Category Archives: Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College
Italo M. Brown, MPH, is a third year medical student at Meharry Medical College. He holds a BS from Morehouse College, and an MPH in epidemiology and social and behavioral sciences from Boston University, School of Public Health. He is a Health Policy Scholar at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College.
In an ad-hoc poll among classmates, I recently inquired about the most important date (in 2013) to a second year medical student. The overwhelming majority of respondents cited their respective STEP 1 exam dates as most important, followed closely by the season finales of ABC’s Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. While the top three responses are noteworthy, the one date that should bear the most gravity in the minds of medical students across cohorts is October 1st.
This October marks the launch of open enrollment for health insurance exchanges, a much-anticipated provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA seeks to reduce the number of nonelderly uninsured Americans by half; in other words, a projected 20 million new patients will enter the health care system over the next 18 months.
Regina Stokes Offodile, MD, CHSE, is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Education, Division of Clinical Skills and Competencies at Meharry Medical College. She currently instructs first- and second-year medical students on clinical skills, physician patient interaction, and clinical correlations of breast disease. Her research interests include cultural competency. She is pursuing a Masters in Health Professions Education at Vanderbilt University. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.
Cultural diversity in the health care workforce may be something that many have not thought about or considered a topic of concern. It is a concept that health care providers, health care delivery systems, and hospitals need to have on their radar. Having a culturally diverse workforce is a matter of patient safety. Employing a diverse workforce increases the likelihood of having employees who understand how a wide cross section of patients looks at disease, its diagnosis and treatment. A diverse workforce may also address the language barriers and cultural disconnect that may exist in some health care delivery systems.
In order to meet the increasing culturally diverse patrons of health care, there will be a need to have a corresponding change in the health care workforce. There will also be a burden on medical schools and residency training programs to produce culturally competent physicians, and to increase the number of physicians who are able to interact with and treat a culturally diverse patient population.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College will graduate six scholars with certificates in health policy during Meharry Medical College’s 138th Commencement Exercise this weekend. Having completed the Center’s health policy education program, the scholars are poised to join the nation's leading health policy experts, researchers, and analysts. They will focus on caring for minority and underserved communities in their careers.
The graduating scholars are:
- Kevin Blythe, MSPH, School of Medicine
- Lamercie Saint Hilaire, School of Medicine
- Ashley Huderson, School of Graduate Studies and Research
- Brandon Morgan, School of Dentistry
- Rebbie S. Timmons, School of Graduate Studies and Research
- Nadia Winston, School of Graduate Studies and Research
Human Capital News Roundup: Conflict resolution strategies, the federal cigarette tax, patient outcomes at Magnet hospitals, 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:
RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Physician Faculty Scholars alumnus Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH, is co-author of a study that finds older patients are routinely prescribed potentially harmful drugs, particularly in the South. Although the specific reasons for the regional differences are unknown, the researchers hypothesize factors like education, socioeconomic status, and access to quality medical care might be to blame, the New York Times Well Blog reports. NPR and Nurse.com are among the other outlets to report on the findings.
Fierce Healthcare reports on a study led by RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Kelly Doran, MD, that finds frequent use of the emergency department at Veterans Health Administration facilities is often due to “severely compromised life circumstances,” rather than poor access to outpatient health care. The study raises questions about the degree to which increasing access to outpatient care, as the Affordable Care Act aims to do, will reduce emergency department use.
Manish K. Sethi, MD, a health policy associate at the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, spoke to the Leaf Chronicle about a program he started at Cameron College Prep Middle School in Nashville to teach teens conflict resolution strategies in an effort to reduce violence in the Nashville area. Read a Q&A with Sethi about the program.
Jamila Williams, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor and health policy associate at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, and associate program director of Meharry’s preventive medicine residency program. Sangita Chakrabarty, MD, MSPH, FACOEM, is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and director of Meharry’s occupational medicine residency program. This post is part of the "Health Care in 2013" series.
Often we are asked: “Is preventive medicine a real subspecialty?” Why yes, Virginia, it is real. Preventive medicine is a medical specialty that incorporates population-based and clinical approaches to health care, and focuses on keeping individuals healthy through a holistic approach to patient care. And to that end, integrative medicine is real and here to stay as well.
According to the Institute of Medicine Workshop Summary, Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public: A Summary of the February 2009 Summit, integrative medicine can be described as orienting the health care process to create a seamless engagement by patients and caregivers of the full range of physical, psychological, social, preventive, and therapeutic factors known to be effective and necessary for the achievement of optimal health throughout the life span. (Institute of Medicine, 2009 and Bravewell Collaborative Report, June 2010).
The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” will authorize funding for activities to enhance integrative medicine and preventive medicine education. Ultimately these enhanced education opportunities will lead to an improved public health workforce. Meharry Medical College’s (MMC) preventive and occupational medicine programs are among the 16 recipients of this funding. It will be used to incorporate evidence-based integrative medicine curricula in its accredited preventive medicine residency program and improve clinical teaching in both preventive and integrative medicine.
An APHA Presentation: Addressing Racial Health Disparities with Culturally Competent Interventions Delivered from the African American Church
By Daniel L. Howard, PhD, executive director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. The Center’s mission is to provide leadership in health policy education, research and reform, while improving the health and health care of underserved communities. This post is part of a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.
This week, I am part of a team that had the honor of being chosen to conduct a presentation on mental health in African American faith-based communities at the 140th Annual Meeting and Exposition for the American Public Health Association (APHA). This is a significant topic for clinicians, researchers and policy-makers to consider when addressing mental health needs for African American individuals and their communities.
The Surgeon General’s Report Supplement (2001) noted that science can offer effective treatments for most disorders. However, it noted, “Americans do not share equally in the best that science has to offer.” Numerous others researchers have concluded that publicly provided behavioral health services must be improved for ethnic minorities.
Research has consistently shown that, despite significant prevalence of mental health issues in the United States, most individuals do not seek treatment for these issues. Historically, research has shown that African Americans are even less likely to seek mental health treatment than their Caucasian counterparts. There are several reasons for this that are not exclusive to, but do include, the stigma that surrounds mental health in African American communities, the perceptions of mental health in African American communities, and the limited mental health resources available to address mental health needs in the community.
Despite the indication that the majority of mental health service needs for African Americans are unmet, there has been a strong and consistent response from the African American church to serve as the surrogate for the medical sector. Many published studies have found that African American churches have strong potential to serve as a highly effective gateway for the successful delivery of health intervention. The compatibility between health and wellness and African American churches, and particularly between mental health wellness and African American churches, can be attributed to several factors including the church’s consistent tradition of supporting its members and the inherent emphasis on the healing of psychological ills.
This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio. The mission of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College is to provide leadership in health policy education along with research and reform on a national, state and local level while continually supporting the historic mission of Meharry Medical College: to improve the health and health care of minority and underserved communities.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College connects scholars to address health policy solutions, bridging experiences and disciplines from sociology, economics and political science. Each one travels a different road.
Cheryl Chun’s path to medical school began in a high school math classroom.
Teaching in DC public schools taught Cheryl Chun important lessons. Some of her best students missed class while waiting in line at a free clinic with a sick, non-English speaking parent, to assist with translation. Another student was too exhausted to attend class after waiting all night in an emergency room to receive treatment for an asthma attack. Chun found students’ lack of health care access hurt their education.
“I had students who wanted to be in class but the realities of their lives just got in the way,” Chun explained. Watching her students struggle with access to good health and the myriad of social and economic inequalities that restricted their educational access convinced Chun, 28, to return to school to become a physician. She was committed to practicing in a medically underserved community. So, Chun chose the Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, where social scientists, policy experts and medical professionals grapple with complex social conditions in search of solutions rooted in health equity.
Human Capital News Roundup: Paying patients for tissue donation, intermittent explosive disorder, effect of diet on menopause, 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 and grantees. Some recent examples:
Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, chaired an Institute of Medicine panel that last week recommended soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan undergo annual screenings for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Associated Press and Health Day News are among the outlets to report on the recommendations.
Reuters reports that RWJF Clinical Scholar Katherine Neuhausen, MD, co-authored an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine to accompany a study examining the effects of upcoming changes in Medicare and Medicaid payment policies on safety-net hospitals. Instead of penalizing struggling safety net hospitals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and state Medicaid agencies should design incentive programs that reward safety-net hospitals for improving patient experience and quality, they write.
Dominick L. Frosch, PhD, an alumnus of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program and recipient of an Investigator Award, continues to receive media coverage for his study that finds most patients are unwilling to speak up when they disagree with their care providers. Reuters reports on the findings. Read an RWJF Human Capital Blog Q&A with Frosch on his study.
Last week was the International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora (ICHAD), which convened experts from a variety of fields to discuss the health and social experience of African descendants in the Western hemisphere. Below, two scholars from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College who attended the conference talk about the experience. Courtney Sinclair Thomas, BS, is a 2011 health policy fellow and doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University, and Erika Leslie, MSPH, is a 2012 health policy fellow and doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University.
Human Capital Blog: Why did you decide to attend the International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora?
Courtney Sinclair Thomas: I decided to attend ICHAD because thus far, my research has been focused on the health of African Americans in the United States. However, I realize that the shared history of the Transatlantic slave trade unites members of the Diaspora in unique ways. I wanted to learn more about the experiences of Blacks from throughout the Diaspora so that I could gain insight into the phenomenon of "race," which has such a significant impact on our health and life chances.
HCB: Please explain the ways that being a descendant of slavery can affect individual, family and population health today.
Sinclair Thomas: Being a descendent of slavery has major impacts on health today. I am interested in social determinants of health, and the experience of slavery has left an entire race at greater risk for many health conditions. This is particularly due to increased chronic stresses, discrimination, and lower social status and access to opportunities.
Last week was the International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora (ICHAD), which convened experts from a variety of fields to discuss the health and social experience of African descendants in the Western hemisphere. Below, two scholars from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College who attended the conference talk about the experience. Helena Dagadu, MPH, is a 2011 health policy fellow and doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University, and Tulani Washington-Plaskett, MS, is a Fall 2011 health policy scholar and second-year medical student at Meharry Medical College.
Human Capital Blog: Why did you decide to attend the International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora?
Helena Dagadu: When I met Dr. LaVeist almost two years ago, he shared his idea about ICHAD with me. As he described his vision for the conference, I knew I had to be a part of it. My research and policy interests fit directly with the spirit of ICHAD to both understand and address health disparities among people of African descent. I also attended because this was an opportunity to meet people from different disciplines and gain some insights from their respective perspectives.