Category Archives: Food Marketing

Nov 7 2014

Will Menu Calorie Counts Help Whittle America’s Waistline?

By Sheree Crute

Maricelle Ramirez is a foot soldier in America’s battle against obesity. For three years, Ramirez has politely offered Boston area patrons of McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and Subway a $2 gift card in exchange for their estimates of the amount of calories in their fast-food feasts.

“I’ve met all types of people,” Ramirez says, recalling the surprise of encountering a nutritionist who was on her way out of McDonald’s after chowing down on a burger and fries. “She explained that she was just enjoying a meal because she had a craving for something indulgent, but she provided a very careful nutritional analysis of what she was eating.”

At the other end of the spectrum was an older woman leaving Kentucky Fried Chicken with a drumsticks-to-mashed potatoes spread for her family who confessed, “I don’t know much about the calorie content of the food, but it would really make a difference for me and my family if I had more information.”

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Nov 20 2013

In the Media: MTV Responds to Outcry over ‘Scrubbing In’

This is part of the November 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

MTV executives are attempting to mollify nurses and nursing allies who are outraged over a salacious new “reality” television show about a group of young travel nurses in California.

The show, “Scrubbing In” amplifies tawdry aspects of the personal lives of a handful of young nurses and minimizes the important, life-saving work they do, critics say.

The show disrespects “the most respected profession,” said Karen Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association.

MTV officials responded with a recent announcement that they would take a number of steps to address the outrage, according to The Truth About Nursing, an advocacy organization that works to improve media portrayals of nurses.

Actions include re-editing some episodes to put a greater emphasis on clinical nursing skills; posting online material to educate visitors about the real reality of nursing education and practice; and airing the show at a less prominent time, potentially slashing viewership.

After the show began airing in October, some nursing organizations called for its cancellation, while others called for a more far-reaching boycott of the channel and its sponsors.

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Nov 13 2013

RWJF Scholar Discusses Sugary Drinks, Messaging and Taxation

In the past four years, the U.S. beverage industry defeated efforts to levy taxes on sugary beverage sales in 22 states and six cities. University of Minnesota Professor Sarah Gollust, PhD, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars alumna, is exploring strategies that might help to offset the industry's messaging. Gollust specializes in researching public opinion dynamics and obesity prevention.

In the fifth video in a series of RWJF Clinical Scholars Health Policy Podcasts, Clinical Scholar Chileshe Nkonde-Price, MD, interviews Gollust about her recent work.

The video is republished with permission from the Leonard Davis Institute.

Nov 12 2013

In the Media: Nursing Organizations Protest Nurse Reality Show

This is part of the November 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Skinny-dipping. Random sexual hook-ups. Crying in the workplace.

These are not the kinds of images commonly associated with the nursing profession. But they are everyday scenes in “Scrubbing In,” a new reality show on MTV about a group of young travel nurses in California.

The show has incensed nursing groups, which have long called for more positive portrayals of nurses on television. The program, “Scrubbing In,” goes far in the other direction, they say, arguing that it trivializes the works nurses do and reinforces negative stereotypes about them.

MTV says it “has the utmost respect for the life-saving work that nurses do every day” and that the show “is not meant to be representative of all nurses or their experiences.”

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Oct 3 2013

In the Media: Nightingale Letters on Permanent Display

This is part of the October 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, died more than a century ago. But a new exhibit is bringing her words back to life.

“The sufferings of the Wounded are insupportably ghastly & hideous,” one of Nightingale’s letters says. “To me who have seen the thing in all its ghastly reality on a small scale, tho’ we called it a colorful calamity at the time, to think of it now multiplied in all its horrors on a scale which could never have been calculated upon—I assure you that it haunts me day & night. I feel as if I must set off to do what I can at the front. I think of nothing else.”

These words are from a letter she wrote during the Crimean War that is now on display at the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The exhibit includes 50 letters written between 1853 and 1893 (when Nightingale was ages 33 to 73) and covers topics such as hospitals, health care, nursing matters, sanitary conditions, and charitable contributions.


The letters are “unique” because they “span a time in which little is known about Nightingale,” UAB Archivist Pat Cleveland said in a video about the exhibit.

The interactive Barrett Brock MacKay Florence Nightingale Exhibit, which went on permanent display at the UAB School of Nursing over the summer, features reproductions and digital images housed on tablet computers. In addition to the letters, it includes a newspaper clipping, a photograph, and a print of a painting of Nightingale. Most of the letters were written to J. Gillham Hewlett, MD, a physician and health officer who served as sanitary commissioner of India.

