May 2 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Medication errors affecting children with cancer, particulate matter, the needs of urban communities, 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:

CBS Evening News profiled RWJF Community Health Leader Roseanna Means, MD, who founded the nonprofit Women of Means in 1988 to provide free medical care to homeless women in the Boston area. Today, 16 volunteer doctors and staff nurses provide care at the city’s shelters to women with unique sensitivities and needs. Read a post Means wrote about her nonprofit for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

A study led by RWJF Clinical Scholars alumnus Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, finds more than 40 percent of American parents give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under age 4, despite product label warnings to the contrary. Health Day and the Examiner report on the findings.

Helena Hansen, MD, PhD, an alumna of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, is the lead author of an analysis that concludes social determinants—rather than changes in the environment or flawed diagnostic criteria—help explain the dramatic rise in the number of Americans diagnosed with mental disorders in recent years. Health Canal and MedPage Today report on the findings.

Forty-seven percent of children with cancer who receive part of their treatment at home have been exposed to at least one medication error, according to a study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Kathleen E. Walsh, MD, MSc. Those errors had the potential to harm 36 per 100 patients, and actually did cause injury to four per 100, MedPage Today reports.

Most hospital readmissions are related to poor quality or lack of transitional care and care coordination, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Beth Ann Swan, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, writes in a guest column for Philly.com. The Affordable Care Act includes a number of provisions designed to help reduce preventable readmissions, she notes.

KUHF News spoke to Health & Society Scholars alumna Rachel Kimbro, PhD, about a project she is participating in, with faculty from Rice University and the University of Houston, to study particulate matter that is polluting Houston's air. For the next two years, the researchers will compare data collected from a mobile lab with health records from the same neighborhoods to see if high levels of particulate matter correlate with increased incidence of respiratory and cardiac problems.

A community’s response to a natural disaster "lies in the depth of [the] community’s resilience," Clinical Scholar Nurit Harari, MD, and RWJF/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Clinical Scholar Anita Vashi, MD, MPH, write in a guest editorial for the CT Mirror. “Communities where gun violence is an everyday occurrence need a similar preparedness and response plan with an emphasis on resilience… Using lessons from disaster preparedness to address urban violence may help to build resilience so that when disasters do strike, communities are ready and equipped.”

RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Darrick Hamilton, PhD, gave comments to the New York Times about why the wealth gap between races has widened since the recession.

Community Health Leader Judi Hilman, director of the Utah Health Policy Project, gave comments to the Associated Press about the need for Utah to alleviate pressure on already-overworked physicians as state leaders consider Medicaid expansion under health care reform. One of those ways is to bring more nurse practitioners and doctor's assistants to Utah, she said, because they can treat patients but are less costly than doctors.

Forbes reports on ElationEMR, an electronic health records company started by Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna Kyna Fong, PhD, and her brother.

“Urban communities and the institutions within them need a sustained commitment from the federal government, a durable policy agenda with the capacity to generate change in America’s most disadvantaged communities,” Health & Society Scholars alumnus Patrick Sharkey, PhD, writes in an op-ed in the New York Times. “With the impending cuts to housing, schools, and community organizations from the sequestration, vulnerable communities are in danger of falling apart. A sustained commitment to urban neighborhoods is necessary to end the erratic cycle of urban policy, and to avoid the next urban crisis.”

Tags: Research, Medical, dental and nursing workforce, Nurses, Cancer, Environmental health, Community violence, Emergency preparedness and response, Urban, Human Capital, Human Capital News, Media Coverage, Research & Analysis, Community Health Leaders, Clinical Scholars, Health & Society Scholars, Physician Faculty Scholars, Executive Nurse Fellows, Nursing, Scholars in Health Policy Research