The IAPHS Blog is a virtual community that keeps population health professionals connected and up to date on the latest population health news, policy, controversies, and relevant research from multiple fields.
Each month, we curate the top population health news. This month, virtual reality takes a role in injury prevention and breast feeding, hearing loss plays a role in other health risks, Washington State’s environmental health risks are mapped, indigenous teachings seek to reduce disparities, and much more..
Elsewhere on the Blog you can find a definition of population health. A useful starting place, for sure, but no place you’d care to end up. Population health is one of the concepts that acquires its meaning as much from how we talk about it as what we say. In these polarizing political times, it is essential that we find a way to discuss population health that unites rather than divides. In 2010, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report entitled A New Way to Talk about the Social Determinants of Health, which begins with this insight: “It turns out that trying to figure out how to say something simply can be a complicated process.” Indeed! That’s why it’s always worth choosing our words carefully. The report offers concrete techniques to help bring your audience on board with the idea that creating health is a collective project, one that we all have a stake in and some control over. It contains many useful suggestions for phrasing, such as appealing to universally-shared values, like equal opportunity or investing in children. Another good tip is avoiding jargon. Of course, it’s easy to point out things not to do. But what do effective […]
A Way to Introduce Global Population Health Issues to Middle School and High School Students As we witness millions of people worldwide suffering from preventable conditions such as malnutrition and tuberculosis, many of us ask: How can we foster empathy in our children? And in particular, how can we promote empathy for people living in poverty and suffering from poor health – in countries far away, as well as neighborhoods closer to home? We, the authors of this post, ask these questions both as parents and as educators dedicated to global health research and awareness. As college professors, we are deeply invested in cultivating well-rounded global citizens who not only think about the inequity in their backyards but also think about what inequity looks, feels, and tastes like in other cultures and places. We see value in this understanding because without that connection to the suffering of others, it becomes easy to ignore how that suffering came to be, and our obligation as global citizens to do something about it. Improving the health of populations around the world takes dedication and ingenuity, and it is essential that we foster a feeling of connection in our students, who must undertake the […]
Framing Matters: How Sharing Personal Stories May Help Dismantle Addiction Stigma and Increase Access to TreatmentAmy Edmonds
Sheena is a young woman raising two young sons on her own in North Carolina. She ferries her children to daycare, prepares their meals, and every week makes her way to UNC Horizons at Sunrise Drug Treatment Center for substance-use screening. Sheena was introduced to opioids as a teenager and struggled with addiction until after the birth of her younger son, who was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). His birth was a critical time for intervention; it wasn’t until after her son’s birth that she received the integrated and supportive addiction care she needed. Tragically, although substance-use disorder is preventable and treatable, only a small fraction of people with addiction issues receive care. Sheena was recently featured in a segment by PBS that highlights both her immense struggles and her bright outlook; the story concludes with Sheena telling the special correspondent, “I’ve come so tremendously far.” Sheena’s challenges with opioid addiction during pregnancy are not uncommon. In the midst of an opioid epidemic, NAS is becoming a growing burden across the U.S., especially in rural communities. In West Virginia, over 3% of babies are born with NAS; as a nation, NAS incidence has increased by 300% between 1999 and […]
This week, IAPHS member Kristin Harper interviews medical anthropologist Emily Mendenhall (Georgetown University) about a recent series of articles on the concept of syndemics that she spearheaded in The Lancet. In these articles, Mendenhall and co-authors explore what syndemics are and how the concept can aid population health research and help us work toward a healthier future. Here, Mendenhall answers questions about how this series came to be, and the effect she hopes it has on the field. What is a syndemic? When you consider the concept of a syndemic, you can think about it at two levels, the individual level or the population level. First, if you’re a clinician, you think about it at the individual level. The concept of the syndemic is similar to the concepts of co-morbidity or multi-morbidity, but it takes seriously social conditions. One of the easiest examples is HIV and tuberculosis. What drives the link between these two infections? Poverty, low social status, living conditions, and the immunosuppression of HIV increase a person’s risk for activated TB and worsen their overall health. When you walk into a clinic, you have to understand that people are having these syndemic experiences, where social and health problems are […]
Want to catch up on the last month of population health news? We’ve got a bunch of reads for you! Wondering what’s going on around the world? Trump recruits controversial Bush-era global health official (Science, 3/27/2017) The campaign to lead the World Health Organization (NY Times, 4/3/2017) Trump pushes historic cuts in global health aid, stoking fears of new disease outbreak and diminished US clout (LA Times, 4/10/2017) Survivors of the gas attack in Syria face long-term illness (Scientific American Guest Blog, 4/12/2017) They’re just hiding: Experts say Puerto Rico may be underreporting Zika-affected births (STAT, 4/18/2017) Or how we are faring here in the US? Poor, sick, and addicted: Inequality’s effect on population health (Huffington Post, 3/31/2017) Don’t expect politics to derail population health, value-based care (Healthcare IT News, 4/3/2017) Cosas del estado: How immigration raids lead to avoidance of care (Pacific Standard, 4/5/2017) How communities are testing new strategies to address social determinants of health (AcademyHealth Blog, 4/7/2017) Why it’s a bad idea to space out your child’s vaccination shots (Washington Post, 4/17/2017) Population health improvement (A story on Maine Public Radio, featuring Ron Deprez of the Public Health Research Institute, Barbara Leonard of the Maine […]
By incorporating population health into medical education, educators are aiming to bring together medicine and public health, which over the past hundred years or so have taken different approaches. The goal is to unite medicine’s focus on the individual doctor-patient relationship based in the healthcare system with public health’s interest in creating policies and programs for health prevention. Population health acknowledges that we spend the majority of life outside of the healthcare system — at work, at home, in our neighborhoods — and that our health is influenced by a host of factors in our lives, ranging from nutrition to early childhood education to discrimination. For these reasons, the healthcare system needs to incorporate public health approaches. “What I discovered in mid-career, is that policy-makers welcome and need insights and advice from physicians. I wish I learned in medical school about how the health policy apparatus works.” ~Mark D. Schwartz, MD, FACP In the past, most doctors learned little if anything about population health in medical school, but that is changing. This past fall, for example, NYU School of Medicine made population health a core part of the curriculum for all medical students, integrating it into all stages of their degree programs. […]
I first visited Iraqi Kurdistan in 2015. An NGO focused on human rights observation was leading delegations to Iraqi Kurdistan to educate the public about realities on the ground in Iraq. During this time, I learned about the health of communities internally displaced by violence from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. IDPs (Internally Displaced People), like refugees, are forced from their homes. However, they flee without crossing any international borders. IDPs are even more vulnerable than refugees because they are subject to fewer protections under international law, remain closer to conflict zones, and often lack access to healthcare, food, and other necessities. That initial visit to Iraqi Kurdistan gave me Ideas for my anthropology dissertation even before beginning my PhD. One particular meeting with the sheikh (leader) of a Yazidi community in a local camp inspired deeper thought. My delegation visited the sheikh in his tent. The NGO partners interviewed him and translated while I sat in and observed. We learned about the family’s experience escaping from Mt. Sinjar and their subsequent life in the camp. In a small tent, surrounded by his wife and two young daughters, the sheikh recounted the suffering, disease, and death […]
This summer, IAPHS will hold an election to choose additional Board members and a new president-elect. The Nominations Committee, chaired by current Board member Sarah Stoddard, invites suggestions for nominees. Please email your suggestions to Sarah at email@example.com by April 30. For each of your suggestions, indicate the position and provide a website or email address. About the positions: The President-elect serves IAPHS for three years and will lead the organization as President in 2019. In 2018, s/he will begin planning the 2019 conference. In 2020, s/he will serve as chair of the Nominations Committee. Board members provide overall leadership and strategic direction to the organization. During their three-year terms, they participate in monthly conference calls and in some cases serve on committees. The Student Board Member represents the interests of students on the Board. This individual serves a two-year term; nominees must anticipate remaining enrolled in a graduate program during 2018 and 2019; post-doctoral trainees are not eligible. IAPHS will also appoint a new Treasurer to begin a three-year term in 2018. Suggestions, including self-nominations, would also be appreciated for this post. The Treasurer is the custodian of IAPHS funds and works with the Executive Director on financial […]
The new IAPHS Board has met three times since it took office in February, and it’s done a great job of moving the organization ahead. Under President Sandro Galea’s direction, it began by setting up a number of essential committees: A Membership Committee, co-chaired by Hedy Lee and Anjum Hajat, has enlisted an outstanding group of people to develop a membership campaign. The goal is to double IAPHS membership (individuals and institutions) by the end of the year! Tiffany Green is chairing a Communications Committee that will oversee our new blog as well as the newsletter, website and social media. The Committee is still being staffed, but has already developed a plan to ensure that the blog will remain active for the foreseeable future. Sarah Burgard and Kristin Masters, a communications specialist in Dallas, Texas, have agreed to serve as co-editors starting in May, when current editor Kristin Harper will step down. We are deeply grateful to Kristin and our blog manager Liz Ayerle for getting the blog off to a great start. Our President-Elect Bruce Link got off to a great start by recruiting the Program Chair for the 2018 IAPHS Conference. Thanks to Bob Hummer for agreeing to […]
IAPHS is going to make its newsletter easier to use and richer in its coverage of material related to IAPHS population health and population health professionals! You may have noticed that the IAPHS website now has sections devoted to: announcements (job, training, and funding opportunities; conferences and webinars; and more); resources (teaching, data, research guidelines, etc); as well as a blog featuring news and commentary about population health science. With these additions, we can make the newsletter leaner and more agile. From now on, we’ll be sending out two kinds of newsletter – the IAPHS Blog Update and IAPHS News & Notes. Watch for IAPHS Blog Update towards the end of every month. It will provide highlights of the posts published over the course of the month and links that enable you to read more. IAPHS News & Notes will continue to arrive about every other month, but in a more concise format that provides the key messages in our stories as well as links to the IAPHS website more complete information. The announcements and resources that have appeared in our newsletters are now posted at https://iaphs.org/tools/announcements. We’ll highlight some of the most recent in both the […]