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‘Medicine and public health are not silos’

February 2, 2016

By Margie Coloian, MSJ

When pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD met with senior government officials weeks ago demanding action after she uncovered that water from the Flint River was poisoning children with lead, she gave them a deadline for alerting the public. That deadline was not met, and she held a press conference where she works, Hurley Medical Center, a large teaching hospital boasting a level II Pediatric Trauma Center. Flanked by hospital officials, who were clearly supportive, she told an anxious media and public of the health conditions that were affecting young patients and others, caused by water that was previously known to have corroded auto parts being washed at the nearby GM factory.

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‘How many of you expect to die?’ Joanne Lynn on the importance of honesty and agency in care for elders

January 6, 2016

By Kim DiGioia, MSPH

I first met Joanne Lynn, MD, Director of Altarum’s Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness at a conference a few years ago. Already aware of her impressive body of work and recently floored by her impassioned participation in a panel at the conference, I approached her to ask the secret to rallying audiences around a cause. Her response? “I usually ask them ‘How many of you expect to die?’”

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‘Cowboys,’ chemicals, and babies

December 15, 2015

By Margie Coloian, MSJ

Just when you think you’ve heard all there is on medical overuse, an article explodes on the front page of the New York Times last week chronicling the story of an 18-month old who had been prescribed an antipsychotic medication after he became violent. As if that one incident wasn’t bad enough, we learn that drugs like these given to babies aren’t all that uncommon. Last year there were 20,000 prescriptions for antipsychotics written for American children, ages 2—and younger. While these drugs are normally prescribed for adults, no published research exists regarding their effectiveness or potential harms in children so young.

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