Public Health Pulse (news, events, announcements)

Announcements (recent)

  • The Hawai‘i Chapter of Delta Omega invites all interested Public Health graduate and undergraduate Students to submit an abstract for the National Delta Omega Poster Contest Display at the APHA 2018 annual meeting to be held 10-14 November, 2018, in San Diego, CA. Each chapter is able to select no more than 2 abstracts for the graduate student competition and 1 for the undergraduate competition.

    Students whose work is selected for a national award will receive a $350 cash prize from the national Delta Omega Honor Society, which the OPHS will match for a total of $700. Student awards will be made during the Delta Omega Social Hour. In addition, students will have the opportunity to present their poster during the APHA scientific poster sessions. Student abstracts will also be published on the Delta Omega National Webpage.

    All abstracts must be submitted via email for consideration to katz@hawaii.edu by 17:00 (5:00 pm) Friday, March 30, 2018. No late or incomplete submissions will be accepted or considered.

    See the Delta Omega Student Abstract Announcement and Delta Omega Abstract Submission Guideline documents for more details

    Students from our department have been national Delta Omega student poster contest award winners for 9 of the past 10 years. We look forward to your submissions.

    Please contact Dr. Katz if you have any questions.

    - Posted 2 months ago

  • The Hawai‘i Chapter of Delta Omega invites all interested Public Health graduate and undergraduate Students to submit an abstract for the National Delta Omega Poster Contest Display at the APHA 2017 annual meeting to be held 4-8 November, 2017, in Atlanta. Each chapter is able to select no more than 2 abstracts for the graduate student competition and 1 for the undergraduate competition.

    Students whose work is selected for a national award will receive a $350 cash prize from the national Delta Omega Honor Society, which the OPHS will match for a total of $700. Student awards will be made during the Delta Omega Social Hour. In addition, students will have the opportunity to present their poster during the APHA scientific poster sessions. Student abstracts will also be published on the Delta Omega National Webpage.

    All abstracts must be submitted via email for consideration to katz@hawaii.edu by 17:00 (5:00 pm) Friday, April 14, 2017. No late or incomplete submissions will be accepted or considered.

    1)      Only student work that is completed by the submission date will be considered by the review committee

    AND

    2)      “Because the Delta Omega Student Poster Session is held as part of APHA’s scientific sessions, presenters must adhere to APHA’s guidelines.”

    The following is taken verbatim from the APHA “Poster Session Guidelines”:

    Presenters must be individual members of APHA Presenters, session organizers and moderators must register for the meeting (full or one-day). All presenters must be registered by the Advance Registration Deadline. Speakers who fail to show up for their scheduled presentations without previously notifying the program planner of cancellation will not be permitted to present papers or posters at any APHA-sponsored meeting for two years following the "no-show."

    See the Delta Omega Student Abstract Announcement and Delta Omega Abstract Submission Guideline documents for more details.

    Students from our department have been national Delta Omega student poster contest award winners for 8 of the past 9 years. We look forward to your submissions.

    Please contact Dr. Katz if you have any questions.

    - Posted 1 year ago

  • The Hawai‘i Journal of Medicine & Public Health invites students and professionals at public health, medical, nursing, pharmacy, and dental schools or programs to enter its 2nd Annual Writing Contest. Submissions must be original works related to the practice of medicine or public health, witha focus on the Hawaiian Islands or Pacific Rim Region.

    Eligibility:

    The contest is open to students and professionals at public health, medical, nursing, pharmacy, and dental schools or programs.

    Undergraduates, Graduate students (masters- and doctoral-level students), and Post-Graduates (postdoctoral fellows and residents) may apply.

    Note: Consideration may be given to applicants in other disciplines. Individuals not currently enrolled in a qualifying program but who completed one of the programs within the last 12 months may submit their work for consideration.

    Prize: Up to three cash prizes in the amount of $500. Winners will have their photographs featured along with their works in a future issue of HJM&PH.

    Contest opens on August 1, 2016 Deadline is December 30, 2016

    See our 2015 Contest winners: http://hjmph.org/contest2015.htm. More information can also be found at www.hjmph.org/contest.

