Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research
Investigators Jason Schnittker, PhD, (’09) and Christopher Uggen, PhD, (’09) published “Out and Down: Incarceration and Psychiatric Disorders” in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, examining the correlation between incarceration and psychiatric disorders. The study found that most common psychiatric disorders among former inmates, including impulse control disorders, emerge in childhood and adolescence, and therefore predate incarceration.

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Clinical Scholars
Sidney Coupet, DO, MPH, (’13) published an article, “International Health Electives: Strengthening Graduate Medical Education,” in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (December 2012). Coupet proposes that graduate medical education programs incorporate international health electives into their accredited residency programs, a step that could potentially strengthen them while making them more appealing to qualified candidates.

Jen Edelman, MD, (’12) released a study, “Receipt of Opioid Analgesics by HIV-Infected and Uninfected Patients,” in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The paper lays the groundwork for answering important questions about the impact of opioid analgesics on health outcomes. It also highlights the frequency with which these medications are used, including among a vulnerable population.

Jason Lott, MD, MSHP, (’14) published a Perspectives piece, “The Bystander Effect in Medical Care,” in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 3, 2013. The piece addresses the “bystander effect”—the human tendency to be less likely to offer help in emergency situations when other people are present—as a note of caution when a large number of doctors and other professionals are involved in the care of a single hospitalized patient. Lott warns about the potential decay of coordination of care when the responsibility for the patient is dispersed across many physicians.

Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, (’10) published a study, “Using Digital Communications and Social Media to Redraw the Cardiac Care Map,” that was featured in the December 2012 issue of Health Affairs as one of ten stories highlighting the recipients of the RWJF Young Leaders Award. The article describes Merchant’s effort to map every automated external defibrillator (AED) in the United States, based on the success of a similar effort in Pennsylvania that used crowdsourcing and social media to engage the public in locating AEDs.

Aasim Padela, MD, MSc, (’11) co-authored an article that was featured in the September issue of Medicine Law. “Brain Death: The Challenges of Translating Medical Science into Islamic Bioethical Discourse” analyzes the arguments for and against the acceptance of brain death within the context of the deliberation of a representative juridical council. The paper is intended to shed light on how Islamic ethical principles can contribute to bioethical deliberation.

In November, Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, (’12) published a Perspectives piece in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “Residents’ Duty Hours—Toward an Empirical Narrative.” The essay offers an interesting perspective on the debate about residents’ hours and duty-hour limits. It discusses the challenges of doing a controlled trial to determine the optimal number of hours interns and residents should work.

RWJF and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Chuck Scales, MD, (’13) contributed commentary and was quoted in the December 2012 issue of Health magazine’s “Live Healthy/Gyno Update.” This was in response to Scales’ widely publicized 2012 study in European Urology, “Prevalence of Kidney Stones in the United States,” which demonstrated that the number of people with kidney stones in the U.S. has increased by about 50 percent since the mid-1990s.

Anita Vashi, MD, (’13) published a study, “Use of Hospital-Based Acute Care among Patients Recently Discharged from the Hospital” in the January 22, 2013, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study raises concerns that many more patients require acute medical care after hospital discharge than previously recognized. The study looked at over five million patients who were discharged from acute care hospitals across three states—California, Florida, and Nebraska—in 2008–2009, and found that nearly 18 percent returned to either the emergency room or were readmitted within 30 days following discharge.

Cross-Program
Healthy Eating Research-New Connections alumna (’07) and 2007 awardee of the Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Naa Oyo Kwate, PhD, and New Connections alumna, Melody Goodman, MS, PhD, (’07) and colleagues were co-authors of the article, “Spatial and Racial Patterning of Real Estate Broker Listings in New York City,” in the October 2012 issue of the Review of Black Political Economy.

Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Brendan Nyhan, PhD, (’09) was mentioned in the Washington Post Wonkblog article, “Why Talk of Non-existent Obamacare Death Panels Won’t Die,” and in a piece by co-researcher, 2007 awardee of the Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Peter Ubel, MD, “Why It Is So Difficult to Kill the Death Panel Myth” on Forbes online. Both articles refer to Nyhan’s and Ubel’s forthcoming research in Medical Care.

Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus (’94) and 2011 awardee of the Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Harold Pollack, PhD, MPP, published an article in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings in The Nation (December 20) entitled, “We Fear Each Other, When Guns Themselves Are the Real Danger.”

Executive Nurse Fellows
Victoria Niederhauser, DrPH, MSN, APRN, PNP-C, (’08) dean of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville-College of Nursing, published “Creating Innovative Models of Clinical Nursing Education” in the Journal of Nursing Education last October. The study focuses on finding innovative ways to train nursing students for the challenges they will face in today’s health care environment.

