Public Policy is social agreement written down as a universal guide for social action. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."

Gap in Diet Quality Between Wealthiest and Poorest Americans Doubles, Study Finds

Healthy food is not easy to prepare, does not have a very long shelf life, and is more expensive than cheaper canned and mass produced “food” that contains fillers and other ingredients that return adequate profits, facilitate transportation, refrigeration, and distribution.

America’s food consumption and health connection problem goes well beyond socioeconomic issues of lack of cash and proximity and access to healthy food.  Our society’s economy produces commodities and commodities are distributed based on market forces of supply and demand.  Supply and demand pressures have thus far overpowered the traditional forces on the side of promoting community health.  The loosing forces are:

  • Social do-gooders
  • Philanthropy
  • Public health officials
  • Conscientious parents
  • Suburban focused and lead prevention efforts

In short, economic forces have thus far trumped social ideas and groups aiming to undo what are basically the macro and micro consequences of food production and distribution.

Any successful efforts in this area will have to have for-profit corporations at the table with philanthropy and government officials providing public policy leadership and incentives that appeal to corporate America’s economic interests and social responsibility (good corporate citizen) commitments.

More via Gap in Diet Quality Between Wealthiest and Poorest Americans Doubles, Study Finds.

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, News, Parenting, Philanthropy, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Public Health, Public Policy

RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing | The information from the experts has been published. What are you and other community stakeholders doing about it?

Are you familiar with the RWJ report titled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” by the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Penn Medicine (University of Pennsylvania Health System)?

As we know, initiatives like the one that produced this report, as recent as 2011, come and go.  What remains is the report and what committed professional like yourself and our colleagues do with the information.

We at The Policy ThinkShop were inspired by a nurse colleague not only to pullout this report but to post a comment on our blog for your benefit.

The link to the report follows:

According to the report:

“In 2008, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) approached the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to propose a partnership to assess and respond to the need to transform the nursing profession. Recognizing that the nursing profession faces several challenges in fulfilling the promise of a reformed health care system and meeting the nation’s health needs, RWJF and the IOM established a 2-year Initiative on the Future of Nursing. The cornerstone of the initiative is this committee, which was tasked with producing a report containing recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for the future of nursing, including changes in public and institutional policies at the national, state, and local levels (Box S-1). Following the report’s release, the IOM and RWJF will host a national conference on November 30 and December 1, 2010, to begin a dialogue on how the report’s recommendations can be translated into action. The report will also serve as the basis for an extensive implementation phase to be facilitated by RWJF.”

The report explains the committee of experts charge in producing the study and report as follows:

The committee may examine and produce recommendations related to the following issues, with the goal of identifying vital roles for nurses in designing and implementing a more effective and efficient health care system:

  • Reconceptualizing the role of nurses within the context of the entire workforce, the shortage, societal issues, and current and future technology;
  • Expanding nursing faculty, increasing the capacity of nursing schools, and redesigning nursing education to assure that it can produce an adequate number of well prepared nurses able to meet current and future health care demands;
  • Examining innovative solutions related to care delivery and health professional education by focusing on nursing and the delivery of nursing services; and
  • Attracting and retaining well prepared nurses in multiple care settings, including acute, ambulatory, primary care, long term care, community and public health.

“In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation approached the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to propose a partnership between the two organizations. The resulting collaboration became the two-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the IOM. The committee was chaired by former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and the goal was to look at the possibility of transforming the nursing profession to meet the challenges of a changing health care landscape. The report produced by the committee, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, makes specific and directed recommendations in the areas of nurse training, education, professional …”

More on the initiative via About | RWJF Initiative on the Future of Nursing.

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Blogosphere, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform, Leadership, Maternal and Child Health, News, Philanthropy, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Public Health, Public Policy,

Creativity and the Role of the Leader – Harvard Business Review

The folks at the Harvard Business Review recently convened a large group of highly motivated and intelligent individuals to discuss and promote best practices in the area of fostering creativity at work and the role of leadership in doing so.

Although we sometimes feel that our work environments demand so much focus on ongoing deadlines and desired outcomes that there is little time for stepping back and reflecting, taking chances on new ideas or even finding time to discuss and contemplate alternatives can be possible.   It’s nice to see that leading thought places like HBR are promoting initiatives, concepts and activities in the workplace that allow for consideration of priorities that include some of our most intimate personal needs.  These needs include our ability to think and contribute in creative ways; which is ideal for us in terms of our careers and self actualization, and for the organizations we work to improve.