    - Posted 1 year ago

  • Please join us as our undergraduate students present their Applied Learning Experience (APLE) project posters at the OPHS Undergraduate Summit on Thursday, April 28. This event will be held in the Biomedical Sciences Building, D-Courtyard from 4:00-5:00 PM (proposal project posters) and 5:00-6:00 PM (final project posters).

    - Posted 2 years ago

  • Delta Omega will hold it's annual Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 from 5:00PM - 7:00PM in Biomed B-103.

    This year's lecture will be given by Karina Walters, MSW, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Washington. Take this wonderful opportunity to meet and hear from Dr. Walters.  Reception to follow.  Campus parking is $6.

    For more information and to RSVP please contact Professor Al Katz: katz@hawaii.edu.

    - Posted 2 years ago

Events (upcoming)

News (recent)

  • Do Worksite Wellness DVDs Help Hawaiians Lose and Keep Weight Off?

    Native Hawaiians who use a DVD-based weight loss program can shed pounds and keep pounds off just as well as those who take in-person classes, a new study finds.

    In the study called PILI@Work, researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa recruited more than 200 employees in Native Hawaiian-serving organizations who wanted to lose weight. Most of the study participants were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

    “Obesity leads to diabetes and premature death. This program aimed to improve long-term health by teaching ways to lose pounds and keep them off,” said Professor Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH, who worked on the study and is the director of the Office of Public Health Studies at the university.

    The PILI@Work progam is a year long. In the first three months, participants met in groups to learn new skills and develop action plans. A significant portion lost at least 3 percent of their original body weight.

    During the next nine months, half the participants continued to attend classes, while the other half watched lessons on DVDs at work or home. About 60 percent of all participants maintained their weight loss one year later. Results were the same, whether the participants had watched the DVD or had participated in face-to-face classes.

    “PILI@Work works because it builds on a curriculum developed by Hawaiians for Hawaiians,” said Professor J. Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, principal investigator of study and chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

    “The classes and DVDs were tailored to Hawaiian culture and communities. The program included language and foods specific to Native Hawaiians and focused on helping participants garner family support and identify community resources that support their healthy lifestyle choices. The program also incorporated tips on eating healthy on a budget and good communication with your doctor,” added Claire Townsend Ing, DrPH, who coordinated the study and is a researcher with the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

    The researchers noted that the people who had maintained the greatest weight loss after a year were the ones who participated the most intensely during the first three months of the program.

    "It seems that a key to weight loss is to jump in with both feet when you're starting a program,” said Braun. 

    DVDs may be appealing because they are less expensive than classes. DVDs also give people more flexibility in scheduling. 

    - Posted Tuesday, April 10

  • Recess Environment and Curriculum Intervention on Children's Physical Activity: IPLAY

    HONOLULU, HI – In the US, 1 in 5 (almost 13 million) children and adolescents are overweight or obese. One of the main contributors to obesity is insufficient levels of physical activity (PA). Understanding the impacts of the environment on PA is essential to promotion of children’s health.

    A recent five-year study by researchers at the University of Colorado at Denver College of Architecture and Planning, the Colorado State University Exercise Science Laboratory and the University of Hawaii’s Office of Public Health Studies investigated the effects of schoolyard renovations and a PA recess curriculum alone and in combination on children’s PA. The Intervention for Physical Activity and Youth (IPLAY) was developed in collaboration with the Denver Public School System, and transformed schoolyards into attractive, safe multi-use playgrounds tailored to the local community to increase recess PA.

    “Distinctive elements of the intervention schoolyards include community gateways and gathering spaces, public art works, age appropriate play equipment, grass playing fields, colorful structured and unstructured asphalt games, custom shade structures, habitat areas and nature play,” says first author, Claudio Nigg, PhD, a professor of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences.

    Twenty-four schools in inner city Denver participated; 6 schools each were assigned to control, curriculum only, schoolyard renovations only, and curriculum plus schoolyard renovations. PA outcomes were assessed pre-program, mid-program, immediate post-program, and one year post-program. Recess periods were observed and participants wore wrist-mounted accelerometers and completed surveys to report their PA.

    “No meaningful intervention effects were found among the intervention groups, and this finding is consistent with results from other intervention trials,” reports Nigg. “This suggests that interventions must not only try to increase PA during already established free-time, but also provide additional PA opportunities. Recess by itself does not seem to be long enough (15-20 minutes) to produce change in children’s PA.”

