Sunday, March 27, 2011


Dr Sanjay Kumar and I are very pleased to announce that our brand new book, entitled DEMAND BETTER,is now available. DEMAND BETTER is the result of nearly two years of planning and comes at a time when the nation needs real leadership for real health reform. We carefully lay out the key "myths" surrounding healthcare in our country and then we debunk them with the evidence. The book covers all the important topics such as unexplained clinical variation, the lack of an evidentiary basis to much of medicine, and it lays out specific tools for reform. It is provocative, engaging and altogether a great read. It should appeal to everyone in the nation who cares about improving health at a price that we all can afford. You can order the book right now at or call 406-586-8775.We are anxious to hear your feedback as well so do be in touch!! DEMAND BETTER, something everyone ought to be doing regarding our current dysfunctional healthcare system...........DAVID NASH

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guest Commentary: Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium 2011

Patrick Monaghan
Director of Communications
Jefferson School of Population Health

Anyone at all skeptical about the watershed changes transforming health care in the United States need only have been in Philadelphia this week. The Eleventh Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium, hosted by the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH), demonstrated how more Americans are gaining or retaining access to care, as well as a new focus on health promotion, wellness and prevention strategies as the way to improve quality of life.

The transformation of health care was on the minds of many of the authors who spoke at Sunday evening’s health policy dinner and book signing event. Michael Christopher Gibbons, MD, MPH, author of “eHealth Solutions for Healthcare Disparities,” discussed emerging trends in cyber-health technology, and how concerns are mounting about racial and ethnic disparities in health care utilization outcomes.

Sanjaya Kumar, MD, MPH, who co-authored “Demand Better! Revive Our Broken Healthcare System,” with JSPH Dean David B. Nash, MD, MBA, explained how their book synthesizes the many trends, initiatives, reports, organizations and policies that look beyond our healthcare myths and stand on the front lines of the quality and safety revolution.

I was impressed by the presentations around “Integrating Technology and Population Health,” which touched on everything from stem cell research to the numerous innovations mobile technology has introduced to health care. Should I be “banking” my stem cells today so they can be used to help heal my body in the future? Can’t say I’ve considered that one before, but I’m thinking about it now.

As for mobile technology, NIH grants for mobile phone related research have been rising rapidly, thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. There were about 150 awards in 2010, and those numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. Mobile technologies have enormous potential as tools to promote healthy behavioral change, to transform the caregiver-patient relationship, and to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S. and around the globe.

These are just a few of my observations from the time I spent at the Colloquium. Did you attend? What were your impressions? What sessions were standouts for you? As always, your feedback is encouraged.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Commentary: Capitol Hill - An MPH Student's Perspective

Brittany Wright
MPH Candidate, 2011
Thomas Jefferson University

Attending the 14th Annual Health Education Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC was a great learning experience. I left Capitol Hill with a new found interest in policy and advocacy. I am nearing the end of the MPH program and am exploring future career options, and as a result of this visit, policy and advocacy opportunities rank high on my list. This opportunity provided a completely different outlook of public health and for that I am grateful.

I took part in scheduling and preparing for visits with Senate and House of Representative legislative aides. Alongside fellow New Jersey classmates, I met with Dennis Sendros, legislative aide to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). As a supplement to my visit, I accompanied professors and classmates to their meetings with legislative aides to Delaware Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). At all the meetings, we discussed the PHYSICAL act, CDC prevention and health promotion funding, and the Affordable Care Act.

Overall, the weekend summit was a success. One of my take-home moments exemplified what it was like to be on Capitol Hill; I witnessed citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to petition in the Senate building, Russell Hall.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Guest Commentary: JSPH Students Head to Washington, DC

Rob Simmons, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Program Director, MPH Program
Jefferson School of Population Health

The 14th Annual Health Education Summit, sponsored by the National Coalition of Health Education Organizations, and representing approximately 35,000 public health professionals and students was held March 5-7 in Washington DC. Two hundred and thirty (230) public health professionals and students participated in this 2 ½ day learning and advocacy experience, which culminated in Capitol Hill visits with Health Legislative Aides of Senate and House members. This experiential learning opportunity was part of our core Public Health Policy and Advocacy course and 17 JSPH public health students and three faculty members participated in the summit.

Over the first day and a half, summit participants received intensive training in advocacy principles and methods, using a variety of communication vehicles (including social networking). The Coalition advocacy priorities for the 2011 summit were:

• Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with particular emphasis on the Prevention and Public Health Fund that provides the resources to implement the various component of the Act.

• CDC Funding, with a focus on the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The CDC – and specifically this Center – is being targeted for significant funding cuts by the House of Representatives that would limit programs that prevent chronic disease and promote health.

• Support for Senate Bill 392, the ‘Promoting Health as Youth Skills In Classrooms And Life Act’ (Udall, NM), which would codify health education and physical education as core subjects in the K-12 curriculum. Health education and physical education are practically non-existent in schools today (only 6 states require daily physical education). With our obesity crisis, we need to expand our focus on school-based health and physical education.

The highlight of our learning came on March 7 when we went to Capitol Hill to meet with Health Legislative Aides of our Senators and Representatives (Congress was not in session that day). Participants met in small groups and held over 100 meetings with legislative aides about the three key public health priorities. Our public health students played a key role in those visits as many took the lead for educating the legislative aide of their representative.

Student reaction to the advocacy summit has been very positive as it was the first time “on the hill” for our students. We hope and expect that it was an experience they will never forget and that they will be motivated to become strong public health advocates and leaders throughout their career. Our students will be presenting on their federal advocacy experience in class next week and we look forward to sharing their experience on this blog in the future.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Commentary: Discussing Public Health Preparedness

Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Jefferson School of Population Health

Last week, I attended the National Association of City and County Health Officials’ (NACCHO) Annual Preparedness Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the purpose of which was to offer those working in public health preparedness an opportunity to learn more about the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) and Biennial Implementation Plan (BIP). Both are initiatives to help the public health system increase its preparedness for a variety of disasters.

This year’s theme was “The National Health Security Strategy: Building a Resilient Nation.” Attendees included public health professionals, academics, and private sector employees. Presenters discussed a variety of activities they are involved in to help ensure the safety and security of the public’s health in times of greatest need.

The session that I felt had the most potential impact on practice was a plenary session that featured presentations from representatives of federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Department of Homeland Security. After the presentations, which gave overviews of the federal government’s commitment to preparedness, the panelists took questions from the audience.

This interaction offered an opportunity for local public health practitioners to share the challenges they face and ask questions of high-level representatives from federal agencies. It is rare that local public health and federal agencies have an opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities for improved communication and cooperation. This session offered a mechanism for better integration across levels of government.

While the conference was focused on times of emergency, a consistent theme was that the things we do today prepare us for tomorrow. The job of public health is to ensure the population is as healthy as possible every day, and that the public health system is ready to respond to everything from localized measles outbreaks to catastrophic events such as H1N1 or Hurricane Katrina.

In this difficult fiscal climate, public health is at risk of being cut dramatically in states and localities across the country. Since it is difficult to quantify how many lives have been saved, lengthened and improved because of prevention and early intervention, public health is often one of the first areas on the budget chopping block. While there is extensive research into the benefits of public health, communicating those benefits clearly and concisely in a way that is understood by policy makers continues to be a challenge for public health researchers and practitioners. However, investment in the public’s health and safety today can mitigate the impact of emerging diseases, climate change, and other threats.