This is Public Health

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If you need more incentive to exercise more and eat better, consider the results of two comprehensive new studies that found that an active and healthy lifestyle may be critical in helping to keep the brain healthy in old age. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, keeping weight down, not smoking and moderating alcohol consumption were all linked to a lower risk of dementia. And in those with dementia, exercise improved memory and helped people stay independent longer, a rigorous review of past studies found.

Click here to read more.

Get Out Ahead

April 9th, 2014

Health IT

Prevention is now a nationwide priority, and as the public health system evolves, there are more options than ever when it comes to preventive health measures.  Public health and clinical health professionals must work collaboratively to help individuals identify and pursue the best preventative health options.

Read more about today’s National Public Health Week theme: Get Out Ahead.

flu-shot

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have devised a flu predictor that could pinpoint peak cases as much as nine weeks early.

That could help to contain the yearly flood of influenza cases, which stretch from December to April and can surge unpredictably. Knowing when specific cities or regions might be hit especially hard could help people to be more vigilant about washing their hands, as well as allow doctors and public health officials to stockpile vaccines and other flu remedies.

Click here to read the full story from Time and to check out the Forecaster for yourself.

LPHI Color (high resolution)

The Louisiana Clinical Data Research Network (LACDRN) was recently approved for a funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to develop and expand a health data network that will be part of PCORnet: the National Patient-Centered National Clinical Research Network. The LACDRN is one of 29 such networks that were approved nation-wide for a total of approximately $93.5 million from PCORI on Dec. 17, 2013, to form this new national resource that aims to boost the efficiency of health research.

The LACDRN is a partnership between the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and Tulane University. This project, including its requested budget of $6.9 million, is approved subject to a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and the negotiation of a formal award contract. During the next 18 months, this collaborative partnership will work together to build an infrastructure for clinical research that may benefit millions of patients in Louisiana. Additionally, the team will advance the capacity to conduct efficient clinical research on two highly prevalent health conditions, obesity and diabetes, along with multiple associated comorbidities, sickle cell disease, and some rare cancers.

“We are thrilled to receive this PCORI award,” said Dr. Anjum Khurshid, Principal Investigator and Director of Health Systems at LPHI. “The LACDRN is a unique collaboration between a top-level research center (Pennington Biomedical), an academic institution of great repute (Tulane) and an established, community-based public health institute (LPHI). The infrastructure investments in IT in this region and the strong relationships with our community partners provide an unprecedented opportunity to involve patients, clinicians and researchers in meaningful clinical research. Not only does the LACDRN promise to bring opportunities for funding clinical research in our state, it also opens numerous opportunities for economic development, entrepreneurship, and job creation in this region and puts Louisiana and New Orleans on the map of major players in biomedical and translational medical research.”

Click here to read the full story.

Medical record

In response to growing local and national interest in health system performance improvement, two New Orleans-based public health organizations, the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) and Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM), recently partnered to launch the Health Systems Analytics Research Center (HSARC).

As the first center of its kind in the region, HSARC will focus on improving health system performance and efficiency through systematic analysis of health data related to human, technological, and social factors affecting health outcomes. Sample projects HSARC will be involved with include analysis of frequent use of emergency departments using Health Information Exchange (HIE) data, examination of pharmacy data to study the effects of medication on patient health outcomes, and the study of how medical homes impact quality of clinical care.

Click here to read the full story.

Medical record

Residents of Louisiana and other Delta states face significant health challenges, particularly with obesity and diabetes, according to new data compiled by the Delta Regional Authority.

The authority recently introduced an online tool that allows residents and public health leaders to track regional health data to develop health solutions for the region served by the authority — Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missuori and Tennessee.

The authority’s Healthy Delta Research Database provides reports of health and other major community indicators broken down by state and parish or county.

Click here to find out more.

The Times-Picayune recently published an intriguing article about high rates of depression among New Orleans middle-school students. The correlation between the youth ad their exposure to the high rates of violence in the city is hard to miss.

Check out the article below or click here to read the full story on NOLA.com.

“New Orleans middle-school students cite symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress at much higher rates than typical teenagers, according to data based on interviews collected by a local non-profit organization. Perhaps not surprising in a city with the highest murder rate in the country, the interviews conducted by the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies also showed the New Orleans children had elevated rates of witnessing violence and feeling concerned about their safety.

The screenings were part of a federally funded teen pregnancy prevention program the IWES has run in schools and churches since 2010. As part of the program, the group’s team interviewed children for over a year beginning in the summer of 2011 about their mental health, asking specific questions to figure out what could be contributing to their problems. . . .”

April is STD Awareness Month

April 10th, 2013

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Every year sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cost the U.S. health care system $17 billion—and cost individuals even more in immediate and long-term health consequences. April is STD Awareness month, an annual observance to call attention to the impact of STDs and promote STD testing across the United States.

A new campaign targeted at Baton Rouge youth is helping to raise awareness about getting tested in Louisiana about these startling statistics. Check it out online here, or on Facebook for more information.

To read the CDC’s full story, click here.

Louisiana Map

The Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) and BioDistrict New Orleans recently signed a MOU highlighting a new partnership designed to promote New Orleans as a hub for healthcare innovation.

The healthcare and biosciences industries are rapidly growing in New Orleans, which Dr. James A. Richardson, John Rhea Alumni Professor of Economics and director of the E. J. Ourso College of Business, has estimated to generate 34,000 new or retained jobs and $24 billion in economic activity over the next 20 years. By working together, along with their respective partners, the organizations will strive to improve population health outcomes, accelerate economic growth and employee/labor productivity, provide broader access to quality healthcare, and increase research funding for area Universities through educational training and workforce development opportunities.

Click here to read the full story.

Household cleaning products may contain toxic substances linked to health problems such as asthma, allergic reactions, and cancer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The environmental group rated more than 2,000 household cleaners — from laundry soaps and stain removers to bathroom cleaners and floor care products. Products are graded A to F based on the safety of the ingredients and how well the maker discloses those ingredients.

Read the full article here.