On April 4, 2013, the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health, in collaboration with University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Medicine, launched the first annual Public Health Research@Maryland (PHRM) day. The event was part of the “MPowering the State” initiative, a partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore and College Park campuses designed to maximize strengths and resources through linking programs and forming collaborations. Over 400 participants attended. View photos from the event on Flickr.
Keynote address by D.A. Henderson on Smallpox Eradication
World-renowned epidemiologist Dr. D. A. Henderson gave the keynote address: a personal account of his experience leading the effort to eradicate smallpox in the 1960s and 70s. While Henderson is widely recognized for his role as director of the World Health Organizations’ smallpox eradication campaign, Henderson referred to himself as “just a symbol,” and said the campaign was a team effort from start to finish. “[The campaign] gave me a view of community,” Henderson said. “You had to bring together a lot of ideas. It was exciting.”
Research Posters and Awards
There were 101 research posters presented at the event, representing a wide rage of topics and disciplines. Faculty experts judged the 50 student-presented posters and seven were recognized with awards. One-fourth of the research presented addressed Maryland populations specifically, 40% was federally funded, 15% was state and university funded and 10% was funded by outside foundations.
- Claire Stevens, Kinesiology, SPH
- Edward Grant, Epidemiology and Biostatistics (School of Public Health)
- Barbara Zappe Pastural, MD Institute for Applied Environmental Health (SPH)
- Olga Moshkovich, Epidemiology and Biostatistics (SPH)
- Raphael Gaeta, Health Services Administration (SPH)
- Christina Greene, Epidemiology and Pubic Health (School of Medicine)
- Gaya Hettiarachchi, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics (Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences)
Networking Round Tables
Over 150 participants joined one of 15 roundtable discussions on topics ranging from aging research to tobacco control. The groups identified and defined research opportunities, funding options and future collaborative projects.
Dr. Robin Puett, assistant professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (School of Public Health), co-led the roundtable discussion about the use of mapping, satellite technologies and geographic information systems (GIS) to advance public health research. Puett is working with Dr. Tatiana Loboda, assistant professor in the Department of Geographic Sciences, to understand how Maryland’s “built environment” is affecting public health.
“We can pair the satellite data on how land use has changed over time with data on physical activity and obesity rates in communities,” Puett said. “With this information we can design interventions to create healthier communities.”
The initiative includes expertise from both campuses in the areas of geographical science, environmental science and epidemiology.
Other identified opportunities included:
- Lactation interventions and public policy’s role in facilitating breast feeding in public spaces. (Family, Child and Adolescent Health)
- Develop a Research on Aging Network (RAN) across the two campuses and beyond that will facilitate networking to foster new research and make others aware of existing research, such as the creation of Communities for a Lifetime (aging friendly communities program). (Aging Research)
- Expand studies related to climate change adaptation and impacts on health, building on work with MD Department of Health and Mental Hygeine. Pursue NIH funding for research related tochildren's health. (Environmental Health and Environmental Justice Table)
- Build Global Health strategic plan for both campuses jointly and create a central portal for all global health information and opportunities (Re-engineering the Approach to Global Health)
- Establish a team and pursue funding to support the evaluation and assessment of Maryland’s recently funded Health Enterprise Zones in (1) Capitol Heights, Prince George’s County, (2) Greater Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County, (3) Dorchester and Caroline Counties, (4) West Baltimore, and (5) Annapolis with the unfunded sites serving for comparison. (Addressing Disparities with Health Enterprise Zones)
Forums on Polio Eradication and Bioterrorism
Dr. D.A. Henderson led two forums: “Poliomyelitis: 25th Anniversary of the Decision to Eradicate,” and “Bioterrorism: Fear, Response, Complacency” to provide focused discussion for students, faculty and practitioners working in these areas.
Dr. Henderson’s forum on poliomyelitis was extremely timely as one week later, on April 11, hundreds of scientists, doctors and experts across the globe joined together to launch the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication. Hoping to enjoy the same success as the campaign to eradicate smallpox, committed experts signed a declaration to endorse a strategy for eliminating polio by 2018.