RWJF Scholars, Fellows & Alumni Highlights: May 2010

Clinical Scholar Alum Named New America Foundation's Health Policy Director

Clinical Scholar Alum (2002-2005) Kavita Patel, M.D., M.P.H., was named the director of the New America Foundation’s Health Policy Program, where she will work on policy issues related to implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Patel most recently served as Director of Policy for the Obama White House’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, and was Deputy Staff Director for Health under the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) from 2007-2009.

Harold Amos Alum to Win Prestigious Award

Harold Amos Alum (first cohort) Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, was named the recipient of the 2010 Scroll of Merit Award, the National Medical Association's highest honor. The award will be presented July 31 at the National Medical Association Annual Convention Opening Ceremony in Kissimmee, Florida.

Harold Amos Scholar Gets Press for Study on Children and Hepatitis C

Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program Scholar (2006-2010) Aymin Delgado-Borrego, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor at the University of Miami, received media attention May 2 on YahooNews!, MSN.com and in U.S. News & World Report for her study finding that children with Hepatitis C often go undiagnosed and untreated, which leads to liver damage later in life. Delgado-Borrego suggested that more awareness of the condition, adequate screening for children whose mothers are infected and referral to specialists would "save children from liver damage as well as possible liver failure, liver cancer and even early death."

Physician Faculty Scholar and Clinical Scholar Alum Get Press on Heart Meds

Physician Faculty Scholar (2009-2012) Michael Howell, M.D., M.P.H., an instructor at Harvard Medical School, received press coverage May 11 in the Los Angeles Times and CNN, among other publications, for his Archives of Internal Medicine study. Howell found that people given therapy to suppress the acid in their stomachs were more likely to develop infections with Clostridium difficile, a hard-to-treat bacterium that causes severe diarrhea and other medical problems and can be deadly if improperly treated. In an editorial accompanying the study, Clinical Scholar Alum (1989-1991) Mitchell Katz, M.D., director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, noted that the risks are relatively small, but the drugs are so widely used that large numbers of people are affected.

Physician Faculty Scholar Quoted about Reducing Medical Errors in Children

Physician Faculty Scholar (2007-2010) Kathleen Walsh, M.D., an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, received media attention the week of May 3 in U.S. News & World Report, MSN.com and several other Web sites for her research finding that parents often make errors when giving medicine to children with cancer, sickle cell disease and epilepsy. Homes that didn't have a centralized location for medication and those where children were responsible for administering their own medications, with no parental oversight, were more likely to have errors.

Scholar in Health Policy Research Alum Quoted about New Health Reform Law

Scholar in Health Policy Research Alum (2000-2002) Bradley Herring, Ph.D., a professor at Johns Hopkins, was interviewed in the May 11 Washington Post about provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that take effect before 2014. Herring noted that a national high-risk pool will be available within six months for people who are denied insurance because of preexisting conditions; adult children under age 26 will be eligible to remain on a parent's health plan; low-wage small businesses immediately will be able to receive tax credits to offset the costs of coverage; and that in 2010 Medicare beneficiaries who reach the "doughnut hole" in drug coverage will be eligible for a $250 rebate.

Investigator Award Winner’s PTSD Research Covered in U.S. News & World Report

Investigator Award Winner (2006) Sandro Galea, M.D., Dr.P.H., a professor at Columbia University, received coverage in U.S. News & World Report for his research finding that genetic changes show up in people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The research, published online in the May 3 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show genetic differences between people with and without PTSD but do not reveal whether these differences might play a role in PTSD.