School of Public Health 
January, 2019
Scarlet Musings
Dear Readers,

Welcome back - it is with great pride and excitement I enter my second Spring semester as dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health!
What I am looking forward to most is welcoming yet another ambitious and undoubtedly talented cohort of Spring students, who will begin their journey with us at the New Student Orientation in our new location in Newark. With the addition of our Spring students, our new 2018-2019 MPH class is nearly double the size of the 2017-2018 class.  

I am also looking forward to the School’s first global study opportunities, which we will be offering our students this summer in conjunction with our university partners in Greece and Tanzania. Over break, Dr. Marian Passannante and I spent time in Athens, Greece, working with our colleagues from the  National School of Public Health (Drs. Elisabeth Ioannidi & George Koulierakis) and Harokopio University (Dr. Vaios T. Karathanos) to develop three courses. Additionally, Dr. Leslie Kantor and Ohemaa Boahemaa were in Dodoma, Tanzania, finalizing our global public health practice course with colleagues at the University of Dodoma. Our global study opportunities will be unforgettable, enriching the educational experiences of participating students through meaningful coursework, cultural experiences, and collaboration with students from the hosting university. These two global sites are just the beginning of our global reach. We look forward to building our educational and research programs with our international partners, while learning from each other as we work to challenge the intellectual colonialism that characterizes too many global programs. 

I am proud to announce that we have launched the first-ever Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in LGBTQ Health to address the growing and complex health needs of LGBTQ individuals and communities. The LGBTQ Health concentration, which is under our Department of Urban-Global Public Health, will prepare students to work with the LGBTQ community through innovative coursework and practicum experiences with leading LGBTQ health researchers. Thanks to the new CEPH criteria, we can build creative and innovative programming such as this.

I look forward to the many initiatives being undertaken by our Office of Student Affairs, which will include special student seminars, activities, and of course, invaluable student support services!

I welcome you to join us for another semester and keep reading the January issue of the Scarletter to learn what we’ve been up to.   


Perry N. Halkitis PhD, MS, MPH
Dean and Professor
Rutgers School of Public Health
"Keeping the Public in Public Health"
Big News: We've Moved in Newark!
Our Newark location has moved to:
One Riverfront Plaza
Suite 1020 (10th floor)
Newark, NJ 07102

We’re super excited to share our modern and highly accessible location, which was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff with brand new technology, furniture, and classrooms!

Our new location provides around-the-clock security, including digital key-card access to our offices and classrooms. Students, faculty, and staff will have access to amenities such as a cafeteria, outdoor space, and many food options in close proximity. More information coming soon!
Building Global Study Opportunities
Athens, Greece
Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH , and Marian Passannante, PhD, associate dean for academic program development, were in Athens, Greece, developing three new  global  courses with colleagues at the National School of Public Health (Drs. Elisabeth Ioannidi & George Koulierakis) and Harokopio University (Dr. Vaios T. Karathanos)!
Dodoma, Tanzania
Leslie Kantor, PhD , chair and professor, and Ohemaa Boahemaa , both of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health, were in Dodoma, Tanzania, finalizing our global course, “Public Health and Practices in a Global Setting,” with colleagues at the University of Dodoma! 
Learn more about our global travel opportunities, including classes being offered this summer in Athens and Dodoma, by attending the upcoming information sessions in Newark and New Brunswick .
First Epidemiological Study of Breast Cancer in Tobago
Adana Llanos, PhD , assistant professor of epidemiology and member of  Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey , is launching the first-ever epidemiological study of breast cancer in Tobago!

This study will investigate the epidemiology of breast cancer through the collection of detailed medical records and surveillance data and will be an important first step towards improving breast cancer prevention and control efforts in Tobago.

Dr. Llanos, who is leading the study along with Dr. Wayne Warner from the  Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis , trained approximately 20 research assistants in the research unit at the Division of Health, Wellness, and Family Development at the Tobago House of Assembly on December 10-14, 2018.

“The launch of this study is particularly important because recent data from my research group has shown that breast cancer incidence and mortality rates are increasing among women in Trinidad and Tobago and the rates on the island of Tobago, which is a relatively small population, is particularly concerning,” comments Dr. Llanos.

Findings from this research are expected to inform clinical practice for breast cancer care in Tobago and provide a rationale for resource allocation, as well as for the deployment and location of optimized breast cancer screening resources.
Asbestos in Baby Powder
Emily Barrett, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology, comments on the dangers of  asbestos minerals found in products such as baby powder.

"Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services have named asbestos as a carcinogen, so that’s a chemical that causes cancer in the body," said Dr. Barrett who is also a researcher at the Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute. "So it’s been linked to a variety of different types of cancers — mesothelioma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and other gynecological cancers are kind of the leading ones that have been implicated.”
NYT: Why Is Children’s Masturbation Such a Secret?
Leslie M. Kantor, PhD , chair and professor of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health, was quoted in the health section of the New York Times by noted pediatrician and author, Dr. Perri Klass.

Dr. Kantor provided expert comment to parents on speaking with their children about masturbation, a topic that there is surprisingly little guidance or information on in pediatric literature. This lack of information and the general discomfort most parents may feel broaching the topic, has led a normal developmental behavior to be perceived as pathological.

