Associate Professor of Public Health Policy & Management
Director of Policy Research at NYU’s Global Center for Implementation Science
Jonathan Purtle is Associate Professor of Public Health Policy & Management and Director of Policy Research at NYU’s Global Center for Implementation Science.
Dr. Purtle is an implementation scientist whose research focuses on mental health policy. His work examines questions such as how research evidence can be most effectively communicated to policymakers and is used in policymaking processes, how social and political contexts affect policymaking and policy implementation, and how the implementation of policies “on the books” can be improved in practice. He is also interested in population-based approaches to mental health and how mental health can be integrated in to mainstream public health practice.
Dr. Purtle’s work has been consistently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). He is currently leading NIMH-funded projects focused on the implementation of policies that earmark taxes for mental health services and understanding the dynamics of research evidence in mental health policymaking and a RWJF-funded project that experimentally tests different ways of communicating evidence about child maltreatment to the public and policymakers. His research is regularly published in journals such as Implementation Science, Psychiatric Services, The Milbank Quarterly, and Annual Review of Public Health. He has been the Chair of the Policy Section of the AcademyHeath/NIH Dissemination and Implementation in Heath Conference since 2017 and was awarded the 2018 Champion of Evidence-Based Interventions Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies for his work on evidence use in mental health policymaking.
BA, Psychology, Roger Williams UniversityMSc, Sociology, Universiteit van AmsterdamMPH, Drexel UniversityDrPH, Drexel University
An Examination of Factors Affecting State Legislators’ Support for Parity Laws for Different Mental IllnessesPilar, M., Purtle, J., Powell, B. J., Mazzucca, S., Eyler, A. A., & Brownson, R. C.
Journal titleCommunity mental health journalAbstractMental health parity legislation can improve mental health outcomes. U.S. state legislators determine whether state parity laws are adopted, making it critical to assess factors affecting policy support. This study examines the prevalence and demographic correlates of legislators’ support for state parity laws for four mental illnesses— major depression disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, and anorexia/bulimia. Using a 2017 cross-sectional survey of 475 U.S. legislators, we conducted bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression. Support for parity was highest for schizophrenia (57%), PTSD (55%), and major depression (53%) and lowest for anorexia/bulimia (40%). Support for parity was generally higher among females, more liberal legislators, legislators in the Northeast region of the country, and those who had previously sought treatment for mental illness. These findings highlight the importance of better disseminating evidence about anorexia/bulimia and can inform dissemination efforts about mental health parity laws to state legislators.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health Safety Net Services for Youths: A National Survey of Agency OfficialsPurtle, J., Nelson, K. L., Horwitz, S. M. C., Palinkas, L. A., McKay, M. M., & Hoagwood, K. E.
Journal titleHospital and Community Psychiatry
Page(s)381-387AbstractOBJECTIVE: Mental health agencies provide critical safety net services for youths. No research has assessed impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on services these agencies provide or youths they serve. This study sought to characterize agency officials' perceptions of the pandemic's impacts on youths and challenges to providing youth services during the pandemic and to examine associations between these challenges and impacts. METHODS: Surveys were completed in September-October 2020 by 159 state or county mental health agency officials from 46 states. Respondents used 7-point scales (higher rating indicated more severe impact or challenge) to rate the pandemic's impact on youth mental health issues, general service challenges, and telepsychiatry service challenges across patient, provider, and financing domains. Multiple linear regression models estimated associations between service challenges (independent variables) and pandemic impacts (dependent variables). RESULTS: Most agency officials perceived the pandemic as having disproportionately negative mental health impacts on socially disadvantaged youths (serious impact, 72%; mean rating=5.85). Only 15% (mean=4.29) perceived the pandemic as having a seriously negative impact on receipt of needed youth services. Serious service challenges were related to youths' lack of reliable equipment or Internet access for telepsychiatry services (serious challenge, 59%; mean=5.47) and the inability to provide some services remotely (serious challenge, 42%, mean=4.72). In regression models, the inability to provide some services remotely was significantly (p≤0.01) associated with three of five pandemic impacts. CONCLUSIONS: Officials perceived the COVID-19 pandemic as exacerbating youth mental health disparities but as not having a dramatic impact on receipt of needed services.
Inter-agency collaboration is associated with increased frequency of research use in children's mental health policy makingPurtle, J., Nelson, K. L., Lengnick-Hall, R., Horwitz, S. M. C., Palinkas, L. A., McKay, M. M., & Hoagwood, K. E.
