Public Health Pulse (news, events, announcements)

Events Calendar

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Announcements (recent)

  • Delta Omega will hold it's annual Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 5:00PM - 7:30PM in Biomed B-103.

    This year's lecture will be given by Rachael Wong, DrPH, Founder & Strategic Advisor, One Shared Future. Dr. Wong is the founder of the One Shared Future Initiative (OSF), which is piloting a strengths-based professional development series to increase the public sector’s capacity to serve local communities through collaboration and innovation. She has dedicated her career to improving quality of life for Hawai‘i residents: leading the State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services (DHS) as director and developing the ‘Ohana Nui framework; partnering with providers to incorporate population health into the healthcare delivery system as the vice president and chief operating of cer of Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i (HAH); advocating for patients and those who serve them as the executive director of Kōkua Mau (Hawai‘i Hospice & Palliative Care Organization) and the Hawai‘i Consortium for Integrative Care; and serving on numerous local and national boards and committees. Dr. Wong earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies and certi cate in women’s studies from Princeton University, a master’s degree in public health from UH-Mānoa, and a doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Take this wonderful opportunity to meet and hear from Dr. Wong. Reception to follow. Campus parking is $6.

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

    - Posted 3 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 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 5 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 2 years 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

Events (upcoming)

News (recent)

  • Student Novella from APLE and Honors Thesis Published

    Congratulations to Madisyn Uekawa, BA '17 who has published a novella originally written for her Applied Learning Experience and Undergraduate Honors Thesis! Her novella focuses on youth suicide prevention and she plans to donate any proceeds to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

    - Posted Thursday, August 16

  • Women need better understanding of important childbirth terms

    Understanding healthcare terminology is critical to patient education and engagement, but healthcare vocabulary that may be familiar to clinicians and researchers is often not understood, or is misunderstood, by patients.

    In a study recently published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa public health researchers found a lack of understanding of common obstetric terms used to measure maternal healthcare quality among women who recently gave birth on Oʻahu.

    “Our research team interviewed 400 pregnant women to learn about their thought process and experiences in selecting a hospital to deliver their babies. We also assessed their understanding of terms often used to compare hospital quality in childbirth,” said Mary Guo, lead author and alumna of the UH Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies(OPHS) graduate program. “Our data showed that many women lacked understanding of some very important terminology around childbirth outcomes.”

    The interviews took place between July 2013 and January 2015.

    In one example, the research team found that almost 40 percent of participants did not know or misunderstood “episiotomy,” which is a surgical incision made during delivery, as opposed to a natural tear. Possible complications for women following an episiotomy include infections, pain during sex in the months after delivery and fecal incontinence.

    Most women are likely to care about such obstetric outcomes, but first need to know what these words mean. Some demographic factors were significantly associated with less comprehension of obstetric terminology, including being younger, having less education and identifying as Filipino, Japanese, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

    “The finding that many women were unfamiliar with important terminology around quality of healthcare in childbirth is significant. This highlights areas where improvement in patient education is needed,” said Tetine Sentell, co-author and associate professor in OPHS. “More efforts are also needed to address knowledge gaps to achieve health equity across education, age and race/ethnicity.”

    For example, Sentell said physicians should use layman's terms when communicating with patients. Also, healthcare providers should not assume that patients who nod in response or remain silent fully understand the relevant health information being conveyed.

    Actively confirming patient understanding is important, Sentell emphasized.

    The study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

    - Posted Tuesday, August 14

  • Food and Family key to Filipino Heart Health

    To lower the high rate of heart disease among Filipino-Americans, the community needs heart health interventions rooted in Filipino cultural values, according to a new analysis by public health researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

    Filipino-Americans comprise 20 percent of the growing Asian-American population and are overrepresented in important workforces, including healthcare and the military. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among Filipino-American males and second among Filipino-American females.

    Further, they have a high prevalence of hypertension and behavioral risk factors associated with these cardiovascular and other chronic conditions, such as obesity, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity.

    Filipino-Americans place a high importance on family relationships and often hold gatherings and celebrations with traditional foods. The community also values spirituality, caring for others and a tradition of obligation and reciprocity.

    “We found that incorporating these values into interventions is an effective way to improve heart health,” said Professor Kathryn L. Braun, who worked on the study and is the director of the UH Office of Public Health Studies. Lead researcher on the study, Jermy-Leigh Domingo, is a recent UH Mānoa public health graduate.

    For their analysis, the authors looked at eight previous studies that involved healthcare workers using culturally tailored interventions to increase Filipino-Americans’ participation in heart disease prevention programs. The researchers looked at whether these interventions worked and also identified their key components. Four of the previous studies were done in Hawaiʻi, while the others were performed on the mainland.

    “In some interventions, healthcare workers offered suggestions for small changes that could be made in serving traditional Filipino foods, such as grilling fish rather than frying it,” Braun said.

