Dean's Message
Bernadette Boden-Albala, MPH, Dr PH
Director and Founding Dean of the Program in Public Health
Wildfires are all too familiar to us here in California. As they have devastated Australia this year, the time is right for us to talk candidly about the environment and public health. Environmental science remains near and dear to our hearts here at the UCI Program in Public Health. While curriculum in environmental science has long been a mainstay of schools of public health, over the last decade, despite climate change, there has persisted some discussion about whether it should be considered a core public health discipline. Here in California and across most of the U.S. and globally, environmental science and the workforce need for environmental scientists has become increasingly important. We remain firm in our support of environmental and occupational health training, research and practice, and we are honored to have among our faculty internationally recognized experts in this broad discipline. As we look towards our future school of public health, we are excited by the prospect of developing innovative approaches to address climate change, e-waste, and clean air and water. Just as importantly, we continue to develop cutting-edge teaching strategies promoting foundational knowledge on the environment and public health to ensure our students have the confidence and skills to engage as responsible scientists. To provide more depth about some of our environmental health issues, I’m pleased to welcome guest columnist Dr. Michael Kleinman. In addition to his research on wildfires, which he shares below, Dr. Kleinman's recent work as a member of the Scientific Review Panel for Toxic Substances for California contributed to the state's ban on use of chlorpyifos. Last week, the world's largest maker of the pesticide announced it would no longer produce the chemical.
 
Guest Columnist
Michael Kleinman
Adjunct Professor and Co-Director of the Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Program in Public Health
Wildland fire smoke is a complex mixture of air contaminants, including particulate matter (PM) toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide and carcinogenic chemicals such as benzo(a)pyrene and other polycyclic hydrocarbons. The concentrations of these compounds in smoke are greatly intensified when the fires spread to buildings and vehicles. Public health studies of exposure to smoke have suggested that wildland fire smoke can cause respiratory and cardiovascular health effects including increased cases of severe asthma, increased admissions to emergency departments, increased numbers of individuals hospitalized, and possibly increased numbers of deaths due to cardiac and respiratory failure. Firefighters are at an elevated risk, compared to the general public, of eventually dying of heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. While we have made progress in reducing the public health impact of air pollution, per se, the increasing incidence and severity of wildfires threatens to undo some of that progress. The acres of land impacted by wildfires, and the amounts of smoke-related toxic chemicals to which we are exposed in the U.S. have increased dramatically as millions of people are exposed to unhealthy air every year. The burned forest area in the U.S. has doubled, from about 5 to about 10 million acres per year.  Climate change will likely increase weather extremes, periodic droughts, and higher average wind intensities that will lead to more and bigger wildfires. Prescriptive burns are effective mitigating tools, however, we urgently need to step up efforts to protect our communities and improve response plans to minimize health and socio-economic impacts.     
The UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health recently hosted a successful first Symposium on Occupational and Environmental Health Threats, Hot Topics in Wildfires: Present and Future Health Risks.
Public Health Pop-Up
Addressing Campus Concerns about Coronavirus
Dean Boden-Albala and the Program in Public Health are working closely with university leadership, Orange County public health officials, and our partners in the office of Student Wellness & Health Promotion to put together a response to the recent Coronavirus outbreak that has provided us with an important opportunity to educate students on campus about preventing the spread of viral illnesses. The student-run undergraduate Public Health Association has mobilized groups of public health student ambassadors to survey nearly 700 students about their attitudes and knowledge of Coronavirus and flu, hand out bottles of hand sanitizer donated by UCI Environmental Health & Safety, and talk with students about best practices for staying healthy this cold and flu season. We set up a table and hand-washing station near the Student Center and Anteater Plaza and invited students to stop by to wash their hands for 20 seconds (while singing the “Happy Birthday” song) to protect themselves from cold and flu. We also traveled around campus in the Public Health Pop-Up golf cart to share an important message: "Spread the word, not a virus!"
Your Zip Code Matters
Public Health Pop-Ups are a new initiative we started this year to help answer a question that we hear frequently as public health practitioners: What is public health? We launched our first pop-up at the Anteater Involvement Fair in January with a focus on health disparities. Did you know that where you live is a stronger predictor of your health and longevity than your genetics? Your zip code impacts your ability to access healthy food, safe outdoor spaces, clean air, job opportunities, quality education, and much more. Graduate students Alvaro Zevallos Barboza, Desiree Gutierrez, Vida Bobela Fabiola Rebello, and Kameko Washburn—from Dean Boden-Albala’s SEARCH lab, which focuses on social epidemiology—planned the pop-up with guidance from assistant professor Brittany Morey and research manager Emily Drum. They talked with fair-goers about health disparities and invited them to share their own thoughts about the most important public health issues we face today.
Research Focus
Michael Hoyt
Associate Professor
Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention
Michael Hoyt received a 3-year grant from the Department of Defense to study Inflammatory Processes, Emotion Regulation, and Depression in Prostate Cancer Survivors. In the approximately 2.5 million American men diagnosed, the experience of prostate cancer can exact a psychological and physical toll. The period following radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer is marked by relatively rapid changes physical functioning and can be a critical period marked by increased depression and declining health-related quality of life for affected men. However, little research has sought to examine the unfolding risk and occurrence of depression following prostate cancer treatment. A primary goal of this research is to specify and test a theoretically-driven model of how psychological and contextual vulnerabilities shape trajectories of depression in the year following prostate cancer treatment. A focus will be to investigate the inflammation and emotion regulation as core mechanisms of depression among prostate cancer patients.

Dr. Hoyt also has four new publications:
Hoyt, M. A., Mazza, M.C., Ahmad, Z., Darabos, K., & Applebaum, A. J. (in press). Sleep quality in informal caregivers: Understanding psychological and biological processes. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Wang, A. W., & Hoyt, M. A. (in press). Cancer-related masculinity threat in young adults with testicular cancer: The moderating role of benefit finding. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping.

Gupta, S., Mazza, M. C., Hoyt, M. A., Revenson, T. A. (in press). The experience of financial stress among emerging adult cancer survivors. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology.

Darabos, K., & Hoyt, M. A. (in press). Emotional processing coping methods and biomarkers of stress in young adult testicular cancer survivors. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.
Karen Edwards
Chair and Professor
Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention
Karen Edwards has had four new publications based on her NIH funded grants, including two that involved a number of graduate students in the Epidemiology and Population Health and Disease Prevention Departments:
Evidence for gene-smoking interactions for hearing loss and deafness in Japanese American families. Wan JY, Cataby C, Liem A, Jeffrey E, Norden-Krichmar TM, Goodman D, Santorico SA, Edwards KL; American Diabetes Association GENNID Study Group. Hear Res. 2019 Dec 24;387:107875. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2019.107875. [Epub ahead of print]
 
The second paper was also from Dr. Edwards’s same NIH-funded genetic epidemiologic study of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This paper represents work completed as part of a doctoral dissertation (Willems) who is mentored by Drs. Edwards and Santorico, a collaborator on the study and based at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Transethnic meta-analysis of metabolic syndrome in a multiethnic study.
Willems EL, Wan JY, Norden-Krichmar TM, Edwards KL, Santorico SA.
Genet Epidemiol. 2020 Jan;44(1):16-25. doi: 10.1002/gepi.22267. Epub 2019 Oct 24.
PMID: 31647587

CALL FOR CANCER RESEARCH PROPOSALS

Deadline: Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by 5:00 pm

The UCI Cancer Research Institute is pleased to announce that funds are available through the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant. This institutional grant will fund several proposals for one year at a level up to $45,000 per award. All eligible faculty from each school at the University of California, Irvine are encouraged to apply, so long as the proposal has a clear link to some aspect of cancer research. The purpose of the seed grants is to provide pilot funds for Research in both basic and clinical cancer-related problems.

