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Tufts Public Health » Disparities

Influenza and Vaccination Disparities in the U.S.

For the first time in thirteen years, the CDC lists the flu to be ‘widespread’ in all parts of the continental U.S. Since flu season officially began, there have been approximately 60,000 confirmed cases of the flu and the hospitalization rate for influenza has reached 22.7 people/ 100,000 U.S. residents. Here is Massachusetts, reported cases of flu-like illnesses are much higher than last season and are continuing to rise, according to the MA Department of Public Health weekly flu report. The reason for the severity of this flu season comes from this year’s prominent strain being abnormally strong, as well as the persistent problem of low vaccination rates among Americans. This year, influenza A (specifically H3N2) has been the most rampant flu strain. In past years when H3 strains have been … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Influenza, Older Adults

The CDC’s Banned Words and The Effects on Public Health

On December 15, 2017, The Washington Post reported that policy analysts and officials of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been informed of a new list of words that were prohibited from being used in their 2019 Presidential budget documents. The seven-word list consisted of vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based. The origin of the ban is unknown, but it’s believed to have come from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who composes the CDC’s annual budget. In certain cases, CDC budget analysts were given suggested rewordings such as replacing “evidence-based” with “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” This ban comes at a time of massive budget cuts under the Trump administration. The CDC’s 2018 budget proposal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Prenatal Health, Prevention, Reproductive Health, Uncategorized, Zika Virus

Vulnerable Populations in Public Health

October is Vulnerable Populations month in the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Year of Climate Change and Health. The month focuses on those populations that are disproportionately affected by climate change health effects and are less climate-resilient. While APHA focuses on children, other vulnerable populations include the elderly, minority communities, and economically disadvantaged communities. Minority communities and those of low-income are particularly vulnerable to flooding, food insecurities, and damage to infrastructure from natural disasters that can lead to increased displacement, cardiovascular complications, stress, and malnutrition. These populations are made more vulnerable to these conditions due to structural racism which has resulted in inadequately climate-resilient infrastructure and established health disparities. Language barriers also continue to increase vulnerability of communities whose first language is not English. The increased risk of these communities has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Disparities, Environment

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