Jungyoon Kim, PhD

Jungyoon Kim, PhD

Faculty Highlight – Dr. Kim teaches Health Care Organization Theory and Behavior. This course is about learning, understanding, and applying macro and micro theories that are relevant to explain and solve various problems in health care. Macro theory focuses on understanding how health care organizations behave and change their forms to adapt to the environment. Micro theory deals with human behavioral problems in health care, such as motivation, leadership, communication, and/or conflict.

Dr. Kim’s research focuses on organizational and behavioral problems in health care. She is especially interested in the turnover intent of direct care workers in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes, home health agencies, and adult day care. At an organizational level, Dr. Kim studies what structural forms in health care organizations look like and how these structures are associated with organizational/individual outcomes, such as change outcomes or worker satisfaction. Recently, Dr. Kim has broadened her interest in the public health sector. She is currently working on a community need assessment for mental health and long-term care in Douglas County.

Dr. Kim has been a participant in the Community Engagement Coordinating Council at the UNMC College of Public Health. In November 2012, she became a COPH representative on the UNMC Faculty Senate.

Jungyoon Kim, PhD, is an assistant professor in the UNMC COPH Department of Health Services Research and Administration.

Veenu Minhas, PhD

Veenu Minhas, PhD

Student Highlight – Dr. Veenu Minhas is an UNMC College of Public Health (COPH) MPH student in the epidemiology concentration.  She entered the program in spring 2001 and plans to complete her coursework at the end of the current semester and begin her service-learning project in spring 2013.

Dr. Minhas became interested in public health during her experience overseas. While pursuing her PhD and later on as a postdoctoral fellow in virology, she worked as a project director for a large epidemiological study in Zambia, Africa, to study the transmission of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). This virus is associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), a skin cancer commonly found in HIV-infected patients. KSHV infection is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Along with the emergence of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, the incidence of KS has also increased manyfold. Dr. Minhas has travelled to Zambia twice, which helped her to see and appreciate different perspectives on the problem. She was happy doing research work on collected samples in Nebraska, but in Zambia she came face to face with the study participants and came to appreciate the reality and severity of the problem firsthand. This project deeply connected Dr. Minhas to epidemiology and its importance. She decided to pursue formal training in this area, which ultimately brought her to the MPH epidemiology program at the UNMC COPH.

Dr. Minhas’s interests are in infectious disease/cancer research programs. She is a nontraditional student; she attended her classes via distance education—attending in real time the on-campus class from an off-campus site. She regrets that she did not get the opportunity to take full advantage of all campus activities and to personally connect with her peers. Nevertheless, Dr. Minhas appreciates the opportunity that the COPH has given her to expand her knowledge about public health and epidemiology, especially via distance education. The COPH is placing many of its courses online, affording students the opportunity to take courses from anywhere in the world with Internet access. Dr. Minhas states that “accessing classes via distance and now online opens opportunities for students like me who would otherwise have not been able to further their education and training.”

Dr. Baojiang Chen, PhD, Research on Biostatistical Methodological Development and Applications

source: nihseniorhealth.gov

Spotlight on Research at COPH – Dr. Chen’s current research focuses on both methodological development and statistical applications to research, such as in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) studies and cancer studies.

Dr. Chen has been working on statistical methods and analyses for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC). Approximately 5 million people in the United States and more than 37 million people worldwide are affected by AD. With AD, a person’s memory and ability to learn and carry out daily activities such as talking and eating are gradually destroyed. As the disease progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AD, and there is no way to predict how fast the disease will progress. However, early AD diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of symptoms. Therefore, it is desirable to identify risk factors that affect the progression of the disease. The NACC maintains a Uniform Data Set of standardized clinical and neuropathological research data collected from each of 29 National Institute on Aging-funded AD centers. This database is a valuable resource for both exploratory and explanatory AD research. It is challenging to analyze this data set because people with AD are often lost to follow-up over time due to a decline in health or death. Dr. Chen has developed innovative statistical methods to correct the estimate biases caused by non-randomly missing data and thereby provide valid inference.

