Interaction Spring 07 _08-34_

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                                                                   Investing in Our
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                                                                  Children’s Future
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         d i n g ry
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                                                                                           SPRING 2007
                                                                  Developing a Blueprint to End Hunger
                                                                         Tracking The Causes of Autism
from the Dean
Each year, the field of public health gains       new faculty and expansion in our research
greater footing in the public’s eye through       portfolio. As we grow, we do so cognizant
key events, often urgent in nature, that steal    of the critical need for real solutions to
the day’s headlines.                              address real public health challenges.
Last year the horrific possibility of an avian    In this issue of Interaction, Dr. Mariana
flu epidemic spawned more awareness               Chilton discusses childhood hunger and
concerning preparedness and pandemic              her work to address it in order to have
planning. The specter of Hurricane Katrina        young children realize their full potential.
spanned the full gamut of our field, from         Dr. Craig Newschaffer, a renowned autism
environmental health to racial and ethnic         epidemiologist, comments on the perceived
health disparities. More cities, including        autism epidemic and what factors may be
Philadelphia, pushed for smoke free               driving it. In response to the escalating
legislation, and the obesity epidemic             violence in our city and across the nation,
among children and adults received                Dr. John Rich plans to bring his theory
increasing media attention.                       to reality as he leads the school’s efforts
                                                  in addressing the relation of trauma to
The issue of food safety also splashed            violence. In fact, Dr. Rich recently received
onto the front pages this past year via tainted   the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his
spinach and spoiled peanut butter. And            pioneering work.
governments at all levels continued
to unveil plans for affordable health care.       We have added new faculty, announced
While many do not connect health care             in the pages that follow, and each depart-
reform to public health, these types of plans     ment has grown in its course offerings,
are based in health policy – one of the core      research and public health practice work.
concentrations of public health.                  While we have grown, the context of much
                                                  of our work remains grounded within the
This year, continued increases in inner-city      foundation of health as a human right.
violence call out for a combination of
criminal justice and public health solutions.     This year marks the 10th anniversary of
Indeed, violence is now described in              our school! Founded as the “School
epidemic terms. Apparent sharp rises in the       Without Walls,” we have been steadfast in
number of children reported to have an            our commitment to the surrounding
Autism Spectrum Disorder have called on           community with students and faculty
public health experts to determine if             working in partnership with a myriad of
the increase is indeed real and how to            organizations. We hope you can join us
address it. In our nation, the wealthiest         on June 2nd at a stunning Anniversary
in the world, children experience hunger and      Gala to be held at the National
fail to thrive – with the possibility of not      Constitution Center. Details of the gala
meeting their full potential as early as the      are included in this issue of Interaction.
time of school entry.
                                                  The School of Public Health continues with
Pick up any newspaper and public health           marked growth and marked success. As I say
is going to be there.                             with every issue, welcome to the Interaction.
At the Drexel University School of Public
Health, this year is our most successful in       Marla J. Gold, MD
                                                  Dean, Drexel School of Public Health
terms of student enrollment, growth in
contents           SPRING                         2007
     feature & news
         Team of experts from the Drexel School of Public
         Health fight hunger to protect Philadelphia’s
         infants and toddlers

         Dr. Craig Newschaffer looks for new autism risk factors
         Learn what’s new at the School of Public Health departments
         and academic centers


         Dr. John Rich talks about the impact of being a
         MacArthur Fellow on his life and his career




                                        DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 1
 feature story

  Developing a Blueprint
                                          end hunger

                                                     A    child suffering from hunger may be able to take
                                                          its first steps, but will be knocked down at
                                                     the knees later in life.
                                                     Yes, hunger – or lack of proper nutrition – stunts a
                                                     child’s mental and physical development for life.
                                                     And it happens to babies – including those in the
                                                     United States and the Philadelphia region – more
                       Team of Experts from          often than one would think.

               the Drexel School of Public           More than 35 million people in the United States live
                                                     in households considered to be food insecure, according
                    Health Fight Hunger to           to a 2005 U.S. Department of Agriculture report, entitled
                                                     "Household Food Security in the United States.” In addition,
                       Protect Philadelphia’s        the same report found that up to 43,000 children went
                                                     hungry at least once during the day because their families
                         Infants and Toddlers        could not purchase food.

                                                                                           developing a blueprint to end hunger

In Philadelphia, more than 7,600 infants and toddlers are
at risk for hunger. Coming to the aid of the thousands of
children in Philadelphia who are on the edge of hunger is
Dr. Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, a professor at the Drexel
University School of Public Health and the principal
investigator for The Philadelphia GROW Project.

“Fighting hunger is not just
about providing food.” - Dr. Mariana Chilton
“It’s not just a moral imperative to fight hunger, but hunger
and poverty represent a cycle that manifests itself by
damaging and stunting children’s growth and development,”
said Dr. Chilton.
“Even the wealthiest nations, including the United States,           Dr. Hans Kersten works with a patient at The GROW Clinic
struggle with fighting hunger. We all have a moral obligation
to ensure the vitality of our youngest citizens. Food is not         “Fighting hunger is not just about providing food,” said
about charity. Food is an entitlement,” said Dr. Chilton.            Dr. Chilton. “It’s behavior change. It’s providing family
                                                                     resources. It’s ensuring food stamps and housing subsidies.
What is “Hunger?” and The Philadelphia GROW Project                  It’s providing mental health resources for mothers. It’s
Dr. Chilton uses phrases like “hunger,” “food insecurity”            providing clinical and medical help for children. It’s this multi-
and “failure to thrive.” Each term represents an increasing          disciplinary approach that we take at The GROW Project.”
lack of healthy foods, or access to that food, with failure to
thrive meaning severe nutritional deprivation.                       C-SNAP
                                                                     The research arm of The GROW Project is part of the
All three forms of risk contribute to the growing hunger             ongoing national study called C-SNAP, or the Children’s
epidemic, which causes major negative impacts on the                 Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program.
growth and development of children.
                                                                     “C-SNAP shows how federal and state policies affect
“Our epidemiological research can now show that hunger               children who are still wearing diapers, and undergoing
and food insecurity affects children’s mental, physical and social   developmental milestones such as learning their first words
development,” said Dr. Chilton. “Children are in a critical          and taking their first steps,” said Dr. Chilton.
period of rapid brain development from birth to the age of
three. During this time, even mild to moderate undernutrition        Since 1998, more than 22,000 families have been interviewed
can have long-term adverse consequences.”                            as part of the national research program.

Treating and preventing failure to thrive in infants and toddlers    The research is done by interviewing children and families
is the work of Dr. Chilton and the team at The Philadelphia          who come into local hospital emergency rooms.
GROW Project – an initiative that works to improve the growth        In Philadelphia, Phyllita Bolden is a GROW Project staff member
and well-being of children. It is operated by the Drexel             and one of the C-SNAP researchers. She interviews families in
University School of Public Health and funded mostly by the          the emergency department of the St. Christopher’s Hospital for
Claneil Foundation, Inc.                                             Children in north Philadelphia, and hears directly from families
The Philadelphia GROW Project coordinates three different            struggling to deal with hunger.
arms or methods to help fight hunger in the southeastern             “Everyday I talk to families in the emergency room who
Pennsylvania region:                                                 are smart, and they know what it means to struggle and be
• C-SNAP Research – a nationwide multi-site research study           hungry. They know how hard it is to get food on the table
  on child hunger.                                                   for their kids, to earn a living, and to try to engage a system
                                                                     and help them,” said Ms. Bolden.
• The GROW Clinic – a multi-disciplinary program to provide
  primary care for children diagnosed with failure to thrive         This similar scenario is heard repeatedly nationwide, and
  and their families.                                                leads to a decrease in health in young children.

• Advocacy related to both clinical and research services.

                                                                                             DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 3
 feature story

                                                                                            and psychosocial issues, as well as
                                                                                            socioeconomic difficulties,” said
                                                                                            Dr. Hans Kersten, who serves as the
                                                                                            medical director of the clinic.
                                                                                            And it’s making an impact.
                                                                                            The GROW Clinic had its first class of
                                                                                            children “graduate” – or regained
                                                                                            weight and met growth milestones –
                                                                                            last year.
                                                                                            “The multi-disciplinary nature of The
                                                                                            GROW Clinic is making a noticeable
                                                                                            difference in the health of these children
                                                                                            and their families,” said Dr. Kersten.
                                                                                            “The Philadelphia GROW Project is
                                                                                            making an investment to provide a
                                                                                            brighter future for our community’s
                                                                                            children,” said Dr. Chilton. “But, nour-
                                                                                            ishing the bodies and minds of our
                                                                                            youngest children requires multiple
                                                                                            social, public and economic supports.”

“We’ve found that 20 percent – or one out of                                                Advocacy -- A Blueprint to End
every five babies and toddlers of the families                                              The final arm of The Philadelphia GROW
                                                                                            Project is the advocacy arm, which was
in Philadelphia that we interview are living in                                             in full swing earlier this year, when
                                                                                            Dr. Chilton, along with School of Public
food insecure households.” - Dr. Mariana Chilton                                            Health students and a team of experts
                                                                                            from The GROW Project, were invited
In fact, the C-SNAP study has found             purchase almost five years worth of
                                                                                            to appear before the Governor’s
that young children in food insecure            food stamps for the average family.
                                                                                            Inter-Agency Council on Food and
households have a 90 percent increase
                                                The GROW Clinic                             Nutrition in Harrisburg.
in poor or fair health, have higher rates
of chronic illness and 30 percent higher        Located at the St. Christopher’s Hospital
                                                                                            Their charge: help the state create
rates of hospitalization.                       for Children, The GROW Clinic is the
                                                                                            a four-year plan to end hunger in
                                                clinical arm of The GROW Project and
According to Dr. Chilton, this decrease         provides primary care for children
in health is because hunger in early            diagnosed with failure to thrive.           Dr. Chilton believes that public policies
childhood starts a vicious cycle of                                                         have a strong impact on child health,
malnutrition. It begins when families           More than 170 families and their
                                                                                            well-being and nutrition. For instance,
may not have access to enough food to           children have been undergoing
                                                                                            C-SNAP found that while many families
rebuild the child’s body or immune              treatment at the clinic since it started
                                                                                            rely on food assistance programs, nearly
system. A malnourished child is more            seeing patients in 2005. Hundreds
                                                                                            one-third of food insecure households
susceptible to infection, which is also         more have been touched by the work
                                                                                            do not receive food stamps.
more likely to be prolonged and more            of those at The GROW Clinic.
severe.                                                                                     In addition, high housing costs create
                                                Caregivers at The GROW Clinic offer
                                                                                            significant financial hardships on
This is usually followed by even greater        medical care, hands on nutrition
                                                                                            families. Yet, C-SNAP found that a
weight loss and an increased risk of            education, psychotherapy, and social
                                                                                            staggering 84 percent of food insecure
illness and hospitalization.                    work service.
                                                                                            households did not receive housing
                                                “The GROW Clinic treats the child           subsidies, and some families in
The average total cost of a single
                                                and their family in a holistic way. Out     Philadelphia have been on housing
hospitalization for a pediatric illness
                                                                                            waiting lists for more than a decade.

is $11,300. This same amount can                treatment includes attention to medical

                                                                   Department of Community
“It is the number one family concern in the                        Health & Prevention Receives
emergency room,” said Dr. Chilton. “Ending
hunger requires ensuring that families are not on
                                                                   CDC Grant to Address Health
a subsidized housing waiting list for years, while they
move from shelter to shelter.”
C-SNAP in Philadelphia also found an association
between maternal depression and food insecurity.
The Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for                   The Department of Community Health and Prevention,
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides food,                   chaired by Dr. Lisa Ulmer, received a $112,000 grant to
nutrition counseling, health care screening and                    investigate cardiovascular disease, disability and death
referrals to eligible children, pregnant and postpartum            among African Americans who were living in New Orleans
women. WIC has reached more than 75,000 American                   at the time of Hurricane Katrina.
families with infants less than a year old.
                                                                   The grant builds on the department’s work to evaluate the
“Absolutely we need the state food purchasing                      impact of “REACH2010 @ The Heart of New Orleans,” an
program. We also need more food stamp outreach,                    intervention research study by the Centers for Disease
and in more languages. We need to protect and                      Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce cardiovascular
expand the WIC program,” urged Dr. Chilton.                        health disparities in African Americans. The initiative is led
                                                                   by Dr. Cheryl Taylor, who is an associate professor of the
“A blueprint to end hunger requires Pennsylvania to
                                                                   Interim Chair Graduate Nursing Program, as well as the
continue its fine record of increasing the minimum
                                                                   director of the Office of Nursing Research, at Southern
wage. It requires improving access to child care
                                                                   University School of Nursing. The grant is funded by the
programs that support working women. It requires
                                                                   Black Women’s Health Imperative, as part of the CDC
ensuring access to medical care and mental health
                                                                   REACH 2010 Program.
services that support child development. It requires
that vulnerable families with very young children have             The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health
access to subsidized housing,” continued Dr. Chilton.              (REACH 2010) was launched in 1999 as the CDC’s major
                                                                   program to eliminate health disparities in cardiovascular
“Ending hunger is necessary to protect the rights of
                                                                   and other diseases.
young children,” said Dr. Chilton. “Together, we can
work towards providing the necessary social, public and            Through the grant, Dr. Ulmer and Michael Yudell, an
economic supports to end hunger in Pennsylvania, and               assistant professor at the School of Public Health, will lead
protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.”                a health surveillance study of the REACH 2010 participants.
Dr. Mariana Chilton is a professor at the Drexel School of         “In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which saw the
Public Health and the principal investigator of The Philadelphia   displacement of entire African American neighborhoods
GROW Project and co-principal investigator of the C-SNAP           and communities in the greater New Orleans area, public
study in Philadelphia. Visit
                                                                   health officials are concerned about the re-entry of these
                                                                   individuals back into their communities. They are trying to
                                                                   make sure that everyone receives essential care from the
                                                                   biomedical community,” said Dr. Ulmer.
                                                                   The research at Drexel will investigate a second wave of
                                                                   deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina; identify the needs of
                                                                   people with chronic diseases during disasters and develop
                                                                   recommendations to integrate those needs into emergency
                                                                   planning; and better understand the effect of REACH’s Self-
                                                                   Help program on the participants’ ability to survive disasters.
                                                                   The grant work will also examine possible causes for distrust
                                                                   that may act as barriers to the re-entry of African Americans
                                                                   into the public health care infrastructure.

