Jul 11 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Emergency room use, immigration, helping youth think about the way they think, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

A new report that provides the first comprehensive assessment of the nation’s public health nurse workforce finds public health nurses have very high levels of job satisfaction, but concerns about job stability and compensation. The report also finds that public health departments struggle to hire nurses and fill vacancies. Among the outlets to report on the findings: Nurse.com, Fierce Healthcare, and HealthLeaders Media. Read more about the report here and here.

Patients with low socioeconomic status use emergency rooms (ERs) more often than primary care because they perceive ERs to be more convenient, less costly and of better quality, according to a study led by RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholars program alumna Shreya Kangovi, MD. Among the outlets to report on the findings: Kaiser Health NewsCapsules blog, Health Day, and Health Canal. Read more about the study.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a 2003 federal law that prohibited government-funded clinics from serving sex workers was also a smart public health decision, Celeste Watkins-Hayes, PhD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, writes in a blog post for The Atlantic. “These providers grapple with how to keep all populations safe, not just those engaging in legal and socially desirable behavior,” Watkins-Hayes writes. “As a result, the very people who need the most access to HIV preventive and treatment measures may not receive them … [not] allowing them to take a neutral stance that allows them to focus first and foremost on risk reduction … is counterproductive in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Jason Karlawish, MD, recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, spoke to WFSU (Tallahassee, Fla.) about the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease, including diagnosis and treatments that can reduce the disease’s burden on patients and their families. Read a post Karlawish wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about Alzheimer’s disease.

NBC News interviewed RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna Judith Levine, PhD, about her new book, Ain't No Trust: How Bosses, Boyfriends and Bureaucrats Fail Low-Income Mothers and Why It Matters. Her interviews with women about their experiences raising children in poverty revealed pervasive distrust, she says. “I was struck by how many women talked about their suspicions of others’ unreliability … in almost every area of [their] lives,” she told NBC News. “And this distrust keeps them from doing a lot of the things society wants them to do, like stay in jobs long-term, get married, hire child-care providers so they can go to work.”

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Sarah Szanton, PhD, CRNP, spoke to the Washington Post about the CAPABLE program, which she founded in Baltimore to help seniors “age in place.” The program sends teams of nurses, occupational therapists, and home maintenance workers to the homes of low-income seniors to make home and other modifications to help participants achieve functional goals and maintain their independence. Read more about the CAPABLE program.

Charging higher tuition for certain majors—a strategy some policy schools have experimented with for nearly 20 years—has had mixed results, according to a study by Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Kevin Stange, PhD. Stange’s study finds that the higher prices have produced 1.1 percent fewer engineers and 0.08 percent fewer business majors, Business Insider reports. Differential pricing has also produced 0.8 percent more nurses, likely because increasing demand for the major hasn’t been affected by price increases.

Investigator Award recipient Dorothy Roberts, JD, spoke to WBUR (Boston, Mass.) about the national conversation around race, and how we can continue to battle subtle racism and unequal treatment.

Helen B. Marrow, PhD, an alumna of the Scholars in Health Policy Research program, co-authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about immigration reform from a social science perspective. “Each passing generation of Mexican Americans does better than the one before at making economic gains and progressing toward full integration into U.S. society,” she writes. “When Mexicans have the opportunity to live and work legally in the United States, the new arrivals and their descendants are more likely to overcome disadvantages and, as immigrants have always done, become strong and constructive contributors to our diverse society.”

“Most serious violent events are almost Seinfeldian in their origin—someone saying something stupid to someone else, and that escalating and basically turning into a tragedy because someone had a handgun in their waistband at the time,” Investigator Award recipient Jens Ludwig, PhD, told NPR. To solve this problem, Ludwig and Harold Pollack, PhD, MPP, also an Investigator as well as an alumnus of the Scholars in Health Policy Research program, decided to test a program to get youth in Chicago to “think about the way they think” and recognize unconscious patterns of thought. At the end of the year, the program had resulted in 44 percent fewer arrests among the students who had been through the course.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Community violence, Emergency care, Human Capital, Human Capital News, Immigrants and refugees, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Medical, dental and nursing workforce, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nurses, Nursing, Research, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research