RWJF Scholar examines neighborhood-based death rates from opiate-based painkiller overdoses, compared with heroin overdose deaths.
Physician Faculty Scholars On January 24, 2011, Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., (’10) and Clinical Scholars alumnus (’01) was sworn in as the New York State Department of Health Commissioner. He was confirmed by the state Senate earlier that day. The Journal News and Times Union covered Shah’s Senate interview and appointment. Shah’s nomination to the post by New York Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo received earlier media coverage in the New York Daily News and Buffalo News, among other outlets. Cuomo’s transition office described Shah as an “expert in use of systems-based methods to improve patient outcomes, a leading researcher in use of large-scale clinical laboratories and electronic health records to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care.” The Department of Health administers the state’s public health insurance programs, regulates hospitals and other health care facilities, conducts research in a premier biomedical laboratory and supports public health prevention initiatives. Shah will also be working with a Special Medicaid Redesign Commission that Cuomo appointed to streamline the state’s $50 billion-plus Medicaid program.
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Clinical Scholars A $74,000 grant recently awarded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation will fund a collaboration to investigate the causes underlying well-documented but poorly understood racial disparities in pain management. Stephen Henry, M.D., (’09 VA Scholar) and Susan Eggly, Ph.D., a researcher in the communication and behavioral oncology group at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University, will lead the collaboration. Pain is the most common symptom for which patients seek medical care from primary care providers, but patients often feel doctors do not take their pain seriously, and doctors worry about creating dependency by prescribing narcotics. The study will be the first to delve into outpatient pain management by analyzing video recordings of primary care doctors discussing pain with African-American patients from Detroit—a population that reports more frequent and more severe pain than the state average.
Kasia Lipska, M.D., (’09) appeared on “Where We Live,” a talk show on Connecticut’s Public Broadcasting Network, WNPR, to discuss diabetes. The program looked at a Yale study that explains why diabetes risk increases with age and explored some of the latest technologies in blood sugar monitoring.
Rhonda Mattox, M.D., (’08) who has focused her research on developing interventions aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness among Blacks, was featured in an article in The Root, a Washington Post publication, on November 15, 2010. In “Does Kanye West Need a Therapist?” Mattox suggests that West’s anger and erratic behavior could be hiding other emotions that are more stigmatized in the Black community.
In Time magazine’s “The Medical Insider” column, Zachary F. Meisel, M.D., M.P.H., (’08) cautions that health information technology (HIT) can change the delivery of health care in ways that may be hard to monitor and sometimes worse for patients. In “The Health IT Paradox: Why More Data Doesn’t Always Mean Better Care,” Meisel acknowledges the benefits and efficiencies that HIT offers, but points out that it is essential to keep an eye out for other influences that may not lead to better care.
Research on setting diabetes priorities by VA Scholar Donna Zulman, M.D., (’08) was featured in a USA Weekend Magazine article on November 21, 2010. In “Setting Diabetes Priorities? Talk to Your Doctor,” Zulman noted a large gap between what doctors and patients considered the number-one concern for type 2 diabetes. She argues that “the gap could explain why people with type 2 diabetes don’t do a better job of managing their condition.”
Community Health Leaders The Mentoring in Medicine (MIM) program, founded by Lynne Holden, M.D., (’09), held its fifth annual “Yes I Can Be a Health Care Professional” conference on December 4, 2010. Holden is the president and chief executive director of the New York-based program, which works to encourage and support disadvantaged youth interested in a health care career. Debra Pérez, RWJF’s senior program officer in research and evaluation, was the keynote speaker at the conference. In addition, Holden invited two Community Health Leaders (CHL) from New York City—Ray E. Lopez, M.A., (’08) director of the environmental health program at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services, Inc., and Susan Rodriguez, (’10) president and founding director, Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment (SMART)—to participate in the conference. Lopez is an authority on the bedbug problem, and representatives of Rodriguez’s SMART Youth program spoke about HIV prevention. The involvement of Holden’s CHL colleagues highlights the networking opportunities that come along with the $125,000 Community Health Leaders award. There were some 1,400 participants in this year’s MIM conference, which provided conference attendees with an opportunity to ask questions of medical professionals, practice organ dissection and learn the Heimlich maneuver. In October 2010, Holden was named to The Root’s list of 100 “emerging and established African-American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions.”
