Public health refers to social, cultural, economic, and geographic conditions that affect a population's well-being. To assist local, national, and international health agencies and organizations, RAND conducts research on public health issues including disaster preparedness and recovery; surveillance, prevention, and management of infectious disease outbreaks; screening for and prevention of chronic diseases; and ways to strengthen the public health infrastructure.
To identify the policies that will make a big fat dent in obesity rates, we first need an accurate diagnosis: Americans are overweight and obese because they are inundated with too much food. The use of impulse marketing strategies has skyrocketed, with invitations to indulge at every turn.
If it doesn't seem that state laws as currently written can help increase the number of health care workers vaccinated against influenza, then what can? There is evidence that imposing consequences for vaccination refusal, including the requirement to wear a surgical mask, can help.
There are times when no amount of care, however cutting-edge it is, will save a patient. In these instances, further critical care is said to be “futile.” This type of treatment is not uncommon in intensive care units, and that raises some uncomfortable questions.
Colleges should acknowledge their responsibility not to put their students — and my son — at risk for weight gain, obesity and the host of chronic diseases related to poor diets, writes Deborah Cohen. Students have to make their own food choices, but it's colleges who're setting the table.
It is likely that communities with low rates of non-urgent ED use not only have better access to primary care, but patients who are educated about appropriate care seeking and convenient alternatives for acute care, writes Lori Uscher-Pines.
Three mass-casualty events occurring in three very different settings show that disaster preparedness should not be limited to large cities or “target” areas in the United States. One trait that is common to all such events is the need for coordinated, responsive trauma care for victims.
Having dealt with outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu and other communicable diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and H1N1 swine flu in 2009, health officials are now far better prepared to detect new diseases early and react quickly to monitor and contain their spread.
Better understanding of how malaria reduction affects different households, regions, and economic sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa could allow policymakers to assess alternative intervention strategies and allocate resources more efficiently and effectively.
Although official after-action reports are still being compiled, it looks like Boston's first responders and hospitals delivered under difficult circumstances, writes Arthur Kellermann.
An ample body of evidence indicates that the benefits of keeping a gun for protection are substantially outweighed by the associated risks, writes Art Kellermann.
In this fiscally uncertain climate, we should continue to leverage the dual-use benefit of bioterrorism investments by building and maintaining those routine (but essential) public health capabilities that can also be used in response to a variety of public health emergencies.
Further study, including primary data collection in regions where extraction is occurring, will be important to track the magnitude of emissions and to insure that the DEP's permit requirements are adequate to protect human health and the environment, writes Aimee Curtright.
People who consume just one or two sugar-sweetened drinks a day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely drink these beverages, write Kristin Van Busum and Lauren Hunter.
Given the broad range of threats facing the United States, including those related to extreme weather, it is imperative that monies invested in enhancing health security be well spent, writes Shoshana Shelton.
Much of the talk has focused on how New York City's ban on sugary drinks, intended to curb obesity by improving dietary choices for consumers, will restrict individuals’ options. Of course, even after the ban, consumers can still buy a second soda. But they might want to take a moment to think about the consequences before doing so, writes Chloe Bird.
Given the recent spate of highly publicized disasters, why don't more Americans pay attention to the advice of public health officials? The messages they are getting are largely based on unverified assumptions, not hard evidence. Equally concerning, these assumptions may inadvertently hinder preparedness.
The $15 co-pay a mother is expected to cover represents half of a full week's food costs under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "thrifty" food plan for her 6-year-old, write Art Kellermann and Robin Weinick.
The fact that many ED (emergency department) visits could be managed in primary care settings does not mean that such care is available, write Arthur L. Kellermann and Robin M. Weinick.
To assure the health security of the United States, we must be capable of stopping anything a terrorist or Mother Nature might throw at us. Wholesale cuts to public health are taking us farther from that goal, write Art Kellermann and Melinda Moore.
In terms of healthcare use and chronic health conditions, obesity is comparable to aging 20 years, with the health of a 30 year old resembling that of a 50 year old, writes Roland Sturm.