Families celebrate the “graduation” of their children from
The GROW clinic

                                                                                         DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 5
 feature story

the causes of
                          AUTISM                                                                   Craig Newschaffer
                                                                                                   looks for new
                                                                                                   autism risk factors

T   he number of children in the United States diagnosed
    with autism has skyrocketed in the past twenty years.
                                                                The three most common ASD diagnoses are: autistic
                                                                disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental
                                                                disorder not otherwise specified (or PDDNOS). ASDs impact
Once a vastly unknown and rarely diagnosed clinical             children and families on a universal scale, with equal
condition, autism and autism-related disorders are now          prevalence among socioeconomic status and race. However,
recognized as a major public health problem.                    more boys than girls are affected at a rate of 4:1.
Determining if this spike in autism is caused by                The public health impact of the increase in autism is
environmental factors or the advancement of physicians’         staggering. Early estimates have found that the healthcare
diagnoses is the work of Dr. Craig J. Newschaffer, Ph.D.,       costs for children with autism are between 85 and 550
the head of the department of epidemiology and                  percent greater than the cost of a typically developing
biostatistics at Drexel University’s School of Public Health.   child, and the average lifetime public healthcare costs for
“The tremendous increase in autism cases nationwide has         a child with ASD is estimated to be $4.7 million.
caused much speculation about whether environmental fac-        While significant strides have been made in understanding
tors are involved in causing autism,” said Dr. Newschaffer.     the biology of autism, little is still understood about the
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are diseases that              causes of ASD. In addition, there remains a lack of data on
cause lifetime neurodevelopment disabilities. Initial           how the diagnosis patterns of ASD have changed over time
reports mentioning autism-like characteristics appeared         and how outside factors impact the risk of autism.
several centuries ago, but were first truly described in        Dr. Newschaffer and the team of researchers at the
U.S. and European medical reports in the mid-1940s.             Drexel School of Public Health are helping to fill that
During the 1980’s ASDs had a rare prevalence of five            information void.
per 10,000 people.
Today, the prevalence of ASDs is known to have at least         A Dearth of Information
doubled in the past two decades, with recent reports finding    Dr. Newschaffer is one of the nation’s leading investigators
the prevalence to be 60 per 10,000 people. In fact, ASDs        in Autism Spectrum Disorders and the epidemiology of how
now only trail mental retardation among the most common         changing environmental factors may be contributing to the
serious developmental disabilities in the United States.        increasing prevalence of autism disorders.

Despite this significant increase and impact on individuals     In addition to his department chair at the Drexel School
and families across the globe, little is known or understood    of Public Health, he founded and directed the Center for
about the causes of this disorder. Because there is no          Autism and Development Disabilities at Johns Hopkins
simple medical test for ASDs, the process of obtaining a        University, which is one of five federally funded centers of
diagnosis is long, uncertain and expensive, and there is        excellence in autism epidemiology. Dr. Newschaffer also
currently no cure for the disorder.                             participated in the National CADDRE Study of Autism
                                                                and Child Development – the largest population-based
What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?                             epidemiological study of autism risk factors.
ASDs are disorders of brain development that result in          “There has undoubtedly been considerable change in autism
difficulties with social interaction, speech and non-verbal     understanding and awareness in the medical and educational
communication, and repetitive and obsessive behavior.           communities, but there is much more anecdotal evidence
The disorders first appear during childhood and persist         and speculation then real data in quantifying the extent of
throughout adulthood.                                           these changes in autism prevalence,” said Dr. Newschaffer.

                                                                                          Tracking the Causes of Autism

                                                   “Unfortunately, the challenges in     “We are now learning if
                                                   diagnosing autism contribute to       environmental factors, such as
                                                   the challenges in determining         infections or chemicals, come
                                                   if the increasing autism rate         into play only when there are
                                                   represents an actual greater public   certain backgrounds of genetic
                                                   risk or is simply an increased        susceptibility.” He added, “We
                                                   recognition of the disease,” said     also now know of mechanisms
                                                   Dr. Newschaffer.                      by which environmental factors
                                                                                         can essentially influence whether
                                                   “For example, it is easier to         genes, including perhaps those
                                                   acquire epidemiological               that heighten the risk of autism,
                                                   information on diseases like          are ‘turned on’ or ‘turned off.’
                                                   melanoma – the deadly form
                                                   of skin cancer – due to the avail-    For instance, it is well known
                                                   ability of easy-to-use screening      that hundreds of chemicals have
                                                   techniques, such as biopsies.”        the potential to disturb basic
                                                                                         brain development.
                                                   “However, diagnosis and testing
                                                   for autism does not involve           At Drexel, Dr. Newschaffer is
                                                   something easy like biopsy rates,     studying the epidemiology of how
“We are now learning if                            and has lead to a real dearth of      things such as viral infections,
environmental factors, such                        information on autism that we         medications, heavy metals, smok-
                                                   are trying to overcome,” said         ing, alcohol and other environ-
as infections or chemicals,                        Dr. Newschaffer.                      mental exposures impact the risk
                                                                                         of autism and autism-related disor-
come into play only when                           Drexel at the Forefront               ders: and that research places the
                                                   One area that has gained traction     Drexel School of Public Health at
there are certain backgrounds                      over the last few decades is that     the forefront of autism research.
of genetic susceptibility.”                        genetics strongly influence the
                                                                                         “There have been few completed
                                                   risk of autism. And while it is
- Dr. Craig Newschaffer                                                                  epidemiological studies to date
                                                   commonly understood that
                                                   certain genes do influence the        that have directly linked environ-
The science of epidemiology is often critical to   risk of autism, Dr. Newschaffer       mental exposures and autism.”
discovering links between environmental factors    believes that genetic influence       Previous studies have suggested
and diseases.                                      does not completely explain           that during pregnancy both viral
                                                   autism risk.                          infection and certain medications
Dr. Newschaffer studies autism disorders within
a population and, by comparing the prevalence      “The genetic studies of the           elevate autism risk. Recent
of the disorder across subgroups within that       1970’s found that autism is ‘highly   research found associations
population, he can identify environmental          heritable,’ and were landmark         between certain air pollutants,
factors that may be causing an increase in the     research that offered tremendous      such as mercury, cadmium, nickel,
risk of autism.                                    impact for families. However,         chlorides and diesel particles, with
                                                   the genetic studies also indicated    autism, but the results are limited.
However, because there is no medical test
                                                   unequivocally that genetic            “In fact, there has been
for autism, the diagnosis process for physicians
                                                   influences did not completely         surprisingly little research on
is time-consuming, uncertain at times, and
                                                   explain autism risk, and evidence     how PCBs, occupational solvents
very expensive. “This is horribly frustrating
                                                   linking environmental factors         and lead, which is well known to
for parents searching for answers to help their
                                                   and autism is compelling,” said       cause adverse effects on prenatal
child, and is also challenging for epidem-
                                                   Dr. Newschaffer.                      growth and development, impacts
iologists seeking to understand patterns of
autism in groups,” said Dr. Newschaffer.           Dr. Newschaffer is exploring the      the risk of autism,” said Dr.
                                                   epidemiology of how outside           Newschaffer. Even alcohol and
“The fact that there has been a tremendous                                               smoking have not had conclusive
                                                   or environmental factors can
increase in the number of children in the                                                studies with respect to autism.
                                                   interact and influence genes
United States diagnosed with autism over
                                                   and genetic inheritance.                            continued on page 19

