School of Public Health 
January, 2018
Scarlet Musings
Happy New Year!
In 2015, more than half of the world’s populations lived in urban centers . By 2030, 70 percent of the population in more developed countries and 56 percent of the population in less developed countries will live in urban centers, creating an unprecedented shift in human history.
Taking inspiration from these facts as well as the growing public health needs of major and rapidly growing urban cities in New Jersey — namely Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton, Camden, New Brunswick, and Atlantic City — the Rutgers School of Public Health remains steadfast in its efforts to tackle the heath disparities that burden urban and often marginalized populations.
At the same time, we remain keenly aware that urban renewal too often occurs at the expense of populations that have traditionally called these urban centers home; we remain committed to advocating for the well-being and affordability of these neighborhoods within these cities for the families that have lived there for decades.
As an urban dweller my entire life, I witnessed firsthand what happened to the Greek neighborhood of Astoria in Queens, where the home my parents could afford 50 years ago would be unattainable to them today. Neighborhoods in the West Village that were once the hub for LGBQTQ populations, and where I spent many hours of my youth, are now overrun with designer showrooms and boutiques. Changes to these neighborhoods have priced the majority of individuals living in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area out of the housing market.
As a discipline built on social justice, we cannot separate these economic issues from urban public health issues nor from the advocacy and activism that defines so much of our work.
With these values central to our core, we are proud to launch our new Master of Public Health in Urban Public Health in Fall 2018. Developed by our faculty and with the support of our local departments of health, the Urban Health concentration seeks to advance the health and well-being of diverse, dynamic, and often marginalized urban populations in New Jersey, the United States, and the world through innovative public and population health research, education, and practice.
We have envisioned an innovative and relevant curriculum that is skills-based and exists at the junction of theory and practice. Through coursework, practice experiences, and opportunities to work closely with faculty in research centers, students will develop quantitative and qualitative research skills to characterize health status and disparities in urban populations, learn to analyze how diverse urban factors and environments that influence health status, and apply theories and scientific evidence to develop and assess programs and strategies with urban populations. In this regard, our school will prepare the next generation of urban public health leaders and professionals who promote and protect the health of urban communities by understanding and applying the multiple, fluid, dynamic, and intersectional identities of urban populations.
In addition to our new Urban Public Health concentration, the Rutgers School of Public Health will launch PHocus , a one-week summer camp for high school students intended to spark the interest of young scholars in the field of public heath and building a pipeline for those dedicated to urban public health and any of the myriad aspects of our field. PHocus will be offered at both our Newark and New Brunswick sites drawing upon the expertise of our stellar faculty to inspire the next generation of public health professionals. Anyone interested in this program should contact Casandra Gabrielle .
Here’s to the health of our urban populations and of the world!

Best wishes for happy, healthy, and harmonious 2018.

Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH
Dean & Professor
Director, Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS)
Rutgers School of Public Health
683 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854
"Keeping the Public in Public Health"
Research Highlights
Poor Air Quality Linked to Respiratory Symptoms
Alum Saisattha Noomnual, MPH, and Derek Shendell, D. Env., MPH, have linked respiratory symptoms among adult street vendors in Bangkok, Thailand, with poor outdoor air quality in highly congested, developing urban locales.

Work Environment and Patient Outcomes in Neonatal ICUs
Jeannette Rogowski, PhD, professor of health policy, leads study that finds neonatal ICUs serving black populations suffer low staffing, resulting in missed patient care.

E-Cigarette Brand Pokes Fun at Tobacco Control Policy
Jane Lewis, DrPH, associate professor, and Olivia Wackwoski, PhD, respond to a recent tongue-in-cheek ad campaign for e-cigarette brand Blu.

Salons and Health
Derek Shendell, D.Env., MPH, leads studies that suggest frequent hair and nail salon clients exhibit more skin and fungal diseases than those who visit less often and that nail salon technicians often receive inadequate training in the use of chemicals.

Drivers of Sexual Risks in Aging HIV-Positive Gay and Bisexual Men
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, Dean, and his recently graduated doctoral student, Sandra Kupprat, PhD, examine the relationship between substance use and condomless sexual behavior in HIV-positive gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) over the age of 50.

Awards & Honors
Faculty to Receive New Investigator Award from National Cancer Center:
Pamela Valera, PhD, has been selected as the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Each year, the Cancer Institute awards $50,000 to a promising new investigator in the field of cancer research.

Doctoral Candidate Wins Fellow Award for Research Excellence:
Lydia Louis, a doctoral candidate in environmental health, has been named a 2018 recipient of a National Institute of Health Fellows Award for Research Excellence. Ms. Louis’s work examines how occupational and non-occupational organochlorine insecticide exposures influence cancer risk among the wives of pesticide applicators enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study, the largest U.S. cohort of pesticide exposures among applicators.

Dean Named Executive Board Member on NJPHA:
Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, has been named an executive board member for the New Jersey Public Health Association (NJPHA), the oldest public health association in the country.

Staff Member Receives Highest Honor from NJSOPHE:
Colleen McKay Wharton, MPH, has been awarded the New Jersey Society for Public Health Education ( NJSOPHE) Trophy, a symbol of gratitude that highlights her outstanding voluntary contribution to NJSOPHE.

