Now Viewing: Public health

Faces of Public Health: Daniel Zoughbie

Jan 27, 2014, 12:00 PM, Posted by Deborah Bae

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We have evidence from the work of Nicholas Christakis and others that our health is influenced by our social network—our friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. With Microclinic International, we’re learning how and why health behaviors are spread socially and how to best harness social networks to manage chronic disease and improve health. Learn more in this NewPublicHealth interview with Daniel Zoughbie, PhD, MSc, of Microclinic International.

Princeton Students Study Health Care in Urban New Jersey

Dec 9, 2013, 12:30 PM, Posted by Christine Nieves

Princeton students at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen Princeton students at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. From left to right: Emma Tucher, Lawrence Chang, Colleen O'Gorman, Gwen Lee, Richard Lu, Daniel Kim, Mina Henaen, Azza Cohe, Justin Ziegler, Arfan Sunny and Jordan Shivers. Photo by Richard Lu.

Recently, I heard through our grantee at Princeton University that a group of students was organizing a weeklong trip to meet with people working to improve health care in urban New Jersey. The students asked to meet with program staff at the Foundation to get recommendations regarding people to meet and key questions to ask, and we obliged. After their trip, we wanted to hear how things had gone, so I reached out via email. I found their curiosity energizing, and hope you do, too.

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Exploring Medical Conspiracy Theories

Sep 18, 2013, 11:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

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It’s easy to laugh off conspiracy theories. But what if studying them could tell us something new and important about what drives people’s health behavior?

Eric Oliver hopes to do just that. A professor of political science at the University of Chicago, Oliver has studied the origins and impact of political conspiracy theories. Now, with Pioneer’s support, he’s turning his attention to the realm of health, investigating medical conspiracy theories and how they influence people’s habits and decisions.

The Pioneer web team recently interviewed Oliver about his research; here’s an edited transcript of that exchange. You can also learn more about the grant here.

Pioneer: You've heard the old expression, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn't mean they aren’t out to get you.” Are conspiracy theories by definition always wrong?

Eric Oliver: They are not wrong per se. Conspiracies do sometimes occur (think of Nixon and Watergate). But as a researcher, I try to remain decidedly agnostic about the truth claims of conspiracy theories. Lily Tomlin once quipped, “What is reality but a collective hunch?”, and I generally agree that knowledge is socially constructed.

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NYC Macroscope Puts Data at the Fingertips of City Officials

Aug 22, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

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New York City is helping officials better understand and respond to public health needs by putting data at their fingertips. The NYC Macroscope uses information captured routinely in the doctor’s office to paint a picture of health for the entire city—quickly, accurately and inexpensively. This powerful use of electronic health records has the potential to transform public health decision-making across the country. Learn more in this NewPublicHealth interview with the NYC Macroscope’s Carolyn Greene, MD. — Brian Quinn

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Got the Flu? Antibiotics Won’t Help (So Please Don’t Ask for Them)

Jan 28, 2013, 12:09 PM, Posted by Beth Toner

Beth Toner Beth Toner

One look at the latest flu map from the Centers for Disease Control tells you everything you need to know: We are smack-dab in the middle of flu season. Make no mistake: Influenza, at best, can make you miserable—and, at worst, kill you. If you are one of the many Americans suffering from the flu this season, you will probably try anything to get relief from your sore throat, high fever, body aches, and chills. But do us a favor: Please don’t ask your doctor for an antibiotic. There are medications—called antivirals—that may decrease your symptoms and shorten your illness by a day or two. Antibiotics, however, won’t help you if you have the flu. 

Antibiotics don’t fight infections that are caused by viruses, including influenza. Yet every year flu sufferers are prescribed antibiotics. According to a policy brief from Extending the Cure (ETC), a project funded by the Pioneer team, that researches and examines solutions to address antibiotic resistance, between 500,000 and 1 million antibiotic prescriptions are filled each flu season for patients who have the flu and no bacterial illness.

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