the last two decades is unquestioned.”

                                                                                   DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 7
 department highlights

                                                                  In addition to forging ahead with new research initiatives,
                                                                  the department has been working to develop new
                                                                  educational offerings. Proposals developed and submitted
                                                                  for Drexel University’s consideration include an MS degree
                                                                  program in biostatistics and a PhD degree program in
                                                                  epidemiology. These degree programs will provide new
                                                                  options for quantitatively and methodologically-oriented
                                                                  public health graduate students interested in pursuing
                                                                  academic or research careers. The epidemiology PhD
                                                                  program will be the second doctoral degree program
                                                                  offered by the school – one that will build on the success
  The Department of Epidemiology                                  of the Department of Community Health and Prevention’s
  and Biostatistics has entered an                                DrPH program.
  exciting period of growth                                       The department has also started a series of monthly
                                                                  journal clubs and research seminars that give students an
                                                                  opportunity to present topics from the current literature
  T   he Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
     is buzzing with new leadership and educational
  opportunities for students.
                                                                  and bring in researchers from outside the university to
                                                                  present on breaking topics and work in progress. In
                                                                  addition, the department held an evening seminar,
  Dr. Craig Newschaffer joined the department this fall as        Careers in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, in January
  a professor and chair. Dr. Newschaffer is a chronic disease     hosting representatives from the public, private, and
  epidemiologist, internationally recognized for his research     nonprofit sectors who spoke with MPH students about
  on autism. He is involved in a variety of epidemiologic         entry-level job opportunities. Helping to keep tabs on
  research projects tracking the prevalence of autism and         all of the new initiatives is the department’s new manager,
  seeking to determine whether environmental factors              Georgeanne Talarico. Ms. Talarico comes to the school
  might interact with genetic susceptibility.                     from Drexel’s Mathematics Department.
  The department also welcomed Dr. Jason Liao, a
  biostatistician who conducts biostatistics and
  bioinformatics methodological research in a variety
  of areas, including multilevel models, disease classification
  and prediction models, and group-randomized trials. Dr.
  Liao will be working to apply state of the art biostatistical
  methods to applied public health and biomedical research
  problems ranging from the analysis of microarray genomic
  data to the evaluation of complex community interventions.
  Dr. Alison Evans, a cancer epidemiologist, also joined the
  department faculty. Dr. Evans will continue her work in
  molecular epidemiology where she has special interest
  in developing large epidemiologic cohorts to study the
  influence of viral infection on cancer risk. The addition       Latest Developments in the Department
  of these faculty adds tremendously to the research base of
  the school and should provide opportunities for students        of Environmental and Occupational Health
  to better understand the process of developing and
  implementing complex epidemiologic research projects,
  as well as planning and executing sophisticated data
                                                                  T    he Department of Environmental and Occupational
                                                                      Health (EOH) continues to meet its mission to provide
                                                                  education, carry out research and participate in service
  analyses. The department also intends to recruit several
                                                                  related to environmental and occupational issues.

  more faculty members over the next four years.
In the area of education the department successfully
made the transition to new curriculum, including the
development of new courses for MPH students. These
new courses included both didactic and laboratory
aspects, and environmental assessment techniques are
now part of the required experience for all EOH students.
Research was also a successful area within the department.
Dr. Hernando Perez continued his strong collaborations
with the Philadelphia Housing Authority studying asthma
as it relates to the indoor environment, and worked to
help reduce asthma problems in homes. Utilizing tenants
of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, these community
based individuals were trained to identify hazards in
homes, and to work with their fellow tenants to
ameliorate these difficulties. Dr. Perez, working with the
chair of the department, Dr. Arthur Frank, also made
use of this set of activities to work collaboratively with
colleagues at the Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public
                                                                Department of Health Management
Health in a jointly funded research effort.                     and Policy
Dr. Curtis Cummings who leads the Center for Public
Health Readiness and Communication, completed
another successful year, which was highlighted by a major
                                                                T     he Department of Health Management and Policy
                                                                     (HMP) has had an exciting year. First and foremost, an
                                                                unprecedented number of students chose to concentrate in
conference in Eastern Europe. Papers generated by the           HMP this year. This increased student interest, combined
conference will soon be published in book form. Sponsored       with a new set of course offerings, has injected a sense
by NATO, there were many international participants,            of new excitement and enthusiasm among students and
including both faculty and students from the Drexel             faculty alike. In addition to the formal curriculum, HMP
University School of Public Health.                             has also started to build an informal curriculum intended to
Dr. Frank continued his project activities related to           build a collegial atmosphere between faculty and students.
the health of former workers at the Pantex facility in          For example, our Career Conversations Series invites prac-
Amarillo, Texas. Dr. Frank also continued his international     ticing public health professionals to join students for dinner
asbestos research efforts with the collection of new data       and discuss their career paths, challenges and successes.
in The People’s Republic of China.                              In September 2006, Dr. John Rich, chair of the department,
The department’s faculty has also been active in many           received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his work
community service initiatives. Dr. Perez chaired a              on the health of African-American men and urban violence.
state committee looking at issues of mold in homes.             The award has brought renewed focus to the critical
Dr. Cummings worked with the Philadelphia Gas Works in          issues of violence and urban trauma. Beyond this, it
making an assessment of potential heavy metal exposure          may stimulate future opportunities for the department to
among their workers. Dr. Frank was elected chair of the         conduct research on the effects of trauma, develop policy
Environmental Justice Advisory Board at the Department          to decrease urban violence and advocate for the health of
of Environmental Protection, and continued to serve with        men of color.
national and international organizations. His travels took      Across the department, members of the faculty have
him to India, Thailand, China, Canada, and elsewhere to         continued important work in applied HMP in public health.
discuss asbestos related activities with government officials   Professors Dennis Gallagher and Jennifer Kolker have
and professional colleagues.                                    continued to advise Pennsylvania counties on developing
There were a number of professional developments in             plans for local health departments. Recently, their work
the department as well, including Dr. Perez successfully        resulted in two new contracts – one with Dauphin County
passing the examination to become a Certified Industrial        and the other with Berks County – to conduct an analysis
Hygienist. Dr. Frank was also accorded the honor of being       of the health needs and opportunities of those areas.
the first non-Canadian to give the keynote address at the       Professors Gallagher and Kolker have now provided this
annual Occupational and Environmental Medicine                  important consultation for a total of eight counties across
Association of Canada meeting.                                  the state. In addition, Janet Davidson, an adjunct assistant
                                                                professor at the department, has added substantially to
With these milestones, the department, its faculty and          this work conducting field work and interviewing key
staff stand poised to continue its growth and development       participants in the community.

