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A Year in Review: UHC 2017-2018

September 4, 2018

As we prepare to transition to a new academic year, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on the incredible work our team has done over the past year and look forward to the future of the Drexel UHC in the coming year.

Over the last year, we have welcomed and educated a record-number of new team members, faculty affiliates and fellows; we have successfully launched a new website and our presence on social media; we have made progress on several projects and initiatives; and we have greatly expanded our international efforts through both the LAC-Urban Health network and the SALURBAL project. Additionally, we have grown our programs and events, including our visiting scholar program and hosting the second biennial Urban Health Symposium. Participation in our annual Summer Institute has more than doubled since its inception 2 years ago. We launched four new briefs this year, and we’re currently working on over 15 funded projects.

Our research faculty and students have been recognized by national organizations and agencies, as well as by the Dornsife School of Public Health and the Drexel University community. 

The following are just a handful of the many successes achieved this year:

Awards, Grants and Keynotes

  • Drexel UHC Director and Dornsife Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH was named the 2018 Winner of the Robert S. Gordon Lecture. She was also named president-elect of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS) in September 2017.
  • Drexel UHC Policy and Community Engagement Core co-lead Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH served as Keynote speaker for the Community-Driven Research Day held December 2017. The theme of the event was Local Solutions to Health Challenges. She also received the Vision Award for Excellence in Health Policy from American Public Health Association.
  • UHC Assistant Research Professor Sharrelle Barber, SCD, MPH was recognized at the American Heart Association Southeast Pennsylvania and Delaware Regional Research and Innovation Reception for her American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant. 
  • UHC Faculty Affiliate Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MSc received an Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Champions of Evidence-Based Intervention Award.
  • UHC Faculty Affiliate Tran Huynh, PhD was honored with a 2017-18 Scholarly Materials and Research Equipment for Tenure Track Faculty award, as part of the Drexel Research, Scholarship and Creativity Awards & Provost Awards for Teaching, Scholarship and Professional Service. She also received pilot funding from the 2018 Community-Driven Research Day competition, a Philadelphia initiative to encourage collaboration between researchers and community-based organizations and community groups.
  • New UHC Faculty Affiliate Loni Tabb, PhD, associate professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was featured in the Philadelphia Women in Science series, a spotlight on women in the front lines of science from The Franklin Institute.
  • UHC Postdoctoral Research Fellow Allana Forde was awarded a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association (AHA) Research Committee for her project: Discrimination and Hypertension among Participants in the Jackson Heart Study and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Publication Highlights

  • Drexel UHC Co-director Gina Lovasi, PhD, MPH co-authored a study, “Perceptions and Uses of Public and Private Health Care in a Brazilian Favela,” which was published in the journal Qualitative Health Research.
  • Drexel DSPH assistant professor and UHC faculty affiliate Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc led the study “US Mayors' and Health Commissioners' Opinions About Health Disparities in Their Cities.” Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study was co-authored by Drexel UHC Policy and Community Engagement Core co-leads Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH and Jennifer Kolker, MPH, UHC Doctoral Research Fellows Rosie Mae Henson, MPH and Rennie Joshi, MPH, and UHC Director and Dornsife Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH.
  • New research led by UHC Training Core co-lead Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, MPH “Intergenerational Associations of Parent Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Health Outcomes,” was published in Pediatrics, and co-authored by Lee Pachter, DO of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. 
  • UHC Research and Data Core co-lead Amy Auchincloss, PhD, MPH studied “The Short-Term Impacts of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax on Beverage Consumption,” using data from a phone survey conducted within the first 2 months of the implementation of the tax. This was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • “A Case Study of the Philadelphia Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Policymaking Process: Implications for Policy Development and Advocacy,” was published by UHC faculty affiliates Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MPH, MSc and Brent Langellier, PhD, MA with UHC Training Core co-lead Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, MPH in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
  • UHC research faculty Jana Hirsch, MES, PhD led the launch of a new UHC data brief, Patterns of Obesity and Cutting Meals in Philadelphia. She also authored “Impact of new rapid transit on physical activity: A meta-analysis,” in Preventive Medicine Reports.
  • Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH and UHC Doctoral Research Fellow Samantha Joseph, MPH launched a new community brief, “Community Violence Profile: Eastern North Philadelphia.” Additionally, a new website resulted from this research – Neighborhood United Against Violence, which includes numerous resources for community organizations and individuals in one accessible place –
  • UHC research faculty Leah Schinasi, PhD led the publication of “Using electronic health record data for environmental and place based population health research: a systematic review,” with UHC Research and Data Core co-lead Amy Auchincloss, PhD, MPH, Director and Dornsife Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, and Christopher Forrest, MD, a partner from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Additionally, the Drexel UHC was represented at the following events and workshops:

  • Drexel UHC Assistant Director Katie Livengood, MPH and UHC research faculty Jana Hirsch, MES, PhD attended the May NNIP Partner Meeting in Atlanta.
  • UHC Doctoral Research Fellow Matthew Kearney, MPH, DrPH(c) attended a weeklong research methods workshop series in Dakar, Senegal in early February 2018. Invited as a teaching/research assistant by his advisor Drexel DSPH assistant professor Philip Massey, PhD, MPH, Kearney worked with local graduate students as they evaluated the impact of “C’est La Vie” (CLV), a serial health education drama and transmedia program produced in Dakar.

As we look toward the future, we can’t help but to be excited about the 2018-2019 year and beyond. A major upcoming activity is our third, biennial Urban Health Symposium, planned for Sept 4-6, 2019. Stay tuned for more info in the coming months!