Jul 31 2014
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RWJF Scholars in the News: Cesarean sections, hospital readmissions, nurse practitioners, 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:

RWJF Clinical Scholar Chileshe Nkonde-Price, MD, shared her experiences with the medical system  during the last week of her recent pregnancy in a video featured on Nasdaq.com. Despite have given birth via Cesarean section earlier, Nkonde-Price wished to deliver vaginally with this pregnancy if she could do so safely. C-section has become the nation’s most common major surgery, the piece says. It examines some of the factors behind the sharp increase in the number of women delivering via C-section in the United States.

In a Health Affairs Blog, José Pagán, PhD, analyzes Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes hospitals with excessive 30-day readmissions for conditions such as pneumonia and heart failure. While Pagán says that not all readmissions can be avoided, hospitals can improve their performance through effective discharge planning and care coordination. With more incentive programs on the horizon, Pagán suggests that health care organizations “seek and monitor collaborative partnerships and, more importantly, strategically invest in sustaining these partnerships” so they can survive and thrive. He is an RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumnus and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

A study led by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Lusine Poghosyan, PhD, RN, looks at how Nurse Practitioners (NPs) rate their work environments. It finds that those working in Massachusetts fared better that those working in New York on every topic in the survey: support and resources, relations with physicians, relations with administration, visibility and comprehension of their role, and independence of practice. The survey also found that NPs working in community health clinics and physicians’ offices rated their work experiences better than NPs working in hospital-affiliated clinics. Poghosyan told Science Codex the findings suggest “the practice environment for NPs in New York can improve once the state’s NP Modernization Act,” which will expand NPs’ scope of practice, takes effect.

As the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, there are growing concerns about shortages of primary care providers, according to a Health Affairs Blog co-authored by RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program alumna Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Physician shortages can be addressed by the rapid growth of nurse practitioners (NPs), trained in primary care, along with the redesign of primary care to include teams that can be led by both physicians and NPs. But our nation’s primary care needs can only be met if states allow NPs to practice to the fullest extent of their training,” Barksdale and her co-authors write, noting that “it is time to remove barriers and support a collaborative dialogue about the needed changes in the U.S. primary care health system.”

A study by Sarah Burgard, PhD, MS, MA, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumna, and colleagues seeks to reconcile previous research that found unemployment increases probability of death, but recessions decrease it. Health Canal reports on the study, which found job loss is associated with a 73 percent increase in the probability of death; however, this increased risk affects only the unemployed and is outweighed by the ways economic slowdowns affect the health of the entire population through such factors as drops in traffic fatalities and reduced pollution. Laboratory Equipment and Red Orbit are among the outlets also covering Burgard’s work.

Seeking mental health care may not help people who are lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) who are experiencing depression, Edge News reports, citing a study by Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, that found seeking treatment from a mental health or medical provider did not reduce the odds of a suicide attempt for this population. “Public health officials and health service providers ought to ensure that LGB individuals who seek mental health treatment, whether it is in medical or religious settings, receive competent mental health services that is relevant to their needs,” said Meyer, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

How long parents live may be associated with their children’s educational attainment. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on a study article co-authored by Esther Friedman, PhD, that found parents of college graduates lived about two years longer, on average, than parents of children who did not complete high school. Better-educated children may influence their parents to adopt healthier lifestyles, the authors suggest. Friedman is an RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumna.

Tags: Clinical Scholars, Executive Nurse Fellows, HC Website Feature, Health & Society Scholars, Human Capital, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nurse practitioners, Nurses, Nursing, Primary care, Research, Research & Analysis, Scholars and fellows, Work environment, Workforce supply and demand