for months to come.
                                                                                     DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 9
 department highlights

  In addition to her work with local             Center for Health
  health departments, Professor Kolker
  also received a contract from the              Equality Receives
  Philadelphia Department of Public
  Health (PDPH) to conduct a policy
                                                 $275,000 Federal
  analysis of maternity service in               Grant from Office
  Philadelphia. This critical work will
  directly inform policy and will help to        of Minority
  determine the shape of future maternal         Health
  and child health services for the city
  and the region.
  Professor Ray Lum continues his
  excellence in teaching and new course
                                                 T    he Drexel University
                                                      School of Public Health
                                                 announced in February that
  development while also serving as a            it received a $275,000 grant
  member of the Drexel University                from the U.S. Department of
  Faculty Senate. His work is leading to         Health and Human Services’
  innovations in the use of technology           Office of Minority Health (OMH).
  for teaching and for management
  research in innovation.                        The grant will be used by the School of Public Health and National Minority
                                                 AIDS Council to jointly develop emergency preparedness recommendations
  Professor Bill Hickey oversees the             for vulnerable populations, enabling communities to meet the public health
  growing Executive MPH program, while           needs of minorities impacted by natural and man-made disasters.
  also teaching Health Outcomes to the
  second-year students. Adjunct faculty          According to school officials, the work is unique in that no previous
  members Mary Duden, Michelle Sahl              effort has brought together expertise and resources across a spectrum
  and Darryl Brown have all played a             of organizations, agencies and communities concerned with advancing
  key role in HMP. In fact, each faculty         planning, maintenance and, as necessary, execution of preparedness
  member has been instrumental in                strategies for racially and ethnically diverse populations.
  teaching financial management,
                                                 “The grant will help us build upon the lessons learned in New Orleans after
  supporting our partnership with Drexel
                                                 Hurricane Katrina to enhance and improve the readiness of the public health
  University’s LeBow College of Business
                                                 community,” said Dennis P. Andrulis, PhD, MPH, the principal investigator for
  and precepting students on their
                                                 the grant and the director of the Center for Health Equality at the Drexel
  Community-Based Masters Projects.
                                                 School of Public Health. “We look forward to working together with the
  The Center for Academic Public Health          National Minority AIDS Council so that communities nationwide are better
  Practice, which is based in HMP,               prepared to meet the public health needs of all their residents, including
  continues to engage our partners in            their minority and immigrant populations should a major event occur.”
  the city’s public health department as
                                                 The Drexel School of Public Health, the only school of public health in the
  strong colleagues. In fact, more than
                                                 Greater Philadelphia Region, has created a number of academic centers that
  20 staff members of the health
                                                 allow faculty to focus on their specific areas of expertise in a public health
  department received appointments this
                                                 practice. The grant from the OMH will be used by the school’s Center for
  year as adjunct faculty members with
                                                 Health Equality (CHE), which was established to serve as a major resource
  the School of Public Health. The
                                                 for addressing inequities in health and health care.
  Center provides a critical umbrella for
  bringing together our colleagues prac-         The CHE works to improve the health and well-being of the City of
  ticing public health and the school to         Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation, by
  pursue projects of mutual support and          developing new information and strategies, and creating constructive
  to foster public health in the region.         partnerships with communities, government, health care providers and
                                                 other academic centers. Its related activities will focus on three major
  All the faculty, students and partners
                                                 areas: health disparities, cultural competence and health literacy.
  together have made this a vigorous
  and exciting year for HMP. We are              For more information on CHE and the grant, visit
  grateful for their support and the   
  future promise that it heralds.

Expanding Horizons
at the Department
of Community Health
and Prevention

T     he Department of Community Health and
     Prevention continues to expand its breadth
and depth of research by welcoming new faculty
members and leading extraordinary research
initiatives nationwide.
The department recently welcomed two
new associate professors to the DrPH
program, Dr. Lisa Bowleg and Dr. Randall Sell.
Dr. Bowleg’s research focuses on gender and health,
lesbian, gay and transgender issues and health and
HIV prevention research in African American
communities. Dr. Bowleg recently published “The Health
                                                                Dr. Renee Turchi has collaborated in the writing of
Risks of Being Black, Latino, Woman, and/or Poor:
                                                                a chapter “Children with Disabilities,” which will be
Redefining Women’s Health Within the Context of Social
                                                                published in Health Care Delivery Systems and
Inequality,” an invited chapter to the forthcoming second
                                                                Financing Issues.
edition of Lectures in the Psychology of Women.
                                                                Nine students are preparing dissertation proposals, with
Dr. Sell’s research interests lie in sampling methods, survey
                                                                the first proposal defense by Michelle Teti. In addition to
design and LGBT health. He is also the creator and adminis-
                                                                being the first DrPH student to defend her dissertation
trator of, an informational Web page devoted
                                                                proposal, Michelle was recently published in the 2006
to information and datasets on lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
                                                                Health and Human Rights: An International Journal, as
Dr. Sell’s article“ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
                                                                the first author of her collaborative article, “Identifying
Public Health Research” was published in The Handbook
                                                                the Links Between Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS:
of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Public Health:
                                                                Ecosocial and Human Rights Frameworks Offer Insight
A Practitioner’s Guide to Service.
                                                                into US Prevention Policies.” Michelle’s article is closely
Dr. Robert Simmons, assistant professor, was elected            attached to her work as an HIV Prevention Specialist for
president-elect of the National Society of Public Health        Protect and Respect, a prevention research project for
Education (SOPHE).                                              women living with HIV.

Nancy Epstein, associate professor, completed production        Meredith Allen, whose research focuses on disease
of a statewide report for the Pennsylvania Developmental        surveillance and investigation, as well as bioterrorism
Disabilities Council on oral health and dental care for         preparedness, was recently featured in the news because
people with disabilities. The project was done in               of her work maintaining the spread of Norovirus in a
conjunction with Elwyn, and Philadelphia Coordinated            Bucks County elementary school. Holly Cucuzzella, a
Health Care and Special Smiles LLC.                             Health Educator/Risk Communicator for Burlington
                                                                County, NJ was featured for her work in preparing
Lisa Ulmer, professor, chair and director of the                volunteers to support health officials in the event of
department’s DrPH program, also presented “The                  a large public health emergency.
Integration of Research in Practice Doctorates in
Other Health Disciplines – Implications for Nursing: DrPH
Degree” at the Doctor of Nursing Practice Conference,
in Annapolis, MD in March.

