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Public health undergrad’s study questions states’ Hep C policies

Soumitri BaruaSoumitri BaruaThough she's just 19, rising public health junior Soumitri Barua is the lead author of a study showing that most states in 2013 were rationing hepatitis C treatment against the recommendations of doctors and possibly against federal law. Dr. Lynn E. Taylor, her mentor, calls her efforts "stellar." Halfway through her undergraduate studies at Brown University and not quite done with her teens, Soumitri Barua is the lead author of a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that raises troubling questions about how states have responded to the hepatitis C epidemic. 

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(Distributed June 30, 2015)

Christopher Schmid appointed to FDA advisory committee

Christopher SchmidChristopher SchmidProfessor of biostatistics Christopher Schmid, has been appointed to serve on the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration. The Committee advises the Commissioner or designee in discharging responsibilities as they relate to helping to ensure safe and effective drugs for human use and, as required, any other product for which the Food and Drug Administration has regulatory responsibility. Schmid joins a roster of 13 voting members with an initial appointment of a four-years.

(Distributed June 30, 2015)

Brandon Marshall earns NIH award for study of drugs, HIV

Brandon MarshallBrandon MarshallBrown University epidemiologist Brandon Marshall is one of the first six scientists to earn a newly created award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He will use the funding, $1.5 million over five years, for an innovative study of injection drug use and its role in the spread of HIV.

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(Distributed June 26, 2015)

Brown faculty collaborate with Chinese researchers on air pollution

Tongzhang ZhengTongzhang ZhengEarlier this month, several faculty members from the Brown University School of Public Health attended the Brown-China Workshop on Epidemiology and Biostatistics held in Xi'an, China. During the week-long workshop, Brown faculty collaborated with scientists from the Chinese Institute of National Environmental Health Sciences and China’s National Cancer Center on issues relating to air pollution and human health.

(Distributed June 26, 2015)

Unexpected problems in 29 percent of low-risk pregnancies

TUESDAY, June 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Twenty-nine percent of pregnancies identified as low risk have unexpected complications necessitating nonroutine obstetric or neonatal care, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Valery A. Danilack, MPH, PhD, from the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, R.I., and colleagues reported the risk of unexpected maternal and newborn complications among pregnancies without identified prenatal risk factors using U.S. natality data from 2011 through 2013. 

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(Distributed June 10, 2015)

Medicare Advantage copays are high for hospital, nursing care

L-R: Vincent Mor, Laura Keohane, and Amal TrivediL-R: Vincent Mor, Laura Keohane, and Amal TrivediA new study of the out-of-pocket costs seniors face for a long hospital stay followed by skilled nursing care found that Medicare Advantage plan holders, even if they had incomes just above the poverty level, typically had copays hundreds of dollars greater than the hospital deductible under traditional Medicare. The findings follow federal efforts to limit out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Advantage plans.

"Policymakers are very concerned about how much Medicare beneficiaries need to spend for essential medical services," said Dr. Amal Trivedi, associate professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University and corresponding author of a new study in the June issue of the journal Health Affairs. "It's one of the goals of insurance — to protect people from large, catastrophic out-of-pocket expenses."

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(Distributed June 9, 2015)

Research published about unexpected complications of low-risk pregnancies

Dr. Maureen PhippsDr. Maureen PhippsWhen a woman becomes pregnant or is planning a pregnancy, one of her first decisions is where she will deliver her baby. With options ranging from birthing centers to small community hospitals to regional health networks to academic medical centers, the decision can be confusing. The question, especially for a woman with a low-risk pregnancy, is "What is the likelihood that something could go wrong?" 

(Distributed June 8, 2015)

Treating prisoners with methadone can reduce drug use, addiction, and crime

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Rhode Island is in the midst of an overdose epidemic. Dr. Josiah Rich, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brown, believes part of the solution is looking at inmates who have been arrested for abusing narcotics and ensuring them treatment while they are incarcerated. Dr. Rich spoke to NBC 10 news about his research on treating prison imates with methadone rather than letting them fall back into addiction.

(Distributed June 1, 2015)

Amy Nunn weighs in on the new STD epidemic fueled by social media

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As social media apps like Tinder become more common, though, the Rhode Island Department of Health says rates of STDs have also risen. Numbers released this week are in line with national trends. Rhode Island saw an increase in STD cases from 2013 to 2014. Syphilis cases increased by 79 percent, with gonorrhea cases up by 30 percent and HIV cases up by nearly a third. The Department of Health says high-risk behaviors, including hookup apps, have contributed by encouraging high-risk, casual behavior.

(Distributed May 29, 2015)

Inmates cut off methadone less likely to seek it after release

Dr. Josiah RichDr. Josiah RichWhen people on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) are incarcerated in the United States, they are almost always forced off of the addiction-controlling medicine. In a randomized trial led by researchers at Brown University and The Miriam Hospital, inmates allowed to stay on MMT while in jail proved much more likely to seek treatment after release than those whose treatment was interrupted. The lead author of the study was Dr. Josiah Rich, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brown University and director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital.

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(Distributed May 29, 2015)
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