Vital Record » Public Health http://news.tamhsc.edu Your source for health news from the Texas A&M Health Science Center Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:17:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Team approach to surgery improves quality of care while reducing cost http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=team-approach-to-surgery-improves-quality-of-care-while-reducing-cost http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=team-approach-to-surgery-improves-quality-of-care-while-reducing-cost#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 21:32:25 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22602 By merely reducing unnecessary preoperative tests, the cost of surgery could be reduced by $112 per case according to a new study published by Bita Kash, Ph.D., M.B.A., ]]>
Bita A. Kash, Ph.D., M.B.A., FACHE

Bita A. Kash, Ph.D., M.B.A., FACHE

By merely reducing unnecessary preoperative tests, the cost of surgery could be reduced by $112 per case according to a new study published by Bita Kash, Ph.D., M.B.A., FACHE, associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health and Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT).

The study, published in the top-ranked health policy journal Milbank Quarterly, was the first large-scale literature review of an approach to surgical care known as the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH).

A PSH is a patient-centered, team-based model of coordinated care in which a patient’s entire surgical experience from preoperative to post-discharge is fully coordinated and treated as one continuum of care. The physician-led, multi-specialty team model uses resources in a cost-efficient manner and strives to increase quality of care by key activities such as reducing unnecessary preoperative tests, increasing preoperative patient education, and ensuring safe and effective transitions post-operation to home or rehabilitation.

Kash led a team of researchers in a review of more than 150 peer-reviewed studies published between 1980 and 2013, and compared PSH models in the United States and other countries in regards to clinical outcomes, efficiencies and costs of surgery.

The analysis revealed that the majority of studies (82 percent in both preoperative and intraoperative studies and 90 percent in postoperative studies) showed a significant positive impact on clinical outcomes and reduced costs. This was typically accomplished through preoperative patient education, reduction of unnecessary testing, real-time patient-routing systems, and enhanced recovery programs that encourage quicker recovery and earlier discharges.

“Whether in the United States or overseas, the review found that the PSH model of care is highly effective at reducing cancellations and surgical delays, lowering complication rates and readmissions and shortening hospital stays,” said Thomas Miller, Ph.D., M.B.A., coauthor of the review and director of health policy research at the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Kash emphasizes that this study substantiates just how effective the PSH is at reducing cost and increasing quality of surgical procedures and may have significant implications for policymakers, payers, administrators, clinicians and patients.

“The potential for policy-relevant cost savings and quality improvement is apparent across the perioperative continuum of care, especially for integrated care organizations, bundled payment and value-based purchasing,” Kash said. “Accordingly, the PSH may represent the beginning of a long, collaborative journey for many physicians and health systems.”

Additional researchers from the Texas A&M School of Public Health were Yichen Zhang, Kayla Cline and Terri Menser.

Story contributed by Rae Lynn Mitchell

 

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Q&A: Are smartphones a pain in the neck, literally? http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=qa-are-smartphones-a-pain-in-the-neck-literally http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=qa-are-smartphones-a-pain-in-the-neck-literally#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:50:30 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22544 While modern technology has many benefits, it can also cause some serious health issues. Bending your head to look at your smartphone puts lots of extra stress on your spine and can result in permanent harm. We sat down with Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, to find out more about the growing “text neck” epidemic]]>
Infographic displaying the different weights place on necks when the head is tilted

A recent study found that when our heads are tilted forward by 60 degrees, it’s equal to 60 pounds weighing down on the spine.

Are your thumbs your most-used appendages? Do you spend hours hunched over your phone, sending texts, answering work emails and browsing social media sites? While modern technology has many benefits, it can also cause some serious health issues. Bending your head to look at your smartphone puts lots of extra stress on your spine and can result in permanent harm. We sat down with Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, who has conducted extensive research in the field of ergonomics, to find out more about the growing “text neck” epidemic.

Q: What is “text neck”?

A: “Text neck” is the term used to describe the overuse and fatigue of the neck muscles caused by the posture we adopt as we stare at our phones. Our heads weigh around 10-12 pounds in a neutral, upright position; however, as the head tilts forward to look down at a phone, the force that is acting on the neck muscles and vertebrae nearly doubles that amount. A recent study even found that when our heads are tilted forward by 60 degrees, it’s equal to 60 pounds weighing down on the spine.

Q: Are there any long-term, or permanent effects of “text neck”?