                                                                                    DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 11
  Life After the MacArthur
  An Interview with Dr. John Rich
                                    I  t has been six months since John Rich
                                       found out he was one of the recipients
                                    of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in
                                                                                     regarding violence in Philadelphia. I have
                                                                                     been asked to chair another subcommittee
                                                                                     and of course during all of this, the school
                                    2006. Today, he finds himself in anything        was scheduled for an accreditation visit.
                                    but “The Wrong Place, at the Wrong time,”        My regular teaching duties are still there
                                    the working title of his soon-to-be-pub-         along with my book deadline which is fast
                                    lished book chronicling the personal             approaching. It has been an incredibly
                                    stories and struggles of young African           exciting, gratifying yet exhausting time.”
                                    American men. Dr. Rich is a profesor and         Not much time for sleep, he added.
                                    the chair of the Department of Health
                                    Management and Policy at Drexel                  When thinking about the overarching
                                    University School of Public Health.              impact of the award, Dr. Rich said, “It is
                                                                                     our opportunity to educate, to talk about
                                    Dr. Rich is a man who is committed to            important but tough issues. The award is
                                    giving a voice and a platform to two             a tremendous acknowledgment of the
                                    important issues facing the American             importance of the issue of connectivity
                                    people: the impact of violence in the inner      of race and health in America. While
                                    city, especially for African American men;       the money is only a part of the award,
                                    and secondly, how to develop a policy            the award itself is a terrific mechanism
                                    and perspective to help these young men.         of support. Because there are no strings
                                    He is a physician, scholar and a leader in       or specific guidelines as to how the
                                    addressing the health care needs of              award is to be used it is very freeing
                                    one of the nation’s most underserved             and stimulates creativity.”
                                    populations—African American men in
                                    urban settings.                                  Looking forward as to the possible effect
                                                                                     this award will have on his work, Dr. Rich
                                    Both the ‘fame’ associated with such a           was both hopeful and at the same time
                                    highly respected and coveted award and           keenly aware of the challenges. “We need
                                    the financial component have had a great         changes in our society both from a policy
                                    impact on the everyday life of Dr. Rich          point-of-view and a personal responsibility
                                    professionally and personally.                   to help make change happen. I am
                                    “As a professor and department chair, the        hopeful that this award will help us to
                                    pulls on your time are already significant,”     focus on the issue of understanding the
                                    commented Dr. Rich. “In just the past few        effect of trauma on the mind-health
                                    months my speaking engagement requests           connection. I think we can be an important
                                    have multiplied substantially, which is a real   resource and bring people together around
                                    compliment. The media interviews quickly         the issue of race and health. When we all
                                    followed including an appearance on The          share in the same stake in eliminating
                                    Charlie Rose program. Mayor Street has           racism then we’ll see real progress.”
                                    asked me to participate in a committee


                                                                             - The “SmartBoard” allows for graphics
                                                                               and writing with virtual markers
                                                                             - State of the art biostatistical and
                                                                               epidemiological software on every laptop
$100,000 Grant from GlaxoSmithKline                                          - DVD and VHS players, a home theatre-
                                                                               style sound system, and ceiling-mounted
Helps Students Studying Health and                                             projection system

Disease                                                                      Also at the dedication, school and corporate
                                                                             officials were joined by students from the
Begin Term by Opening Learning Center of the Future                          Drexel School of Public Health to cut the
                                                                             ribbon and officially open the room.

T   he winter 2007 term opened with the dedication and opening of
   a “Smart Classroom” that was made possible through a $100,000
grant from GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical
                                                                             Students and faculty from the Drexel
                                                                             University School of Public Health and
                                                                             Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health
and healthcare companies, and continues the growing trend of using           Professions will use the room.
“Smart”technology in schools.
                                                                             Students at the grand opening also used the
Turning the blackboard into a “SmartBoard,” the GlaxoSmithKline “Smart       new technology to display a “Thank You”
Classroom” is equipped with the latest teaching technology, including        card to GlaxoSmithKline. The students used
biostatistical and epidemiologic software, for use by students and faculty   the system’s virtual markers to sign the card.
at the school’s Center City campus.
                                                                             “With GlaxoSmithKline’s support, we are
The classroom provides the School of Public Health with an advanced          able to attract the highest quality students,
learning center where faculty can use high-technology to better engage       because we offer them the highest quality
students, foster improved quantitative and qualitative research and          education,” said Dean Gold. “We are
enhance classroom learning and instruction.                                  grateful for GlaxoSmithKline’s support, espe-
                                                                             cially at a time when our School of Public
“The ‘Smart Classroom’ continues Drexel’s commitment to providing
                                                                             Health is reaching new heights in promoting
an enhanced learning environment for our faculty and students,”
                                                                             the health of communities large and small.”
said the dean of the Drexel University School of Public Health,
Marla J. Gold, MD. “Thanks to the generosity of corporate neighbors like     The new classroom is part of the leading
GlaxoSmithKline, the Drexel School of Public Health will continue            pharmaceutical company’s long-standing
to be a national voice in the promotion of health and human rights.”         commitment to Drexel University and the
                                                                             advancement of healthcare research in the
At the dedication event, a Drexel School of Public Health faculty member
                                                                             Philadelphia community. The company
gave a demonstration of the classroom’s special features, which include:
                                                                             also fully sponsors the GlaxoSmithKline’s
- 11 dedicated laptops; each with wireless connections to the Internet,      Pharmacoepidemiology Fellowship at
  and a laser printer and digital scanner in the room                        Drexel University, as well as other
- The instructor’s laptop has a wireless connection to the classroom’s       educational initiatives at the university.
  “SmartBoard,” which allows instant creation, display and/or storage        The fellowship examines the risk/benefits
  of presentations from the “SmartBoard”-to-laptop or laptop-to-the          of pharmaceuticals and the outcomes of
  “SmartBoard.”                                                              drug therapies.

                                                                                 DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 13
  new faculty

    School of Public Health hires
                  SIX NEW FACULTY
                           Lisa Bowleg Ph.D.                                                Mary E. Hovinga, Ph.D., MPH
                           - Associate Professor, Department of                             - Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
                             Community Health and Prevention                                - Associate Professor, Department of
                           Dr. Bowleg is a leader in the                                      Epidemiology and Biostatistics
                           research and influence of                                        Dr. Hovinga is an environmental
                           social factors in minority stress,                               epidemiologist who joins Drexel
                           resilience and coming out issues                                 from the University of Alabama
                           among African American lesbian,                                  at Birmingham (UAB) where she
                           gay, bisexual and transgendered                                  served as the chair of the Faculty
                           people. She received her Ph.D.                                   Assembly and interim chair of
                           in Applied Social Psychology                                     the Epidemiology Department.
                           from George Washington                                           She has extensive experience in
                           University and previously served                                 curriculum development and
                           as a faculty member at the                                       twice received the President's
                           University of Rhode Island.                                      Award for Teaching at UAB.
                                                                                            Her research interests focus on
                                                                                            environmental exposures to lead,
                                                                                            PCBs and DDT, and developmen-
                                                                                            tal disabilities in children.

                           Alison A. Evans, Sc.D                                            Jason G. Liao, Ph.D.
                           - Assistant Professor, Department of                             - Associate Professor, Department of
                             Epidemiology and Biostatistics                                   Epidemiology and Biostatistics
                           Professor Evans is nationally-                                   Dr. Liao's biostatistics research
                           recognized for her epidemiological                               focuses on categorical data,
                           investigations on viral hepatitis,                               group randomized trials,
                           liver diseases and cancer. Professor                             multi-level modeling, longitudinal
                           Evans is also an adjunct associate                               data, microarray data and
                           member of the Philadelphia-based                                 statistical computings, as well as
                           Fox Chase Cancer Center. She                                     cancer clinical trials. He received
                           received her Sc.D in Epidemiology                                his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins
                           from the Harvard School of                                       University, and previously
                           Public Health, and held several                                  taught at the University of
                           previous consulting and                                          South Florida, Medical University
                           instructing positions.                                           of South Carolina and University
                                                                                            of Medicine and Dentistry of
                                                                                            New Jersey.

    For more information on the new faculty appointments, please visit

  Craig Newschaffer, Ph.D.
  - Professor and Chairman, Department
    of Epidemiology and Biostatistics    Drexel SPH Hosts 3rd Annual
  Dr. Newschaffer previously served
  at Johns Hopkins University,           Asbestos Awareness Day Conference
  where he founded and directed
  the Center for Autism and
  Developmental Disabilities – one
  of only five federally funded
                                         H    ealth leaders, victims of asbestos-related diseases and
                                              their families recently gathered at the School of Public
                                         Health to attend the 3rd Annual Asbestos Awareness Day
  centers of excellence in autism        Conference. The participants discussed how to better prevent
  epidemiology. He also studies          asbestos exposure, as well as ways to more effectively detect
  autism risk factors and is             and treat asbestos-related diseases.
  conducting epidemiology
                                         “Many Americans think that asbestos has vanished. But,
  research on autism in China.
                                         it’s still used in pipes, brake linings, vinyl tile and other
  Dr. Newschaffer earned his
                                         products. We haven’t banned it. We have transferred the
  Doctorate degree from Johns
                                         manufacturing overseas,” said Dr. Arthur L. Frank (pictured
  Hopkins University and maintains
                                         above), Professor and Chair of the Drexel School of Public
  an adjunct appointment at the
                                         Health’s Environmental and Occupational Health Department.
  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School
                                         “The American public is largely unaware of the continued
  of Public Health.
                                         risk. In fact, mesothelioma kills far more people in the
                                         Philadelphia area than the national average.”
  Randall L. Sell, Sc.D                  Held over the last weekend of March, the event was
  - Associate Professor, Department of   specifically scheduled to conclude on April 1, which is National
    Community Health and Prevention      Asbestos Awareness Day. The conference was organized by
  Professor Sell is one of the           the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), and
  nation’s foremost researchers on       co-sponsored by the School of Public Health and the
  defining and measuring sexual          London-based International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.
  orientations, and sampling
                                         The conference included a keynote address from Dr. Peter
  minorities for public health
                                         Orris, who represented the World Health Organization, and
  research. He was one of the
                                         a performance by Jordan Zevon, the son of music legend
  first to estimate the prevalence
                                         Warren Zevon and the national spokesperson for ADAO. In
  of sexual orientations in a
                                         addition, this year’s annual Asbestos Awareness Day honors
  probability sample of the United
                                         were awarded to United States Senator Patty Murray, Dr.
  States, United Kingdom and
                                         Michael Harbut, Canadian Parliament Member Patrick Martin,
  France. Professor Sell earned his
                                         asbestos disease survivors Paul Zygielbaum and Michelle
  Doctorate degree from Harvard
                                         Zygielbaum, and Lee Skramstad was honored posthumously.
  University and Masters in Public
  Policy from the University of          Along with his positions at Drexel, Dr. Frank travels the world
  Pennsylvania.                          conducting research and raising awareness on the use and
                                         impacts of asbestos and other hazardous materials. His major
                                         research activities have included the study of occupational
                                         lung diseases, and he has worked in the area of agricultural
                                         safety and health.

                                                                DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 15

G     reetings Alumni! This section of
     Interaction is all about you! Your
classmates want to hear about all
                                                 We plan to begin a Mentoring
                                                 Program for our current students
                                                 which will pair an alumna/us with a
                                                                                          Gary Fishbein is the Senior Medical
                                                                                          Director of Oncology, Medical and
your professional and personal                   current student. Please check your       Scientific Affairs for PharmaNet, Inc. in
accomplishments. You can fill out                email or our Web site for more details   Blue Bell, PA. PharmaNet coordinates
the form on the next page so we                  on this program.                         clinical research studies in conjunction
can help you keep in touch with                                                           with pharmaceutical, biotech, and
                                                 SAVE THE DATE!                           device manufacturing companies.
your classmates.
                                                 The School of Public Health’s 10th
You can also keep yourself and others            Anniversary Celebration is only a few    Kristine Shields is Associate Director of
up-to-date on events by visiting the             months away on June 2, 2007. There       Clinical Risk Management and Safety
School of Public Health on the Web at            are many events leading up to this       Surveillance at Merck & Co. Her older This site        celebration. Make sure you and your      son is a senior at the University of
is frequently updated with events                classmates are in the loop and send      Pittsburgh, her daughter is a student at
planned by the Alumni Association,               us your current contact information.     the National Massage Therapy Institute,
news about the school, and updates                                                        and her younger son is a junior at
on you!                                                                                   LaSalle High School.
Another method we are using to better                                                     2000
                                                                 Looking forward          Sonia Ratnaparkhi is the Director for
communicate with you and your
                                                                 to seeing you at         Healthcare Compliance and Education
classmates is through our E-newsletter.
                                                                 an Alumni Event.         for Health Partners in Philadelphia. Sonia
So let us know your e-mail address
and the e-mail addresses of all your                             - Palak Raval Nelson     coordinates a team of 6 with direct over-
friends too!                                                     President of the SPH     sight of the MCO accreditation process,
                                                                 Alumni Association.
                                                                                          quality/credentialing audit process,EPSDT
                                                                                          outreach/services, and health education.

