The SPHHS Insider - June 2015

Medical School-Baystate Health partnership to boost SPHHS initiatives in Springfield

The creation of the UMass Medical School’s new partnership with Baystate Health will serve as an important complement to ongoing, community-based health initiatives programs by the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Springfield area. The partnership is expected to strengthen the community-based activities of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences researchers in the city, says Dean C. Marjorie Aelion. “Our faculty have been engaged for some time in research on issues of health equity and social justice in the Springfield area. This collaboration with the Medical School and Baystate Health will allow us to expand our efforts and play a leadership role on these important concerns.”

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Marijuana Policy Forum joins researchers, activists, and policymakers

From left: Forum organizers Risa Silverman and David Buchanan, with Health Policy and Management faculty member Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio

Organizers and faculty from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) joined with panelists interested in aspects of marijuana legalization ranging from lawmakers to medical marijuana dispensary managers for the first-ever Marijuana Policy Forum: Protecting the Public Health with Good Policy. The forum, held at UMass Amherst on June 13, 2015, drew a crowd of 40 attendees with a wide variety of interest in the public health implications of legalizing the sale and consumption of marijuana. "We had everyone from the West Springfield police chief, to members of boards of health, to attorneys active in cannabis law," says Risa Silverman, Coordinator for Public Health Practice and Outreach at the SPHHS, who was a co-organizer of the event.

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SEIGMA Team Releases Results of Baseline Survey about Gambling Attitudes, Participation, and Problems in Massachusetts

The full SEIGMA team at its annual meeting.

The Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) research team has released a comprehensive report of findings from a large baseline population survey that assessed Massachusetts residents’ attitudes about gambling, gambling participation, and gambling-related problems. Nearly 10,000 Massachusetts residents completed the survey, making it the largest and most representative gambling survey ever conducted in the United States. The survey is just one piece of the broader SEIGMA Study that is unique in obtaining information about gambling involvement and problem gambling prevalence prior to the introduction of casino gambling. The project is part of a legislatively mandated research agenda, which is funded and overseen by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). Findings from this survey—completed well before any casino or slot machine gambling was available in Massachusetts—will be essential in developing strategies to minimize gambling-related harm.

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Kinesiology faculty attend ACSM 2015, present at World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise Fatigue

From left: Ned Debold and Jane Kent

UMass Amherst Kinesiology faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and alumni presented research at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting, held May 26-30 in San Diego. Associate Professor Ned Debold and Professor Jane Kent were both panelists in the “World Congress on the Basic Science of Exercise Fatigue,” a series of discussions held on May 27-28 bringing together experts from around the globe to discuss the latest research on fatigue. Debold, whose research focuses on the molecular mechanisms behind muscle fatigue, participated in a symposium titled “Fatigue at the Level of the Cross-Bridge.” Kent was a panelist on a symposium titled “No Muscle is an Island.” Kent researches the mechanisms of muscle function and fatigue and how these vary depending upon age, gender, chronic health status, and habitual physical activity level.

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June 2015

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Volunteers sought for study on aging and mobility

The Musculoskeletal and Orthopedic Biomechanics Lab (MOBL), under the direction of Katherine Boyer, is conducting a study to examine the role that physical activity plays in the declines in mobility and joint function that are common in later life. The lab is looking for men and women ages 55-70 who either participate in fewer than 150 minutes of planned exercise per week or who are runners. Contact Jocelyn at 413-545-4421 or boyerbiomech@kin.umass.edu for more information.

Participants needed for research study on heart disease risk and menopause

The Molecular and Cardiovascular Physiology Lab is looking at how heart disease risk changes during the menopausal transition. Women who have recently begun the menopausal transition, have not had a period for 60 days or more but less than one year or have not had a period for more than 5 years, are not regular exercisers, and do not have cardiovascular disease, may qualify. The study will provide participants with information on their blood lipid levels, glucose levels, cardiovascular fitness, bone mineral density and body composition. For information, contact the lab at molecularcardiolab@gmail.com or 413-577-0392.


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