2014 Archive

December 5, 2014

A Comprehensive, Community-based Opioid Overdose Prevention Program

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Fred Brason is the executive director of Project Lazarus in North Carolina. Project Lazarus is a comprehensive, community-based opioid overdose prevention program. Brason provides management, education and tools that individuals, medical providers, law enforcement, schools and communities can use to tighten supply, reduce demand and provide harm reduction to save lives from the misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription opioid drugs.

The Project Lazarus public health model is based on the idea that drug overdose deaths are preventable and that communities are ultimately responsible for their own health. There are five model components, including community activation and coalition building, monitoring and epidemiologic surveillance, prevention of overdoses through medical education and other means, use of rescue medication to reverse overdoses by community members and evaluation of project components. The last four steps to operate in a cyclical manner, with community advisory boards playing the central role in developing and designing each aspect of the intervention.

Presenter: Fred Brason
Executive Director of Project Lazarus in North Carolina

November 7, 2014

The Social Determinants of Health: It's Time to Consider the Causes of the Causes

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Large health disparities across socioeconomic (SES) groups in the United States have received increasing attention in recent years from researchers, the health policy community, and the general public. Adults ages 25-50 that have a college degree will on average live 5 years longer than those with less than a high school education. And at every age while alive, health is better for the more highly educated: for example, 75% of college educated adults report being in very good or excellent health, compared to 40% of those with less than a high school education (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2008).

Dr. Braveman will review the evidence, theories and knowledge to explain the social and socioeconomic factors shaping health and plausible pathways and biological mechanisms that may explain the effects of social determinants of health. Join us as she provides an in-depth look at how and why these long-term disparities exist among groups across the United States.

Dr. Braveman is an advisor to the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation and one of two authors on the RWJ publication, Overcoming Obstacles to Health, written on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, a group charged with investigating why Americans aren't as healthy as they could be and to recommend ways beyond medical care to improve health in years, not decades.

As a professor of family and community medicine and director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California Dr. Braveman has studied and published work on health equity and the social determinants of health and has actively brought national and international attention to these issues for over 25 years. Her research has focused on socioeconomic and racial and ethnic disparities in health, particularly centering on maternal and infant health and health care.

Presenter: Paula Braveman, MD, MPH
Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

October 3, 2014

The State of Health in West Virginia

Presenter: Letitia E. Tierney, MD, JD
Commissioner and State Health Officer of the Bureau for Public Health at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

September 5, 2014

Black Lung to Chemical Spills: 100 Years of Poor Health in West Virginia

Improving population health requires action to reduce socioeconomic and other inequalities. There are other factors that influence population health, but there are outweighed by the social, political, and cultural conditions that shape our lives and our behaviors.

Join us as we go "up stream" to explore the social and economic reasons for decades of poor health int he state of West Virginia and to consider West Virginia's assets that could be altered to create better social, economic and health outcomes.

The panel will discuss West Virginia's disasters and its history of poverty, and social, environmental, and economic policies that contribute to poor population health.


  • Chris Hamby, investigative reporter at BuzzFeed and 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner for Investigative Reporting
  • Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health and professor of family medicine and population health
  • Ted Boettner, co-founding executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy

Moderator: Lauri Andress, PhD, JD, Assistant Dean for Public Health Practice and Workforce Development