Posters, panels and presentations: COPH takes part in virtual APHA Annual Meeting and Expo

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The American Public Health Association (APHA) held its annual meeting and expo virtually this year from Oct. 24-28, and USF College of Public Health (COPH) students and faculty took part in the many offerings. 

According to the APHA website, “The APHA Annual Meeting and Expo is the largest and most influential yearly gathering of public health professionals, bringing the public health community together to experience robust scientific programming, networking, social events, poster sessions and more.” 

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence” and featured a mix of live and on-demand sessions.

Change of plans. Attendees from last year’s APHA annual meeting stand before a sign announcing the date and location of the 2020 meeting. Due to COVID-19, the meeting was held virtually. (Photo courtesy of APHA)

Throughout the course of the APHA meeting there were Zoom meet and greets, a film festival, live exhibitor presentations, pre-recorded poster presentations, a social media scavenger hunt, a virtual dance class and the opportunity to win prizes and more. Webinars focused on urgent topics like climate change, COVID-19, advancing racial equity and the Flint, Mich., water crisis. As it does every year, the COPH had a booth where attendees could learn more about the college’s many public health programs and degrees.

Thousands of new abstracts are presented each year, making the APHA Annual Meeting the most influential gathering in public health, and dozens of COPHers presented their research. 

Dr. Abraham Salinas-Miranda, a COPH assistant professor and director of the college’s Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence, was a frequent presenter and moderator at this year’s meeting. 

“I have been an active member of the Family Violence Prevention Caucus at the APHA since 2015,” said Salinas. “As part of my involvement, I volunteer to provide support as a moderator, since family violence is my area of research. I get to learn a lot every year of the types of research and hot topics in family violence. It’s very interesting.”

Abraham Salinas-Miranda, MD, PhD, MPH, USF COPH assistant professor and director of the Harrell Center. (Photo by Zachary Murray)

One of the presentations/panels Salinas was involved in was Initiating a community-centered approach in addressing domestic violence: The Hillsborough County domestic violence coordinated community response project. 

“Established partnerships are the key ingredient for a successful coordinated community response (CCR) and tailoring the CCR Model (which is an international safety audit analysis model) to the community needs, with flexibility and a strengths-based focus, resulted in increased engagement and prompt decision-making,” said Salinas.

Other faculty and students from around the college displayed and discussed their research. 

Assistant Professor Dr. Miguel Reina Ortiz received an APHA Excellence in Abstract Submission on an International Topic Award for research on HIV testing among pregnant women that he conducted with the COPH’s Dr. Ricardo Izurieta and others.

“Economic incentives were effective in motivating pregnant women living in a high HIV urban setting in Ecuador to get tested for HIV, even after controlling for the fact that some pregnant women had been previously tested for HIV,” said Reina. “This is encouraging as it may help us understand ways to devise strategies to increase HIV testing among pregnant women, which, when coupled with timely treatment, can reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission,” said Reina. You can read more about the research here.

A sampling of other research presented by COPH faculty and students included:

COPH students and faculty also took part in poster presentations. 

Three COPH students, Jan Dahrendorff, Kristi Miley and Emma Tumarkin, presented posters at the Annual Delta Omega Student Poster Session. 

According to its website, the Delta Omega Honorary Society promotes graduate study in public health and recognizes outstanding achievement in the field. Each year, 19 students who attend schools with active Delta Omega chapters are selected to present their research. 

“This is the second year in a row that all three COPH student nominees for the National Delta Omega Poster competition were selected as finalists,” said Ellen Kent, coordinator of USF Health Service Corps and Sunshine ERC.

A screenshot of Jan Dahrendorff’s (pictured lower left) Delta Omega poster presentation. “It was exciting to present the research,” said Dahrendorff, who is seeking his MSPH degree with a concentration in genomics, “but it would have been really cool to deliver it in person.”

You can read more about the college’s Delta Omega presenters and their research here.

One of the highlights of the APHA meeting was a review course of the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam. The session was led by the COPH’s Dr. Jaime Corvin and included presentations by COPH Dean Dr. Donna Petersen and Drs. Karen Liller and Anna Torrens Armstrong. Getting a CPH distinguishes one as a public health professional with knowledge of key public health sciences.

For a snapshot of everything the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo had to offer, click here.

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health