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Conceptualisations of ‘food deserts’ (areas lacking healthful food/drink) and ‘food swamps’ (areas overwhelm by less-healthful fare) may be both inaccurate and incomplete. Our objective was to more accurately and completely characterise food/drink availability in urban areas.
Cross-sectional assessment of select healthful and less-healthful food/drink offerings from storefront businesses (stores, restaurants) and non-storefront businesses (street vendors).
Two areas of New York City: the Bronx (higher-poverty, mostly minority) and the Upper East Side (UES; wealthier, predominantly white).
All businesses on 63 street segments in the Bronx (n 662) and on 46 street segments in the UES (n 330).
Greater percentages of businesses offered any, any healthful, and only less-healthful food/drink in the Bronx (42·0 %, 37·5 %, 4·4 %, respectively) than in the UES (30 %, 27·9 %, 2·1 %, respectively). Differences were driven mostly by businesses (e.g. newsstands, gyms, laundromats) not primarily focused on selling food/drink – ‘other storefront businesses’ (OSBs). OSBs accounted for 36·0 % of all food/drink-offering businesses in the Bronx (more numerous than restaurants or so-called ‘food stores’) and 18·2 % in the UES (more numerous than ‘food stores’). Differences also related to street vendors in both the Bronx and the UES. If street vendors and OSBs were not captured, the missed percentages of street segments offering food/drink would be 14·5 % in the Bronx and 21·9 % in the UES.
Of businesses offering food/drink in communities, OSBs and street vendors can represent substantial percentages. Focusing on only ‘food stores’ and restaurants may miss or mischaracterise ‘food deserts’, ‘food swamps’, and food/drink-source disparities between communities.
To assess the accuracy of government inspection records, relative to ground observation, for identifying businesses offering foods/drinks.
Agreement between city and state inspection records v. ground observations at two levels: businesses and street segments. Agreement could be ‘strict’ (by business name, e.g. ‘Rizzo’s’) or ‘lenient’ (by business type, e.g. ‘pizzeria’); using sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) for businesses and using sensitivity, PPV, specificity and negative predictive value (NPV) for street segments.
The Bronx and the Upper East Side (UES), New York City, USA.
All food/drink-offering businesses on sampled street segments (n 154 in the Bronx, n 51 in the UES).
By ‘strict’ criteria, sensitivity and PPV of government records for food/drink-offering businesses were 0·37 and 0·57 in the Bronx; 0·58 and 0·60 in the UES. ‘Lenient’ values were 0·40 and 0·62 in the Bronx; 0·60 and 0·62 in the UES. Sensitivity, PPV, specificity and NPV of government records for street segments having food/drink-offering businesses were 0·66, 0·73, 0·84 and 0·79 in the Bronx; 0·79, 0·92, 0·67, and 0·40 in the UES. In both areas, agreement varied by business category: restaurants; ‘food stores’; and government-recognized other storefront businesses (‘gov. OSB’, i.e. dollar stores, gas stations, pharmacies). Additional business categories – ‘other OSB’ (barbers, laundromats, newsstands, etc.) and street vendors – were absent from government records; together, they represented 28·4 % of all food/drink-offering businesses in the Bronx, 22·2 % in the UES (‘other OSB’ and street vendors were sources of both healthful and less-healthful foods/drinks in both areas).
Government records frequently miss or misrepresent businesses offering foods/drinks, suggesting caveats for food-environment assessments using such records.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in response to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster of 11 September 2001 (9/11) is one of the most prevalent and persistent health conditions among both professional (e.g. police) and non-traditional (e.g. construction worker) WTC responders, even several years after 9/11. However, little is known about the dimensionality and natural course of WTC-related PTSD symptomatology in these populations.
Data were analysed from 10 835 WTC responders, including 4035 police and 6800 non-traditional responders who were evaluated as part of the WTC Health Program, a clinic network in the New York area established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) were used to evaluate structural models of PTSD symptom dimensionality; and autoregressive cross-lagged (ARCL) panel regressions were used to examine the prospective interrelationships among PTSD symptom clusters at 3, 6 and 8 years after 9/11.
CFAs suggested that five stable symptom clusters best represent PTSD symptom dimensionality in both police and non-traditional WTC responders. This five-factor model was also invariant over time with respect to factor loadings and structural parameters, thereby demonstrating its longitudinal stability. ARCL panel regression analyses revealed that hyperarousal symptoms had a prominent role in predicting other symptom clusters of PTSD, with anxious arousal symptoms primarily driving re-experiencing symptoms, and dysphoric arousal symptoms primarily driving emotional numbing symptoms over time.
Results of this study suggest that disaster-related PTSD symptomatology in WTC responders is best represented by five symptom dimensions. Anxious arousal symptoms, which are characterized by hypervigilance and exaggerated startle, may primarily drive re-experiencing symptoms, while dysphoric arousal symptoms, which are characterized by sleep disturbance, irritability/anger and concentration difficulties, may primarily drive emotional numbing symptoms over time. These results underscore the importance of assessment, monitoring and early intervention of hyperarousal symptoms in WTC and other disaster responders.
Longitudinal symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often characterized by heterogeneous trajectories, which may have unique pre-, peri- and post-trauma risk and protective factors. To date, however, no study has evaluated the nature and determinants of predominant trajectories of PTSD symptoms in World Trade Center (WTC) responders.
