Featured Resource

The Many Faces of Aging In America

Founded in 1950, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit organization with a national network of more than 14,000 organizations and leaders. Our members include senior centers, area agencies on aging, adult day service centers, faith-based service organizations, senior housing facilities, employment services, consumer groups, and leaders from academia, business, and labor.

Our programs help older people remain healthy and independent, find jobs, increase access to benefits programs, and discover meaningful ways to continue contributing to society.

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Basic Immunology: Nuts and Bolts of the Immune System

Dr. Anthony DeFranco explores basic immunology, looking at the cells in the immune system, what they do and how they work.


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What in the Health Is Public Health?

When you're sick, you go to the doctor and the doctor treats your disease. They've been trained to do that pretty well. But what do you do when you're healthy? Well, you probably just go about your day. You've got a busy life, we all do. And you can't afford to be sick.

So what if I told you there are people out there whose job it is to make sure you stay healthy? And what if I told you these are people you've probably never met? Well, these folks are in a field called public health. And their mission is to promote health and prevent disease. Doctors, on the other hand, are on a mission to treat disease.

So let's say this person is diagnosed with diabetes. Now it's the doctor's job to treat her patient. She'll prescribe medications and insulin to help him meet his target blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, he'll have to keep going back for prescriptions for the rest of his life because there is no cure. To make matters worse, he will have to deal with issues like long-term health complications, health insurance concerns, and even social discrimination. And don't forget his medical bill, almost fourteen thousand dollars a year. His priorities in life are now secondary to his disease. Sure, modern medicine has come a long way. But is this the best way to address disease?

Well, let's take a step back and focus on preventing disease. According to public health researchers, simple things like a healthy diet and regular exercise can help prevent the onset of diabetes. So public health folks put their health promotion and disease prevention mission to work. They lower the prices of healthier foods and beverages in school cafeterias to promote a healthy diet. And they build community sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes to promote exercise. And at a fraction of the cost of disease treatment, public health makes it really easy for people to stay healthy in the first place. No diabetes means no long-term health complications, no health insurance concerns, and no social discrimination. Just health promotion and disease prevention.

And the crazy thing is, it works. Really well. Because people you've never met, people you've never even talked to, devote their time to make sure you stay healthy.

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Beyond the Data: Childhood Immunization as a Tool to Address Health Disparities

In this month's Grand Rounds Beyond the Data, Dr. John Iskander and Marion McDonald discuss methods to further address health disparities through childhood immunizations -- Knowledge of disease outbreaks and patterns in the community; Learning the culture and language of population served; and Streamlined immunization visits.
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Epidemiology Study Types: Cohort and Case-Control

What makes a cohort vs. a case-control study? Find out in this video.
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Video Focus

Elderhood Rising

William H. Thomas, M.D. is an international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. A graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1986, he completed graduate medical training at the Highland Hospital/University of Rochester Family Medicine Residency.

While pursuing a career in Emergency Medicine, a part-time position as the medical director of a small rural nursing home turned into a full-time and life-long passion for improving the well-being of older people. In the early 1990's, he and his wife Judith Meyers-Thomas developed the Eden Alternative, now a non-profit organization with international reach, which includes affiliates in Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom, and across the United States. Dr. Thomas' groundbreaking work in person-directed care also led him to imagine a new approach to long-term care that became known as the Green House. He oversaw the construction of the nation's first Green Houses, and this model of care is now being replicated nationwide as an alternative to traditionally-designed nursing homes.

The author of six books, Dr. Thomas is also the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, among them, the Heinz Award for the Human Condition, 2009 Picker Award for Excellence® in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care, and being named as one of the ten most influential people in long-term care.
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Public Health 101

Roman Public Health

Another segment on how the Romans improved qualtiy of life through public health. Listen to more about the Roman society's investment in bathing. More.

Epidemiology & BioStatistics

Epidemiology Study Types: Randomized Control Trial

What makes a randomized control trial? Find out in this video. More.

Health Behavior

Elderhood Rising

William H. Thomas, M.D. is an international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. A graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1986, he completed graduate medical training at the Highland Hospital/University of Rochester Family Medicine Residency.

While pursuing a career in Emergency Medicine, a part-time position as the medical director of a small rural nursing home turned into a full-time and life-long passion for improving the well-being of older people. In the early 1990's, he and his wife Judith Meyers-Thomas developed the Eden Alternative, now a non-profit organization with international reach, which includes affiliates in Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom, and across the United States. Dr. Thomas' groundbreaking work in person-directed care also led him to imagine a new approach to long-term care that became known as the Green House. He oversaw the construction of the nation's first Green Houses, and this model of care is now being replicated nationwide as an alternative to traditionally-designed nursing homes.

The author of six books, Dr. Thomas is also the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors, among them, the Heinz Award for the Human Condition, 2009 Picker Award for Excellence® in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care, and being named as one of the ten most influential people in long-term care.
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Health Services

Accountable Care: It's All About the Relationships

A keynote address by Dr. Elliot Fisher at the second annual RCRC Roundtable hosted by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice on behalf of the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. More.

Community Health

Combating Resistance: Getting Smart About Antibiotics

Dr. John Iskander and Dr. Lauri Hicks discuss the problem of excessive and inappropriate antibiotic use and explore the actions providers, patients and public health professionals can take to promote better antibiotic use. Providers must ask themselves: Does this patient have a bacterial infection? What are the harms vs. benefits? Is this the right medication, at the right dose, for the right duration? More.

Environmental Health

The Influence of Global Environmental Change on Infectious Disease Dynamics

Understanding how environmental factors directly and indirectly influence the emergence and spread of infectious diseases has assumed global importance for life on this planet. While the causal links between environmental change and disease emergence are complex, progress in understanding these links, as well as how their impacts may vary across space and time, will require collaborative transdisciplinary and transnational research. Such research may inform improvements in global readiness and capacity for surveillance, detection, and response to emerging microbial threats to plant, animal, and human health.

The Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop on September 24 and 25, 2013, to explore the scientific and policy dimensions of the impacts of global environmental change on infectious disease dynamics. Participants examined and discussed the observed and likely influences of environmental factors, acting both individually and synergistically on infectious disease dynamics. A range of approaches to improve global readiness and capacity for surveillance, detection, and response to emerging microbial threats to plant, animal, and human health in the face of ongoing global environmental change was also discussed.

Read more here.
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Global Health

Investing in Global Health Systems: Sustaining Gains, Transforming Lives

Health and life expectancy in poor countries have improved rapidly over a short time, contributing to a more prosperous, stable, and productive world. The United States has been a part of this success and therefore has an interest in protecting the health gains of the past few decades. In addition, the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has drawn attention to the consequences of neglecting health systems development, as a strong health system allows for prompt response to pandemic threats and draws on the same skills and infrastructure that support routine health care. Vulnerabilities in this system pose financial, political, and health risks to developing countries and, in a larger sense, to the world.

An IOM study looked at how health systems improvements can lead to better health, reduce poverty, and make donor investment in health sustainable. The resulting report stresses the importance of the health system in making transformative investments that support health in developing countries, and outlines a broad donor strategy that can make effective use of the United States’ comparative advantage in science and technology to improve health for the world’s most vulnerable people. For more information, click here.
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