Wednesday, September 25, 2019
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
To participate, register at giving.uams.edu/coffee by September 18, 2019.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
To participate, register at giving.uams.edu/coffee by September 18, 2019.
Celebrate National Public Health Week with COPH! Join us for an Alumni Profile Series featuring Amanda Philyaw-Perez!
At the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, we strive to protect the health of people and communities where they live, learn, work and play because it is what is best for everyone, not just the individual. Our focus is to encourage healthy lifestyles, prevent morbidity and mortality and determine the best methods to promote health through policy. The College of Public Health offers certificate, master, doctoral and combined-degree programs to help educate and grow the field of public health in Arkansas.
This year, we honor the work and dedication of Joseph H. Bates, M.D., M.S.and John Baker, Ph.D., MBA. Dr. Bates has dedicated his life to improving the needs of Arkansans who are at the greatest risk of poor health, and continues to serve as an expert physician on public and population health issues across the state. Dr. Baker’s leadership was instrumental to the success of the UAMS Master of Health Administration program and he has served as an exemplary educator and mentor. Today, the MHA program continues to propel expert health care administrators to prominent leadership positions in Arkansas and across the nation.
We hope our community will join with us to support Dr. Bates and Dr. Baker in the same spirit of generosity for public health issues. A gift to any of our public health initiatives will greatly impact the health of all Arkansans.
For additional information, contact:
Lisa Black, Director of Development
Brian Delavan, MPH, has had a busy year so far. He won first place in the Young Scientist competition at the 2017 MCBios conference in Little Rock, AR. He presented at the 2017 Drug Development and Discovery Colloquium. Additionally, he also has an article published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences’ October 2017 issue entitled “Lessons Learned from Two Decades of Anti-Cancer Drugs.” Here’s some more information on Brian and what he’s been doing since graduating from the COPH.
What degree program(s) and track/concentration (if applicable) did you complete? Please include other relevant educational background.
I completed the MPH program, with a biostatistics track. I am working on my Ph.D. in Bioinformatics, focusing on repositioning drugs to treat rare diseases
What year you did you graduate?
What attracted you to the field of public health?
The opportunity to do “public good” is what attracted me to public health. I define public good as doing something that improves people’s lives.
What do you do now (job title and place of employment)?
I am performing my dissertation research at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Arkansas, in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
How would you describe a typical day in your current position (concrete examples of tasks or duties)?
A typical day includes researching journals for genes and proteins associated with rare diseases, researching different databases concerning drugs and genes activated by these drugs, writing and proofreading journal articles, using software to generate network analysis and visualizations of data.
What experiences or learning gained at UAMS or elsewhere have you found most beneficial professionally or helped you qualify for what you do?
The statistical analysis I learned at UAMS, especially learning the R program, was extremely helpful. Learning how to do literature searches and writing papers in both my undergraduate and UAMS programs was also very helpful.
What is your advice for students considering a similar career path?
Make sure you learn R and the Bioconductor package. Don’t be afraid to search for classes or on
line help to fill in knowledge gaps. Learn about biology and machine learning.
What experiences or learning gained at UAMS have you found most beneficial professionally? What other kinds of experiences or learning also helped you qualify for what you do?
Learning to write in a style more suited for journals was very helpful. Having to present findings is also extremely important.
What do you find most rewarding about your work in public health?
Helping folks who do not even know we are helping them.
If I knew then what I know now: A look back into my undergrad days
By: LaTonya Bynum, MPH, CHES
I was the first in my immediate family to graduate from an accredited college. I attended the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and graduated in 2004 with my Bachelor of Science in Health Education with an emphasis in Community Health and Spanish. I then earned a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and Management at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. In undergrad, I changed my major several times before finding out about the field of HEALTH EDUCATION – teaching people about behaviors that promote wellness. Save lots of money by documenting what you love to do the most then go into a field that aligns with what you love to do. This is your calling or PURPOSE. Your job should be fun and not work. The health care industry is projected to add over 4 million more jobs between 2012 and 2022, making it the fastest growing industry. There’s a lot of opportunity in this field!!!
Use what makes you different to be a stand out in the crowd. I always loved math, language and science in high school. I used my skills to put me into places where most of my peers could only imagine going, seeing, and doing. Upon graduating from UCA, I took my first job as a secretary with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). The supervisor that hired me loved the fact that I could interpret language. This later helped me to excel in learning SAS programming language which is a software program that ADH uses to analyze health data to report statistics. These skills helped me to move from secretary ($6/hr) to senior rural health analyst ($25/hr). The youngest and highest paid analyst in the department. It is not only about who you know BUT more so about who knows you and your work!