Eligibility:

Investigators within the first SIX years of their first independent faculty position and in the following series are eligible: In Line, In Residence, Adjunct, Clinical-X, Clinical and Researcher. Awardees may not hold a competitive grant from a national agency (e.g. NIH, ACS etc.) or be a previous recipient of an ACS-IRG seed grant. Investigators who hold funds from the UCRI Cancer Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) or any award where the majority of the funds are for the express purpose of supporting the investigator’s salary (such as the NIH K series) are eligible. Investigators whose initial nationally competitive research grant was not renewed are also eligible as long as other criteria are met and that they are not in a no cost extension. Cancer Center membership is not required. US citizenship or Permanent Residency Status is required. Questions regarding these criteria should be forwarded to Edward Nelson enelson@uci.edu and cc: nrdrisco@uci.edu.

Application:

The budget should be up to $45,000 per annum with a May 1, 2020 start date or sooner. Revised applications are accepted. The application forms and instructions can be download from the Cancer Research Institute website: http://cri.bio.uci.edu/events/american-cancer-society-seed-grant-program/

Submit your nominees for the ICTS Awards!
Nominations are open for the 12th Annual Institute for Clinical & Translational Science Awards. Nominations are due March 27 for Junior Investigator of the Year, Robert Newcomb Interdisciplinary Team Science, Distinguished Faculty Mentor of the Year, and Outstanding Community Researcher.
Alumni Corner
Public Health alumni from as close as Irvine and as far away as Philadelphia, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco gathered recently for the Public Health Alumni Chapter’s “Home for the Holiday” brunch and campus tour.
Save the Dates!
Reunion and Homecoming 2020: February 28th & 29th
Cammie graduated in 2013, receiving a B.S in Public Health Sciences and a Minor in Medical Anthropology. ​After graduating, she worked in oncology clinical research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center for 6 years.Cammie ​enjoyed her work as a clinical research coordinator, but yearned to serve patients in a greater capacity and have a larger role in their care.​ Just this January, Cammie started a hybrid physician assistant (PA) program with the Yale School of Medicine. ​Her inspiration for success comes from her parents, who are Vietnamese refugees that fought to survive and thrive in America. Her favorite UCI memory is late night runs to UTC for Cha tea with her Middle Earth dorm mates. Cammie’s advice to students is to “maintain your relationships and take opportunities as they come. I was able to work with a great community of colleagues and faculty members who exemplified the most aspirational scholars and role models. I took every meeting offered and took advantage of opportunities available to me. The relationships I developed led to more opportunities, and I was able to enter a field aligned with what I truly love.” ​She also believes that public health work is a calling and we should never lose sight of our values, always be compassionate, and  protect vulnerable populations. Best wishes to our alumna on her future endeavors!
Program In Public Health News
Lisa Grant Ludwig
Chair and Professor
Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention
Lisa Grant Ludwig will be honored with the Distinguished Mid-Career Faculty Award for Service at the Academic Senate 2019-20 Distinguished Faculty Awards on February 19.
Karen Edwards, Chair and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, is serving as an external reviewer for the UCLA Academic Senate Program Review of the Department of Epidemiology in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
Michele Goodwin
Chancellor's Professor, School of Law
Director, Center for Biotechnology & Global Health
Joint Appointment in the Program in Public Health
Michele Goodwin wrote an article featured in Ms., “Will the Supreme Court Respect the Rule of Law—and Its Own Jurisprudence?”
Daniel Parker
Assistant Professor
Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention
Daniel Parker was featured in the UCI News for his work to eliminate malaria in southeast Asia.
Oladele Ogunseitan, UC Presidential Chair, was featured in the Winter 2020 edition of UCI Magazine for his work on the One Health Workforce—Next Generation project.
Shuwana Farmer, lecturer, was a "Thank a Teacher Program" recipient for the Fall of 2019.
Coral Castro-Wintringer, Grants Analyst, is a 2019 ARIISE Awards Nominee for Excellence.
Helping Hands
Thanks to all the public health faculty and staff  who participated in the UCI Staff Holiday Helping Hands Program during the holiday season! Overall, the university reported that the program had 72 sponsors and was able to support 97 families.
Check out the Office of Equity and Inclusion website for some familiar faces under pillar 2 of the Inclusive Excellence Action Plan!
Student Awards
Congratulations to all the Program in Public Health students who have been awarded UROP grants!

Jakob Agatep (Dr. Lisa Grant Ludwig): The Role of Performing Arts in Affecting Community Resilience Following Natural Disasters: A Case Study in New Orleans, LA

Robin Allas (Dr. Zuzana Bic): Analyzing Undergraduate College Students' Nutritional Choices and Bridging its Connection to Mental Wellness

Jesus Chavez (Dr. Alana LeBron): Using Student Narratives and Ethnographic Approaches to Investigate Factors Influencing Dietary Behaviors Among Latino College Students

Eileen Dai (Dr. Miryha Runnerstrom): Self-perceptions of Wellness and Engagement in Wellness-Promoting Behaviors in Relation to Success Among College Students

Kaitlyn Danlinhton (Dr. Andrew Noymer): An Investigation into the Lasting Effects of Racial Inequality in the Distribution of Antibiotics

Jade DeBarry (Dr. Ted Gideonse): Identifying Perceived Barriers to STI Testing Among UC Irvine's Sorority and Fraternity Population Dr. Ted Gideonse

Julia Dou (Dr. Victoria Bredow) Effect of Raising Cardiovascular Health Awareness Among UC Irvine Chinese International Students By Using "WeChat"

Wendee Duong (Dr. Michael Hoyt): Forms of Emotional Processing in Response to Stress: An Expressive Writing Study

Anthony Espinoza (Dr. Ted Gideonse): PrEP Perceptions

Melenaite Fifita (Dr. Sora Tanjasiri): Samoan Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL)

Hector Garcia (Dr. Daniel Parker): Vaccines: Role of a UCI Student's Living Situation in Vaccine Barriers

Nabiha Kamran (Dr. David Timberlake): Assessing Needs and Priorities for Funding Research and Services in Tobacco Cessation for Persons with HIV

Jacobus Kos (Dr. Tim Bruckner): Analyzing Patient Travel to UCIMC Emergency Department

Shivani Patel (Dr. Miryha Runnerstrom): Climate Change Perceptions among the UC Irvine Student Population

Dien Phung (Dr. Kristina Uban): Assessing the use of the 'Questionnaire of Unpredictability in Childhood' in a Novel Adolescent Sample in South Africa

Ravi Sandhu (Dr. Annie Ro): Identifying the After Effects of Acculturation that are Associated with Heightened E-Cigarette use amongst Hispanics

Ravi S. Sandhu, Tyler Calpito (Dr. Michael Kleinman): Development of Heart Block in ApoE (-/-) Mice Chronically Exposed to Waterpipe Smoke
Nicole Stivers (Dr. Limoli) was selected as the recipient of a 2019 Dr. Lorna Carlin Excellence in Research Award for her promising translational scholarship.
Student Focus
Shivani Patel
5th Year
Public Health Science

Are you involved in any clubs/sports/extracurricular activities?

I am currently involved in the Public Health Honors Research Program, I work on campus as a STEM Transfer Peer Mentor, I am in PHA (Public Health Association), and have an internship at the UCI Eye Mobile.

 

Please provide a short description of your UROP project.

My UROP project is conducting semi-structured interviews on the UCI student population about their perceptions on climate change and how they feel about this problem that they will likely have to deal with. 

 

Why is this project important?

This project is important because the repercussions of climate change are continuing to worsen and it is a public health crisis that has many major impacts on a global level. 

 

Why did you choose public health?

I chose public health because I am passionate about the subject and I care about people and the environment. I want to live a life where I dedicate it to the things that are important to me, which include many of the different aspects of public health.

 

What is your dream job?

My dream job is one where I can be involved in climate change disaster management. I aspire to live my life fighting for climate justice as well as being involved in recovery and restoration projects to help mitigate the effects climate change has had on land, wildlife, plants, animals, etc.

New Student Club
The Effective Altruism Club (EAC) guides students in exploring careers that educate people by rooting its lessons in scientific research studies. EAC was established on the basis that people spend approximately 80,000 hours of their lives working. Our goal is to guide people towards careers that will empower them to utilize this time in an effective manner. We also want to unite students to collectively tackle the most pressing issues of our time. If you’re interested in joining EAC or want more information about events, please contact Sarah Wang (sarahw6@uci.edu).
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