Public Health Pulse (news, events, announcements)

Events Calendar

July 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 5 months 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 11 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 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 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 2 years ago

Events (upcoming)

News (recent)

  • Loneliness heightened among gay men in certain age group in China

    Gay men in China ages 25–29 are eight times more likely to feel criticized and rejected compared with men in that country ages 20 or younger, new University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa research shows.

    The reason may be that 25- to 29-year-olds tend to be out of college and in the workforce, where they may face overwhelming social discrimination, according to a study co-authored by Assistant Professor Thomas Lee in the Office of Public Health Studies at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work.

    “There is great pressure from society and family that may be imposed on Chinese gay men,” said Lee. “We found that these men feel criticized and rejected, and that these feelings are linked with loneliness.”

    The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, is part of a recent effort among public health researchers to develop a better understanding of the mental health of the LGBTQ community.

    Study methodology

    Lee and colleagues administered questionnaires to 367 gay men in China. Some of the surveys were conducted face-to-face, but the majority were administered online. More specifically, the link to the survey was shared with live-chat applications specifically designed for gay men in China.

    The men answered questions that allowed the researchers to measure feelings of loneliness and whether the study subjects were experiencing depression, anxiety or other psychological problems.

    Several of the questions were aimed at measuring the men’s degree of “interpersonal sensitivity,” defined as a person’s propensity to perceive and elicit criticism and rejection from others. People who are high in interpersonal sensitivity may have difficulty in communicating with others and are susceptible to depression and anxiety.

    Study results

    The findings showed that gay men who had no siblings or college degree and who earned less money than average were more likely have a high degree of interpersonal sensitivity and loneliness. Also, those who had experienced more sexual partners during their lifetimes showed lower measures of interpersonal sensitivity and loneliness.

    There was no link between disclosing one’s sexual identity to others and men’s degree of interpersonal sensitivity, however, men who had disclosed their sexual identity to others felt less lonely.

    “Traditional Chinese culture puts a strong emphasis on family inheritance and reproduction,” said Lee. “Our results suggest that we need to be more aware of Chinese gay men’s mental health and that everyone, especially family members, should offer more support to Chinese gay men and work to create a social environment that is more open and inclusive.”

    - Posted Friday, July 5

  • Early menopause linked to physical deterioration in older women

    Women who go through early menopause may have worse health later in life, including slowed walking and weakened grip strength, compared to women who experience menopause at the average age or older. This means it’s important for women to have sufficient physical reserves as they enter and complete this phase of life.

    Those are the findings of two international research studies involving faculty in the Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

    “We investigated how women’s age at menopause may be linked to their physical functioning. Many previous studies have focused on the decrease in women’s bone density that occurs after menopause, but the decrease in muscle strength and the effects of early menopause have been less researched,” said Catherine Pirkle, an assistant professor in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. “Our findings add to a growing body of work that shows going through menopause at an earlier age is linked with poorer health outcomes in later life.”

    Early menopause warnings

    Previous studies have shown that estrogen decline after menopause has a negative effect on women’s bones and heart health, which can lead to worsened physical function over time. Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 50 and 52 in high-income countries such as the U.S. and Canada.

    In one of the new studies, Pirkle and her co-authors looked at data from 775 post-menopausal women ages 65 to 74 in Albania, Brazil, Colombia and Canada. The researchers found that those who went through menopause at age 55 or older performed better on a test of walking speed than women who went through menopause between the ages of 50 and 54.

    They also found that the women who experienced menopause before age 40 had significantly lower grip strength compared to those who went through menopause after 40, according to findings published in the journal Maturitas.

    In another study, researchers looked at data from nearly 10,000 women in Canada. The results showed that women who went through menopause before age 40 had a lower walking speed as well as lower grip strength compared to those who went through menopause between the ages of 50 and 54. That paper is published in the journal Menopause.

    A message for older women

    Since walking speed and grip strength are two indicators that researchers use to determine a person’s overall strength and physical functioning, the new findings suggest that it is important for women to have sufficient physical reserves before they enter menopause.

    A general decline in physical function can increase women’s risk for falls, which can lead to disabilities and greatly affect their quality of life. Those who go through early menopause should be considered a priority group for initiatives aimed at improving physical function and promoting healthy aging, the researchers concluded.

    Physical reserves develop earlier in life, when women are younger adults, so the findings suggest that interventions are needed to help women improve their health throughout their lives.

    Pirkle’s co-authors on the studies include Maria P. Velez, Nicole Rosendaal, Beatriz Alvarado and Harriet Richardson, all of Queen’s University in Canada; Saionara Camara of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil; and Emmanuelle Belanger of Brown University in Rhode Island.

    - Posted Wednesday, July 3

  • BA Public Health Graduate Begins Peace Corps Service in Sierra Leone

    Pua Lani Yang of Honolulu has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Sierra Leone in June 2019, to begin training as a health volunteer.
     
    “The sustainable model of service that the Peace Corps is founded on really interested me. I wanted to do something that I could feel good about, knowing that my work could potentially grow for years after my service ends,” said Yang.
     
    Yang is the daughter of Soon Ye and Sung In Yang of Honolulu, and a graduate of President William McKinley High School in Honolulu. She attended University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in public health in December 2018.
     
    During the first three months of her service, Yang will live with a host family in Sierra Leone to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Yang will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Sierra Leone, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
     
    “I hope to grow as a more understanding, patient, and confident global citizen,” Yang said. “I especially hope that I will be able to implement projects beyond those I am assigned that will support my community for years to come. I am excited to meet my host family and get started on projects.”
     
