To request copies of articles or for information on scheduling interviews with an expert, please contact Megan Lowry.

EMBARGOED UNTIL July 19, 2018, 4 p.m. ET

American Journal of Public Health September Issue research highlights:


Black lung on the rise since 2000

This study found the national prevalence of coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (black lung) is increasing among working coal miners. In central Appalachia, 20.6 percent of miners working more than 25 years have black lung disease.

Study authors predict current black lung prevalence estimates will likely be reflected in future trends for severe and disabling disease, including progressive massive fibrosis.

The study revealed that following a low point in the late 1990s, the national prevalence of black lung in miners with 25 years or more of tenure now exceeds 10 percent. When the study excluded miners from central Appalachia, the prevalence for the remainder of the United States was lower, but an increase since 2000 remained evident.

[Author Contact: A. Scott Laney, Surveillance Branch, Respiratory Health Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV. “Continued Increase in Prevalence of Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis in the United States, 1970–2017”].

Congressional districts and their opioid prescribing rates

This study examined which Congressional districts have the highest and lowest opioid prescribing rates in 2016. The data showed high prescribing rate districts were concentrated in the South, Appalachia, and the rural West. Low-rate districts were concentrated in urban centers.

Data for all congressional districts is available upon request.

[Author Contact: Lyndsey Rolheiser, Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. “Opioid Prescribing Rates by Congressional Districts, United States, 2016”].

Racial disparities in police violence

Researchers found that police kill, on average, 2.8 men per day. Police were responsible for about 8 percent of all homicides with adult male victims between 2012 and 2018.

The study examined racial disparities in police violence, and found that black men’s mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100,000 per year, latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2, and white risk is between 0.6 and 0.7.

Authors concluded that police homicide risk is higher than suggested by official data. Black and latino men are at higher risk for death than are white men, and these disparities vary markedly across place.

[Author Contact: Frank Edwards, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Beebe Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. “Risk of Police-Involved Death by Race/Ethnicity and Place, United States, 2012–2018”].

Former inmates face substantially higher opioid overdose death risk

An analysis of inmate release data and death records in North Carolina found inmates face a substantially higher risk of opioid overdose death after release, when compared with the general population of North Carolina.

Researchers found that of the 229,274 former inmates released during 2000 to 2015, 1,329 died from opioid overdose. Two weeks after release, the respective risk of opioid overdose death among former inmates was 40 times higher as general NC residents. One-year after release and at complete follow-up after release, inmates’ risk was 11 and 8.3 times as high as general NC residents, respectively. The corresponding heroin overdose death risk among former inmates was 74, 18 and 14 times as high as general NC residents, respectively.

Former inmates at greatest OOD risk were those within the first two weeks after release, aged 26 to 50 years, male, white, with more than two previous prison terms, and who received in-prison mental health and substance abuse treatment.

[Author Contact: Shabbar I. Ranapurwala, Department of Epidemiology and the Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. "Opioid Overdose Mortality Among Former North Carolina Inmates: 2000–2015"].

Find a full list of AJPH research papers published online below:

  • Racial/Ethnic Differences In The Effectiveness Of A Multi-Sector Childhood Obesity Prevention Intervention
  • Revisiting The Corporate And Commercial Determinants Of Health
  • Opioid Overdose Mortality Among Former North Carolina Inmates: 2000-2015
  • Reducing Sedentary Behaviour At A Physical Activity Conference: The Simply Stand Study
  • The Two Faces Of Fear: A History Of Hard-Hitting Public Health Campaigns Against Tobacco And AIDS
  • Continued Increase In Prevalence Of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis
  • Prevalence And Risk Factors Associated With Workplace Violence Against General Practitioners In Hubei, China
  • Spatial Methods To Enhance Public Health Surveillance And Resource Deployment In The Opioid Epidemic
  • Opioid Prescribing Rates By Congressional Districts, United States, 2016
  • Comprehensive Diabetes Self-Management Support From Food Banks: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
  • Evaluating Public Health Interventions: 8. Causal Inference For Time-Invariant Interventions
  • A Survey Of Open Defecation Sites In Atlanta Reveals Unmet Sanitation Needs And Potential Sanitary Risks
  • Medicaid Expansion And Employment Of People With Disabilities: Two Trends Worth Watching
  • Community Health Workers Are Associated With Improved Patient Reported Access To Care But Not Service Utilization Among Latinos: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis As A Gateway To Primary Care
  • Characterization Of Transgender Cancer Cases In New York State
  • Estimating The Risk Of Police-Involved Death By Race And Place
  • HPV Vaccine Uptake For Adolescents Following Rhode Island's School-Entry Requirement Compared To Other States: Reducing Gender Disparities
  • Employment Trends Among Doctoral Recipients In Public Health Disciplines (2003-2015)
  • Effect Of A Community Health Worker Intervention On Childhood Disease Treatment Coverage In Rural Liberia: A Difference-In-Differences Analysis

The articles above will be published online July 19, 2018, at 4 p.m. ET by AJPH under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Megan Lowry at APHA, 202-777-3913, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions Department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single-issue access is $30, and online single-article access is $22 at For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new content email alerts.


The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit