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Connecting at APHA

Posted on October 31, 2023

By Interim Dean Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH

Gina Lovasi headshot Next month, I look forward to learning from and alongside colleagues at American Public Health Association’s Meeting in Atlanta from November 12-15, 2023. We will have an exhibitor booth (# 1308), a reception for alumni and friends, and a line up of presentations that showcase key strengths of our school. While you can see full details and presenter names on our website, I want to draw attention to how the topics that will be presented illustrate the range of ongoing research and practice, connecting to our structures and ongoing efforts.

Racial and ethnic health inequities and structural racism are an important focus of work through out the Dornsife School of Public Health. A leading role is being played by the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Health Movements, and Population Health Equity which will be featured on the program. Importantly, Drexel APHA presentations to inform a path forward toward racial equity also include expertise from other centers including the Center for Hunger-Free Communities and Urban Health Collaborative, clinical fields including medicine and nursing, and features leaders of organizations beyond our school such as the Council on Black Health and the Pennsylvania Action Coalition. Work on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in north Philadelphia connects to the Latino Health Collective, which just convened on October 13, 2023 in person for their first annual retreat. Longitudinal studies and attention to adversity in early life also feature the upcoming presentations and ongoing work of investigators at the A. J. Drexel Autism Institute. Research on cannabis program participation and overdose risk highlights the focus of our work relevant to substance use, including through the Medical Cannabis Research Center.

The work scheduled for presentations is championed by public health professionals at all career stages and spans all stages of life, from conditions of pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia with relevance to our Maternal and Child Health Program to conditions common in later life such as cardiovascular disease. The projects range from those in our vicinity such as the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood to those with attention to migrant and refugee populations building on work of the multidisciplinary Migration, Ethnicity, Racism and Health Group. The goals range from making ongoing threats to health more visible, to synthesizing the state of the literature, to exploring and evaluating approaches toward improved population health.

Methods showcased include mixed methods approaches, photovoice, participatory action research, community surveys, longitudinal analysis, pooled cohort analysis, and meta-analysis. The presentation titles seem to me an invitation to learn more, including about the complexities of index construction, framework development, community perspectives, quantifiable trajectories, causation, efficacy evaluation, education, and mentorship.

I hope many of you will join me in accepting this invitation, and I’ll look forward to connecting and discussing what we learn together at the conference.