On December 3, 2010, the Fund for the City of New York hosted a reception for Susan Rodriguez, (’10) president and founding director of Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment (SMART), of New York. SMART’s friends and supporters joined together to celebrate Rodriguez’s dedication to providing treatment education and support to women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS over the last 13 years. SMART University and its adjunct programs continue to conduct classes for women on how to survive and thrive in the face of HIV and AIDS.
James Withers, M.D., (’02) was featured on ABC News on November 29, 2010 for providing health care services to homeless people living on the streets of Pittsburgh. Withers’ health care mission Operation Safety Net (OSN) is a nonprofit organization of doctors, nurses and other medical experts who assemble in teams of three or four each night to offer food, clothing and medical supplies to the city’s homeless. “I think what it boils down to is that we’re in this together,” Withers told ABC News. “We are committed to each other in a way that hopefully nobody is ever completely outside the circle of caring.” He founded his program, which serves 900 patients a year, after spending a year on the street learning firsthand about the needs of the homeless. Click here to watch the video.
CNN recognized Roseanna Means, M.D., (’10) as a CNN Hero for providing free medical care to homeless women in Boston area shelters. The network describes its CNN Heroes as “everyday people changing the world.” “For women who are poor, homeless or battered, to deal with a system of health care becomes overwhelming,” Means told CNN. “There are lots of emotional issues, psychiatric issues...I just didn’t like the idea that they were falling through the cracks.” Means is president and chief medical officer of Women of Means, a network of volunteer physicians who serve about 2,500 homeless women each year. CNN coverage highlighting Means’ work premiered on January 20, 2011.
Executive Nurse Fellows Susan E. Birch, M.B.A., R.N., (’02) was named executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers the Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus programs as well as a variety of other programs for Colorado’s low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
Pamela N. Clarke, B.S.N., M.P.H., Ph.D., (’99) was re-elected to a second term on the American Academy of Nursing Fellow Selection Committee. She was also elected as vice chair of the Nursing Theory-Guided Practice Panel of the American Academy of Nursing.
Cindy Crone, M.N.Sc., A.P.N., C.P.N.P., (’01) was selected by the Arkansas Insurance Commissioner to manage planning for the Arkansas Health Insurance Exchange. She also played a leading role in Arkansas’ receipt in September 2010 of a $13.1 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Access to Recovery grant. Crone was project director for the Arkansas Access to Recovery program until December 7, 2010 when she left the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to manage the Arkansas Health Insurance Exchange planning efforts. She will also serve as project director for a $1 million Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) Exchange Planning Grant.
Mary A. Hooshmand, M.S., R.N., (’04) regional nursing director for the Florida Department of Health, was honored by the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) with the 2010 Alumnus of Distinction award. Hooshmand was recognized as an alumna who exemplifies the spirit and educational teachings of the SONHS for her years of exceptional leadership and service, and her tireless work as an advocate for children with special health care needs. She received the award and presented the keynote address at the Alumni Breakfast at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla. University of Miami President Donna Shalala, Ph.D., who was one of her mentors, attended the keynote, as well as faculty, alumni and students.
Lynnie Meyer, M.S.N., R.N., (’08) chief development officer of Norton Healthcare and executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, was selected by Louisville, Ky., Mayor-elect Greg Fischer for his transition team. The announcement was made on November 10, 2010 and covered in the Courier-Journal.
