Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Emotional Support


Social Support for Health: An Increased Role in Health Care?

Clayton Velicer, MPH

Social support is vital to health and quality of life, and its absence can be deadlier than smoking cigarettes. Yet, despite its benefits, social support does not have a defined role in the health care system.

Recent news articles suggest that recognition of the importance of social support in health may be on the rise. In January, we wrote a blog highlighting the “hug a day study” which demonstrated that receiving hugs protected people against against flu-like illnesses. This study received wide coverage in the media, including Time magazine, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.

Subsequently, two news articles discussed the changing role of how social support is viewed in health care. The Philly News looked at the changing role of the annual physical examination. Melissa Dribben notes the concerns that have been found with the concept of the annual physical:
“Reviewing the data, health economists and medical groups including the American…


Peer Mentoring for Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes

Clayton Velicer, MPH

Our blog has covered peer support in many populations around the world, but we rarely talk about adolescents and young adults. Traditionally, health interventions directed towards adolescents have struggled to produce positive behavior changes. However, there is reason to believe that peer support can succeed in engaging this population where other approaches have failed.

Diabetes care in adolescents is often compromised by non-adherence, a significant contributor to poor glycemic control that is related to anxiety or fears about being judged by peers and adolescent development issues. Previous research in this area has focused on peer support from friends without diabetes or group learning among patients of the same age.

This week, our blog looks at the research of Yang Lu and colleagues at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, in which she examined the factors that may make adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) become interested in…


Breakthroughs in Hepatitis C Treatment Spark Need for Improved Patient Engagement and Medication Adherence

This week, we turn your attention to an overlooked and neglected disease that deserves a closer look. Contributing author Julia Hill is an MPH student at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.

In the United States, deaths due to Hepatitis C outnumber deaths caused by HIV, and yet, it’s not something that we hear much about. According to the CDC, chronic Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infectious disease, affecting approximately 3.2 million Americans.

Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for the Hepatitis C virus. Once contracted, Hepatitis C often becomes a chronic condition. Over the course of decades, Hepatitis C gradually damages the liver, eventually causing organ failure or cancer, leading ultimately to liver transplantation or death.

Although treatment options for Hepatitis C can cure patients of the virus, there are substantial barriers to treatment uptake and adherence. Medications can cause serious physical and…

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