Environmental health in Australia: overlooked and underrated.
ABSTRACT: Improvements in environmental health have had the most significant impact on health status. In Australia, life expectancy has significantly increased through provision of vaccination, safe food and drinking water, appropriate sewage disposal and other environmental health measures. Yet the profession that is instrumental in delivering environmental health services at the local community level is overlooked. Rarely featuring in mainstream media, the successes of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are invisible to the general public. As a consequence, students entering university are unaware of the profession and its significant role in society. This has resulted in there being too few EHOs to meet the current regulatory requirements, much less deal with the emerging environmental health issues arising as a consequence of changing global conditions including climate change. To futureproof Australian society and public health this workforce issue, and the associated oversight of environmental health must be addressed now.
Project description:Policing is a highly stressful and dangerous profession that involves a complex set of environmental, psychosocial, and health risks. The current study examined autonomic stress responses experienced by 64 police officers, during general duty calls for service (CFS) and interactions with the public. Advancing previous research, this study utilized GPS and detailed operational police records as objective evidence of specific activities throughout a CFS. These data were then used to map officers' heart rate to both the phase of a call (e.g., dispatch, enroute) and incident factors (e.g., call priority, use-of-force). Furthermore, physical movement (i.e., location and inertia) was tracked and assisted in differentiating whether cardiovascular reactivity was due to physical or psychological stress. Officer characteristics, including years of service and training profiles, were examined to conduct a preliminary exploration of whether experience and relevant operational skills training impacted cardiovascular reactivity. Study results provide foundational evidence that CFS factors, specifically the phase of the call (i.e., arrival on scene, encountering a subject) and incident factors (i.e., call priority, weapons, arrest, use-of-force), influence physiological stress responses, which may be associated with short-term performance impairments and long-term health outcomes. Implications of research findings for operational policing, police training, and health research are discussed.
Project description:Foodborne illness is a global public health issue, with food handling in the home identified as an underestimated source. In Australia, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of salmonellosis with the majority of outbreaks linked to eggs. This study investigated Australian eggs consumer attitudes, behaviours and risk perceptions associated with the handling of raw eggs in the home. It was identified that 67% of participants chose free range eggs, 11% kept poultry, 7% did not have any preference, 7% cage eggs, 4% barn eggs, 2% organic eggs and 1% pasteurized eggs. The majority of participants (91%) reported they stored eggs in the fridge. It was identified that there is an underestimation of "risky behaviour" associated with the consumption of raw eggs in the home, as 84% of participants indicated that they did not consume raw eggs, but subsequently 86% indicated that they had eaten mixture/batter containing raw eggs. Participants' responses relating to food safety were also examined in relation to their profession and gender. Safer food handling practices were identified by Environmental Health Officers (EHO) and Food handlers compared to all other professions (p < 0.05). However, the gender of participants did not significantly affect (p > 0.05) their responses.
Project description:The increasing perception that public communication in science and technology is an important tool to create a knowledge society is encouraging numerous public engagement activities. However, too little is known about scientists' opinions of and attitudes towards the public with whom they interact during these activities, especially in southern European countries such as Spain. If we want to establish an effective dialogue between science and society, we need to be aware of the opinions and perceptions that both parties have of each other. In this study, we address this issue by focusing on 1022 responses to a survey conducted among scientists in Spain to discover their views of the public, and we then compare these responses with data from other national surveys on the public's understanding of science. The results show that approximately 75% of Spanish scientists think that the general public has a serious lack of knowledge and understanding of scientific reasoning, although scientists do recognize that science interests the public (73%). Scientists believe that the public values the scientific profession to a lesser extent than suggested by public surveys: on a scale of 1-5, survey respondents rate their valuation of the scientific profession at 4.22, whereas scientists rate the public's valuation of the profession at 3.12, on average. Significant differences were detected between scientists' perceptions of how citizens are informed about science and what citizens report in surveys. The challenge for the future is to narrow this gap in order to help scientists gain a better understanding of the public and their interests and to make public engagement activities more effective.