UNE Online Graduate Programs in Public Health at MPHA 2018
MPHA 2018 was a HUGE success! This year, the Maine Public Health Association (MPHA) Annual Meeting and Expo was held in Augusta, ME and there were about 400 public health professionals from within and outside Maine in attendance, including our very own UNE Online Graduate Programs in Public Health (GPPH) faculty, staff, students and alumni. This year’s Annual Meeting theme was Addiction and the State of Public Health in Maine, which contributed to the topic of discussion in general sessions, scientific sessions, and presentations. Below, we’ve summarized a few of the sessions presented by our team at this year’s MPHA meeting.
Prevalence and Correlates of Cigarette Smoking among High School Students in Maine
Titilola Balogun, DrPH and current MPH student Tiffany Corvino (in collaboration with staff of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Health Innovation and Maine CDC) presented a poster titled “Prevalence and Correlates of Cigarette Smoking among High School Students in Maine.” The study used data from the 2017 Maine Integrated Youth Survey (MIYHS) and showed that the use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes among high school students could be a indication of deeper mental health issues. The study also proposed that preventive health care provider visits should include questions about all tobacco products–including vaping.
Substance Use Disorder in Portland, Maine: A Resource Assessment
GPPH alumna Norhuda Alsahlawi, M.P.H. ‘18 (in collaboration with Titilola Balogun, DrPH and staff of Portland Public Health and Human Services Department) presented a poster based on her practicum experience titled “Substance Use Disorder in Portland, Maine: A Resource Assessment.” The project identified currently available resources for substance use disorder in Portland to be siloed and mostly geared toward short-term rehabilitation initiatives. Therefore, novel resources, educational initiatives, inclusive treatment options and law enforcement strategies will ensure full social rehabilitation for individuals with substance use disorder.
Identifying ACE’s Protocols in Youth Centers in Cumberland District Maine
GPPH alumna Emily Bartlett (M.P.H. ‘18) gave an oral presentation based on her practicum experience titled “Identifying Adverse Childhood Experiences Protocols in Youth Centers in Cumberland District Maine.” Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can lead to long-term health risks. A survey conducted for the Cumberland District Public Health Council on the policies and understanding of ACEs in schools, child care centers, and social service organizations in Cumberland County showed that although there are many resources in Maine in regard to ACEs, there are still gap areas. The findings showed an association between staff of these organizations who were trained in the past year and the ability to recognize signs of abuse and neglect. Most respondents said they support full staff trainings to recognize trauma and adverse experiences, referring to such an initiative as “critical.” It is important that future strategic planning includes educating those who work with youth on ACEs to recognize symptoms of abuse/neglect, and building resiliency to address challenges.
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