Open Access Publications

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Open access publications by faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students in the Epidemiology Program.


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    Chickenpox Outbreaks in Three Refugee Camps on Mainland Greece, 2016-2017: A Retrospective Study
    (Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 2023-12-18) Scales, Sarah Elizabeth; Park, Jee Won; Nixon, Rebecca; Guha-Sapir, Debarati; Horney, Jennifer A.
    Introduction: Displaced populations face disproportionately high risk of communicable disease outbreaks given the strains of travel, health care circumstances in their country of origin, and limited access to health care in receiving countries. Study Objective: Understanding the role of demographic characteristics in outbreaks is important for timely and efficient control measures. Accordingly, this study assesses chickenpox outbreaks in three large refugee camps on mainland Greece from 2016 – 2017, using clinical line-list data from Médecins du Monde (MdM) clinics. Methods: Clinical line-list data from MdM clinics operating in Elliniko, Malakasa, and Raidestos camps in mainland Greece were used to characterize chickenpox outbreaks in these camps. Logistic regression was used to compare the odds of chickenpox by sex, camp, and yearly increase in age. Incidences were calculated for age categories and for sex for each camp outbreak. Results: Across camps, the median age was 19 years (IQR: 7.00 - 30.00 years) for all individuals and five years (IQR: 2.00 - 8.00 years) for cases. Males were 55.94% of the total population and 51.32% of all cases. There were four outbreaks of chickenpox across Elliniko (n = 1), Malakasa (n = 2), and Raidestos (n = 1) camps. The odds of chickenpox when controlling for age and sex was lower for Malakasa (OR = 0.46; 95% CI, 0.38 - 0.78) and Raidestos (OR = 0.36; 95% CI, 0.24 - 0.56) when compared Elliniko. Odds of chickenpox were comparable between Malakasa and Raidestos (OR = 1.49; 95% CI, 0.92 - 2.42). Across all camps, the highest incidence was among children zero-to-five years of age. The sex-specific incidence chickenpox was higher for males than females in Elliniko and Malakasa, while the incidence was higher among females in Raidestos. Conclusion: As expected, individuals five years of age and under made up the majority of chickenpox cases. However, 12% of cases were teenagers or older, highlighting the need to consider atypical age groups in vaccination strategies and control measures. To support both host and displaced populations, it is important to consider risk-reduction needs for both groups. Including host communities in vaccination campaigns and activities can help reduce the population burden of disease for both communities.
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    Immediate and Short-Term Effects of In-Shoe Heel-Lift Orthoses on Clinical and Biomechanical Outcomes in Patients With Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy
    (Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 2024-02-07) Alghamdi, Nabeel Hamdan; Pohlig, Ryan T.; Seymore, Kayla D.; Sions, Jaclyn Megan; Crenshaw, Jeremy R.; Grävare Silbernagel, Karin
    Background: Physical therapists frequently employ heel lifts as an intervention to reduce Achilles tendon pain and restore function. Purpose: To determine the short-term effect of heel lifts on clinical and gait outcomes in participants with insertional Achilles tendinopathy (IAT). Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: Participants with IAT underwent eligibility screening and completed assessments at baseline and 2 weeks later. Primary outcomes included symptom severity (Victoria Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles [VISA-A]), gait analysis with the 10-m walk-test at 2 speeds (normal and fast), and pain during walking. Pain and gait analysis were assessed under 3 conditions: before fitting 20-mm heel lifts, immediately after heel-lift fitting, and after 2 weeks of wearing heel lifts. Ultrasound images and measurements at the Achilles insertion were obtained from prone and standing positions (with and without heel lifts). Spatiotemporal gait parameters and tibial tilt angles were evaluated at normal speed using inertia measurement units during the 3 study conditions. Differences between the conditions were analyzed using paired t test or analysis of variance. Results: Overall, 20 participants (12 female, 13 with bilateral IAT; mean age, 51 ± 9.3 years; mean body mass index 31.6 ± 6.8 kg/m2) completed all assessments. Symptom severity (VISA-A) of the more symptomatic side significantly improved at 2 weeks (60 ± 20.6) compared with baseline (52.2 ± 20.4; P < .01). Pain during gait (Numeric Pain Rating Scale) was significantly reduced immediately after heel-lift fitting (0.7 ± 2.0) when compared with baseline (2.2 ± 2.7, P = .043). Spatiotemporal gait parameters and tibial tilt angle before and after using heel lifts at normal walking speed were not significantly different; however, gait speed, stride length, and tibial tilt angle on both sides increased significantly immediately after using heel lifts and were maintained after 2 weeks of wear. Conclusion: Using heel lifts not only improved symptom severity after 2 weeks but also immediately reduced pain during gait and had a positive impact on gait pattern and speed.
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    Threats to public health workers
    (Public Health in Practice, 2023-12) Horney, Jennifer A.; Harjivan, Akash; Stone, Kahler W.; Jagger, Meredith A.; Kintziger, Kristina W.
    Media reports and data from public health professional membership organizations have demonstrated high levels of harassment experienced by public health workers throughout the COVID-19 response. We documented personal and political threats to public health workers across the first 12 months of pandemic response through a longitudinal survey completed in Fall 2020 and Summer 2021. The web-based survey was distributed to respondents using the Qualtrics survey platform. Survey items measured domains including demographic information, public health roles and training, mental and physical health, and work-life balance. Respondents were also asked if they had received any personal or political threats, from whom these threats were received, and completed an open-ended question describing the nature of the threats. Among the 85 public health workers completing both surveys, threats from members of the public and from elected and appointed leaders were most prevalent at both timepoints; however, as the pandemic response progressed, the nature of threats to public health workers changed. While those remaining in the public health workforce may be more resilient to these threats, increased prevalence of personal and political threats has the potential to deter new graduates from entering the field, impacting the public health system's future response capacity.
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    Pain, Balance-Confidence, Functional Mobility, and Reach Are Associated With Risk of Recurrent Falls Among Adults With Lower-Limb Amputation
    (Archives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Translation, 2023-12-10) Seth, Mayank; Horne, John Robert; Pohlig, Ryan Todd; Sions, Jaclyn Megan
    Objective The study evaluated whether pain intensity and extent, balance-confidence, functional mobility, and balance (eg, functional reach) are potential risk factors for recurrent falls among adults with a lower-limb amputation. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Research laboratory. Participants Eighty-three adults with unilateral lower-limb amputation that occurred >1 year prior (26 transfemoral- and 57 transtibial-level amputation; 44.6% women; 51.8% traumatic cause of amputation; N=83). Intervention Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Participants reported on the number of falls in the past year, as well as pain intensity in the low back, residual, and sound limbs. Balance-confidence (per the Activities-Specific Balance-Confidence Scale [ABC]), functional mobility (per the Prosthetic Limb Users Survey of Mobility ([PLUS-M]), and balance (per the Functional Reach and modified Four Square Step Tests) were obtained. Results After considering non-modifiable covariates, greater extent of pain, less balance-confidence, worse self-reported mobility, and reduced prosthetic-side reach were factors associated with recurrent fall risk. Adults reporting pain in the low back and both lower-limbs had 6.5 times the odds of reporting recurrent falls as compared with peers without pain. A 1-point increase in ABC score or PLUS-M T score, or 1-cm increase in prosthetic-side reaching distance, was associated with a 7.3%, 9.4%, and 7.1% decrease in odds of reporting recurrent falls in the past year, respectively. Conclusions Of the 83 adults, 36% reported recurrent falls in the past year. Presence of pain in the low back and both lower-limbs, less balance-confidence, worse PLUS-M score, and less prosthetic-side reaching distance were identified as modifiable factors associated with an increased odd of recurrent falls.
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    Risk Factors for Underreporting of Life-Limiting Comorbidity Among Adults With Lower-Limb Loss
    (INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, 2023-10-14) Stauffer, Samantha Jeanne; Seth, Mayank; Pohlig, Ryan Todd; Beisheim-Ryan, Emma Haldane; Horne, John Robert; Smith, Sarah Carolyn; Sarlo, Frank Bernard; Sions, Jaclyn Megan
    Peripheral neuropathy (PN) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) are life-limiting comorbidities among adults with lower-limb loss that may not be adequately addressed in current care models. The objective of this study was to evaluate underreporting of PN and PAD among adults with lower-limb loss. We conducted a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional dataset of community-dwelling adults with unilateral lower-limb loss seen in an outpatient Limb Loss Clinic (n = 196; mean age = 56.7 ± 14.4 years; 73.5% male). Individuals participated in standardized clinical examinations including Semmes-Weinstein monofilament testing to assess for PN and pedal pulse palpation to assess for PAD. Bivariate regression was performed to identify key variables for subsequent stepwise logistic regression to discern risk factors. Clinical examination results indicated 16.8% (n = 33) of participants had suspected PN alone, 15.8% (n = 31) had suspected PAD alone, and 23.0% (n = 45) had suspected PN and PAD. More than half of participants with clinical examination findings of PN or PAD failed to self-report the condition (57.7% and 86.8%, respectively). Among adults with lower-limb loss with suspected PN, participants with dysvascular amputations were at lower risk of underreporting (odds ratio [OR] = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.1-0.6). For those with suspected PAD, those who reported more medication prescriptions were at lower risk of underreporting (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.7-1.0). Adults with lower-limb loss underreport PN and PAD per a medical history checklist, which may indicate underdiagnosis or lack of patient awareness. Routine assessment is highly recommended in this population and may be especially critical among individuals with non-dysvascular etiology.
