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May 13, 2014 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

New research highlights relationship between foreclosures and public health

HOUSING
– New research suggests that living within a block of a house that has gone into foreclosure can cause a person’s blood pressure to rise – an interesting twist on the relationship between housing affordability and health (WaPo, 5/12):

The study tracked 1,750 Massachusetts residents from 1987 through 2008 and found that each foreclosure within 100 meters of a person’s home affected their systolic blood pressure, the top number in the reading. The neighbors may be worried that foreclosures are hurting their home values or the safety of their communities, and that anxiety can boost blood pressure, the study said.

The increase was not significant enough to present a huge health risk to the people affected, but it suggests that the housing crisis has extended beyond the economy into the public health arena, said Mariana Arcaya, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Population and Development Studies.

“It demonstrates that a phenomenon that we think of as being solely in the financial realm is getting reflected in measured aspects of our physiology,” Arcaya said. “It’s less about how big the increase in blood pressure is and more about the fact that you can put a blood-pressure cuff on a person and see that this is having an effect on their health.”

Related: Last week we released What Funders Need to Know: Better Housing Means Better Health, which explores other ways that housing impacts health.

Does New Mass Transit Always Have to Mean Rapidly Rising Rents? (Atlantic, 5/13) Hopefully the answer to that is no.

EDUCATION
– A recent report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation looks at how the relationship between community colleges and four-year colleges can be strengthened to position transfer students to succeed. As it stands today, only 12 percent of community college students considering getting a bachelor’s degree end up attaining one. (USA Today, 5/12)

Related: Here’s the full report, Partnerships that Promote Success: Lessons and Findings from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative.

– D.C. ranks first in the country for access to and funding of pre-k, in a time when state-funded preschool enrollment is declining nationally. (WaPo, 5/13)

– A new study found that teachers who scored highly on new teacher evaluation systems throughout the country had students in their classes who performed poorly on standardized tests – and vice versa. (WaPo, 5/12)

DCPS task force to promote use of D.C. museums, other sites as classrooms (WaPo, 5/13)

Event: ABFE is hosting a webinar this Thursday entitled “The Unfinished Business of Brown v. Board of Education.” Registration and more information available here.

HEALTH | Gov. McAuliffe calls for review of abortion clinic regulations in Virginia (WaPo, 5/12)

TRANSIT | New track issue a ‘concern,’ but Metro still aims for summer Silver Line opening (WBJ, 5/12) Tracks do sound kind of important for a train.


If only I had seen this video before my first date!

– Rebekah

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