Mueller testifies at Senate hearing on rural health care

On May 24, Keith Mueller, interim dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health and director and chair of RUPRI’s Rural Health Initiatives, testified at a United States Senate Finance Committee Public Hearing on rural health. The hearing focused on challenges and opportunities in rural health care delivery.

CPH hosts Mental Health First Aid Training Course

mental health first aid logoThe College of Public Health recently hosted the Mental Health First Aid Training Course. Julie Baker and Nancy Adrianse, both with the Iowa Primary Care Association in Urbandale, provided the 8-hour training. Diane Rohlman, associate professor of occupational and environmental health, with support from the CPH Diversity Committee, organized the training as part of her Topics in Agricultural and Rural Health course, which focused on mental health in rural areas this semester.

In addition to raising awareness about different types of mental illness, the Mental Health First Aid course provides participants with the key skills and resources necessary to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. These skills and resources include the identification of risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, as well as a 5-step action plan to help a person in crisis connect with appropriate professional help.

In attendance were 25 University of Iowa faculty, staff, and students who received certification in Mental Health First Aid upon completion of the training. Participants represented the Departments of Occupational and Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Public Health Administration, and Community and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health, as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

According to a post-training survey, 92 percent of respondents said that they found the training useful and 100 percent would recommend the training to others. Some feedback included: “The Mental Health First Aid course was very informative and I suggest it be added to the curriculum for all first-year students,” and “I think the information is useful to those who have no background in any of the mentioned mental health topics. This is useful as a basic primer. Though this should be mandatory for all faculty and staff.”

For more information about Mental Health First Aid, please visit their website at


Avoiding hay bale hazards

Afifi named interim head of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health

portrait of Rema AfifiDr. Rema Afifi has accepted the appointment to serve as interim head of the college’s Department of Community and Behavioral Health, effective June 1.

Afifi is an outstanding teacher and researcher who provides proven leadership in academic and practice arenas. She is currently leading the department’s development of new strategic priorities, which makes her an ideal candidate to serve in this interim capacity.

A nationwide search to identify a new permanent head of community and behavioral health will commence this summer.

Afifi engages in public health research and practice with intent to promote social, community, and policy environments conducive to well-being. Whenever possible, she uses methods of Community Based Participatory Research; applies an ecological lens to the understanding of the issues; engages multiple disciplines to widen the perspectives on any topic; and emphasizes knowledge transfer of research to practice and policy. She is specifically interested in intervention and implementation science.

MPHTC co-sponsors annual APHA Region VII Affiliates meeting

Group photo at APHA Region VII meeting in May 2018On May 17-18, the Iowa Public Health Association hosted the annual meeting of the APHA Region VII Affiliates – Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas (MINK). The Midwestern Public Health Training Center (MPHTC) and Iowa Cancer Consortium were sponsors of the conference, which included key note presentations and panels covering an array of timely public health issues.

Recorded content from the two-day meeting will be made available courtesy of the Midwestern Public Health Training Center.

IPHA thanks all who contributed to this convening, from its planning team (Rachel Schramm and Laurie Walkner) to its BOD members, presenters, sponsors, and hosts (UI Pappajohn Education Center and American Cancer Society).

Photo courtesy of IPHA

Worth participating in NIH Health Communications Internship Program

A portrait of Wensday Worth of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.College of Public Health alumna Wensday Worth (18MPH) has been selected to participate in the Health Communications Internship Program (HCIP) with the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training and is the largest of the 27 institutes and centers comprising the National Institutes of Health.

Worth will work with the communications team within the Center for Biomedical Informatics & Information Technology to facilitate internal communication between researchers, staff, and the larger NCI. She will also work on collaborative communication with the public about the Moonshot Cancer program and increasing accessibility to cancer data.

The HCIP was developed in 1975 to attract individuals interested in careers in health communications and science writing and to help raise public awareness about new cancer treatments, support for cancer patients and their families, and prevention strategies.