Category Archives: Public Health

Population Health: Past, Present, & Future



On April 10, 2014, the University of Michigan’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program presented the symposium, Population Health: Past, Present, & Future.

This symposium featured more than 20 national and international experts reflecting critically on the meaning of population health, its accomplishments over the past 10 years, and challenges and opportunities moving forward.

Videos from the event are available for viewing below!

Welcome and Introduction

Session I

Session II

Session III

Alumni Panel

Session IV

Session V

Wrap Up and Closing


UM-Flint announces new health navigation minor and certificate

Starting in Fall 2014, the University of Michigan-Flint will offer a minor/certificate in health navigation. Health navigation is a new role, emerging from the need to help patients and families understand a complex and changing healthcare system. Working in hospitals, health clinics, human service agencies, and insurance companies, health navigators help clients understand the health system and health insurance, assist clients to access services they need and are eligible for, and educate clients about lifestyle changes to promote overall health. The program is 18-19 credit hours and can be completed in 1-2 years as a minor for current students or as a certificate for non-degree students. Program courses are taught by knowledgeable public health, nursing, and social work faculty and will address the following topics:

  • Medical terminology
  • Case management
  • Health promotion
  • Motivational interviewing
  • The Affordable Care Act and health insurance
  • Health assessment

The program will also include a practicum through which students will gain hands-on experience working under health navigators in the field.

For more information, please visit the School of Health Professions & Studies Web site.

Alumni Spotlight: Jamila Kwarteng, M.S. in Health Education, '07

jamila 3.12 headshotShortly after graduating from the UM-Flint M.S. in health education program, Jamila Kwarteng entered the Ph.D. program in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her study on associations between observed neighborhood characteristics and physical activity was recently published in the Journal of Public Health. Kwarteng generously took time from her busy schedule to tell us about life as a doctoral candidate.

For students who may be considering pursuing doctoral programs, can you tell us more about life as a doctoral candidate?

Life as a doctoral candidate is different from day to day, where some days are busier than others. The busy days can consist of meeting with research projects, guest speakers, or with fellow students; or it can consist of deadlines related to my dissertation. The lighter days usually involve reading the literature and writing for about 6 hours per day.

You were recently published in the Journal of Public Health, please tell us about that project and other research projects you have been involved in as a doctoral candidate. Overall, what are your research interests?

The article we published in the Journal of Public Health grew out of my research with the Healthy Environments Partnership (HEP), a community-based participatory research project focused on reducing disparities in cardiovascular health. The study we published examined whether the relationship between individual characteristics and physical activity varied by observed neighborhood characteristics (i.e. sidewalk condition, physical disorder, street condition). For example, are individuals who live in neighborhoods with sidewalks in better condition more physically activity than does with sidewalks in worse condition; and does this relationship vary by individual characteristics (i.e. age, gender)? We found that better sidewalk condition was associated with increases in physical activity among women and men of varying socioeconomic statuses.

My research interest is in how racial and social inequities contribute to cardiovascular disease. My dissertation focuses specifically on the potential pathways between psychosocial stress and central adiposity.

What advice do you have for students and fellow alumni?

For students and fellow alumni who are interested in pursuing doctoral studies, I would advise them to pursue areas that they are passionate about. Once you are able to find a topic that really interests you, it is much easier to conduct your research. In addition, seek out mentors who can assist you in navigating your path from the masters program to the doctoral program, and through your doctoral studies and beyond. They can guide you through the transition process by providing information on what you can expect from the program, and what your program will expect from you.

Want to tell us your story? Submit it here! 

Health education students become Certified Application Counselors to help community apply for health coverage

Gia and students 1

Enrollment Specialist Gia Carroll assists a woman with her application as undergraduate health education students Ken Overbaugh and Stephanie Suminski observe.

Students in Dr. Shan Parker’s undergraduate Strategies in Health Education course have trained to become Certified Application Counselors (CAC’s) to assist members of the community in applying for health coverage. Dr. Parker worked with Hamilton Community Health Network, Inc., a local non-profit, to get students trained and ready to go out into the community as CAC’s. Marcie Roberts, M.S. in health education student and outreach enrollment specialist at Hamilton, coordinated and trained the class. The students have already observed and volunteered at five enrollment drives, and will continue their enrollment work throughout the coming weeks. With the open enrollment period looming, Hamilton and other community organizations are anxious to help people get the coverage they need.

