‘Walk with a Doc’™ Gets Rural Madison County Moving Together

Mary Kate Lee

Walk with a Doc Issue Brief PictureMadison County is among the most rural areas of Central New York. One limitation of rural places is that there are limited spaces for people to engage in physical activity or exercise. Compared to 93% of residents in New York State, only 75% of Madison County residents have access to parks or recreation facilities.1 As a result, Madison County has a higher rate of physically inactive adults than New York as a whole.1 In addition to these built environment challenges, residents of Madison County also have less access to health care providers compared to other parts of New York State.1 Continue Reading

Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Truth behind the Trauma

Alexandra Punch


Sitting in a jury box listening to two young children discuss their sexual assault, endangerment, and behavioral issues is an incredibly heart-wrenching and challenging task. To listen to them be cross-examined by a defense attorney is even harder. Yet it happens every day in America. Every 11 minutes, Child Protective Services (CPS) substantiates, or finds evidence for, a claim of child sexual abuse.The financial, emotional, and societal toll of child sexual assault on everyday life will never be truly calculated, but we know they have lasting impacts. It is important that parents, guardians, and communities understand who is perpetrating the majority of child sexual assaults, how children and adolescent behavior is shaped by their assaults, and what policies are in place to protect against assault and bring perpetrators to justice. Continue Reading

Understanding Opioid Users’ Views on Fentanyl could help Reduce Overdoses

Kate McLean, Shannon Monnat, Khary Rigg, Glenn Sterner, & Ashton Verdery



  • Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is a widespread additive to heroin in the U.S. Rust Belt.
  • Most people who use heroin want to avoid fentanyl, due to its association with overdose.
  • Some people who use prefer fentanyl due to its shorter, stronger high, even when snorted.
  • The ability to identify fentanyl in heroin through self-test strips might help all users reduce undesirable effects and overdose risk

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How Well do We Understand Mental Health?

Ashley Van Slyke


Roughly 9.8 million adults in the United States, representing 4% of the U.S. adult population, have a diagnosis of a serious mental illness (SMI).1 An additional 16.1 million (6.7%) have a diagnosed depressive disorder.2 Millions more know people with serious mental illness or depression. Poor mental health is a massive and growing public health crisis. Its looming presence begs the question: Do we, as a society, truly understand different mental illnesses? In short, the answer is no, and we need community-based programs to help improve society’s mental health literacy. Continue Reading

There are Multiple and Geographically Distinct Opioid Crises in the U.S.

Shannon M. Monnat



  • There are at least four distinct opioid overdose crises in the U.S. – prescription opioids, heroin, synthetic opioids, and multiple combinations of opioids.
  • U.S. counties vary both in the magnitude of their fatal opioid overdose rates overall and in their rates of fatal overdose from specific types of opioids.
  • Fatal overdose rates overall are higher in places with more economic disadvantage, more blue-collar and service employment, and higher opioid prescribing rates.
  • High rates of prescription opioid overdoses and overdoses involving both prescription and synthetic opioids cluster in more rural and economically disadvantaged counties with the highest rates of opioid prescribing.
  • High heroin and “syndemic” opioid overdose counties (counties with high overdose rates across all major opioid types) are more urban, have larger concentrations of professional workers, and are less economically disadvantaged

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Screen Media use is Higher among Preschool Children from More Chaotic Homes

Jennifer A. Emond, Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon


  • In this national study of 385 parents, screen media use among preschool-age children was common.
  • Watching shows and movies was the most common screen activity, and many children used apps and viewed videos online (e.g., YouTube).
  • Children from more chaotic homes used screens more often during the week. Children in the most chaotic homes averaged 14 more hours of screen time per week than children from the least chaotic homes.
  • Children from more chaotic homes were more likely to use screens in a way that negatively impacts nighttime sleep. Continue Reading

Gratitude as an Antidote to Anxiety and Depression: All the Benefits, None of the Side Effects

Mary Kate Lee

A gray cloud has been cast over the U.S. The epidemics of anxiety and depression have led to alarming declines in mental health. In fact, those who have been born since 1997 are reported to have the worst mental health of any current generation.1 Despite efforts among health care professionals, schools, and workplaces to address mental health issues, anxiety and depression remain pervasive public health concerns. Continue Reading

Economic Hardship during Childhood Increases the Risk of Premature Death Later in Life

Blakelee R. Kemp

Experiencing economic hardship during childhood can have long lasting consequences for health. This is especially true for individuals who face multiple forms of hardship early in life. Adults over the age of 50 who reported experiencing several types of childhood economic hardship, such as moving due to financial difficulties or having poor family finances, were more likely to die over the next 10 years than adults who reported no economic hardship during childhood. Continue Reading