Dr. Chen’s research also contributes to public health by examining characteristics of subgroups at greatest risk of progression to dementia. It is believed that disease-modifying therapies may have greater efficacy in subjects who have not yet developed AD and therefore have not experienced neuronal loss. Identifying risk factors for conversion to AD will help target interventions prior to the onset of symptoms to subjects who are at increased risk of progression. Risk factor identification may also assist in streamlining the drug development process, by targeting interventions to high risk subjects.

Baojiang Chen, PhD, is an assistant professor in the UNMC COPH Department of Biostatistics.

Travel tips

source: news.tn.gov

Public Health Community Advisory – The American Red Cross has travel tips holiday travelers can follow to arrive safely at their destination.

ON THE ROAD: Most holiday travelers get to where they are going by car. To arrive safely, the Red Cross recommends these safety steps for travelers who will drive to visit their loved ones over the holidays.

  • Make sure the vehicle is in good working order.
  • Start out with a full tank of gas, check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. Designate a driver who won’t drink.
  • Be well rested and alert.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Observe speed limits – driving too fast or too slow can increase the chance of being in a collision.
  • Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If the driver is tired, stop and get some rest.
  • Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road.
  • Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.
  • Clean the vehicle’s headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows.
  • Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or if using windshield wipers due to inclement weather.
  • Don’t overdrive the headlights.
  • If car trouble develops, pull off the road as far as possible.

It’s also recommended to keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Useful items include water, snacks, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra cash, and blankets,

PLANES, BUSES, TRAINS: For people traveling by air, bus or train, the Red Cross reminds them that if they have been sick with seasonal flu or have come in contact with someone who is sick, perhaps the trip should be postponed as they may be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.

Other safety tips to avoid the flu while traveling include the following:

  • Remember that everything someone touches has to be touched by someone else—luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes and use them to wash hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets—they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or sleeve.
  • Avoid touching the face or eyes.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join the blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

The Role of Public Health Training Centers in Public Health

Public Health in the National News – In October 2011, the College of Public Health (COPH) was awarded funding to launch the Great Plains Public Health Training Center (Great Plains PHTC). The purpose of the PHTC program nationally is to improve the nation’s public health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, managerial, and leadership competence of the current and future public health workforce. The program is funded through the Affordable Care Act Prevention and Public Health Fund, and is administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Professions via a cooperative agreement. Currently, there are 37 PHTCs across the country (http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/grants/publichealth/phtcoverviewdocument.pdf).

The Great Plains PHTC at the COPH is unique in its efforts to address the needs of not only the governmental public health workforce, but also tribal entities and public health care providers (such as Federally Qualified Health Centers) in the state.

Opportunities through the Great Plains PHTC include the following:

  • Field Placements for undergraduate and graduate level students in local and tribal health departments across the state of Nebraska
  • Collaborative Project Stipends for trio teams of faculty, students, and local health departments to address an unmet need of the community
  • Leadership Speaker Series to showcase leaders in the field for practice-centered grand rounds
  • Support and subsidy to the Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute, providing a year-long leadership development experience to public health leaders in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota
  • Online Learning Modules and additional Education and Training Events tailored to the workforce needs in Nebraska

After just one year, the Great Plains PHTC has collected stories of how these programs benefit public health in Nebraska. For example, field placements have had great impact on the students and the local health agencies. The competitive paid fellowship program places students in health departments for the summer (11 students were placed in rural and tribal health departments in summer 2012). One student placed in a rural health department was the first ever bilingual Spanish-English speaking staff member. As part of her activities, she planned a Hispanic Family Health Night. The purpose of the event was to uncover health concerns of the Latino community. Through the event, the health department learned that economic help, tornado preparedness, and basic prevention knowledge were unmet needs. After the field placement experience the student said, “My feelings about forwarding my education in public health are stronger than ever now. The time that I spent at the health department opened my eyes about how important it is to promote health, teach individuals how to prevent sickness, and how to protect themselves from possible hazards.” The student’s commitment to this work has led her to volunteer for the health department as a translator . . . even though it is a four-hour drive round trip.

For more information on the Great Plains PHTC, contact Brandon Grimm: blgrimm@unmc.edu, 402-559-5645.

This article was written by Brandon Grimm, PhD, director of the UNMC COPH Office of Public Health Practice, and Katie Brandert, MPH, CHES, workforce and leadership development manager in the COPH Office of Public Health Practice.