School of Public Health 
May, 2019
Graduation Special Issue
On Friday May 17, 2019, the Rutgers School of Public Health celebrated nearly 200 masters, doctoral, and post-baccalaureate certificate students at Nicholas Music Center in New Brunswick. Venerable guests, including former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, alumni, faculty, and Rutgers leadership, came together to honor the accomplishments of the Class of 2019!

Highlights included:

  • Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean, provided opening remarks that focused on the importance of politics and policy in addressing public health disparities;
  • Greetings were provided by Brian Strom, MD, MPH, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, James F. Dougherty, VMD, incoming chair of the Rutgers University Board of Trustees, and Emily Barrett, PhD, associate professor, and Michelle Doose, PhD, graduating doctoral student, both of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology; and
  • Mark Wade, MD, director of the Newark Department of Health, was the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg awardee and speaker, who focused his remarks on taking advantage of opportunities and acting on ideas to enact meaningful change.
"Keeping the Public in 'Public' Health"
Graduate Highlight: Mars Potros, MPH'19
Mars Potros, MPH’19 , knew that they wanted to work in health care, but it wasn’t until they started growing into their own genderfluid identity that they realized their desire to help other trans and LGBTQ individuals.
While Potros was in their last year of undergrad, they realized that they can do this through impactful, timely, and engaged research. This brought new motivation and passion for helping minority and marginalized individuals and communities through health care. Even before Potros was accepted into the Master of Public Health program at the Rutgers School of Public Health, they were reaching out and getting involved with public health issues in the LGBTQ community.
Potros met Rutgers School of Public Health dean, Perry N. Halkitis, during their MPH orientation. Dean Halkitis, a prominent LGBTQ health researcher and activist, motivated and inspired Potros’ career goals, especially in the field of LGBTQ health research.
Potros wanted a structured and guided approach to achieving their goals, leading them to their adviser, Dr. Henry Raymond. “Dr. Henry Raymond has helped me in countless ways. Whether it was trying to sort classes, personal struggles, career-hunting, or even my practicum experience, he has always been very supportive and upfront with me.”
Potros has often felt discouraged, facing discrimination and issues with friends and family, and their own worries about becoming another statistic, along the way. However, Potros has persevered and stayed motivated and involved through news, politics, discussions, sharing their experiences with others, and becoming involved with campus events.
“Advocacy and research are not supposed to be easy, especially when they personally affect you, but someone has to do the work.”
When asked about why they want to work in LGBTQ research Potros is adamant, “Someone needs to give minorities and marginalized groups a platform to express themselves, voice their concerns, and be who they are without fear of retaliation. Being a person who attempts to provide that space is what pushes me and why I refuse to give up.”
Potros has found support, motivation, and inspiration in a number of individuals at the Rutgers School of Public Health. They are looking forward to advocating and improving the health of the LGBTQ community.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Victimization Among Young Adults
Sexuality and gender violence experiences are not uniform across sexual minority young adults, and thus prevention and care must be targeted, according to a new study led by Rutgers School of Public Health doctoral student Caleb LoSchiavo, MPH .

The study, which was conducted at the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies , examines the types, contexts, and sources of lifetime sexual orientation and gender identity victimization in a diverse sample of sexual minority men and transgender women, as well as, the extent to which experiences of those victimized vary among subgroups of the population.
Cancer Outcomes During Medicaid
Expansion in New Jersey
Cancer patients on Medicaid were more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage and to experience treatment delays in comparison to non‐Medicaid cancer patients, according to a new study led by Jennifer Tsui, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy, and member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The study focuses on Medicaid patients diagnosed with breast, colorectal, or invasive cervical cancer.  The researchers, who include Antoinette M. Stroup, PhD , and collaborators from the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, conducted a retrospective cohort study examining 19,209 total cancer cases, of which, 3,253 were Medicaid-linked cases, using information from the New Jersey State Cancer Registry and Medicaid claims.
Persuading People to Vaccinate Requires Engaging with Them About Their Values
Convincing parents to vaccinate their children requires engaging with them about their values according to Michael K. Gusmano, PhD , associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy .

Dr. Gusmano, along with Gregory Kaebnick, PhD, both of the Hastings Center, argue that instead of treating people who are reticent to vaccinate their children as criminals, fools, or misfits, health care providers should listen to their concerns, practicing a little modesty, and recognizing that everyone loves their children and wants the best for them.
Quality of Life is an Abstract Concept for Some Terminally Ill Cancer Patients
Terminally ill cancer patients who are more willing to bear poor quality of life are more likely to demonstrate beliefs that they can be cured, according to a new study by Paul Duberstein, PhD , chair of the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy , along with colleagues from the University of Rochester.

The new thought-provoking study, sheds some light on the interplay between patients’ beliefs about curability and the trade-offs they are prepared to make. 
HPV Rates Remain High, Despite Vaccine
The rate of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is high among young minority gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men despite the availability of a vaccine that can prevent the infection, according to a new study led by Rutgers School of Public Health dean, Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH.

The study, conducted at the Rutgers Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies , which Dr. Halkitis directs, examines the prevalence of HPV exposure, HIV infection, and HPV vaccination in this population whose average age was 23 and predominantly members of ethnic or racial minority groups. The researchers found that over 58 percent of the participants were infected with the virus but only 18 percent had received the full dose of the HPV vaccine.
Global Scholars: Athens & Chios, Greece
Our first ever cohort of global scholars is in Athens, Greece! Over the course of the next two weeks, our students are pairing up with their Greek counterparts from the National School of Public Health, and immersing themselves in didactic and hands-on course work that is being taught by Greek public health professionals in conjunction with Rutgers School of Public Health faculty!

