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Public Health Matters


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Public Health in the News – November 16, 2014

Global

  • A great New York Times piece on how Mali, a country at risk for Ebola cases coming from Guinea through porous borders, successfully tracked and contained over 100 potential cases of Ebola.
  • In the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, how many children will have been out of schools for months and what effect will that have on the country in years to come? NPR’s Goats and Soda blog explores this issue.
  • In southeast Bangladesh, Doctors Without Borders announced a mysterious outbreak of malaria which has caused nearly 2,000 people to become ill.
  • Another World Diabetes Day story – Reports are emerging on the desperate health situation in Pakistan in which 7.1 million people are diabetic and 88,000 people are dying annually due to complications from diabetes.

National

Illinois/Chicago

  • Some parents in Chicago are up in arms at the new sexual education curriculum that is being introduced this year for fifth and sixth graders.
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that twelve people in Illinois are being monitored, but not quarantined, for Ebola and have asked for additional resources to prepare for future cases.

Northwestern

  • Dr. Seema Khan weighs in on the debate over eating foods with soy and it’s connection to health problems like cancer.
  • The Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, the Northwestern Developmental Therapeutics Center have partnered with Foundation Medicine to expand their cancer therapeutics program and to utilize and expand their genomic profiling techniques.


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Homelessness in Chicago: This Winter, Give the Gift of Warmth

homelessHomelessness is a multifactorial plague of our lives and there are no easy solutions. There is no monolithic definition of “homeless” in Chicago, as homelessness ranges from very transient states of homelessness to long term homelessness, or may just refer to less than hospitable living conditions. According to allchicago.org, a non-profit working to eliminate homelessness, most homeless people are:

• Veterans, including those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorders;
• People affected by severe mental or physical health or chronic substance use;
• Households fleeing domestic violence;
• Ex-offenders or people released from institutions with no place to go;
• Youths thrown out of their houses because they are lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender, pregnant, or survivors of abuse;
• Immigrants and undocumented individuals who have difficulty securing work or housing because of lack of documentation, language and/or cultural barriers.

Each night in Chicago close to 6,200 people – women, children, teenagers – wander the streets with nowhere to sleep. Homelessness in Chicago only gets worse during the Chicago winters as temperature drop below 0 F from December to March.

While we might not be able to provide homes or end homelessness in the city we can make it more bearable. Our goal this winter is simple: “help keep someone warm”.

Working with agencies across the city providing services to the homeless, we hope to deliver socks, coats, gloves, shoes and thermals to homeless children, mothers and the elderly across the city from the 14th of November to the 10th of December.

We invite you to support us any way you can by simply:

a) Dropping off supplies at a drop box near you.
b) “Hosting” or “sponsoring” a supply drop box on your department or office floor
c) Assisting with delivery of supplies to homelessness servicing agencies across the city.

drop of locations
For more information on how to assist or to find a drop box near you please contact nphr@u.northwestern.edu


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Public Health in the News – November 9, 2014

Global

  • A dangerous, highly infectious strain of H5N8 was found on a German farm—the first known case in Europe.
  • A new study reveals that in 2012, more than 70% of the Chinese population was exposed to particulate pollutants at levels more than 3 times the safety limits set by WHO.
  • Those wanting to volunteer for Ebola relief missions in West Africa find themselves struggling against Medevac insurance policies – a barrier that could prevent the assistance of thousands of needed health care workers.
  • This coming Friday is World Diabetes Day. Read more about why diabetes has become an epidemic problem in India.
  • A potential new drug is being developed to combat the most dangerous superbugs out there. So far it’s only been tested on small groups of people infected with MRSA, but its success rate shows promise, says it’s manufacturer Micreos.

National

  • When fracking interferes with enjoying a cold beer, there’s a problem! Read more about what some beer makers in the U.S. are doing to speak out against fracking near their source waters.
  • A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports an alarming rise in the rates of colon and rectal cancer are being seen in young people, but the reason for this is still unclear.
  • Snus, a Sweedish smokeless tobacco is gaining popularity in the U.S., and it’s manufacturer, Swedish Match has applied to the USFDA to reclassify the product as a potentially safer alternative to cigarettes thus allowing wider sales.

