News and Announcements

How can we better link scholarship to policy?

robertoThe 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.

David Williams on effect of racial bias in health care

David WilliamsIn 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.

Universal education in Uganda and its impact on HIV stigma

AlexanderAtheendar Venkataramani and Alexander Tsai 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).

American Heart Association statement calls for attention to social determinants of health

Mahasin S.Mujahid“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.

Paid maternity leave linked to better child vaccination coverage

AriNandiHarvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar program alum Arijit Nandi, PhD, is co-author on a paper published in Social Science & Medicine that studied 20 low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) and found that more generous paid maternity leave benefits were associated with higher rates of immunization for DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), commonly administered during clinic visits after birth.

CNAs who also balance family caregiver roles make more trips to ER than their peers

Jessica-Williams_smallerRWJF Health & Society Scholar Jessica Williams, PhD, is co-author on a study by the Work, Family & Health Network (WFHN) that reveals that CNAs who also care for children or elders (double duty) as well as those who care for both generations (triple duty) utilize acute care services (emergency room/other urgent care facilities) more than CNAs without those same informal, family caregiving roles.

For sexually active women, age not a factor in their sexual satisfaction

thurstonRWJF Health & Society program alumna Rebecca Thurston, PhD, is co-author on a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine that found that for women, sexual satisfaction is influenced more by the quality of their relationship, their communication with their partner, and the importance they place on sex than by their age.

Participation in religious organizations may offer mental health benefits beyond those offered by other forms of social participation

avendanoPop 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 publishes JAMA piece on Affordable Care

cutlerDavid 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.

When it comes to diabetes management amongst Mexican immigrants, does generational status matter?

selena_310_x_440Harvard Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar Selena Oritz, PhD, is lead author on a study published in Medical Care that reveals that the odds of receiving certain disease-management exams were lower for those Mexican immigrants in California of higher generational status.