    Other interventions focused on a recognition of the importance of family relationships. For example, since turning down food is frowned upon, it is vital to get the whole family on board for support rather than focusing on the single individual with heart disease, the researchers said.

    Few interventions involved finding ways to increase physical activity, however, dancing is popular among Filipino-Americans and may be an area to target in future studies.

    “Our research is part of a growing body of evidence that shows that public health efforts that are tailored to reach people of certain cultures are effective in lowering the rates of chronic diseases,” Domingo said. Other factors include the ethnicity of healthcare workers, educational materials and the settings of interventions.

    - Posted Monday, August 13

  • Parent education key to protecting kids from HPV

    Many teens in Hawaiʻi are not getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), primarily because parents don’t know enough about the vaccine, and doctors aren’t recommending the shots, according to a new study from the Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

    The researchers conducted a phone survey of parents who had children between the ages 11 and 18. They focused on four major ethnic groups in Hawaiʻi: Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, Japanese and Caucasians. A total of 800 parents participated and, in total, only 35 percent of daughters and 19 percent of sons had received all three shots of the vaccine series.

    The leader of the study, Assistant Researcher May Rose Dela Cruz, and co-authors found that parental reticence in vaccinating their children was especially prevalent among Filipinos and Native Hawaiians, in comparison to Japanese and Caucasian parents.

    “There is a critical need in Hawaiʻi for better public education about the HPV vaccine,” says Dela Cruz, who developed a HPV vaccine brochure and two posters for medical waiting rooms.

    HPV causes several cancers, including those affecting the cervix, penis, anus, mouth and throat. The HPV vaccine can prevent most of the cancers and infections that HPV causes.

    Many studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is safe. The most common side effects are minor problems such as dizziness and swelling in the arm where the shot was given, thus the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.

    Doctor recommendation crucial

    Researchers also found that 90 percent of parents who vaccinated their children with the HPV vaccine said that they did so because a doctor recommended it and they wanted to protect their children.

    “A doctor’s strong recommendation for the HPV vaccine is crucial, and doctors should recommend the vaccine equally to both females and males at the ages of 11 and 12,” Dela Cruz said.

    There were some differences in vaccination rates between the ethnic groups, with Japanese parents being the most likely to vaccinate their children, the researchers found. However, the parents’ knowledge of the vaccine and promotion of the vaccine by a child’s doctor were the biggest factors impacting vaccination rates.

    Other UH researchers who worked on the study included Kathryn L. Braun and JoAnn Umilani Tsark in the Office of Public Health Studies, Cheryl Lynn Albright in the School of Nursing and Dental Hygieneand John J. Chen of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

    The study was published in Ethnicity and Health.

    - Posted Thursday, August 9

  • HIV Outbreak Led to Changes in Media Perceptions and Public Health Policy

    In the wake of a devastating HIV outbreak in a rural Midwestern county, the tone of the news media toward people who use injection drugs changed significantly, according to a new analysis from a public health researcher at the University of Hawai‘i.

    Moreover, this shift in the media's tone may have provided the momentum that was needed to change decades-old, outdated government policies, and allow public health agencies to start a syringe exchange program to prevent the further spread of HIV and other diseases, the analysis shows.

    "The study showed that the media is really key to creating a frame around how populations are perceived by the public," said David Stupplebeen, the author of the study and a PhD student at the Office of Public Health Studies at the university.

    The outbreak struck Scott County, Indiana, in 2015, and was linked to an increase in the use of opioids. In his analysis, Stupplebeen searched for news articles that focused on people who use injection drugs that were published up to 10 years before the outbreak was first reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He compared those articles with articles that were published after the outbreak was reported. He examined a total of 372 articles, which were mainly from local newspapers' coverage of the outbreak.

    Stupplebeen found that before the outbreak, news stories about people who use injection drugs tended to focus on the crimes that these people committed, painting a picture of them as immoral criminals. But during the outbreak, which ultimately resulted in nearly 200 new cases of HIV in the sparsely-populated county, the tone shifted. The news articles started to bring to light the heartbreaking effects that the opioid-use epidemic had on the people living in an area already plagued by high levels of unemployment and poverty.

    "Negative framing of people who inject drugs helped reinforce a stable policy environment, which didn't support syringe exchange programs," Stupplebeen says. "The HIV crisis changed the framing." This change in framing opened the door to the state's decision to allow the county to begin a syringe exchange program, to offer clean needles to people who use injection drugs.

    Much research has shown that syringe exchange programs reduce the impact of communicable diseases in the community. However, some policy makers are reluctant to allow such programs over misguided fears that the programs encourage drug use. (They don't.)

    "After the outbreak became known, talk turned to getting people into treatment, preventing overdoses, and doing needle exchange," Stupplebeen says.

    The analysis will appear in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy.

    - Posted Tuesday, August 7