How do you solve a problem like (Hurricane) Maria?

UI students offer sustainable solutions as part of a global public health case competition.

a student team presents at the 2018 Global Public Health Case Competition Armed with well-researched plans, information-packed slides, and seamless teamwork, six student teams competed for top honors and cash prizes in the inaugural IIPHRP Global Public Health Case Competition held April 4, 2018, at the College of Public Health.

The multidisciplinary teams were given a case centered on the ongoing power crisis in Puerto Rico caused by the Category 5 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. The competition offers an innovative learning experience for future public health leaders and brings together graduate students from multiple colleges and disciplines.

“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.”

For participant Monisa Saravanan, an MPH student in community and behavioral health, the case competition offered a new type of learning experience.

“I have a strong interest in global health and learning about the underlying factors that can influence a certain health status either positively or negatively,” she says. “The case competition provided the opportunity to engage in material and get an experience doing something with global health that was ‘real-world’ and not classroom-based.”

Saravanan found the process to be valuable in several ways.

“While I expected to learn a lot from the competition, I was surprised by the amount of information that our team went through and how much we all learned from each other,” she says. “I also really valued how much closer our team became. I knew everyone prior to competing, but I think we all became better and stronger friends after going through this experience.”

The winning team announced that they would donate their prizes totaling $2,500 to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

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

Applications open for rural health and safety collaboratory, funding

The Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) has several opportunities focused around the topic of rural health and safety.

Applications are now open for:

  • Rural Health and Safety Collaboratory.  The letter of intent is due January 14, 2019, and the full proposal is due on February 25, 2019.
  • Special Projects (up to $1,000)
  • Graduate Student Research Funds (up to $500)

Application forms and all the pertinent information can be found on the IIPHRP website:
https://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/iiphrp-rural-health-and-safety-opportunities/

Contact Vickie Miene, IIPHRP interim director, at vickie-miene@uiowa.edu if you have any questions.

Healthy LifeStars program teaches kids important habits for lifelong health

a group of elementary kids sit in a circle on the playgroundOn a sunny fall afternoon, a group of second- and third-graders sits in a circle on the playground to talk about goals.

“Who can tell me what that word means?” asks Hailey Boudreau, a graduate student who is guiding the discussion at an after-school program.

The kids’ hands shoot up as fast as their answers: “Winning!” “Medals!” “A trophy!”

“You study and practice to pass a test,” Boudreau continues. “Does it make you happy when you pass?”

The kids nod.

“How about exercise? What’s your goal for exercise?”

“Sixty minutes a day!” several kids shout.

“So we need goals to help us move forward, right?” Boudreau asks.

The kids soon put their exercise goal into action as Boudreau leads them in lively games of sharks and minnows, freeze tag, and duck, duck, goose.

Boudreau is serving as a coach for Healthy LifeStars, an innovative program aimed at reducing childhood obesity. Developed for elementary-age kids, the program motivates and teaches children to set personal health goals, be active every day, and eat the right foods in the right amounts.

Teaching Healthy Habits

The program is being implemented through a partnership between Healthy LifeStars and the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) based in the University of Iowa (UI) College of Public Health. Healthy LifeStars is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending childhood obesity through education, awareness, and changed habits to influence future generations of healthy children.

Healthy LifeStars was founded in 2003 and has reached over 35,000 schoolchildren in Arizona and Colorado. In 2018, it launched programs in Iowa and Ohio and has the goal of growing nationwide.

“Nationally, one in three children is overweight or obese,” says Edith Parker, dean of the College of Public Health. “We’re excited to introduce this program in Iowa and expand it statewide to help teach kids healthy, lifelong habits.”

The program is offered in Iowa at no charge, thanks to a gift from the Stead Family Foundation and Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, two former Iowans who are among the most generous donors to the University of Iowa.

Partnership Power

Elementary age kids play a tag gameHealthy LifeStars started in Iowa this fall with several sites in the Iowa City area. The program is delivered in before- and after-school programs and is led in part by UI student coaches.
“We’re building a network of student volunteers who are an integral part of getting this program off the ground in our state,” says Vickie Miene, interim director of IIPHRP and director of the Iowa Healthy LifeStars program. Students from a variety of majors volunteer as coaches and contribute ideas to the program through a UI student advisory council. In addition, students contribute to social media articles and healthy lifestyle campaigns associated with the program.

IIPHRP will partner with additional schools, youth-serving organizations, and health initiatives to continue to grow the program across the state. The goal is to enroll 5,400 Iowa children in the first three years in both urban and rural locations.

