University of Nebraska Medical Center

COPH Celebrates National Public Health Week

Public Health Community Advisory – The College of Public Health (COPH) coordinated a week of campus and community events from April 2 to 6 to celebrate National Public Health Week. This year’s theme was “A Healthier America Begins Today! Join the Movement!”

UNMC College of Public Health Students

A kickoff event was held on Monday at the South Omaha Library, sponsored by the COPH’s Office of Public Health Practice. A panel of public health practitioners and leaders of community organizations answered questions about the health of families asked by Dr. Renaisa Anthony, deputy director of the college’s Center for Reducing Health Disparities. The speakers emphasized the importance of working with the community to develop the most effective approaches to tackling problems.

Several kickoff speakers noted that individuals play a role in raising awareness of public health issues within their circles of family, friends and colleagues. COPH Dean Ayman El-Mohandes echoed this message in his closing remarks, noting the importance of being an advocate for public health, no matter what the situation or venue.

Tuesday’s event was a screening of The Apple Pushers , a new documentary film about a unique effort to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in New York City’s food deserts. Attendees learned how history, economics, health, biology and politics all played a part in this new public health initiative.

On Wednesday, the COPH community competed in teams for the title of “college champion” in a game show modeled on “Family Feud.” Four teams were asked to predict the most likely answers given by survey responders to a range of public health questions about the daily themes of National Public Health Week.

Students benefited from a Student Leadership Session on Thursday, when director of the Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute and Office of Public Health Practice Manager Katie Brandert, MPH, conducted a storytelling workshop focused on the skills of writing and telling a great public health story. After learning about the proven success of pairing data and story, students discussed the strengths and pitfalls of using storytelling in situations ranging from conferences to policy settings to job interviews.

The week’s events closed on Friday with the Great Plains Public Health Training Center Leadership Speaker Series, featuring Laura Howard, the Region VII Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), speaking about issues surrounding mental health and substance abuse and their role in public health. To view the recording of Ms. Howard’s presentation, “Behavioral Health: Why It Matters to Public Health and What to Do About It,” click here.

This article was written by Brandon Grimm, MPH, director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Claudine McCarthy, MA, graduate assistant.

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