Public Health Pulse (news, events, announcements)

Events Calendar

February 2019

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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 2019 annual meeting to be held 2-6 November, 2019, in Philadelphia, PA. 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 29, 2019. 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 11 years. We look forward to your submissions.

    Please contact Dr. Katz if you have any questions.

    - Posted 1 month ago

  • 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 6 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 10 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 1 year 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

Events (upcoming)

News (recent)

  • Faculty helps build China's first global health curriculum

    China is facing an increasing demand for health professionals with a background in global health issues, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor Yuanan Lu is working to help Chinese universities meet this demand for a highly-trained public health workforce.

    Recently Lu, of the Office of Public Health Studies at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, collaborated with global healthexperts on a project to create the first global health bachelor curriculum in China. The new program at Wuhan University can be used as a guide for other institutions that want to develop similar programs.

    “We wanted to create a curriculum that will provide students with a strong background in understanding and addressing global health issues, such as food security and maternal-child health,” Lu said. “We wanted the students of this program to graduate and be prepared to become health professionals with international and intercultural competencies.” Lu and his colleagues published a paper outlining the new curriculum in BMJ Open.

    Expanding collaborative efforts in China

    In a separate project, Lu worked with collaborators at Fudan University to test drinking water in the city of Shaoxing for chemicals called nitrosamines, which are linked with cancer and stillbirths. Shaoxing is a developing, middle-sized city located in the Yangtze River Delta.

    Researchers found that the levels of some nitrosamines exceeded the levels allowed in U.S. drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency. The findings show that there is an urgent need to improve nitrosamine regulations in China, the researchers wrote in their study, published in December in Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

    Building a thriving public health exchange program with China

    Both projects stemmed from a thriving international exchange program between UH Mānoa’s Office of Public Health Studies and several schools of public health and traditional Chinese medicine in China. Lu is the chair of the program.

    As China’s economy continues to grow, health issues and health inequality have quickly become challenges for the country, Lu says. Since the exchange program began in 2007, 22 faculty members and 39 students from UH Mānoa’s Public Health have gone to China, and more than 200 faculty members and students have come to UH Mānoa from Wuhan University, Nanchang University and Fudan University.

    The program has resulted in more than 100 published research papers over 12 years.

    “Global health education programs are common in universities in many highly-developed countries today, and now China is working to establish a better health care education system,” Lu said. “This system will help the country to address health issues and conduct research to provide evidence for policy-making decisions.”

    - Posted Tuesday, February 5

  • Chuukese People in Hawai‘i Commonly Experience Racial Discrimination, UH Public Health Research Finds

    Chuukese people face many barriers to accessing medical care in Hawaiʻi, and now a new study shows that many Chuukese may experience racial discrimination, leading to poor access to appropriate healthcare.

    The study also found that Chuukese people face other barriers including miscommunication with providers. They endure insensitive remarks when trying to access services, and face great difficulties navigating the healthcare system due to the differences between the US and Chuukese systems.

    "This study highlights the importance of addressing racial discrimination, cultural beliefs, and community assets when working towards health and healthcare equity for the Chuukese," said Megan Kiyomi Inada, DrPH, the lead researcher on the study. Dr. Inada, formerly with UH Public Health, now works at Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, a federally-qualified health center in Kalihi.

    For the study, Dr. Inada interviewed nine Chuukese community members in Hawaiʻi and eight healthcare providers, including physicians, interpreters, and community health workers who provide health services to Chuukese people. The researchers then analyzed transcripts of the interviews.

    Results showed that almost all of the Chuukese community members in the study said that they or someone they know had received poor care or heard rude remarks from providers. Several providers in the study reported that they had witnessed colleagues discriminating against Chuukese patients.

    The participants also reported that aside from racial discrimination, other barriers that prevent Chuukese people from getting the health care they need include a lack of appropriate healthcare coverage, financial resources, health literacy, and access to food and transportation.

    In Chuuk, patients do not need to make appointments, nor do they need to pay to see providers. When they come to Hawai‘i, inadequate insurance coverage becomes a barrier.  Many migrants who come to the US from Micronesia are not able to fully participate in government programs such as Medicaid.

    For those with limited English, this is compounded by communication barriers. Although some providers have interpreters available, Chuukese culture includes a general reluctance to discuss health problems with a person who is not a family member. Also, the prospect of seeing several physicians at different locations can quickly become overwhelming.

    Still, the researchers reported that the study participants identified several solutions. Building trust with Chuukese community and educating patients on navigating the healthcare system, as well as educating providers about the Chuukese history and culture could help to reduce the barriers, they said.

    “Mistaken assumptions and harmful stereotypes could be overcome by working to build stronger patient-provider relationships, mutual understanding, and respect,” notes Dr. Inada.

    The study will be published in the January 2019 issue of the journal Social Medicine. Inada's co-authors included Kathryn L. Braun, DrPH, the director of UH Public Health, and Tetine Sentell, PhD, an associate professor with UH Public Health. Co-authors also included Parkey Mwarike, of the College of Micronesia in the Federated States of Micronesia, Kevin Cassel, DrPH, of the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, Randy Compton, JD, of the  William S. Richardson School of Law, and Seiji Yamada, MD, MPH, of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

    - Posted Thursday, January 10

  • To prevent chronic disease in Hawai‘i, researchers look to Albania

    In Albanian, “Si je?” means “How are you?” Public health researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa asked exactly that question of an innovative new health program in Albania. Their analysis shows how one country is making progress toward a goal of preventing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease on a national level. Their findings hold lessons for other locations, including Hawaiʻi.

    A global effort is underway to prevent chronic diseases, rather than focus on treating people once they become ill. Toward this goal, the small European country of Albania launched an innovative health program in 2015, called “Si je?” which encourages middle-age adults to go to their local community health center every year for a free check-up. The program is aimed at shifting healthcare resources toward disease prevention through personal contact with primary healthcare providers.

    “Right now, there is a growing understanding worldwide that in order for a nation to be healthy, it has to have a health system that aims to prevent chronic diseases, not just treat patients once they are sick,” said Tetine Sentell, lead author of the study and an associate professor with UH Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. “Our new study shows that the Si Je? program is working—it is building a culture of prevention and health in Albania.”

    Study results and challenges

    Researchers analyzed the screening database created from this program and conducted interviews with 15 health center directors. Results showed that about 270,000 people got a checkup during the program’s first year, which is more than a quarter of the number of people who were eligible. The program also successfully strengthened links between communities and health centers and had higher-than-expected participation rates in rural communities. As in Hawaiʻi, family members were important motivators to getting check-ups and screening.

    But challenges remain. The researchers noted a need for greater participation among some groups. For example, men had lower participation than women.

    Building a culture of prevention

    The study found that Albania, like Hawaiʻi, seeks to build a culture of prevention that will reduce health inequities by increasing patient-centered relationships with clinicians and the healthcare system and by diversifying the primary healthcare workforce to meet community needs.

    “Lessons can be learned by studying country-wide transformative programs such as Si Je? that extend far beyond Albania,” said Catherine M. Pirkle, assistant professor of public health and a co-author of the study.

    “For example, the activities to reinforce community-clinical linkages resemble similar efforts in Hawaiʻi, which may help us here as we seek to strengthen the relationships and bridges between our primary care centers with the communities they serve,” Pirkle said.

    The study was published online November 30 in Prevention Science and is a collaborative outcome from Sentell’s Fulbright Specialist program stay in Tirana, Albania in January 2017.

    - Posted Wednesday, January 9

  • 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