Jan 30 2014

Human Capital News Roundup: HIV treatment for ex-offenders, ‘healthy’ fast food myths, 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:

Making new medical device technology quickly available is important, but research suggests there is a risk associated with swift Food and Drug Administration approval of implantable heart devices. Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, told USA Today that the medical community should be wary of the expedited review process because it can compromise product safety and effectiveness. The Boston Globe also covered Kesselheim’s research.

Health Canal featured a study co-authored by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Chyvette Williams, PhD, MPH, that examines gender differences in HIV treatment outcomes among recently released prisoners. Williams and colleagues found that women were considerably less likely than men to attain any of the three optimal HIV treatment outcomes six months after release from jail, and thus had significantly more negative health outcomes.

Despite media campaigns promoting healthy eating, customers at fast food restaurants such as Subway do not necessarily make better food choices, according to a Medical Daily article. Citing research from Lenard Lesser, MD, MSHS, an RWJF Clinical Scholar alumnus, the article states that people consume nearly as many calories, and as much sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium from Subway as they would at another fast food restaurant. Lesser’s research was also covered by WNCN. Read more about Lesser’s research.

RWJF Investigator Award recipient Howard Markel, MD, PhD, FAAP, writes about the professional journey of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States, for PBS Newshour. Blackwell overcame hostility and discrimination from both male colleagues and patients. She became an expert in infectious disease, gynecology, and numerous other medical fields in the mid-19th century.

While a poor night’s sleep can make you crave an extra cup of coffee in the morning, it may also be a factor in heart inflammation. RWJF Health & Society Scholar alumnus Aric Prather, PhD, tells Florida Today that “poor sleepers tend to participate in other negative health behaviors that can lead to heightened inflammation” including less activity and poor diet. This also increases their risk for heart disease. Read a post Prather wrote on sleep for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests a promising approach for helping students facing significant academic challenges in high school, the New York Times reports. Jens Ludwig, PhD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award, led the study, which examined the impact of intensive tutoring and group behavioral counseling on a group of low-income Black youths with weak math skills, poor school attendance records, and/or disciplinary problems. The results were promising: Students who received the counseling and tutoring tested better, and more of them were on track to graduate from high school than students who did not receive the supports.

Pacific Standard features the work of RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna Judith Levine, PhD, focusing on low-income women and their difficulty trusting others.  Levine argues in her book, Ain’t No Trust: How Bosses, Boyfriends and Bureaucrats Fail Low-Income Mothers and Why It Matters, that distrust is often justified by their personal experiences.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Health & Society Scholars, Health Disparities, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research