Publications and Briefs

The 2023 Weitzman Institute Virtual Symposium, “Tackling Old Problems with New Solutions in Primary Care,” provided a unique opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s top thought leaders, researchers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs on pressing issues, including mental health, community violence and trauma, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and big data. The Symposium offered a forum for exploring primary care’s challenge of dismantling persistent inequities and recreating and advocating for a more just healthcare system that better meets the needs of its workforce, patients, and communities, particularly those most in need.

The number of states passing legislation banning access to gender-affirming health care for transgender and nonbinary youth has increased dramatically in the last year. Weitzman staff’s new piece in Health Affairs Forefront examines how these bans have impacted transgender youth of color and propose multisector recommendations to protect this vulnerable group.

Medical Assistant (MA) is one of the fastest growing healthcare professions, with the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting MA positions will grow by 18% between 2020 and 2030. The Weitzman Institute’s new commentary published in the Journal of Allied Health discusses how the experience and knowledge MAs gain during their education and training provides a foundation for advancement into other healthcare occupations that could be leveraged to support efforts to diversify the healthcare workforce. The piece, a collaboration with the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement, also highlights how the lack of federal investment in medical assistant education and training, and the lack of established education and career pathways that build on medical assisting, is a missed opportunity to better meet the workforce development needs of our primary care delivery system. 

While some women in Ohio seek care with women’s health providers such as obstetrician-gynecologists, many others, especially those in resource-limited areas, receive care only from their primary care provider. This policy brief examines the barriers to care related to women’s health in Ohio identified by participants of the Weitzman Project ECHO Women’s Health continuing education series and provides policy recommendations on how to address those barriers.

There is growing concern nationally about the threat that climate change poses to maternal health through the increase in global temperatures, extreme weather events, and the emission of greenhouse gases. A collaboration between community-based doulas and Federally Qualified Health Centers can be a novel approach to mitigating the impacts of climate change on pregnant people in underserved communities.

With the rising costs of food and families having less money to spend, schools, now more than ever, are playing an important role in keeping youth fed who may be facing food insecurity. The Weitzman Institute’s new piece, “Addressing Food Insecurity in School-Based Settings: Keeping Youth Fed as Costs Rise” provides an overview of the important services and resources schools provide to students who face hunger, including on-site food pantries, school meal programs, and school-based health centers.  It also discusses recent federal action to address this issue and what steps should be taken to ensure students can continue to access food while at school.

Federally Qualified Health Centers are uniquely positioned to address environmental justice as part of their mission to promote the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable members of society. There are several ways in which they can have a direct impact on the patients and communities they serve by supporting environmental justice efforts.

As the use of connected devices rises, an understanding of how digital health technologies can be used for equitable healthcare across diverse communities is needed. The six Federally Qualified Health Centers involved in the NIH All of Us Research Program, including Community Health Center, Inc./Weitzman Institute, surveyed more than 1,000 adult patients regarding wearable fitness trackers. Findings indicate the majority expressed interest in having fitness trackers. Barriers included cost and lack of information, revealing that broad digital health device adoption requires education, investment, and high-touch methods.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). They are a major public health concern with high potential to worsen as a result of the health, social, and economic repercussions of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

This policy brief looks at how the health, social, and economic impact of COVID-19 may result in an increases in ACEs, especially in our most vulnerable populations, and discusses the public health responses needed to effectively address ACEs in our communities.