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    Characterizing the impacts of public health control measures on domestic violence services: qualitative interviews with domestic violence coalition leaders
    (BMC Public Health, 2023-09-05) Horney, Jennifer A.; Fleury‑Steiner, Ruth; Camphausen, Lauren C.; Wells, Sarah A.; Miller, Susan L.
    Background Prior to the availability of pharmaceutical control measures, non-pharmaceutical control measures, including travel restrictions, physical distancing, isolation and quarantine, closure of schools and workplaces, and the use of personal protective equipment were the only tools available to public health authorities to control the spread of COVID-19. The implementation of these non-pharmaceutical control measures had unintended impacts on the ability of state and territorial domestic violence coalitions to provide services to victims. Methods A semi-structured interview guide to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted service provision and advocacy generally, and how COVID-19 control measures specifically, created barriers to services and advocacy, was developed, pilot tested, and revised based on feedback. Interviews with state and territorial domestic violence coalition executive directors were conducted between November 2021 and March 2022. Transcripts were inductively and deductively coded using both hand-coding and qualitative software. Results Forty-five percent (25 of 56) of state and territorial domestic violence coalition executive directors representing all 8 National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) regions were interviewed. Five themes related to the use of non-pharmaceutical pandemic control measures with impacts on the provision of services and advocacy were identified. Conclusions The use of non-pharmaceutical control measures early in the COVID-19 pandemic had negative impacts on the health and safety of some vulnerable groups, including domestic violence victims. Organizations that provide services and advocacy to victims faced many unique challenges in carrying out their missions while adhering to required public health control measures. Policy and preparedness plan changes are needed to prevent unintended consequences of control measure implementation among vulnerable groups as well as to identify lessons learned that should be applied in future disasters and emergencies.
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    School nurses: Researcher and clinician collaborations to address paediatric health inequities
    (Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2023-08-02) Covington, Lauren B.; Hildick, Heidi; Robinson, Anastasia; Pennington, Mandy; Mansi, Suzanne; Ji, Xiaopeng; Strang, Abigail; Rani, Seema; Robson, Shannon; Lobo, Michele A.; Cuffee, Yendelela; Selekman, Janice; Taherzadeh, Sanaz; Carroll, Jill; Covey, Ann; Murray, Kenna; Zimmerman, Chriss; Horney, Jennifer A.; Sowinski, Christine; Patterson, Freda
    School nurses are front-line paediatric public health providers who are eager and poised to address paediatric health inequities. They are tasked with remaining informed about current health issues (i.e. immunization updates, surges in emerging and reemerging illnesses, novel medications and side effects, etc.), but also the disparities that arise within different populations of students (Willgerodt et al., 2018). Further, school nurses are well-positioned to be advocates for the most vulnerable students at risk for health disparities and inequities. For example, school nurses are able to identify and advocate for students who experience food and housing insecurity, lack access to medical or dental care, and/or those who live in unstable or insecure environments (Gratz et al., 2021). School nurses bridge gaps that address lack of healthcare access for their students by making referrals to social workers, public health departments or statewide agencies. School nurses are truly community engaged—sharing with community members the top issues plaguing their students, as well as listening to and addressing priority health issues afflicting the community (Gratz et al., 2021; Willgerodt et al., 2018).
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    Changes in anxiety and depression among public health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic response
    (International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2023-07-20) Stone, Kahler W.; Jagger, Meredith A.; Horney, Jennifer A.; Kintziger, Kristina W.
    Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted mental health indicators, leading to an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression in both the general population of adults and children and many occupational groups. This study aims to examine changes in anxiety and depression among a cohort of public health workers in the U.S. during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and identify potential risk factors. Methods Longitudinal data were collected from a sub-sample (N = 85) of public health workers in 23 U.S. states who completed two surveys in 2020 and 2021. Information on background characteristics, personal well-being, and work environment as well as validated scales to assess generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depressive disorder, and burnout was collected. Data were analyzed using Stata Version 17, and significant differences were determined using Pearson’s Chi2 and Fisher’s Exact tests. Results The proportion of those reporting GAD (46.3% to 23.2%) or depression (37.8% to 26.8%) improved from Survey 1 to Survey 2 overall; symptoms of anxiety saw the largest improvement. Persistent depression was associated with sustained burnout, changes in social support, and days worked per week. Conclusion Public health workers experienced elevated levels of anxiety and depression during the initial pandemic response, but a reduction in these symptoms was observed in the subsequent year after vaccines had become widely available. However, unmet needs remain for ongoing workplace mental health supports to address burnout, as well as for additional emotional supports outside of work for public health professionals.
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    Body size throughout the life-course and incident benign prostatic hyperplasia-related outcomes and nocturia
    (BMC Urology, 2021-03-27) Khan, Saira; Wolin, K. Y.; Pakpahan, R.; Grubb, R. L. III; Colditz, G. A.; Ragard, L.; Mabie, J.; Breyer, B. N.; Andriole, G. L.; Sutcliffe, S.
    Background Existing evidence suggests that there is an association between body size and prevalent Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)-related outcomes and nocturia. However, there is limited evidence on the association between body size throughout the life-course and incident BPH-related outcomes. Methods Our study population consisted of men without histories of prostate cancer, BPH-related outcomes, or nocturia in the intervention arm of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO) (n = 4710). Associations for body size in early- (age 20), mid- (age 50) and late-life (age ≥ 55, mean age 60.7 years) and weight change with incident BPH-related outcomes (including self-reported nocturia and physician diagnosis of BPH, digital rectal examination-estimated prostate volume ≥ 30 cc, and prostate-specific antigen [PSA] concentration > 1.4 ng/mL) were examined using Poisson regression with robust variance estimation. Results Men who were obese in late-life were 25% more likely to report nocturia (Relative Risk (RR): 1.25, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.11–1.40; p-trendfor continuous BMI < 0.0001) and men who were either overweight or obese in late-life were more likely to report a prostate volume ≥ 30 cc (RRoverweight: 1.13, 95% CI 1.07–1.21; RRobese: 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.19; p-trendfor continuous BMI = 0.017) as compared to normal weight men. Obesity at ages 20 and 50 was similarly associated with both nocturia and prostate volume ≥ 30 cc. Considering trajectories of body size, men who were normal weight at age 20 and became overweight or obese by later-life had increased risks of nocturia (RRnormal to overweight: 1.09, 95% CI 0.98–1.22; RRnormal to obese: 1.28, 95% CI 1.10–1.47) and a prostate volume ≥ 30 cc (RRnormal to overweight: 1.12, 95% CI 1.05–1.20). Too few men were obese early in life to examine the independent effect of early-life body size. Later-life body size modified the association between physical activity and nocturia. Conclusions We found that later-life body size, independent of early-life body size, was associated with adverse BPH outcomes, suggesting that interventions to reduce body size even late in life can potentially reduce the burden of BPH-related outcomes and nocturia.
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    Temporal associations between nightly sleep with daytime eating and activity levels in free-living young adults
    (SLEEP, 2023-04-21) Hoopes, Elissa K.; Brewer, Benjamin; Robson, Shannon M.; Witman, Melissa A.; D’Agata, Michele N.; Malone, Susan K.; Edwards, David G.; Patterson, Freda
    Study Objectives This study aimed to quantify the temporal associations between nightly sleep quantity and timing with daytime eating behavior and activity levels in free-living (i.e. non-experimental) settings. Methods Generally healthy young adults (N = 63; 28.9 ± 7.1 years) completed concurrent sleep (wrist actigraphy), eating (photo-assisted diet records), and activity (waist actigraphy) assessments over 14 days. Multilevel models quantified the associations between nightly sleep (total sleep time, timing of sleep and wake onset) with next-day eating behavior (diet quality, caloric intake, timing of eating onset/offset, eating window duration) and activity levels (total physical activity, sedentary time). Associations in the reverse direction (i.e. eating and activity predicting sleep) were explored. Models adjusted for demographic and behavioral confounders and accounted for multiple testing. Results At within- and between-subject levels, nights with greater-than-average total sleep time predicted a shorter eating window the next day (all p ≤ 0.002). Later-than-average sleep and wake timing predicted within- and between-subject delays in next-day eating onset and offset, and between-subject reductions in diet quality and caloric intake (all p ≤ 0.008). At within- and between-subject levels, total sleep time was bidirectionally, inversely associated with sedentary time (all p < 0.001), while later-than-average sleep and wake timing predicted lower next-day physical activity (all p ≤ 0.008). Conclusions These data underscore the complex interrelatedness between sleep, eating behavior, and activity levels in free-living settings. Findings also suggest that sleep exerts a greater influence on next-day behavior, rather than vice versa. While testing in more diverse samples is needed, these data have potential to enhance health behavior interventions and maximize health outcomes. Graphical Abstract: Available at
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    Construct validity of movement-evoked pain operational definitions in older adults with chronic low back pain
    (Pain Medicine, 2023-03-21) Knox, Patrick J.; Simon, Corey B.; Pohlig, Ryan T.; Pugliese, Jenifer M.; Coyle, Peter C.; Sions, Jaclyn M.; Hicks, Gregory E.
