ACA, Violence, and Social Networks: Annual Review of Public Health Volume 38

We are pleased to remind everyone that the 2017 volume of the Annual Review of Public Health, now online, is published open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license. This influential content is now freely available to read, reuse, and share. Additionally, all 37 back volumes (1980-2016) are now free to read. Support for this initiative to increase openness and transparency in research is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Here are a few content highlights for your reading pleasure:

There is still a lot of debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and I recommend the article “The Affordable Care Act’s Impacts on Access to Insurance and Health Care for Low-Income Populations” by Kominski, Nonzee, and Sorensen as interesting background reading.  I was particularly interested in the discussion about the people who are still uninsured, and struck by the geographical implications:

Almost 90% of all adults in the coverage gap live in the South, half in either Texas or Florida, which aligns with this region’s high uninsurance rates, limited Medicaid eligibility, and low uptake of Medicaid expansion (37). Consistent with demographic characteristics and policies excluding nondisabled adults in states that did not expand Medicaid, African Americans and childless adults also account for a disproportionate share of individuals in the coverage gap.

Another article that demanded my attention is “Climate Change and Collective Violence” by Levy, Sidel, and Patz.  When people talk about the effects of climate change they mostly focus on sea levels and food harvests, but take things a couple of steps further and one of the things you can see is increased violence.  Some of the conclusions addressed in this article are quite startling:

Studying conflict in sub-Saharan Africa between 1981 and 2002, Burke and colleagues found a significant association between warmer temperature and civil war. On the basis of their findings, they projected an approximately 54% increase in armed conflict in Africa by 2030, with an additional 393,000 battle-related deaths, assuming wars in the future are as deadly as recent wars.

It’s a complicated and well written article that also addresses some ways of preventing this violence.  It’s on the top of my reading list.

pu38-social networksAnother article on my famed reading list is Valente and Pitts’ article, “An Appraisal of Social Network Theory and Analysis as Applied to Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities.”  What drew my interest here was the section about research being done around social media and the Internet’s effect on health:

The evidence suggests that mediated communications can influence individual behaviors but they do so at a rate much lower than face-to-face communications do (37). Still, people can have hundreds, even thousands or more, of online contacts, which increases the potential for much influence. Moreover, some forms of mediated communications may be particularly influential. For example, specialty communities that emerge in forums such as PatientsLikeMe may be very influential because they offer a place where people can share information about extremely important and relevant topics among members of a specific community.

Of course anytime someone is doing research in social media it raises ethics and privacy concerns which the article also addresses as a problem that needs close review.  For instance this troubling case:

In a similarly publicized study, Kramer and others (48) used Facebook as a social psychology laboratory and manipulated users’ Facebook News Feeds to induce negative or positive affect to study the social contagion of emotions. Facebook users did not provide overt consent to participate in the study, and many felt that their rights were violated (35). Furthermore, participants of in-person experimental studies are often debriefed when their study participation has concluded to reduce the likelihood that the study’s manipulations and procedures caused harm, yet no such debriefing was performed in this study.

So as usual Public Health provides much food for thought and interesting weekend reading!

Treasure trove of expert Public Health content now publicly available – what’s inside?

Today (and every day!) we want to encourage those in the Public Health community and beyond to freely explore the expert content published in the Annual Review of Public Health over the last 37 years. No matter who you are, what you do or where you work, if you have access to the internet then you can now freely read all the articles and read, share and re-use those from the 2017 volume. Support for this initiative to increase openness and transparency in research is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Let’s start our journey by picking a newsworthy and important topic. Take Gun Violence, which is of particular significance within the USA. An initial search reveals that the Annual Review of Public Health has published 35 articles of relevance to this topic.

A first observation is the sheer breadth of topics that are covered: from measures to deter gun violence and keep firearms away from high risk individuals to the effects of pervasive media violence and the emerging practice of legal epidemiology. It’s also immediately clear that the authors are thought leaders in their fields working at leading institutions such as Carnegie Mellon; John Hopkins; UCLA; University of Glasgow; McGill University; the Norwegian Institute of Public Health; Utrecht University and more.

From this starting point, it’s possible to explore the content in greater depth. For example, the article entitled “Cure Violence: a public health model to reduce gun violence” from the Annual Review of Public Health (March 2015) sounds intriguing and it is. Here’s an excerpt:

Cureviolence.org, @CureViolence

“Cure Violence (formerly known as Chicago CeaseFire) seeks to create individual-level and community-level change in communities where it is a norm for young people to carry a gun and—for some—to use a gun to settle various forms of conflict. The Cure Violence (CV) model attempts to stop the transmission of violence in a manner similar to that of public health interventions designed to curtail epidemics or to reduce the impact of harmful behavior such as smoking and overeating. The CV model identifies the individuals most at risk of spreading gun violence, and it intervenes to change their behavior and attitudes. Next, it tries to demonstrate to those individuals, and to the broader community, that there are more acceptable and less harmful ways to resolve personal conflicts and disputes. The CV model does not involve the use of force or the threat of punishment. It presumes that violent behavior—like all behavior—responds to structures, incentives, and norms”.

From this article, we took a detour beyond Annual Reviews and paused for a while to watch this video:

Returning to Annual Reviews, in addition to in-depth writing, multi-media options are available to help visual learners gain a deeper understanding, for example this animated video about patterns of gun violence in the United States.