Illinois/Chicago

  • For the past 30 years, there has been little oversight over the purchase of raw milk in Illinois, but now potential new regulations set forth my the Illinois Department of Public Health have some up in arms.
  • The CDC reports that five people got sick and two died from Listeria tainted bean sprouts  in Illinois and Michigan coming from Wholesome Soy Products Inc.

Northwestern

  • IPHAM announces the creation of the new Center for Primary Care Innovation, an interface between healthcare and public health.
  • Dr. Bonnie Spring is interviewed in the Chicago Tribune about a $10.8 million grant she and her team have been awarded from the National Institutes of Health to develop wearables to prevent relapses in people trying to quit smoking or avoid unhealthy eating.


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Public Health in the News – November 2, 2014

Global

National

Chicago

Northwestern


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Public Health in the News – October 26, 2014

Global

National

Chicago

  • The Chicago Department of Public Health’s social media campaign against e-cigarettes was analyzed, and researchers found that while Twitter can be used to spread useful information, public health officials should be careful that the response to the campaign does not promote misinformation.

Northwestern

  • NU’s Katherine L. Wisner was quoted in a New York Times article about the difficulties of treating postpartum depression.
  • Dr. Neil J. Stone, chair of a group that wrote guidelines for cholesterol management, is focusing on educating physicians in order to clear up misinformation that persists about treating patients with high cholesterol.
  • A study by NU researchers shows that music education may help troubled kids.
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital has agreed to accept any Ebola cases that may arise in Chicago.


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Public Health in the News – October 19, 2014

Global

  • An ambitious UNAIDS initiative aims to block the spread of HIV by 2020, banking on growing evidence that antiretroviral therapy (ART) equals prevention.
  • As the Ebola outbreak rages on, read a powerful, touching, and most importantly, useful piece by Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health.
  • A refreshing new website, Ebola Deeply, has emerged to try to put an end to all of the misinformation out there. The site focuses on facts and science and is a great resource for pretty much anyone.
  • The Guardian clears up 10 myths about hunger, presented in honor of World Food Day.

National

  • Mark Bittman,  author of “How to Cook Everything Fast” wrote a great op-ed in the New York Times addressing a question he hears a lot these days:  “How do we change the food system?” That’s a too-big, unwieldy and often disheartening topic, he writes, suggesting we reframe it as, “How do I change my relationship to food?”
  • What if food labels made clear the link between calories and physical activity? A new Atlantic article explores this potentially groundbreaking idea.
  • The US ranks worst among developed countries in infant mortality, with a high rate of deaths among low-income children aged 1-12 months, according to the CDC.

Illinois/Chicago

  • Illinois has declared itself ready for Ebola, should a case be found here. They’ve developed a new hotline and are conducting trainings with health workers.
  • Following the launch of the City’s “Check the Stamps” campaign, the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issued 620 tickets to 165 businesses in a 60-day investigation on unstamped and loose cigarettes in businesses throughout Chicago.

Northwestern

  • Dr. Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health, was quoted by USA Today on America’s Ebola response efforts.
  • David Cella, Chair of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has received a prestigious international award for his contributions as a pioneer in the field of patient-reported outcome measures and his mission to put the patient’s voice in the center of health care.


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Public Health in the News – October 12, 2014

Global

National

Chicago

  • The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health says that the suggestion by Chicago Aldermen to screen all international travelers at Chicago’s airports is “overkill.”

Northwestern


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Stereotype This

NPHR Blog:

Editor’s Note: Although our blog is public health-focused, we believe it is important to continue to explore advances in  basic science and medical research as they impact public health and vice versa. In this spirit  we here recommend a thoughtful essay  by fellow NU Neuroscience doctoral student  about the biology behind racial and other biases. As public health workers and scholars, dealing with biases is an unavoidable part of our lives and work. From gun violence to health care disparity, prejudice and stereotyping alters our behavior – consciously or unconsciously. Perhaps understanding the biology behind our biases might help remove these unconscious prejudices. We encourage you to read this take on stereotypes, and to check out the Gray Matters blog!