    Objective: Movement-evoked pain (MeP) may predispose the geriatric chronic low back pain (LBP) population to health decline. As there are differing operational definitions for MeP, the question remains as to whether these different definitions have similar associations with health outcomes in older adults with chronic LBP. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of an observational study. Setting: Clinical research laboratory. Subjects: 226 older adults with chronic LBP. Methods: This secondary analysis used baseline data from a prospective cohort study (n = 250). LBP intensity was collected before and after the repeated chair rise test, stair climbing test, and 6-minute walk test; MeP change scores (ie, sum of pretest pain subtracted from posttest pain) and aggregated posttest pain (ie, sum of posttest pain) variables were calculated. LBP-related disability and self-efficacy were measured by the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale (QBPDS) and Low Back Activity Confidence Scale (LOBACS), respectively. Physical function was measured with the Health ABC Performance Battery. Robust regression with HC3 standard errors was used to evaluate adjusted associations between both MeP variables and disability, self-efficacy, and physical function. Results: Greater aggregated posttest MeP was independently associated with worse disability (b = 0.593, t = 2.913, P = .004), self-efficacy (b = –0.870, t = –3.110, P = .002), and physical function (b = –0.017, t = –2.007, P = .039). MeP change scores were not associated with any outcome (all P > .050). Conclusions: Aggregate posttest MeP was linked to poorer health outcomes in older adults with chronic LBP, but MeP change scores were not. Future studies should consider that the construct validity of MeP paradigms partially depends on the chosen operational definition.
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    Comparing an Expanded Versus Brief Telehealth Physical Therapist Intervention for Knee Osteoarthritis: Study Protocol for the Delaware PEAK Randomized Controlled Trial
    (Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal, 2023-02-01) Jakiela, Jason T.; Voinier, Dana; Hinman, Rana S.; Copson, Jennifer; Schmitt, Laura A.; Leonard, Tara R.; Aily, Jéssica B; Bodt, Barry A.; White, Daniel K.
    Objective The purpose of this study is to investigate whether a remotely delivered physical therapist intervention increases physical activity (PA) over 12 weeks, compared with existing web-based resources, in adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods This will be a single-center, randomized controlled trial with 2 parallel arms: (1) the Expanded Intervention (Delaware PEAK [Physical Exercise and Activity for Knee osteoarthritis]), which includes five 45- to 60-minute video conference-based sessions of supervised exercise (strengthening exercises, step goals) that are remotely delivered over 12 weeks by a physical therapist; or (2) the Brief Intervention (control group), a website that includes prerecorded videos directing participants to web-based resources for strengthening, PA, and pain management for knee OA that are freely available. The trial will enroll 100 participants who meet the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence OA clinical criteria (≥45 years old, have activity-related knee pain, and have no morning stiffness or it lasts ≤30 minutes), reside in the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), and are seeking to be more physically active. Outcomes include PA (time in moderate-to-vigorous and light PA, steps per day), sedentary behaviors, treatment beliefs, and self-efficacy for exercise. Our primary outcome is moderate-to-vigorous PA. Outcomes will be measured at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. Impact This protocol focuses on the remote delivery of physical therapy via telehealth to adults with knee OA and comes at a critical time, because the burden of inactivity is of particular concern in this population. If successful, the findings of this work will provide strong support for the broad implementation of Delaware PEAK, highlight the utility of telehealth in physical therapy, and address the critical need to utilize exercise to manage adults with knee OA through physical therapists.
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    Critical facility accessibility and road criticality assessment considering flood-induced partial failure
    (Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, 2022-11-25) Gangwal, Utkarsh; Siders, A. R.; Horney, Jennifer; Michael, Holly A.; Dong, Shangjia
    This paper examines communities’ accessibility to critical facilities such as hospitals, emergency medical services, and emergency shelters when facing flooding. We use travel speed reduction to account for flood-induced partial road failure. A modified betweenness centrality metric is also introduced to calculate the criticality of roads for connecting communities to critical facilities. The proposed model and metric are applied to the Delaware road network under 100-year floods. This model highlights the severe critical facility access loss risk due to flood isolation of facilities. The mapped post-flooding accessibility suggests a significant travel time increase to critical facilities and reveals disparities among communities, especially for vulnerable groups such as long-term care facility residents. We also identified critical roads that are vital for post-flooding access to critical facilities. The results of this research can help inform targeted infrastructure investment decisions and hazard mitigation strategies that contribute to equitable community resilience enhancement.
