Researchers create arts-based anti-bullying toolkit

Researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health’s Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC) have collaborated with a local theater group to develop a toolkit of arts-based activities aimed at bullying prevention.

Logo for HEAR - Helping Educators Use Art to Reduce BullyingThe web-based toolkit includes activities such as reflexive writing, games, photo voice, and “complete the scene” short plays. It also includes information for the activity leaders on how to prepare for the activities and have productive conversations about a difficult subject.

According to Dr. Corinne Peek-Asa, professor of occupational and environmental health, the toolkit was tested through a College of Public Health service learning class. “The feedback we received was very positive,” she says. “The students and teachers really enjoyed this interactive approach to addressing bullying.”

The kit is free and can be used by anyone interested in bullying prevention activities, including schools, youth groups, after school program, churches, and clubs. There are a number activities for different age groups, but any activity can be modified to fit a particular age group.

HEAR (Helping Educators use Art to Reduce bullying) is collaboration between the IPRC and Working Group Theater that began with the creation of “Out of Bounds,” a play developed for student audiences in elementary, junior, and high schools to spark conversation about bullying.

Neurological research shows that adolescent and teenage brains have a very active emotional center, making them receptive to arts-based messaging. By stimulating an emotional reaction to bullying, researchers hope teens will better understand bullying behavior and how to prevent it.

The HEAR toolkit is available at:

CPH faculty, alum featured in University of Iowa ‘Dare to Discover’ campaign

Three College of Public Health faculty and and an alumnus are featured in the University of Iowa’s new “Dare to Discover” campaign.

In January, the University of Iowa’s Office of Research and Economic Development launched the campaign to showcase researchers, scholars, and creators from across the university, including a series of banners throughout downtown Iowa City. you can see all 45 UI faculty in the campaign at the Dare to Discover website.

A portrait of Prof. Miesha Marzell of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.Miesha Marzell

Assistant Professor

Well-crafted policies on substance abuse prevention can improve the health of ethnic minority youth and help at-risk communities truly thrive. That’s why Miesha Marzell researches drug and alcohol control policies, the environmental factors that influence risky behaviors, and the relationship between sports participation and substance use, with the hope that her research will translate into recommendations for public policy, substance abuse prevention, clinical practice, and health promotion interventions. Related video.

Banner location: Downtown—Washington Street, near Java House

A portrait of Corinne Peek-Asa, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.Corinne Peek-Asa

Professor and Associate Dean for Research
Director, University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center

Corinne Peek-Asa is the director of the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, which for 22 years has pursued its goal of preventing trauma and violence, with a focus on rural communities. Peek-Asa attributes the strong reputation of the UI IPRC to its interdisciplinary approach, bringing together scientists, state agencies, and community leaders to conduct high-impact research and translate the findings into policy and practice. Peek-Asa has conducted research in areas of global road traffic safety, intimate partner violence, workplace violence, youth violence, agricultural safety, and acute care.

Banner location: Downtown—Clinton Street, in front of Noodles & Co

A portrait of Marizen Ramirez, professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.Marizen Ramirez

Associate Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health

Cyberbullying is the fastest-growing form of youth violence, which is why Marizen Ramirez researches ways to stop it. Ramirez and her team have developed a smartphone app to track cyber communications of schoolchildren in order to gain a better understanding of the language that constitutes cyberbullying and where online it occurs, so they can help schools do a better job preventing bullying and its adverse impacts on youth. And a study co-authored by Ramirez showed that while policies alone cannot completely eradicate bullying, legislation does represent an important part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent bullying.

Banner location: Downtown—Park Road, near Dubuque Street intersection

Chris Buresh small mugChris Buresh

Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Ambassador to Haiti, American College of Emergency Medicine
Medical Director, Keokuk County Ambulance Service

College: Medicine (College of Public Health alumnus, MPH ’12)

Emergency room staff need as much information as they can get as they prepare for incoming accident victims. One novel approach gives first responders digital tools to capture and send photographs of the vehicles back to the ER, images than can provide vital clues about the likely nature of the patient’s injuries. TraumaHawk is a pilot project developed by Chris Buresh and project principal investigator Dan McGehee, director of the Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research Division at the UI Public Policy Center. The mobile phone app allows state troopers on the scene of a crash to send photos of the damaged vehicle to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. This faster relay of information allows ER physicians and nurses to gain a better sense of the severity of patients’ injuries so they have proper rooms, equipment, and personnel available even before the ambulance makes a preliminary medical report. The research is funded by the Iowa Department of Transportation, and the app was developed by Denise Szecsei of the UI’s Department of Computer Science.

