Colleague Spotlight: Training the Next Generation of Public Health Professionals through Lessons Outside of the Classroom
Dr. Rebecca Pearson didn’t plan a career in academic public health. It was a positive happenstance. Family took her away from her California home and to New Mexico State where she earned her Master’s degree. An unplanned opportunity then brought her to the University of Arkansas where she pursued a doctorate in Health Sciences. The opportunity to teach found her, and she realized she would do her best work by training the next generation of public health professionals.
Becky was nominated to be our November colleague spotlight—and for good reason. She is an associate professor and the program director for the Public Health Program at Central Washington University. Central’s program has between 100-140 students and offers two specializations: 1) Community Health Education and 2) Pre-nursing in Public Health. Her favorite aspect of her job is watching her students stretch and grow, and she works hard to provide her students opportunities to practice what they learn outside of the classroom. Among the community-based learning opportunities she offers her students, Becky’s work with community kitchens is probably the most unique.
About three and half years ago, Becky wrote and received a grant through WIC’s Fruit and Vegetable Community Partnerships Projects for a community kitchen project. She partnered with the FISH (Friends in Service to Humanity) Food Bank in Ellensburg to host a monthly meal. They invited community members to come together, learn how to cook a healthy recipe, and take home the leftovers to their families. Her students got involved in the project and enjoyed taking part in a tangible community health intervention. One student was so inspired by the project that she worked with Becky to get something similar started on campus.
Becky’s students did a lot of the preparation work to get the campus excited about hosting a campus community kitchen. Becky then got permission to use the food science cooking lab. The program, which was named “Dine and Tote” to attract students, was off to a great start. An increasing number of students became interested, and they started to help plan the meals.
Both projects are now sustained by the people they were intended to reach. “Dine and Tote” meals bring in a loud and lively crowd of typically 14-24 students, and the students completely coordinate the meals themselves. The community kitchen at the food bank also continues to operate strong. Community members meet twice per month to cook together. They even contribute to the ingredients and cost now that the grant funds have run out.
Becky recently took on a new responsibility that will take some of her time and focus. She is the new editor-in-chief for the Washington State Public Health Association’s Journal of Public Health Practice. The journal will revamp its electronic presence over the next few months, and they expect the first issue to go out in February. Becky envisions the journal to be an opportunity for public health professionals to share their experiences from the field. As we would expect from Becky’s passion for hands-on learning experiences, she will also look for ways to get her students involved in the journal. For anyone interested in contributing to the journal, contact Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
H.E.R.E. is Taking Nominations for Colleagues to Spotlight!
Every newsletter, we spotlight a colleague in the field who is making important contributions to public health. Do you know someone who has made an impact in public health? Nominate him or her for the Colleague Spotlight by clicking here!
Effective Public Health Strategies to Prevent and Control Diabetes
In 2009, Dr. Thomas Friedman directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide practical guidance on effective interventions and to make sure resources are being used effectively.
The CDC’s 2013 document, Effective Public Health Strategies to Prevent and Control Diabetes: A Compendium is a result of Dr. Friedman’s direction. This document is a reference for effective population-based interventions and is also a teaching tool. The compendium includes 26 interventions that fit into one of three intervention areas. Washington State contributed to the compendium in two intervention areas.
- Interventions in the Core Intervention #1 area are around improving the quality of clinical care.
- Example: Washington Patient-Centered Medical Home Collaborative.
- Interventions in the Core Intervention #2 area are around increasing access to sustainable self-management education.
- Example: Oregon Living Well With Chronic Conditions.
- Interventions in the Core Intervention #3 area are around increasing the use of lifestyle change programs to prevent or delay onset of type 2 diabetes.
- Example: Washington YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program.
Each summarized intervention includes information on program planning, implementation, evaluation, and related resources. The compendium also includes tips to consider when tailoring interventions to your target population. For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/PublicHealthCompedium.pdf.
New WIC Outreach Materials
The Washington State Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) has new outreach materials for use across Washington State! There has been a decline in WIC caseload across Washington since October 2012, and these new materials are one part of WIC’s plan to serve more clients.
To create the materials, Washington State Department of Health staff spoke with 100 current and potential WIC clients to understand:
- Existing beliefs and perceptions of WIC.
- Motivating factors and barriers to enrollment.
- Appeal of messages, images, and colors.
- Preferences for format and dissemination.
The agency used the feedback gathered from these 100 current and potential clients to inform the development of the new outreach materials. The new materials include:
- Posters – There are five new posters. They target people who have never heard of WIC and people who need that final cue to sign-up. Available in English and Spanish.
- Postcard – Available in English and Spanish.
- Rack card – Will fit into a brochure rack. Available in English, Spanish and 12 other languages.
The new materials can be ordered for free from WithinReach. For more information, or to order materials, visit: http://www.withinreachwa.org/products-page/wic-the-nutrition-program-for-women-infants-children.
Washington State WIC Nutrition Program serves pregnant women, new and breastfeeding moms, and children under five. WIC provides checks for healthy food, health screenings and referrals, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support. For more information visit: http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/WIC.aspx.
A Resource for Immunization Professionals—The Immunization and Child Profile Update Newsletter
If your work involves immunizations, you know that things are always changing—recommendations, schedules, outbreaks, intervention efforts, policies. And these are just some of the things that change. With so much to know, it’s crucial to keep up-to-date so that we can maintain and improve our ability to protect people from diseases that vaccines prevent.
