2012 Apr 26

Working Together on Health Literacy, Diplomacy and Innovative Health Communication to Advance Women’s Health

11:40am to 1:00pm


Nye ABC, Taubman 5th floor

Scott Ratzan, MPA ’87, MD, Vice President of Global Health, Johnson & Johnson; Editor in-Chief, Journal of Health Communication; Co-chair, United Nations Every Woman Every Child Innovations Working Group... Read more about Working Together on Health Literacy, Diplomacy and Innovative Health Communication to Advance Women’s Health

Hanna, Rema, Esther Duflo, and Michael Greenstone. “Up In Smoke: The Influence Of Household Behavior On The Long-run Impact Of Improved Cooking Stoves”. NBER Working Paper (2012). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

It is conventional wisdom that it is possible to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution, improve health outcomes, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the rural areas of developing countries through the adoption of improved cooking stoves. This belief is largely supported by observational field studies and engineering or laboratory experiments. However, we provide new evidence, from a randomized control trial conducted in rural Orissa, India (one of the poorest places in India), on the benefits of a commonly used improved stove that laboratory tests showed to reduce indoor air pollution and require less fuel. We track households for up to four years after they received the stove. While we find a meaningful reduction in smoke inhalation in the first year, there is no effect over longer time horizons. We find no evidence of improvements in lung functioning or health and there is no change in fuel consumption (and presumably greenhouse gas emissions). The difference between the laboratory and field findings appear to result from households’ revealed low valuation of the stoves. Households failed to use the stoves regularly or appropriately, did not make the necessary investments to maintain them properly, and usage rates ultimately declined further over time. More broadly, this study underscores the need to test environmental and health technologies in real-world settings where behavior may temper impacts, and to test them over a long enough horizon to understand how this behavioral effect evolves over time.

Baker, Laurence C, et al.Differences in neonatal mortality among whites and Asian American subgroups: evidence from California”. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 161.1 (2007): , 161, 1, 69-76. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract


To obtain information about health outcomes in neonates in 9 subgroups of the Asian population in the United States.


Cross-sectional comparison of outcomes for births to mothers of Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese origin and for births to non-Hispanic white mothers. Regression models were used to compare neonatal mortality across groups before and after controlling for various risk factors.


All California births between January 1,1991, and December 31, 2001.


More than 2.3 million newborn infants.


Racial and ethnic groups.


Neonatal mortality (death within 28 days of birth).


The unadjusted mortality rate for births to non-Hispanic white mothers was 2.0 per 1000. The unadjusted mortality rate for births to Chinese and Japanese mothers was significantly lower (Chinese: 1.2 per 1000, P<.001; Japanese: 1.2 per 1000, P=.004), and for births to Korean mothers the rate was significantly higher (2.7 per 1000, P=.003). For infants of Chinese mothers, observed risk factors explain the differences observed in unadjusted data. For infants of Cambodian, Japanese, Korean, and Thai mothers, differences persist or widen after risk factors are considered. After risk adjustment, infants of Cambodian, Japanese, and Korean mothers have significantly lower neonatal mortality rates compared with infants born to non-Hispanic white mothers (adjusted odds ratios, 0.58 for infants of Cambodian mothers, 0.67 for infants of Japanese mothers, and 0.69 for infants of Korean mothers; all P<.05); infants of Thai mothers have higher neonatal mortality rates (adjusted odds ratio, 1.89; P<.05).


There are significant variations in neonatal mortality between subgroups of the Asian American population that are not entirely explained by differences in observable risk factors. Efforts to improve clinical care that treat Asian Americans as a homogeneous group may miss important opportunities for improving infant health in specific subgroups

Seabury, Seth A, Amitabh Chandra, and Anupam B Jena. “Trends in the Earnings of Male and Female Health Care Professionals in the United States, 1987 to 2010”. JAMA Internal Medicine 173.18 (2013): , 173, 18, 748-1750. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Nearly 40 years after the adoption of the Title IX Amendments of the US Civil Rights Act, women account for almost 50% of US medical students and more than one-third of all physicians. Historically, female physicians have earned considerably less than male physicians, though in the 1990s much of this was attributable to gender differences in specialty choice and hours worked. However, more recent data suggest that female physicians currently earn less than male physicians even after adjustment for specialty, practice type, and hours worked. Salary differences between men and women currently exist among physician researchers as well. This raises questions about whether the gender gap in earnings among US physicians has closed over time, particularly compared with the earnings gap for other health care professionals and workers overall. Comparing earnings of male and female physicians over time is important in assessing the impact of policies to promote gender equality among physicians.

Cohen, Dara Kay, and Amelia Hoover Green. “Dueling incentives: Sexual violence in Liberia and the politics of human rights advocacy”. Journal of Peace Research 49.3 (2012): , 49, 3, 445-458. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Transnational advocacy organizations are influential actors in the international politics of human rights. While political scientists have described several methods these groups use – particularly a set of strategies termed ‘information politics’ – scholars have yet to consider the effects of these tactics beyond their immediate impact on public awareness, policy agendas or the behavior of state actors. This article investigates the information politics surrounding sexual violence during Liberia’s civil war. We show that two frequently-cited ‘facts’ about rape in Liberia are inaccurate, and consider how this conventional wisdom gained acceptance. Drawing on the Liberian case and findings from sociology and economics, we develop a theoretical framework that treats inaccurate claims as an effect of ‘dueling incentives’ – the conflict between advocacy organizations’ needs for short-term drama and long-term credibility. From this theoretical framework, we generate hypotheses regarding the effects of information politics on (1) short-term changes in funding for human rights advocacy organizations, (2) short-term changes in human rights outcomes, (3) the institutional health of humanitarian and human rights organizations, and (4) long-run outcomes for the ostensible beneficiaries of such organizations. We conclude by outlining a research agenda in this area, emphasizing the importance of empirical research on information politics in the human rights realm, and particularly its effects on the lives of aid recipients.

Cohen, Dara Kay, and Ragnhild Nordas. “Sexual violence in armed conflict: Introducing the SVAC dataset, 1989–2009”. Journal of Peace Research 51.3 (2014): , 51, 3, 418-428. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Which armed groups have perpetrated sexual violence in recent conflicts? This article presents patterns from the new Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) dataset. The dataset, coded from the three most widely used sources in the quantitative human rights literature, covers 129 active conflicts, and the 625 armed actors involved in these conflicts, during the period 1989–2009. The unit of observation is the conflict-actor-year, allowing for detailed analysis of the patterns of perpetration of sexual violence for each conflict actor. The dataset captures six dimensions of sexual violence: prevalence, perpetrators, victims, forms, location, and timing. In addition to active conflict-years, the dataset also includes reports of sexual violence committed by conflict actors in the five years post-conflict. We use the data to trace variation in reported conflict-related sexual violence over time, space, and actor type, and outline the dataset's potential utility for scholars. Among the insights offered are that the prevalence of sexual violence varies dramatically by perpetrator group, suggesting that sexual violations are common – but not ubiquitous. In addition, we find that state militaries are more likely to be reported as perpetrators of sexual violence than either rebel groups or militias. Finally, reports of sexual violence continue into the post-conflict period, sometimes at very high levels. The data may be helpful both to scholars and policymakers for better understanding the patterns of sexual violence, its causes, and its consequences.