A: While the head is angled forward, the ligaments and tendons in the neck and back become overstretched. This overexertion can lead to an inflammation of the muscles and can cause mild to severe neck and back pain.

There are increasing reports of “text neck” causing lower back pain, which is often chronic. Other, more severe, side effects can include herniated disks in the spine, which may require surgery. And the problem is even more profound in young adults, who spend more time with their heads buried in phones.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: The typical complaints from individuals with “text neck” are sore necks, shoulders, and upper and lower backs. Some people also get headaches from spending too many hours bent over their phone.

Q: Are there ways to avoid “text neck”?

A: The main way to prevent or alleviate neck pain caused by looking down is to be more cognizant of your posture. Being aware of how long you’ve been looking down can help you make more of an effort to correct you posture.

There’s a saying in ergonomics: “Your best posture is your next posture” Movement is key. Continuously moving and changing your posture can help avoid overuse injuries like “text neck.”

Now this doesn’t mean that you have to bring your smartphone up to eye level to see the device, just remember to look up every once in a while. Breaks are important; particularly to help overstretched muscles and connective tissues recover.

There are apps you can use that record your device usage, which allow you to see how long you’ve spent on your phone. More importantly, there are interactive apps that remind you of excess screen time, some of which even have sensors—for example, Lumolift—that vibrate when you adopt poor posture.

Technology is a boon to society, but anything in excess can have negative health effects. In the end, continue to enjoy technology – just keep your head up.

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Aggie takes rural health care reform to the nation’s capital http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=aggie-takes-rural-health-care-reform-to-the-nations-capital http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=aggie-takes-rural-health-care-reform-to-the-nations-capital#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:52:17 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22220 Over the past 12 years, Amy Elizondo, M.P.H. has worked tirelessly with numerous government and nonprofit organizations to increase health care training, raise awareness of rural health issues and improve access to care for individuals living in rural America]]>
Amy Elizondo

Amy Elizondo

Since most Texas counties are rural, many Aggies have experienced firsthand the health care obstacles facing residents of rural communities. Often, students seek an education in public health so that they might one day have an impact on the quality of life and health care available to residents in the rural places they call home.

As a native of south Texas, Amy Elizondo, M.P.H, a graduate and board member of the alumni association of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, has always had a passion for rural health care and sought to find ways of impacting rural and underserved communities in a positive way. Over the past 12 years, she has worked tirelessly with numerous government and nonprofit organizations to increase health care training, raise awareness of rural health issues and improve access to care for individuals living in rural America.

“My education at the Texas A&M School of Public Health provided me with a solid foundation in public health and health services practices, allowing me to set my sights on a national scope of work that I never could have imagined,” Elizondo said. “I was fortunate enough to be guided by professors who were instrumental in steering me toward the possibility of working on a national level, and the encouragement continues even today.”

Following graduation in 2002, Elizondo went to Washington, D.C., to complete an internship with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. She managed to pack all of her belongings into her 1998 Ford Escort for the long journey to the nation’s capital.

“Having never been to Washington, D.C., this trip was my introduction into what has been one of the biggest adventures of my life,” Elizondo said.

Soon after completing her internship, Elizondo took a position serving as the primary legislative analyst for rural health care and post-acute care issues at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of Legislation. She would later serve as a special assistant to the director of the Medicare outreach team, working with stakeholder groups during the implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

During her time at the CMS, Elizondo had the opportunity to work on the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, a historic time in health care history. The experience also afforded her a front-row seat into how policy programs come to fruition and how they impact those working on the frontlines of health care.

Elizondo at the White House following a meeting.

Elizondo at the White House following a meeting.

“My experiences at CMS allowed me to continue to focus on rural health care while providing a bird’s-eye view of the regulatory and legislative world of health policy,” Elizondo said.

In 2006, she joined the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), a nonprofit membership organization with a mission to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. As the vice president of program services for the NRHA, Elizondo oversees numerous grant programs and initiatives. One such program is the Border Health Initiative, which addresses policy issues impacting rural areas along the border and highlights best practices in those communities.

“An important part of the Border Health Initiative has been the development of a National Rural Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Network, which has helped bring education and networking opportunities for CHWs practicing in rural areas of the country.”