Stephanie Suminski distributes educational literature.

Stephanie Suminski distributes educational literature.

Ken Overbaugh, a senior in the health education program, gave his perspective on the experience of becoming and working as a CAC.

Overall, the application is a simple process. One issue, which is where CAC’s play an important role, is health literacy. The health literacy level of some of the questions on the application may be above the health literacy level of the clients we serve. It is very important for the CAC to determine the health literacy level of the person they are serving, and adjust their approach to that level. We have this tremendous opportunity as health education students to help serve our local community in getting health coverage. However, if we can’t explain it to them, how can we sell it to them?”

Ken Overbaugh gives his reasons for getting healthcare coverage under ACA.

Ken Overbaugh gives his reasons for getting healthcare coverage under ACA.

Hamilton is hosting several enrollment events this month, at which the new CAC’s will be observing and working. Upcoming events include:

Saturday, March 15
International Academy of Flint | 2820 S. Saginaw St.
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Saturday, March 22
International Academy of Flint | 2820 S. Saginaw St.
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.


Diabetes lunch and learn delivers healthy living advice and resources to 50 participants

Lunch and Learn 8Last week, through a collaboration of several UM-Flint departments and community partners, approximately 50 campus and community members learned practical tips for preventing and living with diabetes. Over a healthy, diabetes-friendly lunch, participants heard a presentation from Michelle Bernreuter, RD, diabetes program coordinator at the Hurley Diabetes Center. Each guest was given a free portion-control plate, a tool often used to help educate and help people moderate nutritious food intake. “Diabetes is increasing in prevalence quickly—8.5% of the US population have diabetes—25.8 million children and adults. It is critical that people know how to eat correctly with this disease.” said Molly Brennan, M.P.H., advisor/student placement coordinator and health education instructor in PHHS, who coordinated the event. Blood pressure screenings were also offered, thanks to the help of students and faculty from the Department of Nursing.

Among the guests was Emily Newberry, reference & social media librarian at the Frances Willson Thompson Library.  “I attended the event because when I was pregnant with my daughter I had gestational diabetes. My doctors told me that this puts me at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. I’d really like to avoid that, so attending this lunch gave me a lot of great information for how I can make simple changes in my diet to hopefully avoid becoming diabetic, or if I do, to control it with diet. The lunch was great and showed that food that is healthy can also taste good,” said Newberry.

The event was the result of a collaboration between the Department of Public Health & Health Sciences, HealthPlus, MHealthy, the UM-Flint Urban Health & Wellness Center, and the UM-Flint Recreation Center.  These groups contributed resources, time, and energy to help community members learn how to make small changes that can make a big difference in their health. “I want to thank all the organizations involved with this collaborative event  including the Rec Center, Urban Health & Wellness Center, PHHS, MHealthy and Hurley Diabetes Center.  The many resources that we were able to share made this event the success if was” said Brennan.

5 PHHS students to attend APHA annual meeting in Boston

Five PHHS students will attend the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting in Boston this month. These five students were selected from a large pool of applicants from the PHHS student body for their excellent academic performance and demonstrated interest in attending the APHA conference:

Amber Currie, MPH student, with a concentration in Health Education
Raya Fares, MS in Health Education student
Georgiana Logan, MS in Health Education student
Hannah Murdoch, BS in Health Care Administration student
Kimberly Whitlock, MS in Health Education student

PHHS has provided funding for each student to receive APHA student membership for one year, APHA conference registration, travel expenses, and meals for the trip.

This is an excellent learning and networking opportunity for these students. The APHA Annual Meeting, according to the organization’s Web site, “attracts more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists. APHA’s meeting program addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health.”


5 ways credentials and professional membership can pay off

In higher education, we often hear questions along the lines of “why am I paying so much money for this piece of paper?” Education can be really expensive…we get that! Many of us here are still in debt from funding ours. To be fair, earning a degree, certificate, or credential is about a whole lot more than getting a piece of paper that shows you did something hard, but that’s not really a topic we can tackle in one post. So, let’s rein it in and focus on the stuff people do after graduation. You may ask yourself, after earning your degree, why you should dedicate time and money to add further credentials or join professional societies? Here are five good reasons:

  1. Belong.

    It’s good to be part of a group, especially in the scary realm of career building. Networking, professional advocacy, and members-only benefits/resources are just a few of the perks associated with professional society membership and/or certification. Membership in groups also gives others (both members and non-members) important clues about who you are as a professional, which is where the next point comes in…

  2. Wear the badge.

    It’s simple: credentials and designations carry meaning, inside and out of the profession. You knew that when you decided to earn your master’s or bachelor’s degree. Most credentials speak to specific qualifications within a profession and are substantiated by the hoops a professional must jump through to earn them.

