Pediatrician will work to cut sexually transmitted diseases

June 21, 1999

CHAPEL HILL - National pride in being a world leader doesn't extend to the embarrassing reality that older U.S. adolescents and young adults suffer higher sexually transmitted disease rates than young people in any other developed country.

A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pediatrician who wants to reduce that health problem has just received a four-year, $240,000 Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar Program Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, N.J.

Dr. Carol A. Ford, assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine at the UNC-CH School of Medicine, says she will use the money to support her research with the UNC-CH-based Add Health project, the nation's largest study of adolescent behavior. She wants to learn what motivates older adolescents and young adults to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and then to seek treatment.

"Getting and using this information in the right way potentially could increase the effectiveness of sexually transmitted disease screening programs in the United States and reduce the overall personal and societal burden of these preventable illnesses," Ford said. "They are a very serious problem."

Ford will collaborate with Dr. J. Richard Udry, professor of sociology and of maternal and child health at the UNC-CH School of Public Health, as he and his Add Health colleagues gather information next year on 20,000 U.S. residents between ages 18 and 25.

Participants will be the same as those randomly selected and surveyed as adolescents in 1994 and 1995. Results of the earlier work made national headlines in 1997 because they proved, among other things, that feeling connected with family, school and religious organizations helped steer adolescents away from unhealthy acts.

Subjects will be asked to provide a urine sample that will be tested for STDs in the laboratory of Dr. Myron S. Cohen, professor and chief of infectious diseases at UNC-CH. Ford will determine what influences their decisions to be tested, to pick up their test results later and to be treated by physicians if necessary. She also will train resident pediatricians and internists how to provide high-quality health care to adolescents in clinical settings.

Ford, a graduate of Florida State University and the University of Florida's medical school, directs the UNC-CH adolescent medicine program. She served her internship and residency at UNC-CH, practiced medicine for five years in eastern North Carolina and completed a fellowship in adolescent medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

Receiving the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation support was exciting and an honor because the process is so competitive, Ford said. Only 15 such Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program Awards were presented this year in the United States.

Since its birth in 1972, the foundation -- the nation's largest health and health-care philanthropy -- has made more than $2.6 billion in grants. Its chief goals are to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost and to improve the way services are organized and provided to people with chronic health problems. The foundation also concentrates on reducing the personal, social and economic harm caused by tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse.
-end-
Note: Ford can be reached at 919-966-2504 (w).
Contact: David Williamson, 919-962-8596.



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.