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October 03, 2018 - Overtown streets where homeless live are blockaded during public health investigation (read more)

The number of cases of hepatitis C and HIV has increased near Northwest Second Avenue and Northwest First Avenue in Miami, an area under the 836 overpass where homeless have been residing. The area is now under a public health investigation and blockaded from the public.

Alongside health department workers, the IDEA (Infectious Disease Elimination Act) Exchange, a needle exchange program founded by Hansel Tookes, M.P.H., M.D., have stepped in to help in the provision of clean needles and linking intravenous drug users to treatment.

October 01, 2018 - The curious connection between vision and cognition (read more)

Diane Zheng, a fifth-year epidemiology Ph.D. student, received international recognition on her paper that found an association between vision impairment and cognitive functioning. For eight years, Zheng monitored a data set that tracked the vision and cognition of more than 2,500 seniors living in Salisbury, Maryland. Zheng found that vision impairment affects cognition to a high degree. The findings from the paper show a likelihood that taking care of your vision can decrease the rate of cognitive deterioration in older adults.

Since the release of the paper, it has won awards and has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s June Ophthalmology issue. Zheng co-authored the paper with David Lee, Ph.D., a chronic disease epidemiologist at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, and Byron Lam, Ph.D., an ophthalmologist at UM’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

August 23, 2018 - Cassandra Rene, UM MPH Alumni, Featured Global Health Fellowship (read more)

Cassandra Rene, M.P.H., a University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine graduate, is one of 13 students that is a part of the 2018 Global Health Equity Scholars Fellowship (GHES) Program. Rene is going to spend her fellowship year in Haiti, focusing her research on educational intervention to increase awareness, knowledge, and self-assessment skills of peripartum cardiomyopathy.

Rene is a Ph.D. candidate and a McKnight Fellow at Florida International University. She is also the Chief Administrative Officer at KORE Haiti, Inc., a non-profit organization that addresses educational barriers, access to health care, and economic sustainability through diverse partnerships, a role that she considers her most impactful yet.

The main objective of the GHES program is to generate a new group of global health researchers, educators, and professionals to face global health challenges, such as those that arise in urban and rural communities of low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). The program supports research like that of Rene’s, research that focuses on the challenges of providing accessible and high-quality health care services in LMICs.

August 20th - Mosquito-borne illnesses are on the rise, but you can help protect yourself by making sure a common South Florida plant – the bromeliad – isn’t retaining water. (read more) (watch more)

John Beier, Ph.D., epidemiologist and director of the Division of Environmental and Public Health, along with other public health researchers at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, published a study  that showed that water retained in the bromeliads’ leaf axils is the key breeding site for Aedes aegypti mosquitos, the mosquitos that led to the Zika virus in 2016. 

According to Dr. Beier, now that people know of the breeding site of mosquitos, they can make sure their bromeliads are not retaining water. The findings of the study will help tailor mosquito control efforts.

August 16th - Hurricane Maria stirred up dangerous pollutants on this Puerto Rico waterfront (read more)

Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, chemicals linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer, are rising from underneath the waters in Guanica, especially after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico.

Since the problem is not entirely addressed, people still swim and consume fish from Guanica Bay. Naresh Kumar, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental health at the University of Miami, conducted a study in 2016 that proved that Guanica Bay had the second highest levels of PCBs in the U.S. Kumar suspected that the contamination grew worse in result of the hurricanes and flew out to Guanica as soon as he could. After arriving, Kumar collected samples and compared them to the PCB levels the bay had before the storms. There had indeed been an increase in the already high PCB levels. The fish in the bay also had PCB concentrations.

To educate residents of Guanica, Kumar and his team communicate the risks of swimming and consuming fish from the bay. He also provides advisories and works with the schools in the area to inform people about the PCB pollution.

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June 14th - UNODC technical consultation on family therapy for adolescents with drug use disorders (read more)

José Szapocznik, Ph.D., and Howard Liddle, Ph.D., two professors at the department of public health sciences with backgrounds in psychology, were two of four family therapy developers of evidence-based models that were invited to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) meeting on “Elements of family-based treatments for adolescents with drug use disorders: creating societies resilient to drugs and crime.” The meeting, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), brought together professionals from 13 different countries. The experts, including Szapocznik and Liddle,  aimed to classify key elements of effective methods to the treatment of youths with drug use disorders and to provide leadership for the development of a UN training package on family therapy (UNFT).

June 13th - 'I Want to Give Them Hope' (read more) 

Isabella Ferré and Stephanie Negrón, two public health sciences graduate students, traveled to Punta Santiago, Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Ferré and Negrón conducted a needs-assessment study and found that there was an increase in residents with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Additionally, they found that the unemployment rates had increased, homes and roads were damaged, and there were downed phone lines and damaged cellphone towers. The 5,000 residents of Punta Santiago also had limited food, fresh water, and other essentials.  

Ferré and Negrón’s findings were presented at a symposium at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, along with an additional study that focused on the quality of the air and water in Punta Santiago after the hurricane.

