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

Food is an important part of people’s lives around the world. It provides nourishment, enjoyment and is closely linked to our social, religious and cultural identities. It also has a significant impact on our health.

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the “ Food = Health " conference that was jointly organized by Rutgers School of Public Health , School of Health Professions , and Health Care Institute of New Jersey. The conference focused on the role of food to promote the health of people and the communities in which they live. There’s no better time to focus on the importance of food to promote health, well-being, equity and social justice in our local communities and beyond. You can watch the entire conference here.

Poor diets are responsible for more deaths globally than any other risk factor. At the same time, the food that is produced and consumed, contributes to approximately a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, is the largest contributor to loss of biodiversity and is responsible for more than 70% of all freshwater use. Our food system is not delivering for the health of people or the planet.
As many of you know, we now offer a public health nutrition concentration within the department of urban-global public health , which trains students to assess the nutritional and dietary needs of communities as well as design and evaluate programs and policies aimed at addressing those needs.
One of the many values of applying a public health lens to nutrition is that it moves beyond placing the responsibility on the individual and allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the drivers that influence food choices as well as the impact of those choices on the environment. As a school of public health, we have the opportunity to contribute to addressing the problems faced by our existing food system and identify solutions that are “rooted in population and individual strengths and based on a commitment to equity and social justice” as outlined in our Vision. We can do this through the training of our students, through research that is rooted in the needs of the communities in which we work, and through our community engagement.

Through my own research , I seek to understand the needs of populations and identify entry points for policies and interventions aimed at improving diets and nutrition throughout the food system. My current research focuses on increasing access to nutrient-rich foods through agricultural production; the design, impact and implementation of policies and interventions aimed at improving food choices; and the links among climate, food systems and nutrition. Over Spring Break, I conducted data collection in two informal settlements in Kenya (Kibera and Mukuru) with Minna Sabbahi, an MPH student in the Global Public Health Concentration , as well as PhD students from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. As part of this work, we interviewed women engaging in urban agriculture in Africa’s largest informal settlement, Kibera, to gain insights into scaling-up agricultural interventions to improve incomes and dietary intakes among this population that struggles with food insecurity. We also conducted interviews and focus groups with women in Kibera and Mukuru to better understand the drivers of their food choices and how they interface with their food environment, which will be combined with GIS mapping of the food access points within these settlements. We hope that the knowledge gleaned from this research will lead to the design of interventions that are better rooted in the needs of the community and the contextual realities in which they live.

As our School grows and we continue to emphasize the importance of nutrition and its role in promoting health throughout our teaching, research and community engagement, we will create a cadre of students and professionals that are able to help address the difficult problems faced by our food system. We are currently in the UN decade of Action on Nutrition and our School has an opportunity to contribute towards the global goals of improving diets and nutrition as well as overall population health. 


Shauna Downs, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor
Department of Urban-Global Public Health
Rutgers School of Public Health
"Keeping the Public in Public Health"
Men Need Social Resources After Prison
Men released from prison who receive social, community, and spiritual support have better mental health, according to a new study led by Pamela Valera,PhD, MSW, assistant professor in the department of urban-global public health.

“Improving social supports is more important than ever as the rate of former offenders is growing. There are currently more than 100 million Americans who have a criminal record,” Valera said in a comment to Futurity .

“We need to involve personnel inside the criminal justice system, such as prison staff and community reintegration offices, in providing and encouraging the use of social, community and religious support services for inmates upon reentry.”
Dean & Faculty Join Ending AIDS Committee
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, Rutgers School of Public Health dean, and Henry F. Raymond, DrPH, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology, have joined New Jersey’s new “End AIDS Epidemic Committee.” The Committee, which was convened by Governor Phil Murphy, is one of several measures being taken by the State to curtail new HIV infections and improve the health of those living with the virus.
Patients Shouldn't Be Considered Consumers
Considering patients as consumers is potentially harmful and places disproportionate burdens on patients to reduce health care costs, and could erode professional obligations by health care providers to provide appropriate and effective care, according to a new report led by Michael Gusmano, PhD , associate professor in the department of health behavior, society, and policy and Hastings Center research scholar.
Fear of Hospitalization Keeps Men from
Talking About Suicide
Fear of psychiatric hospitalization is one of the primary reasons that older men — an age and gender group at high risk for suicide — don’t talk about suicide with their physicians, according to a new study co-authored by Paul Duberstein, PhD , chair of the department of health behavior, society and policy.
Opinion : Scott Gottlieb Was The Most Aggressive Anti-Tobacco FDA Leader in Years.
Tobacco stocks jumped on Tuesday when news broke that Scott Gottlieb, head of the Food and Drug Administration, would resign at the end of the month. Gottlieb proved to be an outspoken advocate of public health, making tobacco and teen vaping his signature issues during his 23-month run.

Now it’s unclear what’ll happen with the flavor restrictions.

