The SPHHS Insider - January/February 2015

Chipkin and community partners win workforce training grant

Research Professor of Kinesiology Stuart Chipkin, along with community partners at Caring Health Center (CHC) in Springfield, recently won a two-year, $249,659 grant from the Commonwealth Corporation. The grant, titled “Increasing Workforce Skills: Use of Goal-Setting, Cultural Competency and Knowledge of Existing Resources to Promote and Pilot Shared Medical Appointments,” will train 30 staff members at CHC in techniques to support patients in adopting healthy lifestyles. The training will focus on three areas: cultural competency; techniques for working with patients to set and meet health goals; and increasing awareness of resources available at the CHC Wellness Center.

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Communication Disorders Master's student Clarissa Ocampo headlines Aphasia Awareness concert

On March 7, 2015, the UMass Stroke Support Group (SSG) will host their annual event to raise community awareness for stroke and aphasia, and to promote the student-run organization’s goals and mission of bridging the gap between SSG’s members and the local community. Aphasia is an impairment of language affecting the production and/or comprehension of spoken and written language, usually as a result of a left hemisphere stroke. Stilled Longing is a classical concert featuring mezzo soprano Clarissa Ocampo, a 2nd year graduate student in the Master's degree program in Speech Language Pathology. The event will be held at the First Baptist Church in Amherst beginning at 1:30 pm.

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Positive Living with HIV study cohort reveals struggles of HIV-positive individuals in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

In 2010, Associate Professor of Community Health Education Krishna Poudel and adjunct faculty member Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar set out to recruit a group of HIV-positive individuals living in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal with the aim of improving the health status of HIV-positive individuals. The pair planned to address multiple risk behaviors and co-morbidities first by measuring the prevalence of risk behaviors and co-infections and examining their associations with mental health, disease progression, and mortality, and then by designing and testing culturally appropriate interventions. They were envisioning the first steps in the creation of a longitudinal study they called “Positive Living with HIV” (POLH).

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Heffernan expands workforce development and community outreach

Strengthening the current and future public health workforce of New England is what Dawn Heffernan’s work in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences is all about. Heffernan is the Director of the UMass Local Performance Site, a $300,000, four-year project through the New England Public Health Training Center (NEPHTC). The NEPHTC, headquartered at Boston University, is focused on increasing the knowledge of both the current and upcoming public health workforce in New England. Heffernan and her NEPHTC colleagues are achieving this goal through training community health workers (CHWs) and providing internship opportunities for public health students.

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Research Assistants make up vital part of data analysis for SEIGMA

Front Row (l-r): Amanda Houpt, Emily Ramos, Nozipho Maziya, Allison Hope, Jenna Kiridly, Meegan Remillard, and Martha Zorn. Back Row(l-r): Yifeng Wu, Stephen Lauer, Arvind Ramakrishnan, Yiding Zhang, and Bin Tu.

A dozen UMass Amherst research assistants (RAs) are doing key work this academic year on the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) study. Based in the SPHHS, SEIGMA is a multi-year research project on the economic and social impacts of introducing casino gambling in the state. The RAs are collaborating with SEIGMA team members analyzing data for the upcoming release of their baseline survey results. The group is diverse: it includes students from majors across the campus as well as UMass Worcester, both master’s and doctoral candidates, and people with roots from places as close as Western Massachusetts and as far as Africa and Asia. The group is organized into several teams that are specializing in different aspects of the study ranging from data analysis, to using interactive web applications to display data, to evaluating the effect of the way a survey is administered (e.g., online, paper, phone) on respondents’ answers.

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Public Health Sciences major Hannah Weinronk leads Real Food Challenge team to Unite4:Humanity Awards Gala

Senior Public Health Sciences major Hannah Weinronk headed to Los Angeles, CA on February 19th for the Unite4:Humanity Awards Gala along with two other leaders from the Real Food Challenge (RFC) as finalists for the Unite4:Inspiration award. RFC is a national student network uniting the power of young people to shift $1 billion in university food purchasing to “real food” – food that is local/community based, ecologically sound, fairly traded, and/or humanely raised. This award, hosted by the Unite4:Good foundation, would support the Real Food Challenge with up to $50,000. Hannah and her colleagues won their semi-final round in September, and are currently in the final round of voting.

[Editor's note: At "press time" we learned that Hannah's team won the Unite4:Inspiration award and will receive $75,000 on behalf of the Real Food Challenge. Way to go, Hannah!]

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January/February 2015

 

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MPHA and the Western MA Health Equity Network announce collaboration

The Western MA Health Equity Network (WMHEN), administered by the SPHHS, has partnered with the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) to build on ideas originated by participants at the first Western MA Health Equity Summit last year. "The 300+ participants at the 2014 Summit spurred the creation of WMHEN and provided valuable ideas for better understanding regional concerns. Together we’ll identify a few policy focus areas that are particularly important to advance health equity in Massachusetts’ four western counties," says a release from the MPHA.

The group plans to post updates on their Facebook page, and those interested in joining the mailing list can email their contact info, with “WMHEN e-list” in the subject line, to SPHHS Outreach Coordinator Risa Silverman, risa@schoolph.umass.edu.

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UMass Amherst Career Services

Career Services' Mary Ellen Liseno will provide Career Advising Drop-In Hours to all SPHHS students at the Public Health Peer Advising Center, Room 330 Arnold House, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. on the following dates: March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, April 1st, 8th, 15th, and 29th.

Drop in for assistance with career planning, resume/cover letter review, job and internship searches, or mock interviews. For questions or advising appointments, contact her at 413-545-2224 or visit the UMass Careers website for more information.


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