The article in HBR addresses important conditions for allowing creativity to flow in the workplace:

“Three conditions seemed to him to be necessary for novelty—slack, hubris, and optimism …”

via Creativity and the Role of the Leader – Harvard Business Review.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture, Culture Think, , ,

Getting Cross-Cultural Teamwork Right | HBR Article Policy ThinkShop Review

Cultural diversity and cultural conflict at the workplace are often treated as simple communication problems.  Are we oversimplifying cross cultural communication? Is it more than just being patient and trying to be nice? This HBR article opens an important conversation …. What do you think?

Although I think that articles like this one begin to give us the ideas, examples and interpersonal communicative behaviors necessary for navigating intercultural communication and interaction, I do think we need to acknowledge the role of leadership and power relationships.

For example, when two individuals are having conflict based on communication issues alone, this sort of cross-cultural relationship management works well. However, cross-cultural and international collaborations are difficult for the same reasons that all business collaborations are hard; they are challenging because there are competing agendas, whether these be interpersonal (personal career considerations) or inter organizational (each organization has a particular agenda and value expectations regarding the collaboration).

When we interact as individuals on our “home company” team’s behalf, we are performers on that team and our participation impacts how well we do back home; where, after all, is where we get our bonuses, our reputations, and how we are measured regarding home company people we naturally complete with.

Also, the cultural interaction abroad is greatly colored by power relationships of differing status; for example, when they are either asymmetrical, equal or of longer or shorter duration.

Cross cultural communication is quite complex–often, the challenges of cultural dissonance are relatively minor when we take into account the many variables that drive human behavior, interpersonal communication, and context variables that drive business motivation and goals.

Read the article and see the Policy ThinkShop comments by Paul

via Welcome! | LinkedIn.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think,

World Health Organization | WHO calls on governments to do more to prevent alcohol-related deaths and diseases

No other substance on the planet is so embedded in our happiness and in our suffering like alcohol is.  As Americans, we are moving away from some forms of alcohol but are embracing wine with new vigor.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released an comprehensive report that enumerates alcohol consumption issues and social problems.  You can follow the following link provided by The Policy ThinkShop to read the full report.

Find your country profile and alcohol statistical highlights:


“Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol, says a new report launched by WHO today. Alcohol consumption cannot only lead to dependence but also increases people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. In addition, harmful drinking can lead to violence and injuries.

The report also finds that harmful use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

The “Global status report on alcohol and health 2014″ provides country profiles for alcohol consumption in the 194 WHO Member States, the impact on public health and policy responses.

“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” says Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. “The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.”

Some countries are already strengthening measures to protect people. These include increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting the availability of alcohol by raising the age limit, and regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages.”


Report highlights

The report also highlights the need for action by countries including:

  • national leadership to develop policies to reduce harmful use of alcohol (66 WHO Member States had written national alcohol policies in 2012);
  • national awareness-raising activities (nearly 140 countries reported at least one such activity in the past three years);
  • health services to deliver prevention and treatment services, in particular increasing prevention, treatment and care for patients and their families, and supporting initiatives for screening and brief interventions.

More via WHO | WHO calls on governments to do more to prevent alcohol-related deaths and diseases.

Filed under: Behavioral Health Outcomes, Blogosphere, consumers, Health Literacy, Health Policy, Public Health, Public Policy

What Is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?

Half the country seems to be moving along with ACA reform and the other half are paying a price for not fully participating.  According to an Urban Institute report released this month, the nearly half of states that have not expanded medicaid under ACA implementation may have missed an important economic boost during these tough economic times.

“In the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid, 6.7 million residents are projected to remain uninsured in 2016 as a result. These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, which will lessen economic activity and job growth. Hospitals in these 24 states are also slated to lose a $167.8 billion (31 percent) boost in Medicaid funding that was originally intended to offset major cuts to their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

A review of state-level fiscal studies found comprehensive analyses from 16 diverse states. Each analysis concluded that expansion helps state budgets. State savings and new state revenues exceeded increased state Medicaid expenses, with the federal government paying a high share of expansion costs. Even if future lawmakers reduce federal Medicaid spending, high federal matching rates are likely to remain at the ACA’s enhanced rates, given historic patterns. Facing bipartisan gubernatorial opposition, Congress lowered the federal share of Medicaid spending just once since 1980, while cutting Medicaid eligibility, services, and provider payments more than 100 times. Medicaid expansion thus offers significant state-level fiscal and economic benefits, along with increased health coverage.”

The Policy ThinkShop provides you with this link to the full report:

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Blogosphere, consumers, Health Policy, Healthcare Reform

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