2016 Genesys Heart Institute and Video Project winners

Congratulations to our two teams of Genesys Heart Institute Video Project Winners!

Both Shelby Miller and Ariel Angel-Vincent as well as Japari Gadzami and Nubwa Gadzami were able to take home the $1500 prize!!! A short snippet of each of their videos can be found here on our department Facebook page!

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Are you interested in winning a cash prize? The next opportunity will come in the fall, please email Dr. Shan Parker at shanpark@umflint.edu with any questions!

Public Health and Health Sciences Department volunteers help community with lead screening and education

The Department of Public Health and Health Sciences has been busy at work helping volunteer with the community during the Flint water crisis, offering assistance with lead screening and blood testing at various sites throughout the city.

The PHHS efforts were done in collaboration with UM-Flint Student Care Coordinator and Clinical Nursing Faculty member Veronica Robinson, MSN, RN, and students from the Department of Nursing. In addition to having many student volunteers, faculty and staff from PHHS have volunteered as well, including Dr. Gergana Kodjebacheva, Dr. Shan Parker and Brenda Cameron.

Hosting services at Cathedral of Faith Ministries and the downtown Flint YMCA in Flint, dozens of adults and children have had the opportunity for education about lead absorption, and lead screening itself. One of the many PHHS student volunteers, Jonathon Mateen II, was able to give us a first hand account of his experiences.

My first date volunteering was February 17th, 2016 at Cathedral of Faith Ministries. This location was once an elementary school and has been converted into a church. This lead screening site was done together with Molina Health Care, The University of Michigan-Flint School of Nursing, and the Genesee County Health Department. It was set up event style with Molina providing tables for information, activities for children, a raffle with prizes and free food. Students from The School of Nursing along with public health students ran a hand washing station and a station on nutrition.

I started working the table on nutrition which discussed how a healthy diet can fight lead poisoning. I held two discussions with parents of children who were being tested for lead. Upon sharing with one parent that children absorb up to 50% of lead ingested while adults only absorb up to 10%, she excitedly searched for a piece of paper to write that information down. This stood out to me because of the amount of information concerning lead poisoning that was out there, showing me that not only is there a lot of information out there, but that everyone knows something different. The significance of health education is very important, as many people do not know a lot of the information surrounding this crisis and other public health problems despite the availability of the information.

From this task, I started to assist with hand washing. It was very important that children properly washed their hands. We served to make sure the children did not contaminate their hands with germs before being tested for lead. This involved us turning on the faucet, placing soap in their hands, singing the happy birthday song twice while washing, turning the faucet off, dispensing paper towel, and then opening the door. It was a duty making sure these energetic children kept their hands off of everything on the way to the testing room. Sometimes parents would come in the bathroom to see that their child was properly sanitized. This step also served the purpose of educating on the various ways lead enters the body. Lead can be found on many things children are interested in exploring, from toys to the outdoors. Hand washing is essential to fighting lead poisoning.

By volunteering I was able to participate in a community effort to promote education and awareness to the people of Flint. This was very important for me after the water crisis developed into what it is today. There is only so much that we have control of on a right now basis. Seeing different facets of health care and members of the community come together for this event was inspiring. While we were there to assist and educate, no amount of knowledge that can be disseminated to people compares to a lived experience. These events serve as a way to bridge the gap between that lived experienced and what we all need to know for the improvement of our health.

IMG_20160217_163046665Public Health and Health Sciences undergraduate students Jonathon Mateen (at left) and Ashley McCloud (second from right) with Dr. Gergana Kodjebacheva (second from left)

PHHS’s own Brenda Cameron also spoke on her experiences, which she found both rewarding and eye opening.

On February 17th, 2016 I volunteered at the YMCA/Cathedral of Faith COGIC which was hosting a lead testing and information clinic. I signed up to volunteer as I feel helpless during this crisis. Volunteers were plentiful so I wasn’t especially busy but that allowed me to interact with families attending the clinic and hear some of their personal stories and battles.

Being there first hand brought the crisis to life; the real people affected, each still wondering what the future holds for their children and their homes. The organizations that coordinated the event did an outstanding job providing healthy and fun activities for the children to keep the experience positive and engaging.

Giving my time showed me the time these families must sacrifice to get the information, water, and testing that they need. The experience was heartwarming as I saw the community pull together and all of the people lining up to help. It also opened my eyes to some of the many things we take for granted every day.