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    Lessons Learned From the Public Health Workforce's Experiences With the COVID-19 Response
    (Health Security, 2022-10-17) Scales, Sarah E.; Patrick, Elizabeth; Stone, Kahler W.; Kintziger, Kristina W.; Jagger, Meredith A.; Horney, Jennifer A.
    Limited research is available on the COVID-19 response experiences of local, state, and federal public health workers in the United States. Although the response to COVID-19 is still presenting challenges to the public health workforce, public health systems must also begin to consider lessons learned that can be applied to future disasters. During July and August 2021, a random sample of participants from a cross-sectional study of the public health workforce was invited to participate in interviews to obtain information on the current state of public health operations, the ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis, and takeaways for improving future preparedness and response planning. Interviews were transcribed and inductively coded to identify themes. Twenty-four initial interview invitations were sent, and random substitutions were made until thematic saturation was reached when 17 interviews were completed. Four thematic categories were identified, including challenges related to (1) ongoing lack of political support or policy guidance; (2) fluctuations in, and uncertainty about, future funding and associated requirements; (3) job expectations, including remote work and data-sharing capabilities; and (4) the mental health toll of sustained response and related burnout. As the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues in its third year, it is crucial to identify lessons learned that can inform future investment in order to sustain a public health workforce and a public health preparedness and response system that is resilient to future disasters.
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    Concordance in caregiver and child sleep health metrics among families experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage: A pilot study
    (Journal of Applied Research on Children, 2022-08-25) Covington, Lauren; Satti, Aditi; Brewer, Benjamin; Blair, Rachel; Duffy, Ilona; Laurenceau, Jean-Phillipe; Mayberry, Shannon; Cordova, Angeni; Hoopes, Elissa; Patterson, Freda
    Purpose: Child and caregiver sleep occurs in a family system, with socioeconomically disadvantaged families experiencing disproportionately worse sleep health than more advantaged families. The extent to which objectively measured sleep health metrics (i.e., sleep duration, midpoint, regularity, efficiency) are concordant within disadvantaged family systems, including caregiver-child dyads, is not clear. To address this gap, this study aimed to: (1) characterize sleep health metrics and (2) identify levels of sleep health concordance among caregiver-child dyads living in families experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage. Design and methods: We enrolled 20 caregivers and 26 children in this micro-longitudinal study. Eligible primary caregivers slept in the same house as the child ≥4 nights/week and had no sleep disorders. Eligible children were aged 6-14 years and reported no medical problems. Dyads wore an actigraphy device continuously for 14 consecutive days. Sleep duration, bedtime, midpoint, and efficiency were estimated, and concordance evaluated using linear mixed modeling (R v.3.5.2). Results: Most caregivers were female (85%), Non-Hispanic Black (80%), and aged 40.45 years (SD=11.82). On average, caregivers were not meeting national recommendations for sleep duration and efficiency. Similarly, sleep duration recommendations were not met by child participants. Bivariate results showed that bedtime 𝑟=0.19, p<.001), sleep efficiency (𝑟=0.24, p<.001), and sleep midpoint (𝑟=0.39, p<.001), were concordant between child and caregiver. Multivariable models showed that caregiver bedtime was predictive of child sleep midpoint (b=0.16, p<.05), and caregiver sleep midpoint was predictive of child bedtime (b=0.29, p<.01) and child sleep midpoint (b=0.31, p<.001). Conclusion: Objectively estimated caregiver sleep may be connected to the sleep timing of their children. Improving child sleep may require addressing caregiver sleep habits too. Practice Implications: Results highlight the importance of providers considering caregiver sleep health when assessing child sleep health during well child visits. KEY TAKE AWAY POINTS: In this sample of caregiver-child dyads living in families experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, on average, caregivers were not meeting national recommendations for sleep duration (7-9 hours per night) and sleep efficiency (>85%), and children were not obtaining 9-11 hours of sleep per night. Bedtime, sleep efficiency, and sleep midpoint were significantly concordant in caregivers and children, with the strongest association observed with sleep midpoint. In multivariable models, caregiver bedtime predicted child sleep midpoint, and caregiver midpoint predicted child bedtime and midpoint; highlighting the necessity of addressing poor sleep health at the family versus individual level among families experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage.