Center Receives Service Award:
The Center for Public Health Workforce Development was awarded the New Jersey Association of Public Health Nurse Administrators (NJAPHNA) Community Partnership Award in recognition of their service to the Public Health community in New Jersey.
ICYMI: 21st Century Seminar Series
"The Affordable Care Act: Present Status, Future Prospects, and Implications for Health and Economic Security,” presented by the Department of Health Systems and Policy Faculty - Alan Monheit, PhD, Michael K. Gusmano, PhD, Thomas Mackie, PhD, MPH, and Irina B. Grafova, PhD. 
The Best of Both Worlds: Using Public Health Strategies to Create Digital Sexual and Reproductive Health Interventions,” presented by Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, MPH, Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood for America. 

Media Coverage
Vice Dean Cristine Delnevo, PhD, MPH, comments on what we can expect among teenagers if marijuana is legalized in New Jersey.
Associate Professor Emily Barrett, PhD, answers common questions about household phthalates and what they mean for your health.
Adjunct Professor Charles Weschler, PhD, along with colleagues, provides evidence that thirdhand smoke has similar bloodstream levels of nicotine equivalent to inhalation of secondhand smoke.
Assistant Professor Judith Graber, PhD, and Associate Professor Derek Shendell, D. Env., MPH, explain their latest studies linking respiratory and fungal symptoms in frequent salon clients.
Summer Experience for High School Students
Introducing PHocus, a summer experience for high school students! Participants can expect a variety of activities including mock outbreaks, population health and community disease activities, an introduction to public health, and conversations with public health scientists and practitioners. 

PHocus will be offered in Piscataway June 25-29, 2018 and in Newark July 30-August 3, 2018.

Applications are now being accepted through March 10, 2018.
Meet Our Newest Faculty
Dr. Anne Ray, PhD, MEd, joins our Department of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. Her research focuses on the etiology and prevention of substance use among adolescents and emerging adults. Recently, Dr. Ray has focused on the development and dissemination of evidence-based programs related to the prevention of drug abuse among youth.
Dr. Chongyi Wei, DrPH, joins our Department of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. His research focuses on addressing the barriers to accessing prevention and healthcare services among disenfranchised populations in the global context, specifically in China and other parts of southeast Asia.

Dr. Henry Raymond, DrPH, MPH, joins our Department of Epidemiology. He bridges academic research and public health practice both domestically and internationally focusing on populations at high risk for HIV and HCV infection. He is very active in improving the capacity of public health departments to conduct epidemiologic research to disseminate and use epidemiologic data for policy and planning.
Dr. Qiana L. Brown, PhD, MPH, LCSW, our first joint appointment with the Rutgers School of Social Work, is an epidemiologist and a licensed (general) clinical social worker. Her research focuses on the role of social environment in shaping substance use and other behavioral health outcomes among women, youth, and families – with an emphasis on examining substance use among reproductive-age women.
Coming Soon: Gender Neutral Bathroom
The Rutgers School of Public Health respects all aspects of all people, including their gender identities. It is imperative that we embrace an understanding that gender does not exist in the binary. We are taking the first step to address the well-being of our transgender and gender non-conforming colleagues and students by creating a gender-neutral bathroom. All individuals will have the right to use this single-sex bathroom facility or any bathroom facility consistent with their gender identity or expression.
Alumni Spotlight
Meet Michelle Kennedy, MPH'05 MCHES! She's currently a Research Analyst at the Rutgers-Center for State Health Policy which informs, supports, and stimulates sound and creative state health policy in New Jersey and around the nation. In her role, she focuses on project management for the New Jersey Child Health Study, a six-year controlled evaluation of the impact of changes in the food and physical activity (PA) environments on childhood obesity and related behaviors in four New Jersey cities.
Previously, Michelle served as the Fieldwork Coordinator at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“The professional and networking opportunities fostered through the Rutgers School of Public Health have been invaluable. With over 15 years of service between Rutgers and UMDNJ, I feel SPH has supported my skill development and growth around student services, project management, and research.”

In her spare time, Michelle tries to keep up with her two young girls and is teaching herself how to refinish furniture via YouTube.
Moving Forward
January 9
2:00PM - 3:30PM
CROM Grand Rounds Seminar:

“Safety and Health Considerations for Workers in a High Hazard Industry: Major Construction,” presented by
Koshy Koshy, PhD
January 17
12:00PM - 1:00PM
21st Century Seminar Series :

“Contribution of Epidemiology to the Understanding of Cancer Mechanisms,” presented by Paolo Boffetta, PhD.
January 10
2:00PM - 3:30PM
HIV, Aging, and the AIDS Generation: Examining Resilience

Keynote presentation by Dean Perry N. Halkitis focusing on the psychosocial aspects of aging with HIV and the role of resilience in healthy aging.
February 16
9:00AM - 5:00PM
NYC Epidemiological Forum:

Epidemiological forum hosted by the Rutgers School of Public Health, which is bringing together junior and senior epidemiologists, students, and researchers.
Social Bites
Join Team #RUSPH
You can still join Team #RUSPH for the annual Rutgers Unite Half Marathon & 8K on April 8, 2018!

All are welcome to join our team and show their #RutgersPride.

Contact Team Captain Heather Jordan ( with any questions about the event. 
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 The Scarletter .

Follow and interact with Dean Perry N. Halkitis (@DrPNHalkitis) on Twitter and Instagram.
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Did you just publish?

We want to tell your story - email Michelle Edelstein ( to learn more.
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
683 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854