Banner location: University Capitol Centre—2nd floor, entrance to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development


An Internet-based eyeglass donation program founded by Jeffrey Lynch (MD/MPH ’06) is bringing improved vision to people around the globe.


The idea to provide high quality, used eyeglasses to underserved people came to Jeffrey Lynch after making a cataract surgery mission trip to Peru in 2006.

portrait of Jeffrey Lynch (MD/MPH ’06)As he screened patients for cataract surgery, Lynch observed that many of the patients could be helped with a proper pair of glasses. Unfortunately, glasses were a luxury few of them could afford. While donated glasses were available, they came unorganized in large boxes that the hopeful recipients had to sort through on their own.

“People are often eager to donate their used glasses,” says Lynch. “The Internet seemed to be an ideal location to facilitate the transfer of this valuable resource from the haves to the have-nots, and nobody had tried it before.”

The non-profit organization’s website,, is a collaborative effort between Lynch and Ford Parsons, MD, a former website developer Lynch knew while doing his residency at Saint Louis University in 2011.

Ordering glasses from ReSpectacle is simple. People in need of free eyewear in the continental U.S. visit and enter their prescription. They’re then shown the glasses that most closely approximate their prescription. The pair they choose is shipped to them for free. The website also allows eye care professionals to order glasses on behalf of patients.

International orders typically come from a mission group or international provider who e-mails the refractions of all of their patients with digital photos of each patient holding a card showing their prescription. Once ReSpectacle’s volunteers find properly matched glasses, they pair them with the patient’s photos and ship them to the providers.

Most of the more than 12,000 eyeglasses in ReSpectacle’s database are collected from drop-off sites run by 19 chapters in the midwestern and southeastern U.S., as well as in Texas and Oregon. People outside of these areas can donate by shipping their old glasses to ReSpectacle’s headquarters in Minnesota. LogoSince its inception, Lynch says ReSpectacle has recycled more than 3,000 glasses around the world, and distributed them to people in 47 states and 16 countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Australia. He believes the website has the potential to serve exponentially more in years to come.

“Eyeglasses are one of the most successful, cost-effective medical interventions ever created,” Lynch says. “Improved vision increases one’s educational and employment opportunities, productivity, and quality of life.”

With volunteers doing all the processing of the glasses, shipping the orders makes up the bulk of the program’s costs. These and other expenses are covered by grants from the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons, The Mildred Brady and Rena Martin Charitable Eye Foundation, The Saint Louis University Auxiliary, The Horncrest Foundation, as well as physicians and other individual donors.

For Lynch, the benefits of the program are far-reaching.

“As a pediatric ophthalmologist, I have the opportunity to evaluate, treat, and operate on a limited number of patients each week,” he says. “A website like ReSpectacle that works 24 hour a day has the potential to have a dramatic impact on a major public health problem worldwide.”

2016 Outstanding Alumni Awards – Call for Nominations

The University of Iowa College of Public Health is pleased to announce that it is accepting nominations for the 2016 College of Public Health Outstanding Alumni Awards.

This award program recognizes outstanding alumni in two categories: first, recent graduates who have completed College of Public Health programs within the past ten years and, second, other alumni for accomplishments throughout their careers. The CPH Outstanding Alumni Award selection committee will select recipients from an academic or research position in even numbered years, and individuals from a practice setting in odd numbered years. Therefore, for the 2016 award cycle, the college invites nominations for individuals from the academic or research (non-practice based) community.

Download a nomination form

The criteria for awards to honor recent graduates are:

  • Have completed a formal College of Public Health educational program in the past ten years (2006 or later);
  • Have achieved important and promising accomplishments during that period and have exceptional promise for future success; and
  • Have demonstrated strong interest and commitment to the Mission, Vision, and Values of the College of Public Health.

The criteria for awards to honor other alumni are:

  • Have completed a formal educational program offered by the College of Public Health*;
  • Have made significant contributions in their discipline and field of practice throughout their career and attained widespread recognition and respect for their accomplishments; and
  • Have demonstrated strong interest and commitment to the Mission, Vision, and Values of the College of Public Health.

Nomination forms are available online or by calling 319-384-4277.

