Student News: Public Health

CUNY SPH DPH Program goes to APHA

Many CUNY School of Public Health DPH faculty and students traveled to Boston to attend the annual American Public Health Association meeting. Dean El Mohandes supported the attendance of our presenting doctoral students. Details provided by these students about their presentations and experiences attending APHA are below.

Nisha Beharie, CSH Track, 2009 Cohort
I was able to attend APHA due to Dean El-Mohandes’ efforts to send me to the ASPPH Leadership Institute held during the conference. Overall, I was able to connect with people in the field around issues that I am passionate about. More specifically, I am very interested in promoting public health models to address mental health issues, and engaging with members of the mental health section of APHA is one of the rare opportunities to connect with those with similar interests. The highlight of the conference for me was attending the Leadership Institute hosted by ASPPH where I learned that different situations call for different leadership skills, and successful leadership entails being able to match them appropriately. I also had the opportunity to meet the incoming director of Peace Corps during the institute who is an amazing inspiring leader in her own right!

Helen Cole, CSH Track, 2010 Cohort
I presented a poster, along with one of the staff people that I supervise, "Quality of life and physical activity among foreign-born and u.s.-born older black men with hypertension residing in New York City." The poster session was well-attended and we both got to speak with lots of interested fellow researchers, all of whom had ideas for future directions for our work. In addition to the vast selection of presentations that I attended at APHA, I also had the opportunity to reconnect with former coworkers and classmates from past educational and work experiences, and to get to know our new Dean! Our presentation was particularly meaningful to me as it grew out of my DPH leadership project, completed last year, for which I focused on trying to improve research staff training and mentorship at my job.

Sonia González, CSH Track, 2009 Cohort
As part of a session entitled "The Impacts of Social Media on Public Health" we had an inspiring conversation on the importance of public health communication and literacy specifically around making public health messaging accessible across all platforms including social media.

I was especially happy to connect with a fellow doctoral student to discuss the measures I utilized in the study I presented, “Are texting and social networking site's instant messaging appropriate sexual health education tools for urban young women of color? A mixed-methods study.” In addition, I was able to meet with a current post-doctoral fellow at Emory who is doing similar research and was able to offer some advice and connect me to her team at Emory. And perhaps one of the greatest rewards was being able to connect to other CUNY SPH faculty, staff, and fellow students since that isn't always easy to achieve given our fast-paced NYC lives.

Allison Kliegman, CSH Track, 2011 Cohort
This was my first time attending APHA and it was a packed conference as I tried to make the most of the experience. I moderated a student session, presented alongside my classmate Lindsay Fram, volunteered at the CUNY SPH booth, and attended the School's evening reception. In between all those scheduled events I found time to attend as many presentations and events related to reproductive health as possible! Overall it was a great conference and I connected with many fellow SPH students. Thank you for the opportunity to let us all attend.

Amy Kwan, CSH Track, 2008 Cohort
I was a co-author on the following presentations:
Romero D, Kwan A. For or Against Same-Sex Marriage and Meanings Ascribed to ‘Family’ Among Heterosexual Adults.

Watnick D, D’Amore M, Bestoff C, Beharie N, Kwan A, Romero D. “‘If it happens, it happens’ vs. ‘It was planned’: Conceptualizing the ways people approach the possibility of pregnancy.”

D’Amore M, Watnick D, Bestoff C, Beharie N, Kwan A, Romero D. Perceived ideal circumstances for childbearing across groups of different social position.
Nell E, Fram L, Kliegman A, Kwan A, Romero D. Varied priorities and changing attitudes towards traditional parenting partnerships in a diverse New York city sample.

I attended these (and several other CUNY) presentations -- it was wonderful seeing so much CUNY representation at APHA -- all of the presentations I saw were extremely compelling, engaging, and well-delivered. Another highlight of the week was of course connecting with fellow CUNY colleagues, friends, faculty and staff, and feeling united as a school.

Ryan Lee, HPM Track, 2010 Cohort
This was my first opportunity to both attend and present at the APHA Annual Meeting, which turned out to be a fantastic experience. My poster was entitled "Availability of dental oncology services at NCI-designated and comprehensive cancer centers," which discusses the public health and policy implications of this nation's shortage in dental services for cancer patients and survivors, even at the highest-ranked oncology centers. I was able to connect with other graduate students and professional colleagues with shared interested in health policy, oral health, and oncology, which is only possible at a meeting like APHA. Thank you CUNY SPH for providing valuable funding for this trip!

Michael Schmeltz, EOH Track, 2009 Cohort
Having many colleagues present and talk about their research at APHA this year bouyed a sense of pride and community among the CUNY SPH members, especially during our informal social gatherings. Having presented both a poster and a talk I think its important to show the public health community what the CUNY SPH has to offer. I made great connections after my presentations and was surprised when a lead researcher in my field enthusiastically came up to me to further talk about my research and schedule a meeting to talk again since we both do similar work on climate change and are based in New York. I look forward to many CUNY SPH students and faculty to be present at next years annual conference.

Michael won 1st place for the Environmental Section Student Achievement Award for his presentation.

Stephanie St Pierre, CSH Track, 2008 Cohort
I presented “Feminisms at Work in Public Health Women Activists and Environmental Health” as part of the Women's Rights Committee session.  The session resulted in a lively discussion and I was invited to participate in the Committee's plans for next year at APHA.

This year’s meeting marks my last as a member of the APHA press board after severing for two terms. I also attended the business meeting for the Bioethics SPIG (soon to be a section we hope!) and volunteered to take on the role of shadowing next year's program chair.

I enjoyed manning the CUNY School of Public Health table in the exhibit hall which gave me a chance to meet DPH and Master's students and was I able to share insights about the program with prospective students.  Meeting others in the program was fun and left me feeling excited about the future of our school. The party and dinner with our new Dean were both really inspiring. I appreciated his focus on students and inclusivity which were evident in his words and actions.

Dana Watnick, CSH Track, 2010 Cohort
This year's APHA meeting was busy, informative and inspiring. I gave an oral presentation based on data from Diana Romero's SPAFF study on family formation about the language that people use to talk about "getting pregnant." I was pleased with how well attended my session was, but was even more excited to hear my classmates' (Ali Kliegman and Lindsay Fram) presentation on the same dataset. They were amazing! Another very special highlight of this trip was getting the opportunity to have dinner with the Dean and fellow students. We students should feel so lucky to have him in our corner. His support, both financially and otherwise, is truly appreciated and is going to make all the difference in helping me to become a productive and innovative public health practitioner.

Submitted on: DEC 26, 2013

Category: Public Health (DPH), Student Honors, Awards, and Publications