Drexel University’s School of Public Health had strong representation at the 139th Annual American Public Health Association Meeting this year with many faculty, alumni and student presenters. Topics of presentations ranged from the health of disenfranchised felons to non-medical use of prescription drugs among high-risk LGBT youth to the link between racial discrimination and HIV risk among black heterosexual men.
The focus of this year’s annual meeting was “Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies.” Faculty, alumni and students presented research posters, participated in workshops and facilitated panel discussions on a wealth of topics impacting the public’s health. Aleksandar Kecojevic, MPH, a doctoral student at Drexel School of Public Health, received an award from the APHA’s LGBT Caucus for his research entitled “Non-Medical use of Prescription Drugs Among High-risk LGBT Youth.”
The APHA annual meeting is the largest gathering of public health professionals in the world that includes physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and other public health workers. The meeting this year was held from October 29-November 2 in Washington, DC. For more information about this years meeting please visit http://www.apha.org/meetings/AnnualMeeting/.
A snapshot of their research includes:
Lisa Bowleg, PhD
Dr. Bowleg presented findings from her research on HIV risk and Black heterosexual males called “What does racial discrimination have to do with HIV risk? Examining the relationship between racial discrimination, social support and sexual HIV risk among Black heterosexual men”. Dr. Bowleg and her colleagues examined whether social support moderates the relationship between racial discrimination and sexual HIV risk among Black heterosexual men (BHM). They recruited BHM between the ages of 18-45 to complete a computer survey. The conclusion was that interventions that increase social support may be effective in decreasing the link between racial discriminations and sexual risk for BHM. Full abstract.
Carla Campbell, MD, MS
Associate Teaching Professor
Dr. Campbell presented findings from her studies “A qualitative analysis of specialized court process: The Philadelphia Lead Court” and “An Innovative law enforcement strategy through health and housing collaboration: The Philadelphia Lead Court”. Dr. Campbell and her colleagues evaluated the Philadelphia Lead Court to determine its effectiveness as an innovative law enforcement strategy in enforcing the existing city health code. The Court handles cases where the property owner has not responded appropriately to orders from Philadelphia Health Department to remediate lead hazards found in the homes of young children with elevated blood lead levels. Dr. Campbell and her colleagues concluded that the Lead Court can be very effective, compared to pre-court enforcement strategies, according to key court participants. Full abstract.
Baudelio Gutierrez, Jr.
Mr. Gutierrez presented findings from his study entitled “Acceptability of the Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine among adolescent males” based on the 2009 approval of the FDA to give the HPV vaccine to eligible males between the ages of 9 and 26. Gutierrez and colleagues recruited 46 adolescent males to take a survey and participate in focus groups that assessed their attitudes and acceptability toward HPV and the HPV vaccine. Through both quantitative and qualitative data gathering, Gutierrez and colleagues concluded that knowledge of HPV and the vaccine was low among adolescent males. Increased awareness HPV and the vaccine would benefit adolescent males who are considering and/or engaging in sexual activity. Full abstract.
Myra Karstadt, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dr. Karstadt presented her review of the Household Products Database, its design and contents, and the likely impacts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Global Harmonization Standard (GHS) on the database in her presentation entitled “Utilization of material safety data sheets (MSDS) as information resources for consumers and the general public”. The Household Products Database, available through the Toxnet Website, is essentially a collection of MSDS and data gleaned from MSDS on a product-specific basis. Dr. Karstadt noted that data within any one category tended to be sparse. Dr. Karstadt also noted that several features of the proposed GHS, features such as the graphics and standardized text that accompany graphics, may not be understandable to consumers. Adapting MSDS information for the general public is a problem that should be dealt with. Full abstract.
Dr. Karstadt also presented findings on the harm of methylene chloride in paint thinners called “Paint stripping with methylene chloride: Due to regulatory failure, workers have much better protection than consumers”. She notes that consumers are inadequately protected against the harmful effects of exposure to the potential carcinogen because the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and EPA have failed to act. She also notes that material safety data sheets (MSDS) for methylene chloride-containing paint strippers tend to be poor communicators of information to consumers. She concludes that OSHA, CPSC and EPA should cooperate to improve MSDS. Full abstract.
Aleksandar Kecojevic, MPH
Mr. Kecojevic, who is a second-year doctoral student at Drexel School of Public Health, presented findings on his research entitled “Non-Medical use of Prescription Drugs Among High-risk LGBT Youth”. Data is based upon cross-sectional surveys of 560 high-risk youth (polydrug users, homeless youth, and injection drug users) aged 18 to 25 reporting current non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD), recruited in Los Angeles and New York City from 2008 to 2010. Kecojevic and his colleagues found that LGBT youth were more likely to report problematic history of NMUPD than their heterosexual counterparts including initiating NMUPD one year earlier on average, being prescribed prescription drugs more often, reporting higher rates of recent use, being more likely to have injected prescription drugs, and being more likely to report family member's history of NMUPD. Findings suggest that NMUPD among high-risk LGBT youth may be an under-reported feature of the larger prescription drug epidemic in the U.S. Kecojevic was named the 2011 recipient of the Walter J. Lear Outstanding Student Research Award for his abstract. Full abstract.
Mr. Kecojevic also evaluated an overdose prevention program (ODPP) run by Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP) and presented his findings in “Initial Evaluation of Overdose Prevention Program in Philadelphia”. ODPP teaches intravenous drug users (IDUs) how to respond to an overdose, including administering naloxone. Qualitative and quantitative data were compared. Preliminary findings highlight the need for understanding the barriers that prevent untrained IDUs from accessing ODPP. Kecojevic states the reasons why more trained IDUs don't use naloxone during response to an overdose necessitate additional research. Full abstract.
Stephen Lankenau, PhD
Dr. Lankenau presented his research entitled “Comparing Overdose Response Behaviors Between Trained and Untrained Injection Drug Users: The Impact of Overdose Prevention Programs”. The purpose of his study was to determine how responses to drug overdose varied between trained and untrained injection drug users (IDUs). Training programs teach IDUs how to recognize and respond to overdose, and many include training in administering naloxone (an opioid antagonist) to overdose victims. Findings showed that trained participants were more adept at recognizing overdose symptoms, more commonly performed recommended response techniques, such as rescue breathing and administering naloxone, and less commonly “did nothing.” Full abstract.
Dr. Lankenau’s second presentation also focused on drug abuse and was called “Prescription drug misuse among young injection drug users: Findings from New York and Los Angeles.” Dr. Lankenau and his colleagues interviewed 199 injection drug users with recent history of prescription drug misuse. Findings showed that current misuse of opioids and tranquilizers were more typical than misuse of most illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Full abstract.
Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, MSc, FAHA
Dr. Liu presented “Social-Biological Differences Across the Lifespan and Risk of Stroke Incidence: A Life Course Epidemiology Analysis”. Dr. Lui and his colleagues aimed to examine the complex association of social-biological differences across the lifespan with risk of stroke incidence. From 1992 to 2008, participants older than age 50 years were recruited and followed on average for 9.7 years. Stroke was defined as a physician-diagnosed first-time incident. Socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood was assessed using parents' education level. Social-biological status in adulthood was assessed by subjects' education level, body mass index (BMI), and chronic non-communicable disease. Multivariate Cox's models indicated that poor SES in childhood, and poor SES and worse health conditions in adulthood significantly predicted risk of stroke. The study provides further evidence for the association of poor SES and health conditions in early life with risk of stroke in later life. Full abstract.
Jenne Massie, MS
Research Scientist ans Doctoral Student
Ms. Massie, a doctoral candidate at the School of Public Health, presented research on “Where are they? The challenges of using venue-time-based sampling methods in HIV prevention research with heterosexual Black men”. The purpose of the study was to examine the challenges and effectiveness of venue-time-based sampling in an HIV prevention research study with heterosexual Black men (BHM) in Philadelphia, PA. The results showed that venue-time based sampling produced a low overall yield of BHM for HIV prevention research and notable challenges relating to staff, training, weather, safety, staff time and cost effectiveness. Full abstract.
Katie McSloy, MPH ‘11
Ms. McSloy presented “Health promotion, physical activity, nutrition and participation for children with special healthcare needs and their families”. This project aims to describe children with special health care needs (CSHCN) on: 1) physical activity 2) eating habits; 3) weight status; and 4) community resources. Preliminary data analysis suggests that on average, girls are obese but boys have healthy weight. Preliminary data on eating habits show CSHCN consume a high-fat, high-sugar diet. Full abstract.
Jonathan Purtle, MPH '10, MSc
Program Manager of the Center for Public Health Readiness & Communication
Mr. Purtle presented “Felon Disenfranchisement in the United States: A Health Equity Perspective”. A systematic review of research from the fields of neuroscience, social psychology, public health, and sociology was conducted and two prospective pathways were identified: 1) inequitable public policies, and 2) deleterious psychosocial mechanisms. The presentation elucidated how felon disenfranchisement policies are a form of institutionalized racism and a contributing factor to racial health disparities. Full abstract.
