Monday, March 31, 2014

Dealing with domestic violence: Laying the foundations

The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and the school's Office of Community and Global Health Partnerships have been awarded a grant from the Indiana University Foundation’s Women’s Philanthropy Council to support a project that identifies the needs of direct care providers who work with issues related to domestic and interpersonal violence in rural communities. Specifically, this seed money will assist in determining, if established, how a rural center on domestic and interpersonal violence could be utilized as a resource by professionals working in schools, law enforcement, health care, and community-based organizations.

The shape taken by the resource center will depend on the needs assessments and partnerships built within the first year of the project.

The project is overseen by Dr. Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Public Health Programs, and Linda Henderson, Community Relations Specialist in the Office of Community and Global Health Partnerships. Two Master of Public Health graduate students have been hired to assist with the project. Terri Lee is a second year MPH student in Public Health Administration and Michaela Cisney (BSPH ’12) is a first year MPH student in behavioral, social and community health. Both bring experiences working with communities on emergent public health issues.

Among the many planned outcomes, Lee and Cisney will be implementing a community needs assessment in three rural counties in south central Indiana in addition to drafting a strategic plan that will lead to defining the purpose of the center. Henderson explained that the mission of the resource center will be to provide professionals with the tools to implement evidence-based strategies and programs which support the prevention and management of domestic and interpersonal violence problems in their communities.

“Not only could this resource center provide resources to professionals, but it could also provide students, staff and faculty at Indiana University with practical service learning experiences as well as the initiation of scholarly and creative activities that may lead to the development of innovative approaches to the prevention of domestic violence/intimate partner violence.”

The aim of this proposal is to improve the health of people in Indiana and beyond through community-focused and participatory initiatives.

“We understand the importance of collaborative partnerships and must rely on our colleagues to assist in the implementation of educational programs and prevention strategies.

“It is imperative to work collectively with professionals within the IU community and across all campuses as well as with national (e.g. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), state (e.g. Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence) and local (e.g. Middle Way House) organizations that have a long and successful history working in these areas.

School of Public Health Lecture: John Finnegan Available Online

On March 6, 2014, the Marian Godeke Miller Lecture, a part of the Public Health Lecture Series,  featured speaker John R. Finnegan Jr., Ph.D., Dean, School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

His presentation entitled "The World of 2030 and What it Means for Academic Public Health" can now be viewed online.

View the talk online. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Learn More About The Center for Sexual Health Promotion

The Center for Sexual Health Promotion is a collaborative of sexual health scholars from across the campuses of Indiana University and strategic partner academic institutions around the globe who, in partnership with practitioners from community-based health organizations, government and industry, work toward advancing the field of sexual health through our research, education and training initiatives. Founded in 2007, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion is directed by Drs. Brian Dodge, Debby Herbenick, and Michael Reece and is based in the Department of Applied Health Science in the School of Public Health-Bloomington. Over a dozen core faculty members of the Center are based in departments throughout Indiana University and other a number of other academic and community-based institutions.
The primary aim of the Center is to conduct research in sexual health that is consistent with the objectives and priorities established by leading public health entities, is guided by the principles of community-based participatory research, and strives to be progressive with regard to scope, methodologies, and application. At the core of the Center’s research agenda is a commitment to managing a diversified portfolio of extramural funding for a wide range of innovative research initiatives. A significant amount of core infrastructure funding for the Center has been facilitated by a unique partnership with one of the world's leading sexual health products companies, Church & Dwight, Inc. (manufacturer of Trojan brand condoms). The agreement establishes the IUB center as a strategic research, education and consulting partner with Trojan and has enabled the collection, analysis, and dissemination of several waves of data collection for the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), a nationally representative survey of sexual behaviors among men and women in the United States. In addition to resources from this partnership, Center research efforts have been enabled with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Patty Brisben Foundation, and a number of other federal, state, private, and corporate entities.

For over a decade, faculty within the Center facilitate research training to future sexual health scholars and practitioners through both research experience and linkages to strategic partners on campus and in the community. Faculty and students serve as collaborative partners with other academic departments, institutes, and centers in order to play a supportive role in the ongoing development of the field of sexual health. Many doctoral student graduates maintain connections and partnerships with the Center in a range of faculty and postdoctoral research positions at a wide range of peer institutions, including Indiana University School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Princeton University. A number of students who train at the Center during the course of the School’s Master of .Public Health program pursue internships and careers at a variety of community-based partner organizations both domestically and abroad

During the course of the past decade, the Center has served as a powerful model for strategic and community-based partnerships that has resulted in millions of dollars in extramural research funding, hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers and scientific presentations, and numerous doctoral- and masters-level student graduates who are actively engaged in academic, research, teaching, and community-engaged sexual health initiatives in the United States and worldwide.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Connecting Indiana to the Globe

Why should Indiana public health experts collaborate internationally? Public health and global health are linked.

Through over 30 years of international collaboration, the School of Public Health- Bloomington has exchanged knowledge with many partners. Global health issues transcend borders and are local, national, and international in nature. Global health lessons can apply at home and abroad. This drives the school’s work to engage globally and train emerging public health practitioners in cultural competency.

Local and international parallels.
Engagement with community health workers (CHWs) is one example of how the school shares best practices globally. CHWs are frontline public health workers with deep understanding of and connection to the communities they serve. Advocates in Indiana are now working to formally define the CHW profession, based on the long existence of CHWs like social workers and home care workers across the state. School partners in the West African country of Liberia are simultaneously establishing a Certificate in Public Health to equip CHWs with public health competencies. Upon completion, CHWs will spend 40% of their time at home clinics and 60% in the surrounding communities to support a preventative care approach to community health. IU faculty drew on Indiana workforce development experience to help the University of Liberia develop this curriculum, as part of a larger effort to address the Liberian national shortage of health care workers.

International collaborations.
Roughly 100 international collaborations are conducted by faculty in the School of Public Health-Bloomington. School-level partners include but are not limited to Seoul National University, Beijing Sport University, Victoria University (Australia), Cairo University, and the University of Liberia. These partnerships are channels for research collaboration and faculty/student exchange. International visiting scholars are hosted by the school to conduct collaborative projects and share knowledge with faculty and students. Roughly 15-25 scholars visit each year. Grants often support the international work of school faculty. The Liberia initiative is supported by USAID/Liberia and HED. In Ghana, faculty members are using recreational sports to help Ghanaian youth avoid problems associated with substance abuse and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. This is funded by the U.S. Department of State-Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

The next generation.
Cross-cultural competency recently ranked as a highly desired skill among graduating students from the school, based on a survey of Indiana-based public health employers, alumni, and practitioners. The school’s global health and other initiatives help students develop cross-cultural competency, such as:

- REACH, a student group for empowering all students to grow and learn in an environment 
  embracing culture, and understanding diversity within public health;
- Workshops on international study, internships, and work;
- Study abroad programs; and
- Round tables with cross culturally-focused guests.

Faculty and staff seek more bridges between international and local initiatives, to support the two-way exchange of public health knowledge. The school welcomes opportunities to connect local and international partners across similar areas of work.

Interested organizations should contact:
Jen Pearl, Director for Global Health Partnerships 
SPH Office of Global and Community Health
Partnerships: 812-856-7172 or

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cole Explores Monroe County Tourism Trends

A report compiled by Dr. Shu Cole, Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Research and Graduate Studies from the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies was recently released demonstrating tourism’s economic impact in Monroe County in 2013. The report was based on data from 1,314 surveys conducted at 11 leisure, sports and business events in Monroe County from January to November of 2013, and provided some significant findings regarding tourism trends in Monroe County.

The report notes that visitors are booking shorter stays in the county, but that the overall income generated has grown over past years. Visitors are not only coming more frequently, but are spending more intensely during the days they’re spending in Monroe County.  The impact of the shift has also been seen in tourism employment as well as tax income generated. The growth contributed to an increase of 319 jobs and around $8 million in employee wages, with tax revenue increasing by $8 million. From 2009 to 2013 alone gross sales generated by tourism increased to $326 million, up from $279 million.

Friday, March 14, 2014

School of Public Health-Bloomington receives support from IU alumna’s $3.4 million estate gift

The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and School of Education will receive approximately $3.4 million from the estate of the late Patricia K. Fehl. The gift, split between the two schools, will provide funding for education and health initiatives.

"As a pioneer in her field, Patricia had an amazing capacity for giving back to her students and colleagues, her community and her profession," said IU Foundation President and CEO Dan Smith. "With this generous gift, she is passing her dedication to education and public health on to future students and scholars at IU by providing them opportunities to make a difference in their own communities."

Fehl spent her career in academia teaching and acting as an administrator in the areas of physical education and sports.  As one of the few female administrators of her time, Fehl was committed to fitness and community health programs, as well as the development of women's intercollegiate athletics.

Fehl's gift to the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington will provide funding for top priorities including faculty and student support along with research and infrastructure initiatives.

"We are extremely grateful that Dr. Fehl has honored our school with her generous support," said Mohammad Torabi, dean and chancellor's professor at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. "To be a world-class, futuristic school of public health, it is imperative that private funding is secured to augment resources received from the state and from extramural research funding. Such generosity makes a tremendous difference in the school's ability to recruit high-quality students, attract and retain world-class faculty, and further enhance our research infrastructure. We are truly inspired by her passion and commitment to the School of Public Health-Bloomington."

