Public Health Pulse (news, events, announcements)

Events Calendar

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Announcements (recent)

  • 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 2 months 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 4 months 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 4 months ago

  • John McComas and Christine Kobayashi established this endowed fellowship to offer financial support to students pursuing a graduate degree in public health at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  The selected recipient(s) will receive up to $1,200 for costs associated with attendance or for expenses related to research and travel.

    Applicant Criteria:

    Classified graduate student enrolled for spring 2016 in a public health degree program at UH Mānoa. Satisfactory progress toward degree as determined by the selection committee. Financial need shall be a criterion in making this award, although not necessarily as defined by federal guidelines. Registering for full-time status—8+ credits (6 credits for GAs) of public health degree-related coursework, or one credit of PH 800—in fall 2016.

    Preference:

    Self-identified commitment to remain in Hawai‘i to pursue a career after graduating from the program. Peace Corps volunteer as self-identified.

    Application Requirements:

    A letter of application addressing the scholarship criteria, including a brief statement explaining why you should be selected for the award and how the scholarship funds would be utilized. Include academic and practical accomplishments as well as future goals and aspirations. If relevant, provide a list of publications (conference proceedings, reports, articles), presentations (local, national, international) and awards. Awardee(s) will be required to sign a statement confirming that he/she will register for a full-time course load in fall 2016.

    Applications must be received by Friday, April 8, 2016

    Submit all application materials to: Office of Public Health Student Academic Services (OPHSAS) at ophsas@hawaii.edu.

    - Posted 5 months ago

  • Dr. Pauline George Stitt began her career as a pediatrician in New York. During World War II, Dr. Stitt came to Hawai‘i to work as a physician at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. She later went on to serve at a number of prestigious colleges and organizations, including Howard University College of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health. Following her return to Hawai‘i, Dr. Stitt was appointed Professor of Public Health at UH Mānoa in 1972 and later served as chair of the Maternal and Child Health specialization.

    The Office of Public Health Studies offers the following two awards created in honor of Dr. Stitt:

    OPHS is pleased to recognize an outstanding individual from among its student body by presenting him or her with the 40th Annual Pauline Stitt Outstanding Public Health Graduate Student Award. This award was first presented in 1976. We ask each specialization/program and the Hui to nominate their top graduate or doctoral student(s) for this award. Nominees should be asked to provide supporting information about their performance in each of the four criterion areas (see award criteria below).  The selected student’s name will be inscribed on the Pauline Stitt Outstanding Student plaque and the student will also receive a $500 honorarium.

    The Pauline Stitt Scholarship, first awarded in 2014, is intended to foster a spirit of excellence similar to that which Dr. Stitt cultivated in so many people whom she touched in her long and distinguished career. Each specialization/program and the Hui is asked to nominate a current public health graduate or doctoral student with a high level of academic achievement who will continue their enrollment in our program in Fall 2016.  Nominees should be asked to provide supporting information about their performance in each of the four criterion areas (see below).  The selected student will receive a $500 scholarship for the Fall 2016 semester.

    The Student Affairs Committee will review the nominations submitted and select the top candidate for each award based on the following criteria:

    Scholarship (50%): GPA, publications, etc. To place GPA in a broader context, please include information on workload (#credits/sem, FT/PT work hours). Governance (20%): Serve as student representative on OPHS Committees; UHM Committees (GSO). Student/Professional Activities (20%): Involvement in student organizations & activities (Hui Ola Pono, intramural sports); professional activities (HPHA, etc.). Community Service (10%): Voluntary, not field placement or paid employment (Health Fair, Red Cross, Legislature, Aloha United Way, etc.). Stitt Scholarship only: Continued enrollment in the public health program in Fall 2016.

    Submit letters of nomination and supporting documents to OPHSAS, Biomed D-204 / ophsas@hawaii.edu by April 8, 2016.

    - Posted 5 months ago

News (recent)

  • OPHS Reorganized Under the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

    We are pleased to share as of July 1, 2016 The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work (MBT SSW) is now home to the Department of Social Work, the Office of Public Health Studies and the Center on Aging. Dean Noreen Mokuau continues as Dean. The shared vision of the MBT SSW and its units is “achieving social justice and health equity for the people of Hawai`i and citizens in a changing world.”

    The Department of Social Work (DSW) includes a BSW program; an MSW program with both a Manoa and DE-based option, with specializations in Behavioral Mental Health, Children and Families, Health, and Gerontology; and a PhD in Social Welfare. Dr. Meripa Godinet serves as Chair. The mission of the DSW is to provide educational excellence that advances social work with its focus on social justice.  The principal responsibility is the generation, transmission, and application of knowledge for the global enterprise with special attention to Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, and Asian populations in our state and region. http://www.hawaii.edu/sswork/

    The Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS) is directed by Dr. Kathryn L. Braun. The mission of the OPHS is to advance the health of the peoples of Hawai‘i, the nation, and the Asia-Pacific region through knowledge, discovery, innovation, engagement, inclusion, and leadership. OPHS offers the BA in Public Health. It also offers the Masters of Public Health (MPH) with specializations including Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health, Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, as well as a Master of Science (MS) in Epidemiology or Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. OPHS offers both the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree and PhD in Epidemiology. http://manoa.hawaii.edu/publichealth/

    The Center on Aging's (COA) mission is to enhance the well being of older adults. COA is committed to interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts in research, educational programs and service to the community. The Center’s initiatives focus on the integration of research, education and service, with a focus on the multicultural populations of Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region. http://www.hawaii.edu/aging/

    - Posted Thursday, August 18

  • Infant Mortality in Post-Earthquake Haiti

    Assistant Professor Victoria Fan, Associate Professor Timothy Halliday and Bradley Chen investigated infant and child mortality in after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Their study “The impact of internal displacement on child mortality in post-earthquake Haiti: a difference-in-differences analysis” was published in the International Journal for Equity in Health.

