Archive for June, 2016

Webinar viewing – “When Parents are in Prison: Implications for Adolescent Health and Development”

Update: PDF from Webinar: Who has an incarcerated parent in Minnesota?

Please join the Tulane MCH Program and Tulane Prevention Research Center for a group viewing of the webinar…

“When Parents are in Prison: Implications for Adolescent Health and Development”
Presenters: Rebecca J. Shlafer, PhD and Laurel Davis, PhD
Tuesday, June 28th – 1 hour
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CST
Group viewing location: Room 1831A (Usdin Conference Room), 18th Floor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans LA 70112

For information about the New Orleans group viewing, contact Naomi Englar (nking2@tulane.edu).

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June 17, 2016 at 11:11 am Leave a comment

An Interdisciplinary Approach

By Lauren Cenac, BA

conference1I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Community Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) conference May 11-14, in New Orleans. The focus of the sessions at the CCPH conference ranged from environmental justice, to community based participatory research, to the medical humanities and beyond. It was interesting to view public health through these different interdisciplinary lenses. As a lifelong resident of Louisiana, I appreciated the emphasis on environmental justice throughout the conference. From Hurricane Katrina, to the BP oil spill, to the vanishing coastline, to the Dead Zone, to the chemical corridor, to the sinkhole in Assumption Parish, environmental issues are a constant struggle for the people of Louisiana, especially because these disasters typically affect a disproportionate share of racial and ethnic minorities, such as African-American, Vietnamese-American, and Native American populations. Not only do these environmental disasters affect public health, but with each occurrence, the people of Louisiana also lose part of our history and our heritage.

Related, many of the sessions focused on an interdisciplinary field called the medical humanities, which integrates artistic expression and health through history, theater, music, dance, and other liberal arts. One organization, called Imagining America, focuses on community-campus partnerships that utilize the arts to inspire civic engagement in youths. These projects are participatory, allowing the program audience to be actively engaged throughout the project’s inception and implementation, instead of merely being passive participants. Often these programs incorporate the target audience’s self-identified culture, history, and narratives in order to foster their creativity as well as their health and well-being. Through empowerment and engagement, community members, rather than outside entities, are able to sustain their own programs and achieve the goals they set for themselves. This type of participatory art is useful for communities in Louisiana. It can allow us to not only document our history and heritage, but to also envision our future, inspire change, and develop healthy communities through civic engagement.

Lauren Cenac is a second-year MPH student and a scholar in the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health at Tulane. She plans to graduate in August 2016 from the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. Her interests include prenatal and postpartum care, breastfeeding, and health communication, policy, and research.

June 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment

An unexpected experience

by Keara Rodela, BA

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuseeger/

Papel Picado Banners, by Stuart Seeger

I had the pleasure of attending the Third Annual Cultural Inclusion in Social Determinants of Health conference in San Antonio, Texas. The conference was held in the historic Menger hotel, the oldest operating hotel west of the Mississippi and next door to the Alamo. The city of San Antonio was beautiful and festive as I arrived in time for their Fiesta celebration.  During our breaks for lunch and dinner there were bands playing and lots of restaurants to explore.  I am very glad I got to attend the conference in such an inviting place because the conference itself was not what I expected and somewhat of a disappointment.

Social determinants of health (SDoH) are greatly emphasized in our MPH education, and rightly so as these are indicators of health and well-being for our targeted populations.  With that thought, I attended the conference with the idea that I would learn how others are addressing cultural inclusion and SDoH in their work.  I was not prepared for the clinical nature of the presentations and the demographics of the attendees or the lack of cultural inclusion being addressed in the presentations regarding vulnerable populations.  The attendees were made up of clinic nurses, academic nurse educators, or retirees which meant most presentations focused on how to apply cultural inclusion within the academic setting. However, I was expecting presentations on work being done in the field, helping communities of color.

I did find I connected with two of the presenters whose presentations were more aligned with addressing cultural inclusion in the field, and the work they are doing was amazing to hear about.  Although I do not feel I gained much that applied to my own work from attending this conference, I can say that the presenters were knowledgeable about their topics and the attendees were engaged.

As a result of attending this conference, I was able to make a valuable connection with the Keynote speaker and gained a new mentor in the area of MCH and reproductive health.  Although the conference overall was not what I had expected, I recognize there was a professional benefit from attending and am appreciative of the chance to go.

Keara Rodela is a Community Health Worker and second-year MPH student and CEMCH Scholar, with a focus in Maternal and Child Health and health disparities. 

June 7, 2016 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Facing the Physician Shortfall

By Lauren Cenac, BA

My experience during this year’s Health Workforce Research Conference was truly eye opening. The American Association of Medical Colleges, a non-profit group of accredited medical schools throughout the United States and Canada, held the conference in Chicago in early May. Most of the content during the sessions was intended for physicians and other medical practitioners. As a student pursuing my Master of Public Health (MPH), it was interesting to get a glimpse into some of the problems affecting the medical workforce, most of which are not covered in typical MPH courses, despite how relevant these issues are to public health initiatives.

Many of the conference sessions highlighted research on the inequitable health care utilization among underserved populations based on poverty, race, ethnicity, geography, lack of insurance, and/or stigmatizing conditions such as HIV. If all these underserved groups sufficiently accessed and utilized health care, projections show that the United States will face a staggering shortage of 96,000 physicians by 2025. What’s interesting to note is that previous projections have estimated smaller shortfalls because they did not account for equitable access and utilization of health care services by underserved populations. It’s encouraging to see that researchers are making progress in documenting the gaps in health care utilization in vulnerable populations; however, the research should not stop there.

While projections such as these may be alarming, I couldn’t help but wonder during the conference how a greater focus on preventive services would alter these shortage estimates. In one session, the presenter pointed out that physician density did not impact avoidable hospitalizations as much as poverty, race/ethnicity, age distribution, and other social determinants of health. Taking this research into account, it seems logical that rather than only focusing on recruiting more medical residents to practice primary care to combat the physician shortage, we should also focus on prevention efforts and health promotion programs that address the social determinants of health. Solving complex health workforce problems will require multi-faceted and innovative solutions. For those of us in public health, it’s our job to help develop and implement the solutions that will optimize health in these vulnerable populations.

Lauren Cenac is a second-year MPH student and a scholar in the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health at Tulane. She plans to graduate in August 2016 from the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health. Her interests include prenatal and postpartum care, breastfeeding, and health communication, policy, and research.

June 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment


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