Another initiative Elizondo helps implement is the Rural Training Track (RTT) Technical Assistance Demonstration Program as part of a national strategy in training physicians for rural practice. Funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the program assists RTTs whereby medical residents complete training the first year in an urban setting and in rural settings the next two years with hopes they will be encouraged to practice primary care in rural areas.

“It has been an honor to work with rural and underserved areas across the country through my work at NRHA,” Elizondo said. “Washington, D.C., may currently be home, but it is through this work that I hope to make a positive impact for places such as my forever home in Mercedes, Texas, where my family still resides. I will forever be grateful for both the education and encouragement I received from the faculty at the School of Public Health to pursue this opportunity.”

 

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Texas A&M’s new environmental research center awards stimulating research at Texas A&M and across the Texas Medical Center http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=texas-ams-new-environmental-research-center-awards-stimulating-research-at-texas-am-and-across-the-texas-medical-center http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=texas-ams-new-environmental-research-center-awards-stimulating-research-at-texas-am-and-across-the-texas-medical-center#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 22:33:16 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22161 The Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR), headquartered at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute for Biosciences and Technology in Houston, has awarded its first five pilot program grants]]>

The Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR), headquartered at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute for Biosciences and Technology in Houston, has awarded its first five pilot program grants, each intended to fund “high-risk, high-reward” science to better understand the effects of the environment on human health – with most recipients also receiving matching funds from their own organizations.

Researchers in lab

The Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR) awarded its first five pilot program grants to researchers across The Texas A&M University System and University of Houston.

Named by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in April as the newest National Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Science, the CTEHR – a cross-institutional initiative which includes collaborators from across The Texas A&M University System, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston – serves as the cornerstone for integrated environmental health research, translation of research advances into practice and community outreach and engagement aimed at improving human health.

As an integral component of the CTEHR, the Pilot Project Program is designed to enhance the overall mission of the center by advancing and promoting early-stage environmental health research, the hardest to fund via traditional funding sources, but the most important for launching “high-risk, high-reward” science.

Administered by Drs. Stephen Safe and Ben Morpurgo of Texas A&M University and Agrilife Research, the Pilot Project Program was cited as one of the strengths of CTEHR at the time the Center received it’s designation from the NIH, and is continuing into its third year under the leadership of Drs. Safe and Morpurgo.

Texas A&M researchers receiving CTEHR pilot program grants include Clinton D. Allred, associate professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science; Leslie Cizmas, assistant professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health; Gerard L. Cote, department head, Biomedical Engineering and the Charles H. & Bettye Barclay Professor of Biomedical Engineering; and, receiving a joint grant, Robin Fuchs-Young, professor, College of Medicine and Mick Deutz, director of the Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity. Funding was also awarded to Maria Bondesson Bolin, research assistant professor in the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling at the University of Houston.

Allred, along with co-principal investigator Arul Jayaraman, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, will receive a $25,000 grant to support their project titled, “The role of estrogenic compounds and their metabolites in colonic inflammation” which will be matched by the College of Engineering and Department of Nutrition and Food Science for a total project budget of $50,000.

Cizmas’ project, “A multi-step approach to assessing the toxicity of drinking water disinfection by­ products following chlorination, chloramination or a novel fen·ate disinfection process,” will receive $25,000 from CTEHR to support this research and Virender Sharma, interim department head of the Texas A&M School of Public Health Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, has committed $25,789 in matching funds.

Cote’s project, “Blood-based point-of-care system to measure radiation exposure using citrulline as a biomarker,” has a total budget of $50,000. CTEHR will provide $25,000 to support this research and Dr. Costas Georghiades has committed $25,000 in matching funds from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station/College of Engineering.

Fuchs-Young and Deutz applied jointly for their project, “A quantifiable biological endpoint to assess the impact of an educational intervention on control of childhood asthma in the Rio Grande Valley.” CTEHR will provide $25,000 to support this research and the College of Medicine and Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine has committed matching funds to support the total project budget of $50,000.

Bondesson Bolin will receive $25,000 to support her project titled “Modes of action of vascular disrupting compounds” and the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling has committed matching funds, to total $50,000.

As pilot project award recipients and center members, all grant recipients will also have access to the center’s facility cores and qualify for subsidies to further leverage their research

“Through a unique team science approach, members of the CTEHR are unlocking the mysteries of environmental health through new discoveries aimed at improving human health,” said Cheryl Lyn Walker, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology and director of the CTEHR. “The center aims to accelerate innovative scientific discoveries and move them from bench-to-bedside, across translational boundaries, and from the laboratory to the clinic and ultimately to communities to improve human environmental health.”

