November 3, 2016 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 0Comment

Kim Krisberg and I were in Denver this week at APHA’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Exposition — the year’s largest gathering of public health professionals. In our blog posts from earlier this week (here, here, here) we recapped just a few of the scientific sessions and events from the week. Below are some highlights from the final day at the meeting. You can read many more courtesy of the APHA Annual Meeting Blog.

Public health in the headlines: How does news coverage impact health?: Media. It’s everywhere these days. So, it’s not surprising that it impacts our health and behaviors as well as our perception of serious public health problems. Such influence was the topic of a Wednesday morning Annual Meeting session on “Media News Coverage of Health and Risk,” which began with a deeper look at how the media covers community violence and safety. Presenter Laura Nixon, of the Berkeley Media Studies Group, studied news coverage of community violence in California from 2013 to 2015. She found that the kinds of community violence solutions represented in the media evolved over the years. For example, in 2013, policing was most commonly reported as a solution. But in 2014 and 2015, community prevention programs became the top solution cited in media coverage. Continue reading

For a LARC: It’s no joke — better training expands contraception access: Long-acting reversible contraceptives — intrauterine devices and birth control implants — are the most effective methods to prevent pregnancy. But too many people who want to choose LARC as their form of birth control are unable to get it in a timely manner because community health clinic staff is untrained or unprepared to perform an insertion.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. At a Wednesday morning session on “Expanding LARC Access and Training the Community Health Workforce,” reproductive health experts shared their tools for success in preparing community health clinic staff to stock, educate about and insert IUDs and implants. Continue reading

Farmers markets, community gardens improve health. And not just for rich people: Farmers markets are great for our health, especially our nutrition. But there’s one big problem. “Unfortunately, the people that shop at farmers markets are usually white, middle-to-high income, highly educated and female,” said Jennifer Casey, executive director of the Fondy Food Center in Wisconsin, at an Annual Meeting session on “Community Gardens and Food Systems to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.” “And that’s missing a huge segment of our population.”

In both Wisconsin and Wyoming, researchers have taken giant steps to increase access to healthy food systems like farmers markets and community gardens. For example, Casey and researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin collaborated on a two-year program to improve access to healthy food for diverse populations — especially people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Continue reading

Taking on obesity one soda at a time: Because problems like overweight and obesity don’t respect county borders, public health agencies are finding more ways to work together.  An example: the Denver area Metro Healthy Beverage Partnership that’s already had success in raising awareness about sugary beverage consumption and is helping local communities change their unhealthy ways. The partnership formed in 2013 after six health departments (which cover seven Denver area counties and more than half the population of Colorado) decided to zero in on obesity and the risk factor of sugary beverage consumption as a priority.

“I must say, I thought, writing a grant across six health departments, that’s going to be like herding cats,” said John Douglas, director of the Tri-County Health Department. But focusing on a common goal has proven easier than he expected, he told Annual Meeting attendees during a Wednesday session “A Collective Impact Approach to Reducing Sugary Beverage Consumption in Denver Metro.” Continue reading

Children who witness violence or are sexually abused are 3 and 5 times more likely to inject drugs as adults: Children who are sexually abused are nearly five times more likely to inject drugs in adulthood as those who are not — while children who witness violence are about three times more likely — according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver.

Researchers from NYU School of Medicine and The Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research used a nationally representative sample of more than 12,000 Americans to explore associations between nine childhood traumas and adult drug use. Additionally: the association between sexual abuse during childhood and injection drug use was more than seven times as strong for males as females. Continue reading

Catch up on all the news from the APHA Annual Meeting here.

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