School of Public Health 
February 2022
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Keeping the 'Public' in Public Health
Moments in Black History
To mark Black History Month this year, Rutgers asked members of the university community to share reflections on people and moments from the past that have special meaning to them. Teri Lassiter, assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, reflects on the importance of protecting the right to vote.

When reflecting on significant moments in Black history, I feel that the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 is a turning point because it expanded the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution by banning racial discrimination in voting practices.  

The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, guaranteed the right to vote to citizens of the United States and granted African Americans the right to citizenship, but not the right to vote. The 15th Amendment, adopted two years later, granted “(t)he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” however some states devised ways to turn African Americans away from the polls. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited the use of literacy tests, poll taxes and intimidation to exclude African Americans from voting; since its passage voter registration and turnout has increased among African Americans. 

The Voting Rights Act has been challenged in recent years, with 19 states passing laws restricting access to voting; in 2021 alone, there were over 400 bills introduced in 49 states that would restrict voting access. These challenges to the act have alarming implications for our country and can undermine the faith and trust in our constitutional democracy. It is crucial that the Freedom to Vote Act, which would ensure national standards for voting access – protecting each person’s freedom to vote – and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would prevent discriminatory practices in voting from being implemented – ensuring that Black and brown people, LGBTQ+ people, the formerly incarcerated, and those with disabilities are not disenfranchised – be passed during the current legislative session.  

This is not a time for anyone in this country to lose their right to vote.

-Teri Lassiter, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Our Research
Featured Research & Reports
High suicide risk, specifically among young Black gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority men, may be associated with structural racism and anti-LGBTQ policies, according to a new Rutgers study led by Devin English, assistant professor in the Department of Urban-Global Public Health. The study found that anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ policies linked to inequities in states’ housing, education, incarceration, and economic opportunity among Black and LGBTQ communities are associated with suicide risk factors, such as depressive symptoms, heavy drinking, perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and suicide attempts among young Black sexual minority men. Learn more

The Rutgers School of Public Health’s New Jersey Safe Schools Program utilized a statewide platform to conduct a survey on school emergency preparedness and built environment attributes by evaluating teacher concerns and perceptions in the fall of 2019. The study results suggest that current school security measures - like periodic fire and lockdown drills that are practiced statewide in New Jersey - are valued as important by high school educators. However, specific gun safety policies and additional measures remain warranted. Learn more

The more credible that people perceive a news source to be the more they will believe a headline on a story they publish about gun violence, according to researchers at the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at the Rutgers School of Public Health. The study sheds light on how the media can shape American attitudes toward gun violence and suggests that delivering gun safety related messages from news outlets watched by firearm owners might be the best approach. Learn more

A Rutgers study has detected tiny airborne particles containing RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, both inside and outside of the rooms in which infected people were self-isolating at home. This finding suggests that airborne transmission beyond the isolation rooms in homes may pose a risk of infection to other home occupants. The study is the first report of household air contamination with SARS-CoV2 RNA under typical daily living conditions when a household member is infected and was led by Howard Kipen, professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice and director of Clinical Research and Occupational Medicine at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. Learn more

*This section highlights select research and reports from the
Rutgers School of Public Health. This is not a complete list.* 
Our People
2022 NJBIZ Power 100: Perry N. Halkitis 
Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, was honored in this year's NJBIZ Power 100 list. He joins Rutgers University President, Jonathan Holloway, and Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences Chancellor, Brian Strom
In the early days of the pandemic, Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School
of Public Health was handpicked by the Murphy administration — along
with his colleague Brian Strom, the chancellor of the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences — to lead the effort to trace the spread of the virus. In the months since, Halkitis has become one of the leading sources of information about the pandemic and the efforts to bring it to an end. In media appearances, he calmly presents facts and data on what government officials and individual residents should be doing to smother the outbreak.

In fact, outlets outside of New Jersey also seek his counsel on the latest news. And as the debate over whether to provide boosters shots heat up, Halkitis will become even more in demand. “It’s not a supply issue.There’s plenty of vaccine out there,” he said recently. “We’re beyond the point where we’re reaching for immunity in this country.” Halkitis is also not afraid to wade into controversial subjects. For example, he’s clear on the issue of requiring vaccinations in public places. “What I think is the right thing” for “entry into any enclosed venue, to require proof of vaccination. That is just good public health,” he told NJBIZ. “In a civil society, when you agree to be part of a society, you give up certain things in order to establish the well-being of the whole.” And he has become a prominent voice on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, for example serving as the founding editor in chief of Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health, which published its first issue in 2020. In addition, he is the author of Out in Time: The Public Lives of Gay Men from Stonewall to the Queer Generation, published in 2019 and The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, which was released in 2013. The latter was a 2014 Lambda Literary Award nominee and both books received the American Psychological Association Distinguished Book Award in LGBT Psychology.
*Narrative from NJBIZ, 2022 Power 100 List
New Staff
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Mitchell (Mitch) Marcus
Academic Support Counselor
Office of Student Support Services
Our Reach
Population Aging: Full Scholarship Available
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The Rutgers School of Public Health has launched a Population Aging concentration to train researchers, clinicians, and community leaders who can develop and implement creative public health programs and policy solutions to align with the nation’s changing demographics. 

One Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Population Aging full scholarship is available for the fall 2022 semester! All applicants who apply for the MPH in Population Aging program will automatically be considered for this scholarship. 
News Clippings
“In fact, analyses have shown that for people who are up to date in their vaccinations—which includes two Pfizer and Moderna shots plus one booster or one J&J shot plus one booster—rates of hospitalization and death were very low during the Omicron wave compared to people who were unvaccinated,” Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, MPH, professor and chair of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health. In December 2021, rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations were 45 times higher among unvaccinated people aged 50–64 and 51 times higher in people aged 65 and older, compared to fully vaccinated individuals who got their booster or additional dose, she adds when discussing the importance of getting recommended vaccine doses. Read VeryWell Health

Exposure to phthalates — chemicals found in many common consumer products — may disrupt placental corticotropin-releasing hormone, causing negative pregnancy outcomes, according to Emily S. Barrett, associate professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. “There is lots of evidence that placental corticotropin-releasing hormone is incredibly important in pregnancy, including playing a key role in the timing of birth,” she says when discussing how phthalate exposure may be linked to pregnancy complications. Read Healio

Many people have returned to work in offices and make regular trips to the grocery store; however, a sizable portion of the population still doesn’t feel comfortable doing anything in a healthcare setting that they don’t have to. “Plenty of people are trying to avoid anything to do with health because there’s a potential that COVID-19 can be spread,” says Perry N. Halkitis, dean, when discussing ways to address the nation’s blood shortage. While the Red Cross has information on its website about how the organization keeps people safe from COVID-19 at its blood donation centers, Halkitis says that repeatedly stressing this information is crucial to helping people feel more comfortable giving blood. Read Well + Good
The proliferation of gun violence in the United States — amplified by this winter’s tragedy in Oxford, Michigan, and the anniversary of Sandy Hook — has led yet again to calls to action for legislation to regulate firearm purchasing. And while legislation, which focuses on who can purchase a firearm, is a vital component in reducing gun violence in America, this narrow focus overlooks the underlying reasons as to why Americans purchase firearms to begin with, argues Joye Anestis, associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy, in her latest op-ed. Read
Marching Into Post-Grad
Marching Into Post-Grad is a month-long campaign featuring events, initiatives, and services designed to help prepare students for post-graduate career and job application readiness during this critical month for soon-to-be graduates. Registration for events is available through Canvas.

Careers in Public Health Law Panel
Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. EST

Careers in Governmental Public Health Panel
Friday, March 4, 2022, noon – 1 p.m. EST

Resume 101 Workshop
Monday, March 7, 2022, noon – 1 p.m. EST

Cover Letters 101 Workshop
Tuesday, March 8, 2022, noon – 1 p.m. EST

Job Search 101 Workshop
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, noon – 1 p.m. EST

Interviewing 101 Workshop
Thursday, March 10, 2022, noon – 1 p.m. EST 

Applying to Doctoral Programs in Public Health Panel
Monday, March 21, 2022, noon – 1 p.m. EST 
Admissions Lounge
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New Programs
Did you know? The Rutgers School of Public Health has launched six new programs and concentrations in the last year! Our newest programs include:

Upcoming Events

Attend one of our Departmental Information Sessions to learn more about all that the Rutgers School of Public Health has to offer! Not able to attend the events listed below? Check out the Admissions Events webpage!

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Check out the Rutgers School of Public Health's event calendar to learn about and/or join various events hosted, co-hosted, or supported by the School.
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