May 23rd - To help Liberty City rise above violence, researchers turn to voices of the young (read more) 

A new project led by researchers and community organizers will focus on solving social problems that are affecting children and adolescents in Liberty City, Brownsville, Westgate, West Little River, and Allapattah. Researchers will survey young residents on their experiences, what they want to change, and what they like about their Miami communities. The data gathered from the surveys will be used to help produce a report that could encourage local governments and school officials to invest in making changes to these communities.

Public health experts from the University of Miami, including Eric Brown, Ph.D., an associate professor of prevention science and health, will partner with the Dinkins’ Foundation and the Children’s Trust to survey middle and high school students that qualify for the Evidence2Success program, a program that involves communities in assessing and improving the well-being of their children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has donated $450,000 to the program and researchers from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine said that the funding will further help in making changes in the communities. 

May 21st - Opioid addiction treatment in the Miami community (read more)

Fighting Opioid Addiction: Integrating State of the Art Science Treatment into Patient Care, a symposium led by the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, invited guest speakers from own community in Miami and from states like New York, Connecticut, Boston, and Pennsylvania to come together to share different opioid addiction treatment options.   

In the Miami community, there is the IDEA (Infectious Disease Elimination Act) Exchange, founded by Hansel Tookes, M.P.H., M.D., which reduces the spread of infections and viruses by offering people to trade in used needles with new ones. Judge Jeri Beth Cohen and Patricia Ares-Romero, M.D., have also founded a mediated-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic in Miami, which provides various treatment options for drug users.

May 17th - Methamphetamine use may accelerate HIV progression (read more)

According to findings that were published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, methamphetamine use may change the expression of genes in individuals who live with HIV and can worsen the disease. Adam W. Carrico, Ph.D., associate professor of public health sciences and psychology, said that this study helps him and his team understand the biological mechanisms by which stimulant use can contribute to the progression of HIV disease.

Carrico and researchers conducted a study that focused on the gene expression of 55 sexual minority men who were HIV positive and who used methamphetamine. They found that recent stimulant use could indeed allow HIV to become more active and expand the viral reservoir in stimulant users receiving effective HIV treatment.

Carrico said that these results emphasize the importance of screening for stimulant use disorders and providing referrals to substance abuse treatment.

April 30th - Investigating Homes for Mold (read more)

Naresh Kumar, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental health at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, said that South Florida homes have more mold because of the year-round high temperature and humidity, causing people to become sick in their own homes. Kumar has thus been investigating hundreds of homes and has found that mold is usually behind air conditioning vents.

Kumar suggests that keeping the air conditioner set at 72 degrees or lower and the humidity under 60 percent will help prevent mold from continually growing in homes.  

April 30th - Your Workplace Could be Making You Sick  (read more)

Many people have lingering health conditions but cannot identify what the root of the problem is. Naresh Kumar, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental health at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, used a federal grant to develop a solution to help people determine if the place that they work in is making them sick.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that when workplaces remodel their buildings, it causes their employees to develop Sick Building Syndrome. Sick Building Syndrome can cause health conditions ranging from itchy eyes, chest tightness, and muscle aches to a lasting cough, and more. To resolve this problem, Kumar created an electronic monitor that can alert workers when there are levels of VOCs in the air.

April 19th - Miller School Stars Shine at International Student Research Conference (read more)

The Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) won awards at the 2018 Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum (ESRF), a four-day international symposium held at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. There was a total of 122 presentations at the conference and 24 were made by DPHS students.

April 5th - Assessing Palliative Care Worldwide  (read more)

At the Global Launch Symposium of the Lancet Commission Report: Alleviating Access Abyss in Palliative – an imperative of universal health coverage, Felicia Marie Knaul, director of UM’s Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and professor of public health sciences at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, said that people are dying in severe physical and psychological pain each year because they do not have access to medications to ease their pain. The symposium served as a platform to advocate for the importance of worldwide palliative.

March 19th - Haitian-born Henri Ford's incredible journey to the deanship of the Miller School of Medicine  (read more)

Henri Ford, M.D., will be appointed as the dean of the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine on June 1st. Ford shares his journey to becoming dean.

March 16th - Dean Prado Appointed to Research! America Board  (read more)

Guillermo (Willy) Prado, Ph.D., graduate school dean and researcher, was elected to the board of Research!America, a national advocacy and public education nonprofit dedicated to promoting research that improves health.

February 2nd - Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul Addresses Global Women's Cancer Disparities  (read more)

Felicia Marie Knaul, director of UM’s Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and professor of public health sciences at UM’s Miller School of Medicine, said that there is a divide in cancer deaths in high-income countries and in low- and middle-income countries in Latin America. Knaul addressed this topic as part of the grand rounds presentation at a lecture series led by the Sylvester Global Oncology and International Program.

November 17th - NIDA Grant Awarded to Researchers to Identify Best Practices to Boost PrEP Adherence  (read more)

Daniel J. Feaster, Ph.D., associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, said that telling people who inject drugs about places where they can get help is not enough. Feaster, along with researchers from New York and Montreal, are instead working on a project that will directly provide care by using a patient-navigation method. This method will determine venues that have the resources to provide intravenous drug users with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug used to prevent infection among people who are HIV-negative.

Feaster and fellow researchers were awarded an $8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to back their efforts in finding the best strategy to give intravenous drug users access to PrEP.