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Northwestern's Buehler Center within Feinberg's Institute of Public Health and Medicine provides services to its network of scientists, helping to foster high-quality, policy-relevant economic research and to disseminate it widely to decision-makers in the public and private sectors.
'Bradley S. Marino, MD, MPP, MSCE'
Bradley Marino, Professor Pediatrics & Medical Social Sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine; Heart Center Co-Director, Research and Academic Affairs Divisions of Cardiology and Critical Care Medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. Dr. Marino's ardent goal is to create academic and research infrastructure to assist fellows and faculty in the Heart Center to have successful academic careers and improve patient outcomes and family experience.

We asked Dr. Marino to tell us about the linkages between pediatric cardiology and health policy and economics and why a strong partnership is important:

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect and care for children with congenital heart disease utilizes 15% of all pediatric healthcare dollars spent. There is significant variation in care across programs nationally that results in differing mortality and morbidity. As a result, the value (cost per outcome) varies significantly across hospitals. Significant and innovative research needs to be performed to better understand value and cost-effectiveness in this space to help improve and drive care to maximize outcomes and minimize costs and maximize value for patients, providers, and payers. 

In addition, there is an obesity epidemic in our children that has gone unabated for almost 40 years that has continued to worsen the cardiovascular health of our pediatric and adult populations relative to hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerotic disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, and brain health. The scientific community at Northwestern must focus on health policy and economic research on primordial prevention to lead the improvement in cardiovascular health nationally through the cardiovascular health of our children.  

IPHAM, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and its partners at Northwestern Medicine and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital have a unique opportunity to work collaboratively and lead in congenital heart disease value and cost-effectiveness and pediatric preventive cardiovascular health policy and economic research. Read more

'Pritzker Law Faculty receive Walter J. Cummings Award'
Congratulations to Juliet Sorensen, former Clinic director and clinical professor of law, J. Samuel Tenenbaum, clinical professor of law and director of the Complex Civil Litigation and Investor Protection Center, and Elise Meyer, former Schuette Clinical Fellow in Health and Human Rights (not pictured), for receiving the prestigious Walter J. Cummings Award. The three award recipients are being recognized for their representation of more than 35 elderly victims of a reverse mortgage scheme on Chicago’s West Side. Professors Sorensen and Tenenbaum are Buehler members and partnered on the Department of Justice study about screening older adults for abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
'National Academy of Education'
Congratulations to Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach (far left) for being one of sixteen scholars of education research who were formally inducted into the National Academy of Education.
'Health Care Utilization Among Homeless Veterans in Chicago'

Read recent study published in Military Medicine by Dustin French, PhD, titled "Health care utilization among homeless veterans in Chicago". 

'Economic Principles for Medicare Reform'

An article written by Craig Garthwaite was recently published by The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science titled "Economic Principles for Medicare Reform". In this article, an economic framework is developed for Medicare reform that highlights trade-offs that reform proposals should grapple with, but often ignore. Read more

Events & Presentations
'Women & Addictions: a Question of Human Rights'
Lori Post and colleagues attended the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva and participated in a discussion surrounding how gender differences in addictions impact women. Dianova International is an NGO dedicated to support a network of organizations operating in 20 countries and 4 continents to help those most vulnerable. Read more
'Crain's Notable Women in Health Care'

Congratulations to Dr. Amy Paller, chair, Department of Dermatology, director, Northwestern University Skin Disease Research Center (SDRC), and Walter J. Hamlin Professor of Dermatology, for making it onto Crain's list of Notable Women in Health Care. The list spotlights 50 accomplished professionals from different corners of the health care field. Paller specializes in complex skin disorders in children and directs efforts at Lurie Children’s Hospital to treat rare, genetic, life-altering skin conditions.
Read more

'The Cost of Caring for War Veterans'
Key Findings and Recommendations by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

The cost of caring for war veterans' peaks 30 to 40 years after a conflict, but there are no provisions to cover these future obligations in current wars. Future medical and disability costs for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will total between $600 billion and $1 trillion. Uncompensated costs include loss of income for injured veterans and their family caregivers and diminished quality of life.

