Category Archives: Immunizations

Mar 6 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: Nurse staffing and patient mortality, communicating about vaccines, specialized HIV training for NPs, 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:

A study led by Linda H. Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN, and covered by CNN.com, finds that hospital nurse-patient ratios and the share of nurses with bachelor’s degrees both have an important impact on patient mortality. Aiken, a research manager supporting the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action and a member of the RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) National Advisory Committee, found that increasing a hospital nurse’s workload by one patient increased by 7 percent the likelihood of an inpatient death within 30 days of admission. The same research revealed that a 10-percent increase in the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees at a given hospital reduces the likelihood of a patient death by 7 percent. Aiken’s study has also been covered by the Guardian, Philly.com, and FierceHealthcare, among other outlets.

Public health messages aimed at boosting childhood vaccination rates may be backfiring, according to a new study led by RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Brendan Nyhan, PhD. Campaigns that use studies, facts, and images of ill children increased fears about vaccine side-effects among some parents, NBC News reports. In fact, messaging that debunked myths about links between vaccines and autism actually made parents less inclined to have their children inoculated. Time magazine online also covered the study.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing has developed a new curriculum that provides specialized HIV training to nurse practitioners, with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Medical Xpress reports. “The design of our program starts with the recognition that HIV care cannot be provided in a silo, that it needs to be integrated holistically into primary care," RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jason Farley, PhD, MPH, said in a statement. Farley is the developer of the curriculum.

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Jan 6 2014
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Protecting Infants from Whooping Cough

Katherine A. Auger, MD, MSc, a pediatrician in the Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of General Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program.

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A 2006 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all adolescents receive vaccines for pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is having a positive impact. A new study that I led shows it is associated with lower rates of infant hospitalizations for the respiratory infection than would have been expected had teens not been inoculated.

The study, published in Pediatrics, found that the CDC recommendation led not only to a significant increase in vaccination rates among teens, but also to a reduction in severe pertussis-related hospitalizations among infants, who often catch the disease from family members, including older siblings.

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Oct 24 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Out-of-pocket medical costs, whooping cough vaccinations, hand sanitizer, 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 Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, which is “widely held to be one of the highest individual honors in the fields of health and medicine,” Advance for Nurses reports. Read more about Hassmiller’s honor.

Physicians should talk to patients about their potential out-of-pocket medical costs, Peter Ubel, MD, and colleagues urge in a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine. Such potentially avoidable costs "may impair patients’ well-being," Medpage Today reports, and the authors lay out the benefits of discussing this often uncomfortable topic. Ubel is an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars program and a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. Read more about Ubel's argument for cost discussions.

In a study of unintentional fatal drug overdoses in New York City boroughs, RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Magdalena Cerda, PhD, MPH, and colleagues found that while heroin overdoses are common in predominantly low-income, high-crime  neighborhoods, fatal overdoses of prescription painkillers are increasingly common in neighborhoods that are largely working-class. NPR and Health Canal are among the outlets to report on the findings.

A 2006 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that adolescents be vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough) led not only to a significant increase in vaccination rates among teens, but to a reduction in severe pertussis-related hospitalizations among infants, who often catch the disease from adolescents, Medscape reports. The study was led by RWJF Clinical Scholars alumna Katherine Auger, MD.

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Nov 29 2012
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Shifting Administration of Vaccines to Nurses Improves Outcomes

Patients are more likely to get influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations when the responsibility for immunization administration is shifted to non-physician health care professionals, especially nurses, according to a systematic review published in the Annals of Family Medicine. Quality improvement interventions that use this “team change” strategy were associated with a 44 percent increase in influenza vaccination rates, and more than doubled the likelihood of a patient getting a pneumococcal vaccination.

The authors found that team changes were most effective when a nurse assumed responsibility for administering vaccinations. “Interventions in which nurses or pharmacists assessed patients and reminded physicians, but did not themselves administer vaccinations, were ineffective,” the study says. “…Configuring additional personnel so that they are able [to] relieve physicians of vaccinations seems important to successful team change.”

A family physician often has more immediate concerns to address when a patient comes in for a check-up, co-author Jeffrey Johnson, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, told Reuters. “But for a nurse in the primary care setting, [vaccinations and other preventive care] might be the first thing they’re responsible for,” he said. “The evidence, we think, clearly shows that shifting the responsibility and the ability to the non-physician personnel... That works.”

The review and analysis also finds that personal outreach to patients is an effective strategy for raising immunization rates.

Read the study.

Aug 2 2012
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Human Capital News Roundup: Sleep's effect on vaccinations, gun violence, lead contamination, 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:

Technically Philly reports that, after organizing “Game Solutions for Health,” in which students competed to build the best mobile heath tool, RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars alumna Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, will now lead a technology and innovation lab and related course at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Read a post Hanrahan wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about Game Solutions for Health.

Not getting enough sleep after receiving a vaccination could reduce vaccine effectiveness, according to a study by RWJF Health & Society Scholar Aric Prather, PhD. “People who slept less than six hours per night were nearly 12 times more likely to be left unprotected by the vaccine than those who slept more than seven hours per night,” because their immune systems produced fewer antibodies in response to the vaccine, Health Day reports.

RWJF Clinical Scholar Comilla Sasson, MD, MS—an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital—spoke to Colorado Public Radio about caring for, and following up with, the victims of the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

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Mar 20 2012
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Let's Make it Easier for Caregivers to Protect Infants from Whooping Cough

By Deepa Camenga, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar

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When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I diligently prepared for our new baby. We studiously researched the safest car seats, cribs and strollers, we took labor classes to prepare for the birth, and we ate a healthy diet. My husband accompanied me to every OB/GYN visit, and we both listened closely when the doctor recommended that we should both receive the flu and Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine.

Tdap protects against pertussis, or whooping cough, a debilitating respiratory infection that can be fatal in young infants. I had received Tdap during my pediatric residency as recommended by the hospital, and my OB/GYN provided the flu vaccine, but my husband, an overall healthy guy, had not seen a doctor in years and had not received Tdap. He went to our local pharmacy for a flu shot, so I could check that off our list, but as the months moved forward, still no Tdap.

Fast forward to the delivery, when upon discharge our nurse again reminded us about Tdap. I’m sure it sank in somewhere, but it was quickly forgotten when we pulled into our driveway and realized we didn’t know how to remove our son from the car seat. The weeks that followed quickly turned into months…and years. Ultimately, it took a full two years—and the birth of our second son—before my husband was finally vaccinated.

I’m sure this experience is shared by many new parents. It was no surprise to me when I learned that few eligible adults in the United States receive the Tdap vaccine.

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