Feb 21 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: Hormone replacement therapy, monetary rewards for weight loss, student loan debt, 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 study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Emily Goard Jacobs, PhD, finds that the estrogen in hormone replacement therapy may help protect some women from Alzheimer's, when taken beginning at menopause. Health Canal and the Telegraph (United Kingdom) report on the findings. Read more about the study.

New Careers in Nursing, a program of RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, launched the Doctoral Advancement in Nursing (DAN) project to identify and encourage nurses interested in pursuing doctoral degrees, and to support doctoral nursing students in their studies. The DAN project is scheduled to issue a white paper this summer; it will offer strategies and resources to support doctoral advancement, Healthcare Traveler reports.

Ryan Masters, PhD, a Health & Society Scholar, spoke to NPR’s Shots blog about an editorial he co-authored in the Journal of the American Medical Association that points to problems in a study that found being a “little” overweight was associated with a lower risk of death. “The risk of mortality from obesity compounds and grows stronger as you age,” he said. “In light of our findings, we are… much more concerned about inappropriate denial of the epidemic's consequences for U.S. mortality.”

John H. Cawley, an alumnus and National Advisory Committee Member of the RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research program, spoke to NPR’s Morning Edition about why monetary rewards for employees to lose weight may not work. Cawley’s research finds that three-quarters of people give up on diets even when they stand to earn a monetary reward for losing weight. On the other hand, he finds, people will fight harder to shed weight if they stand to lose money should they fail.

Women with student loan debt are less likely to get married than their female peers with no debt, research by Health & Society Scholar Fenaba Addo, PhD, finds. Though the same is not true for men, “student debt seems to increase one’s odds of bucking traditional norms and living together without the benefit of marriage for both sexes,” Forbes reports. Read a post Addo wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about economic inequality.

RWJF Clinical Scholars alumnus Lenard Lesser, MD, continues to receive media coverage for his study that finds living in a neighborhood with a lot of outdoor food advertising increases the chance that residents will become overweight. Among the outlets to report on the findings: Health Day, Philadelphia Inquirer, and MSN.com. Read more about Lesser’s study.

The Atlantic interviewed Harold Pollack, PhD, MPP, an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient and Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus, about American gangs and gun violence as a public health issue. Pollack is co-director of the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago.

A study co-authored by Health & Society Scholars alumnus Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, MA, finds that the Internet can be used as a tool to help clarify cancer confusion and promote prevention practices. “We were surprised” by the findings, Niederdeppe told Medical XPress. “In the age of WebMD and ‘Dr. Google,’ we were concerned about the potential for the Internet to widen gaps in knowledge and behaviors to prevent cancer.” The researchers found that those who sought online health information were more likely to have positive beliefs about cancer prevention.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Health & Society Scholars, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, New Careers in Nursing, Nurses and Nursing, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research