    The study found that births from camp households had higher infant mortality and child mortality than those not living in camps. These odds are higher despite better access to food, water, bed net use, mosquito spraying and vaccines among camp households. Efforts are needed to identify vulnerable populations to provide targeted assistance in post-disaster relief.

    “The data indicates that those living in camps are getting several key health services, but the services may not be of adequate quality to reduce child mortality,” said Fan. “We also found that those who did not or could not move, either to camps or elsewhere, are quite vulnerable as well. These populations are the literally ‘left behind.’”

    “In carrying out disaster relief, providing a lot of materials and supplies to camps is not sufficient,” said Chen. “Despite better access to food, water and vaccines, kids in camps are still having worse health than other migrant and displaced households. Those reasons need to be better understood.”

    - Posted Saturday, August 13

  • New book sounds alarm on healthcare providers in India

    In a newly published World Health Organization report, “The Health Workforce in India,” co-author University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Assistant Professor Victoria Y. Fan has brought attention to the level of education and medical qualifications of physicians and other healthcare providers in India. Fan and co-author Oxford University Professor Sudhir Anand’s 104-page book includes a three-page summary of key findings.

    “The monograph examines the distribution, patterns and inequalities of the health workforce in India by education, gender and urban-rural stratum,” says Fan. “The report also lists the districts that lack any qualified nurses and qualified dentists, which may be useful for policymakers who wish to address these significant disparities that affect access to healthcare services.”

    News articles published in India on the study:

    WHO report sounds alarm on ‘doctors’ in India, The Hindu, July 18, 2016
    Under-educated doctors, rural-urban divide and a stark gender gap. WHO study's shocking data on Indian healthcare, India Today, July 18, 2016

    - Posted Tuesday, August 2

  • Mercury exposure management in northern Canadian communities

    Assistant Professor Catherine Pirkle is the primary author of “Managing mercury exposure in northern Canadian communities,” which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The journal is ranked in the top 10 medical journals in the world.

    The review provides guidance for healthcare providers on the effects of mercury exposure and how to manage it in patients who consume diets high in fish and marine animals. Mercury exposure is common in communities in Canada’s north, especially in indigenous peoples who consume fish and other wild food with high mercury content, yet current clinical guidelines are not adequate for this population.

    “Communities that frequently consume predatory fish and/or marine mammals have elevated mercury exposure,” said Pirkle. “It is important for clinicians to be clear on the potential risks, the complexity of the underlying epidemiological data and how to approach, in a culturally sensitive manner, communities where mercury exposure may be a concern.”

    Dangers of mercury exposure

    Mercury exposure in pregnant women can have multiple effects in children, affecting brain development. In adults, mercury poisoning can cause vision changes, numbness in extremities, muscle weakness, cognitive changes and even death. Symptoms of mercury poisoning are often difficult to detect and vary between people, requiring diagnosis by a toxicologist or neurologist.

    The Nunavik Child Development Study, conducted by Université Laval Professor Gina Muckle, which for nearly 20 years has been following a cohort of children recruited before birth, found blood mercury concentrations above the Canadian guidance value in 16.9 percent of school-aged children. In another study of Inuit women aged 18–39 in northern Quebec, 53.3 percent had blood levels above the guidance value; the average in Canadians is 2.2 percent (Canadian Health Measures Survey).

    Mercury levels influenced by location

    Mercury levels vary widely in wild foods and are influenced by location, according to Melanie Lemire, professor with the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at Laval. To help healthcare providers recommend appropriate consumption levels, the authors have included tables with consumption guidelines and blood mercury levels and information on how to test.

    “The principles and suggestions in this paper apply directly to practitioners working in northern Canadian communities, where wild foods are important dietary components,” said Pirkle. “They are more broadly applicable to practitioners working with patients or in communities with high fish consumption.”

    The authors caution that there should be a balance between appropriate consumption and overconsumption of wild foods with mercury; if physicians recommend complete avoidance, people may not have enough nutritious food to eat.

    “Mercury exposure is one of many health concerns facing northern Canadian communities,” write the authors. “Counseling to reduce exposure must recognize and address wider food security issues and nutritional challenges, or it will unlikely be effective.”

    - Posted Monday, July 25

  • Public Health Mourns the Passing of Representative K. Mark Takai

    The Office of Public Health Studies was saddened to learn of the death of Representative K. Mark Takai, who represented Hawai‘i’s first district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Representative Takai was an alumnus of the University of Hawai‘i School of Public Health, graduating with his Masters of Public Health in Health Education in December 1993. He was always interested in political leadership, and served in leadership positions at the University of Hawai‘i before seeking office in the Hawai‘i State Legislature and then in Congress.

    As a lifelong public servant, Mark exemplified public health values of cooperation, collaboration, and empowerment. He advocated for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and veterans, and he helped to preserve the Affordable Care Act.

    The public health community recognizes his contributions and will miss him greatly. Our hearts are with his family at this difficult time. 

    - Posted Wednesday, July 20