Best of 2018
December 7, 2018

It’s been quite a year here at the School of Public Health. Our students, faculty and staff have been busy publishing innovative research, launching new initiatives, and convening leaders, researchers, and policy experts to discuss and take action on critical public health issues.

Here are our top 10 most-read stories for 2018. We look forward to bringing you more important news in the New Year!

Dr. Milton in the Public Health Aerobiology, Virology, and Exhaled Biomarker (PHAB) Laboratory

Flu May be Spread Just by Breathing, New Study Shows; Coughing and Sneezing Not Required

It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought according to a study led by Environmental Health Professor Dr. Donald Milton. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study provides new evidence for the potential importance of airborne transmission because of the large quantities of infectious virus researchers found in the exhaled breath from people suffering from flu. 

Natural Gas Compressor Stations May Expose Nearby Residents to Chronic Noise Pollution

People living near natural gas compressor stations may be subject to high environmental noise exposures, according to a PLOS ONE study led by Dr. Amir Sapkota, a Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health associate professor. Environmental exposures from these stations, including toxic chemicals and noise are a significant public health concern and a source of stress for nearby residents in communities like Doddridge County, West Virginia, where researchers conducted the study.

Record-Breaking Participation at 2018 Public Health Research @ Maryland

Over 500 attendees converged on the Adele H. Stamp Student Union on April 3, 2018 for the sixth annual Public Health Research @ Maryland, hosted by the UMD SPH and the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (in Baltimore), with support from MPowering the State. All six schools from the Baltimore campus and eight of the twelve colleges on the College Park campus were represented among the attendees and poster presenters. Save the date for the 2019 Public Health Research @ Maryland on April 2, 2019! US Surgeon General Jerome Adams is the invited keynote speaker! 

Having an Abortion Does Not Lead to Depression, Research by Dr. Julia Steinberg Shows

Having an abortion does not increase a woman’s risk for depression, according to a JAMA Psychiatry study of nearly 400,000 women led by Family Science Assistant Professor, Dr. Julia Steinberg. While previous research has found abortion does not harm women’s mental health, studies claiming that it does continue to be published and state policies that restrict access to abortion in the United States have been justified by claims that abortion causes women psychological harm.

School of Public Health Launches New Global Health Initiative

Throughout the School of Public Health’s first 10 years, faculty and students have actively engaged in research, service and education activities aimed at improving health across the globe and partnering with communities to accomplish these goals. While the impact of their work has been felt around the world, in countries as diverse as Cuba, Bangladesh, Peru and Tanzania, awareness of these global health activities – and coordination across campus – has been limited. The Global Health Initiative, established in July 2018 and directed by Research Professor Dina Borzekowski, Ed.D., aims to change this. 

Welcome New Faculty and Staff!

Meet the new faculty members and staff welcomed to the SPH community in 2018.  



Understanding and Responding to Food Insecurity Among College Students

Food insecurity is a serious problem for many Americans, including young adults at college campuses across the country. The results of a survey conducted on a large public university campus to assess food insecurity prevalence, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, and data gathered from a systematic review of research on food insecurity on college campuses nationally, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, shine a bright light on this growing public health problem.

Dr. Moser Jones Explores Race, Discrimination and Homelessness Connections

Since the 1980s, Black Americans have been overrepresented among the U.S. homeless population, and this enduring reality (Blacks comprise roughly 40.4 percent of the total U.S. homeless population, but only 12.5 percent of the overall population) has serious implications for population health and health disparities, according to a literature review published by Family Science Associate Professor, Dr. Marian Moser Jones.

MPH Student Wins Grant to Study Breast Cancer Awareness in Tanzania

Rebecca Pyuzza (MPH'18) won a $7,200 Cancer Epidemiology Education in Special Population (CEESP) Award from the National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute to conduct a summer project aimed at improving breast cancer awareness and screening in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. 


Using "Big Data" to Understand Neighborhood Impact on Health

Dr. Quynh C. Nguyen, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, and a team of researchers used Google Street View images and computer vision algorithms to assess neighborhood features over large geographic areas, including Salt Lake City, Utah; Charleston, West Virginia; and Chicago, Illinois. The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health explores how our neighborhoods are affecting our health. Dr. Nguyen also received a $1.5 M R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Library of Medicine for her project titled, “Neighborhood Looking Glass: 360 Degree Automated Characterization of the Built Environment for Neighborhood Effects Research.”