Jul 2 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: Menopause and heart disease, nurses and health care finance, 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: 

Changes in hormone levels during early menopause could be linked to an increased risk of heart disease, finds a new study co-authored by RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumna Rebecca Thurston, PhD. Health Canal covers the study, describing it as a first-of-its-kind evaluation because it used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to assess the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through the blood, rather than relying on conventional blood tests. Thurston’s study was published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

For Alice Goffman, PhD, an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna, an undergraduate assignment turned into a six-year study of a low-income Philadelphia neighborhood in which, she concluded, “the young men in this community feel hunted.” In the resulting book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Goffman says that a “climate of fear and suspicion pervades everyday life” in the community. The New York Times Sunday Book Review calls Goffman’s work “riveting” and her ability to understand her subjects “astonishing.”

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has received a $13.6 million grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to integrate and coordinate physical, behavioral, and social-health needs for people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, reports the Northern Colorado Business Report. The story quotes Susan Birch, MBS, BSN, RN, executive director of the department: “This grant allows Colorado to coordinate our members' care, while achieving greater value and health outcomes for our citizens who are on both Medicare and Medicaid.” Birch is an RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna.

Developing hospital finance models that account for the care that is delivered, not simply tasks that are performed, is the next step for U.S. health care, according to Pamela Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN, as reported in Healthcare Finance News. Thompson spoke recently at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s annual 2014 conference. She is CEO of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), which houses the national program office of the RWJF Academic Progression in Nursing program. “Nurses and other frontline providers deliver value to hospitals, but finance professionals often do not have a complete understanding of what they do,” she said, noting that “the value of nursing is beyond the individual task performed ... [it is] in the health outcomes achieved per dollar of cost spent.” 

Tags: Academic Progression in Nursing, Executive Nurse Fellows, Health & Society Scholars, Hospitals, Human Capital, Media Coverage, Medicaid, Nursing, Research, Scholars in Health Policy Research, Social determinants of health