united states department of health and human services

Join us for a Tumblr #AnswerTime on the Electoral College!

On Thursday, January 5, at 11 am ET / 8 am PT Oliver Potts and Amy Bunk from the Office of the Federal Register will be answering your questions about the Electoral College here on @usnatarchives​:

  • Who selects the Electors?
  • How is it possible for the electoral vote to produce a different result than the nationwide popular vote?
  • What is the difference between the winner-takes-all rule and proportional voting, and which states follow which rule?
  • Can electoral votes be contested when Congress counts the votes in January?

The Electoral College:

The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The Founding Fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. This process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress.

The Federal Register:

The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) is a part of the National Archives. The OFR coordinates the functions of the Electoral College on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, the States, the Congress, and the American People. The OFR operates as an intermediary between the governors and secretaries of state of the States and the Congress. It also acts as a trusted agent of the Congress in the sense that it is responsible for reviewing the legal sufficiency of the certificates before the House and Senate accept them as evidence of official State action.

About Oliver & Amy:

Oliver Potts became the Director of the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) in 2015. His 15-year career in federal government included serving as Deputy Executive Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. Potts holds a BA in Government and Politics from George Mason University and a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Amy Bunk is the Director of Legal Affairs and Policy for the Office of the Federal Register, where she provides legal support to staff who review documents submitted for publication in the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations. She received her JD cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law.

Ask Oliver and Amy about the Electoral College!

Trump names anti-abortion leader Yoest to top HHS post
The assistant secretary of public affairs shapes communications efforts for the entire agency.

Charmaine Yoest, tapped to be assistant secretary of public affairs, is a senior fellow at American Values. She is the former president of Americans United for Life, which has been instrumental in advancing anti-abortion legislation at the state level to restrict access to the procedure.


“Ms. Yoest has a long record of seeking to undermine women’s access to health care and safe, legal abortion by distorting the facts, and her selection shows yet again that this administration is pandering to extreme conservatives and ignoring the millions of men and women nationwide who support women’s constitutionally protected health care rights and don’t want to go backward,“ Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

AUL’s website — which states that the group offers state lawmakers 32 different pieces of model legislation to restrict access to abortion — characterizes Yoest as “public enemy #1” for abortion rights organizations.

“It is unacceptable that someone with a history of promoting myths and false information about women’s health is appointed to a government position whose main responsibility is to provide the public with accurate and factual information,” added Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood.

What to Know About Endometriosis, the Painful Condition That Sent Lena Dunham to the Hospital

During this week’s Met Gala, Lena Dunham was rushed to the hospital for complications following a surgery she had in April—her fifth operation in a year to treat her endometriosis. The actress later Instagrammed a photo from her hospital bed, assuring fans that she’s “much healthier than I was a year ago,” despite the setback.

Dunham isn’t the only celebrity who’s spoken out about her struggle with endometriosis, which she’s endured since her teen years. In recent years, Julianne Hough, Jillian Michaels, and Whoopi Goldberg, among other stars, have shared their experiences with the disease, as well.

That’s not surprising, considering how common endometriosis is: According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the condition may affect more than 11% of women between ages 15 and 44. Still, many women are confused or embarrassed about their symptoms, or feel ashamed of their diagnosis, says Mamie McLean, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Dr. McLean has not treated Dunham, but she has helped many patients in similar situations. Here’s what she wants every woman to know about this debilitating—but often very treatable—condition.

It starts when tissue grows in the wrong place

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium—the tissue that lines the inside of a woman’s uterus—begins to grow in places it shouldn’t: the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the lining of the pelvis, for example. (In rare cases, it can grow in other organs throughout the body, as well.)

But endometrial tissue doesn’t function like tissue in the rest of the body. Because it’s involved in menstruation, it thickens, breaks down, and bleeds once a month or so. And that continues to happen, no matter where the tissue is in the body.

In the uterus, broken down endometrial tissue leaves the body each month during a woman’s period. In other parts of the body, it becomes trapped and can irritate surrounding tissues and organs.

It can be extremely painful, or completely painless

When this happens, cysts (called endometriomas) and scar tissue can form. For many women, this can cause severe pain—during their periods, during sex, or during bowel movements or urination. They might also experience symptoms such as heavy bleeding, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea during their periods.

