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Feb 14 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Chronic migraines, food recall ‘message fatigue,’ longevity and obesity, 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:

Health Canal reports on a study led by RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna Joanna Kempner, PhD, that examines the social stigma surrounding chronic migraine sufferers. “The enduring image of the typical migraine patient is a white, middle-class woman who just isn’t good at handling stress,” Kempner said. “She is seen as neurotic and weak, a stigma that has been hard to change.”

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar alumna Ruth Taylor-Piliae, PhD, RN, FAHA, was featured in MyHealthNewsDaily, an online health care news digest, for her study suggesting Tai Chi can reduce the number of falls in adults who have survived a stroke. Taylor-Piliae, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson, surveyed 89 stroke survivors and found that practicing Tai Chi helps alleviate balance problems that afflict many survivors. Read more about her work.

Medpage Today reports on research co-authored by William K. Hallman, PhD, director of the Rutgers University Food Policy Institute and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, about how to motivate consumers to look for and discard recalled food products. Hallman participated in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meeting this week on breaking through food recall “message fatigue” [free subscription].

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Jan 31 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: The stomach flu, lemur parasites, caring for female veterans, 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:

RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Anita Vashi, MD, is the lead author of a study that finds many patients visit emergency departments after being discharged from the hospital. With Medicare now structuring financial incentives and penalties around hospital readmission rates, Vashi and her colleagues suggest the focus on hospital readmissions as a measure of quality of care misses the large number of patients who return to the hospital's emergency room after discharge, but are not readmitted. Among the outlets to report on the findings: the Los Angeles Times, Nurse.com, and MedPage Today. Read more about Vashi’s research.

Product Design and Development featured RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jennifer Doering, PhD, RN, and her interdisciplinary team, which designed and tested a research-based sleeping pod for infants. Many parents sleep with their infants, despite the dangers, so Doering’s team has created a portable, protective sleeping pod, equipped with wireless sensors to alert sleeping adults if they start to roll over onto it or if blankets or pillows fall on a sleeping baby. Read more about Doering’s research on the sleep habits of new mothers and infants.

Allison E. Aiello, PhD, MS, an alumna of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, spoke to NBC News and the AnnArbor.com about norovirus (the stomach flu). The virus is hard to get rid of, Aiello says, and can be spread to others before an infected person even feels sick. Proper hand-washing is important, at home and in public places like restaurants.

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Oct 19 2012
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Researching Food Allergies: A Professional Mission Becomes Very Personal

Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholar. She is an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the maternal and child healthcare program at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and an attending physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

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When I decided to specialize in pediatrics after medical school, I did it for my love of children and the prospect of a career spent improving their lives and those of their families.  Following my pediatric training, I completed a special fellowship in Boston to gain the research skills that would help me make a broader impact.  Completion of this training opened the door for me to work with a world-renowned expert in pediatric asthma in Chicago.  During this time, I met a family with two children with severe food allergy. This family would influence my work and my career dramatically.  Their interest, with its deep commitment and personal stories, became my passion.

As I started conducting research in food allergy, I realized how little we know compared to other childhood diseases like asthma.  There were so many unanswered questions.  At that point, it was not even clear how many children were affected by food allergy or how severe it was.  To address this, my research team and I conducted a comprehensive study of 50,000 families all over the U.S. and found that food allergy impacts 8 percent of the nation’s children, corresponding to two children in every classroom or almost six million children in the country.

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Apr 20 2012
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National Donate Life Month: How a Video Can Increase the Number of Organ Donors

By Daryl Thornton, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the MetroHealth campus of Case Western Reserve University, and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program and the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program

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Imagine you’re at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), waiting to get your driver’s license. As you wait, you watch a five-minute video on an iPod. In it, a daughter describes how excited she is that her father, whose life was saved by a heart transplant, will be able to attend her high school graduation. Another girl mentions how she was able to attend her high school prom because someone donated a new heart to her. And a woman talks about her choice to become a living donor, and meeting the recipient of her kidney. In all, you watch 20 people—of different ages and ethnicities—tell their transplant stories in their own words.

Now it’s your turn at the counter. Do you have them place that red heart on your driver’s license?

Today, more than 113,000 people in the United States are waiting for organ transplants. More than half of those on the waiting list are minorities. But in 2011, only 14,000 people donated their organs while the waiting list grew by another 51,000 people.

In a study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, my colleagues and I found that people were more likely to consent to become organ donors after watching a short iPod video at the DMV that addressed common concerns about organ donation and included testimonials from donors, transplant recipients and their loved ones. Eighty-four percent of people who watched the video—compared to 72 percent who did not—consented to be an organ donor on their driver’s permits, licenses or identification cards.

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