Category Archives: Obesity policy
Janet Tomiyama, PhD, an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program (2009-2011), is director of the Dieting, Stress, and Health (DiSH) Lab at the University of California-Los Angeles. She was recently named the 2013 recipient of the Early Career Investigator Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Human Capital Blog: First, congratulations on receiving the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s 2013 Early Career Investigator Award! What does this award mean for your current research and for your career?
Janet Tomiyama: Thank you! Of course, as I’m fighting my way toward tenure, this kind of recognition is really key to my career. I am trained as a social psychologist, but this award was from the field of behavioral medicine. It shows that my work has interdisciplinary appeal, that people in the medical field find it important. It shows me that I was on the right path in trying to broaden my training through the RWJF Health and Society Scholars program and trying to incorporate aspects of medicine and population health. Getting recognition from a field that’s not my own means a lot to me.
HCB: What specific work did the award recognize?
Tomiyama: I was recognized for a paper about racial disparities in chronic psychological stress and body mass index (BMI) among girls between the ages of 10 and 19. Of all the many, many health disparities out there, the disparity in obesity between Black and White girls in adolescence is one of the biggest. I wanted to tackle a big disparity, and I thought stress had something to do with it. I completed the research during my time as an RWJF Health & Society Scholars fellow.
Human Capital Blog: You argue in your book that the focus on the “obesity epidemic” obscures a deeper, more important question: How has fatness come to be understood as a public health crisis at all? How do you answer that question?
Abigail Saguy: It’s multilayered. On the deepest level, the fact that we perceive obesity as a public health crisis is related to the fact that fatness, or corpulence, has become an undesirable social characteristic. It has not always been that way, and it is not that way everywhere even today. In many places and times in history, being heavier has been considered a positive social characteristic, particularly in times and places where food is scarce. This is why, in certain contexts, women or girls are fattened up for marriage; there, the woman’s fatness symbolizes the wealth or status of their families.
Human Capital News Roundup: Television ads for statins, advanced nursing education, treatment for gunshot wounds, 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:
In a piece about the growing need for advanced nursing education, Nurse.com interviewed a group of nurse leaders working to fulfill a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which calls for doubling the number of doctorate-level nurses by 2020. Among those quoted: Christine Kovner, RN, PhD, FAAN, co-principal of RWJF’s RN Work Project; RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Jane Kirschling, RN, DNS, FAAN; and Susan Bakewell-Sachs, RN, PhD, PNP-BC, program director for the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a program of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Nurse.com and Infection Control Today report on an RWJF-supported study that finds hospitals that have higher percentages of nurses with baccalaureate degrees have lower rates of postsurgical mortality. The study, published in the March issue of Health Affairs, stems from the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Read more about the study.
“I recently traveled to Singapore, where I met with other doctors and told about being the emergency department (ED) doctor at the University of Colorado Hospital the morning of the Aurora theater shootings on July 20, 2012,” RWJF Clinical Scholars alumna Comilla Sasson, MD, MS, FACEP, writes in an op-ed for the Denver Post. “One thing dawned on me as I spoke: I had seen more gunshot wound victims in that one night than these doctors will see in their entire careers.” Read a post Sasson wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the Aurora theater shootings, and learn more about her experience talking to the national news media afterward.
February's RWJF Clinical Scholars Health Policy Podcast Focuses on Philadelphia's Fight Against Childhood Obesity
In this month’s RWJF Clinical Scholars Health Policy Podcast former RWJF Clinical Scholar Donald Schwarz, M.D., M.B.A., (University of Pennsylvania, 1985-1987), Philadelphia Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity, discusses his work combating the childhood obesity epidemic in Philadelphia, touching on that effort’s controversial soda tax. In his conversation with podcast series host, Matthew Press, M.D., Schwarz also talks about the impact of health care reform at the city health level, and the learning curve required to transition from a career in academia to government service.