But the disease is different for everyone, says Dr. McClean, and scientists’ understanding of how it affects pain sensation is still poorly understood.

“We’ll see patients who have very advanced disease and lots of scar tissue, and they had no idea they had this condition,” she says. “Either they’ve had no pain, or they figured it was normal and learned to live with it. For others, they’ll have very minimal disease and very severe pain.”

RELATED: 7 Endometriosis Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

It’s a common cause of infertility

Scarring and tissue growth in the ovaries can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant, as well. “The normal process by which the sperm travels up the fallopian tube to meet the egg simply can’t happen, because there’s too much structural distortion,” says Dr. McClean.

Even if the sperm is able to get through, she adds, underlying inflammation can sometimes lead to poor implantation or poor egg quality.

She does note, however, that not everyone with endometriosis has trouble conceiving—so if a woman is not trying to get pregnant, she should always use protection even if she does have the disease.

It may be caused by “retrograde menstruation”

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes endometriosis, or why certain women are affected. In many cases, doctors think it has something to do with “retrograde menstruation,” when blood containing endometrial cells flows backward into the abdominal cavity rather than out of the body.

“Most women are able to absorb that tissue,” says Dr. McClean. “But in some women, due to immune circumstances or genetic circumstances that we don’t really understand yet, that tissue can implant inside the abdomen and lead to many of these symptoms.”

In any case, endometriosis is not caused by anything a woman did or could have prevented. “That’s what feels so frustrating about this condition,” says Dr. McClean. “When I tell a woman that her ability to conceive will be very challenging and there’s nothing she could have done differently, it really feels like an unfair situation you’re simply just born into.”

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Treatments do work for many women

Endometriosis is a chronic condition, and there is no absolute cure, says Dr. McClean. But for many women, treatments can relieve pain and discomfort, improve fertility, and help them live normal lives.

Depending on the severity of endometriosis and its symptoms, treatments can vary from pain medications and hormonal therapies (like birth control pills) to surgery. Women who want to get pregnant may also need to use assistive reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization.

Surgery for endometriosis can range from laparoscopic “keyhole” procedures, in which endometrial tissue is cut away or burned with a laser, to a full hysterectomy. For many women, surgery will greatly reduce pain and symptoms. But for about 20% of patients, endometriosis will come back.

Unfortunately, says Dr. McClean, some women do require multiple surgeries—and each subsequent surgery is less likely to solve the problem. “It’s often the first surgery that gives the best relief,” she says.

“Each additional surgery tends to increase your risk of complications and decrease the reward in terms of reduction in pain,” she adds. Complications, especially for women who have had repeat procedures, can include bowel injury, pelvic infection, or damage to blood vessels or nerves.

Other therapies can help, as well

Therapies today are able to attack endometriosis from hormonal, musculoskeletal, and neurological standpoints, says Dr. McClean, and an experienced physician can help women find the combination of treatments that best addresses their symptoms and needs. This could include medication, surgery, and even pelvic physical therapy.

Dr. McClean recommends that any woman who’s struggling with pelvic pain that’s bad enough to limit their daily activities seek an evaluation from her doctor.

“Women take it very personally when they have a condition or disease that causes this kind of pain or may limit their ability to have children,” she says. “But I think with National Infertility Awareness Week and the availability of support groups—and with celebrities like Lena Dunham speaking publicly about their experiences—more women are now talking about it and getting the help they need.“

Jaha Dukureh, 24, is a survivor of female genital mutilation who grew up in Gambia and now resides in the United States. “Every day I live with the fact that something was taken away from me at a very young age. Not understanding what it would have meant or felt like if I had not gone through FGM is something that will forever haunt me,” she writes. 

Jaha has started a Change.org petition urging the Obama administration and Department of Health and Human Services to commission a report about the number of girls that are impacted as well as the number of girls that are at risk in the United States. Read more in Jaha’s own words.

20 years ago, Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, sister of Diana Ross of The Supremes, became the first African American to be appointed dean of a predominantly white medical school in the United States when she is appointed dean of the medical school at Ohio University. She has also worked in private practice, for the U.S. Public Health Service, and on numerous committees.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in a housing project, Barbara Ross-Lee faced discrimination as a young African American woman. Growing up in inner city Detroit, she and her sister shared a fondness for show business, performing with their brothers and sisters in the church choir. But while Diana Ross pursued a career in music that led her from urban poverty to celebrity as the lead singer of the “Supremes,” Barbara Ross made her mark in the sciences.