Monday, March 10, 2014

College Athletes May Struggle to Stay Active Later in Life

An Indiana University study found that elite college athletes -- typically the picture of health and vitality -- often struggle to stay active in later years, facing limitations to their day-to-day activities in middle age that could be a result of injuries during their athletic career.

Lead investigator Janet Simon, a doctoral candidate in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington's Department of Kinesiology, said researchers have long known that compared to non-athletes, college athletes experience more severe injuries -- and long-term effects of those injuries. She was surprised, however, with her findings that the former elite athletes also scored worse on depression, fatigue and sleep scales.

Her study -- which focused on Division I athletes, considered the most competitive college athletes -- was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

"Division I athletes may sacrifice their future health-related quality of life for their brief athletic career in college," Simon said. "Also, when comparing former Division I athletes, non-athletes who were physically active in college and the general U.S. population, it appears that, in rank order of the three groups, non-athletes who were recreationally active in college had better health-related quality of life scores, followed by the general U.S. population. This may be because former Division I athletes sustain more injuries and possibly more severe injuries due to the rigor of their sport."

Read more >> 

See additional coverage from NPR, The Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and The Examiner.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Alumni @ Work: Alexis Reed

Alexis Reed graduated from the School of Public Health in May of 2013, as part of one of the first graduating classes who would receive the Public Health distinction on their diplomas. With a degree in Recreational Therapy, and a minor in Psychology, Reed has begun her career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist working in the community with adults and children with developmental disabilities. In her role, Reed assists her clients in meeting goals that are designed to improve their overall health and well-being by utilizing recreation and leisure to promote functional improvements. Goals related to “…developing social skills, increasing independence, and improving physical health,” are just a few she notes can be incorporated into a client’s treatment plan.

“The School of Public Health helped prepare me by pushing me to participate in volunteer opportunities, having professors that are very hands on with students and provide great examples, and with the internship I was required to complete,” she said.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Obeng Honored with Annual McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award

In February of 2014, the 26th Annual Ethnographic & Qualitative Research Conference (EQRC) was held in Las Vegas, NV bringing together researchers, practitioners, and students from around the country.

As part of the annual event, awards were distributed during the keynote luncheon to those who qualify in scholarship, with particular consideration is given to individuals with regular EQRC attendance and/or who have assisted with the conference (juried review of proposals, journal review board participation, and the like).  Selected by a blue ribbon committee, each year only 4-5 individuals are honored with the award.

This year Dr. Cecilia S. Obeng, Associate Professor of the Department of Applied Health Science, was honored with the award
                                                  for her scholarly work on qualitative research.

Monday, March 3, 2014

MPH Students Experience the Policy Process

From left: Students Neha Sengar (Epidemiology), Adama Dabo (Phadmin/African Studies), Dr. Beth Meyerson, Qadeer Ahmad (Phadmin/Fulbright), Representative Sue Errington, Lindsey Degi (Phadmin) and Lauren Berlow (BSCH) pictured on at the Capitol on January 22, 2014.

 On January 22, 2014, 5 MPH students joined Dr. Beth Meyerson, Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management at the Indiana State Capitol to attend a Cervical Health Awareness rally organized by the Indiana Cancer Consortium and the Cervical Cancer Free Indiana Coalition.

“This was a tremendous field learning experience about the intersection of public policy, the policy process and public,” said Meyerson, who also Co-Directs the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention.  “The Health Policy and Politics class is our way of strengthening student competency with structural aspects of public health. Field experience is a great way to ‘dive in and learn;’ even in a short legislative session.”

Students joined public health professionals, researchers and members of the public to hear about the latest science about cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination, stories from people affected by cervical cancer and from two state legislators working on HPV issues.

 "I was thrilled to attend,” said Fulbright Scholar and MPH Public Health Administration student Dr. Qadeer Ahmad. “I got to know the legislative process and how scientific advocacy can assist the creation of law for the health and safety of future generations.”

Representatives Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and Public Health Committee Chair Representative Ed Clere (R-New Albany) joined the group in the afternoon to speak about current HPV bills in the legislative process and encouraged participants to get involved.

Lindsey Degi, Public Health Administration student summarized the experience this way: “The trip to the Capitol allowed me to gain perspective of how the community, public health practitioners, and legislators communicate and work together in order to create policy changes that will improve public health. This opportunity allowed me to appreciate how important policy is to public health and without understanding this partnership nothing can be changed.” 
“For me, this experience was a really empowering and energizing, as I could bring my knowledge and passion for public health to the very place where it can make a difference - the policy arena,” said Lauren Berlow, an MPH student in Behavioral Social and Community Health.