Originally posted on Gray Matters:

On a crisp fall evening of November last year, a young woman was heading home after a night out with friends.  In the early hours of the morning, she reportedly sped down the street and hit a parked car.  Confused and discombobulated, she wandered to a nearby house in search of help, and after banging on the door, she watched as it opened to a man behind the screen.  He was standing there with his shotgun raised towards her.  Before she could say anything, he shot her in the face.

The facts of this story make it particularly shocking and horrific, but it is made more complicated by the fact that Renisha McBride was African American and her killer, Theodore Wafer is white.

Some scholars have argued that racial bias has declined due to strengthening of egalitarian social norms, but anyone who tries to argue that racism is a thing of the past is not…

View original 1,435 more words


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Public Health in the News – October 5, 2014

Global

  • Could the Ebola outbreak have been controlled earlier if global health leaders such as the WHO acted faster? An excellent Washington Post article explores the timeline the outbreak and where global health leaders went wrong.
  • Perhaps the answer to treating Ebola will be found in the blood of those who have survived it? An NPR article explores.
  • Another child thought to be cured of HIV was found to have relapsed. The child, who was born in Milan, was given an aggressive course of ARVs and was thought to be HIV free and was taken off medications and now faces worse infection.

National

  • With the first Ebola patient discovered in Dallas, TX, many US hospitals are realizing that they are unprepared and unequipped to deal with potential Ebola patients. Here’s some insight into how they are preparing.
  • Enterovirus 68 has been found in at least 500 patients, generally school aged children, across the U.S. What you need to know about this potentially dangerous virus.
  • Three news studies about the potentially dangerous hits to the head that college football players experience reveal interesting facts about player and coach lack of disclosure.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture just announced that $31.5 million is now available as grants to programs that help make farm-fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for families who rely on food stamps.
  • Boomerang patients have been a longstanding problem for hospitals. Even though rehospitalizations were less common last year, nearly 1 in 5 Medicare patients returned within 30 days, costing taxpayers $26 billion extra.

Illinois/Chicago

  • October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month in Illinois. The month-long prevention and education campaign is aimed at reducing one of the leading causes of death for children ages one and younger – accidental sleep suffocation.
  • On Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health launched its yearly awareness campaign to remind residents to get their flu shot. The campaign features outdoor transit, rail and billboard ads, as well as digital and broadcast ads that direct Chicagoans to various City resources to help protect themselves and others during flu season.

Northwestern

  • Workplace violence against healthcare workers in emergency rooms is a continuing problem that does not get enough recognition. Northwestern faculty member Rahul Khare, MD, is quoted in Safety & Health Magazine about this problem.
  • Researchers at Northwestern University have developed an early version of a blood test designed to diagnose depression. They tested the assay and reported the results this week in a study in Translational Psychiatry.

Event Reminder!
Northwestern Public Health Review is pleased to present the Annual Public Health Matters Seminar and Reception, with guest speaker Phil Fontanarosa, MD, Executive editor JAMA and Communicating Public Health through Pictures on Oct 7th. Art gallery and reception starts at 4:30pm, seminar is from 5pm-6pm at the Lurie Research Building – Atrium and Baldwin Auditoriums.


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Communicating Public Health

NORTH_IL01_PublicHealthMattersSeminar-1

About the Exhibit:

Pictures are powerful tools for storytelling. Effectively communicating health information is essential for public health success. Here we highlight images that tell historic and contemporary public health stories from the Rwandan Genocide to water sanitation during the Chicago Exposition.

These visual stories reflect the public health outreach efforts and research interests of faculty and students here at Northwestern University, as well as a rich collaboration between the NPHR and the UIC department of biomedical visualization.

Technological advancements have given us new tools to tell public health stories not only through words but through pictures. We must embrace the challenge and look for new ways to more effectively tell public health stories.

Featured works include:

“Public  Health in a time of war”, “Typhoid and the 1893 World’s Fair”,    “In Limbo”, “Por mi, por ti”, “Public Health in rural china”, “Land mines” and “Flesh and Blood”.

Date: October 7th, 2014
Art gallery and reception starts at 4:30pm
Seminar: 5pm-6pm
Location: Lurie Research Building – Atrium and Baldwin Auditorium

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