Barbara Ross began her pre-medical studies at Detroit’s Wayne State University in 1960, during the growth of the Civil Rights movement. Although a few medical schools offered admission to minority students there were no federal or private funding to help support students from poor families. At Wayne State, her pre-medical advisor did not believe women should be physicians, and so she declined to authorize Ross’s request to study human anatomy as her major. Ross graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry in 1965 and, abandoning her original goal of practicing medicine went on to train as a teacher.

She joined the National Teacher Corps, a federal program, in which she could earn a degree while teaching simultaneously in the Detroit public school system. After completing the program in 1969, a new educational opportunity arose. Michigan State University opened a school of osteopathic medicine in Pontiac, a Detroit suburb, and so Ross applied and was accepted. As a single mother she needed help with childcare to be able to focus on her studies, so she sold her house and moved in with her own mother.

After graduating from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1973, Dr. Ross-Lee ran a solo family practice in Detroit until 1984, when she joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a consultant on education in the health professions. As well as serving on numerous committees Dr. Ross-Lee was also community representative on the Governor’s Minority Health Advisory Committee for the state of Michigan from 1990 to 1993. In 1991 she was also the first osteopathic physician to participate in the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.

In 1993, Ross-Lee became the first African American woman dean of a United States medical school. She remained dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of Ohio University until 2001. During her tenure there, she reformulated the entire course of study, and drafted a women’s curriculum, earning a reputation as a “change agent.” “It is my goal,” she said, “to establish a seamless continuum of education rather than all of the fragments that we have now; to be able to incorporate learning strategies as opposed to the old memorize-and-regurgitate methodology; and to train a physician who is just not technically skilled but who is also capable of being responsible and accountable for the health status of the person he or she treats.” For Barbara Ross-Lee, medical education is a collaborative enterprise between teachers and students, which, in turn, influences the interaction between doctors and patients.

Dr. Ross-Lee is a fellow of the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians, a member of the American Osteopathic Association’s Bureau of Professional Education, and the Trilateral International Medical Workforce Group. She was recently appointed a member of the National Institutes of Health’s Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health and served as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ross-Lee and her husband, Edmond Beverly, have raised five children—two daughters and three sons—all of whom have pursued professional careers.

Dr. Ross-Lee was awarded the “Magnificent 7” Award presented in 1993 by Business and Professional Women/USA. She has received the Women’s Health Award from Blackboard African-American National Bestsellers for her contributions to women’s health, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and an honorary doctorate of science from the New York Institute of Technology. Ross-Lee has lectured extensively, and has published more than thirty scholarly articles addressing a variety of medical and health-care issues.

In 2001, Dr. Ross-Lee was appointed vice president for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs at the New York Institute of Technology, and in 2002, she became dean of the New York Institute of Technology’s New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

Monday’s decision and the order on Thursday were dual blows to the Obama administration’s efforts to provide contraception coverage, said Walter Dellinger, who was acting United States solicitor general in the Clinton administration.

“Before the Hobby Lobby ruling women had guaranteed contraceptive coverage as part of their employment health insurance,” he said. “After today, it is clear that their access to contraception is by no means guaranteed given the administrative complexities the court has now imposed upon” the Department of Health and Human Services.

Justice Sotomayor said the majority had not only introduced pointless complexity into an already byzantine set of regulations and but had also revised its Hobby Lobby decision.

That decision, Justice Sotomayor said, endorsed an arrangement allowing nonprofit groups to sign a form that would transfer the delivery of free contraception under the Affordable Care Act to others. But Thursday’s order rejected the mandatory use of the forms for Wheaton College in Illinois.

Justice Sotomayor said the ruling reached beyond Wheaton and could lead to similar results at many other nonprofit religious organizations that have similar concerns. “The issuance of an injunction in this case will presumably entitle hundreds or thousands of other objectors to the same remedy,” she said.


The New York Times, “Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices.”

Jesus Christ almighty.

anonymous asked:

If you became president, who would be in your cabinet? (It can be anyone dead or alive) In the positions you wouldn't abolish of course.

I was really excited to answer this ask I’m going off the official list off the White House website. I’ll be striking through positions I would eliminate. 

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