Every year, David Colby, RWJF's vice president for research and evaluation, showcases 10 RWJF-supported research projects that have contributed to greater understanding of an issue or can help inform policy discussions.
This year, he's doing things a little bit differently. He's opened up a poll on RWJF.org so people can cast their votes for the most influential RWJF-supported research of 2008.
We're pleased he's included two papers supported by the Pioneer Portfolio among his 25 finalists:
The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network
Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, Nicholas Christakis and his colleagues reconstructed the social networks of more than 12,000 individuals and found that smoking cessation occurs in network clusters. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, also concludes that the chances of continuing to smoke decrease significantly for an individual when a spouse, friend or even sibling quits smoking.
In a blog post, "The promise of social network analysis," Lori Melichar wrote about this study and the potential for social network analysis:
Christakis’ research findings have the potential to drive a fundamental rethinking of health policy, clinical care, research and evaluation, and public health campaigns. If social network analysis continues to produce promising new results and becomes widely used – and if it helps us to think differently about how we design health interventions and health campaigns that ultimately achieve greater success – then we will have achieved a key breakthrough in the health and health care of all Americans.
Most recently, Christakis and his colleagues published a study in BMJ about the social spread of happiness, which Susan Promislo blogs about here.
Administrative Compensation of Medical Injuries: A Hardy Perennial Blooms Again
In this article, published in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, a team from Common Good and Harvard School of Public Health looks at the history of administrative compensation proposals over the last 30 years and examines the success of the administrative compensation model in fields like worker's compensation, vaccine injuries and automobile injuries. The authors conclude that establishing pilot projects, particularly through a voluntary or contractual approach, is likely the most practical way to realize the potential of this model for medical injuries.
Abbey Cofksy wrote a blog post about the latest work from this project in October:
Common Good and their collaborators at the Harvard School of Public Health continue to build the research base and policy consensus for a new system of specialized administrative health courts. An innovative alternative to our nation's current medical liability system, health courts would apply rational, consistent standards to resolving medical liability claims and compensating injury patients.
To vote for the top 10 RWJF-supported studies, visit the RWJF Year in Research 2008 poll. Voting is open until December 23.
RWJF will announce the winners in the new year through an RWJF Content Alert. To receive notification of the winners, subscribe to one or more of RWJF's Content Alerts.
(And to see what's been highlighted in the past, read the 2007 Year in Research here, which featured the work of Pioneer grantee Extending the Cure).