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    Civil war and death in Yemen: Analysis of SMART survey and ACLED data, 2012–2019
    (PLOS Global Public Health, 2022-08-08) Guha Sapir, Debarati; Ogbu, Jideofor Thomas; Scales, Sarah Elizabeth; de Almeida, Maria Moitinho; Donneau, Anne-Francoise; Diep, Anh; Bernstein, Robyn; al-Masnai, Akram; Rodriguez-Llanes, Jose Manuel; Burnham, Gilbert
    Conflict in Yemen has displaced millions and destroyed health infrastructure, resulting in the world’s largest humanitarian disaster. The objective of this paper is to examine mortality in Yemen to determine whether it has increased significantly since the conflict began in 2015 compared to the preceding period. We analysed 91 household surveys using the Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions methodology, covering 2,864 clusters undertaken from 2012–2019, and deaths from Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project database covering the conflict period 2015–2019. We used a Poisson-Gamma model to estimate pre-conflict (μp, baseline value) and conflict period (μc) mean death rates using household survey data from 2012–2019. To analyse changes in the distribution of deaths and estimate nationwide excess deaths, we applied pre- and post-conflict death rates to total population numbers. Further, we tested for association between excess death and security levels by governorate. The national estimated crude death rate/10,000 in the conflict period was 0.20 (95% CI: 0.17, 0.24), which is meaningfully higher than the estimated baseline rate of 0.19 (95% CI: 0.17, 0.22). Applying the conflict period rate to the Yemeni population, we estimated 168,212 excess deaths that occurred between 2015 and 2019. There was an 17.8% increase in overall deaths above the baseline during the conflict period. A large share (67.2%) of the excess deaths were due to combat-related violence. At the governorate level, posterior crude death rate varied across the country, ranging from 0.03 to 0.63 per 10,000 per day. Hajjah, Ibb, and Al Jawf governorates presented the highest total excess deaths. Insecurity level was not statistically associated with excess deaths. The health situation in Yemen was poor before the crisis in 2015. During the conflict, intentional violence from air and ground strikes were responsible for more deaths than indirect or non-violent causes. The provision of humanitarian aid by foreign agencies may have helped contain increases in indirect deaths from the conflict.
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    Tendon loading in runners with Achilles tendinopathy: Relations to pain, structure, and function during return-to-sport
    (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 2022-04-30) Corrigan, Patrick; Hornsby, Samantha; Pohlig, Ryan T.; Willy, Richard W.; Cortes, Daniel H.; Silbernagel, Karin Grävare
    We aimed to (1) compare pain, tendon structure, lower limb function, and Achilles tendon loads while running between limbs in runners with Achilles tendinopathy, and (2) explore the relations of pain, tendon structure, and lower limb function to Achilles tendon loads while running. Twenty runners with Achilles tendinopathy participated in this pilot study. Pain was assessed with questionnaires, quantitative sensory testing, and functional testing. Tendon morphology and mechanical properties were evaluated with ultrasound imaging, continuous shear wave elastography, and ultrasound imaging combined with dynamometry. Lower limb function was assessed with an established test battery. Achilles tendon loads were estimated from biomechanical data acquired during running. Compared to the least symptomatic limb, the most symptomatic limb had lower scores on the Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment – Achilles questionnaire and worse pain during drop countermovement jumping, hopping, and running. Tendon thickness and cross-sectional area were greater, and Young's modulus, drop countermovement jump height, and plyometric quotient during hopping were lower on the most symptomatic limb. Side-to-side differences in drop countermovement jump height were significantly associated with side-to-side differences in Achilles tendon peak forces and average loading rates during running. Various measures of pain, structure, and function differ between limbs in runners with Achilles tendinopathy during return-to-sport. Tendon forces, however, do not differ between limbs during comfortable running. In addition to measures that differ between limbs, measures of performance during drop countermovement jumping may aid in clinical decision-making during return-to-sport because they are associated with tendon forces while running.