You are most like the 5 people you hang around the most. Their behavior, attitude, and spirit will rub off on you. If you want to be an EAGLE you must hang with EAGLES. If you want to live in a chicken coop then hang with chicken’s every day. If there are no EAGLES in your circle – be that ONE EAGLE and SOAR HIGH. Stay focused and write down plans for your success.
Employers are looking for employees who have experience and skill. Be sure to use your class assignments to network with local businesses and organizations in the community who are potential employers. Always introduce yourself and tell people what you are learning in school, then explain how what you know can help them with their business – GOOGLE ELEVATOR SPEECH. YOU ARE AN ASSET TO THE COMMUNITY. Always look for ways to develop or improve your skillset. This will pay off in big DIVIDENDS soon. THINK BIG and DREAM BIGGER.
Use what you know to do what needs to be done to solve local and statewide problems- use your job and school as a foundation to build your network. Knowledge is power only if you learn to apply it. For the longest time, I always thought I needed to graduate so that I could get a good job. Now at the age of 35, I am thinking differently about the importance of building grassroots initiatives that provide solutions for what I see as constant problems in the communities I am a part of. Take what you have learned and use it to your benefit. Currently, I own acres of land and one day soon I plan to become a healthy housing properties manager. It is important to generate multiple income streams for early retirement purposes and overall life enjoyment.
Four UAMS COPH alumna have found their niche with the UAMS Center for Health Literacy. They are part of a highly collaborative team that is dedicated to improving population health by making health information easy to understand. The UAMS CHL mission includes training health professionals and students and conducting health literacy research. The Center also provides plain language services nationwide that include assessing, editing, and creating health materials for the average reader.
The UAMS CHL team was rewarded for its hard work a few months ago, when a patient tool created in partnership with the UAMS Center for Distance Health, received national recognition. The patient handbook, “Cómo Hablar con su Doctor/How to Talk
to Your Doctor,” won two coveted ClearMark awards, including the grand prize in the Spanish category. The purpose of the handbook is to help Spanish-speaking patients better communicate with their healthcare providers.
It was during her training at COPH that Kristie Hadden, PhD, the Center’s executive director, chose health literacy as career path. After graduation, she founded the UAMS Health Literacy program, which today is the Center for Health Literacy.
“My early years in communication sciences and disorders, paired with my research training in health behaviors and health education at UAMS, were essential to building the health literacy agenda and vision we have at the UAMS CHL,” says Kristie.
In the past year, joining the Center were Nancy Dockter, MPH, as plain language coordinator; Katie Leath, MPH, as program administrator for health literacy services and communications; and Alison Caballero, MPH, CHES, CRS, as director of programs.
Although each has her own discrete role, when it comes to plain language services, all three, and sometimes Dr. Hadden, are involved. Nancy is typically the first to tackle assessment and editing of a document. The work submitted is diverse; a state agency’s letter to benefits recipients, a UAMS researcher’s informed consent form, or content for a local hospital website are typical.
“I have always enjoyed the editing process, and knowing that our work has a direct impact on folks in the community is very satisfying,” says Nancy.
Katie and Alison, as reviewers, add perspective and polish to documents as they are finalized and returned to customers, accompanied by a summary that explains edits and provides grade level readability scores.
The Center also looks to Katie to put the word out about health literacy and the work of UAMS CHL via social media and other communication channels. She also heads up field testing of plain language materials the Center produces.
“This a favorite part of my job,” Katie said. “We always learn so much from our focus group participants. Their perspective is vitally important to health literacy work.”
Alison too wears many hats, including new business and philanthropic development, strategic direction, grants, and program oversight. “I’ve felt right at home since joining CHL in January,” Alison said. “It is a privilege to work alongside this stellar team every day as we all employ our public health training to improve health across the nation.”
We hope you will plan to attend the COPH Alumni events scheduled as part of the UAMS Alumni Weekend in August. This year, we are particularly excited about the UAMS Showcase presentations and the noon COPH Alumni Luncheon scheduled on Saturday, August 20. Last summer, we hosted the first COPH Alumni Luncheon and knew we wanted to make this opportunity available annually. It is a great time for alumni to network and share their experiences as public health professionals.
This year, the UAMS Showcase presentations will provide a broad array of cutting-edge health presentations from which to choose. The COPH is sponsoring two showcases: “Global Health, in Arkansas and Beyond” to be presented by Dr. Nick Zaller; and “State of Public Health in Arkansas and the U.S.” to be presented by Dr. Joseph Bates. The COPH Alumni Luncheon will follow the Showcase presentations and provide a casual lunch, featuring COPH alumna and Deputy Director for Public Health Programs at the Arkansas Department of Health, Ms. Stephanie Williams RNP, MPH.