Recommendation: Congress should require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to make a fuller accounting of war costs, including but not limited to VA medical and disability expenditures related to post-9/11 veterans.
'Veteran Populations'
Several Buehler faculty work with veteran populations including Drs. Post, French and Jordan. Today, there are 18.2 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the US Census. More than nine million veterans are served each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Health care facilities are made up of 1,074 outpatient sites and 170 VA Medical Centers.

The population of U.S. veterans will decrease to 17.5 million by 2024. The population will have a slightly higher proportion of older veterans. By 2024, the proportion of female veterans will increase 3% to 11%. The share of non- Hispanic white males will decrease from 80 to 76 percent over the same period. Veterans from the Vietnam conflict will decrease from 31 to 29 percent, while those from the Gulf War and Post-9/11 conflict will increase to 42% by 2024. We estimate that, geographically, the veteran population will become more concentrated in urban areas, and the relative proportion of their population in the Ohio River Valley region will diminish.

Amaral, Ernesto FL, et al. "Current and future demographics of the veteran population, 2014–2024." Population Review 57.1 (2018).
'Loneliness Sometimes Calls for Creative Solutions' 
Dr. Somnath Saha, a staff physician at the VA Portland Health Care System, routinely screens patients for depression and PTSD. His depression screening questionnaire does not refer to loneliness, but loneliness often surfaces as a reason Veterans feel down or depressed.

“There are a lot of patients who bring up loneliness in their visit, sometimes as their primary complaint, sometimes in the context of depression, sometimes in the context of discussing smoking, drinking or poor sleeping habits,” Saha says. “A frequent rationale for those behaviors is, `I don’t have anything else to do.’ If we can develop a robust approach to addressing loneliness in our patients’ lives, we can do much more good for them than we do now.” Saha says one of his patients is a “wry” elderly man whose ability to function mentally and physically has declined progressively. He spends nearly all of his time alone in his trailer, where he watches television and gets brief visits from family members. He has been on anti-depressants for years.

Saha enlisted a mental health care specialist and a social worker to assist the man. Their efforts may have helped, but it wasn’t until the man got a cat that his condition showed marked improvement.  “The cat has become, in his words, the only thing he sticks around for,” Saha says. “That cat did more for his loneliness than anything we did. He still complains of loneliness and is still dour, but he seems a little more hopeful than before.”

The doctor has one other imaginative solution in mind. He believes online dating could be a remedy for those suffering from loneliness and has recommended it to some of his patients. He acquired the idea when as a junior faculty member at the Portland VA two decades ago, one of his physician mentors suggested online dating as a cure for patients experiencing loneliness.

“He would teach us to recommend this as well,” Saha recalls. “Sometimes, he would go so far as to write a prescription to go on dating sites. People found humor in this. But he was dead serious when he did this, because he knew the best thing he could possibly do for lonely patients was to try to connect them to someone and find meaningful relationships again. He saw that as far more important than any medication or therapy he could prescribe. His approach to this issue was basic and not always successful, but he was able to boast some true successes of patients whose lives improved immensely.”

Hey, whatever works.
 
--- Mike Richman

'Veterans Day' 
Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day and was first observed on November 11, 1919. It was officially renamed as Veterans Day in 1954.​
'IPHAM Population Health Forum and Poster Session - Submission Deadline Extended'
'Open Buehler Center faculty positions'
The following positions are currently open at the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics within the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine:
Health Policy Professor Assistant, associate or full professor – Tenure Track. The Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, is seeking a full-time health policy professor at any rank. Learn more

Health Economist Professor Assistant, associate or full professor – Tenure Track. The Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, is seeking a full-time health policy professor at any rank. Learn more

Health Policy Evaluation Professor Assistant, associate or full professor – Team Scientist. The Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine is seeking a full-time health policy evaluation professor at any rank. Learn more

Questions can be directed to Lori Post, PhD, at BuehlerCenter@northwestern.edu
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