One of only 21 centers of excellence in the country, the CTEHR is poised to lead the state and nation in better understanding the effects of the environment on human health. The center’s members are focused on translating research advances in environmental causes of disease to improve detection, prevention and management of diseases induced or worsened by environmental exposures.

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MHA students receive national recognition for social media research http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=mha-students-receive-national-recognition-for-social-media-research http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=mha-students-receive-national-recognition-for-social-media-research#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:06:16 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22126 Four Master of Health Administration students of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health received national recognition for their research on the use of social media by health care organizations to engage current and potential breast cancer patients]]>
Candi Young, Rachel Johnson, Taylor Huffman, Tiffany Kung

Candi Young, Rachel Johnson, Taylor Huffman, Tiffany Kung

Four Master of Health Administration students of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health received national recognition for their research on the use of social media by health care organizations to engage current and potential breast cancer patients.

Their research paper entitled, “Breast Cancer and Social Media” was selected as runner-up in the graduate student category of the American Academy of Medical Administrators (AAMA) competition. Authors Candi Young, Rachel Johnson, Taylor Huffman and Tiffany Kung have been invited to present their research during the award ceremony at the upcoming AAMA National Summit in Clearwater, Florida on January 19, 2015.

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Touch-screen diabetes education kiosk proves successful in low-income clinics http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=touch-screen-diabetes-education-kiosk-proves-successful-in-low-income-clinics http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=touch-screen-diabetes-education-kiosk-proves-successful-in-low-income-clinics#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 21:41:20 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22107 The touch-screen diabetes education kiosk (Diosk©) has shown to be a potentially valuable tool for diabetes prevention and management. Additional strategies to improve the utilization of the Diosk is the subject of an article published in this month’s Diabetes Spectrum Journal]]>
Screenshot of Diosk Menu

Patients found the Diosk to be very effective at providing useful, easy to understand information on diabetes.

The touch-screen diabetes education kiosk (Diosk©), developed by faculty at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, has shown to be a potentially valuable tool for diabetes prevention and management. Additional strategies to improve the utilization of the Diosk is the subject of an article published in this month’s Diabetes Spectrum Journal.

Diosk developers Regents and Distinguished Professor Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Jane Bolin, B.S.N., J.D., Ph.D., professor and interim department head of Health Policy and Management, examined the implementation process of the Diosk in a family medicine clinic. “The Implementation of a Diabetes Education Kiosk in a Low-Income Clinical Setting: A Community Implementation Process” provides the results of the three-month study.

“The Diosk is a form of interactive behavior change technology designed to encourage healthy behavior changes,” Ory said. “The Diosk is a bilingual, Spanish and English touch-screen computer education program that works by motivating patients to be more independent and improve their self-management on their own without consuming sparse time from health care providers.”

Jane Bolin, B.S.N., J.D., Ph.D.

Jane Bolin, B.S.N., J.D., Ph.D.

The study showed that overall, patients found the Diosk to be very effective at providing useful, easy to understand information on diabetes and step-by-step guidance on diet and exercise suggestions.

“The intent of this study was to focus on strategies for improving the implementation of interactive behavior change technology, which have shown promise in impacting behavioral change,” Bolin said.

Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Ory emphasizes “To enhance successful implementation of the Diosk in the future, it is important to clearly define the needs of the community, provide clinic-wide training to clinicians and staff, and designate an on-site advocate to promote the use of the Diosk to patients.”

Ory and Bolin conclude that with the use of the Diosk and other emerging technologies, clinicians can provide patients with necessary health resources and education without them incurring the extra cost of an appointment.

Co-author of the article is Araceli Lopez-Arenas, doctoral student at Texas A&M University and graduate of the Texas A&M School of Public Health.

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Combating adolescent smoking in Texas: Tobacco cessation program harnesses participant interaction to teach teens to quit http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=combating-adolescent-smoking-in-texas-tobacco-cessation-program-harnesses-participant-interaction-to-teach-teens-to-quit http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=combating-adolescent-smoking-in-texas-tobacco-cessation-program-harnesses-participant-interaction-to-teach-teens-to-quit#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 22:02:37 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22091 Brian Colwell, Ph.D. and his research partners at the University of Houston and the University of Texas develop an intervention used in virtually every Texas county over the past decade targeting tobacco cessation among adolescents]]>
The program helps adolescents understand their own motivations for using tobacco.

