Hello readers and welcome back to Community Health Roundup: your source for national and (this week) international health news! As always, I have turned over many a virtual stone looking for articles that will make you go “wow, this is interesting!” and I think this week I found some. First, we are going to go to Boston and check in with ADVANCE partner Fenway Health on a new study they had approved by PCORI, then we are going to travel down to beautiful South Carolina and learn about a very important building, next we are going to get in our time machine and travel back to the Civil War to learn about the rise in opiate abuse, and finally after we time travel back, we are purchasing an economy class ticket to India (first class is way too spendy) to learn about how one man is fighting back against junk food in his country.
Congrats to ADVANCE partner Fenway Health on receiving a $2 million grant from PCORI to study how to effectively train clinic staff to collect sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data. Read all about the study and the award.
Along Highway 45 in rural South Carolina, there stands a building. A white, nondescript building with four walls, windows, a door, and a roof. The outside is dirty due to years of neglect, windows are broken, and weeds have grown like, well, weeds. If you passed by this building, you would never know that it was once one of the most important buildings in the community. You wouldn’t know that this building was where Maude Callen dispensed healthcare to the African American community of Berkley County for over 60 years. You also wouldn’t know that it was accidently sold at an auction by mistake or that the county has taken steps to correct that mistake and transfer the ownership of the building to a group that intends to turn it into a memorial for Maude Callen
The Civil War. It was a time of great sadness and pain for this young country where hundreds of thousands of men young and old perished in the fields of Gettysburg, Shiloh, Fredericksburg, and many others. But for those who did not succumb to their injuries on the battlefield and survived, there became a new enemy many had to fight: opiate addiction. During the war, opiate use among wounded soldiers had risen due to physicians and nurses treating battlefield pain with morphine and once the war was over, those soldiers who were addicted now came back to a world where they could easily access the drugs they needed at a local pharmacy. This, along with other factors at the time, gave rise to one of the first opioid epidemics in America. Read about the rise in opioids after the Civil War here.
Finally, let’s step back from America for this last article and take a trip to New Delhi, India and meet Rahul Verma. Mr. Verma saw a problem developing in his community and country: the rise in obesity and diabetes due to junk food. So, Mr. Verma then took it upon himself to fight back against the food that he saw was hurting his country. Read this NYT piece about Mr. Verma and his experience combating junk food.
William Jacob Amadeus Pinnock is a Research Coordinator at OCHIN where he assists with the creation, execution, and dissemination of research projects. He graduated with an MS in Communication from Portland State University where he focused on health communication, rural mass media, and qualitative research methods. He has experience working in commercial health insurance, healthcare research, and radio broadcasting. In his spare time, he is an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University helping students master the art of public speaking.