  3. Built-in motivation.

    When’s the last time you read a lengthy scholarly article, conducted research, or went to a workshop in your field just for fun? Maybe not that long ago, if you’re really geeked about your profession (keep it up!) But seriously, we all need incentives to dedicate time and energy to learning something new. Credentialing agencies typically require continuing education via things like training, conferences, creative work, and independent study for certificate/credential maintenance. That’s a built-in incentive to do something you really should be doing anyway: keeping current in your field.

  4. Get some direction.

    Just because you’ve picked a major, or even earned your degree, doesn’t mean you know what you want to be when you grow up. Professional organizations can give you some insight into your field by providing reliable information and opportunities to learn from people who have worked in the profession for a long time. And that brings us to our last point…

  5. Get ahead.

    Believe it or not, there are others in your field who want to see you succeed—find them and let them help you. Of course, one of your primary resources as a student or alum is your faculty—they are your number one fans! In addition to faculty mentors, seek out the people who are doing what you dream of doing, and find out how they got there. A great place to find them is around the watering hole(s) of your field:  professional societies and organizations.

Here is a deeply abbreviated list of some of the organizations and credentialing agencies that might interest PHHS students, alumni and friends:

Public Health, Health Care Administration, and Health Education
American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) –
Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) –
American Public Health Association (APHA) –

Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology
American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) –

Radiation Therapy
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) –
American Society for Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) –

Hint: Regional chapters are great too, especially if you want to connect with professionals in your geographical area!

Assistant Professor of Health Education selected as 2013 Boyer Scholar

Dr. Lisa Lapeyrouse has been selected as one of UM-Flint’s five Boyer Faculty Scholars for 2013-2014. The goal of the Boyer Faculty Scholars Program, according to the program’s Web page is to “deepen the campus-wide discourse, practice, and recognition of the scholarship of engagement at UM-Flint.”

Dr. Lapeyrouse is dedicated to developing courses in which students not only gain knowledge and develop new skills, but have opportunities to apply their skills to meaningful scholarly activities that can benefit the Flint community. Readers may recall the service-learning project she implemented in her health communications course, in which graduate health education and MPH students sponsored and promoted a blood donation drive on campus in partnership with the American Red Cross. Lapeyrouse also integrated community-focused activities into her undergraduate course on program planning and implementation. She plans to further develop this course as a Boyer Scholar, to cultivate a partnership with a community organization focused on mental health and/or community violence issues that is seeking assistance with formal evaluation of their services and activities. The project would aim to create an undergraduate service-learning course that would allow students to:

  • Engage in a meaningful project where assignments and activities will culminate  in experience and materials they can include in their portfolios;
  • Provide a meaningful service to a community partner;
  • Apply evidence-based practices and techniques to develop and execute a needs assessment;
  • Get hands-on training in valuable public health education approaches like collaborative decision-making and resource sharing.

“Using my skills, knowledge, and efforts to empower the students and communities where I teach and work, to live safe, happy, and healthy lives, is a core tenet of my teaching philosophy,” says Lapeyrouse.

To learn more about the Boyer Faculty Scholars Program, visit the University Outreach website.

CHES/MCHES: More than just letters after your name

For health educators across the U.S., the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) or Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) designation indicates professional competency and dedication to career-long professional development, according to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), As a CHES or MCHES, you enjoy prestige in the eyes of colleagues and employers. One reason the designation is so powerful is that CHES and MCHES are required to meet specific standards set by the Nation’s only credentialing agency for health education professionals, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). So, being a CHES or MCHES is a nationally-recognized assurance of your merit as a health educator.

CHES 101
The NCHEC brochure “Become a Certified Health Education Specialist” offers the following basic definition of a CHES as someone who has:

1. Met academic eligibility.
2. Passed a written exam.
3. Has an ongoing commitment to continuing education.

The first item, academic eligibility, means that you have to have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with either a major/degree in Health Education or enough credits in certain coursework (demonstrated via transcript). If you graduate from UM-Flint’s B.S. in Health Education, B.S. in Public Health, M.S. in Health Education, or M.P.H. program with a concentration in Health Education, you’ll meet this one!

