In the spirit of stimulating reevaluation of the methods of public health science, this article explores the methods of cancer hazard identification at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) from the perspective of primary prevention and precaution. The NTP is a cooperative effort of three federal agencies: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, the lead government institute); the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOSH), in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the National Center for Toxicology Research (NCTR), in the Food and Drug Administration. NTP coordinates toxicological research and testing programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and through its annual Report on Carcinogens (RoC), identifies and characterizes cancer hazards-the first step in quantitative risk assessment-for the federal government. The foundation of NIEHS policies, for environmental health research, is quantitative risk assessment (QRA). The author examines the opportunities for primary prevention and precaution, and the extent to which the policies of NIEHS in general, and the NTP in particular, do and do not realize that potential. Special attention is paid to the issue of cancer hazard identification. Critical comments on the process of classifying carcinogens in the Ninth and Tenth Reports on Carcinogens are presented, based on the minutes of the Board of Scientific Counselors Subcommittee meetings.
Global environmental health has emerged as a critical topic for environmental health researchers and practitioners. Estimates of the environmental contribution of total worldwide disease burden range from 25 to 33%.
We reviewed grants funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) during 2005–2007 to evaluate the costs and scientific composition of the global environmental health portfolio, with the ultimate aim of strengthening global environmental health research partnerships.
We examined NIEHS grant research databases to identify the global environmental health portfolio. In the past 3 fiscal years (2005–2007), the NIEHS funded 57 scientific research projects in 37 countries, at an estimated cost of $30 million. Metals such as arsenic, methylmercury, and lead are the most frequently studied toxic agents, but a wide range of stressors, routes of exposure, and agents are addressed in the portfolio.
The portfolio analysis indicates that there is a firm foundation of research activities upon which additional global environmental health partnerships could be encouraged. Current data structures could be strengthened to support more automated analysis of grantee information.
global health; partnerships; science assessment
Background: The past decade has seen tremendous expansion in the production and application of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The unique properties that make ENMs useful in the marketplace also make their interactions with biological systems difficult to anticipate and critically important to explore. Currently, little is known about the health effects of human exposure to these materials.
Objectives: As part of its role in supporting the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has developed an integrated, strategic research program—“ONE Nano”—to increase our fundamental understanding of how ENMs interact with living systems, to develop predictive models for quantifying ENM exposure and assessing ENM health impacts, and to guide the design of second-generation ENMs to minimize adverse health effects.
Discussion: The NIEHS’s research investments in ENM health and safety include extramural grants and grantee consortia, intramural research activities, and toxicological studies being conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP). These efforts have enhanced collaboration within the nanotechnology research community and produced toxicological profiles for selected ENMs, as well as improved methods and protocols for conducting in vitro and in vivo studies to assess ENM health effects.
Conclusion: By drawing upon the strengths of the NIEHS’s intramural, extramural, and NTP programs and establishing productive partnerships with other institutes and agencies across the federal government, the NIEHS’s strategic ONE Nano program is working toward new advances to improve our understanding of the health impacts of engineered nanomaterials and support the goals of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.
consortium-based research; health effects; nanoparticles; nanotechnology
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Superfund Basic Research Program is currently funding 142 separate research projects within 18 programs encompassing 29 universities and institutions around the United States. The research under this program covers a wide range of interdisciplinary science from both the biomedical and nonbiomedical perspectives. This is a unique program of technology-driven research. Nonetheless, there are some areas of research that should be investigated or investigated further, should funds become available. Environmental health risk posed by the location of Superfund sites may be distributed inequitably across socioeconomic status and racial groups. Since one in five children now lives below the poverty line, an important aspect of environmental equity must be the investigation of the health effects of environmental factors on children. The multidisciplinary investigation of the effects of hazardous substance exposure on children is an area that needs much research due to the fact that most of the toxicologic data available are based on adults and animals. This program is funding 27 projects on ecologic damage posed by hazardous wastes. Much more research is needed in the investigation of toxic effects on natural succession of ecosystems as well as on their effects on biodiversity to further our understanding of the food web in the role of bioavailability in human health, and to examine the bioaccumulation of these chemicals as it relates to their fate and transport. This program is researching and developing many innovative technologies for detecting, assessing, and reducing toxic materials in the environment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Two devastating hurricanes ripped across the Gulf Coast of the United States during 2005. The effects of Hurricane Katrina were especially severe: The human and environmental health impacts on New Orleans, Louisiana, and other Gulf Coast communities will be felt for decades to come. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that Katrina’s destruction disrupted the lives of roughly 650,000 Americans. Over 1,300 people died. The projected economic costs for recovery and reconstruction are likely to exceed $125 billion.
The NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) Portal aims to provide decision makers with the data, information, and the tools they need to a) monitor human and environmental health impacts of disasters; b) assess and reduce human exposures to contaminants; and c) develop science-based remediation, rebuilding, and repopulation strategies.
The NIEHS Portal combines advances in geographic information systems (GIS), data mining/integration, and visualization technologies through new forms of grid-based (distributed, web-accessible) cyberinfrastructure.
The scale and complexity of the problems presented by Hurricane Katrina made it evident that no stakeholder alone could tackle them and that there is a need for greater collaboration. The NIEHS Portal provides a collaboration-enabling, information-laden base necessary to respond to environmental health concerns in the Gulf Coast region while advancing integrative multidisciplinary research.
The NIEHS Portal is poised to serve as a national resource to track environmental hazards following natural and man-made disasters, focus medical and environmental response and recovery resources in areas of greatest need, and function as a test bed for technologies that will help advance environmental health sciences research into the modern scientific and computing era.
community-linked research; cyberinfrastructure; disaster; environmental justice; GIS; grid; health disparities; integrative research; Katrina; telescience
The Predictive-Toxicology Evaluation (PTE) project conducts collaborative experiments that subject the performance of predictive-toxicology (PT) methods to rigorous, objective evaluation in a uniquely informative manner. Sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, it takes advantage of the ongoing testing conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) to estimate the true error of models that have been applied to make prospective predictions on previously untested, noncongeneric-chemical substances. The PTE project first identifies a group of standardized NTP chemical bioassays either scheduled to be conducted or are ongoing, but not yet complete. The project then announces and advertises the evaluation experiment, disseminates information about the chemical bioassays, and encourages researchers from a wide variety of disciplines to publish their predictions in peer-reviewed journals, using whatever approaches and methods they feel are best. A collection of such papers is published in this Environmental Health Perspectives Supplement, providing readers the opportunity to compare and contrast PT approaches and models, within the context of their prospective application to an actual-use situation. This introduction to this collection of papers on predictive toxicology summarizes the predictions made and the final results obtained for the 44 chemical carcinogenesis bioassays of the first PTE experiment (PTE-1) and presents information that identifies the 30 chemical carcinogenesis bioassays of PTE-2, along with a table of prediction sets that have been published to date. It also provides background about the origin and goals of the PTE project, outlines the special challenge associated with estimating the true error of models that aspire to predict open-system behavior, and summarizes what has been learned to date.
A conceptual model was developed to guide evaluation of the long-term impacts of research grant programs at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The model was then applied to the extramural asthma research portfolio in two stages: (1) the first used extant data sources, (2) the second involved primary data collection with asthma researchers and individuals in positions to use asthma research in development of programs, policies, and practices. Reporting on the second stage, this article describes how we sought to broaden the perspectives included in the assessment and obtain a more nuanced picture of research impacts by engaging those involved in conducting or using the research.
Background: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and is found in many consumer products. Some studies using animal models have suggested that BPA exposures may have adverse health effects. However, research gaps have precluded a full understanding of the effects of BPA in humans and engendered controversies surrounding the chemical’s potential toxicity.
Objectives: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP) have developed an integrated, multipronged, consortium-based approach to optimize BPA-focused research investments to more effectively address data gaps and inform decision making.
Discussion: NIEHS/NTP BPA research investments made over the past 4 years include extramural research grants, establishment of a BPA Grantee Consortium, intramural research activities on BPA’s mechanisms of action, the launch of two clinical studies and an occupational study, development of a round-robin experiment to validate BPA measurements in human serum, and, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), formation of a consortium to design and execute a chronic toxicity study of BPA in rats. The NIEHS’s new consortium-based approach has led to more integrated, collaborative efforts and should improve our ability to resolve controversies over the potential human health effects of exposures to low levels of endocrine-active agents.
bisphenol A; consortium-based research; endocrine disruptor; low dose; NIEHS
Background: Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have potential benefits, but they also present safety concerns for human health. Interlaboratory studies in rodents using standardized protocols are needed to assess ENM toxicity.
Methods: Four laboratories evaluated lung responses in C57BL/6 mice to ENMs delivered by oropharyngeal aspiration (OPA), and three labs evaluated Sprague-Dawley (SD) or Fisher 344 (F344) rats following intratracheal instillation (IT). ENMs tested included three forms of titanium dioxide (TiO2) [anatase/rutile spheres (TiO2-P25), anatase spheres (TiO2-A), and anatase nanobelts (TiO2-NBs)] and three forms of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) [original (O), purified (P), and carboxylic acid “functionalized” (F)]. One day after treatment, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected to determine differential cell counts, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and protein. Lungs were fixed for histopathology. Responses were also examined at 7 days (TiO2 forms) and 21 days (MWCNTs) after treatment.
Results: TiO2-A, TiO2-P25, and TiO2-NB caused significant neutrophilia in mice at 1 day in three of four labs. TiO2-NB caused neutrophilia in rats at 1 day in two of three labs, and TiO2-P25 and TiO2-A had no significant effect in any of the labs. Inflammation induced by TiO2 in mice and rats resolved by day 7. All MWCNT types caused neutrophilia at 1 day in three of four mouse labs and in all rat labs. Three of four labs observed similar histopathology to O-MWCNTs and TiO2-NBs in mice.
Conclusions: ENMs produced similar patterns of neutrophilia and pathology in rats and mice. Although interlaboratory variability was found in the degree of neutrophilia caused by the three types of TiO2 nanoparticles, similar findings of relative potency for the three types of MWCNTs were found across all laboratories, thus providing greater confidence in these interlaboratory comparisons.
carbon nanotubes; inflammation; lung; nanoparticles; titanium dioxide
Background: Differences in interlaboratory research protocols contribute to the conflicting data in the literature regarding engineered nanomaterial (ENM) bioactivity.
Objectives: Grantees of a National Institute of Health Sciences (NIEHS)-funded consortium program performed two phases of in vitro testing with selected ENMs in an effort to identify and minimize sources of variability.
Methods: Consortium program participants (CPPs) conducted ENM bioactivity evaluations on zinc oxide (ZnO), three forms of titanium dioxide (TiO2), and three forms of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). In addition, CPPs performed bioassays using three mammalian cell lines (BEAS-2B, RLE-6TN, and THP-1) selected in order to cover two different species (rat and human), two different lung epithelial cells (alveolar type II and bronchial epithelial cells), and two different cell types (epithelial cells and macrophages). CPPs also measured cytotoxicity in all cell types while measuring inflammasome activation [interleukin-1β (IL-1β) release] using only THP-1 cells.
Results: The overall in vitro toxicity profiles of ENM were as follows: ZnO was cytotoxic to all cell types at ≥ 50 μg/mL, but did not induce IL-1β. TiO2 was not cytotoxic except for the nanobelt form, which was cytotoxic and induced significant IL-1β production in THP-1 cells. MWCNTs did not produce cytotoxicity, but stimulated lower levels of IL-1β production in THP-1 cells, with the original MWCNT producing the most IL-1β.
Conclusions: The results provide justification for the inclusion of mechanism-linked bioactivity assays along with traditional cytotoxicity assays for in vitro screening. In addition, the results suggest that conducting studies with multiple relevant cell types to avoid false-negative outcomes is critical for accurate evaluation of ENM bioactivity.
cell viability; inflammation; in vitro; MWCNT; nanotoxicology; round-robin testing; TiO2; ZnO
Autoimmunity is thought to result from a combination of genetics, environmental triggers, and stochastic events. Environmental factors, such as chemicals, drugs or infectious agents, have been implicated in the expression of autoimmune disease, yet human studies are extremely limited in their ability to test isolated exposures to demonstrate causation or to assess pathogenic mechanisms. In this review we examine the research literature on the ability of chemical, physical and biological agents to induce and/or exacerbate autoimmunity in a variety of animal models. There is no single animal model capable of mimicking the features of human autoimmune disease, particularly as related to environmental exposures. An objective, therefore, was to assess the types of information that can be gleaned from the use of animal models, and how well that information can be used to translate back to human health. Our review notes the importance of genetic background to the types and severity of the autoimmune response following exposure to environmental factors, and emphasizes literature where animal model studies have led to increased confidence about environmental factors that affect expression of autoimmunity. A high level of confidence was reached if there were multiple studies from different laboratories confirming the same findings. Examples include mercury, pristane, and infection with Streptococcus or Coxsackie B virus. A second level of consensus identified those exposures likely to influence autoimmunity but requiring further confirmation. To fit into this category, there needed to be significant supporting data, perhaps by multiple studies from a single laboratory, or repetition of some but not all findings in multiple laboratories. Examples include silica, gold, TCE, TCDD, UV radiation, and Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus. With the caveat that researchers must keep in mind the limitations and appropriate applications of the various approaches, animal models are shown to be extremely valuable tools for studying the induction or exacerbation of autoimmunity by environmental conditions and exposures.
autoimmunity; animal model; environmental factors; chemicals; biological
The Director’s Forum series is designed to guide pharmacy leaders in establishing patient-centered services in hospitals and health systems. August 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Mirror to Hospital Pharmacy, the results of a federally funded comprehensive study of pharmacy services in the United States. The late Don E. Francke, MS, DSc, was the lead author of the Mirror and the principal investigator for the US Public Health Service grant W-45. To celebrate the anniversary of the Mirror, the Director’s Forum is profiling the leadership styles of Drs. Latiolais and Francke. September’s article highlighted Dr. Clifton J. Latiolais; this month’s Director’s Forum reviews Dr. Francke’s biography and key career accomplishments, describes his leadership philosophy, and translates that philosophy to today’s health care challenges. Don’s influence on health system pharmacy serves as an example of effective leadership. This historical perspective provides directors of pharmacy a valuable leadership view as they develop strategies to enhance patient-centered pharmacy services.
Sponsored by Yale University, the City of New Haven, and the John B. Pierce Foundation, the C.-E.A. Winslow Day program consisted of speeches by Mr. Leonard Woodcock, President Emeritus, U.A.W., the Honorable Kenneth Gibson, Mayor of Newark, and Dr. Hector Acuña, Director, Pan American Health Organization; reminiscences of Ira Hiscock, Anna M.R. Lauder Professor Emeritus of Public Health, Mary Elizabeth Tennant, Associate Professor Emeritus of Nursing (Public Health), A. Pharo Gagge, Emeritus Fellow, John B. Pierce Foundation, and Mrs. Harriet Welch, Former President of the VNA of New Haven. The proceedings also included the presentation of gifts and the official C.-E.A. Winslow Day Proclamation.
The Director’s Forum series is designed to guide pharmacy leaders in establishing patient-centered services in hospitals and health systems. August 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Mirror to Hospital Pharmacy, which was a comprehensive study of pharmacy services in the United States. The late Clifton J. Latiolais, MS, DSc, served as the assistant program director for the study and was a co-author of the Mirror. The late Don E. Francke, MS, DSc, was the lead author of the Mirror and the principal investigator of the federally funded study that reviewed hospital pharmacy services across the United States. The next 2 articles in Director’s Forum profile the leadership of Drs. Latiolais and Francke. This article highlights Dr. Latiolais (“Clif”) by briefly reviewing his biography and key career accomplishments, describing his leadership philosophy, and translating that philosophy to today’s health care challenges. Clif’s influence on health system pharmacy serves as an example of effective leadership. This historical perspective on Clif’s leadership, as seen through the eyes of those who knew him, provides directors of pharmacy a valuable leadership viewpoint as they develop strategies to enhance patient-centered pharmacy services.
We explored the impact that attributes of US medical school seniors have on their success in matching to a surgical residency, in order to analyze trends for National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) match outcomes in surgical specialties between 2007 and 2009.
Using Electronic Residency Application Service data and NRMP outcomes, we analyzed medical students' attributes and their effect in successfully matching students into residency positions in surgery, otolaryngology, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology. Attributes analyzed included self-reported United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2 scores, Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society membership, research experience, additional graduate degree status, and graduation from a top 40 National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded medical school. Odds ratios were calculated for each criterion, and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine significance.
Between 2007 and 2009, the number of surgical specialty residency positions increased by 86, and the number of applicants increased by 34. Membership in AOA, USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores, research experience, and graduation from a top 40 NIH-funded medical school frequently had a significant impact on residents successfully matching into many specialties, while additional graduate degrees had no effect on matching into surgical specialties (range 0.64 to 1.2).
Although the statistical significance varied across specialties, higher USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores, AOA membership, research experience, and graduation from a top 40 NIH-funded medical school generally had a positive impact on match success to surgical residency for US allopathic seniors. Test preparation and seeking research experience during undergraduate medical education may be effective approaches for increasing the likelihood of success for US seniors matching into a surgical specialty.
The following is an edited version of the Keynote Speech delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology by Harold Varmus, Director of the National Institutes of Health. The address, entitled Basic Science and the NIH, was given at the opening of the meeting in New Orleans on December 11, 1993. It was Varmus' first public policy talk as NIH Director.
State employee health plans sometimes provide worksite wellness programs to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases among their members, but few offer the comprehensive range of interventions recommended by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services.
North Carolina's State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees provides health coverage for approximately 665,000 state employees, teachers, retirees, and dependents. Health claims indicate that the prevalence of having at least 1 chronic disease or of being obese is approximately 32% among state employees.
The State Health Plan created a partnership with North Carolina's Division of Public Health, Office of State Personnel, and other key state agencies to identify bureaucratic obstacles to providing worksite wellness programs for state employees and to develop a state policy to address them. The Division of Public Health established a model worksite program to guide development of the worksite wellness policy and pilot wellness interventions.
The state's first worksite wellness policy created an employee wellness infrastructure in state government and addressed administrative barriers to allow effective worksite wellness interventions. For example, the policy led to pilot implementation of a subsidized worksite weight management program. Positive results of the program helped generate legislative support to expand the weight management program throughout state government.
Strong interagency partnership is essential to guide worksite wellness policy and program development in state government. State health plans, public health agencies, and personnel agencies each play a role in that partnership.
Job satisfaction largely determines the productivity and efficiency of human resource for health. It literally depicts the extent to which professionals like or dislike their jobs. Job satisfaction is said to be linked with the employee’s work environment, job responsibilities and powers and time pressure; the determinants which affect employee’s organizational commitment and consequently the quality of services. The objective of the study was to determine the level of and factors influencing job satisfaction among public health professionals in the public sector.
This was a cross sectional study conducted in Islamabad, Pakistan. Sample size was universal including 73 public health professionals, with postgraduate qualifications and working in government departments of Islamabad. A validated structured questionnaire was used to collect data from April to October 2011.
Overall satisfaction rate was 41% only, while 45% were somewhat satisfied and 14% of professionals highly dissatisfied with their jobs. For those who were not satisfied, working environment, job description and time pressure were the major causes. Other factors influencing the level of satisfaction were low salaries, lack of training opportunities, improper supervision and inadequate financial rewards.
Our study documented a relatively low level of overall satisfaction among workers in public sector health care organizations. Considering the factors responsible for this state of affairs, urgent and concrete strategies must be developed to address the concerns of public health professionals as they represent a highly sensitive domain of health system of Pakistan. Improving the overall work environment, review of job descriptions and better remuneration might bring about a positive change.
Job satisfaction; Public sector; Health professionals; Job descriptions
To understand key adaptive strategies considered by health care safety net organizations serving uninsured and underinsured populations in Michigan.
Data Sources/Study Setting
Primary data collected through interviews at community-based free clinics, family planning clinics, local public health departments, and Federally Qualified Health Centers from 2002 to 2003.
In each of six service areas in Michigan, we conducted a multiple-site case study of the four organizations noted above. We conducted interviews with the administrator, the medical or clinical director, the financial or marketing director, and a member of the board of directors. We interviewed 74 respondents at 20 organizations.
Organizations perceive that unmet need is expanding faster than organizational capacity; organizations are unable to keep up with demand. Other threats to survival include a sicker patient population and difficulty in retaining staff (particularly nurses). Most clinics are adopting explicit business strategies to survive. To maintain financial viability, clinics are: considering or implementing fees; recruiting insured patients; expanding fundraising activities; reducing services; or turning away patients. Collaborative strategies, such as partnerships with hospitals, have been difficult to implement. Clinics are struggling with how to define their mission given the environment and threats to survival.
Adaptive strategies remain a work in progress, but will not be sufficient to respond to increasing service demands. Increased federal funding, or, ideally, a national health insurance program, may be the only viable option for expanding organizational capacity.
Free clinics; mission transformation; access; adaptive strategies
The US Public Health Service urges providers to screen patients for smoking and advise smokers to quit. Yet, these practices are not widely implemented in clinical practice. This study provides national estimates of systems-level strategies used by private health insurance plans to influence provider delivery of smoking cessation activities.
Data are from a nationally representative survey of health plans for benefit year 2003, across product types offered by insurers, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations, and point-of-service products, regarding alcohol, tobacco, drug, and mental health services. Executive directors of 368 health plans responded to the administrative module (83% response rate). Medical directors of 347 of those health plans, representing 771 products, completed the clinical module in which health plan respondents were asked about screening for smoking, guideline distribution, and incentives for guideline adherence.
Only 9% of products require, and 12% verify, that primary care providers (PCPs) screen for smoking. HMOs are more likely than other product types to require screening. Only 17% of products distribute smoking cessation guidelines to PCPs, and HMOs are more likely to do this. Feedback to PCPs was most frequently used to encourage guideline adherence; financial incentives were rarely used. Furthermore, health plans that did require screening often conducted other cessation activities.
Few private health plans have adopted techniques to encourage the use of smoking cessation activities by their providers. Increasing health plan involvement is necessary to reduce tobacco use and concomitant disease in the United States.
We, the directors of the 27 NIH institutes and centers, wanted to respond to the points made by Andrew Marks in his recent editorial. While we appreciate that the scientific community has concerns, the current initiatives and directions of the NIH have been developed through planning processes that reflect openness and continued constituency input, all aimed at assessing scientific opportunities and addressing public health needs.
On November 9-12, 2006, the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted the Third International Friedreich’s Ataxia (FRDA) Scientific Conference at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, highlighting the exciting research leading now to a variety of clinical trials that show promise of effective treatments for this devastating disorder. Nearly 150 leading FRDA scientists from around the world discussed their new insights and findings. The presence of six pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies underscored the importance of the public-private partnership that has grown in the past years. Some of these companies are already involved in advancing promising drug compounds into clinical trials, while others are eager to help take newer discoveries through drug development and into subsequent clinical trials. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Director Dr. Story Landis noted in her opening remarks for the conference that there was a “palpable sense of energy, excitement, and enthusiasm” over the scientific progress made since the FRDA gene was discovered over 10 years ago.
Job satisfaction is important to staff management of township health centers (THCs), as it is associated with organizational performance, quality of care and employee retention. The purpose of this study was to measure job satisfaction level of THC employees in poor rural China and to identify relevant features in order to provide policy advice on human resource development of health service institutions in poor regions.
A self-completion questionnaire was used to assess the job satisfaction and relevant features (response rate: 90.5%) among 172 employees (i.e., clinic doctors, medico-technical workers and public health workers) of 17 THCs in Anhui and Xinjiang provinces of China. The study covered a time period of two months in 2007.
The mean staff job satisfaction scored 83.3, which was in the category of "somewhat satisfied" on a scale ranging from 0 (extremely dissatisfied) to 100 (extremely satisfied) by employing Likert's transformation formula. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) revealed eight domains involved in modeling of job satisfaction, among which, the caregivers were more satisfied with job significance (88.2), job competency (87.9) and teamwork (87.7), as compared with work reward (72.9) and working conditions (79.7). Mean job satisfaction in Xinjiang (89.7) was higher than that in Anhui (75.5).
Employees of THCs have moderate job satisfactions in poor areas, which need to be raised further by improving their working conditions and reward.
The objectives of this study are to compare the hospital employees' and patients' recognition and attitudes toward the opening of the medical services market, to analyze the differences between hospital employees and patients on the factors in selecting a foreign hospital.
Materials and Methods
This study collected and analyzed data using systematic questionnaires that were self-administered by employees and outpatients to compare their recognition of the opening of the medical services market and the factors involved in selecting a foreign hospital.
Employees exhibited a higher level of recognition than the patients. Reasons for agreement were to ensure the right of selection for both the employees and patients. Reasons for disagreement, however, were split between the two groups: degraded public characteristics of medical services, for employees; and expensive medical fees, for patients. The most urgent task to prepare for the opening of the medical services market is the improvement of the diagnosis and treatment technologies for employees, and improvement of the services provided by hospital staff for patients.
Korean hospitals shall need to improve their diagnosis and treatment technologies and provide medical services of high quality in order to compete with foreign hospitals.
Employees; medical services; opening market; recognition; patients
The Director’s Forum guides pharmacy leaders in establishing patient-centered services in hospitals and health systems. 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Mirror to Hospital Pharmacy, which was a comprehensive study of hospital pharmacy services in the United States. This iconic textbook was co-authored by Donald Francke, Clifton J. Latiolais, Gloria N. Francke, and Norman Ho. The Mirror’s results profiled hospital pharmacy of the 1950s; these results established goals for the profession in 6 paradigms: (1) professional philosophy and ethics; (2) scientific and technical expansion of health-system pharmacy; (3) development of administrative and managerial acumen; (4) increased practice competence; (5) wage and salary commensurate with professional responsibilities; and (6) health-system pharmacy as a vehicle for advancing the profession as a whole. This article critically reviews our progress on the last of 3 goals. An understanding of the profession’s progress on these goals since the seminal work of the Mirror provides directors of pharmacy a platform from which to develop strategies to enhance patient-centered pharmacy services.