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The work of public officers involves repeated and long-term exposure to heavy workloads, high job strain and workplace violence, all of which negatively impact physical and mental health. This study aimed to evaluate and compare the incidences of diseases among different categories of public officers in Korea, in order to further understand the health risks associated with these occupations. DESIGN:A cohort study using the National Health Insurance data. PARTICIPANTS:We collated claims data between 2002 and 2014 for 860?221 public officers. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:Age-standardised rates were calculated using the direct standardisation method, and HRs were calculated using the Cox proportional hazard regression models. RESULTS:Overall, we found that police officers and firefighters had a higher incidence of a range of diseases when compared with national and regional government officers (NRG). The most prominent HRs were observed among police officers for angina pectoris (HR: 1.52, 95% CI 1.49 to 1.54), acute myocardial infarction (HR: 1.84, 95%?CI 1.77 to 1.92) and cerebrovascular disease (HR: 1.36, 95%?CI 1.31 to 1.40). Firefighters were more susceptible to physical ailments and were at a significantly higher risk for traumatic stress disorders (HR: 1.40, 95%?CI 1.26 to 1.56) than NRGs. CONCLUSION:Compared withNRGs, police officers had higher HRs for all measured diseases, except for traumatic stress disorders. While firefighters had higher HRs for almost all diseases examined, public education officers had a higher HR for traumatic stress disorders, when compared with NRGs.
Project description:IMPORTANCE:Approximately one-third of U.S. life sciences faculty engage in industry consulting. Despite reports that consulting contracts often impinge on faculty and university interests, institutional approaches to regulating consulting agreements are largely unknown. OBJECTIVE:To investigate the nature of institutional oversight of faculty consulting contracts at U.S. schools of medicine and public health. DESIGN:Structured telephone interviews with institutional administrators. Questions included the nature of oversight for faculty consulting agreements, if any, and views about consulting as a private versus institutional matter. Interviews were analyzed using a structured coding scheme. SETTING:All accredited schools of medicine and public health in the U.S. PARTICIPANTS:Administrators responsible for faculty affairs were identified via internet searches and telephone and email follow-up. The 118 administrators interviewed represented 73% of U.S. schools of medicine and public health, and 75% of those invited to participate. INTERVENTION:Structured, 15-30 minute telephone interviews. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:Prevalence and type of institutional oversight; responses to concerning provisions in consulting agreements; perceptions of institutional oversight. RESULTS:One third of institutions (36%) required faculty to submit at least some agreements for institutional review and 36% reviewed contracts upon request, while 35% refused to review contracts. Among institutions with review, there was wide variation the issues covered. The most common topic was intellectual property rights (64%), while only 23% looked at publication rights and 19% for inappropriately broad confidentiality provisions. Six in ten administrators reported they had no power to prevent faculty from signing consulting agreements. Although most respondents identified institutional risks from consulting relationships, many maintained that consulting agreements are "private." CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:Oversight of faculty consulting agreements at U.S. schools of medicine and public health is inconsistent across institutions and usually not robust. The interests at stake suggest the need for stronger oversight.
Project description:Policing is generally considered a high-risk profession for the development of mental health problems, but this assumption lacks empirical evidence. Research question of the present study is to what extent mental health disturbances, such as (very) severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostility are more prevalent among police officers than among other occupational groups.Multicomparative cross-sectional study using the data of several cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in the Netherlands.Two samples of police officers (N=144 and 503), employees of banks (N=1113) and employees of banks who were robbed (N=144); employees of supermarkets (N=335), and a psychiatric hospital (N=219), employees of a governmental social welfare organisation (N=76), employees who followed a training based on rational-motive therapy to strengthen their assertiveness (N=710), soldiers before deployment (N=278) and before redeployment (N=236) and firefighters (N=123). The numbers refer to respondents with complete data.Prevalence of severe (subclinical level) and very severe symptoms (clinical level) were computed using the Dutch norm tables (80th percentile and 95th percentile, respectively) of the Symptom Check List Revised (SCL-90-R). All comparisons were controlled for age, gender and education.Multivariate logistic regression and analyses showed that the prevalence of clinical and subclinical levels of symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostility among police officers were not significantly higher than among comparison groups. The same pattern was found for the other SCL-90-R subscales.We found no indications that self-reported mental health disturbances were more prevalent among police officers than among groups of employees that are not considered high-risk groups, such as employees of banks, supermarkets, psychiatric hospital and soldiers before deployment.
