public health

Can Doctors Become Agents of Social Change in Mexico?

April 9, 2018
A Mexican citizen's point of view on the systematic problem of prejudice and cruelty towards indigenous women within the Mexican public health system and his hope that Mexican doctors will again become leaders in the effort to heal Mexico’s citizenry of the rampant racism and classism that afflicts it.
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Residual Dried Blood and New Born Screening in Minnesota

April 14, 2015
Parents who have questions about their state's newborn screening program practices should consult with their primary care provider or state’s newborn screening program office.
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V-Ticket to Ride

January 29, 2015
It's time for clinicians, public officials, and politicians to take a stand on vaccination, and take a stand against the claim that personal liberty trumps public safety.
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Sean Philpott-Jones: A Cold Day's Concern About a Warming Planet

January 6, 2015
What concerns me the most about global climate change is the effect it will have on patterns of disease and illness, both here in the United States and overseas.
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Striking the Balance Between Population Guidelines and Patient Primacy

November 26, 2014
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among North American women.
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Fear and Loathing in Liberia

October 23, 2014
Two weeks ago, I wrote a commentary decrying the current hysteria in the US over Ebola. It was ironic, I argued, that so many people were demanding the federal government take immediate steps to address the perceived threat of Ebola while simultaneously ignoring the real public health threats that we face.
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Fever Pitch

October 9, 2014
Public concern about Ebola reached a fever pitch this past week, no pun intended, following the revelation that a patient in Dallas was infected with this deadly virus. Returning from a recent trip to Liberia, where thousands of people have died from Ebola since the epidemic began last December, Thomas Eric Duncan (who died shortly after this commentary was recorded for NPR) developed symptoms shortly after arriving in the United States. Public health officials in Texas are now tracking and quarantining the 38 people who had contact with Mr. Duncan after he became ill.
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Extending the Zadroga Act

September 11, 2014
Thirteen years ago today, Americans watched in horror as planes hijacked by Al Qaeda-backed terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a vacant field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Many of us lost friends and family. Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day, including 2,753 who died when the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers fell. The actual death toll associated with 9/11, however, is much higher.
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The Boys in the Ban

August 29, 2014
For over 30 years now, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned blood donations from gay and bisexual men. It is a lifetime ban. Currently, no man who has ever had sex with another man can donate blood in the US. The same is true for tissue donations. Just last year, for example, the FDA refused to accept for donation the eyes of an Iowan teen after learning that the boy was gay. When 16-year-old Alexander Betts committed suicide after months of bullying at the hands of classmates because of his sexual orientation, just a few months after he signed up as an organ donor, his family honored one of his last wishes by donating his organs and tissues. But while his heart, lungs, kidneys and liver were used to save the lives of six other people, the donation of his eyes was rejected because “tissue from gay men carries an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.”
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Big Bad Ebola

August 12, 2014
Last week Ebola came to the United States, it came on a specialized plane in the form of two medical missionaries. The conversation since has revolved around whether or not bringing them home for treatment was wise and/or just.
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Income Inequality and Health: Can the Poor Have Longer and Better Lives?

April 24, 2014
The Affordable Care Act will help address some of the current inequities in our health care system. Until we attack the fundamental issue of poverty and the income gap, however, we are probably just putting a small bandage on a large and gaping wound.
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New Tools for HIV Prevention: Why I am a Truvada Whore

April 10, 2014
Truvada is a lifesaver, both in terms of preventing the spread of HIV and in prolonging the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS. We should be encouraging its use, not disparaging it.
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We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us

December 6, 2013
The perception that HIV/AIDS is no longer a serious threat is a dangerous one. Despite the remarkable gains for the last two decades, we are all still at risk. AIDS is as much of a public health crisis as it was when the first cases were identified over 30 years ago. We need to continue to raise awareness and fund prevention programs.
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Punishing the Promoters

November 7, 2013
We need to encourage the Justice Department to demand increasingly larger penalties for illegally marketed drugs— in the range of $20, $30 or even $40 billion. These fines must substantially affect, or even eliminate, the profit that these companies earn from promoting inappropriate or unsafe use of drugs like Risperdal. Until then, it will simply be business as usual.
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Safety Shutdown

October 10, 2013
The only Americans who remain safe during the government shutdown are the politicians themselves, most of who are comfortably ensconced in gerrymandered districts that ensure continued re-election despite universal disgust with their partisan hijinks. The rest of us are at risk, whether we know it or not.
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My L.A. Times Op-Ed: In Defense of the Evidence-Based Nudge

October 1, 2013
In short, we say that nudges are good, especially compared to the alternatives, but only if they’re done right.
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Feeding the Poor is a SNAP

September 26, 2013
If Congress really wants to reduce the number of people receiving food stamps, the proposed cuts to SNAP are not the way to go. Rather, they should focus on more fundamental problems with the US economy: income inequity, stagnant incomes, and minimum wage laws that fall far below an actual living wage.
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Land of the Free and Home of the Germs

August 15, 2013
We should devote more and more resources to public health as the frequency of illnesses and outbreaks declines – that means that those programs are working. We need to start rewarding those public health victories rather than responding to public health failures.
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Cracking the Health Code

July 25, 2013
Until we address the social and economic problems that affect our health, America will remain the sick cousin of the developed world.
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In Sickness and In Health

July 11, 2013
One thing that supporters and opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage can agree on is this: the institution of marriage matters. The federal rights, benefits and privileges denied to same-sex couples until last month are important.
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Bright Shiny Things

April 4, 2013
Not that we are facing an epidemic of attention deficit disorders in the US, but that we are likely facing an epidemic of pathologization. What is normal childhood behavior has become, for harried parents, teachers and physicians, a medical condition to be treated with drugs.
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