Policy and Ethics

While George Bernard Shaw is remembered as a prolific and influential playwright, the award-winning Irishman also knew a thing or two about the art of communication. After all, he wrote 60 plays, including Pygmalion, spending the better part of his 94 years trying to reach his audiences. 

So it's interesting (and a bit clever) for the authors of a study focusing on the effectiveness of current-day emailing to quote the 1925 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He most likely could never had conceived of future creations like the smartphone or emoji, but he was quite aware of the difficulty humans had when it came to effectively making their points to one another. 

“The single biggest problem in communication," according to Shaw, "is the illusion that it has...

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Haiti did not have a single case of cholera until October 2010 -- 10 months after a devastating earthquake leveled the country on Jan. 12 of the same year, killing up to an estimated 300,000 people. 

The ensuing nightmare continued through the entire month of January, with aftershocks bringing more devastation as they rolled across the country. But, by the end of January, the horror was over, and multiple organizations were mobilized to help get the country get back on its feet - one of which was the United Nations. 

The UN has been a presence in Haiti since 2004 as MINUSTAH (Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti.) After the earthquake, the UN acted to increase their presence, and three separate waves of troops arrived in Haiti...

The American Academy of Pediatrics convened a committee to guide clinicians on “Countering Vaccine Hesitancy” among parents. This policy statement, published in the journal Pediatrics, rightly champions vaccination as "one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century."  In a calculated effort not to reduce the conversation to a pro- versus anti-vaccine one, the leading pediatric advocacy body correctly opted to emphasize “vaccine hesitant” as a more precise reflection of the spectrum of parental views toward immunization.  According to a survey they conducted, 75% of pediatricians reported encountering parents who refused vaccines in 2006 compared to 87...

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was recently interviewed by Bret Baier of Fox News about the worrying spread of Zika in Florida. (The video is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

He made an excellent point about public health policy that is very much worth highlighting.

Mr. Baier asked (starting at the 1:59 mark) what Dr. Fauci thought about research in mice that suggested Zika may adversely affect adult brains. He responded:

"I think we should be careful about making the connection between that study in a mouse model and anything that we're seeing with the adults, in which we have thousands and thousands of cases of human adults who are infected with no apparent deleterious...

Marijuana is the only major drug of abuse grown within the U.S. borders and for that reason the US Drug Enforcement Agency, which has a nationwide law enforcement program that targets drug trafficking organizations involved in cannabis cultivation, was unlikely to change its mind on reclassifying marijuana as "medical" just because some states did.

And they didn't.

In truth, there is no drug that helps the variety of issues (everything from glaucoma to epilepsy) marijuana proponents claim it does. It is anecdotal evidence and the placebo effect and, in a lot of cases, people getting a card for "pain" just so they can legally smoke it. DEA affirms that marijuana has "no...

Olympic flag via Shutterstock Olympic flag via Shutterstock

While the ongoing issue for many world-class athletes -- specifically, whether to participate in the upcoming Olympics -- comes into sharper focus, we keep hearing more from those who are unsettled by the idea of heading into Brazil's Zika virus hot zone.

Considering what's still unknown about Zika, a virus that can arise from the bite of an infected mosquito, or by being sexually transmitted, and the recent disclosure by a Major League Baseball pitcher that he's contracted it...