School of Public Health 
Smoking & Vaping Special Issue: November, 2019
Keeping the Public in 'Public' Health
Every November, we commemorate the Great American Smokeout , an annual programming event led by the American Cancer Society, that focuses on helping smokers quit. As a certified tobacco treatment specialist and a public health social work researcher, who focuses on smoking cessation treatments and cancer health disparities in marginalized populations, the Smokeout is an important event to support smokers who want to quit on the day of the event. 

Marginalized populations, such as people with mental health and substance use disorders, justice-involved populations, homeless populations, those living with HIV, and LGBTQ people are more likely to gravitate towards smoking because they face many barriers to finding effective smoking cessation programs. Studies reveal that various factors, including daily experiences of stigma, hate, and discrimination, contribute to why individuals from magnified groups start and continue smoking. Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, and I recently spoke to Rutgers Today about the detrimental impact of smoking, particularly vaping, on marginalized communities.

Highlighting organizations and institutions that provide health programming and services that engage marginalized communities is critical. For instance, our very own RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery (IFPR) is a leader in New Jersey for substance use disorder focused prevention and recovery support services. IFPR has almost 30 years of experience providing programs and services implemented by a team of highly skilled and incredibly passionate professionals. Through comprehensive programs offered across New Jersey, IFPR perpetuates real change by facilitating effective, long-term impact, which creates prevention and recovery prepared communities. IFPR is also recognized for its tobacco cessation services, as well as its Training Institute. Their Nicotine and Tobacco Recovery program is funded through the New Jersey Department of Health, Office of Tobacco Control, Nutrition, and Fitness to provide services in six different counties, including Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Essex, and Union. This is a treatment focused program which offers the following and is designed for anyone who uses nicotine or tobacco products and is interested in cessation services:

  • Free 8-week counseling, regardless of insurance
  • Free treatment, including nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges
  • Personalized treatment by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist Evidence-based practices and assessments
  • Weekly carbon monoxide testing
  • Primarily located within RWJBH locations, providing easier access to care
  • Open to the community at large, patients, physicians, and employees

There are marginalized populations who will never enter our medical facilities because of stigma, fear, and the feeling of otherness. As public health professionals, we need to locate ourselves where the need is the greatest and RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery lives by these sentiments.

In terms of my own work, my current pilot study will explore smoking and vaping behaviors and smoking cessation treatment preferences in LGBTQ communities. By partnering with RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery, we can create innovative programming and services to provide smoking cessation treatment services tailored for marginalized communities.

Later in this issue, we’ll share some resources you can share with your networks.

We hope that you enjoy the November issue of the Scarletter !

Pamela Valera, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor
Rutgers School of Public Health                                     

Expert Voices: Vaping
The first indication of a serious vaping problem began just two months ago when the first patients were hospitalized and the Centers for Disease Control announced an investigation into the cause.

Rutgers experts weigh-in, including our very own Rutgers School of Public Health Faculty.
What is the Vaping Crisis?
Cristine Delnevo, PhD, professor in department of health behavior, society, and director at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies, examines the overall vaping crisis and determines there are actually two different crisis affecting two different populations. This, she says, means we need two different sets of solutions.

Should we be Looking at 1 Brand?
Juul used youth-friendly ads and high-tech design to become the most popular e-cigarette brand among young people, says Olivia Wackowski, PhD, an associate professor in the department of health behavior, society, and policy and member of the Center for Tobacco Studies. There are ways to stop companies from marketing to teens. Wackowski explains how.

Let's Set Our Policy on Smoking, Not Just Vaping 
In a covert study by the   Rutgers Center for Tobacco studies , underage customers were able to buy e-cigarettes and cigarettes one-third of the time. Cigars were even easier to buy, says Kevin Schroth, JD, a public health attorney and associate professor in the in the department of health behavior, society, and policy. So let's take this opportunity to look at policies about how we make both e-cigarettes and cigarettes available.

How Social Conditions Infect | Opinion
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are at an all-time high in the U.S. According to a CDC  report released   on Oct. 8, the number of cases has increased every year for the past five years. The rise of STDs is due to the lack of sex education, politically sanctioned discrimination and denial of reproductive services due to religious beliefs - not people acting irresponsibly.

Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean and professor in the departments of urban-global public health and biostatistics and epidemiology, and Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, chair and professor, in the department of urban-global public health, provide their perspective on the rise of STDs.
Bi-Partisan Support for Sex Education in Schools
Democrats and Republicans disagree on many policies but not on sex education for teenagers, according to a new study led by Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, chair and professor, in the department of urban-global public health.

The study, published in the journal  Sex Education , surveyed close to 1,000 likely voters who identified as Democrats or Republicans. The findings show a strong majority of them support sex education within schools and the continued funding by the government for teenage pregnancy prevention programs that include information about both abstinence and contraception.
Pesticides and Children: Who is Most at Risk?
Studies show that exposure to pesticides – specifically those containing chlorpyrifos, which attack an insect’s nervous system – can harm a child’s physical and mental development.

Nancy Fiedler, PhD, professor in the department of environmental and occupational health as well as deputy director of the  Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute , who is studying how pesticide exposure affects fetuses in each trimester of pregnancy, says it is unknown exactly when children are the most vulnerable, but says there is no question that most children – even those who live outside of agricultural areas where pesticides are sprayed – are at risk. 
How Safe are Your Personal Care Products?
Emily Barrett, PhD  , associate professor, and  Adana Llanos, PhD,  assistant professor, both in the  department of biostatistics and epidemiology , are studying how chemicals in the personal care products we use every day—from soap and shampoo to perfume and body lotions—may adversely affect our health.

Read them explain why more information and further research are necessary to reduce exposure to harmful products and how consumer education is the answer to better health in Medium , NJPatch , and Futurity .
Risk Factors for Head & Neck Cancer
A recent Rutgers   study identified factors that may put people who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center (WTC) at increased risk for cancers of the head and neck, such as oral cavity, oropharyngeal, and laryngeal cancers.

The study, which was led by Michelle Bover Manderski, PhD, instructor in the department of biostatistics and epidemiology, was the first of its kind to examine the impact of WTC-related exposure and behavioral risk factors, like smoking and alcohol use, on head and neck cancer risk among WTC general responders.

Research Highlights
Irina Grafova, PhD , assistant professor in the department of health behavior, society, and policy , along with colleagues, found that despite infant mortality in Moscow declining by nearly half between 2000 and 2014, there is a substantial intra-city variation. The highest neighborhood infant mortality rate was nearly four times that of the city average.

Overall progress on health outcomes and measures of access does not, in itself, solve the challenge of intra-urban inequalities.

Michael K. Gusmano, PhD, associate professor in the department of health behavior, society, and policy, along with colleagues, found that residents in low-income zip code areas are less likely to receive bypass and angioplasty procedures than those in high-income zip codes.

Findings revealed that insurance status, race, gender, number of diagnoses, and zip code of residence are all associated with statistically significant odds ratios of revascularization.

Marybec G riffin, PhD , assistant professor in the department of health behavior, society, and policy , co-authored a study that found that electronic dance music (EDM) party attendees have different risks of various drug use based on their sexual orientation.

Drug use was more widespread among lesbian, gay or bisexual-identified individuals attending nightclubs/EDM parties than heterosexuals. In addition, MDMA/Molly was the most prevalent drug used in the past year by nightclub/EDM party attendees.

Center Awarded Grant for 10th Consecutive Year
The Rutgers School of Public Health  Center for Public Health Workforce Development  is the proud recipient of its tenth consecutive U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration Susan Harwood Training Program Grant. Dr. Koshy Koshy, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, is the principal investigator.

APHA 2019: Wrap-Up
✌️ That’s a wrap - thanks to the   American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo  for the memories and  Philadelphia  for hosting the
Rutgers School of Public Health.
🎈Annual Dean's Reception: We mingled and networked the night away at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts  with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends at our annual Dean's Reception! Loved our epic balloon arch? Let us know by tagging  @RutgersSPH  in your pics!
🥇 Award Winning Booth: The Rutgers School of Public Health booth snagged first place for best booth, swag, and of course, peeps! Didn’t snag one of our re-usable straws? Don’t worry - we’ll be handing them out at recruitment events all season
♻️ Going Green... was our motto this year! From daily round-trip bus service for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to reusable straws at our booth, we were committed to reducing our carbon footprint.
Ready for your next conference?
Check out our Making the Most of Professional Conferences Guide + APHA Supplement to help build your success before, during, and after APHA!

The guide includes:
  • Networking tips
  • Packing list
  • Rutgers-affiliated sessions
  • Career and professional development opportunities
Students Laura Bruce, Tatyana Brisard, and Dana Neigel, met U.S. Surgeon General - Jerome Adams!
Student Denise Mulbah participated in the deBeaumont Foundation's Sunset Tweetup!
Student Dana Neigel stopped by the rePROs Fight Back booth to advocate for sexual reproductive health!
Student Erin Zagorski, presented her work on fall protection hazards for public sector workers.
Dean Perry N. Halkitis met with Rutgers University student and gun violence activist, Jai Patel.
Our Mascot made it to APHA's opening ceremony thanks to Tatyana Brisard!
Great American Smokeout
The Great American Smokeout is an annual intervention event on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society. Approximately 40 million American adults still smoke, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the country.
Smoking Cessation Resources
New Jersey:
  • New Jersey Quitline: 1-866-657-8677
  • Robert Wood John Barnabas Health Quit Center – Essex County: 732-837-9416
  • Hackensack Meridian Community Smoking Cessation Treatment Center: 551-996-1632
  • Tobacco Treatment Program – University Hospital Newark: 973-468-5252
  • Tobacco Dependence Program – Rutgers University: 732-235-8222
  • Tobacco Free for Healthy New Jersey. Learn More
  • I Want To Quit Smoking – American Lung Association: 1-800-LUNGUSA. Learn More
  • National Smoking Quitline – Smokefree.Gov: 800-784-8669. Learn More
  • Truth Initiative. Learn More
  • This Free Life – Smokefree.Gov. Learn More
Map of NJ Quit Centers:
New Jersey residents now have
access to 11 Quit Centers across the
state through individual and group
counseling. These Quit Centers
provide residents with the resources
to stop or reduce their use of
tobacco products.

