Public Health Pulse (news, events, announcements)

Events Calendar

December 2018

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Announcements (recent)

  • All University of Hawai‘i campuses and System offices on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i will be closed from Thursday through Sunday. All UH Manoa athletic events scheduled for Thursday and Friday are cancelled. A decision on athletic events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday will be made depending upon weather conditions and facility availability. Residence halls at UH Manoa and UH Hilo will remain open for student residents. All employees who have been designated as disaster response workers or have been directed to report to work or remain at work due to operational needs, must still report to work. At this time, the UH campuses on Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i remain closed until further notice. The State of Hawai‘i announced today (August 22) that all state government offices and facilities on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i will be closed, starting Thursday, August 23, because of Hurricane Lane, a category 4 storm currently on track to move dangerously close the islands.   Hurricane Lane could make landfall on any or multiple islands, and may bring strong winds, heavy rains, flooding, high surf and storm surges. All students, faculty and staff are asked to keep informed of the latest developments and prepare for the possibility of the need to shelter in place or move to a public shelter. Prepare yourself and your families for the potential effects of the storm. Officials recommend a 14-day emergency supply. Students in residence halls will continue to receive more specific communications and instructions from their respective student housing office. However, please do not hesitate to contact them with any questions or concerns at UH Mānoa: (808) 956-8177 and UH Hilo: (808) 932-7403. Please follow the National Weather Service (http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/), other official agencies and local media for the latest weather news. All members of the UH community are urged to sign up for UH Alert to receive emergency text alerts:  http://www.hawaii.edu/alert. If you have already signed up, log in to ensure that your contact information is up-to-date: http://www.hawaii.edu/alert Notifications affecting UH campuses will be posted on the Emergency Information webpage, as well as on social media: https://www.hawaii.edu/emergency/ https://www.facebook.com/universityofhawaii https://twitter.com/UHawaiiNews Please stay informed and updated: Hawaii Emergency Management Agency: http://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/ National Weather Service Honolulu Forecast Office:   http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/ The Pacific Disaster Center's Disaster Alert app https://disasteralert.pdc.org/disasteralert/

    - Posted 3 months ago

  • 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 7 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 9 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

Events (upcoming)

News (recent)

  • Public Health Undergrads' Hard Work Pays Off with Successful Undergrad Summit

    After months of data collection, analysis, and thinking critically about public health issues, more than 50 undergraduate public health students put their hard work on display on Thursday in the Public Health Undergraduate Summit.

    The bi-annual event drew students and faculty members from all over the UH campus, as well as alumni and public health community members, who came to see the students' posters exhibited at the Biomed building.

    "This semester's summit was a huge success," said Denise Nelson-Hurwitz, assistant professor and chair of the public health undergraduate program. "These projects from our undergraduate students make a valuable contribution to the public health community and to research being conducted here in Hawaiʻi."

    The students' projects spanned all aspects of public health, and many projects focused on the health of Native Hawaiians or other Indigenous peoples. Leila Chang's project explored the relationships between globalization and changes in the diet of Samoans, and Cherry Yamane's project looked at ways to reduce health disparities in Indigenous populations using interventions that are based on culture.

    In one project, which dealt directly with health at UH Mānoa, Pua Yang conducted an assessment of mosquito breeding sites on campus. Mosquito larvae were found most often in littered coffee cups, which accumulate standing water. So, something as simple as reducing litter could prevent the spread of mosquito-born infections on campus.

    Prevention was a popular theme with other students as well, with a project on preventing cardiovascular disease from Kelly Knowles, a project on preventing breast cancer by Nathalie Lozano, and one on preventing diabetes by Haleigh Romero.

    Some students presented their literature reviews, an early step of completing a project, and are slated to present their completed projects at the next Public Health Undergraduate Summit in May 2019. Julia Andaya presented her literature review on promoting oral health education in kids, and Charlene Mikee Nguyen presented her early findings on promoting breastfeeding for expectant women.  

    "Student capstone projects make a difference in the way we understand the public health issues facing our communities," Nelson-Hurwitz said. These capstone projects are completed over three semesters of coursework, where students first familiarize themselves with a public health topic, then work to address it under the mentorship of a community-based or research faculty advisor, then finally link their field experiences and academic learning into a final paper and poster presentation.  

    “The projects show that our students are truly well-prepared to enter the public health workforce in Hawaiʻi or go on to graduate school,” Nelson-Hurwitz said. "It is always exciting to see where our students go next with their work."

    The Bachelor of Arts in Public Health at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is a new and exciting undergraduate degree program, preparing students for careers in multiple professional pathways in public health. High school students applying to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa may declare Public Health as their major upon entry. For further information about the program, contact the Undergraduate Advisor at phadvise@hawaii.edu.

    - Posted Thursday, December 6

  • Study of uterine ruptures in West Africa supports health-system improvement

    Tearing of the uterus is a serious complication in pregnancy that can lead to bleeding, shock and even death. Uterine rupture is very rare in the United States but is more common in low-income nations. A study from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa public health researchers that examined data from two countries in West Africa shows that women whose labor slows down or stops altogether, resulting in the need to be transferred to a higher-level hospital, are at increased risk of uterine rupture.

    Researchers led by Rebecca Delafield, a PhD student with the Office of Public Health Studies in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, looked at data from the medical records of nearly 85,000 women who gave birth over the course of one year in Senegal and Mali. The researchers found that 569 of the women had suffered a uterine rupture while giving birth.

    “The fact that uterine rupture is so rare in high-income nations demonstrates that it is largely preventable,” said Delafield. “We wanted to find out what increases the risk of suffering a uterine rupture for women. A better understanding of the factors involved could point to ways to prevent this outcome and possibly save lives.”

