March 2007 RAND Health Newsletter

The RAND Health Newsletter is a monthly update that features recent research from RAND Health.


Contents of March 2007 RAND Health newsletter:

  1. Mental Health Courts Have the Potential to Save Taxpayers Money
  2. The False Hope of Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast Cancer
  3. To reduce HIV infection, programs that decriminalize syringe exchange need to be paired with provisions for decriminalizing syringe possession
  4. Survivors of violent facial injuries are often receptive to psychosocial aftercare
  5. Daily smoking patterns are related to environmental smoking restrictions
  6. Opportunities to participate in high school extracurricular sports are limited
  7. Birth pain may be under-treated in black and Hispanic patients
  8. Nursing homes will benefit by addressing resident safety issues
  9. March RAND Health Congressional Newsletter
  10. Recent research highlights and fact sheets from RAND Health

  1. Mental Health Courts Have the Potential to Save Taxpayers Money

    Special courts that sentence people with mental illness who are convicted of misdemeanors and low-level felonies to treatment instead of jail have the potential to save taxpayers money.
  2. Citation: Ridgely SM, Engberg J, Greenberg MD, Turner S, DeMartini C, Dembosky JW. Justice, Treatment, and Cost: An Evaluation of the Fiscal Impact of Allegheny County Mental Health Court, RAND Corporation, TR-439, 2007.
  3. The False Hope of Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast Cancer

    Clinical use of high-dose chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow transplantation was propelled by numerous factors—patient demand, physician enthusiasm, media reporting, litigation, and administrative mandates—despite a lack of proven clinical effectiveness. This book details the evolution of this false hope and addresses the story's significance for our health care system.
  4. Citation: Rettig R, Jacobson P, Farquhar CM, Aubry WM. False Hope: Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast Cancer, RAND Corporation, CB-406, 2006.
  5. To reduce HIV infection, programs that decriminalize syringe exchange need to be paired with provisions for decriminalizing syringe possession

    Syringe exchange programs are legal in many California counties. However, possession of drug paraphernalia, such as the new needles distributed by such programs, remains illegal. Legislative efforts to legalize syringe exchange programs without concurrent efforts to do the same for syringe possession HAVE potentially serious health implications for intravenous drug users and the OVERALL goal of reducing HIV/HCV infections.
  6. Citation: Martinez AN, Bluthenthal RN, Lorvick J, Anderson R, Flynn NM, Kral AH. The Impact of Legalizing Syringe Exchange Programs on Arrest among Injection Drug Users in California, Journal of Urban Health, [Epub Jan 30 2007].
  7. Survivors of violent facial injuries are often receptive to psychosocial aftercare

    A substantial portion of survivors of violent facial injuries were interested in counseling and aftercare services, but encountered barriers such as cost, transportation, and insufficient information. Participants in this study were interviewed at a hospital-based specialty outpatient clinic one month after the injury. The majority met criteria for alcohol use disorder, major depression, or post traumatic stress disorder.
  8. Citation: Wong EC, Marshall GN, Shetty V, Zhou A, Belzberg H, Yamashita DD. Survivors of Violence–Related Facial Injury: Psychiatric Needs and Barriers to Mental Health Care, General Hospital Psychiatry, Vol. 29, No. 2, March-April 2007, pp. 117-122.
  9. Daily smoking patterns are related to environmental smoking restrictions

    Smoking behavior can be characterized by regular patterns of smoking frequency throughout the day. In this two-week study, 351 smokers monitored and reported their smoking in real time. The authors examined the daily patterns of smoking in relation to environmental restrictions on smoking and cessation outcomes.
  10. Citation: Chandra S, Scharf D, Shiffman S, Dang Q, Shadel WG. Daily Smoking Patterns, Their Determinants, and Implications for Quitting, Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Vol. 15, No. 1, Feb 2007, pp. 67-80.
  11. Opportunities to participate in high school extracurricular sports are limited

    A survey of Los Angeles County public high schools revealed that no more than 31% of students participated in school sports programs. Schools offering fewer sports programs had lower rates of participation. Taking into account demographic differences, schools with more extracurricular sports had lower juvenile arrest rates and teen birth rates.
  12. Citation: Cohen DA, Taylor SL, Zonta M, Vestal KD, Schuster MA. Availability of High School Extracurricular Sports Programs and High–Risk Behaviors, Journal of School Health, Vol. 77, No. 2, Feb 2007, pp. 80-86.
  13. Birth pain may be under-treated in black and Hispanic patients

    Hispanic and black women were less likely than white women to receive epidural analgesia, regardless of socioeconomic status, provider practice, and insurance coverage, according to a retrospective cohort study that included over 81,000 women admitted for childbirth between 1998 and 2003.
  14. Citation: Glance LG, Wissler R, Glantz C, Osler TM, Mukamel DB, Dick AW. Racial Differences in the Use of Epidural Analgesia for Labor, Anesthesiology, Vol. 106, No. 1, Jan 2007, pp. 19-25.
  15. Nursing homes will benefit by addressing resident safety issues

    Substantial interest in patient safety initiatives in health care has sparked development of well-defined safety cultures in hospitals, but this trend has not yet reached nursing homes. In a nationally representative sample of over 2,800 nursing homes, researchers found that their safety culture was less developed than that found in hospitals.
  16. Citation: Castle NG, Handler S, Engberg J, Sonon K. Nursing Home Administrators' Opinions of the Resident Safety Culture in Nursing Homes, Health Care Management Review, Vol. 32, No. 1, Jan/March 2007, pp. 66-76.
  17. March RAND Health Congressional Newsletter

    The March newsletter reports that many California hospitals are unprepared for a major earthquake. There are also recent findings that the quality of medical care provided to person with a chronic illness affects daily quality of life and that many gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens do not discuss their sexual orientation with their doctors.
  18. Recent research highlights and fact sheets from RAND Health



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