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program
Jose Pineda, MD, (’09) published a study in The Lancet Neurology (January 2013) that has important implications for treating children with traumatic brain injuries. These children are more likely to survive and avoid long-term disabilities when treated aggressively as part of a designated neurocritical care program that brings together neurologists, neurosurgeons, and trauma and other critical-care specialists, according to the study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. For the study, Pineda and colleagues studied the outcomes of 123 cases at St. Louis Children’s Hospital before and after it launched such a pediatric neurocritical care program in September 2005. “We were amazed by the results,” said Pineda, assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology, and director of the program at St. Louis Children’s. “We analyzed the data rigorously, and we found that our new program of care resulted in a striking improvement in outcomes for children with severe traumatic brain injury. Mortality for these children was dramatically reduced, and we also noted a meaningful improvement in outcomes for survivors.” The study was covered by ABC-30 (Fresno, Calif.) and other outlets.

Health & Society Scholars
Jason Block, MD, MPH, (’07) co-authored “Proximity to Supermarkets Associated with Higher Body Mass Index Among Overweight and Obese Preschool-age Children,” which was published in Preventive Medicine (December 2012). The authors used baseline data from 438 children ages 2–6.9 years with a BMI greater than or equal to the 85th percentile, who participated in a randomized controlled trial in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2009. They also used a geographic information system to determine proximity to six types of food establishments. Children living within one mile of a supermarket tended to have a higher BMI than those living two miles or more from a large grocery store.

Jason Fletcher, PhD, (’10) published “Why Have Tobacco Control Policies Stalled? Using Genetic Moderation to Examine Policy Impacts” in PLOS One (December 2012). Fletcher aims to determine the importance of genetics in explaining response to tobacco taxation policy by testing the potential of gene-policy interaction in determining adult tobacco use. The study provides novel evidence of “gene-policy” interaction and suggests a genetic mechanism for the large differences in response to tobacco policies. The inability for these policies to reduce use for individuals with specific genotypes suggests alternative methods may be needed to further reduce use. The study was covered in the New York Times.

Annice Kim, PhD, (’05) has published a study that examines the potential impact of banning tobacco displays and ads at the point of sale (POS) on youth outcomes. The study, “Influence of Tobacco Displays and Ads on Youth: A Virtual Store Experiment,” released in the January 2013 edition of Pediatrics, found that policies that ban tobacco product displays at the POS may help reduce youth smoking by deterring youth from purchasing tobacco products at retail stores.

Jose Pagan, PhD, (’03) published “Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Colorectal Cancer Screening is Likely to Require More Than Access to Care” in Health Affairs (December 2012). Colorectal endoscopy is an effective screening intervention for colorectal cancer, but rates of the procedure are still far below those recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Pagan and colleagues examined whether factors such as the supply of gastroenterologists and the proportion of the local population without health insurance coverage were related to the likelihood of having a colorectal endoscopy, and whether these factors explained racial and ethnic differences in those having the procedure. They found that improving access to health care at the county and individual levels through expanded health insurance coverage could improve colorectal endoscopy use, but might not be sufficient to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer screening. Policy action to address these disparities will need to consider other structural and cultural factors that may be inhibiting colorectal cancer screening.

David Rehkopf, ScD, MPH, (’06) assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University, published a study in the February issue of Social Science & Medicine. The study, “Education and Obesity at Age 40 Among American Adults,” examines the association between educational attainment and obesity, helping to advance the study of social determinants of health and risk factors for obesity.

Brendan Saloner, PhD, (’12) co-authored “Blacks and Hispanics Are Less Likely Than Whites to Complete Addiction Treatment, Largely Due to Socio-economic Factors,” which was published in Health Affairs (January 2013). The authors examined national data and found more than one-third of the approximately two million people entering publicly funded substance abuse treatment in the United States do not complete treatment. Additionally, racial and ethnic minorities with addiction disorders, who constitute approximately 40 percent of the admissions in publicly funded substance abuse treatment programs, may be particularly at risk for poor outcomes. The Affordable Care Act could reduce financial barriers to treatment for minorities, but further steps, such as increased Medicaid funding for residential treatment and better cultural training for providers, would improve the likelihood of treatment completion and would increase treatment providers’ cultural competence.

Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research
Eric Klinenberg, PhD, (’03) co-authored an op-ed piece, “How to Keep Talented Teachers from Leaving,” in the Christian Science Monitor in January 2013. The piece focuses on a study that looked at teacher’s values and aspects of the profession in an effort to recruit and prepare teachers.

Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, MPhil, (’07) and Thomas Gallagher, MD, (’07) co-authored a study, “Disclosure-and-Resolution Programs That Include Generous Compensation Offers May Prompt a Complex Patient Response,” that appeared in Health Affairs (December 2012). The study investigates the effects of various compensation offers on patients’ responses to disclosures of medical errors compared to other offer levels, and to disclosure, explanation, and apology alone. The study explores topics including patients’ likeliness to seek legal advice and accept compensation, and the impact of disclosure on doctor-patient trust and relationships. Findings suggest that patients would welcome the routine inclusion of compensation offers in the disclosure process, but that patients’ responses to the offers are more complex than might be assumed.

