Apr 3 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: Medical debt disparities, nurses providing primary care, technologies that maximize time with patients, 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 a study of women diagnosed with breast cancer, RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Reshma Jagsi, MD, PhD, found that Black and Latina patients were more than twice as likely as White patients to have medical debt and to skip treatments due to concerns about costs. Jagsi tells Reuters that “our findings suggest that racial and ethnic minority patients appear to be more vulnerable, as are those who are too young to qualify for Medicare, those who lack prescription drug coverage, those who reduce their work hours after diagnosis, and those with lower household income at the time of diagnosis.”

Expanding nurse practitioners’ role in primary care could help meet new demands on California’s health care system, as millions of previously uninsured residents gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute. “We should make sure that the nurse practitioners can use every ounce of their talent for what is needed,” she tells the AARP Bulletin. “Consumers should have a choice of different clinicians who will suit their preferences and their needs.” Reinhard is chief strategist for the Center to Champion Nursing in America, a partnership of AARP, AARP Foundation, and RWJF and co-director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

At a recent information technology summit, Ann O’Brien, MSN, RN, an RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow, discussed her work with Kaiser Permanente to leverage new health care technology to maximize nurses’ valuable time providing patient care. O’Brien explains that “you have to look at what can enable small amounts of change,” because saving seconds with each repeated use of rapid sign-on technology, for example, can mean gaining extra minutes in a day for a nurse to provide direct care, FierceHealthIT reports.

Children's health around the world isn't keeping pace with improvements in standards of living and economic growth, according to a new study from S.V. Subramanian, PhD, MPhil. The RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient evaluated data from 36 low- and middle-income countries from 1990 to 2011, and found that as they grew economically, they tended to invest money back into sectors that led to more growth, such as transportation, and not necessarily back into clean water and food security measures. Subramanian is interviewed by NPR.org.

In the Augusta Chronicle, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Lucy Marion, PhD, RN, FAAN, comments on the area’s low marks in the recent 2014 County Health Rankings from RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute. She discusses efforts to make sure single mothers in the community do not become isolated from health care, and goes on to say that while necessary early interventions are not yet provided in a systematic way, the report offers “our opportunity to do that.”

A photo of a 4×6 index card with a hand-written list of the basics of personal finance by social scientist Harold Pollack, PhD, MPP, has gone viral, according to the Christian Science Monitor. On the card, Pollack, an RWJF Investigator Award recipient, provides advice that includes maxing out employee contributions and tax-advantaged savings vehicles. After an interview, Pollack posted a picture of the index card on Twitter, and it has since been heavily retweeted as well as covered by the Washington Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Motley Fool.

In a Washington Post “She The People” blog post, Jennifer Klein, PhD, discusses how the struggle for wage justice has always included women fighting, especially through unions, to change the balance of economic power. “Unions, through collective power—collective power that has legal and ideological legitimacy—compel a more balanced sharing of the profits. Workers’ organizations, at their most ambitious, also give people the space and the tools to articulate a just economic vision and build political power to get us there,” writes Klein, an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna.

India could save up to 2 billion life years if the regions of the country with pollution that exceeds national air quality standards were brought into compliance with the standards, Michael Greenstone, PhD, said in a lecture at the Public Health Foundation of India, covered by the Times of India. Greenstone, an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus, provided data showing that a majority of India's population lives in areas that do not meet safe air standards.

In an opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle, Laura Gottlieb, MD, MPH, explores the influence of lobbies on gun safety proposals in light of opposition to U.S. Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA. “As a nation, we have agreed to regulations that decrease vehicle-related injuries and deaths, but we're stuck on adopting rational gun laws. Let's get unstuck,” writes Gottlieb, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna.

Tags: Campaign for Action, Center to Champion Nursing in America, Executive Nurse Fellows, HC Website Feature, Health & Society Scholars, Health Care Education and Training, Health Disparities, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Nursing, Physician Faculty Scholars, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research