Community Partner Spotlight: green|spaces

Michael Walton is the Executive Director of green|spaces, Chattanooga’s Sustainability Nonprofit. Michael grew up in Greeneville, Tennessee (upper northeast) received his professional architecture degree from UT Knoxville, and then practiced architecture in Washington DC for several years with a focus on sustainable design for social and environmental nonprofits before moving back to Tennessee to run green|spaces.  

green|spaces has a wide range of programs that impact public health. From large scale issues like climate change and the impact of systemic racism on air quality, water quality, and soil quality to small scale day-to-day challenges of indoor environmental quality and the impact of utility burden on the affordability of food, the programs at green|spaces help educate people, neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, developers, institutions, and governments about simple, effective, and affordable steps toward improving the planet, people, and prosperity; what they call the triple bottom line.  

One example is their work in asthma prevention through home improvement. green|spaces is working with Lifespring Community Health and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative out of Baltimore to scale a pilot they conducted that uses money saved by reducing asthma emergency room and hospitalization rates to make home improvements that address the root causes of asthma attacks like mold, outside air leakage, and pest management.  

A fun fact about Michael is that he completed the Wonderland Trail in 2020, a 93 mile loop around Mt Ranier in Washington State with 22,000 feet of elevation! gain.  

Council on Education for Public Health Accreditation Announcement!

ATTENTION! In early September 2021, UTC Master of Public Health received accreditation notification from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)! Having this accreditation showcases quality and continuous improvement in our higher education program through evaluation of institutional and programmatic outcomes. In October, the MPH Program was able to celebrate the accreditation with community partners, MPH alumni, faculty, staff and students. We would like to thank every person that has been involved with UTC’s Master of Public Health Program past and present! We are so delighted to be a CEPH Accredited MPH Program and look forward to continuing our relationship with CEPH.  

UTC Center for Wellbeing

Are you looking for extra support? Needing help with personal and academic growth? The Center for Wellbeing is focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the UTC community. They provide prevention and education programs addressing mental health, suicide, substance misuse, gender-based violence, physical health, sexual health, and nutrition. Megan McKnight serves as the Director of the Center for Wellbeing. In her role, she oversees the Center’s programs, grow on- and off-campus partnerships, assesses the impact of services, and provides substance abuse screenings to students. During finals week, they are hosting a tabling event titled Eat, Sleep, Relax, Repeat. The Center will be highlighting a different wellness topic each day that impacts our performance on tests. They also organized the Collegiate Recovery Academy, which aims to improve understanding and support for students in recovery from substance use disorder. 

MPH and Community Partner Activity

While in the MPH Program, students work on a project with a community partner during their Program Planning, Implementation and Evaluation Course. One group of students are working on a “Overdose Data to Action”, which is a partnership between UTC’s MPH second year students Breanna Long, Shelby Nolan, and Matt Pankey and Megan Revis of the Hamilton County Health Department. This project was created to evaluate the effectiveness of the health department’s overdose prevention website and the opinions of Hamilton County’s citizens. The team has developed a survey for the residents of Hamilton County to view the health department’s overdose prevention website and share their thoughts on both the website and addiction. This website is available until Friday, November 26, 2021. As a group, students are excited to share their findings with the MPH program and the Hamilton County Health Department. They hope the data gathered can help the department better serve the entire community. 

MPH Volunteering – Remote Area Medical Clinic

This semester, MPH students, faculty and staff participated in the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic at Camp Jordan Arena in East Ridge, TN. RAM Clinic provides medical, dental and vision services at no cost to the patients. MPH volunteers helped with post clinic referrals and evaluation surveys! Over 520 patients were registered that weekend and over $300,000 worth of medical services were provided. We loved partnering with UTC Social Work, RAM USA and meeting students, faculty and volunteers from all over the country (including Gainesville Friends of MSF)! We look forward to volunteering with RAM again in the future to continue providing much deserved services and resources! Those that are interested in learning more about RAM and how to serve, check out their website here for more information!  