The 11 Quit Centers service the
following counties: Atlantic, Cape
May, Cumberland/Salem, Hudson,
Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth
Ocean, Essex, Passaic and Union.
Open House
Take your passion and enthusiasm for protecting and improving the health of people to the next level. Join us for our Fall Open House on November 20, 2019.
Alumni Spotlight
Meet Nnenna Ugwuala, MPH’12 ! Nnenna is a Department of Environmental and Occupational Health graduate, with over six years of experience as a safety professional for various industries. Nnenna has a proven history of leveraging her technical skills and knowledge in the field of environmental health, currently as a Safety Program Manager with Brooksource at Verizon.

In her current role, Nnenna is putting her knowledge and skills to use, owning and managing the day-to-day Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) vendor management program. Among her other responsibilities, she has built and maintains a cross-functional partnership with sourcing, legal, supplier risk offices as it relates to supplier EHS vendor management.

Nnenna credits the Rutgers School of Public Health with developing her career in health and safety and with connecting her to a diverse student body.

“Attending the Rutgers School of Public Health really taught me a lot about myself in the sense that the degree I received was for the betterment of helping not just my professional career aspirations, but truly protecting the health and well-being of others,” she said. “I was able to meet many wonderful people from all walks of life who I'm still close with to this day.”

Since graduating, Nnenna has worked in various industries and has been able to build on her Rutgers School of Public Health knowledge and skill set.

“I've had the opportunity to work for state government, a prominent tech company, and the number one telecommunication company in America. Each position taught me to think outside the box and afforded me the opportunity to learn and grow in the field of EHS.”
When she’s not working, Nnenna enjoys volunteering for Jersey Cares, travelling, and trying new restaurants. 
Dean Launches LGBTQ Public Health Journal
Rutgers School of Public Health  dean, Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, has launched “ Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health ” with Springer! Doctoral student, Kristen Krause, MPH , is serving as the deputy editor.

The journal will focus on biomedical, psychological, behavioral, psychosocial, social, and structural drivers of sexual and gender minority health, as well as, innovative interventions that enhance the health and well-being.

The journal will be open access through 2023.
Congratulations: Maternal & Child Health Fellows
The Maternal and Child Health Fellowship program aims to catalyze graduate training in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) at Rutgers with a focus on providing opportunities for students who are interested in the field.
"MCH is an extremely important subject matter in public health, because women and children are the foundation of the world, and their health is imperative to the future of humanity. Through the MCH Fellowship, I have the opportunity to explore the field I'm passionate about while paving the way for a career I'm excited for."

-Amber Rockson , MPH student, department of biostatistics & epidemiology .
" This funding will help me gain in-depth knowledge of social determinants of health in MCH in New Jersey, and efforts to address them. Knowledge of social determinants of health in MCH is very important in reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality, and promoting safe pregnancy outcomes with healthy mothers and children."

-Edward Ezenwafor, MPH student, department of urban-global public health .
" I am grateful to have been selected for the MCH Fellowship because it is a great source for capacity building in the MCH field, which will be helpful in my future career. MCH is extremely important for the elimination of preventable maternal and child morbidity, morality, and other disparities worldwide.

-Fatoumata Diallo , MPH student, department of urban-global public health .
"Through the MCH Fellowship, I will be able to visit underserved communities in various cities in New Jersey, such as, Camden and Newark and look beyond the 'data.'  The MCH course is helping me better understand the health disparities affecting mothers and their kids. Additionally, as a physician working towards an internal medicine residency, the Fellowship is helping with associated costs."

"This funding will help me advance my career by allowing me to further enhance my skills as a health educator. MCH is important because of the emerging health issues around maternal and infant mortality occurring nationally and globally." 

-Ebony Felton , MPH student, department of urban-global public health .
Tuesday, November 12 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

Networking with NJ SOPHE (Piscataway & Newark)
Monday, November 18, 2019 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 11:00am-1:00pm

Thursday, November 21 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

Summer Study Abroad Info Session (Piscataway & Newark)
Tuesday, December 3 from 5:00pm-6:00pm

Friday, December 6 from 9:00am-1:00pm
Rutgers School of Public Health
Rutgers School of Public Health
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Rutgers School of Public Health
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