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Supporting refugees: A public health perspective

“Some bullets came to my house and went through the window,” said Murhaf, who fled Syria with his family two years ago and came to the United States, in an interview with Kaiser Health News (KHN). “I was afraid for the safety of my kids. They never sleep.” Murfah and his family fled their homeland to escape war. Other people have struggled in similar situations over time, and the international community has gathered before to discuss the needs and rights of people oppressed in their homeland. Following widespread displacement of populations during the First and Second World War, the United Nations held a conference in Geneva. This 1951 Convention defines a refugee as someone who, due to “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Immigration, Mental Health, Refugees, Violence

Disability and health disparities: The evolving role of public health

Historically, the role of public health has focused on prevention of disabilities. For example, the Centers for Disease Control promotes the use of folic acid in pregnant women and those who are trying to become pregnant to reduce the risks associated with the underdevelopment of a fetus’s brain and spinal cord. It also urges people to protect themselves and their families from traumatic brain injury through the use of helmets during sports and seatbelts in cars. Despite these efforts, as an article in Public Health Reports points out, people still are born with or develop disabilities. Therefore, it is important for public health professionals to focus on the needs and well-being of people living with disabilities, and to make research efforts and interventions accessible to this population. Definitions of “disability” vary widely … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disabilities, Disparities, Prevention

The health needs of caregivers and recipients

The health needs of caregivers and recipients

The U.S. is expected to experience a growing demand for caregivers, who include home health aides, personal care attendants, and family members, to support older people and people with disabilities. The number of individuals over age sixty-five, many of whom will need care at some point in their lives, is expected to grow from 15% of the U.S. population in 2014 to 22% in 2060. As the older population copes with the cost of care, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Mental Health, Older Adults, Racism

Risk communication: A balancing act

Risk communication: A balancing act

In public health, a great deal of time is spent “trying to communicate to people what they should be worried about and how to minimize the risks that they might face,” says Nancy Allen, MPH ‘05, Instructor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. This facet of public health is known as risk communication. As Allen notes, public health professionals must pair scientific evidence with public relations … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cancer, Emergency Preparedness, Influenza, Prevention, Zika Virus

The importance of access to reproductive health care

“We need to ensure that the next generation is as healthy as possible,” says Odilia Bermudez, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Associate Professor of Nutrition, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “And that their children and their grandchildren are also coming into this world healthy and happy.” Public health professionals have an important role to play in education and policy work surrounding reproductive health, including contraception, fertility, pregnancy, and birth. Nearly half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, with higher rates among ethnic minority groups and low-income populations. Unintended pregnancies are associated with low birth weight, later initiation of prenatal medical care, and other health concerns for women and fetuses. In addition, they correlate with lower income … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prenatal Health, Prevention, Reproductive Health, Sex Education

Racism and public health: How environment shapes wellbeing

Racism and public health: How environment shapes wellbeing

Racism and other forms of oppression – whether based on ethnicity, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, or other characteristics – act separately and together to cause disease. While individual behavior plays a role in health, it is only one small piece of the puzzle. “We have to name those things that are interfering with optimal health outcomes,” says Linda Hudson, ScD, Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine. Camara Jones, President of the American Public … Read entire article »

Filed under: Environment, Racism

The Potential for Dismantling the Affordable Care Act with a Trump Presidency

Many of you are likely wondering what do the election results mean for health care in the United States? Candidate Trump repeatedly stated he would repeal and replace the ACA on day one of his presidency. Since becoming President Elect Trump, he has declared that his three main priorities are: immigration, health care, and “big league jobs”. On Thursday, he released his proposed health care plan on his transition website. While thin on details, it reiterates his plans for the elimination of the ACA: A Trump Administration will work with Congress to repeal the ACA and replace it with a solution that includes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and returns the historic role in regulating health insurance to the States. The Administration’s goal will be to create a patient-centered healthcare system that promotes … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Vision Zero: Traffic safety in Boston and beyond

Vision Zero: Traffic safety in Boston and beyond

A car struck and injured two women and a boy walking on the Freedom Trail. A duck boat killed a woman riding a motor scooter. A teenager in Dorchester and a surgeon in Back Bay died in collisions with motor vehicles. These and other high-profile crashes in Boston in recent years have motivated new efforts to improve road safety. Traffic hazards are not unique to Boston. After years of progress, 2015 saw a spike in traffic-related … Read entire article »

Filed under: Injuries, Prevention, Traffic Safety

This prescription is a walk in the park

This prescription is a walk in the park

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year with events across the country. Whether you honor the centennial by going to the Grand Canyon or to your neighborhood playground, getting outside is healthy. Green space for exercise can help your heart and lower your blood pressure.  Just sitting outdoors can improve your mental health. Less than half of U.S. adults meet recommended guidelines for daily exercise, and nearly 1 in 13 people over … Read entire article »

Filed under: Exercise, Mental Health, Prevention

Digital Health Trends: Need a second opinion? There’s an app for that.

Digital Health Trends: Need a second opinion? There’s an app for that.

In this digital age, we are constantly on our phones. In the last week, how many of us have used an app on our smartphone to track or monitor our health- probably the majority of us. But are these health apps reliable? It seems there is an app for almost every health behavior out there, including losing weight, managing diabetes, monitoring sleep quality, improving medication adherence, and even measuring your blood pressure. With over 165,000 health-related … Read entire article »

Filed under: Mobile Health