1,387 research outputs found

    Identities Matter: Identity Politics, Coalition Possibilities, and Feminist Organizing

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    This dissertation examines the processes of identity construction and deployment among Uruguayan women and organized women’s groups. I employ narrative analysis and process tracing methodology to analyze the question of why attempts to create multi-racial gender coalitions are frequently unsuccessful among Uruguayan women’s groups. I find that identity is constructed differently for women along the lines of race and class, even in a South American setting where racial attributes are supposedly of little import. These competing identities result in conflicts among the gender-based organizations that women form; as a consequence there is a reduction in coalition possibilities for otherwise similarly oriented women’s groups. I find that each group has distinct ideological conceptions of the salience of race and class to gender mobilization and these divergent ideological conceptions have had a direct impact on each organization’s willingness to coalesce with other local women’s groups. My research contributes an important component to the identity and social movements literature. The literature on identity politics and coalition formation is largely theoretical in nature. Much of the empirical literature on coalition formation highlights political and structural variables such as threat, resources, and political opportunities, and considers identity differences tangentially or not at all. My research combines these two approaches to present an empirical case study that specifies the relationship between identity politics and coalition politics. I highlight ideology, which is a key understudied variable. I find that ideological differences often impede coalition formation, and that this relationship holds variety of issue areas and types. I also find that political strategy is of central importance to coalition formation. Specifically, it may function separately from, or in collusion with, ideological differences in constraining or fostering coalition formation

    The evidence-policy divide: a \u27critical computational linguistics\u27 approach to the language of 18 health agency CEOs from 9 countries

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    Background There is an emerging body of literature suggesting that the evidence-practice divide in health policy is complex and multi-factorial but less is known about the processes by which health policy-makers use evidence and their views about the specific features of useful evidence. This study aimed to contribute to understandings of how the most influential health policy-makers view useful evidence, in ways that help explore and question how the evidence-policy divide is understood and what research might be supported to help overcome this divide. Methods A purposeful sample of 18 national and state health agency CEOs from 9 countries was obtained. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions that asked them to define specific features of useful evidence. The analysis involved two main approaches 1)quantitative mapping of interview transcripts using Bayesian-based computational linguistics software 2)qualitative critical discourse analysis to explore the nuances of language extracts so identified. Results The decision-making, conclusions-oriented world of policy-making is constructed separately, but not exclusively, by policy-makers from the world of research. Research is not so much devalued by them as described as too technical— yet at the same time not methodologically complex enough to engage with localised policy-making contexts. It is not that policy-makers are negative about academics or universities, it is that they struggle to find complexity-oriented methodologies for understanding their stakeholder communities and improving systems. They did not describe themselves as having a more positive role in solving this challenge than academics. Conclusions These interviews do not support simplistic definitions of policy-makers and researchers as coming from two irreconcilable worlds. They suggest that qualitative and quantitative research is valued by policy-makers but that to be policy-relevant health research may need to focus on building complexity-oriented research methods for local community health and service development. Researchers may also need to better explain and develop the policy-relevance of large statistical generalisable research designs. Policy-makers and public health researchers wanting to serve local community needs may need to be more proactive about questioning whether the dominant definitions of research quality and the research funding levers that drive university research production are appropriately inclusive of excellence in such policy-relevant research

    Influencing holistic health policy

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    Beliefs that health policy-making is an inherently 'ideological' or 'irrational' process appear to have worked to prevent researchers from developing better understandings of the kind of evidence that does work to influence policy. Without a model of policymaking that positions policy decision-makers as capable of being informed by specific forms of evidence that speak to policy contexts, it is difficult for research to begin to shape health policy. Recent years have seen the development of a research industry that focuses on developing and describing research approaches for shaping health and social services policy. This analysis paper offers a highly selective overview of generic features of policy-relevant research for holistic health. It aims to support efforts to develop better evidence for health policy by exploring elements of the genre of policyrelevant research, particularly as it applies to the challenges of holistic health policymaking. First, it offers a conceptual definition of holistic health policy-making, as well as research evidence for this kind of policy making, identifying some of the generic features of policy-relevant research. Second, it outlines some of the key practices for delivering sound evidence for health policy, in ways that highlight the salient differences between doing research for holistic health policy, and doing academic research in health. The paper concludes with directions for developing better evidence for holistic health policymaking that question the assumptions of quality which often inform elite funding agencies, calling for their diversification

    Testing Women’s Athletic Shirts: Which is Better?

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    Erica Bell is an undergraduate student in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University. Janay Williams is an undergraduate student in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University. Jacoby Clark is an undergraduate student in Computer Information Systems in the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University. Kathleen Heiden is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University

    Stiffness of Intrinsic Foot Structures in Diabetic Individuals and the Effect of Stiffness on Plantar Pressures During Gait

