Public Health Research Day at Maryland leadership
April 10, 2019

On Tuesday, April 2, 2018, the seventh annual Public Health Research @ Maryland day was held at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, and headlined with a keynote by US Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Made possible with funding from the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, the event also showcased leading research and panel discussions on diverse topics that underscored the theme of “health and well-being for all.”   

This year, more than 600 students, faculty, staff and community partners came together for the event that has been organized by the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health each April during National Public Health Week since 2013.

Participants learned about new initiatives related to sustainability in food, water and energy; health technology; and prevention of violence and human trafficking. Attendees came from all six schools from the Baltimore campus and eleven of the twelve colleges on the College Park campus, as well as from area universities including the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Morgan State, Towson, American and George Washington universities.

There was a packed house for the morning keynote by Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States, who spoke on his top three priority initiatives -  substance misuse, making the connection between investing in health and how it impacts economic prosperity and the links between health and safety and security. He urged public health professionals to partner with those outside of the health sphere like law enforcement, faith leaders, school administrators and business leaders to create healthier communities. After his talk, he welcomed questions from students and engaged in a discussion on challenging public health topics including vaccination hesitancy and gun safety.

School of Public Health Dean Boris Lushniak, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service and former deputy and acting surgeon general and VADM Adams met with commissioned officers from the US Public Health Service who were in attendance after the keynote. The Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation has been a co-sponsor of the event since its inception.

In the panel “Sustainability at the Nexus of Food, Energy, Water, Climate and Health,” SPH Associate Professor Amy Sapkota, PI of the CONSERVE program, and Bill Piermattei, director of the Environmental Law Program at UMB’s Carey School of Law, led a conversation on water reuse, food systems, climate change and environmental law. They discussed the sustainable adaptations in food, energy and water systems needed to meet the 40 percent increase in the demand for fresh water, the 50 percent increase in the demand for energy and the 35 percent increase in the demand for food. “We need to begin to come at these issues from an interdisciplinary manner, to bring diverse disciplines together to create solutions that will address each aspect of these issues,” said co-moderator and Applied Environmental Health Professor Amy Sapkota.

During the panel “Health Technology and the Impact on Communities,” co-moderators  Wendy Camelo Castillo, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Health Services, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Baltimore and Susan Winter, Associate Dean for Research and Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Communities and Information, University of Maryland College of Information Studies (iSchool) led a discussion on developing and using technology to best serve community needs. Building new technology is rife with challenges, the panelists said, from protecting private health data to ensuring the new product is profitable. The technology developed must serve entire communities, not just the adolescents and young adults typically seen as tech-savvy, co-moderator Wendy Camelo Castillo said. “This idea that we have some generations that are comfortable with tech and some that aren’t—we really have to challenge that," she said. DeJuan Patterson, a consultant and community advocate, emphasized the need to include diverse stakeholders in the design process and alleviate the historical mistrust between the health community and vulnerable populations. "Communities should be seen as partners, not subjects or patients," Patterson said.

In the panel “Prevention of Violence, Human Trafficking and More,” co-moderators Susan Esserman, director of the SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors and Family Science Associate Professor Kevin Roy led a discussion on strategies to prevent violence, including gun violence, intimate partner violence and human trafficking. The conversation also focused on risk factors that lead people to perpetrate violence or become victims of it, and the development of interventions to interrupt vicious cycles of violence and address the social determinants of health that keep individuals and communities enmeshed in these cycles.

The SPH also welcomed a group of accepted students for a series of informational sessions during the event. These potential new students attended Dr. Adam’s keynote talk and attended the bustling poster session.

At the poster session, more than 100 researchers presented posters illustrating their work. Research presented at the poster session included projects conducted in collaboration with or led by partners from the National Institutes of Health, the FDA, LifeBridge Health, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (Israel) Westate and county and state health departments, among others.

Student poster presenters conveyed the relevance of their research question or topic to public health, their approach, methods used and results and conclusions to poster judges. In addition, 18 student photographers showcased photos illustrating topics relevant to the broad concepts of public health, which were judged by a panel of SPH faculty judges. Attendees also selected their choice to win the crowd favorite prize.

The event concluded with a ceremony honoring the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level students who won the poster and photo contest—our inspiration as we continue in our mission to fearlessly promote health for all and plan next year’s event.

Congratulations to the following 2019 Poster Award winners!

Undergraduate Student Awards

First Place: Eileen Yee, Georgetown University, Human Science
Title: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Uncontrolled Diabetes

Honorable Mention: Delia West, Georgetown University, Human Science
Title: The Effect of Education on Overweight/Obesity in Young Adults

Honorable Mention: Adewale Awoyemi, UMD SPH, Public Health Science
Title: High Intensity Acute Cycling exercise Performed during Consolidation

Masters Student Awards

First Place: Emily Jenkins, UMD SPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Title: Tooth resorption and risk for anesthetic complication during anesthetized dental procedures in domestic felines

Honorable Mention: Erica VanDyke, UMB school of Medicine, Pediatrics/Division of Growth and Nutrition
Title: Examining the provision of Technical Assistance in a school wellness policy intervention: what worked and why?

Honorable Mention: Ajuni Choudhary, UMB School of Medicine, Epidemiology
Title: The association between student’s perceptions of school physical activity policies/environment and objectively measured school day physical activity

Doctoral Student Awards

First Place: Hillary Craddock, UMD SPH, Applied Environmental Health
Title: Microbiological Quality of Treated Household Greywater, Palestinian Territories

Honorable mention: Fiona Jardine, UMD College of Information Studies
Title: Breastfeeding Without Nursing: Reasons for initiation and cessation of exclusively pumping human milk

Honorable Mention: Harry Li, UMD SPH, Kinesiology
Title: Calcium activation of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is maintained in heart failure levels of extramitochondrial sodium

View all of the 2019 Public Health Research @ Maryland poster submissions.

Congratulations to the following 2019 Photo Award winners!

1st Place: Katarzyna Borkowski, Masters Student, Epidemiology
Title: Handwashing in the Taiga

2nd Place: Emily Jenkins, Masters Student, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Title: Knowledge is Power

3rd Place: Naheed Ahmed, Doctoral Student, Family Science
Title: Southpoint School

Most Popular: Nicole Haggerty, Masters Student, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Title: Stray Dogs in Sierra Leone

View all of the 2019 Public Health Research @ Maryland public health photo contest entries.

2019 Public Health Research at Maryland Photo Contest Entries

Related Links

Public Health Research @ Maryland 2019 Videos

Public Health Research @ Maryland 2019 Photo Album

Public Health Research @ Maryland 2019 Poster Winners

U.S. Surgeon General Urges Collaboration to Confront Health Crises