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Department of Public Health Sciences Shines on Major Public Health Meeting

Enthusiastic engagement marked the four-day Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta.

Over 13,000 attendees gathered to explore diverse public health topics at the American Public Health Association 2023 annual meeting.

The Department of Public Health Sciences showcased the vital and impactful work of academic professionals, covering themes from the quality of life of firefighter cancer survivors to policies addressing traumatic brain injury.

Exhibiting Research Initiatives

Accomplished public health students and alumni presented their research at poster and oral sessions.

student stands in front of her scientific poster
Study demonstrate an association between trauma and the development of immigrant children. 

Chelsea Caplan, an M.D./M.P.H. student, delivered an oral presentation on the predictors of routine herbal supplement usage in adults in the United States. Caplan emphasized the increasing use of these supplements and their potential impacts.

“The use of herbal supplements has been increasing over the past several years, with little known about the potential harmful impacts of these supplements or who is most utilizing them,” she said. “This is a growing concern for providers as adverse reactions, toxicity, and herbal-drug reactions have been reported.”

The study’s goal was to apply multivariate logistic regression models to examine nationally representative data of U.S. citizens in order to inform public health professionals about demographic subgroups most at risk for using herbal supplements.

“It is very prestigious to have an oral presentation accepted to the American Public Health Association meeting while using a complex data analysis usually reserved for Ph.D. students,” said Alberto Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., vice chair for research and associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Diana Hernandez Payano in from of her scientific poster
Diana Hernández Payano, M.S.P.H. ’22.

Additional posters and abstracts addressed a variety of subjects, from evaluating the trauma and development of immigrant children to investigating the sociodemographic factors affecting the uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the U.S.

Among these contributions, Diana Hernández Payano, M.S.P.H. ’22, discussed the sociodemographic aspects of HPV vaccine completion among American men and women during her dedicated poster session.

"Completing the required doses of the HPV vaccine can help achieve better antibody responses against HPV infections, which might lead to lower HPV-related cancer cases like cervical, penile, and oropharynx cancers," said Hernández Payano.

The project examined the relationship between the completion of HPV vaccine doses and various sociodemographic characteristics that contribute to the gender gap in HPV vaccination uptake among males and females. It also allowed for the identification of which specific population groups require more group-centered interventions in order to help reduce disparities in HPV vaccine dose completion across the country.

“Our lab’s trainees and researchers presented over 10 scientific abstracts at APHA. We are particularly proud of all of our high school, undergraduate, and graduate trainees from our lab,” said Dr. Caban-Martinez.

two students standing in front of scientific poster
Students discussed the severity and hospital course in patients who did not use a helmet while operating a micro-mobility device.

Dr. Caban-Martinez Lab trainees presenting at the APHA Annual Meeting included:

  • Edwards E, and Caban-Martinez AJ. Acculturation and sun-protective practices in Asian Americans: Evidence from the 2017-2020 national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES). Poster presentation.
  • Maizel D, Testoff A, Chenail R, Schaefer Solle N, Brand L, Solo-Gabriele H, Caban-Martinez AJ, and Popendorf K. Detection and quantification of aerosolized microcystin in nasal swabs of a cohort of Florida residents, workers and visitors: A citizen science study. Poster presentation.
  • Beaver C, Comerford S, Resto L, Caban-Martinez AJ, Penedo F, Kobetz EN, and Schaefer Solle N. Exploring the health-related quality of life and quality of work life in firefighter cancer survivors. Poster presentation.
  • Choudhary S, Imhanzuaria D, Bakali U, Killawala C, Pekora F, Robbins J, Bator C, Schaefer Solle N, Kobetz EN, Caban-Martinez AJ, and Biswas P. Assess aerosol generation while doffing firefighter gear and role of decontamination after live fire training: A case series from the firefighter cancer initiative. Poster presentation.
  • Testoff A, Pauley J, Brewer M, Schaefer Solle N, and Caban-Martinez AJ. Characterizing self-reported mental health and psychosocial factors among fire investigators. Poster presentation.
  • Gohari A, Kling HR, Testoff A, Shaefer Solle N, and Caban-Martinez AJ. Poor sleep quality: Prevalence and risk factors in a cohort of career firefighters in south Florida. Poster presentation.
  • Gallimore-Wilson D, Zhao X, Hasan N, Rivera-Mariani F, Rose B, Balda A, Noriega R, Cruz A, Reyes A, Louzado-Feliciano P, Llarraza G, Noriega S, Gomez EV, Reimon E, Desai MS, Lee IA, Steinberg T, Awojobi T, Lasday M, Pandey S, Carrera O, Beaver C, Green AJ, Garibaldi J, Schaefer Solle N, andCaban-Martinez AJ. Prevalence of long COVID Among Participants of the Research on the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Emergency Response and Healthcare Personnel (RECOVER) study, June 2022- March 2023. Oral presentation.
  • Frank B, Pedowitz A, Chong C, and Caban-Martinez AJ. Predictors of seasonal flu vaccination between rural and urban residency among individuals with diabetes: Evidence from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system (BRFSS). Poster presentation.
  • Duncan E, Egemba C, Caban-Martinez AJ, and Raveen Syan. Disparities in surgical treatments for mixed urinary incontinence in women: Evidence from the 2019 national ambulatory surgery sample (NASS). Poster presentation.
  • Bakali U, Kling HR, Testoff A, Narain N, Hasan N, Zhao X, Schaefer Solle N, Kobetz EN, and Caban-Martinez AJ. Comparison of structural firefighters' on- and off-shift exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: Evidence from the Firefighter Cancer Initiative. Poster presentation.
  • Resto L, Gomez EV, Mohan V, Beaver C, Caban-Martinez AJ, Schaefer Solle N, and Kobetz EN. Descriptive analysis of breast and cervical cancer screening self-reported by Florida female firefighters. Poster presentation.
  • Rivera-Mariani F, Hasan N, Zhao X, Ilarraza G, Noriega S, Balda A, Gallimore-Wilson D, Cruz A, Reyes A, Noriega R, Gomez EV, Desai MS, Steinberg T, Lee IA, Awojobi T, Pandey S, Reimon Rachel, Lasday M, Lozado-Feliciano P, Rose B, Beaver C, Carrera O, Suárez del Rosario N, Garibaldi J, Green AJ, Schaefer Solle NS, and Caban-Martinez AJ. Risk factors for COVID-19 vaccine side effects among a cohort of Florida essential workers. Poster presentation.

Engagement and Celebration

Students, alumni, staff, and faculty who attended the annual meeting had the opportunity to participate in an APHA Social hosted by the department. Attendees were able to engage with public health experts, collaborate with other advocates, and grow professionally.

On the third day of the meeting, the Latino Caucus for Public Health in affiliation with APHA, celebrated its 50-year legacy and impactful journey in advancing the health of Latino communities across the United States.

Within and outside of the American Public Health Association, the caucus provides a forum for the representation of the health issues of the Latino community. It seeks to take a leading position in the formulation of policies, lobbying, and research on health concerns that affect Latinos across the Americas. 

Committed to health equity and social justice, the Department of Public Health Sciences proudly sponsored this milestone.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to me as a public health alum of the department, and how excited I am. This sponsorship goes a long way for the support of the development of Latino public health professionals,” said Cynthia Lebron, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the University of Miami, president of the APHA Latino Caucus.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on December 18, 2023