Global Rural Health Case Competition winners announced

Armed with well-researched plans, information-packed slides, and seamless teamwork, six student teams competed for top honors and cash prizes in the inaugural Global Rural Health Case Competition held April 4 at the College of Public Health.

The teams were given a case centered on the ongoing power crisis in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Their mission: to present feasible, sustainable solutions to restore health, hope, and resiliency to Puerto Rico. The teams were tasked with addressing multiple systems such as power, water, health, and communications as well as ideas around infrastructure, policy, and sustainability to prevent this type of breakdown in the future. The students had about two weeks to research and develop their proposals with limited guidance from a faculty mentor.

On competition day, each team had 15 minutes to present their recommendations, followed by 10 minutes of questions from a panel of five judges. The teams were made up of graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds.

“We had students from 14 different disciplines representing five colleges across the university,” says Vickie Miene, interim director of the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy. “It was really exciting to see the collaboration with public health. All of the teams did an outstanding job.”

Bringing the experience full circle, the winning team has announced that they will donate their winnings totaling $2,500 to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

The top three teams were:

1st place – Aequitas 

  • Monisa Saravanan, Community and Behavioral Health
  • Elijah Olivas, Community and Behavioral Health
  • Matthew Poch, Occupational and Environmental Health
  • Anthony Emigh, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Kevin Rivera, Medicine

2rd place – The Iowinners 

  • Kayla Faust, Occupational and Environmental Health
  • Yanni Liang, Occupational and Environmental Health
  • Ben Ertl, Industrial Engineering; Finance
  • Kylor Sorenson, Health Management and Policy; Business Administration
  • Kirsten Carew, Medicine; Business Administration

 3nd place – GlobalVill 

  • Whitney Bash-Brooks, Community and Behavioral Health
  • Redwan Bin Abdul Baten, Health Management and Policy
  • Catherine Chioreso, Epidemiology
  • Arwin Shrestha, Ophthalmology; Cellular Engineering

The case competition was organized by the Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the College of Public Health’s Global Public Health Initiative. Funding for the case competition was generously provided by John Deere and Dale and Linda Baker.

If you would like to view the case intervention presentations, they can be accessed at UICapture. The case study is available for download.

Speaker to address maternal mental health disparities

Maternal Mental Health Disparities and Patient Engagement in Research

Karen Tabb Dina, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois School of Social Work

Thursday, April 12
3:30-4:30 pm

Abstract: Women’s mental health during the perinatal period is critically important.  Currently there are no best practices for screening for depression and addressing mental health needs in public health clinics. Clinic staff are often responsible for performing depression screening, however, few studies examine staff perceptions on feasibility and acceptability of using perinatal screening for mood disorders in ethnically diverse public health clinics. We conducted focus group interviews with public health staff (n=25) to learn how a multidisciplinary clinical staff addresses mental health in their clinic. Most participants identified multiple barriers to universal depression screening in a public health clinic, but at the same time found value in the practice of screening low-income women for depression. The findings from the focus group study established the foundation for a university-community partnership to improve maternal health outcomes at the county level in Illinois. The partnership has grown into a local initiative and is now in the early stages of developing a patient centered outcomes research community.

Sponsored by the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the Iowa Perinatal Health Research Collaborative

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 the College of Public Health in advance at 319-384-1500.


IIPHRP now accepting applications for collaboratory funding

The Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy is now accepting applications for collaboratory funding.

A collaboratory is a creative group process designed to solve complex problems that brings the opportunity for new organizational networks to form. A collaboratory methodology expands the scope, scale, and impact of public health research.

Interested parties can access application materials at the IIPHRP collaboratory website.

Some key dates to remember:

Informational meeting April 16 (3-4 p.m., N502 CPHB)
Letter of intent due May 1
Full proposal due May 21
Notification of awards will begin June 15
Project start date July 1
Project end date June 30, 2019


A successful collaboratory leads to a sustainable research initiative such as a large research, service or center grant proposal that bolsters and builds upon areas of research closely linked to the CPH’s three areas of excellence: rural health, comparative effectiveness research, and community engagement.

Please contact Vickie Miene with questions about this opportunity.

IIPHRP report identifies strategies to improve state public health data utilization

A recent report from the University of Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) suggests that a statewide public health database, the Iowa Public Health Tracking Portal (IPHTP), is currently under-utilized but has the potential to be a tool that could significantly enhance evidence-based, public health decision-making in Iowa.

The IPHTP is a public web-based portal that provides state and county level public health data to a variety of audiences including public health practitioners, elected officials, educators, researchers, and the public.

This report was produced in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Publc Health (IDPH), which contracted IIPHRP to conduct a public health data needs assessment to help them understand the needs of stakeholders and the role of the IPHTP.

IIPHRP identified several strategies to improve data utilization for public health professionals including prioritizing resources based on the identification of primary user audiences and development of training tools for specific workforce development and continuing education regarding the use of public health data.

The full report is available at

In response to the assessment, IIPHRP and IDPH have developed a series of training videos to help users understand some of the common definitions and terms sued in public health data reporting and analysis.

The videos are available at

Authors of the report are Vickie Miene, Nichole Nidey, Jim Torner, and Anjali Deshpande from the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Webinar on strategies to end bicycle crashes now available

Strategies to End Fatal Bicycle Crashes in Iowa: Policy, legislative, and infrastructure solutions

Presented Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Presentation Overview

This webinar provides an overview of where Iowa stands in terms of bicyclist crashes and fatalities, the status of the Iowa DOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Long Range Plan, engineering and policy solutions, and priorities and recommendations for the 2018 legislative session. The mother of Sylvia Clark-Hansen, who was killed in a bicycle-motor vehicle crash in October, also shares her story.

Webinar Panelists (in order of presentation)

  • Cara Hamann, MPH, PhD, Policy Fellow, University of Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy; Core Faculty, University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center
  • Garrett Pedersen, CPM, Planning Team Leader, Office of Systems Planning, Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Colleen Hansen, Mother of Sylvia Clark-Hansen
  • Mark Wyatt, Director, Iowa Bicycle Coalition

Webinar Resources

Note: There are a few slides toward the beginning of the webinar recording that have digital anomalies, but they work themselves out, so please continue to watch.

Sponsored by the UI Institute of Public Health Research and Policy, Iowa Bicycle Coalition, and the UI Injury Prevention Research Center

Hear updates from the CPH Faculty Policy Fellows on Jan. 17

Hear updates from Mary Charlton, Kelli Ryckman, Cara Hamann, Brandi Janssen, and Paul Gilbert as they highlight their projects with the College of Public Health’s Policy Fellow Program, offered through the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP).

This Spotlight Series event will take place Wednesday, Jan. 17, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in C217 CPHB.

Policy Fellow Spotlight is Jan. 17, 2018

CPH welcomes Sen. Tom Harkin, health policy expert Jenelle Krishnamoorthy on Oct. 18

The University of Iowa College of Public Health will host special guests Senator Tom Harkin (retired) and health policy expert and executive Jenelle Krishnamoorthy for two public lectures on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Both lectures are sponsored by the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) based in the college.

portrait of Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Tom Harkin

Senator Harkin, who represented Iowa in the United States Congress for more than four decades, is the IIPHRP’s inaugural Visiting Scholar. This program invites exceptional senior scholars to the college to enrich education, research, and collaborative initiatives and to provide opportunities for students and faculty to interact with the scholars through a variety of functions.

Harkin will present “Delivering a Healthy Future: Making Public Health Policy in the 21st Century” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Callaghan Auditorium (N110 CPHB) on Oct. 18.

“Senator Harkin was selected as a Visiting Scholar for his in-depth knowledge and vast experience in the implementation of public health policy,” says Vickie Miene, interim director of the IIPHRP.

Harkin served Iowa’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985 and was a U.S. Senator from 1985 until his retirement in 2015. His legislative policy priorities have included public health, federal farm policy, civil rights for Americans with disabilities, childhood nutrition and food access, health care access and reform, labor issues, and access to and improvement of education. He crafted the Americans with Disabilities Act and helped to lead passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, authoring the law’s many prevention provisions.

portrait of Dr. Jenelle Krishnamoorthy
Dr. Jenelle Krishnamoorthy

Jenelle Krishnamoorthy is visiting the college through the IIPHRP’s Executive in Residence Program, which integrates senior business leaders into the life of the college and provides unique opportunities for experts to interact closely with students and faculty.

Krishnamoorthy will present “Population Health – Perspectives from the Field and Policy Implications” from 10:15 to 11:00 a.m. in C217 CPHB on Oct. 18.

She is currently the Associate Vice President, U.S. Policy, Communications and Population Health at Merck and is trained as a licensed clinical psychologist. Prior to joining Merck in January 2015, she was the Health Policy Director for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in the United States Senate for then Chairman Tom Harkin.

“Dr. Krishnamoorthy has a wealth of experience as scientist, policymaker, and executive,” says Miene. “The various roles she has held in her career will offer valuable perspectives on formulating public health policy.”

Krishnamoorthy first joined Harkin’s team as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in 2003 and 2004. During 2004 and 2005, she worked at the U.S. State Department in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs on health, science, technology, and environment issues with India on an AAAS Diplomacy Fellowship.

Early in her career, she completed a pediatric clinical psychology internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Brown Medical School, where she conducted research in the areas of childhood obesity and tobacco issues. Krishnamoorthy received a B.S. degree from Randolph-Macon College, M.S. from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The IIPHRP fosters new collaborations, within and outside the University of Iowa, by bringing together researchers, health care organizations, providers, citizens, community leaders, private partners, and policy makers to help shape and inform public health policy. More information about the IIPHRP can be found at