The second and third items refer, respectively, to the exam you must take to become a CHES and the continuing education credits you must earn throughout your career. You can learn more about these requirements at

You may be wondering, what is the difference between CHES and MCHES? MCHES is basically the advanced level of the CHES credential.  Once you’ve been active as a CHES for five years in a row, you become eligible to sit for the MCHES exam, which tests the advanced competencies you’re expected to meet a few years into your career. Get the specifics here.

Outstanding students recognized at PHHS Honors & Awards Ceremony

44 of PHHS’s most outstanding students were recognized at our Honors & Awards ceremony last Friday evening (May 3). Most of the 44 walked in Sunday’s commencement ceremony, though some will earn their diplomas in August.

What makes an outstanding student? PHHS is proud of all of our students, many of whom work, raise families, and engage in numerous enrichment and extracurricular activities throughout their education. Simply earning a UM-Flint degree is a major accomplishment! These 44 students stand out from an already exceptional group for a number of reasons.

Ten students were acknowledged for very special achievements. Alison Martin, an honors program student who is earning her B.S. in Health Sciences, Pre-Physical Therapy track, was recognized as one of this University’s 13 Maize & Blue winners this semester. Read more about Alison’s accomplishments here. Seven students received PHHS Outstanding Student Awards:

Laura Jamison, B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology Outstanding Student Award
Kirti Vekaria, B.S. in Health Care Administration Outstanding Student Award
Nancy Gonyea, B.S. in Health Education Outstanding Student Award
Laura Jamison, B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology Outstanding Student Award
Robert Reynolds, B.S. in Health Sciences Outstanding Student Award
Cody Chapman, B.S. in Health Sciences Honors Program Outstanding Student Award
Krystan Wheeler, B.S. in Radiation Therapy Outstanding Student Award
Whitney Yuchasz, Healthcare Administration Student Organization (HASO) Outstanding Service Award

Outstanding Student Award winners are selected by our faculty from a large group of eligible students. Criteria include credits earned, GPA and engagement. Eligible students are notified and asked to apply. The decisions are usually difficult; with so many deserving applicants, it is hard determine which students stand out most!

Ashley Cooper, M.S. in Health Education student, and Alison Martin, B.S. in Health Sciences student, were recognized as the Graduate and Undergraduate recipient (respectively) of the Eta Sigma Gamma Scholarship Key Award. The Scholarship Key award goes to the graduating member of the Delta Phi chapter with the highest GPA.

The following undergraduate students were recognized as graduating with honors or high honors, and received their honors cords:

Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology program: Britney Aldrich*, Amber Gee**, and Laura Jamison**; Health Care Administration program: Carly Brandreth**, Amanda Chappel**, Amy Debassige*, Gabrielle Dowker**, Liza Holmgren*, Tiyah Isom-Morris**, Lauren Kirsammer**, Alexander McGlashen**, and Elaina McLean*; Health Sciences program: Matthew Callahan**, Jennifer Clark*, Leah Karas*, Alison Martin**, Jeniffer Okungbowa-Ikponmwosa**, Samantha Robinson**, and Kortney Smith**; Radiation Therapy program: Trisha Aldrich*, David Rollinger*, Brittany Walroth*, Brandon Weir*, and Krystan Wheeler**; and lastly, Debby Jones**, earning her Bachelor of Applied Science with minor in Health Education & Behavior.

*Indicates Honors
**Indicates High Honors

Graduating members of two department honor societies were also recognized:

Eta Sigma Gamma Health Education Honorary

Graduate students: Amanda Allison, Porsha Black, Ashley Cooper, Rachel Histed, Randy Roberts, Jessica Sloan, Andrea Smith, and Kristen Williams. Undergraduate students: Nancy Gonyea, Debby Jones, Alison Martin, DaJaneil McCree, and Jeniffer Okungbowa-Ikponmwosa. Eta Sigma Gamma is open to students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and an interest in Health Education.

 Lambda Nu Radiation Therapy Honorary

Trisha Aldrich, Jayme Daenzer, James Scott Miller, Eric Nelson, Ryan Nielson, Melissa Rivera, David Rollinger, Brittany Walroth, Brandon Weir, and Krystan Wheeler.