Combating Childhood Lead Poisoning in Southside Chattanooga

Dr. Dawn Ford and her team of second year MPH students, including Jaleesa Brumfield, Rosa Cantu, Zach North, and Kavina Patel, have been working diligently to raise awareness and test children for lead poisoning funded by the UTC Equity Fellows program. The team has been active in coordinating events across the community to help affected residents of Southside Chattanooga clean up the contaminated soil and reduce the health hazard caused by lead poisoning including the Minority Health Fair & Cempa Health Fair. These efforts have led to the collaborations with the EPA and UTC School of Nursing.

  

 


The Journey Begins for the Second MPH Cohort

On August 15, 2019, the UTC Public Health program welcomed our 2nd outstanding cohort to campus. The class of 2021 consists of 13 individuals (eight women, five men) from a wide variety of educational backgrounds (linguistics, public relations, and psychology, to biochemistry, biology, and exercise science). Each student in the cohort adds an array of unique personal and professional experience, including the first Army Veteran to join the UTC Public Health program.

  


‘Closing the Gap’ at the Annual Minority Health Fair (MHF)

As part of the orientation process, our newest cohort of students participated in the 18th Annual Minority Health Fair (MHF) before even attending a day of class on campus!

Over twenty MPH students, staff, and faculty joined to help provide 6,000+ attendees with free health screenings, health education information and educational resources. The MHF offers our students a unique opportunity to learn about the organizations in Chattanooga that offer health-related services to medically underserved individuals and to experience first-hand the impact that these services have on the local community.

A special thank you goes out to Chris Ramsey, Director of the MHF, for allowing our students to experience this great event as part of our effort to address health disparities in our community!

   


New Public Health Program Faculty Member

The Public Health program welcomes Dr. Amir Alakaam to the team! Dr. Alakaam has a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Food Systems, an M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics, and is also a physician with an M.B.Ch.B. in Medicine and General Surgery from Iran. We are excited to have him as an Associate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics in our Department of Health and Human Performance. Currently, he is teaching the Public Health & Community Nutrition course to our second year MPH students. Dr. Alakaam has a variety of research experiences including nutrition education intervention through farmer’s markets and breastfeeding practices in the US. For more information, please visit Dr. Alakaam’s MPH faculty profile page.


MPH Faculty Moving the Needle Forward Locally & Internationally

Dr. Dawn Ford and her team of second year MPH students, including Jaleesa Brumfield, Rosa Cantu, Zach North, and Kavina Patel, have been working diligently to raise awareness and test children for lead poisoning funded by the UTC Equity Fellows program. The team has been active in coordinating events across the community, including the Minority Health Fair & Cempa Health Fair, to help affected residents of Southside Chattanooga clean up the contaminated soil and reduce the health hazard caused by lead poisoning. These efforts have led to the collaborations with the EPA and UTC School of Nursing.
  

 

This past summer, Dr. Mark Stoutenberg received a Fulbright Scholar Award to work with Community Health Promoters (CHPs) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dr. Stoutenberg spent two months working closely with colleagues from the University of Witswatersrand (Wits U) and the City of Johannesburg Department of Health. As a team, they explored ways to better train and prepare CHPs to provide physical activity and healthy eating guidance to patients seeking services at any of the City’s 82 community health clinics.

  

 


UTC Representing at TPHA Annual Meeting

Fourteen UTC MPH students, staff and faculty and staff drove to Franklin, Tennessee to participate in the Tennessee Public Health Association (TPHA) Annual Conference on September 12, 2019. TPHA brings together professional leaders across the state and nation to address the most pressing issues facing Tennessee under the theme of “Managing Change: Opportunities for Public Health Impact.”

The UTC Public Health program was in full force this year at TPHA. Dr. Mark Stoutenberg led a two-part workshop titled ’Exercise is Medicine: Essentials to Physical Activity Promotion for Creating a More Active, Healthier Tennessee!’ while our poster presentations included ‘Lead Contamination and Childhood Lead Poisoning’ by Dr. Dawn Ford and her team and ‘Examining the Urban Walking Brain: Promoting Restorative Environments’ by Zach Farley and Dr. Andrew Bailey.

A special thank you goes out to Kim Harrell, Executive Director of TPHA, for her support and assistance. The UTC Public Health program greatly appreciates being a part of TPHA each year.

  


Community Partners offer MPH Students a variety of Experiences

UTC MPH students are required to complete two 30-hour ‘public health exposures (PHEs) as a part of their program of study. Through these experiences, our students observe and participate in public health settings across different sectors of our society. We value the role of our community partners and appreciate their support and commitment to help bridge instructional and experiential learning.

After one year, our students have completed PHEs with a number of local health organizations including the American Heart Association, Lifespring Community Health, Siskin Children’s Institute, Southeast Region Tennessee Department of Health (Sequatchie County), and the YMCA. We look forward to having even more of our students working in the field with our community partners in the future!

  


MPH Students Accepted to the TN AHEC Scholars Program

Congratulations to our MPH first year students who were recently selected as Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Scholars – George Carpenter, Ryan Ledford, Rose Loesser, and Taylor Moore. The Tennessee AHEC Scholars Program is an interprofessional training opportunity designed to prepare a diverse, culturally competent health care workforce that is representative of the communities it serves. The two-year program includes 80 hours of didactic preparation on topics such as interprofessional education, social determinants of health, cultural and emerging health issues, as well as 80 hours of team-based, interprofessional clinical experience.

Ryan Ledford

Rosetta Loeser   

Taylor Moore

George Carpenter   


Future Events

American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting – November 2 – 6, 2019 (Philadelphia, PA). The UTC Public Health program is proud to announce that MPH second year students Mckenzie Gregg, Kim Reid, and Emma Sampson are presenting at the 2019 APHA Annual Meeting. In addition, Zach Farley, an APHA Student Assembly Member, received the 2019 Annual Meeting Student Scholarship Award and will moderate two oral sessions at the conference.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic – November 16 & 17, 2019 (East Ridge, TN). The UTC Public Health Program has collaborated with the leaders of the East Ridge Ram clinic to implement a more active role for our students and add value to attendees. The UTC MPH students will deliver education sessions about physical activity and healthy eating habits, which will allow students to facilitate, empower and educate patients while they wait for services. The UTC Public Health program is excited for this unique opportunity to help fill a gap and need of the RAM Clinic.

  


MPH Students Summer 2019 Internships

This summer multiple MPH students served in prestigious summer internships for organizations across Tennessee and the United States. Locally, Shay Stutts was selected as an intern for the University of Tennessee Extension System and Shelby Souvannasing worked with the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville. Nationally, Zach Farley worked in Rockville, Maryland for the National Cancer Institute as an intern through the NIH Summer Internship Program.

Shay Stutts (far left)

Shelby Souvannasing

Zach Farley (right) and his NIH mentor