Apr 17 2014

RWJF Scholars in the News: Education levels and bone fractures, nursing research, hospital choice, 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:

Social class may have a significant bearing on the likelihood that middle-aged African American and Asian women will suffer bone fractures, a new study suggests. Co-author Rebecca Thurston, PhD, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna, found that current income level or ability to pay for care is not associated with bone-fracture risk. However, educational levels among minorities, which the authors note are tightly associated with socioeconomic status, are directly related. This suggests that socioeconomic status over the entire course of a woman’s life is more relevant to bone health than current income status, Health Canal reports.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports on the importance and value of nursing research. Nursing “really looks at the whole person. So we consider the physiological issues in terms of health problems, as well as psychological components, which is a big part of any health problem,” Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program, tells the Dispatch. “We also are very concerned with vulnerable populations, ending health inequalities. Some of our nurse scientists, including some of the Nurse Faculty Scholars, are actually doing physiological research in the lab, but they are very concerned with how that translates to the bedside and to the community.” 

A study co-authored by two RWJF Scholars takes issue with the economic concept of “health care exceptionalism”—the notion that the health care sector does not operate according to standard market forces. Amy Finkelstein, PhD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research and Adam Sacarny, PhD, an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus, examine data on where patients go for heart attack treatment. They found that the more economically productive hospitals, which delivered longer patient survival, received more patient traffic. “Even in settings where patients have little information about providers’ efficiencies ... patients still find their way to better hospitals. Something in the market is able to collect and transmit that performance information to patients or to someone who knows them.” Five Thirty Eight Economics reports on their research.

A National Review article on racial segregation takes note of a book by Patrick Sharkey, PhD, Stuck in Place, which addresses the importance of the transmission of social outcomes from one generation to the next, particularly those related to housing and income levels. Sharkey, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus, co-wrote a Washington Post blog post discussing the federal government’s “short attention span” when it comes to school and neighborhood inequality.

Even though 97 percent of experts are in consensus on human-caused climate change, most of the population is unaware that such a consensus about global warming exists, the Guardian reports. The article cites a journal commentary by Edward Maibach, PhD, in Earth’s Future, which states that the lack of awareness undermines public engagement on the subject. Maibach is an RWJF Investigator Award recipient. 

In an interview with the Atlantic, Suzanne Mettler, PhD, discusses a number of trends in higher education, including its role in creating or restricting social mobility in the United States, for-profit colleges, online education, and more. Mettler is a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award.

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