Sep 27 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Life expectancy, the aging brain, diabetes prevention, 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:

A story in the New York Times reports on a study, co-authored by RWJF Health & Society Scholars Program Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, and RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient James Jackson, PhD, that finds the life expectancy of the country’s least-educated whites is decreasing. The story also cites research by Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Montez, PhD, which found similar trends for the least-educated Americans.

Christina Roberto, PhD, a Health & Society Scholar, spoke to USA Today about McDonald's posting calorie counts on its menu boards and drive-through menus, a move that could be required of all chain restaurants in the future. “In general, this is a hot topic,” she said. “The industry is concerned about policies that either [deter] customers from coming or hurt their bottom line.”

Health & Society Scholars alumnus Jason Block, MD, was also in the news to discuss fast food calorie counts. MedPage Today reports on research he led that finds many parents underestimate how many calories are in the fast food meals they buy for their school-age children.

The Paramus Post and the News Record report on some of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) scholars who have completed NJNI’s Faculty Preparation Program. Twenty of the program's Scholars graduated this year with advanced degrees that prepare them to serve as nurse faculty. reports on the recent retirement of Shirley Chater, RN, PhD, FAAN, who was the national advisory committee chair for the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program since its inception in 1998. Learn more about Chater's impressive career here and here.

“Doctors are less likely to trust studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry even when they are well designed,” the Boston Globe’s White Coat Notes blog reports on a study led by Investigator Award recipient Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH. Health Day and Reuters also reported on the findings.

A study led by Health & Society Scholars alumna A. Janet Tomiyama, PhD, finds that stress is linked to a higher prevalence of obesity among female adolescents, especially among African American females. United Press International and BuzzFeed report on the findings.

The Atlantic reports on a study co-authored by Greg Duncan, PhD, and Jens Ludwig, PhD, co-recipients of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. “Moving to a better—or at least, less impoverished—neighborhood was correlated with improved mental health, including lower levels of depression, and ‘sizeable positive effects’ on families' subjective well-being,” the story reports. Read a post Duncan and Ludwig wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about their research.

RWJF Physician Faculty Scholar Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, gave tips to Parents magazine on how parents can handle food allergies among their children’s friends during play dates or parties.

Harold Pollack, PhD, an alumnus of the RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research program, was a guest on NPR's Morning Edition to discuss emergency room use by the uninsured. “It's just about the least cost-effective way you can get your medical care,” he said. “And we also have really damaged the institution of emergency department care by expecting it to take on these burdens it's not really designed to assume—to provide primary care to low-income people.”

Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Wanda Montalvo, ANP, MSN, RN, was a guest on WBAI-FM to discuss how diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle changes.

Sara Barger, DPA, RN, FAAN, dean and professor at the University of Alabama College of Nursing and an alumna of the Executive Nurse Fellows program, spoke to the Tuscaloosa News about the nurse and nurse faculty shortages. “Finding qualified faculty is imperative in order to take more students,” she said. “We need to promote nursing faculty careers as a good career choice for nurses... but nurses with the same level of education in the teaching arena make less than their counterparts in a hospital setting. We have to do something to make that more equitable.”

Investigator Award recipient Michael Sparer, PhD, JD, spoke to USA Today about a new tax that will affect medical device manufacturers.

Jonathan Bergman, MD, an RWJF Clinical Scholar, and Mark S. Litwin, MD, MPH, an alumnus of the program, co-authored a piece on Huffington Post about the country’s budget and the large percentage of spending devoted to health care.

The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed Investigator Award recipient Jason Karlawish, MD, about how the brain changes with normal aging. Read a post Karlawish wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about Alzheimer's disease.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Executive Nurse Fellows, Health & Society Scholars, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, New Jersey Nursing Initiative, Physician Faculty Scholars, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research