100,000 people;

• H1N1 vaccination rates were 9.8 percent lower for African- American adults and 4.2 percent lower for African-American children than for Whites;

• Seasonal flu vaccination rates were 16.5 percent lower for African-American adults and 5.6 percent lower for African-American children than for Whites;

• H1N1 vaccination rates were 11.5 percent lower for Hispanic adults than for Whites, although rates were 5.5 percent higher for Hispanic children; and

• Seasonal flu vaccination rates were 21.7 percent lower for Hispanic adults and 2.6 percent lower for Hispanic children than for Whites.

The flu is preventable with a vaccine – yet , each year, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from flu-related illnesses (based on a review of deaths from 1976 to 2007) and the flu contributes to more than $10 billion in lost product ivi ty and direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost potential earnings each year in the United States. Fighting Flu Fatigue examines lessons from the H1N1 pandemic to inform future flu policies and prevention in the United States.

“Following the H1N1 pandemic, we could take two different paths,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. “We could go back to a national complacency around the flu or we could build on the momentum of the pandemic response efforts to help spare millions of Americans from suffering yearly from the flu. Building on the work we’ve done would also better prepare the country for future disease outbreaks we may face.”

Last flu season, during the pandemic, flu vaccination rates reached historical highs. Around 44 percent of children ages six months to 17 years received the seasonal flu vaccination and around 40 percent of children received the H1N1 vaccine in 2009-2010. In prior years, childhood flu vaccination rates had been around 24 percent. In 2009- 2010, approximately 40 percent of adults were vaccinated against the seasonal flu, compared to past years where vaccination rates had been around 30 percent. The adult H1N1 vaccinat ion rates were approximately 27 percent, but these rates were deflated because of the limited availability of vaccine in the beginning of the outbreak.

In 2010, for the first time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all Americans older than six months should get vaccination against the flu. To further combat the flu, increase vaccination rates and build on the momentum from the H1N1 response, the report recommends creating a major campaign that provides:

• Education about the need for flu shots, focused on why everyone should get immunized and the safety of the shots;

• Increased easy access to flu shots, even to people who are uninsured or do not receive regular medical care; and

• Incentives for health care workers to be vaccinated. Last season, only 62 percent of health care workers were vaccinated against the seasonal flu and only 37 percent received an H1N1 flu shoot by January 2010.

Edison International Expands Annual Scholars Program

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In celebration of its 125th anniversary, Edison International is expanding the number of awardees in its signature scholarship program to include students in 14 states where the company generates and distributes electricity, and has changed requirements so recipients can attend any accredited university in the U.S.

“We recognize the significance of a college education, and expanding this program allows more young people to pursue academic opportunities,” said Theodore F. Craver Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Edison International. “These scholarships will help broaden students’ educational experiences, providing a solid foundation that will serve them well in an increasingly competitive employment environment.”

This year, the Edison Scholars program will award 125 scholarships to coincide with the company’s landmark anniversary. Previously, the company offered up to 75 scholarships annually and they were available only to eligible residents in the service territory of Edison’s subsidiary, Southern California Edison (SCE).

Scholarship applications will be accepted from eligible students living in SCE’s service territory in California, as well as students in designated schools in Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming — where Edison International’s Edison Mission Group (EMG) and Midwest Generation provide service. The application deadline is March 15. Winners will be notified by June.

For the first time in the program’s history, selected scholarship recipients may attend any accredited four-year college or university in the country.

The Edison Scholars program focuses on students studying science, technology, engineering and math. Each selected high school senior will be awarded a $2,500 college scholarship. Awards are renewable an additional three years for a total of $10,000, provided recipients meet all eligibility requirements.

Applicants must:

· Be high school seniors who live, or attend a public or private school, in areas serviced by SCE, or attend an eligible high school in the designated area surrounding SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

· Be high school seniors who attend an eligible school in designated areas serviced by EMG and its subsidiaries.

· Be planning to attend an accredited four-year college in the U.S.

· Be full-time students majoring in math, physics, chemistry, engineering, materials science or computer science/ information systems.

· Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 or higher.

· Be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

· Demonstrate financial need.

Since 1993, Edison International has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships to more than 300 students. To download an application and get more details about the Edison Scholars program, including lists of eligible schools and colleges, please go to www.edison.com/edisonschol ars.

LA Attorney Appointed To Pres. Obama’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee

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Clifton Albright, managing partner of the Los Angeles based law firm Albright, Yee & Schmit, has been appointed to serve on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business (ITAC 11). He will act as a representative from Albright, Yee & Schmit, LLP and of the U.S. legal services industry sector.

“It is an extreme honor to have been nominated,” said Albright on his appointment. “It‘s my hope that by serving on the committee, I can offer my advice and take part in helping to shape the international trade environment for the United States and policies of the Obama administration.”

Mr. Albright is a respected member of the Los Angeles legal community and manages the firm’s employment law and litigation section as well as its international clients. In addition to litigation, Mr. Albright negotiates business transactions, and conducts employment investigations and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance audits.