Journal titleHealth Services ResearchAbstractObjective: To determine whether the self-report frequency of inter-agency collaboration about children's mental health issues is associated with the self-report frequency of using research evidence in children's mental health policy and program decision making in mental health agencies (MHAs). Data Sources: Primary data were collected through web-based surveys of state (N = 221) and county (N = 117) MHA officials. Design: The primary independent variable was a composite score quantifying the frequency of collaboration about children's mental health issues between officials in MHAs and six other state agencies. The dependent variables were composite scores quantifying the frequency of research use in children's mental health policy and program decision making in general and for specific purposes (i.e., conceptual, instrumental, tactical, imposed). Covariates were composite scores quantifying well-established determinants of research use (e.g., agency leadership, research use skills) in agency policy and program decision making. Data Methods: Separate multiple linear regression models estimated associations between frequency of inter-agency collaboration and research use scores, adjusting for other determinants of research use, respondent state, and other covariates. Data from state and county officials were analyzed separately. Principal Findings: The frequency of inter-agency collaboration was positively and independently associated with the frequency of research use in children's mental health policy making among state (β = 0.22, p = 0.004) and county (β = 0.39, p < 0.0001) MHA officials. Inter-agency collaboration was also the only variable significantly associated with the frequency of research use for all four specific purposes among state MHA officials, and similar findings we observed among county MHA officials. The magnitudes of associations between inter-agency collaboration and frequency of research use were generally stronger than for more well-established determinants of research use in policy making. Conclusions: Strategies that promote collaboration between MHA officials and external agencies could increase the use of research evidence in children's mental health policy and program decision making in MHAs.
Policy Makers' Priorities for Addressing Youth Substance Use and Factors That Influence PrioritiesPurtle, J., Nelson, K. L., Henson, R. M., Horwitz, S. M. C., McKay, M. M., & Hoagwood, K. E.
Journal titleHospital and Community Psychiatry
Page(s)388-395AbstractOBJECTIVE: Understanding public policy makers' priorities for addressing youth substance use and the factors that influence these priorities can inform the dissemination and implementation of strategies that promote evidence-based decision making. This study characterized the priorities of policy makers in substance use agencies of U.S. states and counties for addressing youth substance use, the factors that influenced these priorities, and the differences in priorities and influences between state and county policy makers. METHODS: In 2020, a total of 122 substance use agency policy makers from 35 states completed a Web-based survey (response rate=22%). Respondents rated the priority of 14 issues related to youth substance use and the extent to which nine factors influenced these priorities. Data were analyzed as dichotomous and continuous variables and for state and county policy makers together and separately. RESULTS: The highest priorities for youth substance use were social determinants of substance use (87%), adverse childhood experiences and childhood trauma (85%), and increasing access to school-based substance use programs (82%). The lowest priorities were increasing access to naloxone for youths (49%), increasing access to medications for opioid use disorder among youths (49%), and deimplementing non-evidence-based youth substance use programs (41%). The factors that most influenced priorities were budget issues (80%) and state legislature (69%), federal (67%), and governor priorities (65%). Issues related to program implementation and deimplementation were significantly higher priorities for state than for county policy makers. CONCLUSIONS: These findings can inform the tailoring of dissemination and implementation strategies to account for the inner- and outer-setting contexts of substance use agencies.
Selecting evidence to frame the consequences of adverse childhood experiences: testing effects on public support for policy action, multi-sector responsibility, and stigmaGollust, S. E., Nelson, K. L., & Purtle, J.
Journal titlePreventive Medicine
Volume154AbstractWhile clinical and public health researchers have produced a high volume of research evidence about the consequences of ACEs, there is limited research on public understanding of ACEs or how to most effectively communicate about this body of science. The objective of this study was to determine which messages describing evidence about the consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) affect public perceptions. We conducted an online experiment with a nationally-representative sample of U.S. adults in July–August 2020. Participants were randomized to control groups receiving messages describing ACE prevalence or resilience, or treatment groups receiving messages describing consequences of ACEs on mental health and substance use, economics, racial equity, or biology. We compared respondents' perceptions of prevention policies and likelihood of policy engagement, attributions of multi-sector responsibility, and blame and stigma across experimental groups. Messages about economic consequences increased respondents' support for policy and attributions of multi-sector responsibility relative to control groups, while also increasing parental blame. The message describing racial equity lowered respondents' perceptions of importance of state policy action and attributions of responsibility to health care. None of the messages affected stigmatizing attitudes. Describing the economic consequences of ACEs on public systems boosts public support for policy action. More research is needed on how the public responds to messaging connecting systemic racism with childhood adversity and health.
Simulating the role of knowledge brokers in policy making in state agencies: An agent-based modelCombs, T., Nelson, K. L., Luke, D., McGuire, F. H., Cruden, G., Henson, R. M., Adams, D. R., Hoagwood, K. E., & Purtle, J.
Journal titleHealth Services Research
Volume57AbstractObjective: To model children's mental health policy making dynamics and simulate the impacts of knowledge broker interventions. Data sources: Primary data from surveys (n = 221) and interviews (n = 64) conducted in 2019–2021 with mental health agency (MHA) officials in state agencies. Study design: A prototype agent-based model (ABM) was developed using the PARTE (Properties, Actions, Rules, Time, Environment) framework and informed through primary data collection. In each simulation, a policy is randomly generated (salience weights: cost, contextual alignment, and strength of evidence) and discussed among agents. Agents are MHA officials and heterogenous in their properties (policy making power and network influence) and policy preferences (based on salience weights). Knowledge broker interventions add agents to the MHA social network who primarily focus on the policy's research evidence. Data collection/extraction methods: A sequential explanatory mixed method approach was used. Descriptive and regression analyses were used for the survey data and directed content analysis was used to code interview data. Triangulated results informed ABM development. In the ABM, policy makers with various degrees of decision influence interact in a scale-free network before and after knowledge broker interventions. Over time, each decides to support or oppose a policy proposal based on policy salience weights and their own properties and interactions. The main outcome is an agency-level decision based on policy maker support. Each intervention and baseline simulation runs 250 times across 50 timesteps. Principal findings: Surveys and interviews revealed that barriers to research use could be addressed by knowledge brokers. Simulations indicated that policy decision outcomes varied by policy making context within agencies. Conclusions: This is the first application of ABM to evidence-informed mental health policy making focusing. Results suggest that the presence of knowledge brokers can: (1) influence consensus formation in MHAs, (2) accelerate policy decisions, and (3) increase the likelihood of evidence-informed policy adoption.