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    Body image and perception among adults with and without phantom limb pain
    (PM&R, 2021-12-16) Beisheim-Ryan, Emma Haldane; Hicks, Gregory Evan; Pohlig, Ryan Todd; Medina, Jared; Sions, Jaclyn Megan
    Background: Following lower-limb amputation, phantom limb pain (i.e., pain perceived as coming from the amputated portion of the limb) is common. Phantom limb pain may be associated with impaired body image and perception, which may be targets for rehabilitative intervention. Objective: To compare measures of body image and perception between adults with and without phantom limb pain post amputation and evaluate associations between measures of body image and perception and phantom limb pain. Design: Survey. Setting: Online, remote assessment. Participants: Seventy-two adults ≥1 year post unilateral lower-limb loss (n = 42 with phantom limb pain, n = 30 without phantom limb pain or pain in the remaining portion of the limb). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Self-reported outcome measures assessing body image (i.e., Amputee Body Image Scale-Revised), perceptual disturbances associated with the phantom limb (i.e., a modified Bath Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Body Perception Disturbance Scale), and prosthesis satisfaction (i.e., Trinity Amputation and Prosthesis Experience Scale) were administered; participants with phantom limb pain reported pain interference via the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form. Between-group comparisons of self-reported outcome measure scores were conducted using Mann Whitney U or chi-square tests, as appropriate (a = .05). Results: Compared to peers without phantom limb pain, adults with phantom limb pain reported more negative body image; increased phantom limb ownership, attention, and awareness; and reduced prosthesis satisfaction and embodiment (U = 175.50–364.00, p < .001 to .034). Disturbances in phantom limb perception (i.e., size, weight, pressure, temperature) were similar between groups (p = .086 to >.999). More negative body image was associated with increased phantom limb pain interference (τb = .25, p = .026). Conclusions: Adults with phantom limb pain demonstrate more negative body image and hypervigilance of the phantom limb as compared to peers with nonpainful phantom sensations. Mind-body treatments that target impaired body image and perception may be critical interventions for adults with phantom limb pain.
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    A Qualitative Study of the COVID-19 Response Experiences of Public Health Workers in the United States
    (Health Security, 2021-12-17) Scales, Sarah E.; Patrick, Elizabeth; Stone, Kahler W.; Kintziger, Kristina W.; Jagger, Meredith A.; Horney, Jennifer A.
    The mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline, patient-facing healthcare staff have been described in several studies, but the effects of the COVID-19 response on the US public health workforce have not been well characterized. In early 2021, we conducted interviews with a subset of public health practitioners in the United States who participated in a cross-sectional survey and indicated their willingness to participate in a follow-up interview. An interview guide was developed to collect information about professional roles since the start of the pandemic, aspects of the individual COVID-19 response that impacted mental health, and aspects of the organizational/institutional COVID-19 response that impacted mental health, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of, opportunities for, and threats to public health professionals and organizations going forward. Interviews were transcribed and inductively coded to identify themes. Of the 48 people invited to participate, 24 completed an interview between January 28 and February 23, 2021. Five key themes were identified through inductive coding of interview transcripts: (1) teamwork and workplace camaraderie, (2) potential for growth in the field of public health, (3) considerations for adaptive work environments (eg, remote work, work out of jurisdiction, transition to telework), (4) politicization of response, and (5) constrained hiring capacity and burnout. After more than a year of public health emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critically important to understand the detrimental and supportive factors of good mental health among the public health workforce.
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    Gait asymmetry is associated with performance-based physical function among adults with lower-limb amputation
    (Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 2021-10-17) Seth, Mayank; Coyle, Peter C.; Pohlig, Ryan T.; Beisheim, Emma H.; Horne, John R.; Hicks, Gregory E.; Sions, Jaclyn Megan
    BACKGROUND Adults with lower-limb amputation walk with an asymmetrical gait and exhibit poor functional outcomes, which may negatively impact quality-of-life. OBJECTIVE To evaluate associations between gait asymmetry and performance-based physical function among adults with lower-limb amputation. METHODS A cross-sectional study involving 38 adults with a unilateral transtibial (N = 24; 62.5 ± 10.5 years) or transfemoral amputation (N = 14; 59.9 ± 9.5 years) was conducted. Following gait analysis (capturing step length and stance time asymmetry at self-selected (SSWS) and fast walking speeds (FWS)), participants completed performance-based measures (i.e. Timed Up and Go (TUG), the 10-Meter Walk Test (10mwt), and the 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT)). RESULTS Step length and stance time asymmetry (at SSWS and FWS) were significantly correlated with each performance-based measure (p < .001 to p = .035). Overall, models with gait measures obtained at SSWS explained 40.1%, 46.8% and 40.1% of the variance in TUG-time (p = .022), 10mwt-speed (p = .003) and 6MWT-distance (p = .010), respectively. Models with gait measures obtained at FWS explained 70.0%, 59.8% and 51.8% of the variance in TUG-time (p < .001), 10mwt-speed (p < .001), and 6MWT-distance (p < .001), respectively. CONCLUSIONS Increases in step length or stance time asymmetry are associated with increased TUG-time, slower 10mwt-speed, and reduced 6MWT-distance. Findings suggest gait asymmetry may be a factor in poor functional outcomes following lower-limb amputation.
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