Category Archives: Injury

Jan 28 2014

Enhancing Safety of Hospital Workers Is Aim of New Federal Website

U.S. hospitals recorded 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2012, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and workers’ compensation expenses now reach $2 billion annually for hospitals. Lifting and moving patients, workplace violence, slips and falls, exposure to chemicals and hazardous drugs, exposure to infectious diseases, and needlesticks are among the serious hazards hospital workers face.

Fact books, self-assessments, and best practice guides are among the materials OSHA has assembled in a new Web resource,, designed to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs, and implement safety and health management systems.

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Dec 21 2012

Take Action to Stop Gun Violence

E. Alison Holman, PhD, FNP, is an assistant professor in nursing science at the University of California, Irvine and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholar. She has received the Chaim Danieli Young Investigator’s Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for her research on early cognitive predictors of long-term adjustment following trauma. She studies how people cope with highly stressful experiences with special interest in understanding how trauma affects long-term mental and physical health.


The tragedy in Newtown CT violated everything we hold dear, with 20 innocent children among the carnage. My heart aches for Newtown, the families who lost their children, the children who lost their siblings and friends. It is so sad.

According to FBI records, on average, 27 Americans were murdered with firearms every day in 2011. Yet, last Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said "today is not the day for a debate on gun control." But if not now, when? On April 28, 1996, 35 people were murdered in Port Arthur, Tasmania by a gunman from New Town, Australia. Within 12 days the Australian government adopted bipartisan gun control legislation. In the 15 years since these new gun control laws were passed, no mass shootings have occurred in Australia. Do we have the resolve to do the same here?

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Dec 20 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Promoting health professions, generic drug manufacturers, traumatic brain injuries, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

The Baltimore Times reports on the Tour for Diversity in Medicine, founded in part by RWJF Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) alumnus Alden Landry, MD, MPH. Several weeks each year, the Tour visits college campuses across the country to promote careers in the health professions to students from groups underrepresented in higher education. Read more about the Tour for Diversity here and here.

Jason Karlawish, MD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about tests for Alzheimer’s disease. Read posts Karlawish wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the disease and the challenges associated with early diagnosis.

Pharmacy Times reports on a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by Investigator Award recipient Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH. It addresses concerns about a proposal to increase liability for generic drug manufacturers for adverse reactions. Read a post Kesselheim wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about pharmaceutical industry marketing to medical students.

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Dec 18 2012

Fatigue May Pose Threats to Medical Residents

Long working hours that cause fatigue, sleepiness, burnout and depression are a threat to the personal safety of medical residents, according to a Mayo Clinic study published this month. Working conditions associated with these characteristics are linked to motor vehicle crashes and near crashes, and may contribute to exposure to blood and body fluids on the job.

In the survey of 340 internal medicine residents in training at the Mayo Clinic, 168 respondents (56%) reported a motor vehicle incident during their training. Of those incidents, 34 were motor vehicle crashes, and 130 were near misses. Sixty residents reported falling asleep while driving, and 53 reported falling asleep while stopped in traffic. Residents attribute these incidents to diminished quality of life, exhaustion and depression, and fatigue and sleepiness, the study finds.

Residents also reported exposure to blood and body fluid during their training, some of which was attributed to fatigue. The researchers call the rates “reassuringly low,” but caution that “it is not possible to definitively rule out associations of distress with [blood and body fluid] exposure.”

“These findings indicate that resident distress is related not only to patient safety and quality of care but to residents’ personal safety as well,” the study says. “In addition to ongoing efforts to limit physician fatigue and sleepiness, interventions to promote well-being and reduce distress among physicians are needed to improve both patient and resident safety.”

Read the study.

Dec 13 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: 'Citizen science,' compensation for medical errors, gunshot wounds, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

The New York Times Well blog reports on a study by RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jason Fletcher, PhD, MS, that finds that about half of smokers carry a specific genetic characteristic associated with susceptibility to tobacco taxes and other health policy approaches intended to deter smoking. The other half have a different genetic mix and are largely unaffected by such measures. Medical XPress also reported on the findings. Read more about the study.

A study led by RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, MPhil, finds that “patients who are offered disclosure, explanations, apologies and monetary compensation for medical errors may be more likely to accept lower rather than maximum compensation, apparently due to distrust of the motives behind a full compensation offer,” Cardiovascular Business reports.

People who frequently use the Internet to get health or medical information are more likely to have a positive outlook on cancer prevention and diagnosis, a study co-authored by Health & Society Scholars alumnus Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, MA, finds. United Press International reports on the findings.

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Nov 28 2012

Gun Violence in Nashville

Manish K. Sethi, MD, is a health policy associate at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College and a Pilot Project Mini-Grant recipient and renowned orthopaedic trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University’s Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health Policy. Sethi spoke this morning during the 2012-2013 Grand Rounds Series, sponsored by Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, on “Gun Violence in Nashville: Working Towards Community Based Solutions.”


Human Capital Blog: What is the violence prevention program you’re directing with the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry?

Sethi: We are doing a youth violence intervention program via partnership with Nashville schools funded by the RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry.

All of the data demonstrates that educational intervention with this age group demonstrates positive results. Currently, no such program exists in Nashville schools.

HCB: What drove your interest in this topic?

Sethi: I am a trauma surgeon and have been seeing an inordinate number of gun violence injuries in African American teenagers. I grew up in Tennessee and left for my medical training, but during childhood I never saw violence to this degree. Almost every week I see a teenager who either loses his life, or suffers major trauma secondary to a gun violence injury. I care very deeply about the future of these children and of Tennessee and I just feel that we have to do something.