The program helps adolescents understand their own motivations for using tobacco.

Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years old smoke their first cigarette with little thought to the long-term health impacts. If smoking persists at the current rate among this age group, 5.6 million of today’s Americans are projected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.

Brian Colwell, Ph.D., professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, is passionate about helping young people quit using tobacco. He and research partners at the University of Houston and the University of Texas have developed an intervention used in virtually every Texas county over the past decade targeting tobacco cessation among adolescents.

Colwell and his partners Drs. Dennis Smith and Stacey Stevens-Manser developed the Texas Youth Tobacco Awareness Program (TYTAP) based on the need for resources to support adolescents in their attempts to quit smoking that were based on teens’ life situations, level of cognitive maturity, and motivations for initiation, maintenance and cessation of tobacco use. Originally designed as a voluntary program, the curriculum was modified to accommodate a Texas law passed in 1997 that required youth caught in possession of tobacco products to complete a mandatory tobacco awareness program.

“The program uses a cognitive-behavioral approach and incorporates motivational techniques designed to encourage youth to reconsider their current tobacco use behaviors,” Colwell said. “It is designed so that ‘preaching’ by a program facilitator is nearly impossible, with a variety of activities that require participant input rather than simple lectures from an instructor.”

Brian Colwell, Ph.D.

Brian Colwell, Ph.D.

The focus is on understanding their own motivations for using tobacco, the cues that tell them to use tobacco in their environment, how to manage moods in situations where they might normally use tobacco and ways to quit.

“So many young people think they are going to live forever and know little of the health consequences of tobacco use,” Eric Wallace, coordinator of intervention programs for Amarillo College. “Having taught Dr. Colwell’s program for 10 years to hundreds of adolescents, I have seen first-hand the benefits of the program.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) does as well, having awarded Colwell yearly contracts since 2003. The program has been successfully conducted throughout the state not only in public schools, but also by local and regional councils on substance abuse and by mental health/counseling professionals. Self-reports from youth who have completed the program indicate that approximately 40 percent indicate they quit using tobacco at three months post-intervention and 30 percent at six months.

“Most are not addicted yet, and getting information to them that they would not otherwise have before they are addicted is critical,” Wallace said.

Recently, Colwell’s focus turned to tobacco cessation programs for college students working in collaboration with researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on the National Cancer Institute funded, “Enhanced Smoking Cessation for University Students (SUCCESS).”

According to Colwell, working with college students has some similarities with the youth work, but there are major differences as well. The environment in which college students live is very different than home, with different stressors and environmental cues to use substances. Additionally, tobacco is a legal product for them. This makes addressing the issue much different.

“We always try to leave folks – regardless of their age – with the thought that quitting today is easier than it will be tomorrow, so every day you delay makes it just a bit more difficult,” Colwell said. “But in the end, everybody can quit if they want to do so.”

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Taking an active role in your health: How to communicate with your health care provider http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=taking-an-active-role-in-your-health-how-to-communicate-with-your-health-care-provider http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=taking-an-active-role-in-your-health-how-to-communicate-with-your-health-care-provider#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:47:01 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22068 With any relationship, communication is key—and the relationship with your health care provider is no exception to this golden rule. Understanding and becoming involved with your own health and treatment plan starts with talking to your health care provider. There are several helpful tips you can use to become more involved with your overall health]]>
Physician communicating with patient with the help of a tablet.

Asking questions is the first step towards taking a more active role in your treatment and health.

With any relationship, communication is key—and the relationship with your health care provider is no exception to this golden rule. Understanding and becoming involved with your own health and treatment plan starts with talking to your health care provider.

“Recently, there has been more emphasis placed on collaboration between patients and their health care providers,” said Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., regents and distinguished professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, who researches patient-provider interactions and their impact on health outcomes.

But maybe you’re unsure how to open that channel of communication with your primary care physician at your next appointment. To help you understand where to start, Ory offers several helpful tips you can use to become more involved with your overall health:

Make a list

“People often make an appointment when they are worried about something. By making a list of concerns to focus on beforehand, patients can make the appointment go more smoothly and will be able to remember everything they wanted to discuss,” Ory said.

