Apr 12 2012
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Human Capital News Roundup: Screening for prostate cancer, organ donation, bariatric surgery, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Andrea L. Campbell, PhD, writes about how health care reform could benefit her sister-in-law, now a quadriplegic after a car accident. “As a scholar of social policy at [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], I teach students how the system works,” she writes. “Now I am learning, in real time.” Campbell is an alumna and a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Scholars in Health Policy Research program, and the recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. The Washington Post Wonk Blog and Esquire’s Politics Blog also picked up on Campbell’s story.

Medical News Today is among the outlets to report on a study led by an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program, Danil V. Makarov, MD, MHS (a 2008-2010 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar). A large share of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer are sent for unnecessary imaging, the researchers found, which could compromise the care they receive, delaying their ultimate treatment, and could also run up the costs associated with diagnosing and treating their cancers. Read more about the study.

Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, program director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), spoke to The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) about a report in the New England Journal of Medicine that finds the country’s nursing shortage may have temporarily eased. She also discussed nursing education in New Jersey. “What I tell students is they should be thinking of a career trajectory that includes an education projection path,” she said. “Anyone who has other people’s lives in their hands must be a lifelong learner.” NJNI is a program of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports on the success of an RWJF initiative—Transforming Care at the Bedside—in the state. The program encourages nurses and other frontline workers to suggest and implement ideas to make their hospitals safer. A recent survey by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems found that over the last 10 months, there was a "10-percent increase in better access to supplies and equipment among staff; a 12-percent improvement in communication on the wards; and a 16-percent increase in nurses who say their ideas seem to count."

RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumnus J. Daryl Thornton, MD, continues to receive coverage for his study, which finds that more people consent to become organ donors after watching a video on an iPod while they wait at a Department of Motor Vehicles. Reuters reports on the findings. Read more about Thornton’s research on organ donation.

Investigator Award winner Gary Taubes, MSE, MS, wrote a post for Discover Magazine’s The Crux blog titled “Chocolate & Red Meat Can Be Bad for Your Science: Why Many Nutrition Studies Are All Wrong.” Read more about Taubes’ research on sugar and nutrition.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Jason Block, MD, spoke to The Atlantic about how bariatric surgery can help obese patients. “I have a lot of optimism for bariatric surgery helping people,” he said. “It’s a currently underutilized resource. It can be very successful.”

Following the release of the 2012 County Health Rankings, a joint project of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and RWJF, Health & Society Scholars alumna Carolyn Cannuscio, ScD, ScM, spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about how Philadelphia County—ranked the least-healthy county in Pennsylvania for the third consecutive year—could improve its overall health.

Susan Lacey, PhD, RN, FAAN, an alumna of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program, will lead the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ (AACN) Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy, NurseZone.com reports. The AACN CSI Academy “will equip staff nurses in participating hospitals with enhanced skills in leadership, project management and social entrepreneurship, as well as an understanding of the fiscal impact of nursing interventions.”

RWJF Community Health Leader Judi Hilman, MA, executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project, spoke to the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune about a recent security breach that may have jeopardized information about Utah Medicaid clients.

Elisabeth Arenales, JD, also a Community Health Leader, was a guest on Colorado Public Radio to discuss the state’s pilot Medicaid expansion program that will increase coverage for low-income residents.

Latino Decisions featured a blog post by Jillian Medeiros, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, on how the Affordable Care Act will affect Latinos.

Clinical Scholar Roy Wade, MD, PhD, MPH, spoke to WHYY News in Philadelphia about how pediatricians can help struggling families and at-risk children cope with adverse childhood experiences that may lead to health problems later in life.

Graduate nursing students from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis visited the state Capitol in February to learn more about the legislative process, Nurse.com reports. Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Mary Lou de Leon Siantz, RN, PhD, FAAN, who also attended the session with students, said, “Spending the day at the Capitol helps students realize what goes into making and changing policy. It is important for our students” to understand how state and regional policies advance, because these policies affect community health.

RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar E. Alison Holman, PhD, FNP, is co-author of a study that finds a person’s genes may play a role in whether or not they are kind. The researcher found that some forms of oxytocin and vasopressin receptors in DNA are associated with stronger tendencies toward niceness, while others may indicate less “pro-social” attitudes. The Birmingham (Ala.) Science News Examiner, Futurity and Buffalo (N.Y.) Business First are among the outlets to report on the findings.

Health & Society Scholars program site director Lisa Berkman, PhD, spoke to U.S. News & World Report about “Why Learning Leads to Happiness.”

Peter Bearman, PhD, a Health & Society Scholars program director, was quoted or cited in several outlets about the rise of childhood autism diagnoses in the United States. Among them: Huffington Post, MedPage Today [free subscription], and USA Today.

Investigator Award winner Mark Hall, JD, is co-author of a report that estimates consumers would have received $2 billion in rebates from health insurers if the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio rules had been in effect in 2012, RedOrbit and USA Today report.

Tags: Medical, dental and nursing workforce, Screening, Research, Clinical care, Nurses, Human Capital, Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico, Clinical Scholars, Community Health Leaders, Executive Nurse Fellows, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Health & Health Care Policy, Health & Society Scholars, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, New Jersey Nursing Initiative, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nursing, Publications, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research, Transforming Care at the Bedside