Title: Talking Public Health: Articulating America’s Second Language
Abstract: The mission of public health—improving the health of populations -- focuses on creating conditions in which people can be healthy and is fundamentally about social change. The goal of social change—creating a fairer, more just society—is difficult to advance in public discussion because a language to express the values animating that goal has not been adequately developed.
The first “language” of American culture is individualism. A second American language of community— rooted in progressive social values that are common to the American experience—serves as the first language of social change and the first language of public health. These values resonate with many Americans but are not easily articulated. Also, there is a very strong tradition of not trusting government, particularly “big government,” that is embedded our first language. Consequently, personal-behavioral, individualistic understandings of public health problems prevail. Advancing a social change/public policy approach to the nation’s challenges such as prevention requires invigorating America’s second language by better understanding the underlying core social justice values that are the basis for public health.
Bio: Lawrence Wallack is Dean, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University and Emeritus Professor, Public Health University of California, Berkeley. He was the founding director of the Berkeley Media Studies Group, an organization conducting research and training in the use of media to promote healthy public policies. Dr. Wallack is one of the primary architects of media advocacy--an innovative approach to working with mass media to advance public health. He has published extensively and lectures frequently on the news media and public health policy issues.
Dr. Wallack has appeared on Nightline, Good Morning America, the CBS Evening News, the Today Show, Cable Network News, Oprah, and numerous local news and public affairs programs to discuss his research and comment on policy issues regarding public health problems.
Title: Selective Publication and Drug Efficacy: Don't Believe Everything You Don't Read
Abstract: When doctors and other prescribers need to learn about drugs, they often turn to what they consider the most authoritative source available: the peer reviewed journal article. Unfortunately, there are flaws in this system. When drug companies conduct clinical trials on drugs, the trials often turn out positive, and the results get published for all to read. But what if the trial turns out negative? One of two things often happens: Either the trial gets "spun" using post-hoc analyses, and the negative result is transformed into a seemingly positive one, or it simply is swept under the rug, never to see the light of day. In this talk, Dr. Turner contrasts what the medical field used to think about antidepressant drugs, based on the peer-reviewed literature, and the less flattering truth, based on data obtained from the FDA.
Bio: Erick Turner is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Pharmacology at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland. He is also Senior Scholar with OHSU's Center for Ethics in Health Care and Staff Psychiatrist with the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He previously worked at the FDA as a reviewer. There he became aware that drug companies were conducting studies that were not seeing the light of day in the published literature.
Title: Strategies and Challenges for Health Information Management in a Humanitarian Aid Organization
Abstract: Mercy Corps is an international humanitarian aid organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices in 35 countries. Public health is a key element of long-term global development: without reliable access to proper nutrition, clean water, sanitation and health services, it is impossible for people to move beyond the urgency of meeting their most basic needs. Emergency responses, such as to the earthquake in Haiti, often include a water and sanitation component as well as psychosocial programming designed to help children and youth recover from disaster. This talk will address how health information is managed at Mercy Corps, including how materials and lessons learned are transferred between staff, using a range of online and offline tools. We'll discuss strategies for managing information when staff work in austere environments, with unstable power sources or low bandwidth, and challenges related to a worldwide staff that works in multiple languages.
Bio: Jeff Crump is the Digital Librarian for Mercy Corps, in Portland, Oregon. He began his relationship with Mercy Corps as a volunteer in 2004, while studying for his MLS degree, and has worked there since. He graduated from Emporia State University's School of Library and Information Management (SLIM Oregon) in 2006. He currently manages the Digital Library and administers Mercy Corps Clearspace, an online collaboration environment. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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