Category Archives: News

Ashish Jha JAMA commentary on new program focused on social determinants of health

ashish_jha_600x300In this JAMA Forum. Ashish Jha, MD, a Harvard Center for Population and Development faculty member, expresses praise – and some words of caution – regarding a new government program dedicated to exploring the social determinants of health. The demonstration project, Accountable Health Communities (AHCs), will assess whether addressing health-related social needs among Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries can reduce health care costs at the community level.

Do higher health insurance deductibles really turn patients into smarter consumers?

In this New York Times piece “The Big Problem With High Health Care Deductibles” Amitabh Chandra, PhD, a Harvard Pop Center faculty and executive committee member, shares his thoughts on why he is no longer convinced that high-deductible health care plans are effective at converting patients into discerning consumers. Chandra’s insights were gleaned from this recent working paper.


Lisa Berkman to discuss aging workforce on Harvard Chan School webcast The Forum

Lisa-at-Forum_2014_-for-2016-ForumOn Thursday, February 11 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET, Lisa Berkman, Director of the Harvard Pop Center, will discuss the challenges (and benefits) of an aging workforce as a panel member on The Forum, a live webcast at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Tune in to the live webcast, or watch the on-demand video later.

Why is Flint community particularly vulnerable to lead pipe water contamination?

lead-water-pipesHarvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar alum Kristi Pullen, PhD, now a staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) health program, comments on why the Flint community is particularly vulnerable to the water contamination issue in this news piece on

Photo: NH50 on Flickr

Novel study shows link between economic opportunity and health, health behaviors and mortality

Venkataramani_Kawachi_TsaiThree Harvard Pop Center faculty members are authors of a novel study published in the American Journal of Public Health that shows a link between economic opportunity – as measured by income differences between generations – and health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), overall health and mortality. Learn more about the findings of this national study by Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, Ichiro Kawachi, MD, and Alexander Tsai, MD, in this piece on

Homicide rate reverses life expectancy gains for men in Mexico

Hiram-Beltran-Sanchez-pic1Former Harvard Bell Fellow Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, PhD, is author on a study published in the journal HealthAffairs that has found that the unprecedented increase in homicides in Mexico between 2005 – 2010 resulted in reversing life expectancy gains for men, which had been improving for the prior 60 years. The study received much attention in the press, including a piece on and medicaldaily.

Lisa Berkman on challenges of aging societies at Harvard’s inaugural TEDx event

Lisa-Berkman-TedxHarvardCollege-470x313Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, was a fitting speaker to kick off Harvard’s first TEDx event which explored the challenges posed as populations, influenced by both declining birth and death rates, change shape. Learn more in this Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s news item, and watch the video.

Eliminating ‘food deserts’ not a panacea for improving diet quality & reducing disparities

block_Subu_300-x-181Harvard Pop Center faculty members Jason Block, MD, and SV Subramanian (Subu), PhD, have co-authored a paper published in PLOS Medicine that suggests that when it comes reducing dietary disparities and improving dietary quality in the U.S. there are more effective strategies than increasing access to healthy foods (eliminating ‘food deserts’). Learn more in this Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news post, in this piece on and this piece on