Saturday, July 17, 2010

Congrats to another alum

The SCRHRC team would like to congratulate former team member Daniel Patterson, MPH, PhD on being named to the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council of the US Department of Transportation. And it all started back in South Carolina! Dr. Patterson is now an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine. He also serves as director of research for the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 AcademyHealth Final Thoughts

Good day blogosphere! Jordan here - giving some final thoughts to the AcademyHealth conference held this past week in the Cradle of Liberty, Boston. I, like Jeff, am in the PhD program in the Health Services Policy and Management department in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

The conference was filled with interesting sessions and had designated times for poster presentations and exhibits. The first day, I followed my main interest of Health IT and attended sessions that focused on that topic, however, the following days, I spread my wings and attended sessions dealing with primary care, prescription drugs, how to build an academic career, and palliative care.

I would be wide of the mark without mentioning a realization that Jeffery and I had dealing with the level of "geekdom" in which we had risen. Our last morning, (Tuesday) we found ourselves in a difficult predicament: at 8:00 AM, after dismantling and packing the posters to be shipped back to Columbia, we had not yet eaten breakfast and a session on hierarchical linear modeling was beginning. Thus we found ourselves in the uncommon position of deciding whether to eat now and risk missing past of the session, or going to the session and postponing our dietary needs. Like any good student of Dr. Probst, we chose the later. This ended up being a good decision, as this session truly did add to our statistical analysis knowledge and also adds to our "social gathering/small talk" repertoire.

In conclusion, the 2010 AcademyHealth conference, for me was a great experience. It offered an opportunity to see what my peers from other programs were researching, also it offered other networking opportunities with other professors and researchers. I look forward to next year's conference - to be held in Seattle.

Interesting presentations at Academy Health -- but...

Since Academy Health did not overlap with the annual meeting of the Association of University Programs of Health Administration this year, I [Jan] was able to attend more sessions than in previous years, and actually *pay attention,* versus worrying about missing something at the other conference. There were multiple excellent research method presentations.
Lee Mobley offered interesting remarks on geographic sampling, particularly the need for geographically based samples and geographic contiguity. While I'm not sure I'm 100% in agreement with all of her conclusions, her presentation was truly thought provoking, which is about the highest accolade one can offer. There were also excellent presentations on health disparities, long term care, and multiple other sessions attended by our SCRHRC staff.
But: Rural is *seriously* under-represented at an association that bills itself as a premier health policy and research group. One excellent presentation deal with reimbursement at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The investigator, when asked after the presentation, was unaware that SNFs could be located within rural hospitals. Similarly, one of our posters addressed Board issues at critical access hospitals. When asked, only one person who stopped to glance at the poster knew what a critical access hospital is. I continued the experiment at a breakfast session on HSR, where I was seated at the policy table. No one around the table, which included representatives of two funders in addition to folks from major, urban universities, knew what a critical access hospital was, either.
"Yikes" is sort of an understatement about this. Right now, the existence of rural-specific health issues and policies seems to fall in the "don't know that we don't know" quadrant for AcademyHealth. Those of us concerned about rural communities should begin a campaign to establish a "rural" interest group.