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Sep 19 2013

Documentary on Food Allergies Features RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar

Discovery Channel will air an encore of its medical documentary, “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America,” on Saturday, September 21 at 8 a.m. ET. The program, which aims to raise awareness of food allergies as a serious and growing public health issue, features stories of families living with the potentially life-threatening condition.

The documentary features Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, who is an allergy researcher and mother of a child with egg, peanut, and tree nut allergies. Gupta wrote a post for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the intersection of her professional and personal missions to keep children safe and raise awareness about food allergies.

The documentary is also available for viewing at and available for download on iTunes.

Learn more about the documentary.
Read Gupta’s post on the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

Sep 11 2013

New Videos About the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently released three new videos about the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national initiative of RWJF and AARP to implement recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report.

The first video describes the Campaign’s history and goals, as well as the work of its Action Coalitions, which are working in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They have been harnessing the power of nursing to generate real, transformational change for the country’s health care system.

RWJF also produced video interviews with Campaign for Action co-directors Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing, and Susan Reinhard, PhD, RN, AARP’s senior vice president for public policy, in which they discuss their careers and their roles with the Campaign for Action.

Learn more and watch the videos.

Apr 11 2013

In the Media: Hefty Tome about Nurses Generates Hefty Media Coverage

This is part of the April 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Coffee-table books are designed to draw attention, and that is precisely what nurses got after the 2012 publication of a hefty tome featuring portraits of nurses from all walks of life.

The American Nurse has caught the eye of reporters for some of the largest-circulation publications in the country, including USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, National Public Radio, and the Huffington Post.

Dozens of other news outlets, such as the Lancaster New Era in Pennsylvania and local news programs in Louisiana and Northern California, have also covered the book’s release, as have trade publications like the American Journal of Nursing and Johns Hopkins Nursing Magazine, according to the book’s website.

The book, by photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones, tells the stories of 75 nurses working in various locations across the country—from a maternity ward in Baltimore to remote homes in Appalachia to a prison in the South. It is poised to get even more attention after completion of a  feature-length documentary film about six of the book’s subjects.

The book was supported by Fresenius Kabi USA, an international health care company that focuses on products for the therapy and care of critically and chronically ill patients. It is designed to elevate the voice of nurses in the United States, according to the book’s website.

Speaking to the nation’s nurses in a video statement, Rhonda Collins, MSN, RN, a nurse who is vice president and business manager at Fresenius Kabi USA, says: “We recognize you for who you are. We see you, and we appreciate everything you do.”

Newspaper readers and television viewers, it appears, are getting the message.

Subscribe to RWJF's nursing e-newsletter, Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.

Feb 8 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: Food billboards, pharmaceutical company gifts to medical students, tracking asthma, 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:

An op-ed in the Star-Ledger reflects on the contributions of Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey, during his more than two decades of service on the RWJF Board of Trustees, including eight years as chairman of the Board. Learn more about Kean’s commitment to leadership and service.

The Washington Post reports on an inhaler with a built-in Global-Positioning System (GPS), designed by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus David Van Sickle, PhD, MA, that sends a signal with the time and location to a remote server every time a patient uses it. The data is then sent regularly to patients and physicians to help provide more comprehensive treatment. The data can also be used to find asthma “hot spots” in cities, where attacks are triggered, Health & Society Scholar Meredith Barrett, PhD, said. Read more about Van Sickle’s work here and here.

Judi Hilman, director of the Utah Health Policy Project and an RWJF Community Health Leader, gave comments to the Deseret News about decisions and deadlines Utah will have to meet in 2013 to comply with the health reform law.

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Mar 28 2012

Who's Your Favorite Fictional Nurse Character?

Love her or hate her, Jackie Peyton—also known as “Nurse Jackie,” the lead character in the eponymous prime-time medical drama on Showtime—inspires passion.

"Despite her deeply flawed persona, Jackie is an unusually helpful TV nurse because, as a skilled professional, she advocates for patients and makes astute assessments and courageous interventions to save lives—sending messages that people badly need to hear about nursing,” says Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, founder of The Truth About Nursing and co-author of Saving Lives: Why the Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk.

But the American Nurses Association is not so thrilled. A drug addict and an adulterer, Jackie offers a “distasteful portrayal of nurses and nursing,” the association argued when the show debuted in 2009.

Jackie is just one of the many fictional, and often controversial, nurse characters in the entertainment media who have helped shape the national image of nursing.

Name Your Favorite Fictional Nurse Character

Some of the higher profile TV nurse characters from the late 1960s and 1970s include Julia Baker, a nurse and widowed single mother from the series Julia; Consuelo Lopez, the nurse in the medical drama Marcus Welby MD; and Margaret ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan from the critically acclaimed television series M.A.S.H.

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