“Those that stand to benefit most from Gottlieb’s resignation are cigarette manufacturers who have been lobbying Congress to stop FDA’s plan to ban menthol cigarettes,” said Cristine Delnevo, PhD, director of the Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Tobacco Studies, to Vox, “a move that could save hundreds of thousands lives, and millions of health care expenditures.”
Too Much Vit. D May Slow Reaction Time
Overweight and obese older women who took more than three times the recommended daily dose of vitamin D showed improvements in memory and learning – but also had slower reaction times, according to a new study co-authored by Nancy Fielder, PhD, professor in the department of environmental and occupational health.

These findings suggest that slower reaction times may increase the risk of falls among older adults.
Rankings & Realities
Last Month, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Rutgers School of Public Health among the best in its discipline! Under the leadership of Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, the School moved up from #31 to #29 of all schools of public health, while also doubling its MPH student cohort.

While we're proud of these achievements, Dean Halkitis took a moment to reflect on numbers that are far more important to us in "Rankings and Realities."
Giving Day Recap!
Giving Day was a huge success due to the participation, initiative, and Scarlet Spirit of all of our partners, colleagues, and friends!

The Rutgers School of Public Health finished Giving Day with over $3,000 in gifts, from 64 donors, for scholarships to fund travel and other expenses for students traveling to Tanzania and Greece this summer. We were also the #1 RBHS school (second year in a row) and the #3 overall RBHS unit! Donors included students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the School.

The School also had a noteworthy presence on social media, securing two challenge wins, and receiving mention from the Rutgers Alumni Association and Foundation on our “community’s” participation.

Thank you for your support!
Additional Highlights
Qiana Brown, PhD , assistant professor in the department of urban-global public health, has been named a “Future Influencer in Addiction Science” by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Devin English, PhD , will be joining the department of  urban-global public health  as an assistant professor in August.

Kelly Lenahan, a graduating MPH student in the department of biostatistics and epidemiology, has been named a 2019 Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA).

"It is an honor to be recognized as an emerging leader in the healthcare field and to be listed as the same caliber as some of the great women who came before me who are leading healthcare today,” says Lenahan.
Supporting Violence Survivors
Rutgers School of Public Health students took part in a recent Rutgers University Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance "Talk It Out" video, voicing their support for violence survivors.

April is also National Sexual Assault Awareness Month . We believe survivors. This month we’re showing our support and spreading awareness of available resources with #RUVPVA , Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Rutgers University, and others.
Dean's Desk
Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH explains the importance of teaching an LGBT-inclusive curriculum in schools in his latest op-ed .
Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health!
Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH , has been accepted into the Academy of Translational Medicine Professionals .
Rutgers Day:Obstacle Courses, Reading Rainbow, HazMat Toss, and More!
Join the Rutgers School of Public Health on Rutge rs Day , Saturday, April 27, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.! Our tent will be located on Busch Campus in the Life Sciences Area and will be filled with fun activities for all ages! 

In addition to our activities, we'll also be featuring information from t he  New Jersey Safe Schools Program  and  PHocus , an immersive summer experience in public health for high school students!
Graduating? Here's Everything You Need to Know
Graduating students - congratulations on your achievements, we can't wait to celebrate your success this May! It's up to you to stay informed, so please check your Rutgers School of Public Health email often, and visit the graduation page here .
Convocation Vs. Commencement: Do Both!
Convocation is the Rutgers School of Public Health graduation ceremony. All Rutgers School of Public Health graduates (Newark and New Brunswick) are strongly encouraged to participate in this ceremony to celebrate their achievement with fellow graduates, as well as family and friends.

  • Date: Friday, May 17, 2019
  • Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Doors open at 4:15 PM.
  • Location: Nicholas Music Center (85 George Street, Douglass Campus, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901)
  • Tickets: Five per grad - will be mailed to your mailing address. Additional tickets can be purchased from the Student Affairs Office beginning April 1, 2019.
  • Parking: No registration or special parking permits are required for graduate or guest parking. Parking will be available in lots 79 and 79A to the left of Nicholas Music Center. 
Commencement is the Rutgers University-wide graduation ceremony held at Stadium in Piscataway, NJ! All Rutgers School of Public Health graduates (Newark and New Brunswick) are encouraged to participate in this ceremony.

  • Date: Sunday, May 19, 2019
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Location: Stadium (Piscataway)
  • Tickets: No tickets required
  • Parking:Beginning March 19, 2019 graduating students may register for up to two free parking hang-tags for themselves and their guests here. Parking hang-tags will be mailed by early May to the address provided during parking hang-tag registration. Registration for two free parking hang-tag ends April 16, 2018. Transportation Services for use during the year will not be valid for parking on campuses in Piscataway and New Brunswick on May 19, 2019. 
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: Upcoming Conferences
"Preventing Gun Violence:
A Call to Action"
April 23, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Join the NJ Center on Gun Violence Research for their inaugural conference (via live-stream), which will be a conversation about the future of gun violence prevention. Governor Phil Murphy will provide the keynote.
"Causal Inference Summer Institute"
July 10-12, 2019
All Day.

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!
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!
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.
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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
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Piscataway, NJ 08854