Category Archives: Healthy Schools

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.

Jun 7 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Soda taxes, suicide-prevention training, the environmental justice movement, 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:

Michigan Radio reports on a study led by RWJF Clinical Scholars alumnus Aasim Padela, MD, MSc, that examined discrimination against American Muslims in health care settings and what providers can do to better meet the cultural needs of these patients. Read a post Padela wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the study.

A study co-authored by RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumnus Esteban Burchard, MD, MPH, finds that African American and Latino children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are much more likely to suffer from acute asthma symptoms in their teen years than are children whose mothers did not smoke, Medical News Today reports.

The Washington Post Wonkblog cites research by RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jason Fletcher, PhD, on soda consumption and the impact of soda taxes on body mass index.


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Jan 12 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: RWJF Scholars in the Media Discussing Children's Playgrounds, Women's Health Costs, and Much More

Here’s a sampling of recent news coverage of the work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars and Fellows:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Senior Program Officer Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, was a guest blogger for The Doctor Weighs In, posting about the importance of interprofessional collaboration and coordination, drawing on the latest edition of Charting Nursing’s Future. Ladden is also an alumna of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars program National Advisory Committee member Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, wrote an op-ed for the Austin American Statesman about Salud America, an RWJF research network working to prevent obesity among Latino children.

Gary A. Taubes, MSE, MS, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, was featured in an Orlando Sentinel four-part special report about why so many Americans are obese. The series examined what we eat, the influence of heredity, lifestyle and the environment. Taubes is the author of “Why We Get Fat.” Read more about Taubes’ work.

The reasons that some playgrounds don’t appeal to children are explored in new research by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Kristen A. Copeland, MD, FAAP. MedPage Today reports on the study’s findings. Reuters and United Press International (UPI) also reported on Copeland’s research. Read about Copeland’s research on factors that impede physical activity in child care settings.

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Jan 3 2012

Physical Activity is Essential


As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by by Rashawn Ray, PhD, RWJF Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of California, Berkeley.

My New Year's resolution for the United States health care system is to more systematically include physical activity to get people moving to a healthier lifestyle. The health care system is more than markets and insurance. It includes prevention, maintenance and community resources to get people healthy and keep them that way. Physical activity is one key way to accomplish these goals.


Physical activity increases life expectancy, reduces the likelihood of obesity, some cancers, and chronic diseases (e.g., type-2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease), improves self-rated health, mental health and quality of life, enhances productivity at work, helps maintain full functioning and independence among the elderly, and decreases the costs of late life care.

Despite these benefits, 60 percent of adults do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity, which is at least 30 minutes per day, five times per week. Like other outcomes, there is a racial difference in who attains the recommended amount of physical activity. Roughly 50 percent of blacks are physically inactive, compared to one-third of whites. These percentages correspond to the percentage of individuals who are obese.

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Feb 15 2011

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.

Read more about the RWJF Clinical Scholars program. For an overview of RWJF scholar and fellow opportunities, visit