Apr 18 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: Conflict resolution strategies, the federal cigarette tax, patient outcomes at Magnet hospitals, 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, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Physician Faculty Scholars alumnus Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH, is co-author of a study that finds older patients are routinely prescribed potentially harmful drugs, particularly in the South. Although the specific reasons for the regional differences are unknown, the researchers hypothesize factors like education, socioeconomic status, and access to quality medical care might be to blame, the New York Times Well Blog reports. NPR and Nurse.com are among the other outlets to report on the findings.

Fierce Healthcare reports on a study led by RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Kelly Doran, MD, that finds frequent use of the emergency department at Veterans Health Administration facilities is often due to “severely compromised life circumstances,” rather than poor access to outpatient health care. The study raises questions about the degree to which increasing access to outpatient care, as the Affordable Care Act aims to do, will reduce emergency department use.

Manish K. Sethi, MD, a health policy associate at the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, spoke to the Leaf Chronicle about a program he started at Cameron College Prep Middle School in Nashville to teach teens conflict resolution strategies in an effort to reduce violence in the Nashville area. Read a Q&A with Sethi about the program.

“We believe it is possible to have an effective background-check system in the United States for all gun transactions without requiring gun registration,” Phillip J. Cook, PhD, and Jens Ludwig, PhD, recipients of RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, write in an op-ed on CNN.com. They propose a system like the one already in place in California, where someone with a gun to sell can pay a small fee to a licensed dealer to conduct a background check on the buyer. The licensed dealer is then required to block the sale if the buyer is a felon or fugitive.

The Washington Post Wonk Blog spoke to Harold Pollack, PhD, MPP, about a proposal in the Obama administration’s budget that would raise the federal cigarette tax in order to generate revenue to provide preschool to almost every child. “The purpose of social policy needs to be to help smokers, not to punish them,” Pollack said. “…This policy would accomplish much good. But I would like to see a greater proportion of tobacco tax revenues used to support tobacco control measures for prevention, smoking cessation, and treatment of smoking-related illnesses.” Pollack is an alumnus of the RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research program and a recipient of an Investigator Award.

Science Codex reports on a study led by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, RN, JD, MPH, CRNP, FAAN, that finds nurse staffing, education, and work environment partially explain lower mortality and better patient outcomes at Magnet hospitals. Read more about McHugh’s research on nurse staffing and work environments here.

The Economist cites research by Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus and National Advisory Committee Member John Cawley, PhD, that finds 46 percent of teenage girls and 30 percent of teenage boys say they smoke to stay thin or lose weight.

RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program scholar Deidra Crews, MD, ScM, FASN, gave comments to Health Day about a study that finds people who carry more fat around their stomachs than their hips or thighs may be at higher risk for kidney disease.

Tags: Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College, Clinical Scholars, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nurses and Nursing, Nursing, Physician Faculty Scholars, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research