New Connections
Melody Goodman, MS, PhD, (’07) co-authored the editorial “Multivariate or Multivariable Regression” with Bertha Hidalgo, PhD, MPH (a member of the broader New Connections network), in the November 2012 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Hidalgo and Goodman also co-authored “Validation of Self-Reported Measures in Health Disparities Research,” an editorial published in the Journal of Biometrics & Biostatistics.

Nurse Faculty Scholars
Jennifer Doering, PhD, RN, (’08) associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing, was primary investigator on the study, “The Physical and Social Environment of Sleep in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Postpartum Women,” published in the November 2012 issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. The study results indicate that there are certain nursing interventions that can be self-managed and can improve the sleep of postpartum mothers.

Jason Farley, PhD, MPH, CRNP, (’12) recently published “Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Molecular Epidemiology Of MRSA Nasal And Axillary Colonization Among Psychiatric Patients on Admission to an Academic Medical Center,” in the American Journal of Infection Control. The paper focuses on methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence in newly admitted psychiatric patients, as opposed to patients in the general hospital population. Farley is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and since 2003 has been a nurse practitioner at the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine AIDS Service.

Matthew McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, (’11) an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, recently published “Hospital Nursing and 30-Day Readmissions Among Medicare Patients with Heart Failure, Acute Myocardial Infarction, and Pneumonia” in the January 2013 issue of Medical Care.

Ruth Taylor-Piliae, PhD, RN, (’09) an assistant professor at the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona, will present research at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2013 that correlates Tai Chi exercise to reduced falls among stroke survivors. The study compared Tai Chi practitioners to survivors who received usual care or participated in a national fitness program for Medicare-eligible adults. It found that the stroke survivors who practiced Tai Chi had the fewest falls.

Tami Thomas, PhD, CPNP, RNC, (’09) assistant professor at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, published “Rural African American Parents’ Knowledge and Decisions about Human Papillomavirus Vaccination” in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. The study, conducted in three counties in rural Georgia, reveals what factors led to decisions about vaccinating or planning to vaccinate a child against HPV.

Scholars in Health Policy Research
Christopher Bail, PhD, (’11) authored “The Fringe Effect: Civil Society Organizations and the Evolution of Media Discourse about Islam Since the September 11th Attacks” in the December issue of American Sociological Review. The study used plagiarism detection software to compare thousands of press releases, newspaper articles, and TV transcripts about Muslims and found that anti-Muslim fringe organizations dominated the mass media via displays of fear and anger. Bail argues that created a “fringe effect” that realigned inter-organizational networks and altered the contours of mainstream discourse itself. The study received coverage on NBCNews.com and on Salon.com, as well as Yahoo News and the Huffington Post.

John Cawley, PhD, (’99) was mentioned in the research article, “Office Weight-Loss Contests Rise, Saboteurs and All” in the Wall Street Journal.

Dalton Conley, PhD, (’96) co-authored “Birth Weight, Infant Mortality, and Race: Twin Comparisons and Genetic/Environmental Inputs” in Social Science & Medicine. In the article, the authors use unique variation involved in twin births to attempt to untangle how genetic and prenatal environmental variation may make different contributions to infant health among white and black populations in the United States.

Darrick C. Hamilton, PhD, (’01) co-authored an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post, “If Not Race, Then Wealth: Why Universities Should Avoid Income as Proxy for Race-Based Admissions Policy,” which examines a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding race-based affirmative action in higher education.

Neale Mahoney, PhD, (’11) along with Lori Beaman, PhD, (’07) and Michael Greenstone, PhD, (’98) were all published in the December issue of American Economic Review. Mahoney authored a paper titled “Pricing and Welfare in Health Plan Choice”; Beaman authored “Who Gets the Job Referral? Evidence from a Social Networks Experiment”; and Greenstone authored “The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Output and Random Fluctuations in Weather: Reply.”

John R. Moran, PhD, (’97) authored “Slow Progress On Meeting Hospital Safety Standards: Learning from the Leapfrog Group’s Efforts” in the January 2013 issue of Health Affairs. Moran’s study is the first longitudinal assessment of how hospitals in specific cities and states initially selected by Leapfrog progressed on public reporting and adoption of standards requiring the use of computerized drug order entry and hospital intensivists.

Kimberly J. Morgan, PhD, (’01) authored “America’s Misguided Approach to Social Welfare: How the Country Could Get More for Less” in the January/February 2013 issue of Foreign Affairs. The article states that even though the amount of resources committed to welfare in America is great, the American way of distributing that money does less to reduce poverty and inequality than that of virtually any other rich democracy.

Jonathan B. Oberlander, PhD, (’95) authored the Perspective piece, “The Future of Obamacare.” in the Dec. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article outlined the challenges facing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and cost-control.

Abigail C. Saguy, PhD, (’00) has authored a new book, What’s Wrong with Fat? which was published January 3, 2013 by Oxford University Press. The book presents each of the various ways in which fat is understood in America today, examining the implications of understanding fatness as a health risk, as a disease, and as an epidemic, and revealing why we’ve come to understand the issue in these terms, despite considerable scientific uncertainty and debate.