State-Level Social and Economic Policies and Their Association With Perinatal and Infant OutcomesWebster, J. L., Paul, D., Purtle, J., Locke, R., & Goldstein, N. D.
Journal titleMilbank Quarterly
Page(s)218-260AbstractPolicy Points State-level social and economic policies that expand tax credits, increase paid parental leave, raise the minimum wage, and increase tobacco taxes have been demonstrated to reduce adverse perinatal and infant health outcomes. These findings can help prioritize evidence-based legislated policies to improve perinatal and infant outcomes in the United States. Context: Rates of preterm birth and infant mortality are alarmingly high in the United States. Legislated efforts may directly or indirectly reduce adverse perinatal and infant outcomes through the enactment of certain economic and social policies. Methods: We conducted a narrative review to summarize the associations between perinatal and infant outcomes and four state-level US policies. We then used a latent profile analysis to create a social and economic policy profile for each state based on the observed policy indicators. Findings: Of 27 articles identified, nine focused on tax credits, eight on paid parental leave, four on minimum wages, and six on tobacco taxes. In all but three studies, these policies were associated with improved perinatal or infant outcomes. Thirty-three states had tax credit laws, most commonly the earned income tax credit (n = 28, 56%). Eighteen states had parental leave laws. Two states had minimum wage laws lower than the federal minimum; 14 were equal to the federal minimum; 29 were above the federal minimum; and 5 did not have a state law. The average state tobacco tax was $1.76 (standard deviation = $1.08). The latent profile analysis revealed three policy profiles, with the most expansive policies in Western and Northeastern US states, and the least expansive policies in the US South. Conclusions: State-level social and economic policies have the potential to reduce adverse perinatal and infant health outcomes in the United States. Those states with the least expansive policies should therefore consider enacting these evidence-based policies, as they have shown a demonstratable benefit in other states.
“If I was to post something, it would be too vulnerable:” University students and mental health disclosures on instagramBudenz, A., Klassen, A., Purtle, J., Yom-Tov, E., Yudell, M., & Massey, P.
Journal titleJournal of American College Health
Page(s)615-624AbstractObjective: Assess Instagram use for mental health disclosure in university students to assess the potential for Instagram use as mental health support-seeking. Participants: Twenty-one students using mental health services while attending a private, Mid-Atlantic university between 6/2017-12/2017. Methods: Collected qualitative interview and Instagram data and analyzed them in parallel. Instagram data supplemented interview themes and were coded and analyzed quantitatively to define features of participants’ Instagram use. Results: Participants displayed aversions to posting mental health disclosures on Instagram, citing public and self-stigma as barriers to disclosure. Despite this, participants reported instances in which their Instagram posts directly or indirectly reflected their lived experiences. Some also maintained second anonymous accounts for fuller disclosure. Conclusions: Given the benefits of mental health disclosures to well-being and the predilection for social media use in university students, student and university-led initiatives to promote social media environments conducive to disclosures could have widespread mental health benefits.
Academic-Policy Partnerships in Evidence-Based Practice Implementation and Policy Maker Use of Child Mental Health ResearchCervantes, P. E., Seag, D. E., Nelson, K. L., Purtle, J., Hoagwood, K. E., & Horwitz, S. M. C.
Journal titleHospital and Community Psychiatry
Page(s)1076-1079AbstractOBJECTIVE: Strategies are needed to improve policy makers' evidence-informed decision making and the availability of evidence-based, state-supported services. This study examined whether academic-policy partnerships could promote these outcomes. METHODS: Data from two national surveys of state mental health agency representatives were used to compare barriers to implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) and policy makers' use of child mental health research in states with strong academic-policy partnerships in workforce training or in program implementation/evaluation (IE) with barriers in states with no or limited partnerships in these areas. RESULTS: Strong IE partnerships were associated with more confidence in research use and fewer issues with provider readiness and capacity but with more issues with EBP fidelity. Strong training partnerships were associated with fewer endorsements of lack of time as a barrier to research use. CONCLUSIONS: Academic-policy partnerships had some benefit for states' research use and EBP implementation. Because these partnerships may reduce barriers, further research should explore characteristics of effective collaborations.
Association between local public housing authority policies related to criminal justice system involvement and sexually transmitted infection ratesPurtle, J., Tekin, E., Gebrekristos, L. T., Niccolai, L., & Blankenship, K. M.
Journal titleHealth and Justice
Issue1AbstractThe policies of U.S. local public housing authorities influence which populations have access to stable housing, an important resource for health. We assessed whether the restrictiveness of local public housing authority policies related to people with criminal justice histories—a population at high risk for HIV/STIs—were associated with HIV/STI rates at the local-level. An ecological analysis was conducted using data from 107 local public housing authority jurisdictions. The independent variable was a score that quantified the presence/absence of eight policies related to the ability of people with criminal justice histories to obtain and retain public housing. The dependent variables were county-level rates of HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Ordinary least squares regression with state fixed effects was used. We find that the restrictiveness of housing authority policies towards people with criminal justice histories were significantly associated with higher HIV and gonorrhea rates, but not syphilis or chlamydia. For example, local housing authorities with a policy score more restrictive than the median score had an additional 6.05 cases of HIV per 100,000 population (32.9% increase relative to the mean rate) and 84.61 cases of newly diagnosed gonorrhea (41.3% increase). Local public housing authority policies related to people with criminal justice histories could affect HIV/STI risk at the population-level. These policies should be considered in studies and interventions at the intersection of housing, health, and justice involved populations.
Changes in legislator vaccine-engagement on Twitter before and after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemicEngel-Rebitzer, E., Stokes, D. C., Buttenheim, A., Purtle, J., & Meisel, Z. F.
Journal titleHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Page(s)2868-2872AbstractWidespread SARS-CoV-2 vaccine uptake will be critical to resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Politicians have the potential to impact vaccine sentiment and uptake through vaccine-related communication with the public. We used tweets (n = 6,201), abstracted from Quorum, a public affairs software platform, to examine changes in the frequency of vaccine-related communication by legislators on the social media platform, Twitter. We found an increase in vaccine-related tweets by legislators following the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States. In the pre-COVID-19 era the majority of vaccine-related tweets were generated by Democrat and state senators. The increase in tweets following the arrival of COVID-19, however, was greater among Republican and federal legislators than Democrat or state legislators. This suggests that legislators who were previously less engaged in public discussion of vaccination, became engaged following the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, which may have implications for COVID-19 vaccine uptake among their followers.
Determinants of using children’s mental health research in policymaking: variation by type of research use and phase of policy processPurtle, J., Nelson, K. L., Horwitz, S. M. C., McKay, M. M., & Hoagwood, K. E.
Journal titleImplementation Science
Issue1AbstractBackground: Research use in policymaking is multi-faceted and has been the focus of extensive study. However, virtually no quantitative studies have examined whether the determinants of research use vary according to the type of research use or phase of policy process. Understanding such variation is important for selecting the targets of implementation strategies that aim to increase the frequency of research use in policymaking. Methods: A web-based survey of US state agency officials involved with children’s mental health policymaking was conducted between December 2019 and February 2020 (n = 224, response rate = 33.7%, 49 states responding (98%), median respondents per state = 4). The dependent variables were composite scores of the frequency of using children’s mental health research in general, specific types of research use (i.e., conceptual, instrumental, tactical, imposed), and during different phases of the policy process (i.e., agenda setting, policy development, policy implementation). The independent variables were four composite scores of determinants of research use: agency leadership for research use, agency barriers to research use, research use skills, and dissemination barriers (e.g., lack of actionable messages/recommendations in research summaries, lack of interaction/collaboration with researchers). Separate multiple linear regression models estimated associations between determinant and frequency of research use scores. Results: Determinants of research use varied significantly by type of research use and phase of policy process. For example, agency leadership for research use was the only determinant significantly associated with imposed research use (β = 0.31, p < 0.001). Skills for research use were the only determinant associated with tactical research use (β = 0.17, p = 0.03) and were only associated with research use in the agenda-setting phase (β = 0.16, p = 0.04). Dissemination barriers were the most universal determinants of research use, as they were significantly and inversely associated with frequency of conceptual (β = −0.21, p = 0.01) and instrumental (β = −0.22, p = 0.01) research use and during all three phases of policy process. Conclusions: Decisions about the determinants to target with policy-focused implementation strategies—and the strategies that are selected to affect these targets—should reflect the specific types of research use that these strategies aim to influence.
Does rental assistance improve mental health? Insights from a longitudinal cohort studyDenary, W., Fenelon, A., Schlesinger, P., Purtle, J., Blankenship, K. M., & Keene, D. E.
Journal titleSocial Science and Medicine
Volume282AbstractAlmost half of renters in the United States are rent-burdened, meaning that they pay more than 30% of their income toward housing costs. Rental assistance through programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleviates these financial strains for around 5 million households. However, due to budgetary constraints, fewer than one in four eligible households actually receive this assistance and waitlists average two years nationally. Using longitudinal data from a cohort of 400 low-income adults living in New Haven, CT, this paper investigates how access to rental assistance affects mental health through two analytical methods that address selection into rental assistance. First, we performed a cross-sectional analysis to identify how psychological distress differs among those receiving and those on a waitlist for rental assistance. Second, we used a within-person fixed-effects analysis to compare changes in individuals following entry into rental assistance. We find that those receiving rental assistance report significantly less psychological distress than those on waiting lists and that transitions into rental assistance are associated with statistically non-significant decreases in psychological distress. Our findings suggest that expanding rental assistance may be one potential step toward improving the mental health of low-income individuals in the United States.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child and adolescent mental health policy and practice implementationPalinkas, L. A., De Leon, J., Salinas, E., Chu, S., Hunter, K., Marshall, T. M., Tadehara, E., Strnad, C. M., Purtle, J., Horwitz, S. M., McKay, M. M., & Hoagwood, K. E.
