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

Dean Halkitis and I had a wonderful trip to Athens, Greece, in January, to work on developing two new global courses. 

The first course entitled Migration in the European Context: Challenges for Public Health will be taught by Rutgers School of Public Health faculty along with faculty from the National School of Public Health (NSPH) in Athens. This course addresses the social, cultural, and public health implications of forced migration in Europe, as well as migrant and refugee health challenges specific to the migration crisis in Greece. Students from the Rutgers School of Public Health and the NSPH will spend one week in Athens and one week on the island of Chios to learn first-hand about the agencies that provide support and care to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. During this trip, we finalized housing arrangements, the course syllabus and the day to day schedule for the students who will be participating in this program. We also visited the Eleonas refugee camp, one of the camps where students will spend a day learning about migrant living conditions in Athens. Dr. Halkitis and I were warmly received by the faculty and students at NSPH.

We also met faculty and students from Harokopio University in Athens to begin to work on developing a course on Food and Culture . This course will provide students (from both Rutgers School of Public Health and Harokopio) with a deeper understanding of the cultural, social, environmental, political and economic determinants that affect the food choices, diets and health of populations globally. Particular attention will paid to the Mediterranean diet. Harokopio faculty and administrators are very enthusiastic about this partnership as well as this course, which will be taught by Rutgers School of Public Health and Harokopio faculty. We plan to offer this courses in Athens during Summer 2020.

These two courses promise to be amazing experiences for our students and students at our host universities in Athens!


Marian R Passannante, PhD ( She/Her/Hers)
Associate Dean for Educational Program Development
Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Concentration Director, Public Health Nutrition
"Keeping the Public in Public Health"
LGBT Inclusive Curriculum to be Taught in NJ
Earlier this month, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed new legislation that requires students be taught the societal contributions of notable LGBT people throughout history, a step that increases diversity and equality in standard middle and high school curriculum. New Jersey follows California as the second state to
adopt this sort of law.
“The law signed into effect by Governor Murphy is a huge step in honoring the LGBT community's many contributions to every aspect of our culture,” comments Perry N. Halkitis PhD, MS, MPH, dean and professor of the Rutgers School of Public Health. “The LGBT community has been disproportionately marginalized, but through its collective resilience has made enormous contributions to our society. This legislation is a strong first step in destigmatizing the community and has the potential of improving the health and well-being of LGBT individuals, something my Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) has studied for nearly two-decades.
“The Rutgers School of Public Health has long recognized the importance of an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum,” comments Dr. Halkitis. “We are the first school of public health to offer a Master of Public Health Degree in LGBTQ Health , which not only highlights the contributions of LGTBQ individuals to every aspect of our society, but also provides much needed training and education on the unique and often challenging needs of LGTBQ individuals.”
New Jersey's Stricter Smoking Ban
Cristine Delnevo, PhD, professor and director of the Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Tobacco Studies, comments on New Jersey's new and stricter smoking ban that went into effect on January 16, 2019.

The new ban will make it illegal to smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes — as well as use vapes, or smokeless tobacco devices — in public parks, forests, historic sites and on other state-owned property, or on beaches and boardwalks anywhere in the Garden State .

“Not only do these littered butts present obvious risks to young children who may ingest them but more significantly, littered cigarette butts leach toxins and contaminate our oceans and bays,” comments Dr. Delnevo, who is also co-leader of the cancer prevention and control research program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). “The New Jersey public beach smoking ban can help mitigate this threat to our ecosystem and our human health.”
Explained: New Jersey's Individual Mandate
Michael K. Gusmano, PhD, a ssociate professor and director of the Health Systems and Policy Concentration, explains New Jersey's healthcare individual mandate in the 
Daily Targum .

New Jersey became one of the few states in the nation to pass an individual mandate requiring residents to buy health insurance or pay an additional amount on their state income tax.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), when passed in 2010, included an individual mandate,” Dr. Gusmano said. “Which meant that people had to either pay insurance or pay what the law called a penalty.”

The Supreme Court later identified the penalty as a tax added to the federal income tax.

When the federal Congress passed a new tax law that eliminated the penalty or tax associated with the individual mandate, Gusmano said many scholars think the desire of people to have health coverage coupled with financial subsidies available through the ACA drives most people to sign up and purchase insurance.

“Many states became concerned for people who did not have to pay insurance,” Dr. Gusmano adds. "Particularly healthier, younger people, might decide to drop out and not purchase insurance. That would destabilize the risk pool and that would make insurance much more expensive for people who really needed care.”

First Responders Face Ongoing Cancer Risk
Years after 9/11, first responders will require ongoing monitoring and treatment for newly emerging health risks, according to a new study led by Judith Graber, PhD , associate professor and director of the Epidemiology Concentration.

"Since cancers are diseases of long latency, the findings of significant excess cancer in this period point to a newly emerging trend that requires ongoing monitoring and treatment of WTC-exposed persons,” comments Dr. Graber who is also a researcher at Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI).

State Prisons Need More
Smoking Cessation Programs
Inmates want to quit smoking but don’t have access to smoking cessation programs in state prisons, increasing the risk – especially among black male inmates — of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other smoking-related diseases, according to a new study led by Pamela Valera, PhD, MSW.

“Despite the number of different smoking cessation aids available, less than half of the people in both study groups had a medical professional in prison talk to them about quitting,” said Dr. Valera. “Many of these inmates want to quit. They just lack the means and understanding of how to do so.”
Earn Your MPH in Public Health Nutrition
Are you interested in nutrition and population health? Then check out our  Rutgers School of Public Health  and  Rutgers School of Health Professions Public Health Nutrition concentration and how you can be on track to obtain the diverse set of skills necessary to improve the health and well-being of communities!

The MPH Public Health Nutrition will prepare students to improve the nutrition and health of populations locally and globally. Dietary risk factors are the number one contributor to the global burden of disease, contributing to undernutrition, overweight and obesity, as well as diet-related, non-communicable diseases. Through innovative coursework and a practicum, the MPH in Public Health Nutrition concentration will train diverse and skilled students and professionals who will be able to assess the nutritional and dietary needs of communities and design and evaluate programs and policies aimed at addressing those needs.
Dean Elected to Boards
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health Identity Behavior & Prevention Studies, has just been elected to the ASPPH Board of Directors for a three-year term and appointed to the
LGBTQ Commission in Newark, NJ!
Student Spotlight
Hey Readers!

My name is Domonique Noel and I'm a 5-Year Bachelor of Science in Public Health/Master of Public Health (MPH) student, concentrating on Social and Behavioral Health Sciences!

I was recently a research intern with Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), during which time I completed a research project called "Exploring Community Engagement, Recruitment Challenges and Health Research in Gay and Bisexual Men and Transgender Women in Newark, New Jersey." This project examined the different factors that benefited and hindered the recruitment efforts for the CHIBPS collaborative health research survey of 18 to 25-year-old gay/bisexual men and trans women of color. I conducted interviews with CHIBPS staff as well as with our partnering organization, The African American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC), where I asked for their perspectives on community engagement and how researchers can build relationships with their target groups. I also analysed communication exchanges(i.e., phone interactions, email exchanges, etc) between CHIBPS and local LGBT organizations, health centers and small businesses in order to compare the response levels for each of the organizations. By doing this, I was able to identify the organizations that responded the most and expressed interest in building a relationship with CHIBPS. Lastly, I analysed study screening packets for information on where eligible participants learned about the study. By doing so, I identified where our advertisement and recruitment efforts would be most successful. I conducted this project in order to assist CHIBPS in its efforts to help the gay and transgender population through their survey as a new LGBT organization in Newark, New Jersey. I presented my project at the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy during the summer of 2018. In addition, I presented a research poster at the 2018 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Indianapolis, Indiana in November of 2018.

I am studying public health because I am interested in learning how I can effectively address health disparities affecting women, people living with HIV, and LGBTQ individuals. For the past two years, I have worked as a Sexual Health Peer Educator, designing and facilitating workshops for residence halls, New Brunswick organizations, and student organizations. In addition, I am a New Jersey certified HIV Counselor and Tester and have worked as a Peer HIV Tester at the Rutgers Health, Outreach, Promotion and Education (HOPE) office, educating and testing Rutgers students on and for HIV. I am also a member of the New Jersey HIV Planning Group (HPG) through the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of HIV, STD and TB Services, where I am a member of the Gay Men's Committee. As an aspiring public health practitioner, these experiences have each contributed to my outreach, health communication skills, and continue to inspire me to study public health.

In the future, I hope to continue working as an HIV Counselor and health educator, specifically for minority and queer-identified women. I am passionate about community-building in order to benefit marginalized groups. I also intend to pursue a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) and work as a public health professor educating people on health disparities.


Domonique Noel
BS/MPH Student, Social and Behavioral Health Sciences
Access to Health Services by Gay Men in NYC
A recent Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), directed by Dean Perry N. Halkitis, found that social and structural factors such as being enrolled in school, having insurance, and disclosing sexual orientation to a primary care provider (PCP), increased the likelihood of accessing healthcare services among young adult gay men (YAGM) ages 18 to 29.

Analyzing E-Cig. Publications 
Michael Briganti, MPH , a PhD student and a CTS research assistant, along with Drs. Cristine Delnevo  and Michael Steinberg , conducted a bibliometric analysis of 4,490 e-cigarette publications from 2003 through 2018, identifying journals, institutions, and countries disseminating the most electronic cigarette research; the frequency and amount of electronic cigarette publications over time; the most cited articles in the field; keyword frequencies over time; and finally, author networks.
Challenging Assumptions about Medicaid Waivers
Michael K. Gusmano, PhD, associate professor and director of the Health Systems and Policy Concentration, reviews efforts to impose work requirements and more considerable out-of-pocket costs on Medicaid recipients, in a new paper published in Health Progress. Dr. Gusmano raises several concerns about imposing work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries, including an unclear correlation between employment and health.

Self-Rated Health in YSMM
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH , dean and director of the Center for Health Identity Behavior & Prevention Studies, along with colleagues, found that Young Sexual Minority Males (YSMM) who reported higher levels of self-rated health had better overall health. Prior research has often examined YSMM health from a deficit-based approach, while this study focused instead on examining how indicators of positive development are associated with the advancement of positive self-rated health in YSMM.
Big News: Convocation Speaker
We're proud to announce that Mark Wade, MD , director of the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness, will be the 2019 Senator Frank R. Lautenberg awardee and provide the  Rutgers School of Public Health Convocation address!

The Lautenberg Award was established by Rutgers School of Public Health in 2001 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions in public health.

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

Orientation: Spring 2019
Our fantastic Rutgers School of Public Health students welcoming our newest scholars at the Spring 2019 Orientation in Newark!
Spring Career Seminars
"More Than A Handshake"
March 7, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Best-selling author and career coach, Julie Erickson will teach strategies and tricks to build professional relationships with a reception to practice new skills after!
"More Than A Name"
April 4, 2019
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

This seminar will focus on developing consistent and professional personal branding using various technologies to market strengths for a variety of different career paths.
Save-The-Date: Giving Day
Wednesday, March 27, Rutgers University Giving Day!

This year, we're asking our Rutgers School of Public Health faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to think bigger and support our global education fund, with donations going to student scholarships!

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.
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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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