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Public Health Matters


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Public Health in the News – December 14, 2014

Global

National

  • The most serious whooping cough epidemic in 70 years—despite an intense pubic health campaign—has California officials questioning the effectiveness of the pertussis vaccine.
  • 42.9 million Americans have unpaid medical debts, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, citing confusion about hospital and insurance company notices of treatment costs.
  • In an effort to understand the mysterious causes of ALS, scientists are investigating whether breathing a neurotoxin produced by the algae may raise the risk of the disease.

Illinois/Chicago

  • Dr. Bechara Choucair,  Chicago commissioner of public health will step down at the end of this year to take a job as a vice president at Trinity Health.
  • Every year unused flu vaccine costs Illinois tax payers lots of money in both direct and indirect health care costs.

Northwestern


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Public Health in the News – December 7, 2014

Global

National

Chicago

Northwestern

  • Please consider donating to our winter clothing drive for the homeless!
  • Northwestern research found that babies with a higher birthweight ended up doing better in school.
  • “But an “abundance of caution” — the rationale cited for some Ebola policies — can lead to an abundance of expenses.” Robert Murphy, director of NU’s Center for Global Health, warned about the high cost of Ebola treatment in a USA Today article.


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NU Students Interested in Global Health! This Class is for you!

nef

Interested in global health? Want to get real experience assessing major health issues in three countries? Read on!

A note from the editors:  We can tell you first hand that this class was one of the best of our public health educational experiences. Not only did we gain experience working with colleagues from diverse disciplines, but we were able to gain real world experience working in global health in Douentza, Mali (as seen above), a project which continues to benefit the people of Douentza to this day. The professor is fantastic – one of the best at the university. Sign up today!

Health and Human Rights—PH 393
Professor Juliet S. Sorensen
312-503-1482
j-sorensen@law.northwestern.edu

The course examines the intersection of health and international human rights.  Readings and discussion will focus on whether there is a universal right to health; how to maximize access to health; the health implications of war crimes and atrocities; and the meaning of rights and access in resource-poor settings such as refugee camps and fragile states.  Special attention will be paid to the role of corporate social responsibility and advanced economies in access to health.

Students will work in interdisciplinary groups on a health assessment and intervention known as the Access to Health Project.  Headed by Professor Sorensen of the Center for International Human Rights and faculty at the Center for Global Health at Feinberg Medical School, the Access to Health Project seeks to leverage academic partnerships to maximize access to health in communities in the developing world.  Specifically, this class will participate in needs assessments and monitoring and evaluating projects in Douentza, Mali; Guaymate, the Dominican Republic; and Khartoum, Sudan. In each of these places, public health issues in the area include infectious diseases, noncommunicable illnesses, and other issues related to health and sanitation.

The needs assessment will reflect human rights, public health and sustainability considerations. In lieu of an exam, student teams will prepare a final written report detailing their findings and recommendations.


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Public Health in the News – November 30, 2014

Global

  • The burden of tuberculosis in pregnant women is substantial. A new study in the Lancet shows how maternal care services could provide an important platform for tuberculosis detection, treatment initiation, and subsequent follow-up.
  • What works in the battle of the bulge? The Economist reports on a new study from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) that looks at 74 anti-obesity measures around the world, and judges the cost and impact them taken together.
  • Forbes looks at how BRAC and the Gates Foundation are supporting reaching the “unbanked” in Bangladesh, hoping it could lead to improved health conditions in the country.
  • As we approach the new year, read about seven trends in global health that will drive funding, researching and interventions in 2015.

National

Illinois/Chicago

  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Public Health and Presence Health today announced the formation of a first-of-its-kind Wellness Partnership that includes a substantial investment in new community-based preventative health initiatives.
  • Get your flu shot! Cook County Department of Public Health announced a 32% rise in emergency room visits for flu.
  • Read about how an innovative data mining initiative has helped health officials reach those most at risk for breast cancer in Chicago.

Northwestern

  • Donald M. Lloyd Jones, MD, is quoted in Fox News about the public health communities iniatives to rewrite U.S. heart disease prevention guidelines.
  • Neil Stone, MD, is quoted in The New Times regarding alternative treatments to statins for preventing heart attacks and strokes.


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Public Health in the News – November 23, 2014

Global

National

Chicago

Northwestern


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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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