“(Rose Frisch‘s) career truly blossomed when she took a research position at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts.” Thus declares a Scientific American article titled “Gone in 2015: Commemorating 10 Outstanding Women in Science.” Frisch died in January 2015.
A recent Pediatrics study co-authored by Pop Center Faculty Members Mark Schuster and Tracy Richmond showed that the odds of adverse adult health outcomes were higher among subjects who had reported unmet health care need in adolescence, compared with subjects with similar adolescent health outcomes, insurance coverage, and sociodemographic background but no unmet need. Importantly, the authors point out that lack of insurance isn’t the only barrier to meeting adolescent health needs., saying “adolescents forgo health care for many reasons, including concerns about confidentiality, cost, being treated with lack of respect, staff unfriendliness, and poor communication.”
Theresa Betancourt was lead author and PI on a recent study examining disparities in the mental health of young Somali Bantu and Bhutanese refugees living in Massachusetts. The study used a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach, which, “with its emphasis on respecting and privileging local knowledge and cultural context, [is] well suited for research on eliminating health disparities among marginalized groups.” Results appeared in the American Journal of Public Health.
The disconnect between the evidence provided by research and the successful use of that evidence to create policy is the topic of a recent Lancet article written by former RWJF scholar Christina Roberto. Roberto and her co-author propose a 4-step Strategic Science model to improve the translation of research into policy.
In a JAMA opinion piece published last week, David Williams discussed how societal racial bias contributes to disparities in health care and health status. “The health care system cannot eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in health,” wrote Williams. “Health care professionals need to collaborate with other sectors of society to increase awareness about the health implications of social policies in domains far removed from traditional medical and public health interventions.” Williams also was featured on the Harvard Chan School’s website, where he answered The Big 3 questions on racial disparities in health.
Alexander Tsai and Atheendar Venkataramani have co-authored a study in Social Science and Medicine examining the causal effect of education on HIV stigma in Uganda. The study found that negative attitudes about HIV were as prevalent among younger people as among older, despite the younger people having received additional schooling (as a result of a 1997 policy that mandated universal primary education in Uganda).
“Although we have traditionally considered CVD the consequence of certain modifiable and nonmodifiable physiological, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors, we must now broaden the focus to incorporate a third arm of risk, the social determinants of health.” Thus concluded the American Heart Association Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee in a landmark scientific statement reviewing the influence of social factors on the incidence, treatment, and outcomes of CVD. Former RWJF Health & Society Scholar Mahasin S. Mujahid is a member of the committee.
Pop Center Faculty member Mauricio Avendano has co-authored a cross-national study examining whether changes in different forms of social participation were associated with changes in depressive symptoms in older Europeans. Findings show that increased participation in religious organizations predicted a decline in depressive symptoms, while participation in political/community organizations was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms. The study was published in American Journal of Epidemiology and was also referenced in Newsweek and other media outlets.
Update: Press coverage of this study continues, with a piece recently published in The Independent.
David Cutler’s article “From the Affordable Care Act to Affordable Care,” was recently published as a “Viewpoint” feature in JAMA. Cutler argued that future health policies must focus on slowing the increase in health costs and on improving the practice environment for physicians.
It is well known that adolescent body mass index (BMI) shows school-level
clustering. And now a new study by SV Subramanian and Adam Lippert shows that years after leaving school, respondents’ BMIs are persistently clustered by the school they attended during adolescence. The study was published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.