Beyond improving our health and finances, does health care reform help us be more helpful to others?

Former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Stefan Timmermans, PhD, is author on a paper published in the journal Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World that suggests that both formal volunteering and informal helpfulness between neighbors increased in regions and segments of the population that likely benefited from Medicaid expansions. Not only can prosocial behavior like volunteering be beneficial for societies, but it can also improve the well-being of those engaged in the giving.…

Montez calls for more research on macro-level causes of increased mortality among women in U.S.

Former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, is co-author on a Commentary in The Lancet that calls for the next generation of studies on US mortality to focus more on macro-level factors, such as disparities across states’ social, economic, and policy environments, rather than just on the symptoms of higher mortality rates, which include suspect opiod prescribing practices and inadequate drug abuse and overdose treatment programs.

Papachristos on gun violence as public health issue on NPR

Former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Andrew Papachristos, PhD, shares the findings of a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine in this piece on NPR on how gun violence spreads over social networks like a “contagian” and should be treated more like a public health issue than just a policing problem.

How does living among more peers as an older adult impact cognitive function?

Esther Friedman, PhD, a former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar, is lead author on a study in which she and her colleagues explore the impact of living in a neighborhood with a higher percentage of older adults on cognitive function. The researchers found that those who live with a higher percentage of older adults had better cognitive function, although the neighborhood age structure did not seem to impact cognitive decline.…

Factoring in where women live could provide critical insight into lagging life expectancy of American women

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, comments in this New York Times piece on the findings of a new study published in SSM – Population Health. Lead author of the study is former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD.

Insights into hot flash variants, including “super flashers,” sheds light on women’s health in midlife

Rebecca Clark Thurston, PhD, Harvard RWJF Health & Society program alumna, comments in this New York Times article on the latest findings based on the SWAN (Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation) and published in journal Menopause. Her findings are also is featured on sciencedaily.com.