Lisa Wehr's Public Health Blog
Lisa is originally from Sigourney, Iowa. She attended Iowa State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Music in 2010. She is currently a first year Master’s of Public Health (MPH) student in community and behavioral health (CBH). Lisa works on the medicine-psychiatry unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Through this blog Lisa hopes to let people learn about the CBH department.
This student blog is unedited and does not necessarily reflect the views of the College of Public Health or the University of Iowa.
16 January 2013
But this farewell doesn't have to be permanent. While I might be leaving this blog, I am not leaving the blogosphere completely. I invite you to come follow me on my new blog, Accessible Public Health, to find out what I'm up to.
10 October 2012
What many people don't know is how my experience with mental health began and why it is so dear to my heart. My mother has struggled with severe depression for many years and was hospitalized numerous times throughout my childhood. That sparked my desire to work in mental health. Later, (my sophomore year in college) I got my first job working in psychiatry. I haven't left psych since then. I truly do love it. I love psych patients and I love the people who choose to work with them.
Oftentimes, I feel like mental health gets pushed to the back burner in public health, behind things like obesity. Actually, mental health gets pushed to the back through the entire health care system. But it shouldn't be. Mental illness is one of the leading causes of disability in the world (NAMI).
I think some of this is due to our focus on prevention. How do you prevent a biological/genetic illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? The answer lies in changing our focus on prevention of the disease to prevention of the debilitation consequences of the disease. The questions then become:
- How can we prevent those diagnosed with schizophrenia from spending their lives in mental institutions?
- How can we prevent the large number of comorbid physical/chronic diseases that come with mental illness?
- Increase access to mental health services, particularly in developing countries and rural areas
- Increase the number and quality of community-based services to allow people with mental illness to be successful community members and not confined to an institution
- Decrease the stigma associated with mental illness so more people are willing to receive treatment
- Create programs to help people with mental illness live healthier lives to avoid chronic diseases
I'll leave you with some reading and videos on a variety of topics around mental health. Read/watch what looks interesting.
- WHO: Depression is a common illness and people suffering from depression need support and treatment
- Huffington Post: Discrimination, Serious Mental Illness, and Health Care Professionals
- What is Public Health Career Guide: Mental Health Researcher
- PsychCentral: Therapists Spill: My Mental Health Hero
- PsychCentral: When the Caregiver is a Child
- Ted Talk: Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all
- Ted Talk: Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness--from the inside
08 October 2012
They are all very similar in style and content. The only difference is the actual exercises done in each one.
I'll probably write more about the actual creation of them later, but I think I've probably used enough of your time with the watching already. Assuming you did watch them......because you did, right?
28 September 2012
I found it difficult to read. There is a lot of text with very little white space or visual structure. Additionally, the two-page format (printed front and back) meant that I was constantly flipping the paper over. The workout ideas were on one side, but the pictures of the exercises were on the other. Also, there were only women models and one of the health educators actually had a student ask if these handouts were only for women because of that!
23 September 2012
As I think I mentioned in my previous post, I had to take some time off this summer for personal reasons and because of that was not able to finish my practicum in time to graduate at the end of July. Because I have everything done except my practicum, this semester is a little different than most. I am not taking any classes. There were some I was interested in, but I decided that because I was busy with applications to med schools, working, and still dealing with some personal stuff, that I would take the semester off from coursework.
Without classes, then, what am I doing? I am continuing with Health Iowa at Student Health Services (where I did my practicum). I'm finishing up the last bit of video work for my practicum. I have been taking a little longer than I would have for a couple reasons: one, I won't present until December; two, the only place I have a computer capable of video editing is at home so I can't do it while I'm at work.
The practicum work is no longer my main job at Health Iowa, though. My official title is as a "student interventionist" with the BASICS program. BASICS is short for Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students. It is an intervention designed to decrease the negative consequences from drinking. BASICS takes a harm-reduction approach (as opposed to an abstinence approach) to alcohol. If you want to learn more about BASICS, it is included in SAMHSA's NREPP (National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices). I'll update more about the program we use BASICS for as I work through the semester.
In addition to working 20 hours/week at Health Iowa, I am continuing with my 20 hours/week on the med/psych unit at UIHC.
And last but not least, I'm finalizing travel plans for APHA in San Francisco at the end of October!
I'll leave you with a few pictures...
06 August 2012
First, I love seeing health data presented in a beautiful and understandable (to lay-people) way. Particularly when that health data is personalized. Through Twitter I stumbled across this TEDMED video of Thomas Goetz speaking about the importance of presentation in health as well as some redesigns of how to present test results to patients.
Goetz/Wired Magazine's redesigns can be found here: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/ff_bloodwork/all/
This video led me to the work of some researchers at Dartmouth who came up with a different way to present health and drug statistics. You can check that out here: http://dartmed.dartmouth.edu/spring08/html/disc_drugs_we.php
It looks like a nutrition facts label...with drug statistics: