Limited numbers of providers, cost of care, limited time, and limited mobility all reduce a person’s ability to access basic care. One way states have begun to address this issue is through scope of practice adjustments for pharmacists, granting those pharmacists with proper training the ability to become a provider themselves and prescribe certain drugs to certain patients that may otherwise be unable to obtain care.
On May 1, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made an announcement difficult to stomach: certain school nutrition standards implemented under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 would be scaled back. As American kids consume as much as half their daily calories at school, reforming school-provided meals can meaningfully impact childhood obesity, which affects over 12.7 million kids and adolescents in the United States.
Guided by a growing body of multidisciplinary research, policymakers are increasingly recognizing the role that adverse childhood experiences play in health and well-being, and are beginning to champion a burgeoning number of trauma-informed policy approaches across the nation.
Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. One often-overlooked issue in crash prevention is tire maintenance. A 2012 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 12 percent of crashes among inexperienced drivers were tire-related, while only 5 percent of crashes among experienced drivers were tire-related, suggesting that inexperienced drivers may lack knowledge about safe vehicle maintenance. Efforts to standardize and promote driver education across the country may be one way to address this issue.
Numerous public health practitioners and researchers have been assessing and monitoring the health effects of the changing climate. Two recently published books have the potential to help the public health sector continue to move from assessing climate interventions to implementing them as effective policy. Both books come at a critical time in the evolution of the public health response to climate change.
Community paramedicine is an emerging and rapidly evolving field that can help improve health care access in rural communities. Community paramedicine involves Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers operating in expanded roles in an effort to reach underserved populations, and can be particularly impactful in rural communities as a way to reach geographically-isolated areas.
Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines in August include disaster response and public health hazards in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, New York City’s strategy to reduce tobacco use, new powers for air quality officials in California, and improved access to health care through telemedicine in New Jersey and expanding the scope of practice for dental hygienists in Wisconsin.
Despite overwhelming research in support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended vaccination schedule, some physicians continue to advise patients against following the schedule, and some voice their criticism of vaccinations publicly. Such criticism can contribute to lower vaccination rates, which in turn increases the risk for the spread of vaccine preventable diseases. But policy options to address this issue are problematic.
In the U.S., 42.2 million people lack access to adequate food due to insufficient income or other resources. Food insecurity is associated with a wide range of health issues including depression, anxiety, behavioral problems in children, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, it’s estimated that between 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted. This waste, in turn, generates substantial greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. Tax incentives for food donations could be one policy approach to address these issues.
The opioid epidemic continues to escalate in its national repercussions. Against this backdrop, President Trump’s White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued its interim report on July 31, 2017.