Journal titleInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue18AbstractBackground: The impact of the 2019 coronavirus pandemic on the mental health of millions worldwide has been well documented, but its impact on prevention and treatment of mental and behavioral health conditions is less clear. The COVID-19 pandemic also created numerous challenges and opportunities to implement health care policies and programs under conditions that are fundamentally different from what has been considered to be usual care. Methods: We conducted a qualitative study to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on implementation of evidence-based policy and practice by State Mental Health Authorities (SMHA) for prevention and treatment of mental health problems in children and adolescents. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 SMHA representatives of 21 randomly selected states stratified by coronavirus positivity rate and rate of unmet services need. Data analysis with SMHA stakeholders used procedures embedded in the Rapid Assessment Procedure—Informed Community Ethnography methodology. Results: The need for services increased during the pandemic due primarily to family stress and separation from peers. States reporting an increase in demand had high coronavirus positivity and high unmet services need. The greatest impacts were reduced out-of-home services and increased use of telehealth. Barriers to telehealth services included limited access to internet and technology, family preference for face-to-face services, lack of privacy, difficulty using with young children and youth in need of substance use treatment, finding a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant platform, training providers and clients, and reimbursement challenges. Policy changes to enable reimbursement, internet access, training, and provider licensing resulted in substantially fewer appointment cancellations or no-shows, greater family engagement, reduction in travel time, increased access for people living in remote locations, and increased provider communication and collaboration. States with high rates of coronavirus positivity and high rates of unmet need were most likely to continue use of telehealth post-pandemic. Despite these challenges, states reported successful implementation of policies designed to facilitate virtual services delivery with likely long-term changes in practice. Conclusions: Policy implementation during the pandemic provided important lessons for planning and preparedness for future public health emergencies. Successful policy implementation requires ongoing collaboration among policy makers and with providers.
Linking Data on Constituent Health with Elected Officials’ Opinions: Associations Between Urban Health Disparities and Mayoral Officials’ Beliefs About Health Disparities in Their CitiesPurtle, J., Joshi, R., Lê-Scherban, F., Henson, R. M., & Diez Roux, A. V.
Journal titleMilbank Quarterly
Page(s)794-827AbstractPolicy Points Mayoral officials’ opinions about the existence and fairness of health disparities in their city are positively associated with the magnitude of income-based life expectancy disparity in their city. Associations between mayoral officials’ opinions about health disparities in their city and the magnitude of life expectancy disparity in their city are not moderated by the social or fiscal ideology of mayoral officials or the ideology of their constituents. Highly visible and publicized information about mortality disparities, such as that related to COVID-19 disparities, has potential to elevate elected officials’ perceptions of the severity of health disparities and influence their opinions about the issue. Context: A substantive body of research has explored what factors influence elected officials’ opinions about health issues. However, no studies have assessed the potential influence of the health of an elected official's constituents. We assessed whether the magnitude of income-based life expectancy disparity within a city was associated with the opinions of that city's mayoral official (i.e., mayor or deputy mayor) about health disparities in their city. Methods: The independent variable was the magnitude of income-based life expectancy disparity in US cities. The magnitude was determined by linking 2010-2015 estimates of life expectancy and median household income for 8,434 census tracts in 224 cities. The dependent variables were mayoral officials’ opinions from a 2016 survey about the existence and fairness of health disparities in their city (n = 224, response rate 30.3%). Multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for characteristics of mayoral officials (e.g., ideology) and city characteristics. Findings: In cities in the highest income-based life expectancy disparity quartile, 50.0% of mayoral officials “strongly agreed” that health disparities existed and 52.7% believed health disparities were “very unfair.” In comparison, among mayoral officials in cities in the lowest disparity quartile 33.9% “strongly agreed” that health disparities existed and 22.2% believed the disparities were “very unfair.” A 1-year-larger income-based life expectancy disparity in a city was associated with 25% higher odds that the city's mayoral official would “strongly agree” that health disparities existed (odds ratio [OR] = 1.25; P =.04) and twice the odds that the city's mayoral official would believe that such disparities were “very unfair” (OR = 2.24; P <.001). Conclusions: Mayoral officials’ opinions about health disparities in their jurisdictions are generally aligned with, and potentially influenced by, information about the magnitude of income-based life expectancy disparities among their constituents.
Newspaper Coverage of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Toxic Stress in the United States, 2014–2020: Consequences, Causes, and SolutionsPurtle, J., Bowler, S., Boughter-Dornfeld, M., Nelson, K. L., & Gollust, S. E.
