Category Archives: Public health
Myra Parker, JD, PhD, is acting instructor at the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Connections grantee. 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.
I took my seven-year-old daughter to help me pick up my registration materials at the Moscone Center. I was thrilled to map the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) sessions and discover they are located in one of the central buildings this year! It’s terrific to be able to attend the general sessions AND those specific to my community, which has not always been the case with AI/AN/NH sessions held in off-site hotels last year in Washington, D.C.
My daughter was amazed and excited to see the performances outside the convention center. The artistic displays added to the air of festivity as American Public Health Association (APHA) attendees took over the Moscone area. I was excited to see the diversity of attendees across many different professional backgrounds and ethnic/cultural communities.
We attended the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus General Membership Business Meeting. This was the first time I had the opportunity to attend the business meeting, which included officer elections for the upcoming two years, introductions of members and visitors, and updates on the caucus budget and events. The caucus was able to fund six undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students from AI/AN/NH communities to attend APHA this year at $2,000 each. This is a wonderful new opportunity for these students, each of whom also applied to present a poster at the conference. I plan to attend the caucus social on Monday evening, which includes a silent auction of native art! This fundraiser contributes to the cost of providing caucus-specific sessions as well as to the student scholarship fund. I also learned that if we pack a room at the conference, there is a higher chance the caucus will be able to offer these sessions next year.
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.
Melody S. Goodman, PhD, is a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Connections program (2007), and an assistant professor at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. This post is the first in a series in which RWJF scholars, fellows and alumni who are attending the American Public Health Association annual meeting reflect on the experience.
On your mark…. get set…. APHA! Yes it is that time of year again for the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting & exposition. Are you ready for all things public health?!
APHA is my favorite conference to attend because it fulfills all of my public health senses. I am a biostatistician interested in health disparities doing community-based participatory research (yes you read that correctly). APHA is the one conference that speaks to all my research interests in one place. There is no other conference that allows me to go to theta beta land with my statistics friends in the Applied Public Health Statistics Section and then discuss developing community-academic partnerships with both community and academic colleagues in the Community-Based Public Health Caucus (CBPHC). Last year I served as the academic program planner for the CBPHC and this year I am section council of the Statistics section.
Some people say they don’t like APHA because it is too big but the New Yorker in me loves every moment of it. I always arrive at the conference early and grab that phonebook-like program and attack it with a highlighter and sticky tabs the way only a true nerd could. I spend an hour or so planning my life over the next few days; noting when and where I am presenting, where my colleagues and students are presenting and finding other scientific sessions I am interested in attending. Then I take a walk around the convention center locating the rooms where I will be presenting. This makes life easier when over 10,000 people are walking though hallways, many of them lost; I don’t have to be one of them.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week announced more than $100 million in new grants to expand and strengthen the nation’s health care workforce. The goal of the funding is to educate and strengthen training for health care workers, and provide fellowships and traineeships.
The grants include:
- Nursing ($30.2 million): Partial loan forgiveness for students who serve as full-time nursing faculty for a designated period of time after graduating from a master’s or doctoral program; grants for schools of nursing to provide financial aid and mentoring to students from disadvantaged backgrounds underrepresented in nursing; and funding for nurse anesthetist traineeship programs for licensed registered nurses enrolled in master’s or doctoral nurse anesthesia programs.
- Dental ($3.0 million): Grants to increase oral health care education capacity for programs that train future faculty in general, pediatric, or public health dentistry, or in dental hygiene.
- Public Health ($48.0 million): Funds for 37 Public Health Training Centers to train current and future public health workers in basic health skills and key public health issues; and grants to expand public health training programs and support medical residency-type fellowships at state and local health departments.
- Interdisciplinary and Geriatric Education ($6.6 million): Grants for projects to train and educate workers to provide geriatric care for the elderly; and support for the collaboration and integration of public health curricula in medical and clinical education.
- Centers of Excellence ($18.8 million): A five-year program to support the recruitment and performance of underrepresented minority students entering health careers, and to support research and the development of curricula, training and resources related to minority health issues.
“These grants and the programs they support are vital to achieving a comprehensive and culturally competent health professions workforce capable of meeting future health care challenges,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement announcing the funds.
Environmental issues are consistently a topic of hot debate. A new study reveals that how we talk about these issues could have a big impact on whether people feel compelled to act on them. According to new research led by two awardees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Matthew C. Nisbet, PhD, MS, and Edward W. Maibach, PhD, MPH, talking about the environmental consequences of climate change may not convince the unconvinced—while talking about the public health consequences might have a better chance.
As the American University and George Mason University professors write in a newly published study in the journal Climatic Change Letters, “Results show that across audience segments, the public health focus was the most likely to elicit emotional reactions consistent with support for climate change mitigation and adaptation.” The study was co-authored with Teresa Myers and Anthony Leiserowitz.
We caught up with Matthew Nisbet to get his take on the latest findings, and how the public health field can do a better job of framing issues in a way that motivates action.
