CSU students gain real-world insight at national public health conference

Story by Tobi Adedeji and Tonya Ewers

Several CSU faculty members and a graduate student from the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU presented at the American Public Health Association conference held Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Denver.

The conference, hosted in Denver and themed “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health,” attracted more than 12,000 people. MPH student Jillian Foss presented on the topic “Mindfulness and Binge-Eating Relating to Adiposity in At-Risk Adolescents,” and she and 10 other CSU students received $200 scholarships to attend: Kelly Brown, Alyssa Beck, Natalie Murphy, Adriana Romero, Jamila Bryant, Huda Tawir, Marley Vazquez, Kaci Drury, Emily Lindly and Faire Holliday. CSU students Marialexia Alfano, Stephanie Bennett, Cameron Herritt, Haley Moss, Xandy Peterson and Blair Weikel received full scholarships from the ColoradoSPH to attend the conference.

From left are Alexandra Peterson, Kendall Kritzik, Katie Murray, Katelin Jackson and Natalie Murphy, all of whom are MPH students in the ColoradoSPH at CSU.
From left are Alexandra Peterson, Kendall Kritzik, Katie Murray, Katelin Jackson and Natalie Murphy, all of whom are MPH students in the ColoradoSPH at CSU.

“This is a wonderful professional opportunity for us to have while in school and I’m grateful I was able to take advantage of it,” Drury said. “I left feeling reinvigorated and eager to finish the semester and my degree.”

“I went to numerous poster, oral, and roundtable presentations where I learned about cutting edge research and best practices in public health,” Murphy said. “By observing and interacting with all these fellow public health professionals, I was able to learn about the future career path I would like to take, what the journey might require, the skills I need to enhance to reach my goals and also what catches my interest the most.”

“I chose a round-table discussion on HIV in special groups since I hope to work in HIV/AIDS prevention and community health after graduation,” Beck said. “We were able to ask each other questions and exchange contact information for future discourse.  It was truly one of the highlights of the entire conference.”

About the conference

The APHA hosted keynote sessions featuring popular speakers like Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who charged conference attendees to address health care access and equity; and Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who addressed the audience alongside four other past directors about the role of public health and the CDC to keep Americans safe. Other popular sessions focused on public health and prevention in the context of the 2016 election — including one such session with David Goff, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, who sat on a panel to discuss recommended public health priorities for the next U.S. Congress and new administration to consider.

ColoradoSPH held a special school-wide event at APHA for all alumni, students, faculty, staff and community partners to celebrate its recent re-accreditation, hosted a booth in the APHA expo hall and co-sponsored an APHA Public Health Service Day for students on Oct. 30 that drew hundreds of local and visiting public health students to volunteer at local nonprofit organizations. The school was also a sponsor of the conference and hosted the student booth for all students of public health who were learning to navigate the conference for the first time.

CSU presenters

The CSU faculty who presented at the conference were:

  • Kaigang Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, presented “Cardio-respiratory fitness and the metabolic syndrome in Colorado firefighters.”
  • Lori Peek, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, presented “Outliers: Why some children thrive despite disaster exposure.”
  • Marilee Long, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Communication, presented “Health care providers’ understanding of patients’ and parents’ of patients perceptions of vaccines.”
  • Marisa Bunning, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, presented “Food source information Wiki: Connecting food production an public health.”
  • Elizabeth Ryan, associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, presented “Pilot feasibility of dietary heat-stabilized rice bran supplementation for diarrheal disease prevention in both Nicaraguan and Malian children.”
  • Audrey Shillington, director of the School of Social Work, presented “Socio-demographic and problem area differences between medical marijuana users and non-medical users visiting the emergency room.”
Foss presented her poster at the APHA conference.
Foss presented her poster at the APHA conference.

The Colorado School of Public Health is the first and only accredited school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracting top tier faculty and students from across the country, and providing a vital contribution towards ensuring our region’s health and well-being.

Collaboratively formed in 2008 by the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues including chronic disease, access to healthcare, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases, and costly injuries.

For more information about the Colorado School of Public Health, visit www.publichealth.colostate.edu.

The American Public Health Association’s mission is to improve the health of the public, as well as to help achieve equity in health status. It publishes the American Journal of Public Health and The Nations Health newspaper.

CSU University Communications Staff