News and Announcements

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.


Cumulative lifetime use of marijuana found to impact verbal memory in middle age

Glymour_from SF pageHarvard Pop Center faculty member Maria Glymour is an author on a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine that explores the long-term effects of lifetime marijuana use on memory and other aspects of cognitive function.

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.

A call for interventions targeting childhood nutrition, exercise & sleep to lower rate of non-communicable diseases

Williiam_Michelle_from hsphHarvard Pop Center faculty member Michelle A. Williams is an author on a peer-reviewed editorial published on Cureus that calls for an increased focus on prevention science to combat the increase in non-communicable diseases. Specifically, the researchers suggest targeting three key areas of lifestyle behaviors during childhood – physical activity, nutrition and sleep –  through multi-level, public health programs.

Are children who lose a parent at greater risk of physical stunting?

Finlay_FinkHarvard Pop Center Research Scientist Jocelyn Finlay, PhD, and faculty members Gunther Fink, PhD, and Wafai Fawzi, DrPH, are authors on a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health that has found young children in low- and middle-income countries who have lost a mother are at increased risk of stunting. Being in the care of the surviving parent (or grandparents), however, was found to mitigate these adverse effects of parental loss. Insights from this study could help to shape social policies so that support could be offered to these key caregivers.

What is role of school context in rapid rise of adolescent e-cigarette use?

e-cigarettes_Flickr_Mike-MozartHarvard Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society program alum Adam Lippert, PhD, and former Harvard Bell Fellow Daniel Corsi, PhD, have authored a study published in the journal Health & Place that examines the influence that particular school environments may have on e-cigarette use among adolescence.

Photo: Mike Mozart, Flickr

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