To help motivate kids to reach their goals, each Healthy LifeStars participant receives a lanyard and chain to display reward tokens. Kids earn a colorful plastic star every time they achieve one of the goals they set for themselves.

Connecting the Dots

Boudreau, who is earning a Master of Public Health degree in community and behavioral health at the UI College of Public Health, visits Grant Wood Elementary in Iowa City twice a week to work with groups of K-6 students.

“It’s amazing, the connections the kids are able to make between all of the subjects,” she says. “For example, when we talked about nutrition, the kids were able to make the connection between skipping meals or eating poor options for lunch and how they would feel during class and recess.”

Boudreau also enjoys playing active games with the students.

“During our exercise lesson recently, we talked about feelings while exercising. They spoke about feeling sweaty, tired, and sore, but also about how they laugh and smile,” she says. “We all laugh and smile when we start our activity portion of the class. It’s contagious!”

This story originally appeared in the fall 2018 issue of InSight magazine

Ashida named IIPHRP Policy Fellow

A portrait of Prof. Sato Ashida of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Sato Ashida

The Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) has selected Sato Ashida, UI associate professor of community and behavioral health, as a 2018-2019 Policy Fellow.

The year-long Policy Fellow Program creates opportunities for primary faculty to enhance their skills for translating public health research into practice and policy. Each Policy Fellow develops and implements a project focused on a critical public health topic. Ashida’s project will bring key stakeholders together to develop policy to improve the delivery of emergency management services to older Iowans.

Older adults in the community are especially vulnerable to negative health outcomes during and after disasters. If various agencies involved in emergency management had pertinent information provided by and about older Iowans, outcomes of disaster response and recovery processes conducted by state agencies and local emergency management services could be vastly improved. However, there are barriers to gathering and sharing information about individual residents across agencies and institutions.

Ashida previously developed an online program called PrepWise that allows older adults to establish personalized emergency and disaster plans. The plans include information about medical care and medication needs, functional limitations, cognitive difficulties, emergency support network members, service animals, and other important health needs. Now, Ashida’s goal is to develop policy that will allow state and local agencies to access information pertinent to emergency management that PrepWise participants consent to share with agencies in order to enhance the delivery of emergency services to older Iowans.

Her first step will be to establish a core group comprised of state agencies as well as county experts in emergency management. This group will review efforts in other states and explore dynamics needed to implement a statewide policy that allows incorporating PrepWise into existing disaster management infrastructure.  Once policy recommendations are developed and vetted by this broad group, additional stakeholders will be identified and involved in expanding awareness and dissemination of this potentially life-saving tool.

Learn more about the IIPHRP Policy Fellow Program at www.public-health.uiowa.edu/iiphrp-policy-fellows/.

Healthy LifeStars program challenges childhood obesity in Iowa

An innovative program that tackles childhood obesity — the number one health problem for children — will soon be making its debut in Iowa. Aimed at elementary-age kids, the LifeStar Challenge motivates and teaches children how to live active, healthy lives now and in the future.

The program is being implemented through a partnership between Healthy LifeStars and the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Healthy LifeStars is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending childhood obesity through education, awareness, and changed habits to influence future generations of healthy children.

The Iowa Healthy LifeStars program will be offered at no charge, thanks to a gift from the Stead Family Foundation and Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, two former Iowans who are among the most generous donors to the University of Iowa.

Nationally, one in three children is overweight or obese. Healthy LifeStars was founded in 2003 to address childhood obesity and has reached over 35,000 kids in Arizona and Colorado. In 2018, it launched programs in Iowa and Ohio and has the goal of growing nationwide.

“We’re excited to introduce this program in Iowa and expand it statewide,” says Vickie Miene, interim director of the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) and director of the Iowa Healthy LifeStars program. “Our goal is to enroll 5,400 kids in the first three years in both urban and rural locations.”

The LifeStar Challenge will begin in Iowa this fall with several sites in the Iowa City area. The program will be delivered in before- and after-school programs and will be led in part by University of Iowa student coaches

“We will build a network of UI student volunteers who will be an integral part of getting this program off the ground in Iowa,” Miene explains. “UI students from a variety of majors have already expressed interest in volunteering as LifeStars coaches and will contribute ideas to the program through a UI student advisory council. In addition, UI students will contribute to social media articles and healthy lifestyle campaigns associated with the program.”

IIPHRP will partner with additional schools, youth-serving organizations, and health initiatives to continue to grow the program across the state.

The LifeStar Challenge teaches kids and their families the three Healthy Life Habits: setting personal health goals, taking part in vigorous physical activity every day, and eating the right foods in the right amounts. Each child receives a lanyard and chain to display reward tokens. Kids earn a colorful plastic star every time they achieve one of the goals they set for themselves. Everything organizers need to get started is included in a simple kit with additional information online.

“All of the tools are available on-line and the program is flexible, so it’s easy to implement in a variety of settings,” says Miene.

For more information about the program, visit https://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/healthy-lifestars/.

‘Assessing Rural Futures’ takes place Oct. 8

Assessing Rural Futures Using the Comprehensive Wealth Framework

Join a conversation about rural economies and sustainability! This seminar will define rural wealth and will share a framework to assess rural development. Lunch is provided!

Monday, Oct. 8
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Ellig Classroom (N120 CPHB)

Guest speakers:

Visiting Scholar Matt Fannin, PhD
William H. Alexander Professor and J. Nelson Fairbanks Professor of Rural and Community Development Economics Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at Louisiana State University and the LSU AgCenter

Visiting Scholar Thomas G. Johnson, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri

This spotlight is hosted by the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) and the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP).

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.

Iowa Summit on Underage Drinking is Sept. 13

Iowa Summit: Underage Drinking & Social Host Laws

September 13, 2018
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Animal Rescue League, 5452 N.E. 22nd St, Des Moines, IA 50313

 

How do we successfully prevent underage drinking?

Do social host laws make a difference?

What other ideas do you have to help prevent underage drinking?

Be part of the conversation.  Join us for a community summit to learn the latest research on Iowa’s social host laws and how to impact underage drinking.
Register here by September 6, 2018

(Or use this link in browser:  https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8o96wogqCXeIGLb )

Agenda:

  • Opening remarks
  • Presentation of research project and findings
    • Paul Gilbert, PhD, Assistant Professor at University of Iowa, Policy Fellow with the University of Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy
  • Panel of expert commentary
    • Angie Asa-Lovstad, Alliance of Coalitions for Change
    • Julie Hibben, Iowa Department of Public Health
    • Greg Graver, Jones County Sheriff
  • Working lunch (lunch is provided)
    • Develop next steps related to alcohol policy and practice

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.

Janssen to lead collaboratory focusing on overdose prevention in Iowa

Portrait of Brandi Janssen, clinical associate professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Brandi Janssen

Brandi Janssen, CPH clinical assistant professor of occupational and environmental health, has been selected by the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy (IIPHRP) to establish a new collaboratory that will gather data to help prevent drug overdoses in Iowa.

A collaboratory is a creative group process designed to solve complex problems and brings together collaborators from different backgrounds and disciplines to expand the scope, scale, and impact of critical public health research. Janssen’s team will collaborate on a project titled “Iowa Substance Use Data Set: Preventing Overdoes Through Actionable Data.” The project is intended to be a first step toward developing the Iowa Substance Use Data Set, a multi-stream, multi-sourced, comprehensive data warehouse for partners, and will include information directly from substance users.

“This data base will be different from existing substance use information sources in that its focus is on timeliness, local relevance, and integration of multiple data sets,” Janssen explains. “The team hopes to design a data warehouse infrastructure to manage storing, updating, and sharing pertinent data. In addition, we will identify the data needs of providers and stakeholders regarding substance misuse and abuse and will design the data structure and applications to accommodate those needs.”

In addition to Janssen, the collaborators include:

  • Stephan Arndt, PhD, Professor, Carver College of Medicine, Psychiatry; College of Public Health, Biostatistics; Director, Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation
  • Ryan Carnahan, PharmD, CPH, Associate Professor, Epidemiology
  • Heath Davis, MS ITIL, Lead Application Developer, Bio-Medical Informatics, Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, Carver College of Medicine
  • Juan Pablo Hourcade, PhD, Associate Professor, CLAS, Computer Science
  • Boyd Knosp, MS, Associate Dean for Information Technology, Carver College of Medicine. Associate Director for Biomedical Informatics Operations, Institute for Clinical and Translational Science
  • Anna Merrill, PhD, DABCC, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Carver College of Medicine; Clinical Chemist, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Iowa City VA Health Care System, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
  • Jennifer Sánchez, PhD, CRC, Assistant Professor, CLAS, College of Education, Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

Read more about the IIPHRP collaboratories and their work.