    Additional studies are needed to explore other potential avenues to promote PA include making recess longer, integrating recess into the school curricula, and developing recess PA curricula integrating schoolyards. 

    - Posted Tuesday, April 10

  • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Celebrates More than Fifty Years of Public Health

    HONOLULU, HI—During National Public Health Week 2018, more than 225 people gathered on April 3 to celebrate more than 50 years of Public Health at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  An academic unit in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, UH Public Health has graduated more than 3,900 students, who have provided more than 1 million hours of community service through practica in the past 50 years. 

    Senator Rosalyn Baker, Representative John Mizuno, and Senator Les Ihara joined the celebration to bestow a congratulatory message from the Hawaii State Legislature. Commendations also were received from Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono.

    Professor Kathryn Braun, Director and Chair of the Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS), reminded the audience that 25 of the 30-year gain in life span over the past century has been due to public health advances, including public sanitation, clean water, disease control, and tobacco policy. “I’m proud of the role UH Public Health has played in training public health professionals who now work in Hawai‘i, the continental US, and around the world.”

    The event, held at Café Julia at in the Richards Street YWCA, brought together a wide community of public health practitioners, scholars, and students. “One of the reasons why I love public health is that it is inclusive—it includes people. We try to help those that have some disadvantages get equality and those with abundant resources link with those who need more resources,” commented Valerie Yontz, OPHS MPH Practicum Coordinator.

    Attendees reaffirmed their passion and commitment to public health. “Through my public health training, I learned that much of what determines our health status is found outside the traditional clinic—from education, jobs, and affordable housing, to community safety and access to healthy food,” remarked Dr. Robert Hirokawa MPH ’98 and DrPH ’08 and current CEO of the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association (HPCA). 

    Trisha Kajimura, MPH ‘11 and executive director of Mental Health America of Hawai‘i (MHAH), noted, “Public health helps us to focus on the root of the problem and addressing social determinants is core to public health. We have a responsibility to address injustice in its many forms—from participating in advocacy through providing services that engage people’s strengths.”

    Commented Vanessa Buchthal, assistant professor and event coordinator, “It was wonderful to see everyone – our alumni, community partners, students, and faculty all celebrating together!  This event really highlighted the depth and breadth of our programs, and the role we, and our alumni, play in strengthening public health in Hawai'i.”

    Alumni and students reflected on the role UH Public Health played in their careers. “I grew up in this program.  I received both my MPH and DrPH degrees here and now I’m faculty.  I am grateful that I was able to stay in Hawai‘i and not leave the state to get my degrees.  I’m proud to continue the honor and responsibility of mentoring our students, while hoping to pique their interest in research,” said May Rose Dela Cruz, assistant researcher.

    “My MPH degree gave me good skills in grant writing and group facilitation, skills that I have used every day,” said Judith , MPH ’77 and the executive director of the Hawai‘i Youth Services Network (HYSN). “I liked the training because it went beyond book-learning by requiring a practicum that challenged us to solve real issues in real agencies,” said Judith Clark

    Students also had the chance to meet with working public health professionals. “I’m interested in public health because I’m interested in making system-level changes,” said Sasha Madan, current MPH student and alumni from the BA Public Health program.

    The UH Public Health Faculty Research Profile was also officially launched and is available here.

    UH Public Health offers nationally accredited bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Its 30 faculty are experts in topics ranging from infectious disease to chronic disease, from child health to end of life, from genetics to the environment, and from health promotion and prevention to treatment and services. Its collaborates with 10+ branches of the Hawai‘i Department of Health (HDOH). In 2017, the Office secured $3.8 million in extramural funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HDOH, and others. Their faculty have collaborations with individuals in 70+ international universities.

    - Posted Monday, April 9

  • Community support, risk awareness may lower hypertension rates

    The best ways to lower the high rate of hypertension among Hawaiʻi residents may be to promote a strong sense of community and cultivate an awareness of risk factors, treatment and control options among the friends of those suffering from high blood pressure. That is according to research by two faculty members in the Office of Public Health Studies.

    Research done in Albania, a small country in eastern Europe, by Assistant Professor Catherine Pirkle, Associate Professor Tetine Sentell and colleagues was published in a recent issue of the European Journal of Public Health.