Many of the PHHS student volunteers are also members of the Health Education Honor Society, Eta Sigma Gamma, and their participation was led by ESG Faculty Advisor and PHHS Department Associate Director Dr. Shan Parker.

Eta Sigma Gamma President Shelby Miller also spoke of her experiences.

I volunteered on February 17th at Cathedral of Faith and on February 23rd at Mount Olive Baptist Church. At each event we rotated volunteer duties, so I provided nutrition education aimed at helping to reduce the negative effects of lead, greeted participants at the door, and helped the children wash their hands prior to lead testing.

The main thing that I got out of this experience was confirmation that I want to pursue a career in Public Health. This issue is happening so close to home and it just shows that public health professionals are so necessary to help deal with these kinds of social issues impacting the health of communities. It is also important for us, as public health professionals to advocate for these communities because they may not have the resources to advocate for themselves.

It is very sad to witness the children of Flint having to go through this. After talking with the families it was evident that many of the children realize the harsh reality of what is going on in their community.


Eta Sigma Gamma President Shelby Miller educates the community on lead and nutrition


We are so proud of all of our student, faculty and staff volunteers at Public Health and Health Sciences, and of all of our colleagues at the University of Michigan-Flint, and we look forward to continuing our leadership efforts throughout the community as we work towards helping in any way that we can with the Flint water crisis.

For more information the involvement of PHHS with the water crisis, including information on the remaining dates tot eh Flint Water Crisis Course, please visit Flint Water Crisis page.

Congratulations Tabitha Donald!

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.30.25 PMCongratulations to PHHS student Tabitha Donald as her abstract was presented at the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research annual meeting this past month! This annual meeting is designed for health professions faculty and students; program directors of public health programs, and chairs of departments of preventive medicine/population health to tackle important topics facing our world.

Taking place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Teaching Prevention 2016: Preparing Students to Address Emerging Issues featured student presenters from around the United States, with Tabitha presenting her MSHE Capstone project on which she worked with Dr. Rie Suzuki. The title of her abstract was “The Relationship of Physical Activity and Social Support with Depression in Older Adults.”  Her abstract will be made available later this month at teachingprevention.org

Congratulations Tabitha, and to Dr. Suzuki as well!

Alumni Spotlight – Meredith Hurston CLS/MT Class of 2003

Meredith Hurston is a 2003 CLS/MTP graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint Public Health and Health Sciences Department and we recently received some exciting news updating us on her endeavors since leaving our department!

After graduation, Meredith completed her internship through Wayne State and went on to work at Hurley Medical Center for over 5 years. She then relocated to Baltimore to work at The Johns Hopkins Hospital where she currently serves as a quality assurance specialist for the Department of Pathology while concurrently owning M. Squared Healthcare Consulting Agency.

Click here to read a CBS Local Baltimore feature on Meredith from earlier this month!


Congratulations Meredith!!!


Congratulations Radiation Therapy Class of 2015!!!

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 9.01.06 AMCongratulations to the 2015 Radiation Therapy class, as all seven of our graduates have passed boards on their first attempt and are employed or have been accepted into graduate school!!

Back row from left to right:
William Nicolai- Southern Illinois University Carbondale, pursuing Master’s in Medical Dosimetry
Laura Jolovic- St. Jude’s Children Hospital
Ben Bedford- St. John Providence, Novi, Southfield campus and McLaren Greater Lansing
George Kozan- UMHS

Front row from left to right:
Emily Schlaud- Henry Ford
Jerusha Ryan- UMHS
Aryn Mawer- Arizona Center for Cancer Care

We wish all of our PHHS RT alumni the very best as they begin their quest to become leaders in the Radiation Therapy field! Congratulations again!

Congratulations Georgiana!

Congratulations to Georgiana Logan, a graduate of the MS in Health Education Program, who has been accepted into the University of Alabama for Fall 2015 into the Health Education/Health Promotion PhD Program!

Georgiana was awarded an Assistantship to attend the University of Alabama and will be teaching their undergraduate Personal Health Course. Georgiana currently serves as the Health Educator for the Urban Health and Wellness Center for UM-Flint.

PHHS thanks you for all of your service and dedication to the department in your time here at UM-Flint, and wishes you the very best of luck on all of your future endeavors!!!

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Dr. Robert Buckingham elected to the executive board of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

Head on over to the front page of the new University of Michigan-Flint news page and read the wonderful news about our very own Dr. Robert Buckingham and his election to the executive board of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER)! UM-Flint, through the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences is now the first associate member of ASPHER from the United States of America!  To read the full story, click on the photo below

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Congratulations Anna Ratiu!

