public health

Our nation’s health has improved in some areas but serious health challenges remain related to the escalating drug crisis and disparities in access to care. United Health Foundation’s 2017 America’s Health Rankings report indicates smoking prevalence, the rate of preventable hospitalizations and the percentage of uninsured Americans have declined, but the drug death rate has trended upward. In the past year, drug deaths reached the highest level recorded by America’s Health Rankings , increasing by 7%, particularly among whites. Even states that consistently rank among the healthiest in the nation saw increased mortality rates due to the drug epidemic. Over the past five years, drug death...
World AIDS day is observed on December 1 every year to help raise awareness, commemorate those who have died from the virus, and encourage advocates and policymakers to increase their efforts in fighting the epidemic and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by it. This year, the World AIDS day theme is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.” Although the U.S. government is at the forefront of tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, its success depends on partnerships with other governments, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, multilateral institutions, and patient advocates. As a result of these strong partnerships, 19.5 million people...
Dr. Sue Anne Bell is a Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing and Health Behavior and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Her research focus is on disaster preparedness and response, particularly on the long-term impact of disasters on human health in the United States and in settings around the world. You are currently in Puerto Rico assisting with the response to Hurricane Maria. Can you give a few examples of the long-term public health challenges Puerto Rico faces? Right now I am standing in the center of Old San Juan, which is usually a tourist mecca. Under normal conditions, this area would be filled with cruise ships, musicians, open restaurants and...
If the first vision that comes to mind when you think “dental hygienist” is your dentist’s office, that’s terrific, but there is a larger story to tell. According to a 2017 Journal of Dental Education article , by 2040, “…many more [dental hygienists] will practice with multidisciplinary health care teams in large-group dental and medical practices and in a variety of nontraditional community settings.” Often the first line of defense for dental patients—in oral education services, preventive care and disease assessment—is their dental hygienist. In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month , it’s a good time to highlight the critical role that dental hygienists play in connecting oral health...
Ten million men and 20 million women will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. These illnesses affect all kinds of people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or background. And despite the fact that these illnesses have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, the majority of those affected will not get the help that they need and many will suffer in silence, often not even realizing that they are struggling with an eating disorder. Eating disorders, such as bulimia, binge eating disorder and anorexia, have biological, genetic, behavioral and psychological components, yet they continue to be dismissed, trivialized and obscured by...
Dear Research Advocate: The opioid crisis is responsible for an estimated 1,000 emergency department visits every day in the United States. That is just one of the alarming, and heartbreaking, statistics that has stayed with me since our webinar on the crisis. If you couldn’t join us for it, I promise it is well worth viewing. The opioid epidemic, as well as the local economic impact of higher education and research and innovation, were prominent themes at a health research forum we co-hosted at Shepherd University in West Virginia on Monday. Shepherd President, Dr. Mary Hendrix, a Research!America board member, welcomed attendees and introduced West Virginia’s senators. Sen. Joe Manchin (D...
Dear Research Advocate: During a visit to the University of Michigan last week, I learned about an important new initiative that empowers faculty to take a more active role in public engagement. An explicit goal is to convey the return on taxpayer investment in the university, very much including the return on research conducted there. The initiative is timely and important, designed to help address signs of public disenchantment with academia by demonstrating its relevance and accountability to the public. Kudos to U of M President Mark Schlissel for his leadership. Last week, panelists at our Capitol Hill briefing engaged on the need for increased investment in Alzheimer’s disease...
Research!America is hosting a digital advocacy initiative on September 11–12 to urge Congress to #RaisetheCaps during negotiations of the FY18 budget. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) established austerity-level federal spending, and in FY18 the sequestration budget caps or automatic spending cuts for federal agencies will be back in full force. This will tie policymakers’ hands and stall major projects ranging from supercomputers to biohazard labs that researchers need to effectively prevent emerging epidemics, develop the next generation of super materials, and find the links between genes and disease. It is crucial that advocates raise their voices now and convince Congress to #...
Dear Research Advocate: I am sending this week’s letter a day earlier than usual to urge you to take part (if not in person, then by livestream ) in our 2017 National Health Research Forum titled “Is a ‘Disease-Free’ World Within Reach?” tomorrow, September 7th, at 11:30 am EST. It’s an opportunity to hear from thought leaders across the research ecosystem on topics ranging from opioid addiction to FDA priorities to organs-on-a-chip. While the Forum has reached in-person seating capacity, it will be livestreamed by WebMD; tune in here . Earlier today, the Senate Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee, the jurisdiction of which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, passed their FY18 bill out of...
Dear Research Advocate: The devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey is heartbreaking. Federal science agencies and individual members of the scientific community across the nation are stepping up to lend a hand. It is truly gratifying to see the outpouring of support among those in the research and public health communities, aiding institutions and residents impacted by the floods. The American Diabetes Association , JDRF, the Endocrine Society, American Public Health Association (APHA), and PhRMA are among our many member organizations sending medicines, equipment and resources to hard-hit areas. A timely National Academies report chaired by Research!America board member Georges Benjamin,...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco