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Public Health

The Soda Tax Experiment, Now Underway

Ayala Laufer-Cahana, M.D. | Posted 01.06.2015 | Healthy Living
Ayala Laufer-Cahana, M.D.

The Berkeley sugary drinks law might be the experiment that provides the evidence that would justify similar measures in other cities.

Working For Humanity

Kieran McConville | Posted 01.05.2015 | Impact
Kieran McConville

For those on the front line it's a difficult, and potentially deadly, task. The body of an Ebola victim can be highly contagious in the hours after death.

Black Infant Deaths Point to Flaw in U.S. Health Care System

The University of Central Florida Forum | Posted 01.04.2015 | Politics
The University of Central Florida Forum

When it comes to health disparities the burden is obvious, as a myriad of social and individual risk factors combine to form the disadvantage for blacks. Blacks in the United States have a greater risk of illness, injury, disease and death than other racial and ethnic groups.

Plague Plots -- Dispatches From Albert Camus

Joseph Cooper | Posted 01.03.2015 | Books
Joseph Cooper

A hands-on doctor tries to get public officials to recognize infestations as bubonic and pneumonic plagues. Can a novel's depictions inform discussions about Ebola?

The Hidden HIV Harms of Indonesia's Brothel Crackdowns

Kyle Knight | Posted 01.02.2015 | World
Kyle Knight

In 2013 Surabaya's firebrand mayor closed two of the city's six red light districts. But while she is running the campaign in the name of public morality, research shows closing brothels puts sex workers at increased risk, and HIV interventions must adjust.

Using Data To Reduce The Health Divide Between Women And Men

Laura Rosella | Posted 12.31.2014 | Impact
Laura Rosella

In many regions of the world, her female gender would be one of the most important determinants of her health and the health of her family.

Plague Plots - Dispatches from Gabriel García Márquez

Joseph Cooper | Posted 12.30.2014 | Books
Joseph Cooper

Can the accounts and depictions transmitted by Love in the Time of Cholera help us cope with Ebola?

Ebola in Africa, Fears in the US: Let's Get Hard on Issues, Soft on People

Blair Forlaw | Posted 12.29.2014 | Impact
Blair Forlaw

It's not the virus that's spreading rapidly in West Africa that makes me anxious about my family's health and safety. It's the fear that's spreading rapidly across America, which threatens to recast global humanitarians as risks, rather than assets.

Is Forced Quarantine for Ebola Legal?

Peter Van Buren | Posted 12.28.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

Is it legal for a state (or the federal) government to detain and quarantine you against your will for health reasons? Yes. Has this sort of thing been done before? Yes. Will it be effective? No. Is it just a political ploy to garner votes from a panicked public? Oh my yes.

We Need to Consider Stronger Laws On Cellphone Use While Driving

Brad Stulberg | Posted 12.27.2014 | Healthy Living
Brad Stulberg

Texting bans do not go far enough. For starters, in the eyes of everyday drivers, these laws are vague. Does texting at a red light count? What about reading a text, as opposed to sending one, or surfing the internet?

What I Am Really Afraid of... And It's Not Ebola

Brian Castrucci | Posted 12.27.2014 | Healthy Living
Brian Castrucci

Whenever there is an outbreak, there is political and public outcry that dies out as soon as it is controlled. We have the great privilege of living largely free of fear from infectious disease, but it comes at a cost -- investment in and ongoing support for the public health system.

Ebola and Public Health Versus the 'Bottom Line'

Bernard Starr | Posted 12.24.2014 | Politics
Bernard Starr

If Ebola continued as confined outbreaks for a limited time, a patent for a drug to treat it, or a vaccine to prevent it, might not feed the corporate bottom line. So we have waited for a desperate crisis when a cure might bring enough profit to light up the bottom line.

Lessons from Ebola - Trust: the Necessary Public Health Tool

Leslie E. Wolf | Posted 12.22.2014 | Politics
Leslie E. Wolf

Without trust, public health efforts will fall short. Building trust during on on-going epidemic response is challenging, especially when mistakes may be made.

Ebola Panic and Human Rights: Racism and Public Health in the United States @HuffPostBlog

Jack Healey | Posted 12.21.2014 | Impact
Jack Healey

Human rights would be empowered by a proportional and rational response, but knee-jerk fear has a history of racism in this country when it comes to public health. Unfortunately, current media reactions, prevalent in mainstream and social media, are fanning flames of xenophobia in America and withholding care from those that need it most.

Troubled #hearts -- in 140 Characters

Wray Herbert | Posted 12.20.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Is it possible that aggregate Twitter patterns might also be revealing in some useful way? Could Twitter offer snapshots of communities as well as individuals? A team of scientists has been exploring this possibility.

The Tragedy of Permanence -- Depression Myths Can Be Fatal

Patrick Corvington | Posted 12.20.2014 | Healthy Living
Patrick Corvington

Over the past 400 years, we've gone back and forth -- and still, we haven't settled on what is true -- depression is a treatable illness. And, in the absence of this more informed view, we're left asking ourselves, again and again, why kids slip into this tragic permanence.

The Importance of a Nonpartisan Surgeon General

Richard H. Carmona, M.D. | Posted 12.18.2014 | Politics
Richard H. Carmona, M.D.

We should act to strengthen the Office of the Surgeon General by protecting it from political manipulation. In our hyper-partisan political world characterized by gridlock and great political poetic license in the interpretation of science to support preconceived political biases, who will have the responsibility to speak scientific truth to power?

Think a Soda Tax Is Regressive? Try Diabetes

Andy Bellatti | Posted 12.17.2014 | Healthy Living
Andy Bellatti

If the well-being of lower-income Americans is so important to the beverage industry, how about ending the relentless marketing onslaught of sugar-laden and harmful products targeted right at them?

Softer Care For Harder Cases, Of Ebola And Everything Else

David Katz, M.D. | Posted 12.16.2014 | Healthy Living
David Katz, M.D.

As for Ebola containment, holistic thinking is clearly essential. Control of an outbreak is not limited to treating the sick, but managing the social network of every index case.

"The Doctor's Dilemma"

Joseph Cooper | Posted 12.14.2014 | Books
Joseph Cooper

Despite all that bile, the dilemmas portrayed in Shaw's 1906 play might inform some thinking about how we distribute decontamination equipment and intensive-care teams; how we allocate protective gear, bio-containment facilities, isolation rooms, and life-saving vaccines.

The Big, Unanswered Questions About Ebola

Hoyt Hilsman | Posted 12.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Hoyt Hilsman

While some accuse the media of fanning the flames of fear, it does seem reasonable for the press and others to be asking these larger questions of the social and economic impact of a potential epidemic, even if it is still fairly remote.

Are Local Hospitals Prepared for Ebola?

Manoj Jain, MD MPH | Posted 12.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Manoj Jain, MD MPH

While theoretically all hospitals should be able to manage an Ebola patient, in practice it is not possible. In my opinion, we cannot train hundreds of hospital staff including doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and X-ray technician in meticulous isolation procedures.

Stopping Ebola With Public Health Expertise, Not Casual Advice

Linda P. Fried | Posted 12.15.2014 | Politics
Linda P. Fried

The challenge of mobilizing aggressively on the current scale is a daunting one, even without second-guessing from people with no experience in fighting disease. Wasting resources by following casual advice -- even if adamantly spoken and mightily propelled -- would make the tragedy of this disease even greater.

There IS Something You Can Do to Prevent Gun Violence

David C. Bohnett | Posted 12.14.2014 | Politics
David C. Bohnett

The sad reality is that most gun deaths result from the 300 million guns primarily owned by decent, law-abiding people who assume they are bringing guns into their homes for self protection, and not anticipating a tragic accident.

Diseases and Demagogues

Richard J. Rosendall | Posted 12.13.2014 | Politics
Richard J. Rosendall

It is difficult enough to confront resurgent diseases without an explosion of unhinged conspiracy mongering.