Your appointment is your time to focus on the problems that concern you. Making a list can help keep you on track during the appointment. Ory also suggests that you prioritize the items on your list to make sure that you address the most important aspects first.

Track the duration and severity of symptoms

If you find that your symptoms are worse at a certain period of the day or after an activity such as eating or exercising, sharing that information will help your health care provider better diagnose and care for you. “It’s also important monitor how long your symptoms last,” Ory suggested.

In the event that you think your medication is causing your problems, bring it up with your physician before deciding to stop taking it.

Have an updated medication list

“It’s always important to have an updated list of medications,” Ory said. “Especially, if you have multiple health providers.”

Having and sharing a list can help ensure that all of your providers are aware of what medications you take. This allows physicians to screen for any potential interactions that may be causing your symptoms.

There are many medication forms available for use, but here are a few things you should be sure to include:

  • Generic and brand name of the medication
  • Dosage
  • Instructions for use (e.g. three times a day with food, once in the morning, etc.)
  • Date you started the medication
  • Date you stopped the medication (if applicable)
  • The reason for the medication

Your medication list shouldn’t just include prescribed medications, be sure to list any over the counter drugs or supplements you use.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions—even uncomfortable ones

“Trust is always incredibly important in patient-provider relationships,” Ory stated. You should be comfortable asking questions about anything that concerns you or that you don’t completely understand. Never be embarrassed to ask for clarification on a subject—it’s important to have a complete understanding of your health and any wellness plans your physician suggests.

If you have concerns or questions about an uncomfortable topic, but don’t know how to broach the subject, Ory suggests that you rely on a family member or friend for help. Whether it’s just rehearsing what you want to say or asking a friend in a similar situation to accompany you, family and friends can be a great support system. The crucial thing is to make yourself comfortable with asking your care provider for help, and to always be honest with your answers. Asking questions is often the first step towards taking a more active role in your treatment and health.

It’s important to remember that your health and treatment plan should be a collaborative effort. “Discussions about a patient’s health are a two-way street,” Ory advised. “Patients need to be able to speak about their problems freely and physicians and other health care providers address their concerns and develop a treatment plan with the patients’ help. Collaborative plans are more likely to be followed and better health outcomes achieved.”

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Mehta receives NIOSH grant to revise endurance prediction model for the changing U.S. workforce http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=mehta-receives-niosh-grant-to-revise-endurance-prediction-model-for-the-changing-u-s-workforce http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post=mehta-receives-niosh-grant-to-revise-endurance-prediction-model-for-the-changing-u-s-workforce#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:34:37 +0000 http://news.tamhsc.edu/?post_type=post&p=22072 Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D. awarded a research grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to develop a revised force-endurance model to accommodate for the changing capacity of the overweight and obese workforce]]>
Researchers will develop a revised force-endurance model to accommodate for the changing capacity of the overweight and obese workforce.

Researchers will develop a revised force-endurance model to accommodate for the changing capacity of the overweight and obese workforce.

With one in three adults considered obese and approximately another 40 percent overweight, accommodating heavier employees has simply become a fact of life in the workplace, from large-scale factories to corporate cubicles.

Injuries from overexertion or fatigue are a significant cause of worker disability, with U.S. employers spending in excess of $200 billion annually on obesity-related health conditions. Existing endurance prediction models provide ergonomists work guidelines to protect workers from injury by measuring the maximum amount of work an individual can perform at different levels of exertion. These models consider many factors, but not obesity.

Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D.

Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D.

Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, was recently awarded a research grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a section of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to develop a revised force-endurance model to accommodate for the changing capacity of the overweight and obese workforce. The $72,750 grant is the first of a two-year research project that will be conducted by researchers at both the Texas A&M School of Public Health and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“Findings from a Liberty Mutual Research Institute study indicates that obesity is associated with a 25 percent higher risk of work-related injury, independent of all other relevant factors, such as age, work hours, and occupational hazards,” Mehta said. “Americans spend a significant part of our lives in the workplace and this presents an increased injury risk for the majority of the workforce that are overweight and obese.”

Researchers will collect data from individuals in Texas and New York with varying body types – average, overweight and obese. The proposed work will focus on examining individuals’ endurance times at different levels of physical work across three tasks that target commonly injured muscles of the upper body and trunk. The data collected from a diverse, widespread population will be more applicable to the general population and will assist the researchers in developing an accurate revised force-endurance model to reduce workplace injury for all workers in the future.

 

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