Aug 7 2014

RWJF Scholars in the News: The ACA and mental health treatment, HIV training for nurses, the rise of superbugs, 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:

An Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that allows parents to keep adult children on their health insurance plans under they reach age 26 has resulted in millions more young people with mental-health and substance-abuse problems getting treatment, according to a study led by Brendan Saloner, PhD. Time reports that over two years, young adults ages 18 to 25 who had screened positive for mental health or substance abuse disorders increased their use of mental-health treatment by 5.3 percent compared to a similar group who were not eligible for their parents’ coverage. Vox and HealthDay were among the outlets to report on the study. Saloner is an RWJF Health & Society Scholar.

Infection Control Today quotes Jason Farley, PhD, MPH, CRNP, on the growing need to train nurses to provide HIV care. An RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar, Farley developed new HIV curriculum for the John Hopkins School of Nursing, where he is an associate professor. “For many years these specialty training programs in HIV have been available for physicians,” he says. “This is the first time we’re offering them to non-physician providers. It’s quite an important development. When you look at data comparing patient outcomes with physician care and with nurse practitioner care in HIV, whether in the United States or in sub-Saharan Africa, those outcomes are the same.”

Magda Cerdá, PhD, MPH, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumna, explores the stressors that lead to high numbers of returning National Guard soldiers abusing alcohol, reports Science Codex. Cerda is the lead investigator of the study, which examined 1,095 Ohio National Guard soldiers who served primarily in Iraq or Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009, and found that having just one civilian stressor such as job loss, or legal or financial problems, raised the odds of alcohol use disorders. Medical Daily and Medical Xpress also cover Cerda’s work.

Dallas/Fort Worth Health Care Daily covered the inaugural meeting of Nurses on Board, a year-long training program to prepare nurse leaders across Texas for service on boards of directors of organizations and agencies that promote health and wellness. It is part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP and RWJF. The article quotes Texas Team Action Coalition Co-Lead Cole Edmonson, DNP, RN, FACHE: “These nurses are now learning the art of governance from experts in the field in order to shape the future of health care delivery and their organizations.”

Cases of “superbugs” such as the antibiotic-resistant, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), increased fivefold in community hospitals in the southwestern United States from 2008 to 2012, according to research led by Deverick J. Anderson, MD, an RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumnus. “We're trying to sound the alarm. This is a problem for all of us in health care,” Anderson tells The News Star (Louisiana), which notes these bacteria are resistant even to “last chance” antibiotics.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumnus Kevin Haninger, PhD, and colleagues investigate whether property value increases accompany clean ups of hazards on “brownfield” sites. City Lab reports that the researchers found that properties near the brownfield sites receive a bump in property values after they are cleaned, with increases averaging 4.9 to 32.2 percent.

Frequent interactions with a nursing mentor have “opened a lifeline” for nursing student Cathy Huntsman to receive vital support and advice as she works toward her bachelor’s degree through the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program in North Carolina, the Sylva Herald reports. “Having someone [who has] already gone through the struggles really helps put everything in perspective,” Huntsman said. RIBN is coordinated by the Foundation for Nursing Excellence with financial support from RWJF, the Duke Endowment, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, and the NC Area Health Education Centers Program.

According to a study by RWJF Scholar in Health Policy Research Meredith Sadin, PhD, there is no difference in how politicians raised in working class environments vote, compared to politicians born into privilege, Pacific Standard reports. Sadin and her team amassed biographical data for every legislator in the 106th through 110th U.S. Congresses, including their parents’ professions and their voting records on a variety of issues. What legislators’ parents did for a living did not help predict how they voted on economic issues, the researchers found.

Are parents’ political views affected by their children’s gender? Dalton Conley, PhD, MPPA, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, has new research that suggests it does not. The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog covers the study, which finds that in contrast to earlier studies, in the 36 countries analyzed, the sex of a couple’s first child does not affect their political ideology or party identification. The Boston Globe also recently covered Conley’s work.

In a piece for the Huffington Post, Darrick Hamilton, PhD, and colleagues challenge critics of affirmative action who say it is used to admit less-qualified black students to selective universities. They write that affirmative action serves “as a set of positive anti-discrimination measures designed to include persons in preferred positions of society from which they would otherwise have been excluded, despite their qualifications and merit.” Hamilton is an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus.

The New Yorker provides an in-depth comparison of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman, PhD, to the 1972 book A Family Business: Kinship and Social Control in Organized Crime, which inspired the movie adaptation The Godfather. Goffman, an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumna, takes a similar sociological look at a low-income Philadelphia neighborhood and explores how evolving law enforcement tactics have turned young men in the community into fugitives.

The study by RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumna Esther Friedman, PhD, which found that parents of college graduates lived about two years longer, on average, than parents of children who did not complete high school, continues to receive media coverage, including in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Tags: Campaign for Action, HC Website Feature, Health & Society Scholars, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Mental and Emotional Well-Being, Nurse Faculty Scholars, Nurses and Nursing, Nursing, Physician Faculty Scholars, Research & Analysis, Scholars in Health Policy Research