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A great year for the Colorado School of Public Health

June 23, 2011
by Paul Miller

Shown in photo on previous page are School of Public Health graduates (top row, from left) Sara Groth, Heidi Nace, Tiffany Lupcho, and Lorin Scott-Okerblom. Bottom row: Jamie Kleman, Sarah Jackson, Sarah Drobek, and Ashley Friedrich. Not shown: Meredith Dungar and Nicole Swaggerty.

Outstanding people, successful program

At this mid-year mark on the calendar, the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU already has reasons to celebrate a productive and engaging year – and many reasons to look forward to continued success.

Master of Public Health graduate Sarah Jackson ('11) is using her degree to address a wide range of health issues in Colorado communities.In addition to a recent cooperative agreement with the National Park Service and capstone presentations by students, the School celebrated its first graduating cohort at CSU, a notable milestone and part of a foundation that will prepare future students to find wide-ranging careers as public health professionals.

Actively addressing public health issues

The Colorado School of Public Health includes CSU, the University of Colorado-Denver, and University of Northern Colorado. The School provides training, research, and community service to actively address public health issues including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases, and costly injuries.

School of Public Health students and alumni assume careers with federal and local agencies, private hospitals and health care providers, international health agencies, research institutions, consulting firms, local business, and community-based organizations.

Firsts for the School of Public Health

This spring, CSU hosted two firsts through the Colorado School of Public Health program. For the first time, CSU was the site of capstone project presentations on May 6 by students in the Master of Public Health program. As part of the School’s practice-based learning curriculum, the capstone gave MPH candidates the chance to present their projects on specific public health issues.

In addition, two MPH students received competitive internships abroad for the summer with the World Health Organization in Switzerland and with USAID in Uganda.

“These student projects are representative of the wide range of focus areas and concentrations available through the CSU program of the Colorado School of Public Health  devoted to addressing public health issues that affect societies around the world,” says psychology Professor Lorann Stallones, director of CSU’s Graduate Degree Program in Public Health.

The other first: On May 13, nine students graduated from CSU, marking the first group to receive diplomas in the master’s program.

Professor Lorann Stallones, director of CSU's Graduate Degree Program in Public Health.“I feel fortunate to have been involved in the program and am honored to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated and talented students and such committed faculty across the university,” says Stallones, who was named a Professor Laureate in March by the College of Natural Sciences for her outstanding contributions to science in scholarship, research, and outreach.

In addition to her role in the School, Stallones is professor of epidemiology in the Department of Psychology and director of the Colorado Injury Control Research Center and the Institute of Applied Prevention Research.

At the federal level

In February, the National Park Service provided $80,100 in a cooperative agreement to CSU and the Colorado School of Public Health to promote One Health across NPS programs.

One Health advocates cooperation among human and veterinary medicine and wildlife biology to combat zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can spread between animals and people, and to promote the health of all species and the environment. The partnership will build collaborations with public health, veterinary medicine, wildlife biology, and environmental health experts at the NPS, CSU, and Colorado School of Public Health.

“One Health is an interdisciplinary approach to optimizing the health of all species. That means we can't do this work alone,” says Dr. Margaret Wild, chief wildlife veterinarian in the NPS’s Biological Resource Management Division.

Through December 2012, CSU and the School of Public Health will collaborate with the park service’s Division of Biological Resource Management and the Office of Public Health. Students and faculty will develop communications messages and reports about zoonotic diseases.

“We can provide training and expertise that will expand the capacity of the NPS in a variety of areas, and the NPS offers some exceptional opportunities for students to be involved in experiential learning either through practicum, capstone projects, or volunteering,” Stallones says.

Recent awards and recognition

Just a few weeks ago, the Colorado School of Public Health named the Poudre Valley Health System’s Coalition for Activity and Nutrition to Defeat Obesity, or CanDo, recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Public Health Practice by an Organization award. 

 “The program is a collaborative, grass-roots community task force that brings together public health professionals, community members, service providers to low-income populations, the local university, and school of public health students,” said co-nominator Kendra Bigsby, Master of Public Health program coordinator at CSU, in a recent release.

“We’ve had several MPH students there for their practicum placements and capstone projects,” says Stallones, who received the Excellence in Faculty Research award at the recognition event in Aurora. “One student, Lorin Scott-Okerblom, who received the Outstanding Contribution by a Student and was inducted into the Delta Omega Society, also just received word she was selected into the CDC/Public Health Associate Program.

"This is a two-year program – this year, they received 1,200 applications and accepted 54. She will be in Oregon working with the Marion County Health Department.

“It has been a good year for CSU, our partners, and our students.”