New Public Health: What is message framing?
Matthew Nisbet: When you frame something as a communicator or as a journalist or as an expert, what you do is you emphasize one dimension of a complex issue over another, calling attention to certain considerations and certain arguments more so than other arguments. In the process, what you do is you communicate why an issue may or may not be a problem, who or what is responsible for that problem and then what should be done. One of the common misunderstandings about framing is that there can be something such as unframed information. Every act of communication, whether intentional or not, involves some type of framing.
By Matt Wray, PhD, MA, an associate professor of sociology at Temple University and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program (2006-2008). His research and teaching interests include the social determinants of health, cultural sociology, and the sociology of race and ethnicity. This post is part of a series on the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, running in conjunction with the program’s tenth anniversary. The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program is designed to build the nation’s capacity for research, leadership and policy change to address the multiple determinants of population health.
Consider two recent suicides that made headlines around the globe: In January of 2011, after authorities confiscated his belongings, beat and humiliated him, Mohamed Boazizi set himself ablaze in frustration and protest. Boauzizi was a 26-year-old fruit vendor, scratching out just enough money to feed a family of eight, despite unchecked harassment by local authorities. His self-immolation after harassment at the hands of Tunisian authorities helped trigger the Tunisian Revolution, and in turn, the Arab Spring.
In April 2012, Dmitris Christoulis, a 77-year old retired pharmacist in Athens, shot himself outside the Greek Parliament building, in what the New York Times described as "despair over his financial problems [in] this austerity-weary country." Greek media reported that he suffered from health problems and struggled to pay for his medications. He left a suicide note saying he could not face "scavenging through garbage bins for food and becoming a burden to my child.”
Have you signed up to receive Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge? The monthly Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the latest nursing news, research and trends. Here are descriptions of some of the stories in the April issue:
Though men comprise a small percentage of the nursing workforce, and an even smaller percentage of nurse faculty, men are enrolling in nursing programs at higher rates than in the past. Still, the nursing profession needs to do more to speed up the gender diversification and inclusion of the workforce, experts say. More visible and powerful male nurse educators can serve as recruiters and role models.
Read a profile of RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow Shirley Orr, MHS, ARNP, NEA-BC, a leader in the field of public health nursing. During her tenure at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Orr co-founded the Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute, which aims to support public health leaders and bring officials from health care organizations, academic institutions and other settings together to improve population health.
The RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) held its annual conference in April, celebrating seven successful years and 40 landmark research projects conducted by INQRI-funded interdisciplinary research teams. At the conference, members of those teams and others who have worked with the program discussed how far interdisciplinary research has come since INQRI began and the benefits of this approach for health care research, for health professionals, and for patients.
The Missouri Action Coalition is working to advance the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The Coalition has already made progress in allowing nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training, making it easier for associate degree-prepared nurses to move into baccalaureate programs through a seamless articulation agreement, and working to establish a state nursing workforce center to collect nursing data.
As the health care system moves away from traditional practice models and relies increasingly on medical homes, accountable care organizations and more, prospective physicians see advantages to something else that breaks with traditional: dual degrees.
Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows that enrollment in MD/PhD, MD/JD and MD/MBA dual-degree programs increased 36 percent between 2002 and 2011, American Medical News reports. Students are simultaneously pursuing advanced degrees in such areas as public health, law, business administration, mass communications and the sciences. MD/PhD degree programs are the most popular, followed by MD/MBA.
“These are students who view health care in a way that is bigger than the traditional practice model,” Stan Kozakowski, MD, director of medical education at the American Academy of Family Physicians, told American Medical News. “They see the dual degree as providing them with a competitive advantage as they go into the workplace.”
While the additional skills can prove beneficial, students should carefully consider the additional time and cost for these programs, experts say. Depending on the specific program, students can spend an additional nine years earning dual degrees, American Medical News reports.
What do you think? Are dual degrees beneficial to physicians and to the patients for whom they care? What degrees do you think are most helpful for them in today’s health care system? Register below to leave a comment.
Read the American Medical News story.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) last week announced forthcoming changes to the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Mindful of the changing skillset that practitioners need to meet the demands of the job, the AAMC said that, beginning in 2015, the MCAT will test students’ reasoning and social science skills.
“Being a good doctor isn't just about understanding science: it's about understanding people,” Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and chief executive officer of AAMC, said at a news conference announcing the changes.
Two new sections will be added to the test: Psychological, Sociological and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. These sections will assess applicants’ perceptions and reactions to the world, understanding of population health and cross-cultural studies, and ethical and scientific reasoning skills.
Officials hope the expanded scope of the test will encourage students from a wide range of disciplines to consider medical school, the Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog reports, and will lead to a more diverse medical workforce that is better prepared to deal with a changing patient population.
What do you think? Does the new MCAT test align with skills physicians will need in the future? Are there other subjects that also should be tested? Register below to leave a comment.