Thoughts for the class of 2021

Last week, I saw someone ask a very simple question on Facebook: “If you could give one piece of advice to those starting undergrad next week, what would it be?” The comments were interesting. Several people mentioned how grades, while positioned as the be-all and end-all during undergrad, are not a reflection of your worth or ability as a person. The advice that grades are important, so work hard and do your best, but do…

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Five for fighting, three to six for mumps: Controlling disease outbreaks in the NHL (Part 2)

Editorial note: This piece was co-written by Atif Kukaswadia, PhD, and Ary Maharaj, M.Ed. Atif is a writer for the Public Health Perspectives blog on the PLOS network, and Ary is a writer for Silver Seven, an SBNation blog about the Ottawa Senators hockey team. This piece is being cross-published on both platforms. Enjoy! CHALLENGES The environment within NHL clubs are relatively controlled, with most players together a majority of the time — from on-ice,…

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Five for fighting, three to six for mumps: Controlling disease outbreaks in the NHL (Part 1)

Editorial note: This piece was co-written by Atif Kukaswadia, PhD, and Ary Maharaj, M.Ed. Atif is a writer for the Public Health Perspectives blog on the PLOS network, and Ary is a writer for Silver Seven, an SBNation blog about the Ottawa Senators hockey team. This piece is being cross-published on both platforms. Enjoy! INTRODUCTION When we think of places for disease outbreaks, a few examples quickly come to mind: classrooms, college dorms, crowded trains.…

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Mark Zuckerberg supports universal basic income

Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg received an honorary degree from Harvard University. At the commencement, he promoted the idea of a basic income guarantee, joining several other tech leaders in advocating for this idea. Tech leaders can see a world where robots and AI are doing a lot of work currently performed by humans, and so are already considering how those who lose their jobs will be retrained for the new economy that emerges.…

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Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue about his newborn son’s heart surgery

“I have a story to tell about something that happened to our family last week.” With those words, Jimmy Kimmel opened his show. Using a combination of vulnerability and humour, he told us about the last two weeks in the Kimmel household, starting with the birth of his son: William “Billy” Kimmel. A few hours after the birth, a nurse noticed that the baby had a faint heart murmur, and was slightly blue. The baby…

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Income inequality and determinants of health in the US

A series published in The Lancet recently investigated the effect of income inequality on the health of Americans. While incomes for those in the top have grown, extreme poverty has also grown in the US. In fact, more than 1.6 million households in the US survive on less than $2 per day; a number double that of the 1990s. The cycle is not likely to be broken either, barring major social change. Differences in aspects…

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A coffee, a donut, and a defibrillator

By Leonard Bentley from Iden, East Sussex, UK – Iden, CC BY-SA 2.0 When someone has a heart attack, every minute counts. The American Heart Institute guidelines say that for every minute, the chances of a victim surviving decrease by 7 to 10 percent. To help save lives, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) have become more and more ubiquitous, and now can be found in many different locations, including coffee shops, banks, malls, and sports complexes. When…

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A better name for “non-communicable diseases”

I came across an interesting read last week in The Lancet. In it, Drs Allen and Feigl make an interesting case for changing how we refer to non-communicable diseases The global health community does not spend much time on branding, which perhaps explains why existing classifications for the three largest groups of diseases are both outdated and counterproductive. The first Global Burden of Disease study described infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and injuries. This grouping…

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2017: What can we expect?

Following up from the end of last year, I thought it would be fun to predict what I think the next 12 months will have in store for us. So lets get to it! 1. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act President Trump has already made it clear that this is one of his first priorities when he assumes office. The groundwork was already laid with the combination of the Senate passing a budget measure that…

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The only way to save Obamacare is to expand it

The Affordable Care Act was a landmark piece of legislation for the United States. While most other G-20 countries already have some form of universal healthcare (either through a single payer system, or mandatory insurance coverage), the US was one of the few countries that did not have one. Arguably, however, it didn’t go far enough, and therein lies its biggest problem. One of the key provisions in Obamacare was that insurers could not deny…

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