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Office of Public Health Practice and Training Announces Lipitz Public Health Policy Awardees


The Office of Public Health Practice and Training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announces the recipients of the 2013-2014 Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Awards. These awards support faculty and students in the development of policy solutions to public health problems through engagement with government agencies/officials, community-based organizations, or other partners. The faculty awardees are Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, associate professor in Epidemiology and Roni Neff, PhD, MS, assistant scientist in Environmental Health Sciences. Meghan McGinty, MPH, MBA, CPH, doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Management is the student awardee.

The Lipitz awards provide support for innovative, applied public health policy projects led by faculty and graduate students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Projects may concentrate on any phase of the policy process, including policy development, implementation, or evaluation, as well as promotion of evidence-based public health policies. "We are delighted to be able to support our faculty and students engagement in the policy process," notes Thomas A. Burke, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, "and in particular their efforts to work towards solutions to public health problems"

G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, Department of Epidemiology, Prescription Drug Abuse: A Nationally Representative Survey of Practicing Physicians

Physicians often face a precarious balancing act between potential benefits and harms of prescription opioids. Through a nationally representative, U.S. mail survey of practicing primary care physicians, Dr. Alexander and his team will assess physician attitudes, beliefs, and practices regarding use of prescription opioids in clinical practice. Findings will provide vital data to regulators, payers, providers, and others about the effectiveness of recent public policy efforts to reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality, as well as guide future interventions to best mitigate the prescription opioid epidemic. Findings will be presented at the School's Prescription Drug Abuse Summit to be held this Spring.

Roni Neff, PhD, MS, Program Director, Food System Sustainability and Public Health, Center for a Livable Future, Assistant Scientist, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Addressing Food Waste Through Federal Policy: Focus Groups to Identify Optimal Language for Food Date Labels

According to the USDA, Americans waste nearly 30 percent of food available at the retail and consumer levels. Evidence suggests that food date labels (e.g., use-by, sell-by), which play a key role in consumer decisions about when to throw out food, are frequently misunderstood. U.S.-based evidence regarding language for a revised system of food date labels is currently lacking. Dr. Neff and her team will facilitate and analyze focus group responses to test food date label language options. They will consider quality-based and safety-based date labels and will seek input on several label formats.

Meghan McGinty, MPH, MBA, CPH, PhD Candidate, Department of Health Policy and Management, Decision-Making During Disasters: A Case Study of Hurricane Sandy Hospital Evacuation/Shelter-in-Place Decision-Making Processes

Public health leaders and other officials face complex decisions about how to protect the public's health and safety in light of the increasing number and severity of natural disasters. One of the most tragic lessons of Hurricane Katrina is that hospitals can be a dangerous - evenly deadly - place to remain during large-scale disasters. Yet, evacuation of hospital patients is risky. This project will provide new insights into how public officials and hospital administrators make decisions during emergencies through an analysis of evacuation or shelter in hospital decision making during Hurricane Sandy.

For more information, and to view more details about this and past year's awardees, please visit the Lipitz Public Health Policy Fund Awards page.