Under the jurisdiction of the Executive office of the President via the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Albright will use his industry knowledge to assist the Administration in pursuing trade objectives that reflect the concerns and interests of the private sector.

The ITAC is pleased to work with Mr. Albright to help develop and implement trade policies that will serve the national interest.

Siebert Brandford Shank Makes Wall Street History

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1st Minority Owned Firm in Wall Street History to Rank in Top 10 Among Municipal Bond Underwriters

Siebert Brandford Shank and Co. LLC (www.sbsco.com) has earned the distinction as the 1st minority owned firm in the history of Wall Street to reach the ranks of the top 10 municipal bond underwriters.

The firm founded in 1996 was ranked 8th among all firms as a Senior Manager of negotiated new issues, according to the Bond Buyer. In 2010, the firm participated in public financings worth an aggregate value of $100.9 billion.

SBSCO, with offices in 20 domestic cities is the fastest growing firm in municipal underwriting, senior managing $9.14 billion of municipal bonds in 2010, up 55.5% from 2009 ($5.88 B) and up 181.3% from 2008 ($3.25 B). Over the past year SBSCO has added some 30 municipal bond professionals to help expand its growing business.

“Siebert Brandford Shank’s historic entry into the national Top 10 rankings among major municipal underwriters is truly a reflection of the talent, intelligence and experience that our team brings to the table. The major bond financings we have worked on this past year are financing the next generation of airports, roads, bridges, highways, water and sewer facilities that create jobs and rebuild our nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure. More and more municipalities recognize our expertise in managing large and complex project financings,” said SBSCO President and CEO Suzanne Shank.

Among major benchmarks the firm was ranked:

# 2 for Average Deal Size ($207.7 Million) second only to Goldman Sachs;

#4 in Airport issues;

#5 in General Purpose Muni Issues;

#7 in Transportation issues;

#7 Among Co-Managers of Muni Issues;

# 8 in Build America Bonds;

#8 in Negotiated Deals;

#10 in All Issues (Negotiated and Competitive);

#1 Among all minority and women businesses on Wall Street, a position the firm has held since 1998.

“What is most significant is the sheer magnitude, importance and size of the deals that Siebert Brandford Shank managed in 2010” said SBSCO Chairman Napoleon Brandford. “Not only is Siebert Brandford Shank the fastest growing senior manager of municipal bond offerings on Wall Street, but our average deal size was second to only Goldman Sachs. In the transportation sector Siebert Brandford Shank stands out having led some of the nation’s most prominent bond issues.”

SBSCO’s record setting 2010 included senior managing some of the nation’s largest municipal bond issuances:

State of California General Obligations Bonds - $4.5 billion Issue (Joint Bookrunner);

City of Chicago general obligation bonds - $793 million;

Michigan Finance Authority - $743 million;

City of New York General Obligation Bonds – $675 million;

State of Connecticut General Obligation Bonds - $567 million (Joint Bookrunner);

New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation - $329 million;

Prominent 2010 SBSCO Transportation and Airport Led Municipal Bond Issues:

Los Angeles International Airport senior lien bonds revenue bonds - $930 million;

San Diego County Airport - $573 million;

Massachusetts Port Authority - $317 million;

Illinois Tollway - $279 million (Joint Bookrunner);

Pennsylvania Turnpike - $244 million;

Wayne County Airport - $231 million;

Clark County Airport - $132 million;

Final 2010 Rankings of the Top Ten Negotiated Senior Managers on Wall Street Include (According to The Bond Buyer):

Citi Bank of America

Merrill Lynch

JP Morgan Securities LLC

Morgan Stanley

Goldman Sachs & Co.

Barclays Capital

RBC Capital Markets

Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.

Wells Fargo & Co.

Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc.

Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC is a national underwriter of municipal bonds with offices in 20 cities.

The firm has provided municipal underwriting and financial advisory services to state and local governments across the nation for the funding of education, housing, health services, transportation, utilities, capital facilities, redevelopment and general infrastructure since 1996. The firm maintains headquarters in Oakland and New York City with offices in Anchorage, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, DC.

NAACP Honors Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The NAACP honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the federal holiday celebrating his life and achievements.

Dr. King is considered the formative figure in the modern fight for civil rights. He led numerous boycotts, marches and rallies in the 1950’s and 1960’s, including the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 1957 Dr. King earned the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s most prestigious honor.

“Dr. King’s legacy looms large in the work of all those who follow him in his cause,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting injustice in all forms. With that attitude, he grew a small social movement in Birmingham, Alabama into a national crusade that changed the course of our country’s history. His example reminds us how important it is to do what we can, no matter how small, to make the world a better place.”

“Dr. King's crusade was deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the universal truths that unite the world's great belief systems, and the American Dream,” stated President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “He was a man of vision, conviction, and courage. Just as his work was inspired by the NAACP, we are inspired by his example. We will finish his work to eliminate economic exploitation and racial injustice. As Dr. King reminds us in his Letter from a Birmingham jail, only in embracing fairness and opportunity for all can we ensure America will finally be America for all Americans."

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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