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1.  Canadian Cardiovascular Society Access to Care Workshop proceedings and next steps 
On October 24, 2008, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) Standing Committee on Access to Care invited clinical practitioners, researchers and administrators from across Canada to provide input on the CCS action plan for 2009/2010. The meeting provided an opportunity for stakeholders to identify initiatives under three CCS priority areas for action: collecting and reporting wait time data, improving systems to improve access, and establishing national networks. Building on the suggestions from this meeting, the Standing Committee drafted an action plan for 2009/2010. This plan includes a lead role for the CCS in facilitating consensus on pan-Canadian data standards and definitions, and using current resources and infrastructure. The CCS and its Standing Committee look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to promote awareness and adoption of the benchmarks, and to undertake new initiatives that will provide insight into access to care issues along the continuum of care.
PMCID: PMC2851385  PMID: 20151051
Access to care; Cardiovascular care; Wait times data
2.  Community advocacy groups as a means to address the social environment of female sex workers: a case study in Andhra Pradesh, India 
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health  2012;66(Suppl_2):ii87-ii94.
Background
To examine the association between the presence of community advocacy groups (CAGs) and female sex workers' (FSWs) access to social entitlements and outcomes of police advocacy.
Methods
Data were used from a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2010–2011 among 1986 FSWs and 104 NGO outreach workers from five districts of Andhra Pradesh. FSWs were recruited using a probability-based sampling from 104 primary sampling units (PSUs). A PSU is a geographical area covered by one outreach worker and is expected to have an active CAG as per community mobilisation efforts. The presence of active CAGs was defined as the presence of an active committee or advocacy group in the area (PSU). Outcome indicators included acquisition of different social entitlements and measures of police response as reported by FSWs. Multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations.
Results
Areas with active CAGs compared with their counterparts had a significantly higher mean number of FSWs linked to ration cards (12.8 vs 6.8; p<0.01), bank accounts (9.3 vs 5.9; p=0.05) and health insurance (13.1 vs 7.0; p=0.02). A significantly higher percentage of FSWs from areas with active CAGs as compared with others reported that the police treat them more fairly now than a year before (79.7% vs 70.3%; p<0.05) and the police explained the reasons for arrest when arrested the last time (95.7% vs 87%; p<0.05).
Conclusion
FSWs from areas with active CAGs were more likely to access certain social entitlements and to receive a fair response from the police, highlighting the contributions of CAGs in community mobilisation.
doi:10.1136/jech-2011-200478
PMCID: PMC3433220  PMID: 22495774
Structural interventions; sex workers; HIV prevention intervention; community advocacy; social capital; empowerment; HIV; AIDS; public health; violence; epidemiology; statistics
3.  Donor Funding for Newborn Survival: An Analysis of Donor-Reported Data, 2002–2010 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001332.
With recent increases in development assistance money for maternal and child health, Catherine Pitt and colleagues examine whether foreign aid specifically for newborns has changed, whether it's on par with the burden of newborn deaths worldwide, and how such funding can be tracked.
Background
Neonatal mortality accounts for 43% of global under-five deaths and is decreasing more slowly than maternal or child mortality. Donor funding has increased for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), but no analysis to date has disaggregated aid for newborns. We evaluated if and how aid flows for newborn care can be tracked, examined changes in the last decade, and considered methodological implications for tracking funding for specific population groups or diseases.
Methods and Findings
We critically reviewed and categorised previous analyses of aid to specific populations, diseases, or types of activities. We then developed and refined key terms related to newborn survival in seven languages and searched titles and descriptions of donor disbursement records in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Creditor Reporting System database, 2002–2010. We compared results with the Countdown to 2015 database of aid for MNCH (2003–2008) and the search strategy used by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Prior to 2005, key terms related to newborns were rare in disbursement records but their frequency increased markedly thereafter. Only two mentions were found of “stillbirth” and only nine references were found to “fetus” in any spelling variant or language. The total value of non-research disbursements mentioning any newborn search terms rose from US$38.4 million in 2002 to US$717.1 million in 2010 (constant 2010 US$). The value of non-research projects exclusively benefitting newborns fluctuated somewhat but remained low, at US$5.7 million in 2010. The United States and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided the largest value of non-research funding mentioning and exclusively benefitting newborns, respectively.
Conclusions
Donor attention to newborn survival has increased since 2002, but it appears unlikely that donor aid is commensurate with the 3.0 million newborn deaths and 2.7 million stillbirths each year. We recommend that those tracking funding for other specific population groups, diseases, or activities consider a key term search approach in the Creditor Reporting System along with a detailed review of their data, but that they develop their search terms and interpretations carefully, taking into account the limitations described.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 1990, 12 million children—most of them living in developing countries—died before they reached their fifth birthday. Faced with this largely avoidable loss of young lives, in 2000, world leaders set a target of reducing under-five mortality (deaths) to one-third of its 1990 level by 2015 as Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4); this goal, together with seven others, aims to eradicate extreme poverty globally. In recent years, progress towards reducing child mortality has accelerated but remains insufficient to achieve MDG4, in part, because progress towards reducing neonatal mortality—deaths during the first 28 days of life—has been particularly slow. Neonatal deaths now account for a greater proportion of global child deaths than in 1990—43% of the 7 million children who died before their fifth birthday in 2011 died during the neonatal period. The major causes of neonatal deaths are complications of preterm and term delivery and infections. Simple interventions such as improved hygiene at birth and advice on breastfeeding can substantially reduce neonatal deaths.
Why Was This Study Done?
To achieve MDG4, more must be done to prevent deaths among newborn babies. One reason that progress in reducing neonatal mortality is slow could be insufficient donor funding (aid) for newborn health. Previous analyses by, for example, Countdown to 2015 (which tracks coverage levels for health interventions that reduce maternal, newborn, and child mortality) indicate that donor funding has increased for maternal, newborn, and child health over the past decade, but how much of this aid directly benefits newborns is unknown. Here, the researchers develop a method for tracking aid flows for newborns and examine changes in this flow over the past decade by applying their new strategy to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Creditor Reporting System (CRS) Aid Activity database. This database collects information about official development assistance for health given (disbursed) to developing countries by member countries of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, international organizations, and some private donors.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a comprehensive set of search terms related to newborn survival by piloting it on the Countdown to 2015 official development assistance database, which covers the years 2003–2008. They then used their list of 24 key terms to search the CRS database from 2002 (the first year for which relatively complete disbursement data are available) to 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available) and classified each retrieved project according to whether its funding activities aimed to benefit newborns exclusively or to improve the health of other population groups as well. The researchers found that key terms related to newborns were rare in disbursement records before 2005 but that their frequency increased markedly thereafter. The total value of non-research disbursements (aid provided for programmatic or advocacy activities) that mentioned any newborn search terms increased from US$38.4 million in 2002 to US$717.1 million in 2010. The value of non-research projects that exclusively benefitted newborns fluctuated; in 2010, it was $US5.7 million. Finally, the US and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided the largest value of non-research funding mentioning newborns and exclusively benefitting newborns, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the value of aid disbursements mentioning newborns or an activity likely to benefit newborns increased 20-fold between 2002 and 2010 and constituted an increasing proportion of aid for maternal, newborn, and child health. Although this increase may partly reflect increased detail in aid disbursement reporting, it is also likely to reflect an increase in donor attention to newborn survival. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by limitations in the search strategy and in the CRS database, which does not capture aid flows from emerging donors such as China or from many private foundations. Moreover, because these findings take no account of domestic expenditure, they do not provide a comprehensive estimate of the value of resources available in developing countries for newborn health. Nevertheless, investment in newborn survival is unlikely to be commensurate with global newborn mortality. Thus, an expansion of programmatic funding from donors as well as increased governmental support for newborn health in developing countries is urgently needed to catalyze the scale-up of cost-effective interventions to save newborn lives and to meet MDG4.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001332.
The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) works for children's rights, survival, development, and protection around the world; it provides information on Millennium Development Goal 4 and its Childinfo website provides detailed statistics about child survival and health, including the 2012 report of UN Inter-agency Group of Child Mortality Estimation; its Committing to Child Survival: a Promise Renewed webpage includes links to its 2012 progress report, to a video about progress made in reducing child deaths worldwide, and to stories about child survival in the field
The World Health Organization has information about Millennium Development Goal 4 and about maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (some information in several languages)
Countdown to 2015 provides additional information on maternal, newborn, and child survival, including its 2012 report Building a Future for Women and Children
The Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) is a community of more than 70 partner organizations addressing critical knowledge gaps for newborn health providing recent data on newborn survival and analyses of country programs
Information on and access to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development Creditor Reporting System Aid Activities database is available
Further information about the Millennium Development Goals is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001332
PMCID: PMC3484125  PMID: 23118619
4.  A Study of National Physician Organizations’ Efforts to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in the United States 
Purpose
To characterize national physician organizations’ efforts to reduce health disparities and identify organizational characteristics associated with such efforts.
Method
This cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2009 and June 2010. The authors used two-sample t tests and chi-square tests to compare the proportion of organizations with disparity-reducing activities between different organizational types (e.g., primary care versus subspecialty organizations, small [<1,000 members] versus large [>5,000 members]). Inclusion criteria required physician organizations to be (1) focused on physicians, (2) national in scope, and (3) membership based.
Results
The number of activities per organization ranged from 0 to 22. Approximately half (53%) of organizations had 0 or 1 disparity-reducing activities. Organiza-tional characteristics associated with having at least 1 disparity-reducing effort included membership size (88% of large groups versus 58% of small groups had at least 1 activity; P = .004) and the presence of a health disparities committee (95% versus 59%; P < .001). Primary care (versus subspecialty) organizations and racial/ethnic minority physician organizations were more likely to have disparity-reducing efforts, although findings were not statistically significant. Common themes addressed by activities were health care access, health care disparities, workforce diversity, and language barriers. Common strategies included education of physicians/trainees and patients/general public, position statements, and advocacy.
Conclusions
Despite the national priority to eliminate health disparities, more than half of national physician organizations are doing little to address this problem. Primary care and minority physician organizations, and those with disparities committees, may provide leadership to extend the scope of disparity-reduction efforts.
doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318253b074
PMCID: PMC3785372  PMID: 22534593
5.  Development of a National Agreement on Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Japan: An Infodemiology Study 
Background
A national agreement on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination was achieved relatively quickly in Japan as compared to the United States and India.
Objective
The objective was to identify the role of print and online media references, including references to celebrities or other informants, as factors potentially responsible for the relatively rapid national acceptance of HPV vaccination in Japan.
Methods
A method of text mining was performed to select keywords, representing the context of the target documents, from articles relevant to the promotion of HPV vaccination appearing in major Japanese newspapers and Web pages between January 2009 and July 2010. The selected keywords were classified as positive, negative, or neutral, and the transition of the frequency of their appearance was analyzed.
Results
The number of positive and neutral keywords appearing in newspaper articles increased sharply in early 2010 while the number of negative keywords remained low. The numbers of positive, neutral, and negative keywords appearing in Web pages increased gradually and did not significantly differ by category. Neutral keywords, such as “vaccine” and “prevention,” appeared more frequently in newspaper articles, whereas negative keywords, such as “infertility” and “side effect,” appeared more frequently in Web pages. The extraction of the positive keyword “signature campaign” suggests that vaccine beneficiaries cooperated with providers in promoting HPV vaccination.
Conclusions
The rapid development of a national agreement regarding HPV vaccination in Japan may be primarily attributed to the advocacy of vaccine beneficiaries, supported by advocacy by celebrities and positive reporting by print and online media.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2846
PMCID: PMC4051745  PMID: 24834471
cervical cancer; health policy; human papillomavirus; public health; vaccination
6.  Randomised controlled trials in plastic surgery: a systematic review of reporting quality 
Background
We recently conducted a systematic review of the methodological quality of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in plastic surgery. In accordance with convention, we are here separately reporting a systematic review of the reporting quality of the same RCTs.
Methods
MEDLINE® and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched by an information specialist from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2011 for the MESH heading ‘Surgery, Plastic’. Limitations were entered for English language, human studies and randomised controlled trials. Manual searching for RCTs involving surgical techniques was performed within the results. Scoring of the eligible papers was performed against the 23-item CONSORT Statement checklist. Independent secondary scoring was then performed and discrepancies resolved through consensus.
Results
Fifty-seven papers met the inclusion criteria. The median CONSORT score was 11.5 out of 23 items (range 5.3–21.0). Items where compliance was poorest included intervention/comparator details (7 %), randomisation implementation (11 %) and blinding (26 %). Journal 2010 impact factor or number of authors did not significantly correlate with CONSORT score (Spearman rho = 0.25 and 0.12, respectively). Only 61 % declared conflicts of interest, 75 % permission from an ethics review committee, 47 % declared sources of funding and 16 % stated a trial registry number. There was no correlation between the volume of RCTs performed in a particular country and reporting quality.
Conclusions
The reporting quality of RCTs in plastic surgery needs improvement. Better education, awareness amongst all stakeholders and hard-wiring compliance through electronic journal submission systems could be the way forward. We call for the international plastic surgical community to work together on these long-standing problems.
doi:10.1007/s00238-013-0893-5
PMCID: PMC3971436  PMID: 24707112
Randomised controlled trials; Research methodology; Reporting quality; Consort; Levels of evidence
7.  Developing a Strategic Plan for Transitioning to Healthcare Knowledge Services Centers (HKSCs) 
Journal of hospital librarianship  2011;11(4):379-387.
Facing a negative trend in the form of downsizing, layoffs, and closures, a small committee of hospital librarians in New England was formed in 2004 to provide library advocacy. Between 2008 and 2010, 23 hospital libraries closed in New England. In 2010, the committee shifted its focus from advocacy to a platform for change. This resulted in the creation of the Healthcare Knowledge Services Center (HKSC) Template. The Template is the basis for a 3-phased, 5-year strategic plan to establish several regional pilots, transitioning traditional hospital libraries to healthcare knowledge services centers. This article focuses on Phase One of the strategic plan, Development.
doi:10.1080/15323269.2011.609076
PMCID: PMC3484838  PMID: 23125551
Advocacy; HKSC; healthcare knowledge services center; KM; knowledge management; library closures; strategic plan; template
8.  Tobacco control: consensus report of the National Medical Association. 
ISSUES: Tobacco Control remains one of the greatest determinants for reducing the morbidity and mortality of African Americans. OBJECTIVE: To examine the scope and consequences of tobacco use among African Americans and characterize its implications for the National Medical Association physician membership and their patients, and identify policy, education, advocacy and research issues in Tobacco Control for the organization. CONSENSUS PROCESS: Literature review using the MEDLINE database from January 1966 to August 1999 Week 1, searching Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) reading combined with text words "Black" or "African American" and "Tobacco" as a search term, identified 130 articles/110 abstracts published between 1988 and February 1999. The panel selected 61 appropriate articles and a paper summarizing the literature review was developed. The summary paper was used as background material for a formal consensus panel discussion on July 16-17, 1999. Consensus among committee members was reached via mail, fax and e-mail using the summary review paper, annotated bibliographies key informant surveys, and previous NMA resolutions on tobacco control. A formal working session was held on July 16-17, 1999 in which four areas of concentration of issues were determined: Policy, Advocacy, Education and Research. All committee members approved the final report. SUMMARY: Because tobacco control issues in African Americans are both complex and poorly understood, the panel views the NMA's role as pivotal in the coordination of resources and capacity-building to address all four areas identified. Stronger partner-ships with traditional federal and nonprofit agencies associated with tobacco control/advocacy in African Americans as well as nontraditional organizations (i.e., churches, academia, marketing and media organizations) also must occur to strengthen the infra-structure needed to assess needs, design appropriate interventions and evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficacy of tobacco control efforts in African American communities.
PMCID: PMC2594123  PMID: 11853050
9.  Response to the challenges of pandemic H1N1 in a small island state: the Barbadian experience 
BMC Public Health  2010;10(Suppl 1):S10.
Background
Having been overwhelmed by the complexity of the response needed for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, public health professionals in the small island state of Barbados put various measures in place to improve its response in the event of a pandemic
Methods
Data for this study was collected using Barbados’ National Influenza Surveillance System, which was revitalized in 2007. It is comprised of ten sentinel sites which send weekly notifications of acute respiratory illness (ARI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) to the Office of the National Epidemiologist. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, meetings of the National Pandemic Planning Committee and the Technical Command Committee were convened. The pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) implemented as a result of these meetings form the basis of the results presented in this paper.
Results
On June 3, 2009, Barbados reported its first case of 2009 H1N1. From June until October 2009, there were 155 laboratory confirmed cases of 2009 H1N1, with one additional case occurring in January 2010. For the outbreak period (June-October 2009), the surveillance team received reports of 2,483 ARI cases, compared to 412 cases for the same period in 2008. The total hospitalization rate due to SARIs for the year 2009 was 90.1 per 100,000 people, as compared to 7.3 per 100,000 people for 2008. Barbados’ pandemic response was characterized by a strong surveillance system combining active and passive surveillance, good risk communication strategy, a strengthened public and private sector partnership, and effective regional and international collaborations. Community restriction strategies such as school and workplace closures and cancellation of group events were not utilized as public health measures to delay the spread of the virus. Some health care facilities struggled with providing adequate isolation facilities.
Conclusions
The number of confirmed cases was small but the significant surge in ARI and SARI cases indicate that the impact of the virus on the island was moderate. As a result of 2009 H1N1, virological surveillance has improved significantly and local, regional and international partnerships have been strengthened.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-S1-S10
PMCID: PMC3005570  PMID: 21143820
10.  The Evolution of Advocacy and Orthopaedic Surgery 
Background
The future direction of American health care has become increasingly controversial during the last decade. As healthcare costs, quality, and delivery have come under intense scrutiny, physicians play evolving roles as “advocates” for both their profession and patients via healthcare policy. Hospital-physician alignment is critical to the future success of advocacy among orthopaedic surgeons, as both hospitals and physicians are key stakeholders in health care and can work together to influence major health policy decisions.
Questions/purposes
We (1) define the role of advocacy in medicine, specifically within orthopaedic surgery; (2) explore the history of physician advocacy and its evolution; (3) examine the various avenues of involvement for orthopaedic surgeons interested in advocacy; and (4) reflect on the impact of such activities on the future of orthopaedic surgery as it relates to hospital-physician alignment.
Methods
We performed a comprehensive review of the literature through a bibliographic search of MEDLINE® and Google Scholar databases from January 2000 to December 2010 to identify articles related to advocacy and orthopaedic surgery.
Results
Advocacy among orthopaedic surgeons is critical in guiding the future of the American healthcare system. In today’s world, advocacy necessitates a wider effort to improve healthcare access, quality, and delivery for patients on a larger scale. The nature of physician advocacy among orthopaedic surgeons is grounded in the desire to serve patients and alleviate their suffering. Participation in medical societies and political campaigns are two avenues of involvement.
Conclusions
The increasing role of government in American health care will require a renewed commitment to advocacy efforts from orthopaedic surgeons. The role of advocacy is rapidly redefining the continuum of care to a trinity of clinical excellence, innovative research, and effective advocacy. Failure to recognize this growing role of advocacy limits the impact we can have for our patients.
doi:10.1007/s11999-013-2900-3
PMCID: PMC3706663  PMID: 23479232
11.  Enhancing Advocacy for Eye Care at National Levels: What Steps to Take for the Next Decade? 
The global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness by the year 2020-(VISION 2020- The Right to Sight), established in 1999, is a partnership of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments, bilateral organizations, corporate bodies and the World Health Organization. The goal is to eliminate the major causes of avoidable blindness by the year 2020. Significant progress has been made in the last decade. For example, the adoption of three major World Health Assembly resolutions (WHA 56.26, 59.25 and 62.1) requesting governments to increase support and funding for the prevention of blindness and eye care. Additionally, the approval of the VISION 2020 declaration, development of plans and establishment of prevention of blindness committees and a designation of a coordinator by most participating countries represent other major achievements. Furthermore there has been increased political and professional commitment to the prevention of visual impairment and an increase in the provision of high-quality, sustainable eye care. Most of these achievements have been attributed to the advocacy efforts of VISION 2020 at the international level. The full success of this global initiative will likely depend on the extent to which the WHA resolutions are implemented in each country. However, most ratifying countries have not moved forward with implementation of these resolutions. To date, only few countries have shown consistent government support and funding for eye care pursuant to the resolutions. One of the main reasons for this may be inadequate and inappropriate advocacy for eye care at the national level. As such it is believed that the success of VISION 2020 in the next decade will depend on intense advocacy campaigns at national levels. This review identified some of the countries and health programs that have had fruitful advocacy efforts, to determine the factors that dictated success. The review highlights the factors of successful advocacy in two countries (Australia and Pakistan) that secured continued government support. The review further explores the achievements of the HIV/AIDs control network advocacy in securing global and national government support. Common factors for successful advocacy at the national level were identified to include generation of evidence data and effective utilization of the data with an appropriate forum and media to develop a credible relationship with prominent decision makers. Aligning eye care programming to the broad health and development agendas was a useful advocacy effort. Also a broad all-encompassing coalition of all stakeholders provides a solid platform for effective and persistent advocacy for government support of eye care.
doi:10.4103/0974-9233.92119
PMCID: PMC3277028  PMID: 22346118
Advocacy; Eye Care; Vision 2020
12.  The DOPPS Practice Monitor: Rationale and Methods for an Initiative to Monitor the New U.S. Bundled Dialysis Payment System 
A new initiative of the United States (U.S.) Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS), the DOPPS Practice Monitor (DPM) provides up-to-date data and analyses to monitor trends in dialysis practice during implementation of the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS; 2011–2014). We review DPM rationale, design, sampling approach, analytic methods, and facility sample characteristics. Using stratified random sampling, the sample of ~145 U.S. facilities provides results representative nationally and by facility type (dialysis organization size, rural/urban, free-standing/hospital-based), achieving coverage similar to the CMS sample frame at average values and tails of the distributions for key measures and patient characteristics. A publicly available Web report (www.dopps.org/DPM) provides detailed trends including demographic, comorbidity, and dialysis data, medications, vascular access, and quality of life. Findings are updated every 4 months and lagged only 3–4 months. Baseline data are from mid-2010, prior to the new PPS. In sum, the DPM provides timely, representative data to monitor the effects of the expanded PPS on dialysis practice. Findings can serve as an early warning system for possible adverse effects on clinical care and as a basis for community outreach, editorial comment, and informed advocacy.
doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.03.001
PMCID: PMC3885981  PMID: 21530036
End-stage renal disease; Prospective Payment System; Quality Incentive Program; Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study
13.  KRAS Testing for Anti-EGFR Therapy in Advanced Colorectal Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of the literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenomics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis.
Objective
The objective of this systematic review is to determine the predictive value of KRAS testing in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with two anti-EGFR agents, cetuximab and panitumumab. Economic analyses are also being conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of KRAS testing.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is usually defined as stage IV disease according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer tumour node metastasis (TNM) system or stage D in the Duke’s classification system. Patients with advanced colorectal cancer (mCRC) either present with metastatic disease or develop it through disease progression.
KRAS (Kristen-RAS, a member of the rat sarcoma virus (ras) gene family of oncogenes) is frequently mutated in epithelial cancers such as colorectal cancer, with mutations occurring in mutational hotspots (codons 12 and 13) of the KRAS protein. Involved in EGFR-mediated signalling of cellular processes such as cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, enhanced cell motility and neoangiogenesis, a mutation in the KRAS gene is believed to be involved in cancer pathogenesis. Such a mutation is also hypothesized to be involved in resistance to targeted anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor with tyrosine kinase activity) treatments such as cetuximab and panitumumab, hence, the important in evaluating the evidence on the predictive value of KRAS testing in this context.
KRAS Mutation Testing in Advanced Colorectal Cancer
Both cetuximab and panitumumab are indicated by Health Canada in the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose tumours are WT for the KRAS gene. Cetuximab may be offered as monotherapy in patients intolerant to irinotecan-based chemotherapy or in patients who have failed both irinotecan and oxaliplatin-based regimens and who received a fluoropyrimidine. It can also be administered in combination with irinotecan in patients refractory to other irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimens. Panitumumab is only indicated as a single agent after failure of fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy regimens.
In Ontario, patients with advanced colorectal cancer who are refractory to chemotherapy may be offered the targeted anti-EGFR treatments cetuximab or panitumumab. Eligibility for these treatments is based on the KRAS status of their tumour, derived from tissue collected from surgical or biopsy specimens. It is believed that KRAS status is not affected by treatments, therefore, for patients for whom surgical tissue is available for KRAS testing, additional biopsies prior to treatment with these targeted agents is not necessary. For patients that have not undergone surgery or for whom surgical tissue is not available, a biopsy of either the primary or metastatic site is required to determine their KRAS status. This is possible as status at the metastatic and primary tumour sites is considered to be similar.
Research Question
To determine if there is predictive value of KRAS testing in guiding treatment decisions with anti-EGFR targeted therapies in advanced colorectal cancer patients refractory to chemotherapy.
Research Methods
Literature Search
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and on May 18, 2010, searched the following electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment database.
The subject headings and keywords searched included colorectal cancer, cetuximab, panitumumab, and KRAS testing. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between January 1, 2009 and May 18, 2010 resulting in 1335 articles for review. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters. Studies published from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2008 were identified in a health technology assessment conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), published in 2010. In total, 14 observational studies were identified for inclusion in this EBA: 4 for cetuximab monotherapy, 7 for the cetuximab-irinotecan combination therapy, and 3 to be included in the review for panitumumab monotherapy
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English or French-language HTAs published from January 2005 to May 2010, inclusive.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or observational studies, including single arm treatment studies that include KRAS testing.
Studies with data on main outcomes of interest, overall and progression-free survival.
Studies of third line treatment with cetuximab or panitumumab in patients with advanced colorectal cancer refractory to chemotherapy.
For the cetuximab-irinotecan evaluation, studies in which at least 70% of patients in the study received this combination therapy.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies whose entire sample was included in subsequent publications which have been included in this EBA.
Studies in pediatric populations.
Case reports, comments, editorials, or letters.
Outcomes of Interest
Overall survival (OS), median
Progression-free-survival (PFS), median.
Response rates.
Adverse event rates.
Quality of life (QOL).
Summary of Findings of Systematic Review
Cetuximab or Panitumumab Monotherapy
Based on moderate GRADE observational evidence, there is improvement in PFS and OS favouring patients without the KRAS mutation (KRAS wildtype, or KRAS WT) compared to those with the mutation.
Cetuximab-Irinotecan Combination Therapy
There is low GRADE evidence that testing for KRAS may optimize survival benefits in patients without the KRAS mutation (KRAS wildtype, or KRAS WT) compared to those with the mutation.
However, cetuximab-irinotecan combination treatments based on KRAS status discount any effect of cetuximab in possibly reversing resistance to irinotecan in patients with the mutation, as observed effects were lower than for patients without the mutation. Clinical experts have raised concerns about the biological plausibility of this observation and this conclusion would, therefore, be regarded as hypothesis generating.
Economic Analysis
Cost-effectiveness and budget impact analyses were conducted incorporating estimates of effectiveness from this systematic review. Evaluation of relative cost-effectiveness, based on a decision-analytic cost-utility analysis, assessed testing for KRAS genetic mutations versus no testing in the context of treatment with cetuximab monotherapy, panitumumab monotherapy, cetuximab in combination with irinotecan, and best supportive care.
Of importance to note is that the cost-effectiveness analysis focused on the impact of testing for KRAS mutations compared to no testing in the context of different treatment options, and does not assess the cost-effectiveness of the drug treatments alone.
Conclusions
KRAS status is predictive of outcomes in cetuximab and panitumumab monotherapy, and in cetuximab-irinotecan combination therapy.
While KRAS testing is cost-effective for all strategies considered, it is not equally cost-effective for all treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3377508  PMID: 23074403
14.  A rapid assessment and response approach to review and enhance Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation for Tuberculosis control in Odisha state, India 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:463.
Background
Tuberculosis remains a major public health problem in India with the country accounting for 1 in 5 of all TB cases reported globally. An advocacy, communication and social mobilisation project for Tuberculosis control was implemented and evaluated in Odisha state of India. The purpose of the study was to identify the impact of project interventions including the use of 'Interface NGOs' and involvement of community groups such as women's self-help groups, local government bodies, village health sanitation committees, and general health staff in promoting TB control efforts.
Methods
The study utilized a rapid assessment and response (RAR) methodology. The approach combined both qualitative field work approaches, including semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with empirical data collection and desk research.
Results
Results revealed that a combination of factors including the involvement of Interface NGOs, coupled with increased training and engagement of front line health workers and community groups, and dissemination of community based resources, contributed to improved awareness and knowledge about TB in the targeted districts. Project activities also contributed towards improving health worker and community effectiveness to raise the TB agenda, and improved TB literacy and treatment adherence. Engagement of successfully treated patients also assisted in reducing community stigma and discrimination.
Conclusion
The expanded use of advocacy, communication and social mobilisation activities in TB control has resulted in a number of benefits. These include bridging pre-existing gaps between the health system and the community through support and coordination of general health services stakeholders, NGOs and the community. The strategic use of 'tailored messages' to address specific TB problems in low performing areas also led to more positive behavioural outcomes and improved efficiencies in service delivery. Implications for future studies are that a comprehensive and well planned range of ACSM activities can enhance TB knowledge, attitudes and behaviours while also mobilising specific community groups to build community efficacy to combat TB. The use of rapid assessments combined with other complementary evaluation approaches can be effective when reviewing the impact of TB advocacy, communication and social mobilisation activities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-463
PMCID: PMC3141449  PMID: 21663623
tuberculosis; advocacy; communication; social mobilisation; rapid assessment and review
15.  Tobacco Industry Manipulation of Tobacco Excise and Tobacco Advertising Policies in the Czech Republic: An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001248.
Risako Shirane and colleagues examined the the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library and found evidence of transnational tobacco company influence over tobacco advertising and excise policy in the Czech Republic, a country with one of the poorest tobacco control records in Europe.
Background
The Czech Republic has one of the poorest tobacco control records in Europe. This paper examines transnational tobacco companies' (TTCs') efforts to influence policy there, paying particular attention to excise policies, as high taxes are one of the most effective means of reducing tobacco consumption, and tax structures are an important aspect of TTC competitiveness.
Methods and Findings
TTC documents dating from 1989 to 2004/5 were retrieved from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library website, analysed using a socio-historical approach, and triangulated with key informant interviews and secondary data. The documents demonstrate significant industry influence over tobacco control policy. Philip Morris (PM) ignored, overturned, and weakened various attempts to restrict tobacco advertising, promoting voluntary approaches as an alternative to binding legislation. PM and British American Tobacco (BAT) lobbied separately on tobacco tax structures, each seeking to implement the structure that benefitted its own brand portfolio over that of its competitors, and enjoying success in turn. On excise levels, the different companies took a far more collaborative approach, seeking to keep tobacco taxes low and specifically to prevent any large tax increases. Collective lobbying, using a variety of arguments, was successful in delaying the tax increases required via European Union accession. Contrary to industry arguments, data show that cigarettes became more affordable post-accession and that TTCs have taken advantage of low excise duties by raising prices. Interview data suggest that TTCs enjoy high-level political support and continue to actively attempt to influence policy.
Conclusion
There is clear evidence of past and ongoing TTC influence over tobacco advertising and excise policy. We conclude that this helps explain the country's weak tobacco control record. The findings suggest there is significant scope for tobacco tax increases in the Czech Republic and that large (rather than small, incremental) increases are most effective in reducing smoking.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about 5 million people die from tobacco-related diseases and, if current trends continue, annual tobacco-related deaths will increase to 10 million by 2030. Faced with this global tobacco epidemic, national and international bodies have drawn up conventions and directives designed to control tobacco. For example, European Union (EU) Directives on tobacco control call for member states to ban tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship and to adopt taxation policies (for example, high levels of tobacco excise tax) aimed at reducing tobacco consumption. Within the EU, implementation of tobacco control policies varies widely but the Czech Republic, which was formed in 1993 when Czechoslovakia split following the 1989 collapse of communism, has a particularly poor record. The Czech Republic, which joined the EU in 2004, is the only EU Member State not to have ratified the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which entered into force in 2005, and its tobacco control policies were the fourth least effective in Europe in 2010.
Why Was This Study Done?
During the communist era, state-run tobacco monopolies controlled the supply of cigarettes and other tobacco products in Czechoslovakia. Privatization of these monopolies began in 1991 and several transnational tobacco companies (TTCs)—in particular, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco—entered the tobacco market in what was to become the Czech Republic. In this socio-historical study, which aims to improve understanding of both effective tobacco excise policy and the ways in which TTCs seek to influence policy in emerging markets, the researchers analyze publically available internal TTC documents and interview key informants to examine efforts made by TTCs to influence tobacco advertising and tobacco excise tax policies in the Czech Republic. A socio-historical study examines the interactions between individuals and groups in a historical context.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed 511 documents (dated 1989 onwards) in the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library website (a collection of internal tobacco industry documents released through US litigation cases) that mentioned tobacco control policies in the Czech Republic. They also analyzed information obtained from sources such as tobacco industry journals and data obtained in 2010 in interviews with key Czech informants (including a tobacco industry representative and a politician). The researchers' analysis of the industry documents indicates that Philip Morris ignored, overturned, and weakened attempts to restrict tobacco advertising and promoted voluntary approaches as an alternative to binding legislation. Importantly, while the internal documents show that Philip Morris lobbied for a specific excise tax (a fixed amount of tax per cigarette, a tax structure that favors the expensive brands that Philip Morris mainly markets), the European strategy employed at that time by British American Tobacco was to lobby for a mixed excise structure that combined an “ad valorem” tax (a tax levied as a proportion of price) and a specific tax, an approach that favors a mixed portfolio of tobacco brands. By contrast, the documents show that TTCs collaborated in trying to keep tobacco taxes low and in trying to prevent any large tax increases. This collective lobbying successfully delayed the tobacco tax increases required as a condition of the Czech Republic's accession to the EU. Finally, the interview data suggest that TTCs had high-level political support in the Czech Republic and continue actively to attempt to influence policy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide clear evidence that Philip Morris and British American Tobacco (the two TTCs that have dominated the Czech market since privatization of the tobacco industry) have significantly influenced tobacco advertising and excise policy in the Czech Republic since 1989. The findings, which also suggest that this influence is ongoing, help to explain the Czech Republic's poor tobacco control record, which was reflected in a fall in the real price of cigarettes between 1990 and 2000. More generally, this study provides valuable insight into how TTCs might try to influence policy in other emerging markets. Improvements in global tobacco control, the researchers conclude, will be possible only if efforts are made to protect tobacco control policies from the vested interests of the tobacco industry, a principle enshrined in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco control, and if public and political attitudes to the industry shift.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001248.
The World Health Organization provides information about the dangers of tobacco (in several languages) and about its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
For information about the tobacco industry's influence on policy, see the 2009 World Health Organization report Tobacco interference with tobacco control
The Framework Convention Alliance more information about the FCTC
Details of European Union legislation on excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco and on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products are available (in several languages)
The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library is a searchable public database of tobacco company internal documents detailing their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and scientific activities
The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies is a network of UK universities that undertakes original research, policy development, advocacy, and teaching and training in the field of tobacco control
SmokeFree, a website provided by the UK National Health Service, offers advice on quitting smoking and includes personal stories from people who have stopped smoking
Smokefree.gov, from the US National Cancer Institute, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking and not start again
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001248
PMCID: PMC3383744  PMID: 22745606
16.  Are there any changes in burden and management of communicable diseases in areas affected by Cyclone Nargis? 
Background
This study aims to assess the situation of communicable diseases under national surveillance in the Cyclone Nargis-affected areas in Myanmar (Burma) before and after the incident.
Methods
Monthly data during 2007, 2008 and 2009 from the routine reporting system for disease surveillance of the Myanmar Ministry of Health (MMOH) were reviewed and compared with weekly reporting from the Early Warning and Rapid Response (EWAR) system. Data from some UN agencies, NGOs and Tri-Partite Core Group (TCG) periodic reviews were also extracted for comparisons with indicators from Sphere and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.
Results
Compared to 2007 and 2009, large and atypical increases in diarrheal disease and especially dysentery cases occurred in 2008 following Cyclone Nargis. A seasonal increase in ARI reached levels higher than usual in the months of 2008 post-Nargis. The number of malaria cases post-Nargis also increased, but it was less clear if this reflected normal seasonal patterns or was specifically associated with the disaster event. There was no significant change in the occurrence of other communicable diseases in Nargis-affected areas. Except for a small decrease in mortality for diarrheal diseases and ARI in 2008 in Nargis-affected areas, population-based mortality rates for all other communicable diseases showed no significant change in 2008 in these areas, compared to 2007 and 2009. Tuberculosis control programs reached their targets of 70% case detection and 85% treatment success rates in 2007 and 2008. Vaccination coverage rates for DPT 3rd dose and measles remained at high though measles coverage still did not reach the Sphere target of 95% even by 2009. Sanitary latrine coverage in the Nargis-affected area dropped sharply to 50% in the months of 2008 following the incident but then rose to 72% in 2009.
Conclusion
While the incidence of diarrhea, dysentery and ARI increased post-Nargis in areas affected by the incident, the incidence rate for other diseases and mortality rates did not increase, and normal disease patterns resumed by 2009. This suggests that health services as well as prevention and control measures provided to the Nargis-affected population mitigated what could have been a far more severe health impact.
doi:10.1186/1752-1505-5-9
PMCID: PMC3135519  PMID: 21708044
17.  Evaluation of resident attitudes and self-reported competencies in health advocacy 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:82.
Background
The CanMEDS Health Advocate role, one of seven roles mandated by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Canada, pertains to a physician's responsibility to use their expertise and influence to advance the wellbeing of patients, communities, and populations. We conducted our study to examine resident attitudes and self-reported competencies related to health advocacy, due to limited information in the literature on this topic.
Methods
We conducted a pilot experience with seven internal medicine residents participating in a community health promotion event. The residents provided narrative feedback after the event and the information was used to generate items for a health advocacy survey. Face validity was established by having the same residents review the survey. Content validity was established by inviting an expert physician panel to review the survey. The refined survey was then distributed to a cohort of core Internal Medicine residents electronically after attendance at an academic retreat teaching residents about advocacy through didactic sessions.
Results
The survey was completed by 76 residents with a response rate of 68%. The majority agreed to accept an advocacy role for societal health needs beyond caring for individual patients. Most confirmed their ability to identify health determinants and reaffirmed the inherent requirements for health advocacy. While involvement in health advocacy was common during high school and undergraduate studies, 76% of residents reported no current engagement in advocacy activity, and 36% were undecided if they would engage in advocacy during their remaining time as residents, fellows or staff. The common barriers reported were insufficient time, rest and stress.
Conclusions
Medical residents endorsed the role of health advocate and reported proficiency in determining the medical and bio-psychosocial determinants of individuals and communities. Few residents, however, were actively involved in health advocacy beyond an individual level during residency due to multiple barriers. Further studies should address these barriers to advocacy and identify the reasons for the discordance we found between advocacy endorsement and lack of engagement.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-82
PMCID: PMC2999597  PMID: 21087495
18.  Who knew? Awareness of being recommended for influenza vaccination among U.S. adults 
Background
Starting with the 2010–2011 influenza season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual influenza vaccination to all people aged 6 months and older unless contraindicated.
Objectives
To measure perceived influenza vaccination recommendation status among U.S. adults (n=2,122) and its association with socio-demographic characteristics and recommendation status during the 2009–2010 pandemic influenza season.
Methods
We analyze nationally representative data from longitudinal Internet surveys of U.S. adults conducted in November/December 2009 and September/October 2010.
Results
46.2 percent (95%-CI: 43.3%–49.1%) of U.S. adults correctly reported to be covered by a government recommendation for influenza vaccination during the 2010–2011 vaccination season. Awareness of being covered by a government influenza vaccination recommendation was statistically significantly higher among non-working adults and adults who had been recommended for seasonal vaccination or both seasonal and H1N1 vaccination during the 2009–2010 pandemic influenza vaccination season.
Conclusion
Our results highlight that a majority of U.S. adults does not know that they are recommended for annual influenza vaccination by the government. The fraction of adults who are unaware of their recommendation status is especially large among newly recommended healthy young adults. The universal vaccination recommendations will only be successful if they reach both patients and physicians and lead to changing vaccination practices. The universal nature of the new recommendation simplifies vaccination-related outreach and compliance with government vaccination guidelines considerably, since it does not require any identification of specific recommendation groups based on complex personal or health risk factors.
doi:10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00305.x
PMCID: PMC3292703  PMID: 22118416
Influenza; Influenza vaccination; ACIP recommendations; Patient knowledge
19.  Academics and competing interests in H1N1 influenza media reporting 
Background
Concerns have been raised over competing interests (CoI) among academics during the 2009 to 2010 A/H1N1 pandemic. Media reporting can influence public anxiety and demand for pharmaceutical products. We assessed CoI of academics providing media commentary during the early stages of the pandemic.
Methods
We performed a retrospective content analysis of UK newspaper articles on A/H1N1 influenza, examining quoted sources. We noted when academics made a risk assessment of the pandemic and compared this with official estimations. We also looked for promotion or rejection of the use of neuraminidase inhibitors or H1N1-specific vaccine. We independently searched for CoI for each academic.
Results
Academics were the second most frequently quoted source after Ministers of Health. Where both academics and official agencies estimated the risk of H1N1, one in two academics assessed the risk as higher than official predictions. For academics with CoI, the odds of a higher risk assessment were 5.8 times greater than those made by academics without CoI (Wald p value=0.009). One in two academics commenting on the use of neuraminidase inhibitors or vaccine had CoI. The odds of CoI in academics promoting the use of neuraminidase inhibitors were 8.4 times greater than for academics not commenting on their use (Fisher's exact p=0.005).
Conclusions
There is evidence of CoI among academics providing media commentary during the early H1N1 pandemic. Heightened risk assessments, combined with advocacy for pharmaceutical products to counter this risk, may lead to increased public anxiety and demand. Academics should declare, and journalists report, relevant CoI for media interviews.
doi:10.1136/jech-2013-203128
PMCID: PMC3932964  PMID: 24218071
PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY; INFLUENZA; ETHICS; EPIDEMICS
20.  From personal tragedy to personal challenge: responses to stigma among sober living home residents and operators 
Sociology of health & illness  2011;34(3):379-395.
Sober living homes for people attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs can act as a buffer against the high rates of substance misuse that are endemic to many urban environments. Sober living homes and other group homes for people with disabilities have faced persistent opposition from neighborhood associations, which raises the question of stigma. This article describes the responses of sober living home residents and operators to the threat of stigma across a diverse set of neighborhoods. Ten focus groups were conducted with 68 residents and operators of 35 sober living homes in Los Angeles County, California, between January 2009 and March 2010. Results showed that few residents reported experiences of blatant stigmatization by neighbors; however, they were well aware of the stereotypes that could be ascribed to them. Despite this potential stigma, residents developed valued identities as helpers in their communities, providing advice to neighbors whose family or friends had substance use problems, and organizing community service activities to improve the appearance of their neighborhoods. With their attention to local context, sober living home residents and operators challenge the personal tragedy approach of much traditional advocacy on health-related stigma.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2011.01376.x
PMCID: PMC3183281  PMID: 21707663
substance use; stigma; community; identity; social support
21.  Creating a Provincial Family Council to Engage Youth and Families in Child & Youth Mental Health Systems 
Objective:
To create a mechanism in British Columbia (BC) for youth and families to directly engage with key provincial committees that develop policy and implement service delivery for child and youth mental health.
Method:
In 2009, a plan was initiated to increase the involvement and influence of youth and families in research, policy, practices and programs related to child and youth mental health. This initiative, led by a provincial family advocacy society in partnership with representatives from health services and government, resulted in the establishment of the Provincial Family Council for Child and Youth Mental Health (PFC). Formation of the PFC occurred in two phases: initially, a Working Group co-chaired by a parent and a youth was tasked with developing the Terms of Reference and framework for the PFC; phase two involved ensuring important constituencies/demographics and competencies were represented in the membership of the PFC. Result: The Provincial Family Council is officially endorsed by the provincial government and is informing key provincial committees in British Columbia.
Conclusion:
In BC, the PFC is the vehicle through which youth and families can now work in partnership with “the system” to promote and improve the mental health of BC’s children and youth.
PMCID: PMC2938749  PMID: 20842271
early intervention; parenting; partnerships; family engagement; intervention précoce; rôle des parents; partenariat; engagement de la famille
22.  Residents as health advocates: The development, implementation and evaluation of a child advocacy initiative at the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario) 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2007;12(7):567-572.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Advocacy is an integral part of a paediatrician’s role. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has identified advocacy as one of the essential Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists competencies, and participation in child advocacy work as an important component of paediatric residency training. The objective of the present paper was to describe the development, implementation and evaluation of the first four years of the child advocacy initiative at the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario).
METHODOLOGY:
Ideas for community child advocacy projects were generated through a literature review, and a link to a local elementary school was identified. Teacher and parent focus groups were conducted to identify areas for resident involvement. Workshops were then developed, implemented and evaluated by paediatric residents.
RESULTS:
Six child advocacy projects between 2001 and 2004 were conducted based on results from the focus groups. These included annual clothing drives, as well as workshops for parents and children about nutrition, safety, parenting, illness management and basic first aid. More than 95% of parents reported that the workshops were useful or very useful, more than 92% felt that they learned something new and more than 83% wanted the residents to return for further workshops. Teachers and residents gave positive informal feedback.
CONCLUSIONS:
Through the child advocacy initiative, paediatric residents had the opportunity to develop skills in advocacy, learn about the determinants of child health and become community partners in advocating for children. Such an initiative can be incorporated into the residency curriculum to help residents develop competency in advocacy.
PMCID: PMC2528778  PMID: 19030427
Advocacy; Community; Medical Education; Paediatrics; Residency
23.  Feasibility and acceptability of home-based management of malaria strategy adapted to Sudan's conditions using artemisinin-based combination therapy and rapid diagnostic test 
Malaria Journal  2009;8:39.
Background
Malaria remains a major public health problem especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the efforts exerted to provide effective anti-malarial drugs, still some communities suffer from getting access to these services due to many barriers. This research aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of home-based management of malaria (HMM) strategy using artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for treatment and rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for diagnosis.
Methods
This is a study conducted in 20 villages in Um Adara area, South Kordofan state, Sudan. Two-thirds (66%) of the study community were seeking treatment from heath facilities, which were more than 5 km far from their villages with marked inaccessibility during rainy season. Volunteers (one per village) were trained on using RDTs for diagnosis and artesunate plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for treating malaria patients, as well as referral of severe and non-malaria cases. A system for supply and monitoring was established based on the rural health centre, which acted as a link between the volunteers and the health system. Advocacy for the policy was done through different tools. Volunteers worked on non-monetary incentives but only a consultation fee of One Sudanese Pound (equivalent to US$0.5).
Pre- and post-intervention assessment was done using household survey, focus group discussion with the community leaders, structured interview with the volunteers, and records and reports analysis.
Results and discussion
The overall adherence of volunteers to the project protocol in treating and referring cases was accepted that was only one of the 20 volunteers did not comply with the study guidelines. Although the use of RDTs seemed to have improved the level of accuracy and trust in the diagnosis, 30% of volunteers did not rely on the negative RDT results when treating fever cases. Almost all (94.7%) the volunteers felt that they were satisfied with the spiritual outcome of their new tasks. As well, volunteers have initiated advocacy campaigns supported by their village health committees which were found to have a positive role to play in the project that proved their acceptability of the HMM design. The planned system for supply was found to be effective. The project was found to improve the accessibility to ACTs from 25% to 64.7% and the treatment seeking behaviour from 83.3% to 100% before- and after the HMM implementation respectivly.
Conclusion
The evaluation of the project identified the feasibility of the planned model in Sudan's condition. Moreover, the communities as well as the volunteers found to be satisfied with and supportive to the system and the outcome. The problem of treating other febrile cases when diagnosis is not malaria and other non-fever cases needs to be addressed as well.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-8-39
PMCID: PMC2660358  PMID: 19272157
24.  Estimates of Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe, 2009–2010: Results of Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe (I-MOVE) Multicentre Case-Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(1):e1000388.
Results from a European multicentre case-control study reported by Marta Valenciano and colleagues suggest good protection by the pandemic monovalent H1N1 vaccine against pH1N1 and no effect of the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine on H1N1.
Background
A multicentre case-control study based on sentinel practitioner surveillance networks from seven European countries was undertaken to estimate the effectiveness of 2009–2010 pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines against medically attended influenza-like illness (ILI) laboratory-confirmed as pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1).
Methods and Findings
Sentinel practitioners swabbed ILI patients using systematic sampling. We included in the study patients meeting the European ILI case definition with onset of symptoms >14 days after the start of national pandemic vaccination campaigns. We compared pH1N1 cases to influenza laboratory-negative controls. A valid vaccination corresponded to >14 days between receiving a dose of vaccine and symptom onset. We estimated pooled vaccine effectiveness (VE) as 1 minus the odds ratio with the study site as a fixed effect. Using logistic regression, we adjusted VE for potential confounding factors (age group, sex, month of onset, chronic diseases and related hospitalizations, smoking history, seasonal influenza vaccinations, practitioner visits in previous year). We conducted a complete case analysis excluding individuals with missing values and a multiple multivariate imputation to estimate missing values. The multivariate imputation (n = 2902) adjusted pandemic VE (PIVE) estimates were 71.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 45.6–85.5) overall; 78.4% (95% CI 54.4–89.8) in patients <65 years; and 72.9% (95% CI 39.8–87.8) in individuals without chronic disease. The complete case (n = 1,502) adjusted PIVE were 66.0% (95% CI 23.9–84.8), 71.3% (95% CI 29.1–88.4), and 70.2% (95% CI 19.4–89.0), respectively. The adjusted PIVE was 66.0% (95% CI −69.9 to 93.2) if vaccinated 8–14 days before ILI onset. The adjusted 2009–2010 seasonal influenza VE was 9.9% (95% CI −65.2 to 50.9).
Conclusions
Our results suggest good protection of the pandemic monovalent vaccine against medically attended pH1N1 and no effect of the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine. However, the late availability of the pandemic vaccine and subsequent limited coverage with this vaccine hampered our ability to study vaccine benefits during the outbreak period. Future studies should include estimation of the effectiveness of the new trivalent vaccine in the upcoming 2010–2011 season, when vaccination will occur before the influenza season starts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Following the World Health Organization's declaration of pandemic phase six in June 2009, manufacturers developed vaccines against pandemic influenza A 2009 (pH1N1). On the basis of the scientific opinion of the European Medicines Agency, the European Commission initially granted marketing authorization to three pandemic vaccines for use in European countries. During the autumn of 2009, most European countries included the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine and the pandemic vaccine in their influenza vaccination programs.
The Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe network (established to monitor seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness) conducted seven case-control and three cohort studies in seven European countries in 2009–2010 to estimate the effectiveness of the pandemic and seasonal vaccines. Data from the seven pilot case-control studies were pooled to provide overall adjusted estimates of vaccine effectiveness.
Why Was This Study Done?
After seasonal and pandemic vaccines are made available to populations, it is necessary to estimate the effectiveness of the vaccines at the population level during every influenza season. Therefore, this study was conducted in European countries to estimate the pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness and seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness against people presenting to their doctor with influenza-like illness who were confirmed (by laboratory tests) to be infected with pH1N1.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a multicenter case-control study on the basis of practitioner surveillance networks from seven countries—France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Portugal, and Spain. Patients consulting a participating practitioner for influenza-like illness had a nasal or throat swab taken within 8 days of symptom onset. Cases were swabbed patients who tested positive for pH1N1. Patients presenting with influenza-like illness whose swab tested negative for any influenza virus were controls.
Individuals were considered vaccinated if they had received a dose of the vaccine more than 14 days before the date of onset of influenza-like illness and unvaccinated if they were not vaccinated at all, or if the vaccine was given less than 15 days before the onset of symptoms. The researchers analyzed pandemic influenza vaccination effectiveness in those vaccinated less than 8 days, those vaccinated between and including 8 and 14 days, and those vaccinated more than 14 days before onset of symptoms compared to those who had never been vaccinated.
The researchers used modeling (taking account of all potential confounding factors) to estimate adjusted vaccine effectiveness and stratified the adjusted pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness and the adjusted seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness in three age groups (<15, 15–64, and ≥65 years of age).
The adjusted results suggest that the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine did not protect against pH1N1 illness. However, one dose of the pandemic vaccines used in the participating countries conferred good protection (65.5%–100% according to various stratifications performed) against pH1N1 in people who attended their practitioner with influenza-like illness, especially in people aged <65 years and in those without any chronic disease. Furthermore, good pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness was observed as early as 8 days after vaccination.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results of this study provide early estimates of the pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness suggesting that the monovalent pandemic vaccines have been effective. The findings also give an indication of the vaccine effectiveness for the Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 strain included in the 2010–2011 seasonal vaccines, although specific vaccine effectiveness studies will have to be conducted to verify if similar good effectiveness are observed with 2010–2011 trivalent vaccines. However, the results of this study should be interpreted with caution because of limitations in the pandemic context (late timing of the studies, low incidence, low vaccine coverage leading to imprecise estimates) and potential biases due the study design, confounding factors, and missing values. The researchers recommend that in future season studies, the sample size per country should be enlarged in order to allow for precise pooled and stratified analyses.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000388.
The World Health Organization has information on H1N1 vaccination
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a fact sheet on the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus
The US Department of Health and Human services has a comprehensive website on flu
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides information on 2009 H1N1 pandemic
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control presents a summary of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in Europe and elsewhere
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000388
PMCID: PMC3019108  PMID: 21379316
25.  Strong advocacy led to successful implementation of smokefree Mexico City 
Tobacco control  2010;20(1):64-72.
Objective
To describe the approval process and implementation of the 100% smokefree law in Mexico City and a competing federal law between 2007 and 2010.
Methods
Reviewed smokefree legislation, published newspaper articles and interviewed key informants.
Results
Strong efforts by tobacco control advocacy groups and key policymakers in Mexico City in 2008 prompted the approval of a 100% smokefree law following the WHO FCTC. As elsewhere, the tobacco industry utilised the hospitality sector to block smokefree legislation, challenged the City law before the Supreme Court and promoted the passage of a federal law that required designated smoking areas. These tactics disrupted implementation of the City law by causing confusion over which law applied in Mexico City. Despite interference, the City law increased public support for 100% smokefree policies and decreased the social acceptability of smoking. In September 2009, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the City law, giving it the authority to go beyond the federal law to protect the fundamental right of health for all citizens.
Conclusions
Early education and enforcement efforts by tobacco control advocates promoted the City law in 2008 but advocates should still anticipate continuing opposition from the tobacco industry, which will require continued pressure on the government. Advocates should utilise the Supreme Court’s ruling to promote 100% smokefree policies outside Mexico City. Strong advocacy for the City law could be used as a model of success throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries.
doi:10.1136/tc.2010.037010
PMCID: PMC3089444  PMID: 21059606

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