Celebrate Black History Month with free movies in February

In celebration of Black History Month, the College of Public Health’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee will be showing three movies/documentaries.

All films will be shown at 7 p.m. in Callaghan Auditorium (N110 CPHB).

Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, February 13

13th film poster13th
In this thought-provoking documentary by Ava DuVernay, scholars, activists, and policticians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.



Thursday, February 22

Hidden Figures film posterHidden Figures
Hidden Figures tells the story of brilliant African American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn, a stunning achievement that turned around the Space Race.




Wednesday, February 28

I am not your negro film coverI Am Not Your Negro
I Am Not Your Negro envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words, as read by actor Samuel L. Jackson. Alongside a flood of rich archival material, the film draws upon Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.

HEAL presents Second Annual Science of Health Equity summit

The University of Iowa’s Health Equity Advancement Lab (HEAL) is presenting the Second Annual Science of Health Equity Summit from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 5 at the College of Public Health Building.

HEAL’s mission is to promote health equity through community engaged public health research and practice, with a particular emphasis on communities in the state of Iowa and Midwest region that experience inequities. HEAL’s Annual Science of Health Equity Summit will highlight current evidence-based health equity work being done here at the University of Iowa as well as by our colleagues at the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health in Minneapolis-St. Paul, among others.


Schedule of events

The summit will be from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 5 at the College of Public Health Building at the University of Iowa.

  • 9 -10:20 a.m. Welcome and student poster presentations (CPHB Atrium)
  • 10:30 – 11:20 a.m. The Secrets of Making the Science of Health Equity Work: Community and Academic Perspectives on Ensuring Health Equity (CPHB C217)
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Gaining the Edge: A Lightning Round of Field-based Health Equity Research (CPHB C217)
  • 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Kathleen Call, Professor of the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, and Farhiya Farah, a Senior Consultant at GlobeGlow Consulting and Research, Inc in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area.  Using Community Based Participatory Research to Help Advance Public Health Policy (CPHB N110)

Welcome and Student Poster Presentations (9 – 10:20 a.m.)

The day will start with student poster presentations in the CPHB Atrium.  Posters presented at this event will focus on the current groundbreaking work students at the University of Iowa and other surrounding universities are doing to advance the field of health equity.

If you are a current University student and would like to present at this event, please respond to our call for abstracts.  To be considered for entry in the poster session, abstracts must be submitted by March 2, 2018 at 11:59 PM CST.  Please send all questions pertaining to poster abstracts to rebecca-bucklin@uiowa.edu. While guests or the summit enjoy the poster session, free light refreshments and coffee will be available.

The Secrets of Making the Science of Health Equity Work: Community and Academic Perspectives on Ensuring Health Equity (10:30 – 11:20 a.m.)

Following the poster presentation in the CPHB Atrium, Dr. Paul Gilbert will moderate a panel of community public health practitioners and academics in C217. This panel will focus on providing a mixture of community and academic experience on previous work focused on increasing health equity in communities. This discussion will focus specifically on the practical implications of working with and in communities to ensure the promotion of health equity. Panelist names and bios will be released at a future date.

Gaining the Edge: A Lightning Round of Field-based Health Equity Research (11:30 AM-12:20 PM)

The research lightning round will consist of brief individual presentations provided by HEAL research staff on the research they are currently undertaking and how this research pertains to the field of health equity.  Speakers will present for around 10 minutes with some time left at the end of their presentations for questions.  This lightening round will take place in CPHB C217.

Becky Bucklin is a Research Assistant at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health.  She received her MPH from the University of Iowa College of Public Health in Community Behavioral Health and her BS in Nutrition and Wellness from Bradley University.  Her work focuses on applying the principles of health equity put forward by the HEAL program to ensure the CBPR projects she manages move forward equitably. Specific areas of study involve physical activity promotion, healthy retail interventions, and falls prevention programming for underserved populations in the state of Iowa. She works in conjunction with community stakeholders and members within intervention communities to identify and reduce barriers to health promotion programs, which, in turn, reduces current health inequities that exist in rural and minority populations within the state.

Portrait of Angelique Foye of the Kansas City Health Equity Advancement LabAngelique Foye is a Research Assistant II at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. She received her MS from the Purdue University Northwest Behavioral Science Department in Child Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. She received dual BS degrees in Psychology and Family Studies and Human Services from Kansas State University. Her work focuses on managing and implementing CBPR research projects to break the intergenerational cycle of toxic stress by enhancing capacity of caregivers to promote resilience in children at-risk for lifelong health problems. Her work also focuses on assisting with building community-engaged capacity efforts with the 2Gen Thrive Community Action Board.

