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What We're Reading - February 27, 2015

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
February 27, 2015
A rundown of the articles and stories that caught our eye this month:

#BlackLivesMatter — A Challenge to the Medical and Public Health Communities
“Should health professionals be accountable not only for caring for individual black patients but also for fighting the racism — both institutional and interpersonal — that contributes to poor health in the first place? Should we work harder to ensure that black lives matter?

As New York City's health commissioner, I feel a strong moral and professional obligation to encourage critical dialogue and action on issues of racism and health.”
From Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H. in the New England Journal of Medicine, February 18, 2015

Lurie Children's CEO Calls on Rauner to Keep Coordinated Care for Kids
“As CEO of the state's largest children's hospital, Patrick Magoon said he will lead the effort to prevent any proposed cuts to specialized programs that help care for some of the country's sickest kids.

Funding for coordinated care entities, as such programs are known, is a small part of a proposed $1.47 billion cut to the state's Medicaid program, unveiled last week by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital runs a three-year pilot program to help families manage care of children with complex medical issues. Lurie has 1,700 patients but can enroll up to 5,000.”
Chicago Tribune, February 26, 2015

Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer
“Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.”
The New York Times, February 19, 2015

A Call to Action for End-of-Life Care of Older Adults in Nursing Homes
“End-of-life care for nursing home residents has long been associated with poor symptom control and low family satisfaction. With more than one in four older Americans dying in a nursing home -- including 70 percent of Americans with advanced dementia -- an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association calls for bold action to improve the care and support provided to dying nursing home patients and their families.”
Indiana University, February 19, 2015

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris Gets to the Heart of Children’s Stress
“As Dr. Nadine Burke Harris treated child after child, something told her she wasn’t getting the full picture. Most of her young patients at the Bayview Child Health Center were from the surrounding, predominantly African American neighborhood in southeastern San Francisco. Their home lives were largely plagued by poverty, domestic abuse and chaos, and later in life, many of them developed chronic illnesses. But were the two related?...

In 2011, Burke Harris left to become founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness in the Bayview, a clinic that also researches the effects of stressful situations on children’s health. Her work has earned her statewide and national recognition, which includes an appointment as an expert adviser on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s project to improve young children’s lives, the “Too Small to Fail” initiative.”
San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2015

Learn more: Click here to listen to Dr. Harris’s TEDMED talk, “How childhood stress affects health across a lifetime.”

Chicago Children At Risk of Going Hungry
The Social IMPACT Research Center, along with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, recently released new research on breakfasts in schools. Their report shows that only 36.3 percent of possible federally funded school breakfasts are served to eligible schoolchildren in school, meaning hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of going hungry in the classroom. Experts view school breakfast as a vital program for addressing food insecurity; however, Illinois leaves $90.4 million in federal funding on the table because schools do not serve breakfast.