Mar 1 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Racial disparities and life expectancy, colonoscopies, training on suicide risk and more.

Around the country, the news media is covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars, fellows and grantees. Here are some examples.

In a story about the 75th anniversary of the College of Nursing at Montana State University, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle cites research being conducted by two Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars who are faculty at the University: Laura Larsson, PhD, MPH, RN, and Sandra Kuntz, PhD, RN. Larsson is researching ways to reduce radon exposure among low-income people, and Kuntz is researching mercury exposure on two Indian reservations. Read a post Larsson wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

Medical News Today reports on a study by RWJF Clinical Scholars program alumna Nazleen Bharmal, MD, MPP, which examined racial disparities and life expectancy by state. Bharmal’s study was published in a special “Bridging the Gap between Research and Health Policy” edition of Health Services Research. The issue features studies by current Clinical Scholars and alumni. Read a post Bharmal wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog. Learn more about the special issue of Health Services Research.

WYPR-FM spoke to RWJF Community Health Leader Joanne Goldblum about the newly-formed National Diaper Bank Network, which will distribute 20 million diapers donated by Huggies manufacturer Kimberly-Clark to local diaper banks across the country. Goldblum founded the New Haven Diaper Bank in Connecticut when she realized that low-income families could not receive diapers through federal assistance programs like food stamps.

Elizabeth Wildsmith, PhD, spoke to Scripps Howard News Service and the Honolulu Civil Beat about a study by Child Trends finding that the majority of women under 30 in the United States with children are not married. Wildsmith is a research scientist with Child Trends and an alumna of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program. The New York Times also reported on the group’s findings.

Health & Society Scholars alumna Jennifer Stuber, PhD, spoke to the Seattle Times about the importance of suicide-risk training for mental health providers. Stuber testified before the Washington state legislature on the issue after her husband took his own life. She said that her husband’s psychologist and psychiatrist had both told him they thought he should be hospitalized because he was a danger to himself, but took no further steps to follow up on that conclusion.

Thomas Tsang, MD, MPH, FACP, an alumnus of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program, co-authored a piece for the Health Affairs blog on measuring quality in health care.

Miller-McCune cites a 2010 study co-authored by Health & Society Scholar Jimi Adams, PhD, that cast doubt on the notion that, for African American males whose families live in poverty, “sport is a pathway to upward mobility.” Many African American NBA players grew up in middle-class or upper-class households, the researchers found, and a smaller percentage of their families lived below the poverty line than the population as a whole.

Chicago Go Price profiled Community Health Leader Joe Hollendoner, MSW, who was recently appointed senior vice president of programs at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Hollendoner is founder of the Broadway Youth Center, a program of the Howard Brown Health Center, to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who are homeless.

RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipients Robert Sampson, PhD, and Greg Duncan, PhD, spoke to Reuters about a new study that finds nearly 8 million children in the United States live in high-poverty areas, up from 6.3 million in 2000.

Barbara Katz Rothman, PhD, also an Investigator Award recipient and a sociologist at City University of New York, commented to NPR about a study that finds stem cells in ovarian tissue can be developed into eggs. The finding holds promise for restoring fertility in infertile or older women. “We’re creating a world one in which it's increasingly hard for people to have children when they're young, and then saying, ‘But wait, we have solutions, technology—we can do it when you're older.’ And that’s the part that disturbs me,” Rothman said.

“The important message is clear: colonoscopy saves lives,” Fritz Francois, MD, an RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development program scholar, told the ABC News Medical Unit blog. He was referring to a new study that shows the value of the preventative screening procedure on the rate of colorectal cancer deaths. The study finds that, compared to the general population, people who have polyps removed during a colonoscopy reduce their risk of dying from colorectal cancer by more than 50 percent over the next decade.

Two Health & Society Scholars were featured in college newspapers: Eran Magen, PhD, in the University of Pennsylvania’s Daily Pennsylvanian, discussing an initiative to tackle student stress; and Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, in the University of North Carolina (UNC) Daily Tar Heel, after he spoke at an “Equality Matters” lecture hosted by UNC’s Sexuality Studies program.

Dr. Bicuspid writes about the RWJF Summer Medical and Dental Education program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry. The program for college freshmen and sophomores, which teaches students about disparities in health care, is in its eighth year at UCLA.

RWJF Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) grantee Joel Cantor, ScD, spoke to NJ Spotlight about a bill to create a health insurance exchange in New Jersey. Cantor is director of the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, which is helping to design the insurance exchange.

A small study led by Clinical Scholar Lisa DeCamp, MD, finds Latina moms value a pediatrician’s personality and empathy over their knowledge of Spanish and convenience of hours, MediLixicon and Science Codex report.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Community Health Leaders, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Health & Health Care Policy, Health & Society Scholars, Health Disparities, Health Policy Fellows, Human Capital News, Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nursing, Publications, Research & Analysis, Summer Medical and Dental Education Program