May 1 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: Worldwide diabetes epidemic, covering birth control services, 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:

“[D]iabetes has become a full-blown epidemic in India, China, and throughout many emerging economies,” writes Kasia Lipska, MD, an RWJF Clinical Scholars program alumna, in a New York Times opinion piece. Lipska details her experience treating patients in India, explaining that the country’s recent economic transition has created a “perfect storm of commerce, lifestyle, and genetics” that has led to a rapid growth in diabetes cases. She highlights how costly the disease is to manage, as well as the shortcomings of India’s health care infrastructure, warning that, without reforms, India will have to provide chronic care for more than 100 million diabetics in a few decades.

RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Michael Greenstone, PhD, co-authored an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times that praises a recent appellate court decision to uphold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury standards. The court’s majority ruled that the EPA had factored in costs when deciding how stringent the regulation should be, and that the monetized environmental benefits of the rule outweighed the costs, Greenstone writes.

A majority of Americans—69 percent—support the Affordable Care Act requirement that health insurance plans pay for birth control, according to a survey by Michelle Moniz, MD, a Clinical Scholar. The survey included more than 2,000 respondents, NBC News reports. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by June in a case in which two for-profit corporations assert that paying for insurance coverage of certain forms of birth control conflicts with the companies’ religious beliefs. Moniz’s survey was also covered by MSNBC and Newsweek, among other outlets.

Climate change is already harming human health, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, said at Northern Illinois University recently, according to the Northern Star. Health concerns linked to climate change include respiratory problems, allergies due to a rise in pollen counts, and dengue fever, which is spread by mosquitos. Anderko urged the audience to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation.

After a months-long study in which she sat in on nearly two dozen expectant mothers’ ultrasound appointments, Tova Walsh, PhD, reports that she was impressed by how moving the experience appeared to be for fathers who attended. “There’s a trend in which fathers are much more likely to attend than they used to be,” Walsh, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna, told NBC News Madison (Wisc). “I was actually struck by how powerful the experience was for men.”

The May 2014 issue of Surgery features studies conducted by RWJF Clinical Scholars and alumni. Cary Gross, MD, co-director and alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program at Yale University, compared post-surgical radiation treatments for breast cancer patients at nonprofit and for-profit hospitals. Gross’ study was covered in a Kaiser Health News article that was published in the Washington Post. Alumnus Charles Scales, MD, looked at the costs and complications associated with kidney stone treatment, generating coverage in U.S. News & World Report, HealthDay, Science World Report, Medical Xpress, and HealthCanal, among other outlets. A study by alumnus Justin Fox, MD, explores ways to reduce the incidence of hospital admission for follow-up care after outpatient surgery; it was covered in Modern Healthcare (free registration required).

Suzanne Mettler, PhD, continues to receive news coverage of her analysis of the reasons college is becoming less accessible to low-income students. In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition, Mettler, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, says that federal and state investments in education, dating back to the GI Bill in 1944, have changed over time, leading to greater inequality in higher education.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Executive Nurse Fellows, HC Website Feature, Health & Society Scholars, Health Care Quality, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research