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...
Dear Research Advocate: Americans spent $8.4 billion on Halloween in 2016 -- and no doubt will spend even more this year-- enough to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for 17+ years! What we spend to improve the quality of health care delivery represents only about 0.012% of the $3.3 trillion we spend on health care. Stats like these help place research -- in this case health services research (HSR) -- spending into perspective. (For more advocacy-relevant info, see our fact sheet .) The vision for AHRQ that Director Gopal Khanna shares in this terrific blog post underscores why a far greater investment in HSR makes strategic sense for our nation. More on what money...
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...
More than 250,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 40,000 individuals will lose their lives to the disease (most to metastatic breast cancer, or MBC, which is breast cancer that has spread to other organs in the body). From Susan G. Komen’s point of view, investment in breakthrough breast cancer research, especially in projects focused on metastatic disease, is one of the most significant ways we can make progress and save lives from breast cancer. But research is expensive, and metastatic disease is cunning. An estimated 94% of women who are diagnosed with MBC were previously diagnosed with an earlier stage of the disease, maybe even decades prior. Then the...
This year’s Public Health Thank You Day challenges us to answer the question: what is public health? The incredible diversity of specialties within the American Public Health Association’s membership leads me to ask that question on a daily basis. Our members shape fields as far ranging as child and maternal health, school health education, mental health, ethics, public health statistics and environmental health. But together, these disparate disciplines define public health. APHA is striving to create the healthiest nation in one generation, and despite different specialties and backgrounds each public health discipline and professional can be part of this movement. As schools improve,...
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...
The percentage of working-age civilians in West Virginia who are employed has dropped below 50% for the first time in decades, partly due to a steep rise in opioid addiction across the state, said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) during Research!America’s program “West Virginia Research and Innovation: A Catalyst for Better Health and Economic Growth” on October 16 at Shepherd University. Sen. Manchin and other speakers at the event discussed possible solutions to West Virginia’s opioid crisis and ways to reposition the state as a regional and national research leader. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of jobs in West Virginia going unfulfilled,” Manchin said. “Every job fair we had over 100...
Deaths from drug overdoses are at an all-time high in the United States, with opiate abuse – both prescription and illicit – the main cause of these fatalities. Opioids were responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in 2015, representing a quadrupling of opioid-related fatalities since 1999. The concerted efforts of academic researchers, public health officials, and pharmacists are vital to the development of preventative strategies and accessible and effective treatments for opioid abuse disorder. Speakers for Research!America’s webinar "Innovative Research and the Opioid Epidemic: Are We Closer to Finding Solutions?" on October 13, discussed how medical science and public health are...
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...
The October 2017 Research Advocate is now online . Highlights from this month's issue: A former congressional leader who was instrumental in doubling the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, the head of a global research center aimed at reducing the burden of disease, two long-time mental health advocates dedicated to accelerating research, a rare disease organization committed to biotech innovation, and a world-renowned vaccine researcher are among those who will be honored at Research!America’s 22 nd annual Advocacy Awards on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 , in Washington, D.C. Research and education are key to addressing the complexities of the opioid epidemic. “On the research side,...

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor