Tagged: Pediatrics

BUSM /BMC Researcher Receives Grant to Examine Food Insecurity in Households with a Child with Special Healthcare Needs

June 28th, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

For Immediate Release, June 12, 2013
Contact:
Jenny Eriksen Leary, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org, 617-638-6841

(Boston) – Ruth Rose-Jacobs, ScD, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and a research scientist at Boston Medical Center (BMC), has received funding for a two-year study to examine the association between the presence of young children with special healthcare needs in households and food insecurity. Rose-Jacobs, also a child development researcher with Children’s HealthWatch, is the principal investigator (PI) on this $249,984 grant awarded by the University of Kentucky’s Research Program on Childhood Hunger, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutritional Service.

Children with special health care needs (SHCN) are children who have, or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally. The research project will examine the impact of having a young child with SHCN on child and/or household food insecurity in low-income households. Food insecurity is not being able to afford enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.  According to the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, approximately 15 percent of US children under the age of 17 have SHCN.  Households with versus without a child with SHCN are more likely to live at or near the poverty level. The presence of a child with SHCN is associated with lower overall household adult employment due to the increased care needs of the child, which may be associated with family material hardships.

“We anticipate that households with a child with SHCN suffer disproportionately from food insecurity,” said Rose-Jacobs, who is one of three recipients of these two-year grants on food insecurity.  “This study could have important implications for the expansion of food insecurity screening and inform practice in federal and state nutrition and non-nutrition assistance programs aimed at reducing food insecurity and other material hardships.

The study will take place at safety-net hospitals in Baltimore, Boston, Little Rock, Ark., Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

In 2011, approximately 25 percent of American households with children under 6 years of age were food insecure at some point during the year, according to data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service.  According to Children’s HealthWatch (www.childrenshealthwatch.org),  children from food insecure households, when compared to those from food secure households, are 90 percent more likely to be reported in fair or poor health and are two thirds more likely to be at risk for developmental delays.

To read more about the study, visit: http://www.ukcpr.org/CHTaskOrderRFP.aspx

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Robert J. Vinci, MD, Appointed Chief/Chair of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine

April 3rd, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2013
Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) – West Roxbury resident Robert J. Vinci, MD, has been appointed Chief of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and the Joel and Barbara Alpert Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at BU School of Medicine (BUSM).

For the past 20 years, Vinci has served as Vice Chair and Clinical Chief of the Department, providing leadership for the significant expansion of pediatric clinical services. “We are fortunate to have someone of his skill level to lead the department. His commitment to the community and to our patients is highlighted by his central role in a number of initiatives at BMC,” said BMC President & CEO Kate Walsh. He co-founded the Kids Fund at BMC, which provides assistance for children’s most basic needs to give them a foundation for a healthy and bright future. He led the campaign to establish a window fall prevention program for children in Boston, called Kids Can’t Fly, which has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of window fall-related injuries. And in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Vinci provided leadership to establish the Massachusetts Emergency Medical Services Program for Children, which created training protocols and guidelines for children in the statewide EMS system.

Vinci received his medical degree from the College of Medicine and Dentistry-Rutgers Medical School, now known as the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  He completed his pediatric residency at the former Boston City Hospital (now BMC), serving as chief resident, in 1983. He joined the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine in 1984 and two years later he established the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Boston City Hospital.

An innovative leader in medical residency education throughout his career, he founded the fellowship program in Pediatric Emergency Medicine BMC in 1988 and has directed Pediatric residency training at BMC since 1989. In 1996, Vinci, along with Frederick H. Lovejoy, MD, established the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics, one of the nation’s leading Pediatric residency programs. “He has championed research activities, global health training and flexible training opportunities for pediatric residents,” said BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD.

Vinci has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on the topics of pediatric emergency medicine and pediatric education. He also has received numerous awards for teaching and mentoring, among them BUSM’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2010.  He is a member of the National Board of Directors for the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academic Pediatric Association and the Academic Pediatric Society.

BMC Medical Center is one of the largest providers of pediatric services to low-income children in Boston and is known for its innovative approach to chronic illnesses, including asthma, sickle cell anemia, type 1 diabetes, HIV and failure to thrive.

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Cross-Cultural Parenting: Reflections on Autonomy and Interdependence

March 20th, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

For Immediate Release, March 18, 2013

Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston)–Boston Medical Center pediatricians Laura Johnson, MD, MPH, Jenny Radesky, MD, and Barry Zuckerman, MD, the Joel and Barbara Alpert Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, have published a paper in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics that addresses how understanding the origins and goals of parenting behaviors can help pediatricians strengthen relationships with families, demonstrate cultural sensitivity, and more effectively offer guidance on the challenges of childrearing.

According to the paper, parenting goals and behavior are strongly influenced by cultural norms and expectations of adult behaviors that are valued by a particular society. They contrast “Western” cultures emphasizing individual autonomy achievement, independence, self-reliance, and self-assertiveness with many Asian, African, and Latino cultures that value interdependence: collective achievement, harmonious collaboration, and sharing.  “Many parenting priorities, such as feeding practices, sleeping arrangements, and school and social success, fall somewhere along the spectrum from autonomy to interdependence and are likely affected by the parents’ cultural beliefs related to their own upbringing,” said Zuckerman. “This can result in some parenting behaviors conflicting with the beliefs of the pediatrician, as well as with policy statements from experts and professional societies based on culturally-bound empirical data, we aim to review a few examples of parenting differences that pediatricians might encounter,” he added.

The authors explain that every family is both a unique microcosm and a product of a larger cultural context.  The three examples they highlight may be viewed through a cultural lens that promotes autonomy or interdependence.  Importantly, these values are not dichotomous but rather exist along a spectrum co-existing sometimes changing over time.

In conclusion the authors state that by eliciting and understanding how cultural norms shape parenting behavior, including the role of extended family, and how they relate to a child’s growing autonomy and/or interdependence, pediatricians can help parents gain better insight into what they want for their child and how they address parenting challenges. This approach may encourage parents to more openly discuss their struggles with their child’s pediatrician and more readily consider their guidance and advice.

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I want to eat Scooby-Doo!

June 21st, 2010 in Health 0 comments

A new study from Yale University published in the journal Pediatrics has found that popular cartoon and other characters can influence children’s food choices, and even preference, for the taste of a food.  According to thesd research, “children significantly prefer the taste of junk foods branded with licensed cartoon characters on the packaging, compared with the same foods without characters.”

Joan Salge Blake, Clinical Associate Professor of Nutrition at BU’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, says these findings support recent moves to limit or restrict the use of licensed characters on children’s snacks:

“In this study involving 40 children, ages 4 to 6 years old, researchers asked each child to taste, and then rate, identical packages of pairs of graham crackers, gummy fruit snacks, and carrots.  The only difference between the pairs of snack items was that one of packages had a sticker of a licensed character stuck on the front of the label.  The results showed that the kiddies significantly preferred the snack with the cartoon character on the label, as compared to the same food without the sticker.   The stickers also had an influence over the perceived taste of the food, as the children were significantly more likely to rate the taste of the graham crackers and gummy fruit snacks with the licensed character higher than the exact same, paired equivalent.”

“Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that these influential licensed characters should be restricted on unhealthy junk foods marketed to kids.”

“Ironically, last month, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity made a similar suggestion in their Report to the President. The Task Force recommended that all media companies limit the licensing of these child-friendly characters to only healthy foods and beverages.”

“Could licensed characters help improve children’s diets?  We only have to look to the very successful, Got Milk? Campaign to see how Hollywood influences consumer choices.  When the dairy industry noted a decline in milk consumption among Americans in the 1990’s, they painted milk mustaches on celebrities and milk sales increased.  If licensed characters were removed from the less healthy foods, and only plastered on Mother Nature’s finest in the produce aisle, perhaps kiddies would be screaming for Pooh Bear bananas.  It would be music to America’s ears.  It’s worth a shot as long as the consumer doesn’t have to pay extra for the sticker.”

Contact: Joan Salge Blake, 617-353-7470, salge@bu.edu

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