May 31 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Prevention, kidney stones, healthy snacks for children, 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:

“Preventing diseases before they start is one of the most common sense ways to keep people healthy,” writes Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, RWJF president and CEO, in a blog post for The Atlantic, “but this nation continues to focus too narrowly on treating medical conditions after they occur.” Lavizzo-Mourey’s essay is part of the “America the Fixable” series, hosted by in partnership with Common Good. See the full series here.

A study led by RWJF/U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Clinical Scholar Charles Scales, MD, finds that the number of Americans suffering from kidney stones has nearly doubled since 1994, due in large part to the increase in obesity and diabetes, WTVD (Raleigh-Durham, N.C.) reports. “While we expected the prevalence of kidney stones to increase, the size of the increase was surprising,” Scales said. HealthDay also reported on the findings.

Kavita Patel, MD, MSHS, an alumna of the Clinical Scholars program, was a guest on NPR for a story that asked “Does Race Affect Your Hospital Stay?” The story keyed off findings from Sick in America, a poll commissioned by RWJF, NPR and the Harvard School of Public Health to better understand Americans’ experiences and attitudes related to the cost and quality of their medical care. Nearly half of respondents said that a lack of cultural understanding plays a big role in the problems with U.S. health care quality, the story reports.

Dominick L. Frosch, PhD, an alumnus of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, continues to receive media coverage for a study he led that finds some patients are afraid or feel they are unable to speak up and participate in shared decision making with their physicians. American Medical News and Forbes are among the outlets to report on the findings.

Children at an Oakland, Calif., school passed up ice cream and cotton candy to purchase fresh mango and jicama from a pushcart vendor known as a frutero, according to a study led by Health & Society Scholars alumna June Tester, MD, MPH. The experience offers promise for efforts to encourage children to eat better. Fruteros are currently prohibited from selling near schools and parks without a special waiver. The National Journal reports on Tester’s study.

The Oregonian profiled Portland’s only doorman, and spoke to Health & Society Scholars site director Peter Bearman, PhD, who wrote a sociological study of the profession in New York City. “[Doormen] are tied into how to create elegance and luxury in apartment buildings, where space is limited,” Bearman said. “They also provide a bridge between the outside and the inside of a building that a yard serves to provide in a house.”

Nursing students from Augusta State University last week toured the Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) College of Nursing, the Augusta Chronicle and WRDW report. The schools plan to merge next January. “We’ll be a balanced College of Nursing and we’ll be meeting the needs of the community,” said RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Lucy Marion, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the GHSU College of Nursing.

In an article on patients comparing medical costs online, the Bangor (Maine) Daily News cites a study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar Renee Y. Hsia, MD, MSc. Hsia found wide variations in hospital pricing for appendectomies in California, about one-third of which could not be explained even after reviewing all the cases and accounting for individual health variations.

Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, spoke to Public News Service about how “bad air days” and pollution exacerbate health problems, especially for children and the elderly.

“Chronic on-the-job exposure to some solvents may lead to cognitive deficits in workers with less than a high school education, while those with more years of schooling may have protective mental reserves,” MedPage Today reports. The study, which looked at gas and electric workers in France, was led by Health & Society Scholars site director Lisa Berkman, PhD.

The Public’s Health, a blog of the Philadelphia Inquirer, cites a study by Health & Society Scholar Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, that finds marriage rights might improve the health of gay men, including reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions. Read more about Hatzenbuehler’s research.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports on Photovoices, created by Health & Society Scholars alumna Carolyn Cannuscio, ScD, ScM. It is a project at the University of Pennsylvania “that documents tobacco use and nutrition in Philadelphia through photographs and interviews.”

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Executive Nurse Fellows, Health & Health Care Policy, Health & Society Scholars, Health Care Workforce, Human Capital News, Media Coverage, Physician Faculty Scholars, Research & Analysis