Congratulations to PHHS Alum Anna Ratiu for being selected for a highly competitive internship placement within the Research, Evaluation and Planning unit of the Los Angeles Public Health Department. Anna is a 2013 graduate of the Public Health and Health Sciences department majoring in Healthcare Administration, and is currently int he MPH program at USC. Congratulations again Anna!

We are always on the lookout for updates from our alums both locally and around the world! Send us your updates and stories and we will be happy to share!


PHHS Students at the 2015 Student Research Conference

Each year, the UM-Flint Student Research Conference (SRC) provides the opportunity for UM-Flint undergraduate and graduate students to share their faculty-mentored research, scholarship, and creative activities. The conference showcases multi-disciplinary research from the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and applied sciences. Students present their scholarly work either in 15-minute oral presentations, hour-long poster sessions, demonstrations, or performances. Additionally, student presenters have the opportunity to have their manuscripts published in the annual conference proceedings.

This year’s Student Research Conference took place on March 27, 2015 at the Riverfront Event Center on campus, and Public Health and Health Science student and conference participant Janet Xiong, took time to give us an overview of the event! Check out her story below…

My experience at the Student Research Conference (SRC) was intriguing. I was able to not only present my research project, but learn about the research that other students were involved in. I was able to attend an oral presentation and view the poster of several projects. I feel that the oral presentations was such a great component to this conference, because there was great discussion generated and slide presentations that were visually appealing and informative. The posters sessions were an interactive way for students to share about their research as well as gain the knowledge about other students’ research projects.

I created a poster to showcase the research project I have worked on alongside Dr. Gergana Kodjebacheva. The research is titled “Interventions to Improve Child-Parent-Provider Communication: a Systematic Review.” The purpose of this research was to review literature that has implemented interventions to improve the communication between a child, parent, and provider. Communication is a crucial factor in producing effective health systems in medical and clinical environments. In pediatric care, we aimed to discover the communication interventions that have been implemented so far. We researched on six different databases (PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Cochrane, EMBASE, and ERIC). 4,163 articles later, we found that 37 of these studies were aligned with our criteria. Each of these studies had varying sample sizes, designs, target groups, and intervention strategies.

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After reviewing each study, we found that many studies targeted the provider and/or parent with the communication interventions, but very rarely, was there studies that targeted children. Interventions targeting providers, such as role-playing sessions, seminars, and educational materials for medical providers, hoped to improve providers’ interpersonal, patient-centered interviewing, and counseling skills. Interventions targeting parents, such as receiving instructions or information prior to a health situation involving their child and family-centered rounds, intended to improve parent satisfaction, communication, and/or treatment expectation. We found only one study that worked to improve the communication of children–by having them watch videos that showed effective communication between a child and a physician. The videos were used to help the children imitate the communicative behaviors of talking about their health.

The implication of my research project with Dr. Kodjebacheva is the implementation of more interventions and clinical training to enhance health communication among children, parents, and providers, and hence, improving the health care system.

After my poster presentation, there were closing remarks by Andre Louis, who was an important planner of the event. Then, a nice lunch was availble to all student researchers, which was a great way to relax and absorb the opportunity we were all given–to share and learn about research. Overall, my experience at the SRC was a enjoyable and I am sure that all students and faculty involved felt the same!

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Janet was joined fellow PHHS student Jeremy Blankenship who also presented at the conference.  Jeremy’s project and a summary of his experience can be found below:

Project Title: Disparities of Incidence by Race and Ethnicity for Childhood Cancer in Michigan Presenter(s): Jeremy Blankenship, Graduate student Faculty Sponsor(s): Gregana Kodjebacheva, Public Health and Health Sciences

“The Student Research Conference was the first time that I have been able to present scholarly research outside of the classroom. The experience was extremely valuable to me. I proved to myself that I could work as a part of a research team with Dr. Gergana Kodjebacheva and present it in a professional scholarly manner. My confidence level is so much higher now that I have successfully presented at the Student Research Conference.

Dr. Kodjebacheva has gone out of her way to assist me in developing research skills by answering all my questions, giving me feedback, suggesting improvements, or helping me with SPSS. Working with Dr. Kodjebacheva as a Graduate Research Assistant and working on childhood cancer research has influenced my decision to pursue a second masters degree in public health and to pursue other research opportunities in the future.”

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For more information on the Student Research Conference, as well as a program with listings on more details on the projects from Janet and Jeremy please click here!