|UM SPH Home > Diversity Matters > Public Health Faces: People & Projects|
Public Health Faces: People & Projects
Welcome, Future Public Health Leaders of 2013
The Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) is a 10-week summer program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. This year's program includes 49 undergraduate students who are participating in the ten-week program that is designed to introduce and encourage underrepresented college students to consider careers in public health.
Funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE), the goal of the program is to increase the diversity of the public health workforce. Students are undergraduates from across the country.
"The FPHLP [pronounced "Flip"] program is designed to introduce students to the field of public health and to excite them about working to reduce health inequities," explains Dana Thomas who oversees the program. In addition to offering real-world work experience through a field placement, the students' experience is augmented with leadership training programs, workshops, and orientation to the public health disciplines, including field trips to various sites. Each student also has access to one-on-one public health and career mentorship.
FPHLP is now in its second year of operation. For more information about the program, and to read posts from the FPHLP blog, visit the FPHLP website.
What's Up at SPH: Video
Video with the La Salud SPH student group, produced with closed captions by UM SPH Office of Communications.
"Our new project will examine how social and biologic factors interact to create race differences in cardiovascular disease and other health outcomes," says SPH's Ana Diez Roux. The new chair of SPH's Department of Epidemiology and her team use several large cohort studies to investigate the role of neighborhood environments in generating inequalities in cardiovascular disease and its risk factors by socioeconomic characteristics and race/ethnicity. She also studies the role of stress and acculturation in health disparities and social inequalities in health.
Qing Zheng"Facing the world trend of population aging, an international perspective is required to acknowledge and understand health care issues," says Qing Zheng, MHSA '10 and a new doctoral student in health economics. He hails from Tianjin, China, and works closely with UM SPH Professor of Epidemiology Matthew Boulton. More about Qing in UM Alumni Association news.
"I wasn't able to do procedures like stitches, that kind of stuff. But I think I found acceptance with my patients, partly because I was very honest about my disability. I wouldn't say it helped me, but in some cases it gave me an inroad to create some sort of rapport—sometimes when I didn't have any other way. There are a lot of things in medicine that can't be done with vision," says Ruta Sharangpani, who is legally blind. Before entering SPH's Preventive Medicine Residency, she completed medical school and did a residency in internal medicine. Learn more about her.
"Finding ways to strengthen bonds between non-resident African-American fathers and their sons may be a critical strategy for preventing youth problem behavior," says Cleo Caldwell. African-American boys disproportionately grow up in single parent households, often without meaningful relationships with their biological fathers. She is working in partnership with the Flint community to positively affect the relationship between preadolescent African American male children living apart from their biological fathers through structured intervention activities designed to prevent adolescent substance use, violent behavior, and early sexual initiation. Read about the Fathers & Sons project.
University of Michigan medical and SPH doctoral student Abdul El-Sayed plans to become a neurosurgeon so that he may "mend with my hands some of the defects I cannot avert through my research." In November 2008, he was named a Rhodes Scholar. His current research interests include the social determinants of health, Arab-American health, the social determinants of neurological disorders, and the etiology of neural tube defects in Guatemala. Learn more about him and his plans.
"Southwest Detroit, predominantly Latino, has historically contained most of the city's industrial facilities," says Davyda Hammond, an engineer. As a W.K. Kellogg Community Health Scholars Postdoctoral Research Fellow at SPH, she analyzed contaminants in this neighborhood and in predominantly African-American East Detroit and their affect on asthmatic children. Her work will help advocacy for environmental policy change.
"People who go into public health have aspirations to change the world for the better, and graduates from this school have been doing that for decades," says SPH alum Marianne Udow. Director of Michigan's Department of Human Services until summer 2007. Udow has taken a new position at the helm of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Quality & Transformation. In that role, she plans to "improve the delivery of services, and get the right care to the right person at the right time."
"Increasing classroom diversity produces an entire cohort of better trained health professionals," insists Rich Lichtenstein. He says a diverse classroom makes everyone present "more culturally competent and more adaptable." For launching generations of enlightened SPH grads, he received the 2006 Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by Khalifa Al-Khalifa.
"My work has helped make selection of recipients for lung transplants more equitable," says Susan Murray (pictured here with her twin sons). She's an associate professor of Biostatistics who, together with colleagues, came up with statistical methodology to help get donor lungs to patients with high urgency and high potential for gain. The model has influenced policy nationwide.
An SPH student in health management and policy, Founas wants to combine her expertise in accounting (her undergrad major) with her long-standing interest in hospital organization and community work. Through Islamic Relief and other charitable organizations, she's helped raise money to fund an orphanage and school in Indonesia and has spearheaded efforts to raise nearly $500,000 to build a school, maternity clinic, and community center in rural Mali. Learn more about her in Findings magazine.
Erin and Ellen Griffiths
"The students, speakers, faculty, and staff left me feeling very proud to be associated with Michigan and the field of public health," said Maryland-based nutritionist and SPH alumna Ellen Griffiths (right) about the 21st annual Minority Health Conference. Her daughter Erin (left), a third-generation Michigan graduate student, was co-chair of the March 2007 SPH conference on "Health, Race, and Media: The Power of Perception."
"I focus on the mental and physical health status and functioning of older persons and the ways that important social groups and contexts such as the family, church, and community provide resources for successful coping with life problems." Chatters is also interested in religious involvement among African Americans and Caribbean Blacks and in examining within and across group differences in the independent effects of sociodemographic factors in patterning various forms of religious participation. Read more on her research (PDF).
"Media distorts the science," says Toby Citrin, co-director of Michigan Center for Public Health & Community Genomics. It's too early for anyone to be proclaiming genetic causes for most chronic diseases that disproportionately affect minorities, he says. But media does it regularly, in the absence of data to clearly identify causes. Really, it's all about the social construct—and interactions across the lifecourse.
"AIDS exposes the weak spots. Because it's tied up with the sexual transmission of infection, it tells you a lot about social power," says UM SPH's Rachel Snow. Her research focuses on the measure of gender and its relation to health in diverse settings, as well as the effective integration of HIV interventions (clinical and social) into reproductive health systems. She has conducted clinical and epidemiologic research on contraception, reproductive morbidity, and gender in a wide range of countries, including China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, South Africa, and Mexico. She is currently conducting research on the operational and policy challenges of integrating HIV/AIDS into reproductive health programs in Burkina Faso and South Africa, and the social impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"Farmworkers serving as community health workers promote health and social justice," says Heidi Durbeck, left, SPH alum and former capacity-building director for the nonprofit agency Migrant Health Promotion. SPH student Sarah Segerlind (HBHE '08, at right) helped develop strategies for emergency and disaster preparedness in farmworker communities in a summer 2007 internship sponsored by the Michigan Center for Public Health Preparedness at UM SPH.
Read students' reflections on projects in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. Fumnanya Chiejine says "I worked with WaterAid International, an NGO focused on water quality and delivery, hygiene and sanitation services at its Nigeria regional office. I chose to work with WaterAid because of the prospect of engaging in a hands-on project that dealt with building sustainable health programs in poor communities."
"The socioeconomic status of American Indians has risen over the past generation. More American Indians are getting college degrees. For the first time ever, we have native physicians at tribal clinics. We finally have Indian people getting law degrees and working for tribes. And the health statistics of a lot of American Indians are rising," says Rick Haverkate, Director of Public Health, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. He and other UM SPH community partners are profiled in the article Michigan Dreams, in Fall 2009 Findings, where you can comment and share thoughts about the state of the American Dream.
In the News