    Yang will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Sierra Leone and help Yang develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
     
    Yang joins the 25 Hawaii residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 1,483 Hawaii residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.
      
    About volunteers in Sierra Leone: There are more than 85 volunteers in Sierra Leone working with their communities on projects in education and health. During their service in Sierra Leone, volunteers learn to speak local languages, including Krio, Mende, Temne, Mandinka, SuSu, Limba and Kuranko. More than 3,870 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Sierra Leone since the program was established in 1962.  
     
    About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov.

    - Posted Thursday, June 27

  • Delta Omega Update: UH Public Health Students Win National Poster Contest

    This year, public health doctoral students Rica Dela Cruz and Olivia Uchima had winning entries in Delta Omega’s National Student Poster Contest. Delta Omega is the national honor society for public health, and the UH Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS) is home of the Gamma Chapter. As winners, they will be featured at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in November.

    Rica and Olivia will each receive $350 from the national Delta Omega office to defray travel expenses to the APHA meeting. Matching funds are provided by OPHS ($350) and from alumni donations to the Elmer J. Anderson Fund at UH Foundation. Congratulations to Rica and Olivia!  

    The Gamma Chapter also hosted its annual Distinguished Lecture and Induction Ceremony on May 8, 2019. This year’s keynote address was presented by Dr. Judy Mohr Peterson, Medicaid Director and Administrator for Med-QUEST, State of Hawaii Department of Human Services. Dr. Peterson spoke on “Medicaid – Bridging Public Health and Health Care Delivery Systems.”  This event is supported by donations to the Public Health Dean’s Fund at UH Foundation.

    At the ceremony, 10 students (including six graduate students and four undergraduate students) and one faculty member were inducted into Delta Omega. Induction into Delta Omega is noted to: “encourage research and scholarship among students of public health and to recognize attainment and achievement in the field of public health.”

    Congratulations to our newest student inductees: Chloe Asato, Marichie Barbasa, Maggie Morris, Wilson Nguyen, Keala Patterson, Jacob Pennington, Dianne Raquiz, Haleigh Romero, David Stupplebeen, and Mika Thompson; and faculty inductee Dr. Catherine Pirkle.

    - Posted Thursday, May 30

  • Why Community-Based Participatory Research Projects in Hawai`i Are Successful

    When researchers work together with community members to conduct studies to address health disparities, both groups reap the benefits, says a new paper from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers.

    The study was published in the March issue of the Hawaiʻi Journal of Medicine & Public Health.

    Katherine Yang, a recent master’s graduate from the UH Office of Public Health Studies and a current PhD student in epidemiology, and her colleagues conducted detailed interviews with 12 leading local experts. The goal is to learn about their experiences in using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to improve health outcomes and promote health equity.

    “In CBPR, researchers take the time to get to know their communities by being present and listening to their concerns and priorities,” Yang said. “Our analysis showed that CBPR can serve as a bridge between academic researchers and the communities that they study.”

    CBPR projects involve community members not as research “subjects,” but as active participants and co-leaders in all research phases. Community members work closely with researchers to conduct the study from beginning to end.

    Research that uses a CBPR approach starts with an issue that is important to the community, values reciprocal learning and benefits and promotes social action. 

    For example, in one project, researchers who were developing a substance abuse prevention program worked with ōpio (teenagers) in a rural Hawaiian community. The teens took pictures of things that represented Native Hawaiian values to them, and then worked with the researchers to use the photos in designing a public health intervention to prevent substance use.

    In another example, UH researchers worked with Waimānalo families to construct sustainable aquaponics systems, which the families then used to enhance their access to fresh vegetables, fruit and fish. They also learned how to prepare healthy meals.

    “Community members feel engaged when they know their voices matter and that research is relevant to their experiences, concerns and priorities,” said Jane J. Chung-Do, an associate professor with UH public health and co-author of the paper. “We wanted to better understand what makes these projects successful and what we can work on to advance CBPR in Hawai‘i.”

    Analysis of the interviews revealed that a key component for CBPR projects is for researchers to build and sustain relationships and trust within the community. Other important findings were the development of a sense of ownership that community members felt about the project, and the strength-based approach of CBPR that values knowledge and the unique experiences of each community.

    However, there are challenges in promoting CBPR. For example, it is difficult to secure funding for this type of research, which can take longer than conventional research approaches to studying community health. Research grants are often time-limited, and funding agencies typically do not allow for the time needed to build relationships and trust between university researchers and the community. 

    Since the authors noted that their study was small, the next steps would be to expand the study to include perspectives of community partners who have been involved in CBPR and to investigate other factors that might promote CBPR success and, subsequently, improve health.

    “Hawai‘i’s close-knit communities make it an ideal place to conduct CBPR projects,” Yang said. “CBPR projects are growing in Hawaiʻi, and we believe that meaningful community participation in research has the potential to promote health equity.”

    In addition to Yang and Chung-Do, co-authors include Kathryn L. Braun, director of UH public health, and current and former public health students including Loren Fujitani, Alyssa Foster, Shannon Mark, Yuito Okada, Zeyana Saad-Jube and Fadi Youkhana.

    Other co-authors are Kevin Cassel, UH Cancer Center; Scott K. Okamoto, UH Cancer Center and Hawaiʻi Pacific University; Susana Helm and Claire Townsend Ing, both at the John A. Burns School of Medicine; Christy Nishita and Lana Sue Ka‘opua, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work; Kristine Qureshi, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene; Peter J. Mataira, Hawai‘i Pacific University; and Karen Umemoto, University of California at Los Angeles.

    - Posted Monday, April 1