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For Immediate Release
Contact: For copies of articles, call APHA Communications at  202-777-2511 or email us.

News from December 2009 American Journal of Public Health

AJPH News Release


EMBARGOED UNTIL October 15, 2009, 4 PM (ET)


CONTACT:  For copies of articles, call Patricia Warin, 202-777-2511, or e-mail


The articles below will be published online October 15, 2009, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look” at, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the December 2009 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association,, and is available at To stay up to date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content e-mail alerts at>ck=nck.


American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

  • Many U.S. health care workers lack health care coverage
  • Tobacco prevention efforts may benefit by expanding media campaigns into hard-to-reach rural areas
  • Text messages to parents of teens may help with vaccine reminders

Many U.S. health care workers lack health care coverage

More than one in 10 U.S. health care workers lacks health insurance, and disparities in uninsurance rates exist within the health care work force.

Researchers examined the rates of uninsurance among U.S. health care workers by health care industry subtype and work force category. They did so by using 2004-2006 National Health Interview Survey data to assess health insurance coverage rates.

They found that overall 11 percent of the U.S. health care work force is uninsured. Furthermore, ambulatory care workers were 3.1 times as likely as hospital workers to be uninsured and residential care workers were 4.3 times as likely to be uninsured.

The researchers suggest, “Disparities in uninsurance exist in the U.S. health care work force and that these disparities differ significantly according to health care industry subtype and workforce category. … Creating policies specifically aimed at ensuring that health care workers are adequately insured will not only help workers themselves but also promote the health of those they serve.”

[From: “Health Care Coverage: Not a Guarantee in the Health Care Industry.” Contact: Chiu-Fang Chou, DrPH, Division of Health Policy and Management and the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota,].    

Tobacco prevention efforts may benefit by expanding media campaigns into hard-to-reach rural areas

People living in low-density, rural areas do not always receive programming from national cable outlets and often miss tobacco prevention messages broadcast via that media. Targeting messages to those often missed areas will increase youth awareness and may, in turn, influence youth on whether or not to smoke.


Researchers examined the effectiveness of a program to increase exposure to national “truth” tobacco countermarketing messages among youths in rural, sparsely populated communities. A survey was given to 2,618 youths aged 12 to 17 years over five months in eight media markets receiving supplemental advertising and eight comparison markets receiving less than the national average of “truth” messages. Over 35 percent of all youths who were unaware of the campaign at baseline became aware of it as a direct result of the increased advertising. Youths living in rural and low-population density communities were receptive to the campaign’s messages.


“This study shows that the reach of a national tobacco countermarketing campaign can be expanded among youths living in rural and low-population-density area by purchasing local broadcast media,” concluded the study’s authors. “Funding effective tobacco prevention programs will significantly improve the quality of life of the nation’s youth in the future.”


[From: “Increasing Youths’ Exposure to a Tobacco Prevention Media Campaign in Rural and Low-Population-Density Communities.” Contact: Jennifer Duke, PhD, Boulder, Colo.,].   


Text messages to parents of teens may help with vaccine reminders

A new study reports that sending reminders about immunizations via text message would be well-received in a diverse population of urban parents. 

Researchers set out to evaluate the readiness for text message immunization reminders among parents. They did so by conducting English- and Spanish-language focus groups and individual interviews with parents of adolescents among three urban community health centers and two private practices in New York City. Parents who had a cell phone and at least one child between the ages of 1-19 years were invited to participate. They found that these text-message reminders were well-accepted by the parents; furthermore, many thought they would be more effective than standard phone or e-mail reminders.

Researchers concluded, “Although our study population may be unlikely to utilize text messaging for personal needs, parents still welcomed receiving text messages from health care providers as a method to improve on-time vaccination for their adolescent children.”

Research was funded by: HRSA R40MC08961.

[From: “Text4Health: A Qualitative Evaluation of Parental Readiness for Text Message Immunization Reminders.” Contact: Elyse Olsen Kharbanda, MD, MPH, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.,].     
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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. More information is available at


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