Dec 19 2013

Human Capital News Roundup: Body mass index and kidney function, impact of health spending on life expectancy, 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:

The Food & Drug Administration issued a proposed rule on December 16 that would require makers of antimicrobial and antibacterial soaps and body washes to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of their products, the Examiner reports. Scientists have long been concerned that the common anti-bacterial ingredient triclosan may harm health. Allison Aiello, PhD, MS, concluded in a 2007 report that soaps containing triclosan “were no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms and reducing bacterial levels on the hands.” Aiello is an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna. Read her post on the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

In the first study to estimate health spending efficiency by gender across industrialized nations, RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumnus Arijit Nandi, PhD, and others discovered significant disparities within countries. The research team found that increased spending on health brought stronger gains in life expectancy for men than for women in nearly every nation, Newswise reports. The United States ranked 25th among the 27 countries studied when it came to reducing women’s deaths.

New research suggests that a parent’s prison sentence may not always have negative consequences for children, particularly if the incarcerated fathers were uninvolved in their children’s lives, Science Daily reports. The study is co-authored by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumni Kristin Turney, PhD, and Christopher Wildeman, PhD. When fathers weren't living with their children prior to their time behind bars, their incarceration had no effect on how they interacted with their children during or after release, the study concluded.

There is an association between high body mass index (BMI) and kidney function decline among young adults, the Examiner reports. Vanessa Grubbs, MD, MPH, and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco tracked more than 2,800 patients, grouping them by weight. After accounting for a variety of other risk factors, the researchers found that, over the course of a decade, patients with the highest BMI were most likely to develop kidney problems. Grubbs is an alumna of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program.

The book Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies, by Seth Holmes, PhD, MD, is helping put a human face on the struggles of migrant farmworkers and moving their health care struggles into the spotlight, the San Francisco Bay Guardian reports. Holmes is an alumnus of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program. An excerpt from his book is available on the Human Capital Blog.

The idea that the Affordable Care Act will become immune from repeal attempts once it has been in place for a few years is a “myth,” according to a blog published by and co-authored by Eric Patashnik, PhD, MPP, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. The piece analyzes the dynamics of “policy entrenchment,” exploring the fate of other large-scale government initiatives. It cites studies by: Andrea Campbell, PhD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator award; and RWJF Scholar in Health Policy Research alumni Jonathan Oberlander, PhD, and Charles Shipan, PhD.

Tags: Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Health & Society Scholars, Health Disparities, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Scholars in Health Policy Research