Monday, September 19, 2011

Report: Local Strategies to Combat Obesity

Your Committee on Global and Public Health has just submitted a report to AMA Staff for review.  Titled  Physician Based Education to Combat Obesity on the Local Level, this report stems from a resolution referred for study at the Interim 2010 meeting in San Diego.  Keep your eyes peeled for the final publication of this report at Interim 2011!

Included in the report is a review of the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP -- the new generation of "food stamps") and a cursory review of many community based initiatives which have been successful at combating obesity and improving health in various communities.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

World Suicide Prevention Day

It's National Suicide Prevention Week which corresponds with Sunday Sept 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day.

So why should you pay attention?

I just lost a friend to suicide.  He was a 24 year old Marine Sergeant who was home.  He shot himself.  Our soldiers are supposed to be out of harms way once we bring them state-side. It's heart wrenching to watch a college-aged friend have to bury her brother.   

Unfortunately, I know my experience isn't unique.  Just take a look at why are our adolescents and young adults dying.  It's accidents, homicides, and suicides.

Let me translate:  we do stupid things, we kill each other, and we kill ourselvesThat's preventable death.

Here's some statistics -- we're losing 12.7 young adults per 100,000 every year to suicide.  It's worse in the military -- active duty soldiers are committing suicide at a rate of 16.3 soldiers per 100,000 per year.  There's only old data for physicians -- but we're quoted as having a suicide rate of 28-40 doctors  per 100,000 in an AMA study.

Put another way, thats upwards of 400 physicians committing suicide a year.  Or one a day.  Or the entire medical school class from a large school (or 2 whole years at my school). ...Each year.

So take some time and consider the topic of suicide this week.  Pass this around. Discuss this with other medical students.  Check in on people who may be hurting. Let's work to reduce these numbers.  After al, these numbers aren't just numbers -- they're family and friends and co-workers.

Other sources: Pediatrics Vol. 120 No. 3 September 1, 2007 pp. 669 -676 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-1908)

Nutrition education has been a hot topic in the MSS of late.  There have been resolutions asking for nutrition education from middle school to med school at every meeting I've attended.  We know nutrition is a hit-or-miss topic in medical school education -- for those of you looking to supplement yout training, take a few moments to check out a new website titled  It's a heavily linked (read: sourced) site with daily snipets (in blog or video form) on nutrition topics. 
There are a couple of ways you can follow the content on the site:

Daily Videos: