Feb 23 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Rising Medicare expenses, community-based health care, breast cancer prevention and more.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program site director Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, and RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) co-investigator Christopher Ruhm, PhD, were cited in a Bloomberg column by former Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag. The research of both investigators shows, counter-intuitively, that life expectancy rises during periods of economic downturn.

Dawn Alley, PhD, an alumna of the Health & Society Scholars program, is the lead author of a study that finds that obesity—and the chronic conditions that often come with it—are a major contributor to the growth in Medicare expenses. Each obese beneficiary adds an additional $149 a year to Medicare, Reuters reports.

An assessment tool used by the federal government to determine if a community health center is functioning as a “patient-centered medical home” may not accurately reflect the quality of the diabetes care the health center provides, according to a study led by RWJF Clinical Scholar Robin Clarke, MD. The researchers found no significant relationship between passing the assessment and the quality of diabetes care provided, Cardiovascular Business reports. Health Canal also reported on the findings.

The Huffington Post reports on a study co-authored by RWJF Community Health Leader Rajiv Kumar, MD, that examines the effectiveness of team-based weight loss programs. The study observed participants in Shape Up Rhode Island, a community-based weight-loss program started by Kumar, and found that participants in teams were inspired by each other and experienced similar weight loss results.

RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Lucy Marion, PhD, RN, FAAN, spoke to the Augusta Chronicle about the launch of a medical home for low-income patients, and some of the other community-based health initiatives already under way in Augusta.

Barron Lerner, MD, PhD, author of “The Breast Cancer Wars” and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered about the fight to end breast cancer. Although medical advances have led to more women being diagnosed and cured, prevention of the disease hasn’t been a major focus, he said.

Scholars featured in previous news roundup continue to receive media coverage. RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumnus Yonas E. Geda, MD, was featured in Nurse.com and the Miami Herald for a study that finds older people whose diets are high in calories are at greater risk for mild cognitive impairment. Eric Klinenberg, PhD, recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, was interviewed by Singular Magazine and the Chicago Tribune about his new book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.” Finally, a study from the RWJF-funded RN Work Project, which finds that state laws capping mandatory overtime for nurses are having their intended effect, was cited in a story on Nurse.com.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Community Health Leaders, Executive Nurse Fellows, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Health & Health Care Policy, Health & Society Scholars, Health Care Access, Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Nursing, RN Work Project, Research & Analysis