Elias Provencio-Vasquez, Ph.D., R.N., (’99) dean of the University of Texas–El Paso School of Nursing and the first Hispanic nursing school dean in the country, was named one of 2010’s 100 Influentials by Hispanic Business. He was previously featured in a “Spotlight on Thought Leaders” in the same magazine.
Tener Veenema, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., (’04) president and CEO of TenER Consulting Group, LLC, was named to the Scientific Advisory Board for the American Red Cross, where she will serve on the Disaster Health Services SubCouncil, and to the FEMA Administration for Children and Families Working Group on Disaster Case Management.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist appointed Kathy Wright, M.S.N., R.N., C.P.N.P., (’08) to a three-year term with the Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers. The Council assists public and private agencies in implementing a statewide system of coordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interagency programs providing appropriate early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Wright’s fellowship project, Kids and K-9s for Healthy Choices Inc., was featured in an article for Ocala.com.
Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program In a December 27, 2010 interview with the Boston Globe, Michelle Albert, M.D., M.P.H., (’00) discussed her research on health disparities, the effect of stress on cardiovascular disease, and her journey to becoming a physician after emigrating from Guyana as a teenager. “Although life expectancy has improved for all race and ethnic groups, there is a large gap in life expectancy between, for example, white women and black women. There is about a five- to six-year difference in life expectancy between the two groups, and between white women and black men, there is almost a 10-year gap,” Albert told the Boston Globe. Albert is associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
On November 14, 2010, Michelle Albert, M.D., M.P.H., (’00) presented her research at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) showing that women with high-stress jobs have a 40-percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and a need for procedures to open blocked arteries, compared to those with low job strain. In addition, worrying about losing one’s job contributes to cardiovascular risks such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and excess weight gain. Previous research on the effects of job strain has focused on men and has had a more restricted set of cardiovascular conditions, the AHA said in a statement. Researchers analyzed job strain in 17,415 healthy women who participated in the landmark women’s health study. The research was featured on National Public Radio and WebMD.
Kevin B. Johnson, M.D., M.S., (’97) was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Johnson is a professor and vice chair of biomedical informatics, with a joint appointment in the department of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As an internationally respected developer and evaluator of clinical information technology, Johnson’s research interests have included developing and encouraging the adoption of clinical information systems to improve patient safety and compliance with practice guidelines; the uses of advanced computer technologies, including the Worldwide Web, personal digital assistants, and pen-based computers in medicine; and the development of computer-based documentation systems for the point of care.
Health & Society Scholars Michael Emch, Ph.D., (’04) received a Fulbright Scholarship, which will allow him to study at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Emch will research whether one’s location or social networks have a greater effect on disease transmission. Emch is a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Michelle McMurry-Heath, M.D., Ph.D., (’04) is now the associate director for science at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Prior to joining the FDA, she was founding director of the Health, Biomedical Science and Society Initiative at the Aspen Institute.
The research of Briana Mezuk, Ph.D., (’07) was cited in a St. Louis Beacon news article examining how participating in debate can raise high school students’ academic performances. Mezuk, of the Virginia Commonwealth University, released a report last year with researchers from the University of Michigan examining the academic impact of participating in the Chicago Urban Debate League over a decade. According to the Beacon, “In her study, Mezuk factored out eighth-grade achievement, and found that, no matter what prior achievement was, students were seeing the same exponential perks and improvements.”
Natasha Schull, Ph.D., M.A., (’03) appeared on a January 9, 2011 episode of 60 Minutes and discussed how slot machines may contribute to gambling addiction. In the interview with correspondent Lesley Stahl, Schull said that the modern slot machines complete with high-tech visuals and push buttons, allowing gamblers to pack more plays into a shorter period. “Whether or not it’s their intention, the gambling industry is designing machines that can addict people,” said Schull, an anthropology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Schull added that “what addiction really has to do with is the speed of rewards. And these machines, if they’re packing 1,200 hands per hour into play, you could see that as being exposed to a higher dose.” Schull has studied gambling addiction for over 15 years, interviewing gamblers, casino owners and slot machine designers. To watch the interview, click here.
