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Health and Wellness

Overview

Americans are facing a chronic health epidemic which is increasing healthcare spending and lowering quality of life. Constant stress and easy access to fast food has exacerbated these problems. Healthcare expenditures in the United States surpassed $2.3 trillion in 2008, with costs from chronic disease treatment accounting for over 75 percent of national health costs. Many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke are linked to dietary and lifestyle choices. Luckily, there are several promising avenues that can help Americans live more wholesome lives – such as practicing mindfulness, teaching social emotional learning and healthy eating.

Mindfulness 

I started a daily mindfulness practice a few years ago and immediately began to appreciate its practical benefits in my everyday life. It helps me harness more of my energy and pay better attention to what I am doing in relation to those around me. It can be utilized by hardworking Americans in a variety of contexts including in our schools, hospitals, military, and social services. Research shows mindfulness can help address stress related illnesses and lead to greater productivity. This is why I have created a space for other Representatives and staff to learn how to mediate and take a few minutes out of the busy days to have some quiet time.

In the classroom, teaching students how to control their emotions can help them be more successful, as well as make life easier on their teachers. Mindfulness techniques have also been proven to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – as well as those currently serving our country deal with the difficult realities of deployment. Mindfulness practices have the ability to unlock the potential of everyone from blue collar workers to white collar CEOs, and save the government money in the process. 

Social Emotional Learning 

In the last few years, I have become convinced of the necessity of teaching social and emotional learning skills to our children, and have worked with some great leaders in bringing the financial and intellectual skills and expertise to Youngstown and Warren City Schools. Social and emotional learning is a process that promotes the development of core personal competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships skills, and responsible decision-making – all within a safe, caring, and participatory learning environment.

In 2011, I introduced the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act to allow federal funding for teacher and principal training to be used for SEL programming. As we have seen in schools in our district, SEL helps increase attendance, decrease suspensions and behavioral incidences, and improve attention and participation among students. Creating a healthy and safe environment for students to learn is essential to a quality education. I was proud that language that will help expand and make the teaching of social and emotional learning more effective was included in the ESSA. Creating a healthy and safe environment for students to learn is essential to a quality education and I am proud this bill continues to advance this important cause. I will continue to support legislation that helps our young people both boost their academic potential and teach them how to build the relationships and skills necessary to be a productive member of the American workforce. 

Healthy Eating 

I enjoy eating hot wings, burgers, and fries as much as anyone else. There is nothing wrong with eating fast food or getting desert every now and then. However, many government policies make eating bad food the most convenient and affordable option. This cheap, unhealthy food is driving up the number of Americans with diet-related illnesses, like diabetes or heart disease, which is leading to increases in health care spending. Tax dollars are currently going to big producers for corn, soy, and wheat rather than to support smaller producers for locally sourced fruits and vegetables. By shifting subsidies away from highly processed foods, we will be able to move the system in a healthier direction. I will continue to fight to promote realistic solutions to help families access nutrient rich foods, increase utilization of community gardens, and educate Americans about what they are eating.

Salad Bars in Schools 

We must do more to help raise awareness and educate our children on how to eat healthier both at home and at school. Most children consume a least half of their meals at school, with more than 32 million participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 12 million participating in the School Breakfast Program. Research shows that children are much more likely to consume healthy fresh food if there is a salad bar available for children to build and create their own meal. However, the upfront cost of acquiring the equipment and the investment in planning and administering a salad bar can be too costly for most schools to undertake with existing resources. That is why I introduced the Salad Bars in Schools Act, which supports creating a grant program that would allow schools to work with existing non-profits that promote getting more salad bars into our children’s schools.

Enrich Act

Our medical system relies too heavily on responding to illness rather than promoting wellness. We need to be proactive in encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, rather than being reactive in responding to those who are unhealthy. One way to do this would be to help our those in the medical fields to treat the whole person, rather than just their illness, by including diet and daily exercise in their treatment options. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many physicians feel inadequately trained to provide proper nutrition advice. Furthermore, the same can be said for physical activity—although expert recommendations encourage more medical schools to teach physical activity, only 13 percent of medical schools integrate it into the curricula. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Expansion of Nutrition’s Role in Curricula and Healthcare (ENRICH) Act, which would create a grant program for U.S. Medical Schools and Osteopathic Colleges to create an integrated nutrition and physical activity curriculum program. 

More on Health and Wellness

May 22, 2020 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and John Katko (R-NY) and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to establish a Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Network. These grants would be available for eligible entities – including Indian tribes, qualified nonprofit organizations, and providers offering appropriate mental health and addiction services.

May 11, 2020 Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today announced $25.4 million in funding provided to Mercy Health Youngstown to continue providing COVID-19 health services to the Mahoning Valley. Mercy Health’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in Boardman is receiving $13,084,972 and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown is receiving $12,390,297. The CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, each supported by Congressman Ryan, provided $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response.

May 8, 2020 Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today announced a $436,324 grant to the Ohio North East Health System, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Youngstown, Ohio, to expand their capacity for coronavirus testing.

May 1, 2020 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Schumer, urging them to  strongly support efforts to include a “Heroes Fund” in the CARES 2.0 Act, which creates a $25,000 pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers, as well as a $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders.

May 1, 2020 Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio – Following Congressman Tim Ryan’s (OH-13) urging, the Trump Administration announced today that they have fixed a critical Medicare reimbursement issue for mental health providers.

April 29, 2020 Press Release

Washington, DC -- U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13),  Jason Crow (CO-06), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Katie Porter (CA-45) announced legislation to require the president to utilize the full power of the Defense Production Act to mobilize a federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is the House companion to the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act introduced earlier this morning by Senators Baldwin, Murphy, and Schumer.

April 14, 2020 Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio — Today, Representative Tim Ryan (OH-13) urged the Trump Administration to fix Medicare reimbursement issues for mental health providers. In a letter sent to Administrator Seema Verma of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Ryan called on the Administration to change two rules that have negatively impacted the quality and quantity of mental health services provided to clients.

April 10, 2020 Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today announced $989,773,417 in federal relief funds for Ohio hospitals and healthcare providers. Payments will begin going out today.

These funds will be distributed to 10,166 different hospitals and providers across the State of Ohio – a breakdown of individual disbursements had not yet been made available at the time of this release. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.

April 1, 2020 Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio – Tonight, after Congressman Tim Ryan’s urging, the U.S. Department of Treasury reversed its order and will now allow Social Security recipients who typically do not file taxes to receive their $1,200 check automatically without needing to submit any additional documents.

March 30, 2020 Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio —Congressman Tim Ryan applauds the launch of America Makes’ National Additive Manufacturing Resources to address the national health crisis and personal protective equipment shortage. In collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA),the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America Makes launched the next phase of the COVID-19 Health Care Needs and Additive Manufacturing (AM) Capabilities Repository, where additive manufacturers can upload 3D print designs to be reviewed and placed on the NIH 3D Print Exchange.

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