    New insights about distinct risk factors for inadequate hypertension management among the elderly in Albania has relevance to Hawaiʻi, say the researchers, because they highlight the importance of community-level and interpersonal factors—such as relationships with friends—to hypertension diagnosis/awareness and control.

    In particular, it was found that having more social support from friends and having a strong sense that your community was safe led to more hypertension diagnosis/awareness and control. These findings may provide novel intervention opportunities of hypertension programs.

    Said Pirkle, “This is highly relevant to current work we are doing around preventing and managing chronic disease in the state as part of the Healthy Hawaiʻi Initiative, which seeks new ways to create sustainable changes in local communities, schools and workplaces that promote better health. Leveraging social and community ties is a great way to support public health.”

    Added Sentell, “Like Albania, Hawaiʻi has a unique cultural and social history. In order to better understand hypertension awareness and control in the state, it is necessary to characterize broad risk factors for hypertension from the individual to community. This ecological perspective can be critical to the successful targeting and design of impactful public health programs.”

    Hypertension is prevalent in Hawaiʻi

    Hypertension is a major global public health problem that is estimated to affect more than one billion people. It is highly prevalent in many settings, including Hawaiʻi, where 28 percent of adults in the 1.4 million population are known to have hypertension and many more are believed undiagnosed. That correlates with Albania, where at least 36 percent of adults in its 2.8 million population on the Balkan Peninsula suffer from high blood pressure.

    Both Hawaiʻi and Albania are somewhat isolated areas of land with high rates of hypertension, especially among older adults whose proportion in the population is steadily increasing in line with global demographic trends toward an aging society.

    Pirkle has been working with colleagues in Tirana, Albania, since 2012. Sentell also worked in Tirana in 2017 as a Fulbright specialist. They collaborated with Albanian medical faculty Alban Ylli and Genc Burazeri at the Institute of Public Health.

    - Posted Wednesday, April 4

  • Why Drinking Too Much and Skipping Your Veggies Go Hand-in-Hand

    You make a lot of choices that affect your health, such as how much you exercise, whether you smoke, how many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat, and how much alcohol you drink.

    Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and Tufts University in Massachusetts shows that despite all of the possible ways people could combine their choices from these various areas, in real life, people tend to make choices about their health that "cluster," or go together.

    In fact, there are just four distinct groups that people tend to fall into, the researchers found. The four groups are:

    • The "healthy" group: These people eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, and they also do enough exercise, drink in moderation or not at all, and do not smoke.
    • The "physically active" group: These people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, but they do enough exercise, drink in moderation or not at all, and do not smoke.
    • The "apathetic" group aka the do nothing group: These people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, and they don't exercise enough, they drink in moderation or not at all, and most of them don't smoke.
    • The "binge drinking" group: These people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, they don't do enough exercise, and they binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on one or more occasion in the past month.

    Previous research based on data going back to 2003 had identified these groups, and now, the new study shows that the percentage of U.S. adults who fall into each group remained relatively stable through 2015.

    "Young adults tend to belong to the apathetic group — they have a pretty 'meh' attitude toward their health," said Professor Claudio Nigg, PhD, a researcher in the Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and the senior author on the study. This group is at risk for developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the researchers noted. About 70 to 80 percent of adults fall into the apathetic group.

    About 10 percent of U.S. adults belong to the "healthy" group, Nigg said.

    The new analysis also shows that the health behavior patterns of U.S. adults are not getting worse, but they are also not improving, the researchers said. The findings suggest that public health messages should focus on the big picture of people's choices, rather than a single choice, he said.

    "The new findings show that our best approach is not to make an ad campaign that just tells people, 'don't drink too much,'" Nigg said. "Instead, we should give folks tips on eating well and exercising, as well as sticking to limits on alcohol."

    The data that the researchers used in the study came from a telephone survey of about 400,000 U.S. adults (for each year analyzed) in all 50 states called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which is conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The findings suggest that it is imperative for public health efforts to target the "apathetic" group, which is the largest group but is often overlooked, the researchers said.

    "People in this group tend to not have much money, so efforts to help them be healthier have to be really practical," Nigg said.

    - Posted Wednesday, March 28