NEW HAVEN — The uninsured rate has increased in Connecticut in recent years, according to newly-released census data from the American Community Survey.  Connecticut Voices for Children, a research-based policy think tank, attributed the increase in the uninsured rate to the struggling economy and a possible decline in employment-based health insurance coverage.  The organization anticipates that the uninsured rate will improve in 2014 as more residents sign up for health coverage through Access Health Connecticut, the health insurance marketplace established under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).


There was a statistically significant increase in the percentage of people under age 65 who were without health insurance in the state, growing from 8.8 percent in 2009 to 9.4 percent in 2013.  There has been no statistically significant change in the number of uninsured Connecticut children in recent years.  Connecticut Voices for Children credited the state’s HUSKY health insurance program for helping to hold down the numbers of the uninsured by enrolling uninsured children and their families.


National and state-level data on health insurance coverage are available on the U.S. Census website at Health insurance data are drawn from the American Community Survey (ACS). 

 HAMDEN — James Giordano, a neuroscientist and neuroethicist from Georgetown University Medical Center, will discuss “Brave New Brain: Neuroscience and Neuroethics for the 21st Century” when he delivers the 30th annual Stiernotte Lecture in Philosophy on September 16 at Quinnipiac University. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 5 p.m. in the Grand Courtroom in the Center for Communications & Engineering on QU’s Mount Carmel Campus at 275 Mount Carmel Avenue.

Giordano will discuss cutting-edge developments in neuroscience and neurotechnology, and explore what these developments mean for the long-held ideas, traditions and practices of humanity on an individual, social and global scale. Giordano also will talk about the value of neuroethics and how it might provide insights into moral thought, emotions and actions, and develop ways to address and direct brain research and its uses in medicine, public life and human relations on an international scale.

Giordano is editor-in-chief of the journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, associate editor of the international journal Neuroethics and executive-editor-in-chief of the book series, “Advances in Neurotechnology: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues.”

His ongoing research addresses the neuroscience of pain, aggression and moral decision-making, and the neuroethical issues that arise in and from the use of advanced neuroscientific techniques and technologies in research and applications in medicine, and national security, intelligence and defense.

 NEW HAVEN — Practice Greenhealth has honored Yale-New Haven Hospital with two awards for environmental excellence at the annual CleanMed Conference & Exhibition. The Circle of Excellence Award, Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor for hospitals, recognizes those facilities leading the industry with innovation in sustainability, demonstrating superior programs and illustrating how sustainability is embedded in their culture.

YNHH is also among the first-ever winners of Top 25 Environmental Excellence Awards, the most prestigious environmental achievement award offered by the organization. It recognizes health-care facilities that exemplify the best of the best in environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in health care.

Some of the sustainability initiatives for which YNHH was recognized include operating room recycling, LEED ratings for “green” buildings, a sustainable pharmaceutical waste program, various operating room reprocessing initiatives, the reduction of BPA/DEHP (chemicals found in some plastics) and safer chemicals hospital-wide.

 NEW HAVEN — The State Bond Commission has awarded a grant of  $917,141 in funding for the Fair Haven Community Health Center for the construction and purchase of equipment for a new 6,000-square-foot mental health, dental and primary care facility on Grand Avenue in New Haven.


“This grant will help the Fair Haven Community Health Center continue in its mission of providing critical access to excellent, affordable medical care to those in need,” said State Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D ) of New Haven.


“This funding is incredibly important to the Fair Haven Health Center,” said Suzanne Lagarde MD, FACP. “We serve over 15,000 residents and are in need of more space in order to keep up with the demand for our services.


The Fair Haven Community Health Center is a not-for-profit primary health care organization that has been dedicated to serving the greater Fair Haven Community since 1971. It provides comprehensive health care from prenatal to pediatric, adolescent to adult and geriatric.

 NEW HAVEN — So-called “superusers” of Emergency Medical Services (EMS)— most of whom had alcohol-related reasons for their EMS transport — generated millions of dollars in medical costs in one year alone in the city of San Francisco, according to a new study by the Yale School of Medicine and the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). The study, which focuses on the financial impact of alcohol abuse on one urban community, appears in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care.

Researchers from the Emergency Department at Yale and UCSF identified 100 EMS superusers — individuals who used EMS services in San Francisco more than 15 times in the year 2009. Yale first author M. Kennedy Hall and colleagues found that superusers were significantly younger and more likely to be male than other EMS users. The majority of superusers had Medicaid coverage. Also, superusers were more than eight times more likely to have an alcohol-associated reason for an EMS encounter than people who used EMS only once that year.

Although the EMS superuser group comprised only 0.3 percent of the total number of individuals who used EMS, they generated 6.1 percent of the transports, as well as a disproportionate share of estimated charges — $3.8 million for that year — reimbursed primarily through public insurance programs.

 HAMDEN — The Quinnipiac University School of Nursing has been awarded a $652,000 grant that will be used to support underrepresented students in its doctor of nursing practice program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Quinnipiac an Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program grant, which was created to increase the number of advanced-education nurses trained to practice as primary-care providers and/or nursing faculty to address the nurse faculty shortage. The grant runs from July of this year through June 30, 2016.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students,” according to Laima Karosas, clinical associate professor and director of the nurse practitioner and post-MSN programs at QU. “This grant will be used for nurse practitioner education, especially nurse practitioners who want to work in primary care.”

Karosas, the principal investigator on the grant, said the funding will be used to support underrepresented populations Hispanics, veterans and males who demonstrate a need in completing their DNP degrees. “Many of our students are adults with families,” Karosas notes. “They just can’t quit their jobs to pursue their education.”

More than 120 students are enrolled in Quinnipiac’s doctor of nurse practice program.

 NEW HAVEN — Preventing weight gain obesity, and ultimately diabetes could be as simple as keeping a nuclear receptor from being activated in a small part of the brain, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

Published in the August 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), the study showed that when the researchers blocked the effects of the nuclear receptor PPARgamma in a small number of brain cells in mice, the animals ate less and became resistant to a high-fat diet.

“These animals ate fat and sugar, and did not gain weight, while their control littermates gained weight on the same diet,” reports lead author Sabrina Diano, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the med school. “We showed that the PPARgamma receptor in neurons that produce POMC could control responses to a high-fat diet without resulting in obesity.”

Diano and her team studied transgenic mice that were genetically engineered to delete the PPARgamma receptor from POMC neurons. They wanted to see if they could prevent the obesity associated with a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

The findings may have key implications in diabetes. PPARgamma is a target of thiazolidinedione (TZD), a class of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes. They lower blood-glucose levels, but patients gain weight on these medications.

 HAMDEN — J. Alan Otsuki, MD of North Haven has been appointed senior associate dean for medical education at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Otsuki will be responsible for overseeing and building the medical school’s curriculum, including leading the development of the third- and fourth-year curricula. He also will work closely with the medical school’s clinical partners, including St. Vincent’s Medical Center, the school’s principal clinical partner, and Middlesex Hospital, MidState Medical Center, Waterbury Hospital, Griffin Hospital and several others.

Otsuki comes to Quinnipiac from the Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Health Network, where he was chief of the Division of Education and associate dean of the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s Regional Campus at the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Before that, Otsuki was associate dean for medical education and student affairs at Emory University School of Medicine.