Shopping, food court, doctor’s appointment?

WR_RetailClinics_190x1271.jpgHave you ever finished a burger in a mall food court and thought, ‘I could really go for my yearly physical?’ As health centers and medical offices begin to move into struggling malls who could use the foot traffic, that option is now a reality, says a philly.com report. In the Philadelphia area, Main Line Health Center, Suburban Health Center and the Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health all have opened offices inside malls. So far, patients seem to appreciate the proximity to their jobs and to shopping options. In 2014, Main Line Health Center moved into a 32,000-square-foot space and was able to bring most of its existing patients with it. Who knows where health clinics will pop up next?

Opioids 101: A beginner's course

opioid_use_190x127.jpgInadequate med school training about addiction medicine and safe opioid use is likely a big contributor to the epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse killing thousands of Americans. The topic that used to be covered in just one Stanford University School of Medicine lecture over a two-year period, now will be presented as a separate unit and not simply folded into the psychiatry series as a side note, Kaiser Health News reports. A study out of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that the average med student spends just a few hours on this topic over the course of four years. Schools like Stanford, however, are trying to remedy this issue, which is being driven by faculty. Rather than folding addiction lectures into psychiatry, they plan to create a separate unit on the topic, with training continuing when students enter clinical rotations. This comes as the White House is pushing schools to sign pledges, promising that they would change their curricula to help address the opioid epidemic.

Going viral for a cure

Chances are that you knew someone who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took over the internet in 2014 or you accepted the challenge yourself. Either way, the ALS Association is giving credit to the project for finding the NEK1 gene’s connection to ALS, an important step in developing target therapy for ALS, according to an AP report. The viral challenge raised an impressive $115 million for the ALS Association, and $1 million of that went toward finding the gene's connection to ALS. If only viral cat videos could have that same effect, we’d wipe out every ailment on the planet in a day.

Genomic research to fight disparities

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has committed $31 million over the next five years toward the application of precision medicine in the effort to reduce health disparities. The institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, aims to reduce disparities by trying to use the analytic methods, data and tools of precision medicine within new Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers. Assuming funding becomes available, the money would be spent on initiatives such as developing pharmacogenomic medicines and treatments. Other efforts to reduce disparities include the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Eliminate Health Care Disparities.