MPH Faculty, Staff and Students Involved:  

Emory Evans, Jordan Foster, Hannah Jeffery, Ryan Ledford, Doug Ledford, Shelby Nolan, Kim Osment, Natalie Parks, Jessica Pierce, Emma Sampson, Jillian Sarney, Iqra Sheikh, Joey Thomas, Savannah Ward 

UTC MPH Program Announces New Concentration

Starting Fall 2022, UTC MPH is planning to offer MPH in Nutrition and Dietetics as a second concentration (in addition to MPH concentration in Chronic Disease Prevention and Control) for students interested in becoming Registered Dietitians (RD). This concentration is based on The Future Education Model and will be a full-time, 2-year program where students obtain supervised experiential learning hours while in the program in order to sit for the RD exam at the conclusion of their time in the program. This Program is accredited through The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). We are so excited to welcome more students into the MPH Program in the Fall!  

MPH Alumni Spotlight- Taylor Moore

Taylor received the CDC Public Health Communications Fellowship by applying through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).  While assigned to the Division of Population Health (DPH), he will be trained in the development and implementation of appropriate communication messaging for campaigns, social marketing initiatives, and other program events for specific target groups. Throughout the process, Taylor will be involved in health communication briefings with various departments within the CDC and other partners related to the activities. The fellowship lasts for one year and one of Taylor’s end goals is to start a nonprofit organization for youth in underserved communities.  One fun fact about Taylor is that he is a sports fanatic (Go Tennessee Titans!) and loves a good laugh! 

PHSA Update: Bowling for Boobs Fundraising Event

The Public Health Student Association (PHSA) partnered with UTC’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) to host a Bowling for Boobs- Strike Out Breast Cancer Fundraiser at Spare Time on October 29th from 6-9 pm. This event was in support of breast cancer research and bringing awareness to the community during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tickets were sold for attendance as well as T-shirts! The event was a huge success and PHSA was able to raise over $570! PHSA also hosted a College of Health, Education and Professional Studies Canned Food Drive during the month of November. Donations were given to Scrappy’s Cupboard, which is a pantry where food insecure students can obtain nonperishable items for free! PHSA is looking forward to continuing to give back to the community in the Spring!  

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jaesin Sa

In August 2021, UTC MPH welcomed new faculty member Dr. Jaesin Sa to the program! Dr. Sa received his PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington and completed his postdoctoral training in the School of Public Health at University of California-Berkeley. He is a Biostatistician with expertise in community-based approaches to understanding and reducing racial/ethnic disparities in obesity-related behaviors. 

 Dr. Sa has also received an internal grant and published an innovative study in a peer-reviewed journal. The research investigated sex differences in sleep and examined the association between objectively measured sleep characteristics and weight gain among black college students at a historically black university. See below. 

Sa, J., Choe, S., Seo, J., Chaput, J.-P., Cho, B., Gazmararian, J., Shin, J. C., Nelson, B., Hwang, S., Jackson-Bowen, D., & Moen, J. (2021). Sleep Duration and Weight Gain among Students at A Historically Black University. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 8(1):71-82. 

PHSA involvement with the Center of Student Well Being and Hope House

This semester, The Public Health Student Association (PHSA) was involved in the #FreshCheck Virtual Scavenger Hunt put on by the Center of Student Well Being.  The hunt was centered around mental and physical health for college students. PHSA hosted the “Boost Booth”, a virtual booth discussing physical activity, participants heard from PHSA President, Taylor Moore and Secretary, Ashley Montgomery. PHSA was also represented during the Student Involvement Fair where Taylor Moore set up a socially-distanced table and provided information about PHSA and how to get involved.

PHSA also volunteered with a Hope House event this semester. The Hope House sets up every Thursday morning 9:30-11 to pack up and distribute food bags for individuals in the community who may be in need of a little extra help during this pandemic.  Students helped pack and sort food for food boxes that are distributed to students every week.

PHSA meets virtually every 4th Thursday of the month at 4pm where there is discussion about:

  • Current Public Health News in Our Community
  • Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities On and Off Campus
  • Public Health Guest Speakers