E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules – The New York Times

“The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking….”

Substance Use, Misuse and Dependence Collection Launching Today | EveryONE: The PLOS ONE blog

“Substance use, misuse and dependence and their associated harm present a challenge to people across the globe, of all ages, representing a substantial healthcare burden and a challenge to individuals and society as a whole. Understanding the scope of this multifaceted problem and identifying effective prevention and treatment approaches will require input from researchers and clinicians across disciplines from medicine and public health to the social sciences. Today, PLOS ONE launches an interdisciplinary Collection, in coordination with and complementing a PLOS Medicine Special Issue, exploring the individual, social, structural, and environmental factors that contribute to risk or resilience for substance use disorders, determine their medical consequences, and support recovery outcomes….”

Reaping the benefits of Open Data in public health

Abstract:  Open Data is part of a broad global movement that is not only advancing science and scientific communication but also transforming modern society and how decisions are made. What began with a call for Open Science and the rise of online journals has extended to Open Data, based on the premise that if reports on data are open, then the generated or supporting data should be open as well. There have been a number of advances in Open Data over the last decade, spearheaded largely by governments. A real benefit of Open Data is not simply that single databases can be used more widely; it is that these data can also be leveraged, shared and combined with other data. Open Data facilitates scientific collaboration, enriches research and advances analytical capacity to inform decisions. In the human and environmental health realms, for example, the ability to access and combine diverse data can advance early signal detection, improve analysis and evaluation, inform program and policy development, increase capacity for public participation, enable transparency and improve accountability. However, challenges remain. Enormous resources are needed to make the technological shift to open and interoperable databases accessible with common protocols and terminology. Amongst data generators and users, this shift also involves a cultural change: from regarding databases as restricted intellectual property, to considering data as a common good. There is a need to address legal and ethical considerations in making this shift. Finally, along with efforts to modify infrastructure and address the cultural, legal and ethical issues, it is important to share the information equitably and effectively. While there is great potential of the open, timely, equitable and straightforward sharing of data, fully realizing the myriad of benefits of Open Data will depend on how effectively these challenges are addressed.

The complex nature of research dissemination practices among public health faculty researchers | Hanneke | Journal of the Medical Library Association

Abstract:  Objective: This study explores the variety of information formats used and audiences targeted by public health faculty in the process of disseminating research.

Methods: The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with twelve faculty members in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, asking them about their research practices, habits, and preferences.

Results: Faculty scholars disseminate their research findings in a variety of formats intended for multiple audiences, including not only their peers in academia, but also public health practitioners, policymakers, government and other agencies, and community partners.

Conclusion: Librarians who serve public health faculty should bear in mind the diversity of faculty’s information needs when designing and improving library services and resources, particularly those related to research dissemination and knowledge translation. Promising areas for growth in health sciences libraries include supporting data visualization, measuring the impact of non-scholarly publications, and promoting institutional repositories for dissemination of research.

Opinion: We need a digital revolution in global public health | Devex

“Yet for all of the world’s innovations in data and data science — apps that hail taxis and online services that deliver groceries — we have yet to harness these advances for the health of mothers and children. As a global community, we must commit to making the fruits of data science available not only to the rich and powerful, but also to the poor, disenfranchised, and most at risk….

We are at a turning point where data can either be enlisted as an ally in the fight for better health for all, or we can instead allow the data revolution to drive us further apart….

Tools developed by different funders or technology providers may not be compatible with each other. Ministries of health and the nongovernmental organizations that provide frontline care are not fully equipped to take advantage of digital health tools once they become available. Data-sharing agreements that enable life-saving insights while also ensuring privacy and responsible use of personal data have not been developed….”

 

HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week | US Department of Health and Human Services

“Experts say the database of carefully curated medical guidelines is one of a kind, used constantly by medical professionals, and on July 16 will ‘go dark’ due to budget cuts.

The Trump Administration is planning to eliminate a vast trove of medical guidelines that for nearly 20 years has been a critical resource for doctors, researchers and others in the medical community. Maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the database is known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse [NGC], and it’s scheduled to “go dark,” in the words of an official there, on July 16. Medical guidelines like those compiled by AHRQ aren’t something laypeople spend much time thinking about, but experts like Valerie King, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of Research at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University, said the NGC is perhaps the most important repository of evidence-based research available. “Guideline.gov was our go-to source, and there is nothing else like it in the world,” King said, referring to the URL at which the database is hosted, which the agency says receives about 200,000 visitors per month. “It is a singular resource,” King added. Medical guidelines are best thought of as cheatsheets for the medical field, compiling the latest research in an easy-to use format. When doctors want to know when they should start insulin treatments, or how best to manage an HIV patient in unstable housing — even something as mundane as when to start an older patient on a vitamin D supplement — they look for the relevant guidelines. The documents are published by a myriad of professional and other organizations, and NGC has long been considered among the most comprehensive and reliable repositories in the world. AHRQ said it’s looking for a partner that can carry on the work of NGC, but that effort hasn’t panned out yet. “AHRQ agrees that guidelines play an important role in clinical decision making, but hard decisions had to be made about how to use the resources at our disposal,” said AHRQ spokesperson Alison Hunt in an email. The operating budget for the NGC last year was $1.2 million, Hunt said, and reductions in funding forced the agency’s hand.”

APHA unlocks free public access to articles on firearms issues and research

“The American Public Health Association (APHA) is offering free access to peer-reviewed research articles and commentaries on firearms and public health published in the American Journal of Public Health. Available articles cover topics such as firearm storage practices in the United States, public opinion on the issue of carrying guns in public places, and state firearm laws. In a statement, the APHA says it hopes this action will “lead to smarter evidence-based policies that enhance firearm safety and violence prevention.” Going forward, the journal will continue free public access to all research on the topic.”

Institute of Public Health in Ireland Open Access Statement, October 2013

“This document states the Institute of Public Health in Ireland’s (IPH) commitment to an Open Access policy and outlines how it implements that policy….How the IPH will implement its Open Access policy: IPH was an original signatory to the Republic of Ireland’s National Principles for Open Access Policy Statement….IPH will continue to develop and manage a health information website called The Health Well which brings together and provides free access to a wide range of other health-related information held by our partner organisations….”