A photo of Adriana Maldonado of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.Adriana Maldonado is a doctoral student in the department of Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. She received her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from California State University San Marcos and her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from San Diego State University. Her work focuses on understanding the mechanisms that drive health disparities for Latino immigrants in the United States and identifying areas for action. Specific topics of study include hypertension, physical activity, healthy retail interventions, and housing inequalities for populations at risk in the state of Iowa. She is currently working in the implementation of an intervention to promote physical activity among Latinas and a qualitative study to understand barriers and facilitators to proper hypertension management among Latinos residing in a micropolitan city.

Portrait of Nicole Novak, postdoctoral research scholar at the Prevention Research Center in the University of Iowa College of Public Health.Nicole Novak is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Prevention Research Center in the University of Iowa College of Public Health.  She holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the University in Michigan and a Masters of Science in Medical Anthropology from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She conducts epidemiologic and community-engaged research on health and health equity, particularly with regard to psychosocial stress, race and racialization, immigration, and rural residence. Specific areas of study include the impacts of immigration enforcement on community health, the health implications of local policies that promote inclusion for people facing barriers to government-issued photo ID cards, and community-level influences on health and health equity in midsize rural communities. Nicole will share her experience conducting qualitative research in the mid-size community of Ottumwa, Iowa.

Kathleen Call and Farhiya Farah’s presentation on “Using Community Based Participatory Research to Help Advance Public Health Policy” (12:30 PM – 1:30 PM)

The keynote speakers for the Science in Health Equity summit are Drs. Kathleen Call and Farhiya Farah.  This talk will take place in CPHB N120 and will be a part of the College of Public Health’s Spotlight Series.  Their talk is titled “Using Community Based Participatory Research to Help Advance Public Health Policy.” This talk will take place in Callahan Auditorium in CPHB.

Portrait of University of Minnesota prof. Kathleen CallDr. Call graduated with her PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on access to health care and health insurance among disparity populations; how well health insurance translates into equitable access to health care, and developing community-driven solutions to overcome the barriers that people face to accessing health care. She is a professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and is the co-director of the School of Public Health’s Healthy Equity Work Group. Community advocate and consultant, Dr. Farhiya Farah, will join Dr. Call for this talk.

Portrait of Farah Farhiya, Senior Consultant at GlobeGlow Consulting and Research, Inc. Dr. Farah received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences and is a Senior Consultant at GlobeGlow Consulting and Research, Inc. in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Her work includes the provision of consulting services in multiple public health arenas including food safety training, ethnic food business, community based participatory research work, healthy homes and lead poison prevention policy, and grant Development. She has been very involved in her community and serves as a liaison between the Somali Community in Minneapolis-St. Paul area and the University of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Public Health Department, and other community groups and organizations in the area.

The speakers will describe community-engaged work they collaborated on to identify solutions to barriers to health care services for diverse cultural communities already enrolled in Minnesota’s public health insurance programs. Dr. Call will situate the barriers project on a continuum of community engagement, describe the structure and decision making processes adopted to balance of power and build trust, develop community-driven system level recommendations, and evidence of the project’s impact and sustainability. Dr. Farah will describe a food safety project focused on the Somali community in the Minneapolis-St. Paul. In 2006, Minneapolis Health Department conducted a Multicultural story telling project that surfaced community assets and represented a long term engagement process between the Minneapolis Health Department and city residents from diverse cultural communities. It highlighted the values of inclusive policies and practices in overcoming barriers. The food safety project demonstrates critical knowledge gained through engagement and how that knowledge informed changes in city policies and practices that both improved public safety and ensured the success of local restaurants.

Register for The Science of Health Equity

Please register for this event by Wednesday, March 28, by filling out the form below.

Science of Health Equity Registration

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Becky Bucklin at rebecca-bucklin@uiowa.edu or 309-678-2352.


“I Have a Dream” speech, privilege walk set for Jan. 24

photo of Martin Luther King Jr.The UI CPH Diversity & Inclusion Committee invites all faculty, staff, and students to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We will be showing his “I Have a Dream” speech and hosting a privilege walk (read about one example).

Wednesday, January 24
12:30-1:30 PM
Callaghan Auditorium (N110 CPHB)

Lunch will be provided

To RSVP accept the Outlook meeting invitation or e-mail cph-spotlight@uiowa.edu

View more UI-sponsored MLK Jr. Week events

Recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthdate has been a tradition at the University of Iowa since 1969, and the national holiday has been observed through human rights programs since its inception in 1986. In 1990 the University initiated the Human Rights convocation program. Afternoon classes were cancelled to encourage student, faculty, and staff participation in programs that encourage dialogue about diversity and reinforce the principle that the University is a forum for the free exchange of ideas. The convocation has been an opportunity for serious thinking by all of us about issues of social justice, human rights, and world peace. An official University holiday was designated in 1995 to provide an opportunity to engage the University community in a discussion of the human values that the King holiday epitomizes. These initial events have grown into a campus-wide celebration that engages faculty, staff, students and community members to give lectures, discussions, and cultural arts presentations.

Spotlight Series LogoIndividuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Public Health in advance at 319-384-1500.


Culture, Connection, and Recovery

Native American powwow dancer

Tribal communities are pushing back against substance abuse with culturally relevant approaches.

In 2012, Brooks Big John spoke to tribal, state, and federal leaders about the devastation the misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers was causing his community. Big John, at the time the tribal chairman of the Lac du Flambeau tribe in Wisconsin, described  the growing toll of overdose deaths, including  that of a lifelong friend: “He ended up sucking  out morphine patches, to the point where he  eventually overdosed and died.”

He went on to illustrate the desperate measures people took to obtain drugs. “We had a guy who was sleeping in the ceiling of the tribal center building where the clinic was, six or seven hours until everything closed, so he could break into our clinic and steal these pills.”

Big John delivered his comments at the “Tribal Prescription Drug Abuse Summit:  Moving from Information Sharing to Action Plan” held in Bloomington, Minnesota. The need for such a gathering was identified by tribal leaders, who had expressed concerns about an increase in the use and abuse of prescription drugs in American Indian communities. The summit was convened by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with the National American Indian & Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center (AI & AN ATTC), the Great Lakes ATTC, and other federal, state, and tribal health agencies.


National surveys show that substance abuse rates are consistently higher among American Indian/Alaska Natives than other racial groups. The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 12.3 percent of American Indians were current users of illicit drugs, compared with 9.5 percent of whites, 8.8 percent of Hispanics, and 10.5 percent of African Americans.

Anne Helene Skinstad, program director of the National AI & AN ATTC in the CPH Department of Community and Behavioral Health, says that the rates are likely much higher, noting that data are underreported or not reported at all by tribes due to mistrust of federal agencies.

There is also a hesitancy among tribes to engage in evidence-based treatment practices, Skinstad adds. “Psychosocial treatment and medication are Western methods and not culturally informed,” she says. “They are met with reluctance and concerns.”

To make treatment practices culturally relevant, the center spends time with tribal communities and translates the essence of evidence-based practices, Skinstad explains. “We want to respect tribal sovereignty, and we let the tribes decide how they want to implement the practice in a culturally informed way.”


In 2013, Lac du Flambeau tribal leaders, including Big John, declared a state of emergency and a “War on Drugs” in the community. Working with law enforcement, courts, schools, elders and spiritual leaders, and others, the community wrote a three-year strategic plan to address the substance abuse crisis, pool local resources, and secure funding.

Although Big John no longer serves on the tribal council, he remains an active community leader. According to Big John, the tribe has addressed the selling of illicit drugs, reduced gang involvement and violence, and strengthened tribal statutes to allow law enforcement to increase safety efforts. The tribe also received support from SAMHSA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build their own treatment center, allowing tribal members to receive treatment sooner, remain in their community, and connect to their culture. These steps create a sense of belonging, a protective factor for substance misuse.

Culture played a key role in the “State of Recovery,” Big John’s term for progress made over the last few years. The community, already grounded in prayers, gatherings, songs, and Big Drum ceremonies, engaged traditional leaders to support recovery efforts, revitalize language programs, and hold “Wellbriety” pow-wows to widen the “Healing Circle.”

Youth participate in collecting wild rice and making reed mats to connect with their culture. The community also held a youth gathering to offer opportunities for their voices to be heard.

“We need our youth to heal from the oppression they’ve experienced and never forget who they are. Cultural identity is key for our prevention efforts,” Big John explains.

However, numerous barriers remain in tribal communities. “If you’re driving two hours for methadone maintenance treatment every day, how can you hold a job?” Skinstad asks. “Many communities still don’t have access to naloxone (an opioid overdose-reversal drug), so there are fatal overdoses that could be prevented.”


Many tribal communities are developing action plans to address the opiate problem. Some of the initiatives include distribution of emergency overdose kits, providing secure drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs, and establishing hotlines for those wishing to quit drugs or report traffickers.

“What came out of the summit was a model for the country,” Skinstad notes. “Following the symposium, we held conference call meetings for tribal leaders who wanted to implement a plan in their communities. They are still active. We gave communities tools, they discussed them with their elders, then they implemented them successfully.”

Pushing back against the opioid epidemic is long and hard work, but Big John encourages communities to be patient. “We didn’t get here overnight and the changes we want to make won’t happen overnight, but we are saving lives,” he says. “Good things come when people have the same vision.”

This article contains material written by Connie O’Marra, MSW, of the Training and Technical Assistance Center, that originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of the National AI & AN ATTC newsletter. O’Marra is a close collaborator with the National AI & AN ATTC and a trainer for the center.

This story originally appeared in the fall 2017 issue of InSight.

HMP students first to represent UI at student case competition

group photo of students
From left: Kylor Sorensen, Nora Kopping, Alton Croker, Winnie Uluocha, and Jamison Robinett

In October 2017, a team of graduate students from the Department of Health Management and Policy put their analytical and presentation skills to the test at the national Everett V. Fox Student Case Competition.

The students were the first-ever University of Iowa team to participate in the case competition held at the 32nd Annual Educational Conference of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) in San Antonio, Texas.

NAHSE is a non-profit association of black health care executives founded in 1968 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and development of black health care leaders and elevating the quality of health care services rendered to minority and underserved communities.

“This was a great opportunity for our students to practice their skills and build their professional network,” says Dan Gentry, clinical professor of health management and policy, director of the UI Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, and the team’s faculty mentor. “It’s also a way our program can nurture and support more diversity among our students and in the health care executive profession.”

The UI team members included Alton Croker, a third-year health services and policy doctoral student; Winnie Uluocha, a third-year MHA/JD student; and Nora Kopping, a second-year MHA student. Kylor Sorensen, a second-year MHA/MBA student, and Jamison Robinett, a first-year MHA student, served as observer and potential alternate, and observer, respectively.

Advancing Diverse Leadership

The 28 teams were given a unique case study and were charged with applying their creativity, knowledge, and experience to analyze the diverse and real situations facing the health care organization featured in the case.

“I think it’s important that our school was represented at the case competition, not only because of the exposure that we had to minority health care executives, but also because it speaks to what we’re moving towards in the program, in terms of population health and the implications of social determinants on health,” says Uluocha. “Personally, it was extremely important for me to see African American leaders represented in the health care field, and also to have the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the brightest minds in health care to tackle real world problems.”

“Iowa is uniquely positioned with such a strong program in health administration,” Croker says. “Being affiliated with a program like NAHSE that aims to advance minority health care leaders is great as a commitment to the broader profession, but also for our own program, and making sure that we see that reflected at all levels.”

“Case competitions are an opportunity to take what we’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world,” adds Kopping. “Having done one case competition before [at a different school], I can say that it was the single greatest learning opportunity I had in the program. Second, it’s really important for me as a future health care leader to understand how to incorporate diversity and inclusion into health care administration.”

Sorensen points out that the range of academic backgrounds represented on the team also added to the experience.

“We had a PhD student, a law student, an MHA/MBA student – we had all these areas of academia coming together, and it brought a lot to the table,” Sorensen says. “Everyone brought a different insight into the problems that are being faced in health care today.”

The MHA program recently added diversity to its set of core values, and participating in the case competition was an opportunity to put the program’s values into practice, Sorensen points out.

“It’s something tangible,” Uluocha agrees.

A Huge Step Forward

Three weeks prior to the competition, each team received the case study to prepare their presentation. During the competition, each team had 20 minutes to present their analysis and recommendations, which was followed by a 10-minute question and answer period. Presentations were made before a panel of judges representing leaders in the health care field, corporate sponsors, and academia.

The Iowa team advanced as far as the semi-final round of 10 graduate student teams.

“Our Iowa team gave a second amazing presentation in the semi-finals,” says Gentry. “This was a great win for them personally and a huge step forward for our tremendous program and department.”