“Young children, older children, adolescents and adults touching their genitals is perfectly normal, there are actually images of fetuses where you can see they’re touching the penis or touching the vulva,” said Dr. Kantor. “Where we culturally get confused is that when younger children are touching their genitals they’re doing it because it feels good,” just as other sensual experiences feel good, like stripping down and running through the sprinkler, but parents interpret it as overtly sexual.
Fewer New Jerseyans Signed Up for Healthcare
Michael K. Gusmano, PhD , associate professor and director of the Health Systems and Policy Concentration, commented on why fewer New Jerseyans signed up for healthcare during open enrollment in the fall.

"The recent federal court ruling in Texas, which found that by changing the tax code in 2017 and repealing Congress’ authority to fine people who don’t buy a health insurance policy every year, the law is no longer enforceable," said Dr. Gusmano who is also a Hastings Center Scholar. "The ruling likely created confusion in the final days of open enrollment and may have discouraged people from signing up."
Earn Your MPH in LGBTQ Health
The Master of Public Health (MPH) in LGBTQ Health will prepare students to conduct research and/or work in public health programs dedicated to improving the health of LGBTQ individuals and communities.

This new LGBTQ Health concentration addresses the growing need for health and health-related practitioners who are trained in addressing the unique and often challenging health needs of LGBTQ individuals. Students will take innovative coursework and participate in practicum experiences with leading LGBTQ health researchers.

This is the first MPH in LGBTQ Health to be offered by an accredited
School of Public Health.
Alumni Spotlights
Alum, Lindsay Rechtman, PhD , along with colleagues who include current Rutgers School of Public Health PhD candidate, Heather Jordan, MPH , recently conducted targeted educational and promotional outreach activities to general neurologists with a goal of increasing self-enrollment of persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the National ALS Registry.

Alum, Paromita Hore, PhD , and colleagues at the NYC Department of Health, highlight the potential risks of lead exposure from “non-traditional” sources, even as U.S. population blood levels continue to decline.
Non-traditional sources of lead exposure include spices purchased abroad, with 30% of the sampled spices containing lead concentrations greater than 2 parts per million.

Multi-State Infestation by Haemaphysalis longicornis  
William Halperin, MD, DrPH , professor of epidemiology, along with colleagues from Rutgers School of Environmental and Behavioral Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vector Borne Disease Division, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local and multiple state health departments, and many others, was a senior author of a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Multistate Infestation with the Exotic Disease–Vector Tick Haemaphysalis longicornis — US, August 2017–September 2018.”
Increased Levels of PFAS in New Jersey Community
Judith Graber, PhD, assistant professor and Epidemiology Concentration director, along with Clifford Wiesel PhD, professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, led a pilot study examining per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), in the Paulsboro, NJ water supply. They found elevated PFNA serum levels and a significant association between increased serum levels and self-reported high cholesterol.
LGBTQ Health in Greece
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH , dean and director of the Center for Health Identity Behavior & Prevention Studies, along with colleagues, considers LGBTQ population health amid deteriorating social and economic conditions in Greece in latest paper. The study comes on the heels of the murder of prominent Greek LGBTQ activist, Mr. Zak Kostopoulos,
who was brutally beaten in central Athens.

Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research Fellow
Anita Kinney, PhD, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center of Cancer Health Disparities at the Rutgers School of Public Health, as well as, associate director of Cancer Health Equity and Engagement at Rutgers Cancer Institute, has been elected to the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.

As both a nurse and an epidemiologist, Dr. Kinney brings unique and important perspective to the Academy.

Now Online
21st Century Seminar Series
Catch “Beyond Internal Validity: Field Notes from the Methodological Borderlands,” presented by Daniel Westreich, PhD , associate professor of  epidemiology  at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, as part of our Rutgers School of Public Health 21st Century Seminar Series.
Remembering Stonewall
Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, the Rutgers School of Public Health has proudly joined the "Stonewall 50 Consortium" with dozens of other nonprofit institutions and organizations.

Members of the Consortium are committed to producing programming, exhibitions, and educational materials related to the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

We're on LinkedIn!
You can now connect with us on LinkedIn by following the official
Rutgers School of Public Health LinkedIn page!

Tag the official Rutgers School of Public Health LinkedIn page on your LinkedIn profile “education” and "experience" sections to increase your visibility, grow your professional network, and show your #RutgersSPH!
Social Bites
Get Involved
Getting Social @RutgersSPH
Follow and interact with the Rutgers School of Public Health (@RutgersSPH) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tag us in your posts and show us how you're "keeping the public in public health," for a chance to be featured on our social media accounts and in t he Scarletter .

Follow and interact with Dean Perry N. Halkitis (@DrPNHalkitis) on Twitter and Instagram.
Become a Contributor
Have an idea for an editorial?
Do you want to tell your story?
Did you just win an award?
Have a cool job in public health?
Did you just publish?

Support Public Health
Donating to the Rutgers School of Public Health supports scholarships for students to be engaged in discovery-based learning through research and practice activities working with populations who experiencing health disparities here in New Jersey, in our country, and  globally. By giving, you are helping us further our mission – we thank you. To donate, follow the URL and type “School of Public Health” in the search box.
Rutgers School of Public Health

Rutgers School of Public Health
683 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854