    Obstructed labor strong predictor of uterine rupture

    The data showed that the likelihood of a woman experiencing a uterine rupture increased with the number of times she had given birth. Women in the sample who had given birth five or more times were nearly eight times more likely to suffer a uterine rupture compared with women who had given birth once.

    But the strongest single factor that influenced a woman’s risk of uterine rupture was “obstructed labor,” meaning that her labor had slowed down or stopped.

    “We were not surprised to see obstructed labor was a strong predictor of uterine rupture,” Delafield said. “But what this study also shows is that, in addition to obstetric factors, health system factors increase the likelihood of uterine rupture in this population.”

    The women in the study who had obstructed labor and were transferred to a higher-level hospital were 46 times more likely to experience a uterine rupture compared with women who did not have obstructed labor and did not need to be referred to the higher-level hospitals.

    Findings support health-system improvements

    Said Delafield, “Our findings suggest that women would benefit from improvements in the health systems in these settings. By improving the quality of care at the smaller, local hospitals or by transferring patients with obstructed labor more quickly, women might receive the care they need in time to prevent uterine rupture.”

    The study was published November 1 in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. Delafield’s co-authors include Catherine Pirkle, an assistant professor with the UH Office of Public Health Studies, and Alexandre Dumont, a researcher at the Research Institute for Development in Marseille, France.

    - Posted Wednesday, November 14

  • Happiness, health missing from measuring nation's well-being

    Imagine that you had to choose between living your life with only the goods available in the 1950s (say goodbye to your cell phone), or living with only the health outcomes of that time (you’d live 11 years less, on average). Which would you pick?

    Most people would choose the latter, which is why, in a paper published in The BMJ medical journal, the point is made that investments in improving a country’s public health should not be overshadowed by obsession over gross domestic product (GDP).

    GDP represents the value of all goods and services produced in a country within one year. It does not include any measure of non-economic conditions, such as the quality of schools or the environment, or length of people’s lives.

    “GDP undervalues the true worth of human health,” says Victoria Fan, lead author and assistant professor in the Office of Public Health Services in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. “There are other measures that can provide a fuller picture of the value of investing in health.”

    Although GDP is often cited by political leaders and economists as the definitive measurement of well-being, it falls far short of capturing the value of human life.

    “GDP can tell us whether the economy is growing, but it doesn’t tell us anything about how healthy and safe people are in their day-to-day lives,” said Fan. “Being healthy and safe, and living in a fair and equitable society, are important components of people’s freedom to live their lives how they truly want to.”

    Other measurements better illustrate the value of health, said Fan, citing “value of life years” (VLYs) or the estimate of how much people value living longer. The question offering a choice between material goods and longer life was posed by Yale economist William Nordhaus as one way to measure VLYs.

    “We think that GDP should be used alongside other indicators of progress, such as life expectancy, which captures other aspects of well-being,” said Fan.

    - Posted Monday, November 5

  • Gun Violence A Defining Public Health Issue

    MPH (HPM) student Katey Peck wrote an editorial in Civil Beat https://www.civilbeat.org/2018/10/gun-violence-a-defining-public-health-issue/

    - Posted Monday, October 29

  • Start of new relationship is important time for HIV prevention

    For same-sex male couples, the first few months of a new relationship are a crucial time to communicate about sexual health and HIV prevention, according to new findings from public health researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The research may ultimately help to lower new HIVinfections for this group.

    For the study, same-sex male couples were sought through advertising on Facebook. A total of 722 men (representing 361 couples) were enrolled in the study, and completed a questionnaire asking about the timing of when they first discussed their HIV status, had sex without a condom, and if and when they had reached an agreement about whether or not they would have sex with anyone else.

    The results showed that more than half of the men had talked about their HIV status on the first day of their relationship, and more than 80 percent had talked about it during the first two weeks. The results also showed that about one quarter of the men reported having sex without a condom on the first day of their relationship, and about 60 percent reported doing so during the first three months. However, there were some differences based on the men’s and couples’ HIV-status.

    “In our study, we wanted to look at same-sex males couples and determine, within their relationships, when they start having conversations about their HIV status, when they start having sex without a condom, and deciding what kind of relationship they want,” said Jason Mitchell, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with the UH Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. “Knowing this timeline could give the public health research community ideas for ways to intervene to help improve HIV prevention efforts for same-sex male couples in the U.S. and abroad.”

    Research shows that men who have sex with men (a group that includes men who are gay, bisexual, questioning their sexual identity or orientation, or heterosexual but having sexual encounters with other men) have elevated rates of HIV infection. Epidemiological estimates from other studies indicate that between 33 to 66 percent of men who have sex with men acquire HIV while in a same-sex relationship, and that this risk is attributed to the sexual behaviors they engage in with their primary partner.

    “The new findings suggest that many couples find it important to communicate about their HIV status before they first engage in sex without a condom,” Mitchell said. The new data provide researchers with a good summary of the timing of when these events occur within same-sex male couple relationships, he said.

    Mitchell and his research team secured funding from the National Institute of Mental Health via an R21 grant, which is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research. Their goal is to apply these findings toward the development of a web-based “decision aid” aimed at helping same-sex male couples in new relationships create a plan on how best to reduce their risk for HIV. The researchers will also test this decision aid to determine whether couples find it useful and effective.

    The new study was published on October 8 in The Journal of Sex Research. Mitchell’s co-authors on the study include Yan Yan Wu, an assistant professor of public health at UH, and Kristi E. Gamarel, an assistant professor with the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

    - Posted Monday, October 22