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Aug 2 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Sleep's effect on vaccinations, gun violence, lead contamination, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

Technically Philly reports that, after organizing “Game Solutions for Health,” in which students competed to build the best mobile heath tool, RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars alumna Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, will now lead a technology and innovation lab and related course at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Read a post Hanrahan wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about Game Solutions for Health.

Not getting enough sleep after receiving a vaccination could reduce vaccine effectiveness, according to a study by RWJF Health & Society Scholar Aric Prather, PhD. “People who slept less than six hours per night were nearly 12 times more likely to be left unprotected by the vaccine than those who slept more than seven hours per night,” because their immune systems produced fewer antibodies in response to the vaccine, Health Day reports.

RWJF Clinical Scholar Comilla Sasson, MD, MS—an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital—spoke to Colorado Public Radio about caring for, and following up with, the victims of the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

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Jul 30 2012

Home Mental Health Care for Gunshot Victims

By Jooyoung Lee, PhD, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and a 2009 – 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania


Ervin is a black Rastafarian. He has a calm and easy-going demeanor, something that he attributes to growing up in a small Jamaican village near Kingston.  On most days, Ervin rolls his long set of locks into a beehive that he conceals beneath brightly colored turbans.

He was one of the first gunshot victims that I met while conducting ethnographic research in Philadelphia.  On a chilly Friday in January, Ervin hobbled into the trauma clinic at The University of Pennsylvania.  His work boots were covered with tufts of snow and his puffy winter jacket hid a lean and muscular 35-year old body. 

When I first introduced myself and the purpose of my study, Ervin smiled from ear-to-ear.  He was anxious to tell his story and gave me a detailed play-by-play of how he had been shot twice in the legs—both 9mm bullets had been retained and were causing him great discomfort and pain.

Although he was nearly a year removed from his shooting, Ervin spoke openly about recurrent nightmares, trouble sleeping at night, and described feeling frightened by loud noises in his neighborhood—some of which were “false alarms” and others which were gunshots fired near his home.  Although I am a sociologist by training and have never been trained in counseling or psychotherapy, my gut told me that Ervin was suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms. 

A couple weeks later, I visited Ervin at his home.  During my visit, I asked Ervin if he had ever spoken to a mental health professional about his trauma.  He shook his head and explained that he knew of free mental health services in Philadelphia, but could not afford to go.  As a day laborer, Ervin relied on landscaping, construction, and other manual labor that often required him to be ready for work at a moment’s notice.  He explained, “If they call me and I’m at some office, I might lose a job that could be the only one I get for a few weeks.”

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May 28 2012

New on the Human Capital Section of the RWJF Website

The Human Capital section of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) website is frequently updated with stories, profiles and features about the work of the scholars, fellows and grantees the Foundation supports. Check out a few of the new stories:

Grantee Triumphs Over Culture and Politics to Care for Women

When RWJF Clinical Scholar Crista Johnson, MD, realized that Somali, Sudanese, and other refugee or immigrant women who have undergone the traditional practice of female circumcision weren’t receiving desperately needed, culturally sensitive Ob-Gyn care, she checked her opinions at the door and set out to help. Today, she has created a model to help others learn how to treat circumcised women.

For Brain Injury Survivors, New Ways to Connect

RWJF Community Health Leader Fran Rooker is supporting a groundbreaking online program that brings brain injury survivors together despite distances and disabilities to help them overcome the long-term challenges that often come with their injury. Rooker’s telehealth program provides therapeutic supports, coaching, and encouragement.

Teaming Up Helps People Lose Weight

Years of research from RWJF Community Health Leader Rajiv Kumar’s successful Shape Up Rhode Island program has shown that individuals’ weight loss outcomes are significantly influenced by team factors. For instance, having multiple teammates pursuing weight loss and having supportive social interactions among those teammates improves outcomes.

Scholar Publishes "Cliffs Notes" for Colleagues on Top Medical Research

A new book published by RWJF Clinical Scholar Michael Hochman summaries 50 Studies Every Doctor Should Know, making the most influential medical research easily accessible for physicians and emphasizing findings that might help providers make better decisions.

See these stories and more on the Human Capital section of the RWJF website.

Feb 16 2012

Human Capital News Roundup: Support for brain injury patients, school health programs, Alzheimer's treatment and more.

Here’s a sampling of recent news coverage of the work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars and Fellows:

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and director of The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, spoke to Advance for Nurses about the Future of Nursing report’s “80 by ‘20” recommendation—a call for 80 percent of nurses to have their BSN by 2020.

Yonas E. Geda, MD, a scholar with the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, is the lead author of a study that finds older people whose diets are high in calories are at greater risk for mild cognitive impairment. USA Today, CNN’s The Chart blog and MedPage Today are among the outlets to report on the study.

RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Sarah Gollust, PhD, spoke to The Atlantic about perceptions of type 2 diabetes. The media tends to emphasize personal responsibility for the disease, she said, which can stigmatize people and erode public support for treatment. Read a post Gollust wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about public opinion and the fairness of health inequalities.

Funded by a five-year, $1.2 million grant, Kynna Wright-Volel, PhD, RN, FAAN, an assistant professor, pediatric nurse practitioner and RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar, is launching Project SHAPE LA ™ in coordination with the UCLA School of Nursing and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The coordinated school-health program is designed to increase physical activity among youth in LA County schools, UCLA Today and other outlets report.

Jason Karlawish, MD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, guested on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss a study that finds an FDA-approved drug for skin cancer can reduce Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice. Learn more about Karlawish’s research, and read a post he wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

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