Feb 20 2014

Human Capital News Roundup: Abuse of prescription opioids, thriving singles, smartphone safety nets, 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:

In suburbs, rural towns, and affluent areas, prescription opioids, such as Oxycontin and Opana, are the most common cause of overdose deaths, Helena Hansen, MD, PhD, writes in a Huffington Post opinion piece. Drug policies that unilaterally curb access to opioids can actually hurt users’ recovery efforts, writes Hansen, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna. The piece was co-authored by Julie Netherland, New York deputy state director, Drug Policy Alliance. It recommends prioritizing public health over punitive responses.

Tina Bloom, PhD, RN, an RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar, is part of a research team that developed a smartphone app to help domestic violence victims and their friends create safety plans. “This has been so well received by abused women because of the privacy and the chance to learn and weigh information,” Bloom told the Columbia Daily Tribune. “As survivors tell us, the computer doesn’t judge.”

Michigan Daily reports on a recent lecture by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Patrick Sharkey, PhD, describing his research into how urban violence affects childhood development. Sharkey shared evidence suggesting that children’s exposure to violence in their neighborhoods can negatively affect academic abilities; the conclusion is based on a study he conducted in which children exposed to violence performed significantly lower on a test administered a few days later.

While communication-and-resolution programs (CRP) may have flaws, Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, tells the Huffington Post the “CRP model is the most promising achievable avenue for improving the medical liability environment for both patients and care providers.” Mellow is a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

A new study reveals that people living in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a life expectancy that is an average of 12 years shorter than those who live elsewhere. Medical Daily quotes lead researcher Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, saying that “the results of this study suggest a broadening of the consequences of prejudice to include premature death.” Hatzenbuehler is an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus. The findings are published in Social Science & Medicine and were also covered in the Advocate.

Mehret Mandefro, MD, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna, helps to confront the controversial tradition of telefa, marriage by abduction, as a producer of the film Difret. The film shares the true story of the trial of a14-year-old Ethiopian girl who killed the man who kidnapped her with the intention of marrying her, reports BBC Africa.

RWJF Investigator Award recipient Jennifer Hochschild, PhD, reflects on the life and work of Robert A. Dahl for the Washington Post. Dahl, who died last week at age 98, was a writer, professor, and political activist.

Going Solo, the 2012 book by Eric Klinenberg, PhD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award, is the basis for a story in Forbes. “[N]ot only are there many more single people than anybody thought ... they are thriving,” according to the story. Single people have better social lives, volunteer more, and may even go further in their careers than people in long-term relationships, Klinenberg found. Read an interview with Klinenberg on the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

Tags: HC Website Feature, Health & Society Scholars, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nurses and Nursing, Nursing, Research & Analysis, Violence and Trauma