Weekly Edition – July 31, 2012
In this week’s edition
:: MPH students share thoughts during annual symposium
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MPH students share thoughts during annual symposium
Colorado School of Public Health students Adam Anderson, Kim Buettner-Garrett, and Hannah Newman shared their thoughts on health disparities during the 2012 Colorado Health Symposium, Health Equities: Bridging the Divides. Excerpts of their blogs are below and available on the Health Symposium Blog.
Adam Anderson, joint MPH/MURP student
If only we could just pay a sum of money and extend our lives for a set amount of time. Wait, we can … sort of. According to Anthony Iton, MD, JD, MPH, senior vice president, Healthy Communities, The California Endowment, the cost is about $12,500 per year in the San Francisco Bay Area. That means for each additional $12,500 a household makes per year, their average life expectancy rises by about one year. This is representative of the situation across the country.
As Iton described, income and education are the main variables in determining life expectancy and health outcomes, and are largely tied to where we live. Not only that, but areas with lower incomes and educational levels face increases in chronic stress leading to physiological changes that result in poorer health outcomes. Iton’s analogy of a reoccurring fire was especially apt in describing the health situation for these areas. We can continue to fight the same fire over and over again or we can work on the root cause of the fire to try and prevent it from reoccurring. To date, our current approach has only dealt with the immediate fire; ignoring the root cause. Iton’s solutions focus on building social, economic and political power in affected communities…
Kim Buettner-Garrett, MPH student in Health Communication
After a relaxing lunch made all the more wonderful with the spectacular backdrop of the sun-kissed Rockies here in Keystone, Colo., we had the pleasure of reconvening to listen to Dr. Jeffrey Brenner’s keynote address.
Brenner, the founder and executive director of Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (CCHP), presented his organization’s work in Camden, N.J., an underserved city of 79,000 people with high levels of crime, poverty and environmental contamination. Needless to say, these residents face a number of health obstacles. CCHP works to address the care gap that exists after residents leave the hospital or emergency room, too often the most common interaction that Camden residents have with the health care system…
Hannah Newman, MPH student in Environmental and Occupational Health
Dr. Michael O. Minor is best known as the Mississippi Delta preacher who banned fried chicken in his church. Believe it or not, that’s not even his most amazing accomplishment. Minor is a faith-based health and wellness advocate who reaches communities at the local, regional and national level. He currently serves as the national director of the Health and Human Services Partnership with the National Baptist Convention, and has collaborated with First Lady Michelle Obama in her Let’s Move! campaign.
Minor suggests the answer to America’s problems isn’t found in Washington, D.C., but in communities themselves. This is the reason places of worship are so important – they serve as strong symbols of hope and change in the community…
Public Health Academy 2012 highlight
Last week Public Health Academy 2012 attendees had an opportunity to learn about public health from an environmental and occupational health perspective. As evident while touring Edgar Mine, the nickname miners had for the drill says it all. The “widowmaker” was a rock drill from the early twentieth century that generated enough dust and debris to turn miners’ wives into widows with astonishing regularity. Students eyed the drill alongside a panoply of historic mining tools – their bodies and the old equipment packed tightly into one of the Edgar Mine’s cool, narrow tunnels. It was evident when comparing the widowmaker and the other historic drills to a modern jackleg drill that over the years engineers have designed the drills to be simultaneously more efficient and more humane for the miners that use them. Excessive exposure to silica dust led to countless cases of silicosis – an incurable, often fatal, always preventable lung disease.
Of course, the Public Health Academy students knew about silicosis already, having spent the previous day at National Jewish Health with preeminent occupational lung disease specialist and CSPH faculty member Dr. Cecile Rose. The students also knew from their previous day in the Public Health Academy that equipment designed to be “inherently” safer, such as the modern drill they saw before them, is usually a more effective approach to prevent occupational disease than the half-face respirators and other “personal protective equipment” so often associated with safety on the job. The mine, the visit to National Jewish Health, a tour of DeLaney Community Farm, and video produced by CSPH’s Dr. Jill Litt, were just a few of the ways Public Health Academy students learned that health is not just something we have or don’t have, something we work to achieve – it’s something produced “out there” in the environments where we live, work and play.
Check out photos from CSPH Public Health Academy 2012 on the MAP ERC’s facebook page
CSPH Fund Donor Spotlight
Rita (Lundgren) Dale graduated with a Master of Science in Biostatistics from the Graduate School in 2000 and is currently a Senior Biostatistician for CPC Clinical Research on the Anschutz Medical Campus. CPC is an academic research organization that conducts clinical trials research and integrates evidence into community prevention programs. Rita has worked for CPC for 12 years and after starting to raise a family, she transitioned into working part-time from her home in Golden. Rita recently made a contribution to the Colorado School of Public Health Fund! When asked what made her want to give back, she shared that she and her classmates valued their education experience and it has led them into interesting and dynamic careers that meet both personal and professional goals. “I feel a great sense of gratitude to the School not only for the educational and career opportunities it provided to me, but also for the personal relationships I have made.” Rita moved to Denver in 1998 to attend graduate school, married her husband, Eric, a private practice periodontist in 2005, is the proud mother of two children ages two and four, and enjoys family time at parks, pools, zoos, and museums. Thank you, Rita for being a proud supporter of the Colorado School of Public Health!
Want to learn more about giving opportunities or ways that you can make your contribution? Contact Marybeth Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.724.6335 today!
Chemical found in hot asphalt could be linked to higher cancer rates in roofers
Story originally published by Garth Sundem on the University of Colorado Cancer Center Colorado Cancer Blogs website
Roofers and road construction workers who use hot asphalt are exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published this week in the British Medical Journal Open shows that roofers have higher PAH blood-levels after working a shift and that these high levels of PAHs are linked with increased rates of DNA damage, and potentially with higher cancer risk.
“We’ve known for some time that roofers and road workers have higher cancer rates than the general population, but we also know roofers have a higher rates of smoking, alcohol use and higher UV exposure than the general population. It’s been difficult to pinpoint the cause of higher cancer rates – is it due to higher PAHs or is it due to lifestyle and other risk factors?” says Berrin Serdar, MD, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health.
Her study, completed with colleagues at the University of Miami, studied 19 roofers from four work sites in Miami-Dade County. Participants’ urine samples, provided before and after a 6-hour shift, showed that after acute exposure to hot asphalt, PAH biomarkers were elevated. Overall, biomarkers of PAH exposure and oxidative DNA damage (8-OHdG) were highest among workers who didn’t use protective gloves and workers who also reported work related skin burns, pointing to the role of PAH absorption through skin.
Continue reading online at Colorado Cancer Blogs
CDPHE migrating to new website
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will launch its improved, redesigned website in August. The launch of the new site currently is planned Aug. 14, 2012. After that date, visitors browsing popular pages on their current site will be redirected to the equivalent pages on their new site.
Visitors browsing all other pages on their current site will be redirected to the new department home page. The new web address will be www.colorado.gov/cdphe (although that URL will take you to their current site until the new site is launched). Please note, if your website has links to CDPHE pages, you will need to update them according to the new URLs. CDPHE thanks you for your patience and support.
Alumni News and Notes
We are proud to share in the celebration and success of our alumni. If you are a graduate of the school or one of our predecessor programs, then we want to hear from you.
Send your news, updated contact information or other notes to CSPH.Alumni@ucdenver.edu. Please include your name, email address, program and graduation year. Then join up with the school on LinkedIn to keep in contact with alumni.
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