                                                                                                               alumni news

2001                                        2005
Jon Cass is the Director of Community       Jennifer Sinibaldi recently accepted
Projects for the School of Public Health.   a position as a senior analyst in        Name:
He coordinates the school’s interaction     hospital preparedness at the
with all CBMP and practicum sites. He       Association of State and Territorial
                                                                                     Maiden name:
and his wife reside in Fox Chase, PA.       Health Officials (ASTHO). She will
                                            begin at ASTHO in May 2007.
2003                                        Jennifer completed her MPH at
Monica Cheriyan prepared for the            the School of Public Health with
MCAT this past summer and is taking         a concentration in epidemiology          Address:
biochemistry in preparation for             in 2005. She has certificate
applying to medical school. Since           training in the National Incident
her summer move to Ohio, she                Management System and Medical
has spent her free time getting             Effects of Ionizing Radiation.
reacquainted with Cleveland.                                                         City:
LaTonia Peters is the coordinator of        Andrew Tanner is the Occupational        State:          Zip:
the MPH Program at the University of        Health and Safety Officer for the
Louisville’s School of Public Health and    Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest,
Information Sciences. She is responsi-                                               Preferred Email:
                                            the largest national forest in the
ble for coordinating the curriculum,        lower 48 States at 6.3 million acres.
aiding faculty in course development,       The forest covers most of the
organizing practicum experiences and        mountains in Nevada, a portion
serving as liaison to the local health      of Eastern California and has a          Preferred Phone:
department. She is working on a DrPH        workforce of 350 professional and
at the University of Kentucky’s College     seasonal employees. The occupational
of Public Health.                           exposures of this group include a
Michelle Teti is the Project Coordinator    unique blend of challenges from          Tell us about what you are doing:
for the Protect and Respect program,        wildland firefighting to long-distance
a sexual risk reduction program for         driving. Andrew is a Presidential
women living with HIV/AIDS. She is          Management Fellow and is excited
also a doctoral student at the Drexel       to take on the challenges of the
School of Public Health’s DrPH program.     position and develop leadership
Her dissertation research involves her      skills in the fellowship program.
work with Protect and Respect, and the      Please stay connected……..Remember
way violence hinders women’s efforts        to let us know what you are doing
to have safer sex.                          and when you move. We want to
2004                                        stay in touch with you. Please
Jennifer Breaux is a doctoral               complete the included form or go
student at the Drexel School of Public      to to
Health working with Dr. Mariana             connect with the Drexel Alumni pages
Chilton and The GROW Project, a             and complete the form online.
program focused on failure to thrive in
children from birth to 3 years of age.
The project includes clinical care,
research and advocacy.
Carol Larach is the coordinator for
the Center for Public Health Readiness
and Communication at the Drexel
School of Public Health.

                                                                                     DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 17
Students from the School of Public Health take a
break from their volunteer efforts at the Boys &
Girls Club of Germantown to pose for the cameras.

        students volunteer
                                at local Boys & Girls Club
       Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday
                                                                                 Tracking the Causes of Autism

A    bout 25 students from the
     Drexel University School of
Public Health volunteered at the
Boys & Girls Club in Germantown in
January to celebrate the life and spirit
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The students spent the Martin Luther
King, Jr. holiday helping the local
organization’s staff to clean up and
organize the club, including painting,
wiping toys and dusting banisters.
In addition, the students from the
School of Public Health learned about
the history of the Boys & Girls Clubs,
participated in ice breakers, and              continued from page 7

worked with some of the children
that attend the club.                      “Epidemiological study of all these chemical and environmental
                                           variables as risk factors for autism is just beginning,” continued
“We did things that the Boys & Girls       Dr. Newschaffer.
Club would like to do on a regular
basis, but do not have the time nor        “Connecting the dots within an entire community or population
the staff,” said Neha Nariya, a            of people is what we are looking into here at the Drexel School
first-year Master of Public Health         of Public Health,” said Dr. Newschaffer.
student. “We had a great time              Looking Ahead
volunteering and want to continue          As Dr. Newschaffer moves forward on his epidemiological
to build the relationship with the         research at Drexel, he cautions that challenges remain.
Boys & Girls Club in Germantown.”
                                           While certain environmental exposures may not increase the risk
The students volunteered through           of autism across an entire population, there may be a subgroup
the United Way Martin Luther King          that is heavily impacted, and the risk of autism is significant.
Day of Service program, which
organized various projects for groups      Despite these challenges, Dr. Newschaffer is motivated to
or individuals across the city.            continue his work on linking smoking, alcohol and pollutants
                                           to the causes of autism. In fact, in addition to his work at
The end of the day featured a closing      Drexel and elsewhere in the United States, Dr. Newschaffer
ceremony that was reflective of the        recently started a collaboration with Peking University to
volunteers’ activities and the vision      explore approaches for conducting epidemiological research
of Martin Luther King, Jr.                 on autism in China.
The closing ceremony did not signal        “The next generation of autism epidemiology studies is
the end of the Drexel School of Public     moving ahead by capturing information on a wide range
Health students’ involvement, as they      of environmental exposures, while simultaneously collecting
are currently scheduling a monthly         DNA samples to allow genetic characterization,” said
service project with the Boys &            Dr. Newschaffer.
Girls Club.
                                           “This new wave of research will give us the information
All students are welcome to volunteer      needed to begin thinking about strategies to prevent ASDs
in the monthly activities, and can get     and promote optimal neurodevelopment, which will advance
more information by contacting the         public health and foster healthier communities.”
Drexel School of Public Health
Student Government Organization            Craig J. Newschaffer, PhD, is a professor and chairman of the
at                      Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University
                                           School of Public Health.

                                                                           DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH | 19
10th Anniversary Gala

                                       Join Drexel University and Community Leaders
                                       as they present important public health issues
                                       facing the Philadelphia region.

                                       Date: Friday, June 1, 2007
                                       Time: 9:00am - 12:00pm
                                       Location: Geary Auditorium B
                                                 New College Building
                                                 245 North 15th Street
                                                 Philadelphia, PA

                                       Cost: $10 per person
                                       RSVP: by May 18, 2007
                                              Anne Jensen
                                              P 215.762.8868

        C HE


          LO       H






            L UNIV ER


june                         2 0 0 7
Saturday, June 2, 2007
6:30 pm
The National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street, Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA

Featured Speaker:
Geoffrey Canada,
President & CEO Harlem Children’s Zone

The evening’s entertainment:
Matt Duke, guitar and vocals
Sherry Wilson Butler, jazz vocalist
A special appearance by the Philadelphia Boys Choir

For more information regarding the weekend’s activities,
including a public health symposium, please visit our              C HE
                                                                 LIF PUBLIC A


                                                                     LO       H
website at






                                                                       L UNIV ER

Proceeds from the gala will be used to create                             RIG

an endowed scholarship fund to help students
pursue careers in public health.                           june                         2 0 0 7
Dates to Remember!                       Get More Online: Visit SPH Web site!
                                         Stay current on the latest news and
10th Anniversary Public Health
Symposium                                happenings at the Drexel School of
June 1, 9:00 AM                          Public Health by visiting us online at
Geary B Auditorium, Drexel New College

10th Anniversary Celebration Gala
June 2, 6:30 PM
The National Constitution Center

June 16
Daskalakis Athletic Center

            Drexel University
            School of Public Health
            1505 Race Street
            Mail Stop 660
            Philadelphia, PA 19102