Belinda Needham, Ph.D., M.A., (’06 ) an assistant professor of sociology and social work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, presented her obesity research findings at a December 14, 2010, congressional briefing on Capitol Hill presented by the Society for Women’s Health Research. Needham was one of four panelists who discussed the topic, “Holiday Blues: Women, Depression and Obesity.” She presented findings from a community study to gauge the effects of obesity on depression in which she concluded that depression led to weight gain and not the other way around. Needham also found that women gain weight faster than men and are two times more likely to be depressed.
Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Perspectives by Julie Fairman, Ph.D., F.A.A.N., R.N., (’06) and Linda Aiken, Ph.D., F.A.A.N., R.N., (’98) were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (online December 15, 2010). Fairman’s piece, “Broadening the Scope of Nursing Practice,” co-authored with colleagues John W. Rowe, M.D., Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., and Donna E. Shalala, Ph.D., discusses the primary care shortage in the context of health reform and calls for expanded, standardized scope of practice for nurses. Aiken’s piece, “Nurses for the Future,” discusses nursing education and changes that can help begin to address shortages of nursing faculty and of advanced-practice registered nurses. She advocates for greater public funding to help make it possible for all new nurses to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and for shifting federal support from diploma nursing programs to graduate training to increase the number of nurse practitioners.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published two Perspectives by Mark Hall, J.D., (’04). “Health Care Reform—What Went Wrong on the Way to the Courthouse,” published on December 15, 2010, discusses the recent federal court ruling on the constitutionality of the individual health insurance mandate. In his second piece, “Rethinking Safety-Net Access for the Uninsured,” published on January 6, 2011, Hall explores how the uninsured population will shrink and change after full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, and how that will impact the function and mission of safety-net providers.
In “Pharmaceutical Marketing and the New Social Media,” a Perspective piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine on November 24, 2010, Aaron Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., (’09) and his colleague, Jeremy A. Greene, M.D., Ph.D., discuss the use of social media to promote pharmaceuticals. Greene and Kesselheim outline three aspects of pharmaceutical promotion in new social media to which physicians should pay special attention. The Perspective was featured in the Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Kesselheim is assistant professor in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
The November 24, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association includes Commentary pieces written by David J. Rothman, Ph.D., (’03) and David O. Meltzer, M.D., Ph.D., (’07) who is also a Physician Faculty Scholars national advisory committee member. Meltzer’s piece, “The Real Meaning of Rationing,” co-authored with Allan Detsky, M.D., Ph.D., discusses the ways in which health care rationing occurs and the need for reasoned public discourse about how health care resources should be allocated. Rothman’s piece, written with Susan Chimonas, Ph.D., is titled “Academic Medical Centers’ Conflict of Interest Policies,” and discusses the diverse and uneven ways that academic medical centers are implementing policies that more tightly manage the relationships between physicians and industry. Rothman and Chimonas recommend wider adoption of best practices, greater standardization and increased transparency.
The Harvard Gazette featured an article about the work of S.V. Subramanian, Ph.D., M.Phil., (’09) who explores the link between people’s health and where they live. Subramanian, associate professor of society, human development and health at the Harvard School of Public Health and a researcher at the Center for Population and Development Studies, plans to write a book on health and disadvantage in American neighborhoods.
A book by Gary A. Taubes, M.S.E., M.S., (’08) Good Calories, Bad Calories (Knopf, 2007), was featured in an article for Psychology Today. In, “Are We Getting Nutrition All Wrong?” Shantanu Nundy, M.D., a physician and author, discusses how Taubes’ thesis challenges conventional thinking around nutrition and healthy eating through a “meticulous review of the nutrition and medical literature going back a hundred years.” He argues that if Taubes is right, his ideas “would transform the practice of preventive health and nutrition.” Taubes published a new book in January 2011 for a general audience based on Good Calories, Bad Calories, called Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It; the book received media coverage in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, among other outlets.
Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Ph.D., (’08) whose research focuses on issues related to living with HIV/AIDS, was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article about couples forging relationships despite one partner’s positive HIV status. Watkins-Hayes notes that “the relationships that are most likely to last are ones where the healthy partner goes into it fully knowledgeable about the health risks, the medical challenges and other issues involved with being HIV-positive."
New Connections Rodney Haring, Ph.D., L.M.S.W., (’10) was interviewed in a feature on diabetes in the Native American community on the talk show “Native American Calling” on National Native News. Haring’s research through New Connections focuses on childhood-related obesity interventions relevant to Native American children, their families and communities. His project investigates the relationship between childhood obesity and oral health disparities interventions that target Native American communities. To listen to Haring’s interview, click here and scroll to the six-minute point.
New Connections Program Director Debra Joy Pérez, Ph.D., M.P.A., M.A., received the 2010 Latino Trendsetter Award from LatinTRENDS Magazine. The award recognizes groundbreaking leaders in business, education, entertainment, art, health, community service and popular culture. An RWJF senior program officer in Research and Evaluation, Pérez was instrumental in founding New Connections. For more information about Pérez’s honor, read this RWJF Web story.
Physician Faculty Scholars Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., (’08) was quoted in a December 24, 2010 Detroit Free Press article about the large number of injuries occurring around the holiday season. As a doctor at Detroit Receiving Hospital’s ER, Levy warned readers that a broken hip can make life extremely complicated for an elderly person, so seniors should beware of certain holiday tasks, such as putting up Christmas lights.
Scholars in Health Policy Research In a December 29, 2010 New York Times letter to the editor, Program Director Alan Cohen, Sc.D., commented on a recently published article, “Avastin.” The article discussed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s preparation to withdraw its approval for Avastin, a tumor-slowing drug, to treat advanced breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body. In his letter, Cohen writes that the FDA must also hold some responsibility for weighing clinical trial evidence, in addition to the drug’s manufacturer. Cohen writes, “Both FDA and the manufacturer should be required to consider the varying effects of a new drug on different groups of people so that drug approval decisions can be targeted at those who will really benefit while preventing or minimizing adverse effects for those who won’t.”
Pamela Herd, Ph.D., (’02) was interviewed for a PBS News Hour story discussing a political battle developing in Wisconsin over the shaping of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There is new resistance in the state over whether to expand Medicaid coverage. Herd notes that the state is unlikely to get involved in negotiating on behalf of citizens for the benefits and costs of the ACA and of Medicaid. She is an associate professor of public affairs and sociology in the department of sociology and the Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Jonathan Oberlander, Ph.D., (’95) was quoted in a November 26, 2010 New York Times article discussing the possibility that a federal judge in Virginia would reject the ACA’s central provision as unconstitutional and potentially halt its enforcement until higher courts can rule. Oberlander said, “Any ruling against the act creates another P.R. problem for the Democrats, who need to resell the law to insured Americans.”
On January 17, 2011, Harold Pollack, Ph.D. (’94), published an article titled “A Defense of High-Risk Insurance Pools—From One Critic to the Others” for Kaiser Health News. Pollack notes drawbacks to the high-risk insurance pools as currently designed in the ACA, but adds, “There are bound to be growing pains and glitches. The same was true of Medicare Part D. The same will be true of health insurance exchanges, which will face many unexpected challenges and occasional embarrassing snafus. We must show a little patience as some very talented and embattled people work these things through.”
RWJF Scholar examines neighborhood-based death rates from opiate-based painkiller overdoses, compared with heroin overdose deaths.
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This month the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a special issue of its magazine devoted to food.
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Team members, grantees, and guests discuss breakthrough ideas that will allow us to move toward solving challenges in health care.
The Health and Medical Care Archives at the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research is the of...
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List of most current annual reports.