The SPHHS Insider - December 2014

Volberg-led team wins grant from Massachusetts Gaming Commission for new gambling study

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently announced that it will partner with a team led by Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology Rachel Volberg to conduct a first-of-its-kind, multi-year cohort study to examine how gambling problems develop over time. This ground-breaking research project, known as the Massachusetts Gambling Impact Cohort (MAGIC) study, will have significant value as it highlights factors critical to developing data-driven problem gambling prevention, treatment and recovery support services in Massachusetts. An MGC press release notes “MAGIC will yield important information leading to treatment and prevention initiatives that are specifically tailored to the needs of the people of the Commonwealth.”

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Sturgeon leads team validating a possible early warning blood test for breast cancer

Associate Professor of Epidemiology Susan Sturgeon and experts in next-generation gene sequencing studies have teamed up to validate a potential new method for early identification of breast cancer-related changes. Sturgeon recently received a two-year, $760,462 National Cancer Institute award to use data and blood samples from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, Ovarian Screening Trial to validate a methylation profile that could help to distinguish whether white blood cell DNA methylation change might predict the future likelihood of breast cancer. She leads a team that includes Kathleen Arcaro of the veterinary and animal sciences department, David Sela of the food science department, and Biostatistics' Raji Balasubramanian.

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Wexler receives $700,000 NIH grant to study suicide prevention strategies among Alaska Native youth

Supported by a $700,000 grant from the NIH’s National Institutes of Mental Health, researchers led by Associate Professor of Community Health Education Lisa Wexler aim to develop a system of culturally-responsive public health intervention strategies that will reduce youth suicidal behavior and bolster protective factors in tribal communities. Working with tribal partner the Maniilaq Association and the Northern Alaska Wellness Initiative (NAWI), a group dedicated to translating research to practice, Wexler will implement and evaluate a pilot-study intervention program titled Professional-Community Collaborations for At-risk youth Engagement and Support, or PC-CARES.

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#HackEbola analyzes West Africa epidemic, generates media coverage

#HackEbola, a recent weekend-long hackathon at UMass Amherst, brought together attendees from campus and across Western Massachusetts to examine data related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Attendees used public data available on the disease to generate maps of outbreaks, create predictive models for future spread of Ebola, and examine patterns related to the current epidemic. #HackEbola generated considerable interest on campus and in the media. In addition to the UMass Amherst news video above, the News Office and Daily Hampshire Gazette both published articles about #HackEbola.

Watch the video to learn more!


Kinesiology doctoral candidate Amanda Hickey wins NEACSM award

The New England Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (NEACSM) recently awarded Kinesiology doctoral candidate Amanda Hickey the David N. Camaione doctoral student award. The criteria for the $1000 award are based upon academic excellence, professional experience, professional activities such as attending conferences and workshops, publication of peer-reviewed research, and skill in obtaining grants. Kinesiology chair Patty Freedson says, “Amanda is an extraordinary doctoral student. Her work has led to some major advances in our lab's activity monitor research and she is certainly on a trajectory to make major contributions in Kinesiology in both teaching and research.”

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Public Health student D'Andre Quinerly named UMass Amherst Rising Researcher

D’Andre Quinerly, ’15, an undergraduate public health major, is one of five students selected to receive the fall 2014 UMass Amherst Rising Researcher student achievement award. The award, sponsored by the Vice Chancellors for University Relations and Research and Engagement, recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Quinerly was nominated in recognition of his endocrine research and subsequent resulting publications conducted under the direction of Laura Vandenberg, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences. He will be honored during a spring reception with the Chancellor and Mrs. Subbaswamy.

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December 2014

 

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Happy Holidays from the SPHHS!

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences would like to thank its students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends for their hard work and support, and for helping us to foster and grow our SPHHS community.

We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season!


March 7, 2015 - Stilled Longing: Raising Awareness of Stroke and Aphasia

Organizers within the Department of Communication Disorders have announced "Stilled Longing," a concert event designed to raise awareness of stroke and aphasia. Communication Disorders graduate student Clarissa Ocampo, an accomplished mezzo soprano, will headline the event, which will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the First Baptist Church in Amherst.


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