Congratulations to Pop Center faculty member Ichiro Kawachi and former Harvard RWJF Health & Society program scholar Christina Roberto on the publication of their book Behavioral Economics and Public Health. This is the first book to apply the groundbreaking insights of behavioral economics to the persisting problems of health behaviors and behavior change. Seed funding to plan the book was provided by the Pop Center in 2014.
Recent Pop Center Research Fellow Laura Yasaitis, PhD, Visiting Scientist Mariana Arcaya, ScD, and Faculty Member SV Subramanian (Subu), PhD, have authored a paper published in the international journal Health & Place that offers a rare side-by-side comparison of methods to create local population health estimates (in this case, acute myocardial infarction rates) from administrative data (Medicare claims data in California).
Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar program alumnae Katie McLaughlin, PhD, and Margaret Sheridan, PhD, are co-authors on a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that found that individuals who had been abused as children could successfully learn and apply techniques to regulate their emotional reactions to “very stimulating emotional situations.” Learn more in this newseveryday.com article.
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.”
Sally Mtenga, lead author of a noted paper published in BMJ Sexually Transmitted Infections that explores how long-distance truck drivers and villagers in rural southeastern Tanzania think about heterosexual anal sex, started the paper while receiving training at the Harvard Pop Center as part of the INDEPTH Training and Research Centers of Excellence (INTREC) program.
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.