healthcare

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Occupational Health News Roundup

Vox explores the mental health impact of medical errors on health care workers; California policymaker announces efforts to protect women janitors from sexual assault; farmworkers call on fast food chain Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program for better wages; and a judge upholds a worker’s social media rights.

Poverty and poor health often go hand-in-hand. However, the effects of poverty may be especially profound for children, who are moving through critical developmental and educational phases in their young lives. Knowing that this social determinant of health can lead to a lifelong struggle with poor health and disease, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now calling on pediatricians to screen their young patients for poverty.

It seems obvious that workers with paid sick leave are more likely to stay home and seek out medical care when they or a family member is ill. But it’s always good to confirm a hunch with some solid data.

Another day, another study on the potentially life-saving impact of vaccines. This time it’s a new study on the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer. Earlier this week, researchers announced that since the vaccine came on the scene, rates of HPV among young women in the U.S. have plummeted.

President Obama released his 2017 federal budget proposal yesterday, recommending funding boosts for a number of public health priorities. And even though his presidency is coming to an end and so this budget is probably dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Congress, it’s worth a peek inside.

For public health workers, it’s no surprise that social, economic and political conditions shape the distribution and burden of disease. They’ve always known that it takes much more than medicine to keep people healthy. Still, when public health scientist Kristina Talbert-Slagle decided to study the impact of social and public health spending on HIV/AIDS, she wasn’t sure what she’d uncover.

Each year, the U.S. spends $26.2 billion on costs associated with preterm birth — that’s birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond the costs, babies born too early experience immediate and long-term problems, from developmental disabilities to asthma to hearing loss. For years, scientists have been studying possible environmental contributors, with many finding an association between preterm birth and air pollution. Earlier this week, a new study brought even more depth and clarity to this connection.

These days, there’s a lot of attention on finding new and creative ways to turn around the nation’s opioid abuse and overdose problem. And it’s attention that’s very much needed because the problem is only getting worse.

Re-run from May 27, 2015: For more than a decade, biologist Mariam Barlow has been working on the theory that administering antibiotics on a rotating basis could be a solution to antibiotic resistance. After years of research, Barlow had lots of data, but she needed a more precise way to make sense of it all — something that was so specific it could easily be used to treat patients. So, she joined forces with a team of mathematicians. And the amazing results could help solve an enormous, worldwide problem.

A re-run from June 26, 2015: A common hurdle in the field of occupational health and safety is delivering what can sometimes be life-saving information to the people who need it most. After all, not all employers are amenable to workplace health and safety education. But what if safety advocates could find and connect with the most at-risk workers out in the community? Perhaps even reach vulnerable workers with safety education before they experience an injury at work?