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.

25 April 2012

Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health

Last week was busy. In addition to the building dedication on Friday, many of the CBH students attended the Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health in Ames on Tuesday and Wednesday. I generally enjoy professional conferences. It's great to get outside of the university and see a wide variety of professionals from all corners of the state in various different professions related to public health. Part of my enjoyment probably comes from the fact that I just love talking to people about anything and everything (a characteristic my dad seems to have as well).

I went to many different sessions and tweeted from the event (you can scroll down my timeline and read the tweets with #iagovcph if you're interested). But one particular story has stuck with me for the past week. It was during a session with Dr. Richard Jackson, on environmental policy and health. Dr. Jackson told a story about a time he was driving in Atlanta (forgive me if I don't remember all the details). There was an old, hunched over, lady walking with a heavy grocery bag along the side of a busy highway. This highway only had pedestrian crosswalks every 2 miles. Dr. Jackson said he thought about her and how if she died the death would be attributed to heatstroke or a traffic accident. It wouldn't be attributed to a lack of public transportation, a lack of pedestrian crosswalks, or the accessibility of a grocery store to those without cars.

I'm not sure why this story has stuck with me so strongly. It's a powerful reminder of all the ways public health affects our lives as well as an unfortunate oversight in our system for determining immediate causes of death instead of environmental issues leading to that cause. I had been thinking about this on Sunday as I drove home from work and strangely enough I turned on IPTV that night to find a 4-hour series by Richard Jackson called "Designing Healthy Communities." I was only able to watch 1 hour of it as I had to do homework, but I would definitely like to see all the episodes at some time.

And again, I must get back to the final exam studying and paper writing waiting for me in the last two weeks of the semester!

21 April 2012

Building Dedication

Yesterday was the dedication ceremony for the College of Public Health's new building. There were a lot of people and a very exciting atmosphere. I tweeted from the event. You can read my original tweets on my twitter page, but I am also posting the pictures here. I apologize for the poor quality, they were all taken on my cell phone.

The day started off with Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC. He gave a great speech about the CDC as well as many of the CDC funded activities occurring at the University of Iowa.

After that there was a brief break with some people touring the building.

Ryan meeting with visitors.

CPH Students

Katie meeting with Dr. Frieden

Joanna, Tom, and Carmen--CPH Student Ambassadors

Next up was the main presentation. I was sitting in an overflow room where the audio/visual was streamed from the main auditorium.

Dean Sue Curry began the introductions.

Followed by some words from UI President Sally Mason

And the keynote speaker Senator Tom Harkin

The evening ended with public building tours. In all, it was a really successful and enjoyable day. It certainly is an exciting time to be a public health student at the University of Iowa!

12 April 2012

It has a name!

Even if you've only read a couple of my posts you probably picked up on my fascination with social media and technology and how they can be integrated into public health and medicine.

I came across the term doing research for a project for the college's building dedication next week (you should start getting excited about that too). I thought to myself "Public Health 2.0, wonder what that is?" It didn't mean anything to me at the time, but I stored it in my brain for the future.

And then I googled it...and my brain was blown! (Yes, that sentence is colloquial, but it is the best way to describe my reaction.) This is what I'm interested in and it has a name!

The 2.0 in the name refers to the term "Web 2.0." Web 2.0 is not a different internet as the name may appear to suggest. It's a different way of using the internet. The foundation of Web 2.0 is user-generated content and interaction between users. Thus, Public Health 2.0 is the application of Web 2.0 ideas to the field of public health. It means engaging people in public health conversations and action through the use of social media, blogs, and apps.

I wish I could read more about it and bring some brilliant knowledge to you now. But, alas, the end of the semester is nearing and I have homework to do, preparation for the building dedication, and practice for the piccolo concerto I'm performing in May.