John Rossi, VMD, MBe
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr. Rossi presented “Autism, risk communication and ethics”. This presentation focused on a number of ethical issues in autism risk communication, which included (1) the avoidance of blame and stigma, both of which loom particularly large in the history of autism; (2) the maximization of benefits and minimization of harms to risk message recipients; (3) discrepancies between populations in the efficacy of risk communication, and the justice considerations this invokes; (4) ethical issues pertaining to the interpretation of risk data, both as relates to population versus individual risk, and also as relates to the interpretation of findings from relatively new research methodologies; (5) the appropriate level of evidentiary support for risk claims before they are disseminated; (6) the value-ladenness of risk, and its implications for how risk communication should be conducted, particularly as relates to public involvement in science. Full abstract.
Dr. Rossi’s second presentation was called “What should we eat? Food choices and our obligations to the public's health”. Production and consumption of animal products has significant implications for the public's health. Given its highly significant implications for individual, environmental, and global health, Rossi and his colleague Samual Garner, M Bioethics from NIH, argue that animal agriculture should be a focus of discussion in public health ethics. Full abstract.
Karol Silva, MPH
Ms. Silva presented “Prior Physician Medication and Subsequent Patterns of Drug Misuse in Young Adults”. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between prior physician-prescribed medication and subsequent patterns of misuse of prescription, licit, and illicit drugs among young adults. A total of 562 high-risk youth, ages 18 to 25, were sampled in a cross-sectional survey. These youth had reported recent prescription drug misuse. The sample was divided into four categories: pain pills only (group 1); pain pills and tranquilizers or stimulants (group 2); tranquilizers or stimulants only (group 3); and no history of prescription medications (group 4). Results showed that young adults who were prescribed pain pills and tranquilizers or stimulants (group 2) initiated misuse of tranquilizers significantly earlier, had higher rates of recent misuse of pain pills and tranquilizers, and had higher prevalence of lifetime injection of all prescription drugs. Full abstract.
Jennifer Taylor, PhD, MPH
Dr. Taylor presented “Annual Exploration of Injury Data Issues”. This session will continue the tradition of the past decade of APHA meetings during which section members discuss current issues in injury data. The learning objectives were: 1. Identify how to enter one's own national, State, or local data on deaths hospitalizations, emergency department visits-treated and released into WISQARS to get current cost of injury estimates. 2. Discuss how to balance the need for backwards compatibility between ICD-11 and ICD-10 with the need to progress to more homogeneous matrix categories. 3. Describe the definition and presentation of poisoning surveillance data. 4. Demonstrate how to get new data elements and codes into administrative hospital data. Full abstract.
Dr. Taylor also presented “Addition of New Codes into Administrative Data: An Outline of the Process and Benefits for Occupational Health Surveillance”. During the course of a grant focused on firefighter injury surveillance, Dr. Taylor and colleagues proposed the addition of Bureau of Labor Statistics Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to health data standards used for state-based claims data. The presentation described the process used to propose and add an external code set to administrative hospital data. Although the impetus for the proposal stemmed from firefighter injury surveillance, the process has broad implications and benefits for the entire occupational health surveillance field. Full abstract.
Nicole Vaughn, PhD
Dr. Vaughn presented “Valuing Youth Voices: Digital Animation as a Novel Translation of Violence Prevention Research Findings to Effectively Communicate with Youth Audiences”. Using a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach, the CDC-funded Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center (PCVPC) conducted research in three neighborhoods where the average annual youth homicide rate is 37/100,000 - 5 times the national annual rate. PCVPC's Research Core in collaboration with its Communication and Dissemination Core translated research findings from a qualitative study conducted with local youth to develop vignettes that displayed evidence-based intervention tips to reduce youth violence. Participants overwhelmingly preferred digital animation that would mirror the realities of the interactions and environments of their neighborhoods. The presentation highlighted the importance of valuing youth voice in research particularly as it relates to using CBPR principles in youth violence prevention efforts. Full abstract.
Thalia Williams, MPH ‘11
Ms. Williams presented “Developing of Communication Strategies in a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Framework to Increase Community Awareness and Engagement in Youth Violence Prevention Research”. Williams and her colleagues reported that knowledge and results obtained from research are not always readily available to underprivileged communities and/or translated in manners that are conducive to the community's understanding. An examination of internal and external communications facilitated by the Communication and Dissemination (C&D) Core of the CDC-funded Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center (PCVPC) was conducted to gain an understanding of previous and current research dissemination efforts. The analysis concluded that some of the current communication efforts could be enhanced to maximize awareness and engagement of adults and youth in the targeted communities. In an effort to optimize the impact of research conducted in community settings, it is important to develop appropriate and useful communication strategies and tools to reach multiple targeted audiences. Full abstract.
Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH
Dr. Yudell conducted a roundtable entitled “How history can help us improve approaches for communicating uncertainty around emotionally and politically charged issues”. The roundtable considered how historical methods and an understanding of history can inform the ways in which environmental risk messages are communicated and understood. Dr. Yudell focused specifically on the shifting etiological findings in autism research since 1943, and the lessons learned from these events. Full abstract.