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Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2
Source: Institute of Medicine

Determinants of health—like physical activity levels and living conditions—have traditionally been the concern of public health and have not been linked closely to clinical practice. However, if standardized social and behavioral data can be incorporated into patient electronic health records (EHRs), those data can provide crucial information about factors that influence health and the effectiveness of treatment.Such information is useful for diagnosis, treatment choices, policy, health care system design, and innovations to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.

With this goal in mind, a committee was convened to conduct a two-phase study, first to identify social and behavioral domains that most strongly determine health, and then to evaluate the measures of those domains that can be used in EHRs.

In Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains in Electronic Health Records: Phase 1, the committee identified 17 domains that they considered to be good candidates for inclusion in EHRs. The second report, Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2, pinpoints 12 measures related to 11 of the initial domains and considers the implications of incorporating them into all EHRs.

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The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

November 21, 2014 Comments off

The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry
Source: Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United

With more than 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country. It is also the single-largest source of sexual-harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Women occupy most of the financially precarious restaurant jobs; more than 70% of servers are women, and more than 60% of all tipped occupations are filled by women.

Due to the two-tiered wage system that allows restaurant employers to pay as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991) to tipped workers, and the overwhelming lack of enforcement and compliance ensuring that employers pay workers the full minimum wage when tips fall short, women in tipped occupations often make a living entirely off tips. Absent a stable base wage from their employers, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours. However, a majority of all restaurant workers report experiencing sexual harassment.

By looking at the rate and types of sexual harassment experienced by current and former restaurant workers through national surveys and rigorous analysis, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Forward Together provide the most accurate picture to date of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry.

Why a Temporary Immigration Solution is Still Problematic for STEM Workers

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Why a Temporary Immigration Solution is Still Problematic for STEM Workers
Source: Brookings Institution

In 2007 and 2008 when immigration reform failed in Congress, President George W. Bush extended the one-year OPT to 29 months for foreign students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher in STEM fields. In June 2012, President Obama maintained Bush’s 29-month OPT term limit for STEM fields and increased the number of fields eligible for extension by an additional 90 fields.

Based on my research released earlier this year, about 38 percent of all foreign students on F-1 visas, or 362,500, were studying in the STEM fields during the 2008 to 2012 time period. This means that at least 72,500 graduates per year may benefit from this STEM OPT extension.

Yet, this temporary solution is problematic on several fronts.

+ First, it does not offer a direct pathway from earning a degree to permanent residency. If F-1 visa holders want to work beyond their OPT period, their employers must compete for H-1B visas for highly specialized workers. The current visa system still limits the number of H-1B visas to 85,000 for private employers per year, of which 20,000 are set aside for graduates of U.S. universities. While H-1B visas are an option for students, only 35 percent of H-1B visas in 2010 went to former F-1 visa holders, including those extended through OPT.

+ Second, if a foreign student’s employer is able to obtain an H-1B visa and then sponsors a green card application, the wait time for permanent residency can be more than 10 years due to per-country limits (each country can only get 7 percent of all green cards), a problem particularly for Indian and Chinese nationals—two of the largest foreign student populations. This executive action can potentially add more foreign workers into the green card pipeline, creating even longer wait times.

+ Third, there are no minimum wage or salary requirements for foreign student graduates under the OPT program. Unlike the H-1B visa that involves the Department of Labor in ensuring that foreign workers are paid a prevailing wage for their specific occupation, the OPT does not collect wage nor occupational data. OPT is missing these important protections since it was originally created as an educational program to provide a year of work experience, rather than used as an employment-based visa.

See also:
Obama’s Immigration Order Isn’t a Power Grab
Four Realities about Executive Actions; Moving Beyond the Rhetoric of Immigration Reform

Global Slavery Index

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Global Slavery Index (PDF)
Source: Walk Free Foundation

This is the second edition of the Global Slavery Index (‘the Index’). The Index estimates the number of people in modern slavery in 167 countries. This year’s Index also includes an analysis of what governments are doing to eradicate modern slavery. In addition to measuring the extent of the problem and the actions taken, the Index increases our understanding of the contextual factors that make people vulnerable to modern slavery.

The Index is the flagship report produced by the Walk Free Foundation, a global human rights organisation dedicated to ending modern slavery.

The 2014 Global Slavery Index estimates there are 35.8 million people living in some form of modern slavery globally

Antisemitism Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2003-2013

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Antisemitism Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2003-2013
Source: Agency for Fundamental Rights

The present update relates to manifestations of antisemitism as they are recorded by official and unofficial sources in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. ‘Official data’ is understood here as that collected by law enforcement agencies, criminal justice systems and relevant state ministries at the national level. ‘Unofficial data’ refers to data collected by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs). This update compiles available data on antisemitic incidents collected by international, governmental and non-governmental sources, covering the period 1 January 2003–31 December 2013. No data on manifestations of antisemitism were available for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia at the time this update was compiled.

This is the 10th in a series of yearly updates about data collected on antisemitism published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and its predecessor, the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

International Survey Of Older Adults Finds Shortcomings In Access, Coordination, And Patient-Centered Care

November 20, 2014 Comments off

International Survey Of Older Adults Finds Shortcomings In Access, Coordination, And Patient-Centered Care
Source: Health Affairs

Industrialized nations face the common challenge of caring for aging populations, with rising rates of chronic disease and disability. Our 2014 computer-assisted telephone survey of the health and care experiences among 15,617 adults age sixty-five or older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States has found that US older adults were sicker than their counterparts abroad. Out-of-pocket expenses posed greater problems in the United States than elsewhere. Accessing primary care and avoiding the emergency department tended to be more difficult in the United States, Canada, and Sweden than in other surveyed countries. One-fifth or more of older adults reported receiving uncoordinated care in all countries except France. US respondents were among the most likely to have discussed health-promoting behaviors with a clinician, to have a chronic care plan tailored to their daily life, and to have engaged in end-of-life care planning. Finally, in half of the countries, one-fifth or more of chronically ill adults were caregivers themselves.

Homophily, Group Size, and the Diffusion of Political Information in Social Networks: Evidence from Twitter

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Homophily, Group Size, and the Diffusion of Political Information in Social Networks: Evidence from Twitter (PDF)
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research (via University of Toronto)

In this paper, we investigate political communications in social networks characterized both by homophily–a tendency to associate with similar individuals–and group size. To generate testable hypotheses, we develop a simple theory of information diffusion in social networks with homophily and two groups: conservatives and liberals. The model predicts that, with homophily, members of the majority group have more network connections and are exposed to more information than the minority group. We also use the model to show that, with homophily and a tendency to produce like-minded information, groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and the information reaches like-minded individuals more quickly than it reaches individuals of opposing ideologies. To test the hypotheses of our model, we analyze nearly 500,000 communications during the 2012 US elections in a social network of 2.2 million politically-engaged Twitter users. Consistent with the model, we find that members of the majority group in each state-level network have more connections and are exposed to more tweets than members of the minority group. Likewise, we find that groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and that information reaches like-minded users more quickly than users of the opposing ideology.

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