Journal titleTrauma, Violence, and AbuseAbstractNews media can shape public opinion about child adversity and influence the translation of research into public policy. Research about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress has increased dramatically in recent years, but little is known about how these concepts are covered in news media. We reviewed how newspapers in the United States have portrayed the consequences of, causes of, and solutions to address ACEs and toxic stress, examined trends in newspaper coverage, and assessed differences in coverage of ACEs versus toxic stress. Quantitative content analysis was conducted of 746 newspaper articles mentioning “adverse childhood experience(s)” and/or “toxic stress” published in 25 U.S. newspapers between January 1, 2014, and May 30, 2020. κ statistics of interrater reliability were calculated, and variables with κ ≥.60 were retained for quantitative analysis. We found that newspaper coverage of ACEs and toxic stress increased dramatically between 2014 and 2018 and then sharply declined. Only 13.3% of articles mentioned both ACEs and toxic stress. There were many statistically significant (p <.05) differences in the causes, consequences, and solutions identified in articles focused on ACEs versus toxic stress. Coverage of both concepts predominantly focused on consequences for individuals, not society. However, 54.6% of articles identified a structural cause of ACEs and/or toxic stress. Increased volume in newspaper coverage about ACEs and toxic stress could increase public awareness about the relationship between childhood adversity and adult outcomes. There is a need to portray ACEs and toxic stress as complementary concepts more coherently in news media.
Partisan differences in twitter language among US legislators during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cross-sectional studyGuntuku, S. C., Purtle, J., Meisel, Z. F., Merchant, R. M., & Agarwal, A.
Journal titleJournal of medical Internet research
Issue6AbstractBackground: As policy makers continue to shape the national and local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the information they choose to share and how they frame their content provide key insights into the public and health care systems. Objective: We examined the language used by the members of the US House and Senate during the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and measured content and sentiment based on the tweets that they shared. Methods: We used Quorum (Quorum Analytics Inc) to access more than 300,000 tweets posted by US legislators from January 1 to October 10, 2020. We used differential language analyses to compare the content and sentiment of tweets posted by legislators based on their party affiliation. Results: We found that health care–related themes in Democratic legislators’ tweets focused on racial disparities in care (odds ratio [OR] 2.24, 95% CI 2.22-2.27; P<.001), health care and insurance (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.7-1.77; P<.001), COVID-19 testing (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.12-1.19; P<.001), and public health guidelines (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.22-1.29; P<.001). The dominant themes in the Republican legislators’ discourse included vaccine development (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.47-1.55; P<.001) and hospital resources and equipment (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.18-1.25). Nonhealth care–related topics associated with a Democratic affiliation included protections for essential workers (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.52-1.59), the 2020 election and voting (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.27-1.35), unemployment and housing (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.24-1.31), crime and racism (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.18-1.26), public town halls (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.16-1.23), the Trump Administration (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.19-1.26), immigration (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.12-1.19), and the loss of life (OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.35-1.42). The themes associated with the Republican affiliation included China (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.85-1.92), small business assistance (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.23-1.3), congressional relief bills (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.2-1.27), press briefings (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.19-1.26), and economic recovery (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.16-1.23). Conclusions: Divergent language use on social media corresponds to the partisan divide in the first several months of the course of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Perceived Persuasiveness of Evidence About Adverse Childhood Experiences: Results From a National SurveyPurtle, J., Nelson, K. L., Srivastav, A., & Gollust, S. E.
Journal titleAcademic Pediatrics
Page(s)529-533AbstractObjective: Advocates must make decisions about the types of evidence they emphasize when communicating to cultivate support for adverse childhood experience (ACE) prevention policies. This study sought to characterize public perceptions of the persuasiveness of 12 ACE evidence statements and assess differences by ideology in the strength of these evidence messages as rationales for ACE prevention policies. Methods: A web-based survey of a nationally representative sample of US adults was conducted using the KnowledgePanel (N = 503, completion rate = 60.5%). Respondents read ACE evidence statements and answered questions about the extent to which each was perceived as persuasive. Data were collected and analyzed in 2019. Results: The evidence statements perceived as most persuasive (scoring range 3–17) were those about ACEs as risk factors for mental health and substance use conditions (mean = 12.39) and suicide (mean = 12.14); ACEs generating financial costs for society (mean = 12.03); and the consequences of ACEs being preventable by a supportive adult (mean = 11.97). The evidence statements perceived as least persuasive were about ACEs generating health care costs for individuals (mean = 9.42) and ACEs as risk factors for physical health conditions (mean = 9.47). A larger proportion of liberals than conservatives rated every statement as providing a “strong reason” for ACE prevention policies. These differences were largest for evidence about ACEs generating financial costs for society (84.6% vs 42.8%, P <.0001) and socioeconomic disparities in ACEs (65.1% vs 32.9%, P <.0001). Conclusions: Many ACE evidence statements commonly used in policy advocacy differ from those perceived as most persuasive among a nationally representative sample of US adults.
Posttraumatic stress, depression, and sleep among young survivors of violenceCorbin, T., Tabb, L. P., Waite, D., Purtle, J., Harris, E., Gardner, J., Gentile, N., Rowhani-Rahbar, A., & Rich, J.
Journal titleJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Page(s)1339-1358AbstractSurvivors of violence often suffer psychological harm in addition to physical wounds. This study explored (1) the prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression symptoms, and disordered sleep among young, violently injured, emergency department patients; and (2) how PTSD and depression symptoms are associated with sleep quality. Clinical scales for PTSD (PCL-5), depression (PHQ-8), and sleep (PROMIS®) were completed by 88 survivors of violent assault (gunshot, stabbing or assault) one month or less after presenting to an urban emergency department. High proportions of participants met criteria for prospective PTSD (59.1%), major depression (44.3%) or disordered sleep (34.1%), with 27.3% meeting criteria for all three conditions. Poorer sleep quality was correlated with higher levels of depression symptoms and PTSD symptoms. Survivors of violence experience symptoms that may further impair their sleep and behavioral health. Emergency providers should ask survivors about sleep/trauma symptoms and consider referral to trauma-informed behavioral health care.
Public Opinion About Adverse Childhood Experiences: Social Stigma, Attribution of Blame, and Government InterventionPurtle, J., Nelson, K. L., & Gollust, S. E.
Journal titleChild MaltreatmentAbstractAdverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are receiving increasing attention in academic, policy, and media discourses. However, no public opinion research has focused on ACEs. We conducted a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults to address this knowledge gap. A web-based survey was conducted using the Ipsos KnowledgePanel (N = 503, completion rate = 60.5%) in fall 2019. We found that inter-personal stigma and parental blame related to ACEs were prevalent, with 25.0% of respondents unwilling to have a person with “a lot of ACEs” as a close co-worker and 65.2% believing that parents were very much to blame for the consequences of ACEs. Fifty percent of respondents believed that government intervention to prevent ACEs was very important. After adjustment for demographic characteristics, inter-personal stigma toward people with ACEs and conservative ideology were significantly associated with lower perceived importance of government intervention to prevent ACEs. Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, and female gender were significantly associated with higher perceived importance of government intervention. These findings provide an empirical foundation to inform strategies to communicate ACE science to public and policymaker audiences.
State Legislators’ Divergent Social Media Response to the Opioid Epidemic from 2014 to 2019: Longitudinal Topic Modeling AnalysisStokes, D. C., Purtle, J., Meisel, Z. F., & Agarwal, A. K.
Journal titleJournal of general internal medicine
Page(s)3373-3382AbstractBackground: The opioid epidemic is widely recognized as a legislative priority, but there is substantial variation in state adoption of evidence-based policy. State legislators’ use of social media to disseminate information and to indicate support for specific initiatives continues to grow and may reflect legislators’ openness to opioid-related policy change. Objective: We sought to identify changes in the national dialogue regarding the opioid epidemic among Democratic and Republican state legislators and to estimate changing partisanship around understanding and addressing the epidemic over time. Design: Longitudinal natural language processing analysis. Participants: A total of 4083 US state legislators in office between 2014 and 2019 with any opioid-related social media posts. Main Measures: Association between opioid-related post volume and state overdose mortality, as measured by Kendall’s rank correlation coefficient. Latent Dirichlet allocation analysis of all social media posts to identify key opioid-related topics. Longitudinal analysis of differences in the prevalence of key topics among Democrats and Republicans over time. Key Results: In total, 43,558 social media posts met inclusion criteria, with the vast majority to Twitter (n=28,564; 65.6%) or Facebook (n=14,283; 32.8%). Posts were more likely to mention fentanyl and less likely to mention heroin over time. The volume of opioid-related content was positively associated with state-level unintentional overdose mortality among both Democrats (tau=0.42, P<.001) and Republicans (tau=0.39, P<.001). Democrats’ social media content has increasingly spoken to holding pharmaceutical companies accountable, while Republicans’ social media content has increasingly spoken to curbing illicit drug trade. Overall, partisanship across topics increased from 2016 to 2019. Conclusion: The volume of opioid-related social media posts by US state legislators between 2014 and 2019 is associated with state-level overdose mortality, but the content across parties is significantly different. Democrats’ and Republicans’ social media posts may reflect growing partisanship regarding how best to address the overdose epidemic.
The Intersection of Dissemination Research and Acupuncture: Applications for Chronic Low Back PainRoseen, E. J., Purtle, J., Zhang, W., Miller, D. W., Schwartz, A. W., Ramanadhan, S., & Sherman, K. J.
Journal titleGlobal Advances In Health and Medicine
Volume10AbstractBackground: Dissemination research is the study of distributing information and intervention materials to a specific clinical practice or public health audience. Acupuncture, a healthcare practice involving the stimulation of certain body points, often with thin needles, is considered an evidence-based treatment for low back pain (LBP), but is underutilized in the United States. Body: We will use the example of acupuncture for LBP to identify opportunities to leverage dissemination research to increase utilization of acupuncture. Deficits in the awareness or knowledge of acupuncture may limit its adoption by patients and other stakeholders. Thus, we summarize methods to gather data on stakeholder awareness and knowledge of acupuncture for LBP, i.e., audience research. Engaging multiple stakeholder audiences (e.g., health system leaders, primary care providers, patients), is needed to generate knowledge on promising dissemination strategies for each audience. Audience segmentation is important for identifying population subgroups for whom adoption of acupuncture may require a more intensive or tailored dissemination strategy. To illustrate potential audience ‘segments’, our research discussion focused on developing dissemination strategies by age (i.e., older adults – those age 65 years or older, and younger adults – those under age 65). This decision was prompted by Medicare’s recent policy covering acupuncture for chronic LBP. We leverage current knowledge of barriers and facilitators of acupuncture use to discuss how further tailoring of dissemination strategies might optimize adoption of acupuncture in both groups of adults. Experimental study designs could then be used to compare the effectiveness of such strategies to increase awareness, knowledge, or adoption of acupuncture. Conclusions: Conducting dissemination research may improve awareness and knowledge of acupuncture, and ultimately the adoption of acupuncture in biomedical settings. We anticipate that the concepts highlighted in this manuscript will also be helpful for those disseminating information about other complementary and integrative health approaches.