Many articles also feature clear diagrams, figures, and illustrations that help explain key concepts and all contain links to other Annual Reviews articles that can be initially explored.

We hope this short tour encourages everyone to explore their access to the Annual Review of Public Health. We welcome feedback via Twitter, Facebook or as a comment to this post. Enjoy!

 

The Annual Review of Public Health is now freely available to read, reuse, and share.

We are pleased to announce that the 2017 volume of the Annual Review of Public Health, online today, is published open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license. This influential content is now freely available to read, reuse, and share. Additionally, all 37 back volumes (1980-2016) are now free to read. Support for this initiative to increase openness and transparency in research is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Thanks to the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the public health community will now be able to freely access expert reviews which critically summarize what is known about the most important health problems affecting our populations and gain insight into what can be done to improve collective outcomes,” said the journal’s Editor, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Fielding School of Public Health and the Geffen School of Medicine.

He added, “All Annual Review of Public Health articles summarize research findings, draw together and integrate strands of knowledge, assess practical applications, and point to unanswered questions. Expanding the availability of these articles and increasing the dissemination of the actionable information they contain has the potential to accelerate research and the speed at which new findings are assessed and implemented.

The Foundation’s support for the Annual Review of Public Health covers the costs of open access for one year, plus the exploration of sustainable funding mechanisms for future years.

“The opportunity to work with Annual Reviews is an exciting one for the Foundation. Reviews are important contributions to the evidence base for a Culture of Health and it’s important that they reach the widest audience possible,” said Dr. Brian Quinn, Associate Vice President for Research-Evaluation-Learning at the Foundation.

The focus of the open access movement to date has been on primary research papers and data sets; the public benefit of converting high-quality review journals to sustainable open access has yet to be assessed.

“I am confident that converting to open access will significantly benefit readers and researchers in the field of public health and beyond,” said President and Editor-in-Chief of Annual Reviews, Richard Gallagher. “We track downloads, citations, and altmetrics article by article, so we will be able to compare data before and after the switch to open access.”

Annual Reviews is establishing a collective fund to support the publication costs for the journal to sustain long-term open access. Customers who have paid a 2017 subscription for this journal will be asked permission to assign this payment to the collective fund. Our team will be in touch with current online subscribers to discuss this and other options available for those who do not wish to participate which include receiving a credit towards their 2018 subscriptions, selecting another 2017 Annual Review volume or receiving a full refund.

About the Annual Review of Public Health: The Annual Review of Public Health, in publication since 1980, covers significant developments in the field of public health, including key developments in epidemiology and biostatistics, environmental and occupational health, issues related to social environment and behavior, health services, and public health practice and policy. For further information about this post please email us.

Free Trade and the U.S. Election

2908273630_bd93cee6f3_zAs we approach the end of the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States, we explore one of the most heatedly discussed issues: international trade and the various trade deals the country has entered.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee, has been criticized by Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee, for her support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed in 1994 between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico by her husband, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. During her tenure as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, she spoke in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed deal between 12 countries of the Pacific Rim that has become a priority for the current administration.

Secretary Clinton now says NAFTA didn’t live up to its potential and will need to be renegotiated—a promise made by the Obama campaign in 2008, which his administration didn’t keep. She also says that the latest version of the TPP, which would cover 40% of the global economy with approximately 800 million consumers, doesn’t meet her “high bar” for “creat[ing] American jobs, rais[ing] wages and advanc[ing] our national security.”

Another proposed deal in the early stages of the negotiating process is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), between the European Union and the United States, covering a third of global trade.

Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has built his platform on a blanket rejection of free trade.

As the political tide seems to have turned toward protectionism, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo has expressed concern about the anti-trade rhetoric on both sides of this campaign. With election day looming, what can we learn about trade deals, regional and global, and their long-term effects on participating economies, specifically on poverty, the environment, and public health? Do they result in net gains or net losses?

Learn more with these five articles, which we’ve made freely available:

Photo credit.

Fighting the Tobacco Epidemic

On November 1, France launched “Moi(s) sans tabac” (“month/me without tobacco”), the very first national campaign of its kind, which will use all existing social media and digital tools to encourage smokers to quit. Inspired by the UK’s “Stoptober” campaign, which started in 2012, it sets the goal of stopping for the entire month of November, 30 days without smoking, which multiply the chances of quitting by five.

9786177825_73ed90e5fb_zUsers can sign up online to join the community and get personalized advice; call a phone number where they can talk to smoking cessation specialists; or download an application that can track their progress, cheer them on, and calculate their savings. On November 1, over 130,000 smokers had signed up.

It is estimated that tobacco is as addictive as heroin, with approximately 60% of those who try it becoming addicted. Of regular smokers, experts calculate that about half will die of smoke-related consequences. In France, there are around 73,000 smoke-related deaths each year. In 2003, a government report found that France’s male population had the highest level of cancer-related deaths, more than any country in the European Union, caused directly by cigarette use.

How did this tobacco epidemic begin? What are some environmental factors that play into tobacco addiction? What are some intervention that have been effective in helping smokers quit?

Read more about tobacco and health here:

Photo credit.