The global scholars will also be volunteering and learning about public health challenges and solutions at a refugee camp located on the island of Chios. 

Follow @RutgersSPH on Instagram to track our scholars' experiences in Greece!
Meet Our Social Media Ambassadors!
Sofia Funes, MD, was born and raised in El Salvador. During her childhood, she experienced the effects of her country's civil war and witnessed countless disparities in healthcare, which sparked her desire to become a physician. By the time she was a teenager, Sofia's family immigrated to the U.S. in pursuit of a promising future for herself and her siblings. The desire to support underserved communities—on a local and global scale—is the driving force behind Sofia’s educational journey. Sofia is currently completing her Preventive Medicine Residency and a Master of Public Health at Rutgers and joined the study abroad program alongside like-minded classmates that share a passion for addressing global health issues.
Laura Bruce, MSc , is a first-year Master of Public Health student at at the Rutgers School of Public Health within the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology . Her background is in biology and human genetics, but she chose to enter the public health field to apply her scientific knowledge to a broader scale, improving population health. She's super excited to be a part of the new global course in Greece! She also hopes to better understand the public health challenges facing migrants and refugees, and how to work towards formulating effective solutions. You can follow her trip at @LauraJeanBruce 
The U.S. Surgeon General recently shared and mentioned a new publication by Kevin Schroth, JD, associate professor in Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy, and colleagues at the Center for Tobacco Studies.

The paper examines the unique risks posed by menthol tobacco products and the Food and Drug Administration's opportunity to save lives by banning it.
Jaya Satagopan, PhD , will be joining the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology   as a professor in September. Dr. Satagopan will also be establishing the Center for South Asian Quantitative Health and Education to address health disparities faced by South Asian communities in New Jersey, the United States, and the world.
D evin English, PhD , incoming Department of Urban-Global Public Health  assistant professor, has been selected to participate on the Health Data for New York City (HD4NYC) initiative's leadership team!

HD4NYC is a collaboration between the NY Academy of Medicine, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation .
Sarah Kelly, MPH, CPH , coordinator for practice and alumni affairs, was one of thirty individuals selected from around Rutgers University to participate in the inaugural Cultivating Inclusive and Transformational Environments (CITE) Learning Communities Program. 

Throughout the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 academic year, CITE participants engaged in readings, discussions, events, and activities designed to increase intercultural knowledge and appreciation, improve understanding of issues relevant to equity and inclusion in higher education.
Leslie M. Kantor, PhD , chair and professor of the  Department of Urban-Global Public Health, was invited to participate in a meeting with women's health leaders from around New Jersey and Leana Wen, MD, the new president of Planned Parenthood. The group discussed measures for protecting and advancing women's health in the current social and political climate.
Faculty Awards & Citations
Marian Passannante, PhD, associate dean for academic program development, and Mitchel Rosen, PhD , associate professor and director of the Center for Public Health Workforce Development, received some of Rutgers University's highest honors!

Dr. Passannante was awarded the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, recognizing her numerous contributions to the pedagogy of public health. Dr. Rosen was awarded the Ernest E. McMahon Class of 1930 Award, recognizing his work with and for the very communities we all serve.
Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH , chair of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health, has been selected to receive the Millicent Carey McIntosh Award for Feminism from Barnard College. Since graduating in 1989, Dr. Kantor's work has been at the intersection of research, programs, policy, and advocacy. 
Jason Roy, PhD , chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology , has been named an American Statistical Association fellow. This is considered one of the highest honors among statisticians with members serving in industry, government, and academia around the world.
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH , dean, has received the Health Professional Leadership Award at the 7th Annual Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians (BNGAP) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workforce Conference.

The award is given annually to an individual who leads activities that promote the development of a health workforce responsive to the needs of LGBT communities.
Grants & Sponsorships
Marian Passannante,PhD,  associate dean for academic program development, received a $10,000 grant from Rutgers Global to establish the Office of Global Educational Programs at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
PHocus (Public Health: Outbreaks, Communities, and Urban Studies), our summer camp for high school students, has been awarded $25,000 by the Nicholson Foundation to expand its programming. In addition, the summer program received renewed sponsorship from GlaxoSmithKline ($20,000).
Rutgers Day Round Up!
The Rutgers School of Public Health tent at Rutgers Day was filled with fun activities for all ages! We had photo ops, a hazmat tile toss, a LGBTQ reading corner, obstacle courses, and more!
PHocus: A Summer Experience for Students
Public Health: Outbreaks, Communities, and Urban Studies (PHocus) is back for a second summer!
PHocus is an interdisciplinary educational program organized by the Rutgers School of Public Health, where students will explore population health and learn the fundamentals of public health!

Students can expect a variety of experiences including mock outbreaks, hands-on population health and community disease activities, a laboratory session, and conversations with public heath scientists and practitioners.
Session 1
New Brunswick:
July 22-26, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Rutgers School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Session 2
August 5-9, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Rutgers School of Public Health, Newark, NJ

Register: Causal Inference Summer Institute
Causal Inference Summer Institute
July 10-12, 2019

The Center for Causal Inference is proud to announce its third annual Causal Inference Summer Institute, a three-day intensive learning experience that will take place at Rutgers!

Each day will offer didactic lectures by experts in the field, discussion of real examples, and hands-on computing sessions.
Social Bites
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 pride!
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Getting Social @RutgersSPH
Follow and interact with the Rutgers School of Public Health (@RutgersSPH) on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, 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.
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