A total of 10835 WTC responders, including 4035 professional police responders and 6800 non-traditional responders (e.g. construction workers) who participated in the WTC Health Program (WTC-HP), were evaluated an average of 3, 6 and 8 years after the WTC attacks.
Among police responders, longitudinal PTSD symptoms were best characterized by four classes, with the majority (77.8%) in a resistant/resilient trajectory and the remainder exhibiting chronic (5.3%), recovering (8.4%) or delayed-onset (8.5%) symptom trajectories. Among non-traditional responders, a six-class solution was optimal, with fewer responders in a resistant/resilient trajectory (58.0%) and the remainder exhibiting recovering (12.3%), severe chronic (9.5%), subsyndromal increasing (7.3%), delayed-onset (6.7%) and moderate chronic (6.2%) trajectories. Prior psychiatric history, Hispanic ethnicity, severity of WTC exposure and WTC-related medical conditions were most strongly associated with symptomatic trajectories of PTSD symptoms in both groups of responders, whereas greater education and family and work support while working at the WTC site were protective against several of these trajectories.
Trajectories of PTSD symptoms in WTC responders are heterogeneous and associated uniquely with pre-, peri- and post-trauma risk and protective factors. Police responders were more likely than non-traditional responders to exhibit a resistant/resilient trajectory. These results underscore the importance of prevention, screening and treatment efforts that target high-risk disaster responders, particularly those with prior psychiatric history, high levels of trauma exposure and work-related medical morbidities.
Thousands of rescue and recovery workers descended on the World Trade Center (WTC) in the wake of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 (9/11). Recent studies show that respiratory illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the hallmark health problems, but relationships between them are poorly understood. The current study examined this link and evaluated contributions of WTC exposures.
Participants were 8508 police and 12 333 non-traditional responders examined at the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (WTC-MMTP), a clinic network in the New York area established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to explore patterns of association among exposures, other risk factors, probable WTC-related PTSD [based on the PTSD Checklist (PCL)], physician-assessed respiratory symptoms arising after 9/11 and present at examination, and abnormal pulmonary functioning defined by low forced vital capacity (FVC).
Fewer police than non-traditional responders had probable PTSD (5.9% v. 23.0%) and respiratory symptoms (22.5% v. 28.4%), whereas pulmonary function was similar. PTSD and respiratory symptoms were moderately correlated (r=0.28 for police and 0.27 for non-traditional responders). Exposure was more strongly associated with respiratory symptoms than with PTSD or lung function. The SEM model that best fit the data in both groups suggested that PTSD statistically mediated the association of exposure with respiratory symptoms.
Although longitudinal data are needed to confirm the mediation hypothesis, the link between PTSD and respiratory symptoms is noteworthy and calls for further investigation. The findings also support the value of integrated medical and psychiatric treatment for disaster responders.
To determine if instituting an Emergency Department (ED) fast-track area would increase efficiency in patient flow, improve utilization of limited resources, and identify critical versus non-critical patients during disaster relief in Port au Prince, Haiti.
A survey was conducted at L'Hôpital de l'Université d'Etat d'Haïti (HUEH) in Port au Prince, Haiti by Emergency physicians and nurses from SUNY Downstate Medical Center on a disaster relief mission following the 2010 earthquake. The following variables were obtained to assess ED effectiveness: number of patients, acuity level, chief complaints, critical interventions, waiting times, length of stay, specialty service coverage and physical plant space. Additionally, existing practitioners were surveyed regarding existing ED practices. ED operation flow maps were created.
The assessment revealed a large volume of low-acuity patients mixed with high-acuity patients without identification of acuity level, time of arrival, or designated area for treatment. Although literature reports routine use of START triage, this was not being implemented in this setting. Results of implementing a fast track area included: (1) Improved identification of patients needing immediate treatment. (2) Increased flow of low acuity patients in designated fast track areas. (3) Improved triage protocols maximized appropriate use of resources, and expedited subspecialty consultation.
By instituting well-accepted, validated patient flow systems and reinforcing communication regarding resources available and the use of geographic space, better management of incoming emergency patients was achieved.
Upon arrival of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center team for their disaster relief mission in Port au Prince, Haiti, it was observed that obstacles to patient care were directly related to difficulty in locating supplies and medications in a timely manner. In addition, staffing schedules had not been correlated to patient flow patterns.
A survey was conducted at L'Hôpital de l'Université d'Etat d'Haïti (HUEH) in Port au Prince, Haiti by Emergency physicians and nurses from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The following variables were obtained to assess existing resources: number and types of providers available, provider staffing schedules, medication/supply inventories and management systems. Basic ED operation and supply system flow maps were created.
The assessment revealed a large volume of patients presenting in the early morning. Night shifts were inconsistently staffed with ED physicians. Although medications and supplies were reported to be available on-site, they were not tracked, inventoried, or centrally managed. As a result, this increased time to treatment and practitioner fatigue. Process improvements included: (1) Institution of swing and night shifts accommodated peak patient volumes, decreased waiting times, provided care for critical patients during off-peak hours, and decreased physician fatigue. (2) Identification and labeling of existing medications/supplies facilitated more accurate management of inventories and decreased time to treatment and disposition.
Process improvement through systematic analysis led to better disaster resource utilization in this tent hospital.