Mail all nomination materials to:

Tara McKee, Alumni Relations Coordinator
University of Iowa College of Public Health
145 N. Riverside Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242

Forms must be postmarked no later than February 29, 2016. Recipients will be announced in Spring 2016.

*Includes formal educational programs presently or previously offered by academic units in the College of Public Health.

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Sam Levey

photo of Professor Emeritus Sam LeveySamuel Levey, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, died suddenly on December 28, 2015, in Sarasota, Florida, following a vacation with his family to celebrate 50 years of marriage with wife, Linda.

His funeral service was held on December 31, 2015, at Agudas Achim Congregation in Iowa City, with burial at Agudas Achim Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be contributed to MDAAP Foundation or Shulman Hillel University of Iowa.

View Sam Levey’s obituary from Lensing Funeral Home and a photo gallery of the Hospital and Health Administration program reunion and reception honoring Dr. Levey on Nov. 15, 2015.

In announcing Sam’s death to colleagues in the UI College of Public Health, Dean Sue Curry noted: “A little more than a month ago, hundreds of friends joined with his family members in Iowa City to honor Sam on the occasion of his retirement after a distinguished 54-year career. At that time, he was celebrated as an academic powerhouse, a committed mentor and educator, and a wonderful person and friend. He was all of that, and much more. Sam’s great intellect, his sharp wit, and his passion for justice will be greatly missed by his fellow faculty, students, staff, and alumni of our program, as well as countless friends and colleagues throughout Iowa, the nation, and the world.”

Sam was born July 11, 1932, in Capetown, South Africa, the son of Harry and Esther (Turecki) Kushelowitz. The family emigrated to the United States in 1949. He earned degrees from Bowdoin College, Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1961, Levey held leadership posts in the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare and the Harvard Community Health Plan. He also was Chairman and Professor and Founding Director of the Department of Health Care Administration at the City University of New York with a concurrent appointment as a Professor of Administrative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

He returned to the UI in 1977 to assume leadership of the Graduate Program in Hospital and Health Administration – the precursor to the current Department of Health Management and Policy. Under his leadership, the program thrived; he brought in new faculty, including faculty to conduct health services research, revised the curriculum and forged closer ties with the College of Business, created joint MBA/MA degrees as well as joint programs with the College of Law and with the School of Urban and Regional Planning.  He placed students in post-graduate administrative residencies or fellowships, and diversified the student body.

Along with his accomplishments as an academic program leader, he had a truly impressive record of teaching, scholarship, and service. Over the course of his career at the University of Iowa, Sam taught over 1,300 students and was principal investigator or co-principal investigator on nearly 50 grants totaling nearly $4 million. In 1981 Sam fostered the graduate program’s first initiative in health services research by bringing the Center for Health Services into the program as its research arm.  He published more than 100 peer reviewed publications as well as a number of monographs and books – including in 1973 with Professor Paul Loomba of City University of New York the first text that focused on health care as opposed to hospital management, entitled, “Health Care Administration, A Management Perspective” and, in 1997 a scholarly history of UIHC entitled, “The Rise of a University Hospital, A Leadership Perspective.”

He was honored for his work multiple times, including three prestigious recognitions from the American College of Healthcare Executives: the Health Management Research Award, the Regents Award and designation as a Life Fellow

Sam is survived by his wife, their three children, Eric (Michelle) Levey of Marriottsville, MD, Andrea Levey of Rockford, IL, Sara (Scott) Weisenberg of Chicago, IL., grandchildren Amanda and Jacob Levey, Sidney, Jared, and Evie Weisenberg, step-grandchildren Christopher and Alexis Missett, nephews Allen Madison and David Hertz, niece Janice Lamb. He was predeceased by his parents and sister Dorothea Hertz.

Business Leadership Network announces Community Grant awards

Business Leadership Network logoThe University of Iowa College of Public Health and its Business Leadership Network announced six award recipients under a new Community Grant Program. The organizations received cash grant awards ranging from $1,253 to $3,000.

The recipients of the first round of funding are: Athletics for Education and Success, Fort Dodge; Carry on Bags, Fairfield; Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, Mason City; City of Storm Lake, Storm Lake; Hamilton County Public Health, Webster City; and Southern Prairie YMCA, Creston. (The projects are described in more detail below.)

The grant program funds, in conjunction with an equal cash match from another organization or business, will be used for public health-related initiatives and projects in the recipient communities.

