What is driving the decline in life expectancy in the U.S., and what can be done about it?

An op-ed on health policy published in JAMA explains why the healthcare sector can only skim the surface when it comes to addressing the deep structural drivers in declining life expectancy.  The authors —Atheendar S. Venkataramani, MD, PhD, former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Rourke O’Brien, PhD, and Harvard Pop Center faculty member Alexander C. … Continue reading “What is driving the decline in life expectancy in the U.S., and what can be done about it?”

Is there a link between opioid overdose mortality rates and automobile assembly plant closures in the U.S.?

Researchers affiliated with the Harvard Pop Center have published a study that focuses on counties with a large share of the population employed in the manufacturing sector, finding a link between automobile assembly plant closures and deaths by opioid overdose among working-age adults. Study authors include faculty member (and former Harvard RWJF scholar) Alexander Tsai, … Continue reading “Is there a link between opioid overdose mortality rates and automobile assembly plant closures in the U.S.?”

Affirmative action bans linked to increased smoking among minority students in their teens (and beyond)

Affirmative action bans may do more damage to minority students than just negatively impact their educational and socioeconomic opportunities; a study has linked these bans with an increase in health risk behaviors, such as smoking, among those in the 11th and 12th grade. Authors include Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholars program alumni Rourke O’Brien … Continue reading “Affirmative action bans linked to increased smoking among minority students in their teens (and beyond)”

Can psychological insights bring relief to U.S. consumer debt burden?

Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Rourke O’Brien, PhD, is author on a paper in Perspectives in Psychological Science that examines psychological barriers to the responsible use of credit and debt, and suggests ways that policymakers could help to remedy the consumer debt issue in the U.S.

Does awareness of disability assistance influence how we evaluate health symptoms of others?

Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Rourke O’Brien, PhD, has authored a Short Report in Social Science & Medicine based on evidence from a nationally representative survey. The researcher found that respondents in the experimental group (primed to consider the existence of disability assistance) were less likely to rate the symptoms of a hypothetical individual … Continue reading “Does awareness of disability assistance influence how we evaluate health symptoms of others?”