Project description:The U.S. National Climate Assessment concluded that climate change is harming the health of many Americans and identified people in some communities of color as particularly vulnerable to these effects. In Spring 2014, we surveyed members of the National Medical Association, a society of African American physicians who care for a disproportionate number of African American patients, to determine whether they were seeing the health effects of climate change in their practices; the response rate was 30% (n = 284). Over 86% of respondents indicated that climate change was relevant to direct patient care, and 61% that their own patients were already being harmed by climate change moderately or a great deal. The most commonly reported health effects were injuries from severe storms, floods, and wildfires (88%), increases in severity of chronic disease due to air pollution (88%), and allergic symptoms from prolonged exposure to plants or mold (80%). The majority of survey respondents support medical training, patient and public education regarding the impact of climate change on health, and advocacy by their professional society; nearly all respondents indicated that the US should invest in significant efforts to protect people from the health effects of climate change (88%), and to reduce the potential impacts of climate change (93%). These findings suggest that African American physicians are currently seeing the health impacts of climate change among their patients, and that they support a range of responses by the medical profession, and public policy makers, to prevent further harm.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Trial oversight is important for trial governance and conduct. Patients and/or lay members of the public are increasingly included in trial oversight committees, influenced by international patient and public involvement (PPI) initiatives to improve the quality and relevance of research. However, there is a lack of guidance on how to undertake PPI in trial oversight and tokenistic PPI remains an issue. This paper explores how PPI functions in existing trial oversight committees and provides recommendations to optimise PPI in future trials. This was part of a larger study investigating the role and function of oversight committees in trials facing challenges. METHODS:Using an ethnographic study design, we observed oversight meetings of eight UK trials and conducted semi-structured interviews with members of their trial steering committees (TSCs) and trial management groups (TMGs) including public contributors, trial sponsors and funders. Thematic analysis of data was undertaken, with findings integrated to provide a multi-perspective account of how PPI functions in trial oversight. RESULTS:Eight TSC and six TMG meetings from eight trials were observed, and 66 semi-structured interviews conducted with 52 purposively sampled oversight group members, including three public contributors. PPI was reported as beneficial in trial oversight, with public members contributing a patient voice and fulfilling a patient advocacy role. However, public contributors were not always active at oversight meetings and were sometimes felt to have a tokenistic role, with trialists reporting a lack of understanding of how to undertake PPI in trial oversight. To optimise PPI in trial oversight, the following areas were highlighted: the importance of planning effective strategies to recruit public contributors; considering the level of oversight and stage(s) of trial to include PPI; support for public contributors by the trial team between and during oversight meetings. CONCLUSIONS:We present evidence-based recommendations to inform future PPI in trial oversight. Consideration should be given at trial design stage on how to recruit and involve public contributors within trial oversight, as well as support and mentorship for both public contributors and trialists (in how to undertake PPI effectively). Findings from this study further strengthen the evidence base on facilitating meaningful PPI within clinical trials.
Project description:The CCAS EXPERT SUMMIT convened an array of international experts in Barbados on August 27-31, 2017 under the theme "From Care to Cure-Shifting the HIV Paradigm." The Caribbean Cytometry & Analytical Society (CCAS) partnered with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to deliver a program that reviewed the advances in antiretroviral therapy and the public health benefits accruing from treatment as prevention. Particular emphasis was placed on reexamining stigma and discrimination through a critical appraisal of whether public health messaging and advocacy had kept pace with the advances in medicine. Persistent fear of HIV driving discriminatory behavior was widely reported in different regions and sectors, including the healthcare profession itself; continued fear of the disease was starkly misaligned with the successes of new medical treatments and progress toward the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. The summit therefore adopted the mantra "Test-Treat-Defeat" to help engage with the public in a spirit of optimism aimed at creating a more conducive environment for persons to be tested and treated and, thereby, help reduce HIV disease and stigma at the individual and community levels.