The Other US Border: Health Insurance Coverage Among Latino Immigrants In Puerto RicoRivera-González, A. C., Stimpson, J. P., Roby, D. H., Canino, G., Purtle, J., Bellamy, S. L., & Ortega, A. N.
Journal titleHealth affairs (Project Hope)
Page(s)1117-1125AbstractPuerto Rico is a US territory and a popular destination for Latino immigrants in the Caribbean. Even with few language and cultural barriers, however, many Latino immigrants in Puerto Rico are uninsured. Using data from the 2014-19 Puerto Rico Community Survey, we examined inequities in health insurance coverage for non-Puerto Rican Latinos ages 18-64 living in Puerto Rico according to citizenship status and Latino subgroup (Dominican, Cuban, Mexican, and other Latino). After controlling for potential confounders, we found that noncitizen Dominicans had a significantly lower probability of having any health insurance (57.2 percent) and having any private insurance (31.5 percent). Regardless of similarities in culture and language, Latino immigrants on the island, particularly Dominicans, experience major health insurance coverage inequities. Considering that Puerto Rico's immigration system is regulated by US federal statute, both federal and local policy makers should acknowledge and focus on reducing these immigrant disparities in health insurance coverage.
Who Is Talking About Adverse Childhood Experiences? Evidence From Twitter to Inform Health PromotionSrivastav, A., Park, K., Koziarski, A., Strompolis, M., & Purtle, J.
Journal titleHealth Education and Behavior
Page(s)615-626AbstractBackground: Growing availability of research about addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has recently been embraced by the mainstream media and public. Social media, especially Twitter, provides a unique forum and platform for the public to access and share information about this topic. Objective: This study aims to better understand how the public is framing, sharing, and using research about ACEs on Twitter and to examine the information being commonly discussed about ACEs. Method: We obtained tweets on the topics of ACEs, childhood resilience, and childhood trauma between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019. This timeframe was determined based on key related events in the mainstream media. Crimson Hexagon, a social media analytics system using Boolean logic, was used to identify salient topics, influencers, and conduct a content analysis. Results: A total of 195,816 relevant tweets were obtained from our search. The weekly volume was approximately 1,864 tweets. Key topics included general use of the term ACEs (23%), trauma and ACEs (19%), long-term impact of ACEs (12%), preventing ACEs (11%), short-term effects of ACEs (8%), the 1997 ACE Study (5%), and students with ACEs (5%). The top two sentiments were fear and joy. Top conversation influencers included pediatricians, child health advocacy organizations, California’s state government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Public Radio. Conclusion: This analysis provides insight to the ways the public is conversing about ACEs and related topics. Results indicated that conversations focus on increasing awareness of ACEs by content experts and public health organizations. This presents an opportunity to leverage social media tools to increase public engagement and awareness.
Aligning dissemination and implementation science with health policies to improve children’s mental health.Hoagwood, K. E., Purtle, J., Spandorfer, J., Peth-Pierce, R., & Horwitz, S. M. C.
Journal titleAmerican Psychologist
Page(s)1130-1145AbstractThe prevalence of mental health problems among children (ages 0–21) in the United States remains unacceptably high and, post-COVID-19, is expected to increase dramatically. Decades of psychological knowledge about effective treatments should inform the delivery of better services. Dissemination and implementation (D&I) science has been heralded as a solution to the persistent problem of poor quality services and has, to some extent, improved our understanding of the contexts of delivery systems that implement effective practices. However, there are few studies demonstrating clear, population-level impacts of psychological interventions on children. Momentum is growing among communities, cities, states, and some federal agencies to build “health in all policies” to address broad familial, social, and economic factors known to affect children’s healthy development and mental health. These health policy initiatives offer a rare opportunity to repurpose D&I science, shifting it from a primary focus on evidence-based practice implementation, to a focus on policy development and implementation to support child and family health and well-being. This shift is critical as states develop policy responses to address the health and mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on already-vulnerable families. We provide a typology for building research on D&I and children’s mental health policy. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)<strong xmlns:lang="en">Public Significance Statement—The prevalence of mental health problems among children remains unacceptably high. Communities, cities, states, and some federal agencies are building “health in all policies” initiatives that address broad familial, social, and economic factors known to affect children’s healthy development. These initiatives offer a rare opportunity to repurpose D&I science and shift it from a primary focus on evidence-based practice implementation, to a focus on policy dissemination and implementation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)