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Public Health Minute with William Latimer – Lehman College

Antiretroviral Therapy – Phyllis Kanki, D.S.c. – Harvard University

We’ve been involved in HIV prevention and treatment in Nigeria for over a decade. Our partner hospitals and clinics have provided treatment to over two hundred thousand AIDS patients.

Dr. Phyllis Kanki is a Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Her research has a focus on the virology, pathogenesis and molecular epidemiology of HIV in Africa. In 2000, Dr. Kanki created and directed the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN), with a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This provided the collaborative foundation for the Harvard President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) providing prevention, care and HIV antiretroviral therapy in Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania (2004-2012). To date, in addition to the capacity building for clinical, laboratory and research capabilities, the program has provided treatment for over 150,000 AIDS patients. Learn more about Dr. Phyllis Kanki here.

Urban Sewer Epidemiology – Kevin Bisceglia, PhD – Hofstra University

For monitoring drug use, sewer surveillance is akin to conducting a urine-based drug test on an entire city. Compared to traditional survey techniques, it should provide information faster and with improved special revolutions.

Dr. Kevin Bisceglia is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Hofstra University. His research interests are environmental and analytical chemistry, water quality, and the chemical fate and transport in the built environment. Dr. Bisceglia’s teaching interests include general and environmental chemistry, active learning in STEM Education, and analytical chemistry. Prior to joining Hofstra, he founded the Chemistry Department at Bard High School Early College Queens, a satellite campus of Bard College that grants A.A. degrees to New York City public school students, and worked in the Chemical Sciences Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Learn more about Dr. Kevin Bisceglia here.

Tobacco Use – Megan Roberts, PhD – Ohio State University

Although we’re happy to see that the overall prevalence of cigarette use is declining in the U.S., the trend is not so promising when you break things down and look at particular vulnerable groups.

Dr. Megan Roberts is a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, as part of its Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Dartmouth College in 2012, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies from 2012-2014. Dr. Roberts’ research has a focus on translational research to prevent tobacco initiation and reduce health disparities.  Learn more about Dr. Megan Roberts here.

Child and Classroom Predictors of Friendships and Engagement – Elise Cappella, PhD – New York University

Friendships with diverse peers tend to decline over elementary and middle school. We found that warm and supportive teaching help students maintain prosperous friendships over time.

Dr. Elise Cappella is an Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and Director of the Institute of Human Development and Social Change. Cappella is co-Director of NYU’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Fellowship dedicated to training the next generation of education scientists. Her research integrates education and psychology with the goal to better understand what disrupts, and alternatively, promotes children’s positive adaptation in schools and communities. She has identified academic and social-emotional functioning among low-income children as priority areas of interest, with a focus on the social processes of schooling. With grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Spencer Foundation, Cappella has studied predictors of academic achievement among students at risk for failure, and has designed and tested an intervention to enhance girls’ prosocial leadership and reduce relational aggression. Learn more about Dr. Elise Cappella here.

Neuroplasticity and TBI – Gerald Voelbel, PhD – New York University

Over five million people in the U.S. live with cognitive deficits due to traumatic brain injury. My research examines ways to improve processing speed deficits to increase information processing and acquiring verbal information.

Dr. Gerald Voelbel is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at New York University Steinhardt. His main research interests focus on the neuropsychological deficits in neurological and psychiatric populations. An area of significant importance for Dr. Voelbel is the development of cognitive remediation techniques to improve cognitive deficits, such as processing speed, executive function and working memory in individuals with traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Voelbel investigates the remediation of the cognitive deficits as they relate to performing everyday tasks and psychological problems. An additional area of interest for Dr. Voelbel is the use of functional and structural imaging methods to identify biomarkers of cognitive deficits in concussions and in more severe traumatic brain injuries. Learn more about Dr. Gerald Voelbel here.

Breast Cancer – Laura Bowers, PhD – University of North Carolina

The ultimate goal of my research is to identify interventions that will reduce obesity’s impact on breast cancer outcomes. Our data suggested that daily aspirin or Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplements could breast cancer prognosis in obese women.

Dr. Laura Bowers is a Cancer Control Education Program postdoctoral fellow with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on improving our understanding of the role that chronic inflammation plays in the link between obesity and cancer, with the ultimate goal of identifying interventions that reduce the impact of obesity on cancer risk and outcomes.  Learn more about Dr. Laura Bowers here.

Vaccinations – Gretchen Chapman, PhD – Rutgers University

Recent work on behavioral insight show that people are more likely to engage in healthy behavior if the environment makes that behavior really easy.

Dr. Gretchen Chapman is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology at Rutgers University, School of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on how judgment and decision makes compares to how people make decisions with normative models of the best or most rational method for making decisions with a concentration on decision processes that are important in the areas of health and medicine. One of her long-standing interests concerns are the roles of risk and time delay in decision making, and how these play out in preventive health behavior. In a series of studies, she explored factors associated with the decision to receive a flu shot. These factors include perceived risks and benefits, anticipated emotions such as worry, social factors such as perceived norms and job role, and interpersonal factors such as altruistic benefits of vaccinating. Learn more about Dr. Gretchen Chapman here.

Maternal and Child Health – Jen Jen Chang, PhD., M.P.H. – Saint Louis University

Children living in homes with depressed mothers are at increased risk for developing problems such as aggression, hyperactivity, depression and anxiety. Children with depressed moms are less likely to develop problem behaviors if their dads are actually engaged in family life.

Dr. Jen Jen Chang is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice.  Her research interests includes the effects of short sleep duration on maternal and fetal outcomes as well as adolescent risk behaviors and mental health. She is also interested in maternal depression, modifiable risk factors for preterm delivery and perinatal epidemiology. Dr. Chang has expertise in longitudinal study design and secondary data analysis using data from large national longitudinal studies such as National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) and National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Learn more about Dr. Jen Jen Chang here.

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease – Erin Abner, PhD – University of Kentucky

When we examined database on brain autopsies it is clear that diabetes drives through a vascular injury and not Alzheimer’s Disease. This is good news because it means that cognitive dysfunction from diabetes can likely be prevented.

Dr. Erin Abner is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Her research interests include clinicopathological correlations, the use of Markov chains in longitudinal data analysis, practice effects in cognitive screening instruments, and the relationship between cognitive impairment and self-rated quality of life. She focuses in the clinical area of Alzheimer’s disease and associated disorders and has a general interest in aging research. In 2013 Dr. Abner was awarded the Caldwell Book Award for Excellence in Infectious Disease Epidemiology. Learn more about Dr. Erin Abner here.

Motor Speech Disorders – Mary Andrianopoulos, PhD – University of Massachusetts Amherst

Our research shows that children with Down Syndrome exhibit underlying motor speech impairments that are neurologic in nature. A motor speech impairment can interfere with one’s ability to interact and communicate with others, learn activity in school and carry out daily activities.

Dr. Mary Andrianopoulos is an Associate Professor of Communication Disorders at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Her research interests are motor speech disorders, voice disorders and autism. She conducts research on individuals with neurodevelopmental and acquired neurologic communication disorders to better understand the underlying motor programming, motor planning, motor execution and motor coordination abilities of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), learning disabilities, dysarthria, and Apraxia of Speech (AOS). I also study the symptom complex, Paradoxical Vocal Fold Movement (PVFM) in children, athletes and adults.  Dr.  Andrianopoulos also studies the acoustic perceptual features of speech among individuals with ASD, from culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and among those with motor speech and voice disorders. Learn more about Dr. Mary Andrianopoulos here.