What we’ve been reading: Week of March 9, 2015

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Protection Without a Vaccine (The New York Times)
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have successfully used a type of gene therapy to make monkeys resistant to HIV. Could this be applied to other diseases for diseases for which there is no vaccine?

More about that doctor shortage, er, poor distribution of physicians (The Washington Post)
On Tuesday, the American Association of Medical Colleges released a report predicting a national physician shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2025. But it may be that we have more of a distribution problem than a volume problem; we need more incentives for doctors to practice in medically underserved areas.

States Lift Nurse Practitioner Hurdles Amid Doctor Shortage (Forbes)
One way to combat the growing need for primary care physicians across America: Grant nurse practitioners more authority and expand scope of practice laws, which vary considerably across states.

Doctors study tumors’ genetic makeup to guide cancer treatment (The Washington Post)
Oncologists often do not have much time to decide which treatment plan will work best for an individual cancer patient. This piece very clearly spells out how advances in precision medicine are now allowing doctors to search the genes of a cancerous tumor, and those of the patient herself, to illuminate the optimal treatment plan.

A Sheriff And A Doctor Team Up To Map Childhood Trauma (NPR)
Armed with maps proving what they’d known all along—that areas with high crime rates were also the areas with the worst health outcomes—Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and Dr. Nancy Hardt from the University of Florida set out to bring health care to poor communities in Gainesville, FL. Their makeshift “clinic on wheels” has spurred a community health movement and speaks to the persuasive power of data visualization.

Visiting Nurses, Helping Mothers on the Margins (The New York Times)
In response to startling research demonstrating higher infant mortality rates in lower-income areas, a national program funded home nursing visits for new mothers. Early results are promising: in Tennessee, infant mortality has declined by 14 percent since the program began in 2010.