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    Plantar foot ulcers are a severe and common complication associated with diabetes that overwhelmingly lead to non-traumatic major amputations among diabetic individuals. There are several known factors that contribute to the development of these ulcers, however it is possible that stiffening of foot structures (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments) is another important factor that has yet to be fully investigated. Increased soft tissue stiffness on the plantar surface of the foot has been found in diabetic individuals, but stiffness of individual foot structures has yet to be investigated. It has been proposed in literature that stiffening of muscles and tendons in diabetic feet cause increased plantar pressures, which often precede development of ulcers. However, to date, no study has comprehensively examined stiffness of individual foot structures in diabetic individuals and the effect of stiffness on plantar pressures during gait. Therefore, the ultimate purpose of the following work was to investigate the relationship between foot structure stiffness and plantar pressures during gait in diabetic individuals. Firstly, it was hypothesized that stiffness of foot structures would be directly and linearly related to plantar pressures during gait. Secondly, it was hypothesized that diabetics would exhibit higher stiffness and higher plantar pressures than controls. There is also evidence of structural changes in the diabetic foot compared to controls, including thickening of the plantar fascia (PF) and Achilles tendon. Plantar fasciitis is a common musculoskeletal disorder that, like diabetes, is associated with thickening of the PF. To date, few studies have investigated material properties of the PF, and there are currently no studies that have assessed material properties of other arch supporting structures (i.e. muscles, tendons) . It is possible that, in addition to thickening of the PF, plantar fasciitis populations exhibit material property changes of the PF and other arch supporting structures that contribute to the plantar fasciitis injury mechanism. Investigating material properties of the PF and arch supporting structures and how these properties relate to plantar pressures in individuals with plantar fasciitis may help provide relevant information to injury development in the foot in plantar fasciitis and diabetic populations. Therefore, material properties of foot structures and plantar pressures during gait were also assessed in individuals with plantar fasciitis. First, it was hypothesized that individuals with active plantar fasciitis symptoms would exhibit altered stiffness of foot structures compared to controls and individuals with a history of plantar fasciitis who are currently asymptomatic. Secondly, it was hypothesized that stiffness of PF stiffness would inversely and linearly relate to plantar pressures during gait in individuals with plantar fasciitis. The studies herein provide evidence that: 1) relationships are present between individual foot structures and plantar pressures in diabetic individuals and; 2) individual foot structures exhibited higher stiffness in diabetic individuals for some, but not all examined foot structures compared to controls. Contrary to the primary hypothesis, the observed relationships were mostly negative, suggesting that lower stiffness of individual foot structures relates to higher pressure. There is evidence that individuals with plantar fasciitis exhibit structural property changes similar to those observed in diabetic individuals, thus material properties of foot structures and their relationships with plantar pressures were also assessed in this population. Interestingly, individuals with plantar fasciitis exhibited mostly positive relationships, which was also contrary to the hypothesis for that population. Although some differential relationships existed within these groups, the diabetic and plantar fasciitis population displayed similar values for proximal plantar fascia stiffness that was negatively correlated with peak pressure under the heel. Structurally, diabetic individuals and individuals with plantar fasciitis similarly displayed decreased thickness of muscles and tendons which is suggestive of weakening and/or damage occurring to these structures. Taken together, these results support the idea of foot structure stiffness relating to plantar pressures and more specifically, are suggestive of damage occurring to the plantar fascia that is directly influencing plantar pressure distributions and foot function in diabetic individuals and individuals with plantar fasciitis. Thus, stiffness may still be an important factor to consider in understanding alterations of foot function and potentially in the ulcer injury mechanism in diabetic individuals

    Analysis of Apparel Structural Characteristics to Determine Effects on Fit, Performance, and Cost of Womens’ Athletic Shirts

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    Erica Bell is an undergraduate student in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University. D’Atra McFarland is an undergraduate student in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University. Janay Williams is an undergraduate student in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University. Kathleen Heiden is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana Tech University

    Non clinical rural and remote competencies: can they be defined?

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    This paper aims to explore what non clinical rural and remote competencies are and how they have been described in different contexts. The findings are based on searches for publicly available national (and any international) curriculum statements of rural and remote practice published by agencies relevant to rural and remote medical practice, both government and non government, across the globe. The national statements of non clinical rural and remote competencies considered in this paper suggest that these competencies can be wide-ranging. They include specific kinds of content knowledge, high level problem-solving in specific contexts, skills in managing professional identity and ethical selfawareness, as well as teamwork skills and public health management skills. The paper concludes that there is insufficient evidence to specify how different non clinical rural and remote competencies are from non clinical competencies per se. However, the models examined suggest that, far from being undefinable, non clinical rural and remote competencies can be complex and multi-faceted, reflecting the demands of rural and remote contexts. The well developed models of these competencies that exist and the strong interest in many countries in producing them, suggest their importance for not only better preparation of rural and remote practitioners, but also well-rounded medical professionals generally

    What is translational research? Background, concepts, and a definition

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    Author version made available here in accordance with publisher copyright policy.This discussion paper aims to offer an overview and working definition of translational research, appropriate to health. Methods: Using scholarly and applied literature, the paper first identifies key challenges in achieving evidence-based policy and practice. It highlights international policy interest in new approaches to evidence translation and the barriers to achieving sound evidence translation. The paper offers an explicit definition of translational research and explains why it is important to have such a definition. It then elaborates on this definition by identifying and exploring seven distinctive research practices that could be associated with translational research. Findings and conclusions: Translational research is research with a sense of place. Its defining feature is excellence in evidence for a specific context or sphere of action, whether that is health policy for the World Health Organisation or service design for a local non-government organisation. If research is to be translated at all, it needs to be meaningful to many specific contexts, including small and regional contexts. The best promise that translational research offers is of exciting new techniques to achieve rigour and systemacy for such localised ‘real world’ policy, service and practice contexts
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