COPH makes an impact at the American Academy of Health Behavior Conference

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The American Academy of Health Behavior conference, held Feb. 21-24 in Ponte Vedra, had a heavy USF College of Public Health presence.

Doctoral students and faculty from the Department of Community and Family Health presented ten posters during the evening poster sessions at the conference.

(From Left): Erika Thompson, PhD, CPH (postdoctoral fellow), Cheryl Vamos, PhD (assistant professor) Alison Oberne, MPH (doctoral student/COPH instructor), Rachel Logan, MPH (doctoral student), Coralia Vázquez-Otero, JD, MPH, CPH (doctoral student), DeAnne Turner, MPH (doctoral student) and Stacey Griner, MPH, RDH (doctoral student). (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

(From Left): Erika Thompson, PhD, CPH (postdoctoral fellow), Cheryl Vamos, PhD (assistant professor) Alison Oberne, MPH (doctoral student/COPH instructor), Rachel Logan, MPH (doctoral student), Coralia Vázquez-Otero, JD, MPH, CPH (doctoral student), DeAnne Turner, MPH (doctoral student) and Stacey Griner, MPH, RDH (doctoral student). (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

 

Four of the posters presented were a result from a secondary data mentoring collaborative that started last May.

Led by Drs. Erika Thompson, Cheryl Vamos, and Ellen Daley, doctoral students in CFH worked together to develop innovative research questions and analyze data using National College Health Assessment dataset.

The collaboration produced four abstracts that were accepted at the AAHB conference.

Thompson and Coralia Vázquez-Otero presented on HPV vaccination among college students, while Stacey Griner and Rachel Logan presented on contraceptive use among female college students.

This collaborative has resulted in a published manuscript in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and three more manuscripts are currently in preparation.

Thompson also shared findings from her dissertation research with two posters on HPV vaccination among young adult women.

This was also an excellent opportunity for students and post-docs to present their individual research.

Stacey Griner, MPH, RDH  (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

Stacey Griner, MPH, RDH (Photo courtesy of AAHB)

 

Coralia Vázquez-Otero, JD, MPH, CPH (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

Coralia Vázquez-Otero, JD, MPH, CPH (Photo courtesy of AAHB)

 

Rachel Logan, MPH (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

Rachel Logan, MPH (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

 

Erika Thompson, PhD, CPH (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

Erika Thompson, PhD, CPH (Photo courtesy of AAHB)

 

Doctoral student and current COPH instructor, Alison Oberne, shared her research on disordered eating among college students, which was produced in collaboration with her major professor, Dr. Vamos.

“I think coursework helps to give a foundation for public health principles and content but presenting at conferences gives an opportunity to enhance the educational experience,” Oberne said. “I am able to transcend the classroom experience and promote my research skills. I can also work on making connections to others in the field and build my CV.”

Alison Oberne, MPH (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

Alison Oberne, MPH (Photo courtesy of AAHB)

 

DeAnne Turner presented her research on tobacco cessation using eHealth technology among people living with HIV. Turner was awarded the Outstanding Student Poster at the conference. This abstract is part of Dr. Stephanie Marhefka’s, assistant professor in CFH, study on the topic.

DeAnne Turner with AAHB President, Dr. Jeffrey Hallam (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

DeAnne Turner with AAHB President, Dr. Jeffrey Hallam (Photo courtesy of AAHB)

 

Vamos also shared her research on developing an eHealth app to promote oral health during pregnancy. These are the results from an NIH-funded STTR grant.

Cheryl Vamos, PhD (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Vamos)

Cheryl Vamos, PhD (Photo courtesy of AAHB)

 

The students and faculty said this conference was a positive experience, for not only disseminating research, but learning about innovative topics in health behavior and also for networking with leaders in the field.

“I think it’s always a good idea to learn how to communicate research to others,” Oberne said. “We often talk to our faculty advisors and peers about our research but conference posters and presentations are excellent opportunities to share our knowledge and experience with others. It can help me to see how competent I am in my area and also offer additional insights into future research. What didn’t I think of? How else can I continue this line of research? It just keeps the momentum!”

Story by Cheryl Vamos, USF College of Public Health