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For Immediate Release
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News from the July 2010 American Journal of Public Health

AJPH News Release


EMBARGOED UNTIL May 13, 2010, 4 PM (ET)


CONTACT:  For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call APHA Communications at 202-777-2511 or email us.


The articles below will be published online May 13, 2010, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look,” and they are currently scheduled to appear in the July 2010 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.


American Journal of Public Health Highlights:


  • Mine Safety Training Regulation May Lead to Fewer Permanently Disabling Injuries

·         Homeless Suffer from Substantial Unmet Health Care Needs

·         Tobacco Cessation Services in Public Dental Clinics Found to be Successful

·         Weak Clean Indoor Air Ordinances in Appalachian Region of the U.S. Lead to Greater Exposure to Second Hand Smoke        

Mine Safety Training Regulation May Lead to Fewer Permanently Disabling Injuries

In wake of the recent mining accidents, a new study points suggests that federally enforced occupational health and safety policies at stone, sand and gravel mining operations may lead to significant reductions in permanently disabling injuries.


Researchers evaluated the impact of a safety training regulation, implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine and Safety Health Administration in 1999, on injury rates at stone, sand and gravel mining operations. Quarterly serious injury rates were calculated for the 7,998 mines for 1995 through 2006. Overall rates of injuries declined over the 12-year period. Reductions in incident rates for medical treatment only, restricted duty and lost-time injuries were consistent with temporal trends and provided no evidence of an intervention effect attributable to the MSHA regulation. However, rates of permanently disabling injuries declined markedly. Researchers suggest that more analysis of this data is needed, since results were inconsistent.


“This study’s findings on the impact of the MSHA’s Part 46 regulation illuminate the need for policy makers to plan for effectiveness evaluations during the early stages of developing occupational-hazard policies,” claim the study’s authors.  


[From: “An Impact Evaluation of a Federal Mine Safety Training Regulation on Injury Rates Among US Stone, Sand and Gravel Mine Workers: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis.” Contact: Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.].  

Homeless Suffer from Substantial Unmet Health Care Needs

A new study reports that homeless adults have substantial unmet needs for multiple types of health care.

Using data from a national survey of homeless adults, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program determined the factors related to respondents’ inability to obtain 5 types of needed health care. They found that 73 percent of the respondents reported at least one unmet health need, including inability to obtain needed medical or surgical care (32 percent), prescription medications (36 percent), mental health care (21 percent), eyeglasses (41 percent) and dental care (41 percent). Significant predictors of unmet needs included food insufficiency, out-of-home placement as a minor, vision impairment and lack of health insurance.

Homeless workers had more difficulty getting needed medical care and were more likely than non-working homeless people to be uninsured.  In fact, the more a homeless person worked, the less likely they were to have health insurance.

“As currently structured, employer-based health insurance fails to reach the majority of homeless individuals who work, highlighting the need for an alternative source of affordable health coverage,” said the study’s authors.

[From: “The Unmet Health Care Needs of Homeless Adults: A National Study.” Contact: Travis Baggett, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.

Tobacco Cessation Services in Public Dental Clinics Found to be Successful

Dental practitioners in community health centers may serve as effective counselors in getting patients to quit tobacco use.

Researchers compared the effectiveness of a dental practitioner-delivered brief tobacco cessation counseling intervention (including nicotine replacement therapy) for patients in community health care centers versus usual care. They enrolled 2,549 smokers from 14 federally funded community health center dental clinics that serve diverse racial/ethnic communities in Mississippi, New York and Oregon. Participants in the intervention group reported significantly higher prolonged abstinence and 7-day point prevalence rates at the 7.5-month follow-up than did those in the usual care group.

“Our results support the viability and effectiveness of tobacco cessation services delivered to low-income smokers via their dental health care practitioner in a public health setting,” the study’s authors concluded.

[From: “Tobacco Cessation via Public Dental Clinics: Results of a Randomized Trial.” Contact: Judith Gordon, PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Weak Clean Indoor Air Ordinances in Appalachian Region of the U.S. Lead to Greater Exposure to Second Hand Smoke        


A new study finds that the majority of residents in several communities in the Appalachian region in the United States are not protected from second hand smoke due to weak clean indoor air ordinances.


Researchers examined the pattern of and socioeconomic factors associated with adoption of clean indoor air ordinances in Appalachia. Of the 332 communities included in the analysis, fewer than 20 percent had adopted a comprehensive workplace, restaurant or bar ordinance. They found that most of the ordinances were weak. Communities with a higher unemployment rate were less likely and those with higher education level were more likely to have a strong ordinance.


“Our results suggest that leaving the decision to pass a strong Clean Indoor Air ordinance to local officials does not result in a large number of communities adopting such ordinances, at least in five of the six states that we examined,” the study’s authors remarked. “It is our recommendation that Clean Indoor Air efforts in these states should be statewide, because, leaving the effort to local communities does not result in a large number of strong local Clean Indoor Air ordinances.”


[From: “Clean Indoor Air Ordinance Coverage in the Appalachian Region of the United States.” Contact: Amy Ferketich, PhD, The Ohio State University College of Public Health, Columbus, Ohio].        
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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health.   

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