The SPHHS Insider - August 2016

Join us for the 7th Annual SPHHS Fall Celebration!

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) welcomes alumni and friends back to campus for its 7TH ANNUAL SPHHS FALL CELEBRATION! Join us on Saturday, October 15th, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm in the Fine Arts Center as we honor Leslie A. Chambers, '79, MS '85, President and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association, with the SPHHS Award for Significant Contributions to the fields of public health and health sciences! Enjoy brunch while reconnecting with former classmates; visit faculty, staff and students to share your latest news; learn more about what is happening within the SPHHS and your department; and hear talks from special student speakers!

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NIEHS awards grant to Timme-Laragy for study investigating exposure to pollutants and future diabetes risk

Alicia Timme-Laragy, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, has received a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, for a multi-level study of early life exposure to environmental contaminants and aberrant pancreas development, which may predispose one to diabetes. Timme-Laragy and her team of researchers will study toxic chemicals such as PCB 126, the non-stick coating perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and phthalates. She says that “surprisingly little is known about how embryos respond to oxidative stress, or the impact of toxicant exposures on pancreas development.” 

Read more or watch the accompanying NEWS OFFICE VIDEO!


Rodriguez-Monguio named to state's opioid special commission on pain management

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently appointed Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio, Associate Professor of Health Policy & Management, as the health economist for the newly created Opioid Special Commission to Examine the Feasibility of Establishing a Pain Management Access Program. The commission is one of three created under legislation signed by Baker in March to address the opioid crisis in the state. “The special commission is tasked with reviewing a comprehensive spectrum of pain management interventions,” explains Rodriguez-Monguio. “We’ll also be assessing the feasibility of providing coverage of these interventions through commercial and public insurance health plans,” she adds.

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Peltier leads team examining effectiveness of cloth surgical masks against air pollution

Results of a new study led by Richard Peltier, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences suggest that inexpensive cloth masks worn by people who hope to reduce their exposure to air pollution vary widely in effectiveness and could be giving users a false sense of security, especially in highly polluted areas. Peltier, postdoctoral associate Kabindra Shakya, and their colleagues believe theirs is the first study to rigorously test disposable surgical masks and washable cloth masks, which are widely used in Asia and Southeast Asia for personal protection against airborne particulate matter. Their study shows that “wearing cloth masks reduced the exposure to some extent,” but “the most commonly used cloth mask products perform poorly when compared to alternative options available on the market.”

Read more or watch the accompanying NEWS OFFICE VIDEO!

August 2016

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November 18, 2016: Save the date for the Western MA Health Equity Summit!

The Western MA Health Equity Summit brings together practitioners and community leaders from across western Massachusetts to work, learn, and take important steps toward greater health equity. Event registration and website coming soon! For more information, please contact Risa Silverman in the UMass Amherst Office for Public Health Practice and Outreach at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at 413-545-2529 or via email at risa@schoolph.umass.edu. Sponsored by the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and the Western MA Health Equity Network.


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