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HPH Weekly: Peter Hotez won’t be the last health worker harassed online

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Written by
Jo Zhou
January 25, 2024
Read Time
3 min

This edition of Harvard Public Health Weekly was sent to our subscribers on Jan. 25, 2024. If you don’t already receive the newsletter, subscribe here. To see more past newsletters, visit our archives.

Peter Hotez won’t be the last health worker harassed online

Illustration: A female figure holds a shield in front of her body, blocking an oversized phone with pointing fingers, dislike icons, menacing emojis and text messages. The composition is on a purple-pink background.
Source illustrations: lerbank / iStock

Last spring, a scientist and vaccine expert who criticized podcaster Joe Rogan was attacked online and stalked at his home. The year before, Boston Children’s Hospital received bomb threats because of its transgender care. And in the middle of the pandemic, a quarter of Americans believed it was OK to threaten a public health official, according to one study.

There aren’t yet many systemic solutions to the harassment public health workers can face on the job. But Samuel Mendez’s new Digital Safety Kit for Public Health can help mitigate the harm.

What is Fountain House? How does the clubhouse model work?

A historic New York City street with three people entering a brick building with the words “fountain house” above the entryway.
Courtesy of Fountain House

In a powerful op-ed, Aida Mejia praises the clubhouse model of care for valuing the ability of people with serious mental illness to make decisions for themselves. Clubhouses like Fountain House in New York City offer “a community where people support each other,” Mejia writes. Unlike the more conventional interventions she experienced, the clubhouse model prioritizes seeing past her illness to her strengths as a human being. That’s why she’s on a mission to expand the model: Clubhouses currently support 60,000 people in the U.S., but many more could stand to benefit from them, Mejia says.

Jim Morris book review: o-toluidine and the DuPont cancer cluster

Book cover: “The Cancer Factory: Industrial chemicals, corporate deception and the hidden deaths of American workers” by Jim Morris. The cook over is a historic photo of a factory that is worn and faded. The main text is yellow and orange. Secondary text is black. The cover is on a dark orange speckled background.
Book cover: Beacon Press

The chemical at the heart of Jim Morris’s The Cancer Factory first showed up in a New York factory in 1957, but its toxic power isn’t consigned to history. It’s contemporary. Morris chronicles the struggle of 78 workers who developed bladder cancer as a result of ortho-toluidine exposure at a factory that manufactures Goodyear tires. Despite well-documented evidence of the poisoning, reviewer Anna Young writes, weak federal chemical regulations—and resistance from corporations—have left the status quo around this deadly toxin intact.

Electric school buses are a breath of fresh air for children

Young children stand in a line, waiting to get onto a yellow school bus.

Every weekday, more than 20 million kids ride to school on the bus. That means every weekday, they are exposed to the harmful pollutants emitted by vehicles that run on diesel fuel. The Biden administration has proposed more federal funding, via the Environmental Protection Agency, to help 280 school districts transition to electric school buses. Grist’s news and politics fellow Akielly Hu weighs in in favor of the proposal.

This article was originally published in Grist.

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Filed Under
Jo Zhou
Jo Zhou is the social media manager and audience engagement specialist at Harvard Public Health. Read more from Jo Zhou.