Viewpoints: Autism Looks Different In Girls; Qualified Immigrants Could Help Nursing Shortage
Editorial writers weigh in on these various public health topics.
We Need Better Diagnostic Tests For Autism In Women
“You don’t look autistic. ”This is what people say when I first tell them I’m on the spectrum. But I do look autistic. The problem is that people, especially medical professionals, don’t know what to look for when it comes to identifying and diagnosing autism in women and girls. (Zhara Astra, 4/7)
The Washington Post:
Maryland Swings Open The Door For Much-Needed Health-Care Workers
Two years into the pandemic, the state’s hospitals and other health-care providers are hurting. At the start of the year, more than a quarter of more than 25,000 full-time-equivalent registered nursing positions in Maryland hospitals were vacant, according to the Maryland Hospital Association. The trendline suggested worse to come. One obvious, readily available measure is to lower barriers for entering the workforce without sacrificing an iota of qualifications and training. Undocumented immigrants who pass required screening, training and certification, and meet all other standards, can do nursing and other jobs, and they are eager for them. But without state legislation, federal law blocks them from getting licensed. (4/7)
Black Mothers Die At Higher Rates. Florida's 'Stop WOKE Act' Could Make That Worse
I am a social epidemiologist who researches the role of structural racism in increasing the risk for maternal hypertension among Black women. I keenly understand how policies that seemingly have no health impacts can gravely create disparate pregnancy outcomes. The harmful effects of restricting education on topics like structural racism, racial segregation, redlining, and Jim Crow will be felt for generations to come, not just in maternal mortality rates but for various diseases that cause Black people to lose their lives too soon. (Brittney Butler, 4/7)
What Can Be Done To Lower Mortality Rates For Black Babies?
In Franklin County, health inequalities – including a widening gap between white and Black infant mortality rates – tell us we need to do more to protect our mothers and babies. As we approach Black Maternal Health Week from April 11 to 17, we’re reminded that we can and we must do better. CelebrateOne, founded in 2014 to reduce overall infant mortality while reducing racial disparities in mortality rates, has seen rates decline 20% overall and in CelebrateOne priority neighborhoods by 20%. The number of sleep-related deaths decreased 18% overall. (Maureen L. Stapleton, 4/7)
Let’s Bring Veteran Telehealth To The Volunteer State
Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health care to the forefront of the national conversation. As a result, we have seen monumental shifts in the delivery of health care, as providers have turned to new technologies to address the risks posed by the pandemic. One of these new technologies, telehealth, can drastically improve care for rural patients across the country and transform their lives for the better. (Richard Briggs, 4/8)
The CT Mirror:
Address Lack Of Mental Health Parity, Don’t Make Things Worse!
Everyone acknowledges the mental health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing the mental health needs of Connecticut residents, particularly children, is a top priority this legislative session. Therefore, one has to question why a proposal that could potentially result in rolling back some of the progress we have made towards parity in access to mental health treatment remains under consideration. (Jordan Fairchild and Kathy Flaherty, 4/8)
The Boston Globe:
To Transform Public Health, Invest In Behavioral Research
Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health, recently reflected on lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Collins noted, “Maybe we underinvested in research on human behavior. I never imagined a year ago . . . that we would still have 60 million people [unvaccinated].” As a public health and health behavior expert who has spent over a decade studying factors that shape human behavior and health outcomes, and whose job relies heavily on research funding from institutions like NIH, I found his remarks frustrating. Researchers in my field have been advocating for increased support of behavioral research for decades — long before the World Health Organization listed vaccine hesitancy as among the top threats to public health in 2019. (Monica L. Wang, 4/7)
The CT Mirror:
Give Connecticut's Struggling Patients Greater Access To Prescriptions
Three years ago I wrote in The CT Mirror that we in Connecticut had a growing mental health crisis on our hands: that too many people who needed psychiatric medications for behavioral health or substance abuse issues could not get them. I recounted that during those pre-pandemic days, my office manager tried to find services for her daughter. She called 19 psychiatrists without one return call. As I said at the time, the reasons could have been many: they were too busy, too full, or maybe they didn’t accept that person’s health insurance. (David Greenfield PhD, 4/8)