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Public Health Minute with William Latimer – Lehman College

Calorie Restriction and Exercise – Edward Weiss, PhD – Saint Louis University

We saw that when overweight adults undergo modest weight loss by using CR alone or exercise alone risk factors for diabetes improve.

Dr. Edward “Ted” Weiss is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Saint Louis University. His primary research includes nutrition and exercise for weight loss, the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the slowing of primary aging. Dr. Weiss has served as the committee chairperson on several thesis committees for graduating students from the nutrition and dietetics program and continues to contribute to University service in several areas including the Education Council and the Scholarship Committee for Doisy College of Health Sciences. Learn more about Dr. Edward “Ted” Weiss here.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD – Kristie Koenig , PhD, OT/L, FAOTA – New York University

Autistic adults value their restricted interests and wish their teachers would have been able to incorporate them into their learning versus viewing them as a distraction or perseverative behavior.

Dr. Kristie Koenig is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt. She examines the efficacy of interventions utilized in public schools for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Koenig’s research focuses on utilizing a relationship based paradigm and the individual with ASD’s perspective to understand the impact of these issues on quality of life and adaptive behavior in order to guide person centered interventions utilizing strengths in inclusive settings. She is also PI of the GIFTED project, a 3 year grant project aimed at developing women leaders in public schools in Ghana. Learn more about Dr. Kristie Koenig here.

Mental Health – Andrew Sarkin, PhD – University of California San Diego

Educating people reduces stigma and helps them recognize symptoms and it makes it easier to talk to someone about getting help.

Dr. Andrew Sarkin is an Associate Project Scientist of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego. His research interests includes increasing public awareness and understanding of mental illness, reducing stigma towards people with mental illness, and improving prevention efforts for people at risk of mental illness. Dr. Sarkin has served as a project manager of HSRC’s contract to provide Data Analysis and Performance Monitoring to San Diego County Behavioral Health Services since 2007. Dr. Sarkin oversees the evaluation of the San Diego MHSA Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) and MHSA Innovations efforts, consisting of dozens of programs. Learn more about Dr. Sarkin here.

Mental Health Among Teen Mothers – Dominique Pareja Behague, PhD – King’s College London

Teen motherhood is a heterogeneous experience and many teen mothers experienced no prolonged mental morbidity.

Dr. Dominique Behague is an Anthropologist and Epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University and King’s College London. Her main area of research is a direct outgrowth of her long-term research experience in Southern Brazil and is a collaborative project with the Department of Social Medicine at the Federal University of Pelotas and the LSHTM. Using long-term ethnographic methods and anthropologically-informed epidemiological surveys, the most recent phase of this project explores how the medicalization of “adolescence” has been shaped by health care reform, the governance of health and economic inequities, and the psychiatric de-institutionalization movement. Learn more about Dr. Dominique Behague here.

Childhood Obesity – Sofiya Alhassan, PhD – University of Massachusetts

One-third of children in the U.S. is overweight or obese, which is associated with a wide range of health problems.

Dr. Sofiya Alhassan is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts, School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Her research interest is in using physical activity in the prevention of pediatric obesity. Dr. Alhassan’s current research focuses on childhood obesity, particularly creating effective interventions to reduce the early onset of obesity in young children in addition to community family-based physical activity interventions. She has received several grants from the NIH, including the Magnet Trial, which examined the feasibility of daughter-mother dance physical activity and its impact on the physical levels of African-American girls. Learn more about Dr. Alhassan here.

Healthy Aging – Gerhild Ullmann, PhD, CPH, GCFP – University of Memphis

The risk factor for cognitive decline is inactivity and many older adults refrain from exercising due to health related issues.

Dr. Gerhild Ullmann is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis, School of Public Health. She is also the Project Director of the web-based project: FitKids. Dr. Ullmann’s research interests range from the effects of physical activity on health to the implementation and dissemination of health behavior and chronic disease management programs. She is interested in the exploration of mind-body exercises, and their potential effects on aging, well-being, cognitive and functional health. Learn more about Dr. Gerhild Ullmann here.

Childhood Cancer – Amanda Janitz, PhD, MPH, BSN – University of Oklahoma

Children with birth defects had a higher rate of developing cancer under age six, compared to those without birth defects.

Dr. Amanda Janitz is an Assistant Professor of Research in Epidemiology at the University of Oklahoma, College of Public Health. Her research interests are childhood cancer, environmental exposure, congenital anomalies and health disparities. Dr. Janitz’s current research focuses on childhood cancer. She has several publications including her latest in 2015 on patterns of care for localized breast cancer. Learn more about Dr. Amanda Janitz here.

Rural Health – Shalewa Noel-Thomas, Ph.D., M.P.H. – University of Florida

Where people live and the quality of health services they receive significantly affect health status.

Dr. Shalewa Noel-Thomas is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health at the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. She is also Coordinator of the Rural South Public Health Training Center, and Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Her research focuses on health disparities, addressing the social determinants of health, cultural and linguistic competence, workforce development and training and community-based partnerships. Learn more about Dr. Shalewa Noel-Thomas here


Termites – Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, Ph.D – University of Florida

Fumigation is the only method of pest control that will rapidly eradicate pests from a structure.

Dr. Rudolf H. Scheffrahn is a Professor of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida Center for Tropical Agriculture. His research focuses on all aspects of termite biology, diversity, and control. Learn more about Dr. Rudolf H. Scheffrahn here


Diet and Physical Activity – Brook Harmon, PhD, RD – University of Memphis

In a study with college students, we found they believe family members were highly influential;  especially for physical activity, while their significant other affected diet choices.

Dr. Brook Harmon is an Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Memphis School of Public Health. Her research focuses on community-based participatory research, nutrition and physical activity behavior change; and obesity and chronic disease prevention. Dr. Harmon utilizes the application of community-based participatory research practices to examine the role of the faith-based community in the development and implementation of health and disease prevention programs. Much of her work includes partnering with African-American churches to promote health through culinary and physical activity skills training as well as research on leadership and environmental factors that influence healthy behaviors. She is also a registered dietitian and holds a certificate in gerontology. Before earning her doctorate, she served as the Director of Dietary Interventions for nearly 6 years at the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of South Carolina. Learn more about Dr. Brook Harmon here.