The Office of Immunization and Child Profile at the Washington State Department of Health publishes a newsletter three times a year that helps you stay in the know. It’s called the “Immunization and Child Profile Update Newsletter.” Each issue provides:
- Highlights from the Office of Immunization and Child Profile Director.
- Specific program area updates (adult and adolescent, AFIX: Assessment Feedback Incentives eXchange, Child Profile system, perinatal hepatitis B, Vaccines for Children, vaccine management).
- New tools, educational materials, and upcoming trainings.
- Legislative updates.
- Spotlights on local health projects.
- An “Ask the Nurse” question and answer section.
You can sign-up to receive the newsletter through email for free. Email Lonnie Peterson, Lonnie.Peterson@doh.wa.gov, in the Office of Immunization and Child Profile to be added to the free email distribution list.
You can also find the newsletter on the Department of Health website. Visit the Immunization Newsletter Archive page to find the newest issue and three years of archived issues.
Material Spotlight: The Updated and Translated “Plain Talk About Childhood Immunizations” Booklet
The Washington State Department of Health, Immunization Action Coalition of Washington, Public Health Seattle & King County, and other partners updated the booklet “Plain Talk About Childhood Immunizations.”
The 50-page resource guide is for parents and explains nearly everything about vaccines for children. Some of the chapters include:
The booklet will be available in English, Spanish, and Russian. You will be able to send parents a link to the online booklet so they can read accurate information before getting their child vaccinated. It will also be available to order in hard copy by January 1, 2014.
For more immunization materials, visit the immunization and Child Profile pages on H.E.R.E. For more information about immunizations, visit the Washington State Department of Health webpage for professionals and parents.
Opportunity to Submit Abstracts – 11th National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions
Save the date for the 11th National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions! The conference will take place in Seattle on May 21-23, 2014. The conference is hosted by the Immunization Action Coalition of Washington, a program of WithinReach. The 2014 theme is “Partnering for Prevention from Sea to Summit,” featuring keynote speakers including David Williams, Bill Foege, Wendy Sue Swanson, and Sara Rosenbaum. They are currently accepting abstracts on topics including policy and advocacy, coalition development, communications, and more. To learn more and submit your abstract, visit healthcoalitionsconference.org.
Part of the Healthy People 2020 mission is to “strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.” But it’s hard to know which tools and practices are effective and recommended when there is so much information out there and so many approaches you can take.
Authors of a recent journal article have helped by compiling tools to conduct evidence-based public health (EBPH) programs and projects. The article talks about and gives tools to achieve the six key elements of EBPH:
- Engaging the community in assessment and decision making.
- Using data and information systems systematically.
- Making decisions on the basis of the best available peer-reviewed evidence.
- Applying program planning frameworks.
- Conducting sound evaluation.
- Disseminating what is learned.
There are many benefits to using the tools described in the article. They help you:
- Provide more effective programs and care to your community.
- Meet funding requirements of designing evidence-based approaches.
- Achieve domain ten of the Public Health Accreditation Board Standards.
- Play your part in achieving the mission of Health People 2020.
- Strengthen your skills in the six key elements of EBPH, which are also some of the skills within the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals.
The CDC published the full peer-reviewed article in the September 2012 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.
For tools on many other evidence-based practices, visit the H.E.R.E. Professional Resource page.
SOPHE Knowledge Center
The Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) has a “knowledge center” for health education professionals. The “knowledge center” is just like it sounds. There are materials, reports, health policies, research, and evidence-based practices for health educators working in all areas of the field. You can customize your profile to access resources specific to your interests and the populations you work with. Or, you can choose to have access to it all.
If you work in tobacco prevention, you may appreciate the 2013 American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control report. This report is a great tool for the visual learner. It maps out tobacco spending, smoke-free air, excise taxes, and cessation trends by state. To read the report, visit http://www.preventioneffects.org/DocumentDetail.aspx?doc=401
Maybe you’re interested in the global prevalence and future trends of dementia; cases are predicted to triple worldwide by 2050. The knowledge center houses a comprehensive resource produced by the World Health Organization: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2012/9789241564458_eng.pdf
You can also network with other health education professionals who work in your field. Regardless of your interests, the knowledge center is sure to have a resource for you. Check it out at http://www.sophe.org/knowledgectr.cfm
New Upcoming Trainings
Below are upcoming events that have been added to the H.E.R.E. website since the last newsletter was released.
Below are upcoming events that have been added to the H.E.R.E. website since the last newsletter was released.
- Community Health Centers - Helping Your Patients Quit Tobacco Use (November 21, 2013) –Webinar
- Who's Leading the Leading Health Indicators? (November 21, 2013) - Webinar
- National Prevention Strategy Webinar: Exercise is Medicine (November 21, 2013) - Webinar
- Obesity Prevention Summit 2013 - Progress and Possibility (December 4, 2013) - Shoreline, Washington
- 5th Annual mHealth Summit: Technology, Business, Research, Policy (December 8-11, 2013) - Washington, D.C.
- Taking Action to Reduce Youth Tobacco Marketing (December 9, 2013) - Tacoma, Washington
- 2013 National Sex Ed Conference (December 11-13, 2013) - Rutherford, New Jersey
- 2014 Conference on the Value of Play (February 16-19, 2014) - Clemson, South Carolina
- Active Living Research Annual Conference (March 9-12, 2014) - San Diego, California
- Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) 65th Annual Meeting (March 19-21, 2014) - Baltimore, Maryland