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What is public health?

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection and control of infectious diseases. Public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.

Public health professionals work to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services and conducting research - in contrast to clinical professionals like doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. Public health also works to limit health disparities. A large part of public health is promoting healthcare equity, quality and accessibility. (CDC)


REU Lecture

Seniors present public health poster symposium

Public health seniors recently presented a poster symposium showcasing the internships they held with local community organizations.

Beach image

Falk College seeks participants for new study examining how vacation impacts physical, psychological health

To demonstrate the potential costly effects of not taking time off from work as well as the beneficial effects that can result from vacationing, Falk College's Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition is embarking on a new research study funded by Project Time Off entitled, "The Psychosocial and Physiological Consequences of Taking and Not Taking Time Off."

REU Lecture

Veterans sought for paid online study on stress, well-being

As part of the Research Education for Undergraduates (REU) program, a collaborative venture between Syracuse University's Falk College, SUNY Oswego, and SUNY Upstate Medical University, volunteers are sought for a research study regarding veterans. Participants (18-64 years old) who are veterans are needed to answer online questionnaires and provide small samples of hair and saliva for testing. The purpose of this study is to find links between genetic biomarkers and measures of stress and well-being in veterans.

Sandra Lane

Sandra Lane Honored with the 2015 Henrik L. Blum Award for Excellence in Health Policy

Sandra D. Lane, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence and professor of public health and anthropology at Falk College, will be honored with the 2015 Henrik L. Blum Award for Excellence in Health Policy at the upcoming American Public Health Association meeting in November. The award honors Lane's excellence, creativity and innovation in the development and implementation of health policy. The award was given by the American Public Health Association, through their section on Community Health Planning and Policy Development.

Front cover of Healthy You Fall 2014

Crazy for kale, stress reduction and more in Healthy You Magazine

Dessa Bergin Cico

Public health professor Dessa Bergen-Cico named Fulbright Scholar

Dr. Bergen-Cico, associate professor of public health, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research in the Republic of Georgia for the 2015-16 academic year. Her research will support development and implementation of primary prevention and drug education in Georgia and the region.

Lead Study Researcher with Child

Public health seniors showcase internship experiences

This summer, Falk College students Esmeralda Christopher, Taylor Ford and Charlene Ntahobari held internships with the Golisano Children's Hospital, Southwest Community Cetner and Syracuse University's Slutzker Center, respectively, as part of their public health major requirements. Their work was showcased during an August 7 symposium at Falk College.

Lead Study Researcher with Child

Syracuse Lead Study adds new zip codes to expand participation

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health is seeking participants who are 9, 10 or 11 years old, reside in 13057, 13202, 13203, 13204, 13205, 13206, 13207, 13208, 13209, 13210, 13211, 13212, 13214, 13215, 13219 & 13224 and consider their race as either African-American or Caucasian.

Project ETHICS documentary team

Project ETHICS filmed for upcoming documentary

In 2013, associate professor of public health, Dr. Katherine McDonald, received a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (NIH), to address the pressing need for scientific knowledge to improve the health of persons with intellectual disability. A survey was created by an expert panel, which included Micah Fialka-Feldman, a Syracuse University student, teaching assistant, and staff member. Feldman, who will graduate in May 2015 with a certificate in Disability Studies, helped design the survey and assisted with recruitment and sharing findings. During the project, McDonald was contacted by documentary filmmaker, Dan Habib, an Emmy-nominated creator of award-winning films on disability-related topics about his upcoming film, Intelligent Lives.

person sitting alone head in hands

Falk College Announces New Master of Arts in Addiction Studies

To address a growing need for more counselors, healthcare professionals and social services professionals with adequate training and credentialing in alcohol, other drugs and behavioral addictions, Falk College announced the creation of a 36-credit Master of Arts in Addiction Studies degree. The degree program provides students with opportunities to develop broad competencies in preparation for employment in a number of fields addressing alcohol, other drugs and behavioral (process) addictions.

Students and Professor's possed

Public health faculty lead GIS workshop for students, community members

On November 24, students, faculty and community members gathered for the first annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Workshop sponsored by Syracuse University's Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. David Larsen, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, led the workshop as part of public health professor Sandra Lane's research work in the area of neighborhood trauma and violence in Syracuse.

Luvenia Cowart Photo and Susan Komen Logo

Falk College Faculty Awarded Komen Foundation Grant for Breast Cancer Awareness, Education Programming

Public Health professor of practice, Luvenia Cowart, working with Maria Brown, assistant research professor, School of Social Work, received a $47,293 grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure New York Foundation to support the project, "Breast Cancer Awareness and Education Program for African American Women in Underserved Communities." The project's aim is to reduce disparities in breast cancer and its associated health risks, and to promote participation in mammography and early detection services for African American women in the Syracuse community.

Lutchmie Narine Photo

Study Identifies Key Components for Prevention, Intervention Programs for Adolescent Smoking in China

Falk College professors, Ambika Krishnakumar (Child and Family Studies) and Lutchmie Narine (Public Health) authored "Parenting practices and adolescent smoking in mainland China: The mediating effect of smoking-related cognitions," which appeared in the August 2014 edition of the Journal of Adolescence. In collaboration with Dr. Yan Wang, Drs. Krishnakumar and Narine examined the direct and indirect associations of general and smoking-specific parenting practices with Chinese adolescents' smoking behaviors. Results suggest that parenting practices and smoking-related cognitions are critical components to be incorporated in prevention and intervention programs for adolescent smoking in China.

Otto Welcome

Gump to continue leading Undergraduate Program for Trauma Research with Veterans with newly awarded NSF grant

Falk Family Professor of Public Health, Brooks Gump, Ph.D., M.P.H., will continue leading a program this summer for undergraduate veterans and non-veterans (five openings for each) interested in becoming trauma researchers. Gump was one of six faculty from three upstate New York universities (Syracuse University, SUNY Upstate, and SUNY Oswego) who ran this Research Education for Undergraduates (REU) program in 2012 and 2013. As one of several on-going interdisciplinary collaborations in the Falk College, the REU program includes faculty members Keith A. Alford, Ph.D., ACSW, associate professor of social work and Dessa Bergen-Cico, Ph.D., CHES, CAS, assistant professor, public health. The $285,679 grant recently awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will support the REU program for two more years, which is now recruiting undergraduate veterans and non-veterans to participate. Students can earn $3,000 for participating in an intensive four-week summer program from June 2-27, 2014 at Syracuse University.

Photo of women giving a child a shot

Larsen Focuses Research on Malaria Elimination in Zambia

David Larsen Portrait

In the Amazon port city of Belem, Brazil, David Larsen came to understand the luxury of a few pennies. Larsen, an assistant professor of public health in the Falk College, worked among the people living in extreme poverty in the favelas, while a missionary from 2002-04. "We'd be knocking on doors and saw very close up the devastating effects of the lack of health care, clean water and sanitation," he says. "They literally had nothing." And the simplest of measures—such as an ordinary antibiotic worth a few cents—could have a profound impact.

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