“These grant awards underscore the College of Public Health’s commitment to collaborating with local businesses, organizations, and leaders throughout Iowa to improve the health and well-being of our state’s residents,” says Sue Curry, dean of the College of Public Health. “This initiative provides resources that will help to strengthen our college’s ongoing partnerships with those in Iowa’s business community.”

The College of Public Health provided the grants as part of its Business Leadership Network (BLN) initiative. Some of the funds for the grant program are provided by the UI Provost’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. The BLN, established in 2011, fosters ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships between the College of Public Health and small and medium-sized businesses and communities in Iowa. Through these relationships, the college engages and collaborates with communities in development of cutting-edge, high impact public health research, enhances educational programs with service learning opportunities within businesses, and promotes a culture of health throughout communities.

The first round of grant funding was available to nonprofit organizations and local government entities within the Business Leadership Network regions in north central, west central, and south central Iowa. A second round of the grant program is expected to be offered again in 2016. Details about the grant program, as well as additional information about the Business Leadership Network, is available at:

Community Grant Award Projects

  • Athletics for Education and Success will work towards curbing incidences of youth violence by providing enriching and fun activities on weekends that teach healthy social skills for children.
  • Carry on Bags provides food security for children outside of school hours and seeks to increase visibility and donations and develop an evaluation process for its program.
  • Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health seeks to improve their ranking in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Ranking through establishing a worksite wellness education, recognition, and reward program.
  • The City of Storm Lake will offer a 10-session interactive class that assists citizens in becoming more connected with local government and intends to bring together a wide cross section of citizens who want to make a difference in the community.
  • Hamilton County Public Health seeks to advance intergenerational dialogues and allow youth to engage in shared leadership roles in their community through conversations that explore the concept of public health and identify public health issues important to them.
  • Southern Prairie YMCA will partner with Creston High School’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America to strengthen community well-being through youth-centered focus on reducing current and future health and financial risk through preventative dental care.

Cavanaugh appointed head of biostatistics

A portrait of Joe Cavanaugh of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Joe Cavanaugh

Professor Joseph Cavanaugh has been named the head of the University of Iowa Department of Biostatistics.

Cavanaugh, a professor of biostatistics with a secondary appointment in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has served as interim department head since November 2014.

He is nationally recognized for his innovative methodological research contributions and for his work as an interdisciplinary collaborator, for outstanding teaching and developing new educational pro­grams in statistics and biostatistics, and for service to the profession.

“Joe is an outstanding choice to lead the Department of Biostatistics, a distinguished and highly productive unit of the College of Public Health,” says Sue Curry, dean of the college. “The department fulfills critical roles in teaching, research, and service, which impact so many others across our university, the state of Iowa, and the world. I am optimistic for the future under Joe’s capable leadership and the strong support of its faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community partners.”

Cavanaugh earned his doctoral degree in statistics at the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining the University of Iowa in 2003, he was an associate professor of statistics at the University of Missouri.

Cavanaugh has taught both introductory and advanced courses in biostatistics, and has been the director of graduate studies in the Department of Biostatistics since 2012. He was the 2006 recipient of the College of Public Health’s teaching award, and in 2013 he received the college’s faculty service award.

Cavanaugh’s main methodological research interests include model selection, time series analysis, modeling diagnostics, and computational statistics.  His collaborative research areas include infectious disease epidemiology, injury prevention, and dentistry.  In 2014, he was named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), the nation’s preeminent professional statistical society. Under ASA guidelines, no more than one-third of one percent of the total membership may be elected fellows each year.

“I am honored to lead a department with such strong, dedicated faculty and students,” says Cavanaugh. “Through the collective efforts of our faculty, we have achieved tremendous progress in defining a departmental identity and in strengthening our degree programs, which has allowed us to recruit exceptional students both nationally and internationally. We have improved our methodological as well as our applied collaborative research productivity. We are affiliated with an internationally renowned clinical trials center, which provides leadership in study design, data management, project management, and statistical analysis for major multicenter trials and epidemiological studies. We have also cultivated a highly supportive culture where people work very well together and everyone contributes to our shared success.”

Cavanaugh succeeds former department head Kathryn Chaloner, who passed away in October 2014.

“Under the direction of Kathryn Chaloner, the Department of Biostatistics became a recognized leader in research, graduate education and undergraduate training, and service to the profession,” says Cavanaugh. “We have also established a very strong reputation for innovative efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, both within the department and in the field at large. That is part of our culture and it will remain an important priority in the department, just as it is for our college.”