We welcome your participation in all the UAMS activities planned throughout the weekend, but we are especially hopeful that you will make an effort to attend the COPH activities. When you register, you will be able to choose the individual activities that you wish to attend. As we build, nurture, and support our COPH alumni, your involvement is key and your feedback is important in helping guide the development of a COPH Alumni Association for all current and future alumni of the College. To register, simply go to giving.uams.edu/alumniweekend2016 where a full weekend description is provided.
We look forward to seeing you at the UAMS Alumni Weekend 2016, where you can reconnect with COPH leadership and your fellow alumni.
Jim Raczynski, Ph.D.
Professor and Founding Dean
The weekend will be the perfect opportunity for alumni to reconnect with their college and see how it continues to fulfill its mission for improving the health of all Arkansans.
Alumni will soon receive a printed invitation and email with the full schedule for this fun-filled weekend. Registration for the weekend is $50 and includes the Chancellor’s Reception, Continental Breakfast and the Showcase. Other events are priced separately.
Here are some highlights:
Friday, August 19 – Chancellor’s Reception.
Saturday, August 20 – UAMS will host a Continental Breakfast and give an update about research, education and patient care at UAMS, followed by a showcase of informative sessions that dive deeper into leading-edge programs, technologies, and research. You may bring a guest at no charge.
Midday on Saturday, each college will host a luncheon and tour from 12 to 2 pm. The luncheon is $15 per person. The COPH Alumni Luncheon will be a great opportunity to network and participate in a facilitated discussion along your fellow COPH alumni.
Saturday, evening, a casual “Southern Supper” on campus, along with live entertainment promises to be a great way to relax and have some fun for only $45 per person.
The UAMS Master of Health Administration (MHA) program hosted its annual luncheon Feb. 26, featuring the presentation “Health Reform in Arkansas” by Arkansas Surgeon General Gregory H. Bledsoe, M.D., MPH.
Also at the event, Jyric Sims, MHSA, class of 2007, was honored as the 2016 Outstanding Alumnus. Mr. Sims serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Tulane Health System. In addition, a new student scholarship in honor of John Baker, Ph.D., MBA, longtime professor and founder of the Master of Health Services (MSHA) program, was announced.
Richard Ault, Director of the MHA program, said that Dr. Baker, who was unable to attend the luncheon, was “gratified and very appreciative of the honor.”
Mr. Ault noted that Dr. Baker along with retired colleagues Andreas Muller, Ph.D., and John Wayne, Ph.D., composed a well-qualified triumvirate that taught all MHSA and MHA students from 1988 to 2013. All three are now retired from the program, which has a high graduate job placement rate and is the only such program of its kind in the state with national accreditation.
“That continuity in the program is what made it very strong through the years,” said Mr. Ault.
The MHSA program was started at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1981. It transitioned to UAMS in 2005 and was later renamed the Master of Health Administration program. It has more than 400 graduates.
Surgeon General Bledsoe provided not only insights into the evolution of health care reform in Arkansas but also a window into who he is and the experience and expertise he brings to the job of state Surgeon General.
A native Arkansans, son of a surgeon and state legislator, and UAMS-trained physician in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Bledsoe is a former Johns Hopkins International Emergency Medicine Fellow and Emergency Medicine faculty member. While at Johns Hopkins, he earned a master’s in public health and the “Teacher of the Year” award from the Department of Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Bledsoe has extensive international medical experience, as a medical officer, field physician and teacher, which has taken him to Central America, Africa, Asia, the North Pole and Antarctica. As an instructor for the US Secret Service, he was the personal physician to former President Bill Clinton during a 2002 Africa tour and accompanied President George W. Bush on a 2003 trip to Africa.
Incoming Governor Asa Hutchinson in 2014 tapped Dr. Bledsoe for his new role. Within days of the Governor’s inauguration in January 2015, they met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell to talk about health reform.
“Those discussions are ongoing, but are not just about Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion, but is a look at all reform for Medicaid in Arkansas” and how to make the system more efficient and sustainable, Surgeon General Bledsoe said.
Reform efforts have led to the proposed Arkansas Works program that will be voted on by legislators in a special session in April. Goals of that reform are for more people on employer-based insurance “rather that government rolls,” incentives to find work or job training for those who can work, and “better program integrity” for benefits verification and communications.
“We want to make the program more efficient so that people get the care they need, and people are not stuck on call center lines,” Dr. Bledsoe said.
Surgeon General Bledsoe does not anticipate health care reform and debate to go away as a policy priority anytime soon. The sheer complexity of the Affordable Care Act means “it will be years before” its impacts are fully understood, he said.
“We have to respond to it, and carve out the best position for Arkansas, in the circumstances we are now in.”
Part of his job is helping the various health policy stakeholders understand one another.
“I see myself as a translator – of the governor’s vision of health care to citizens and legislators and the communicator of people’s and health care providers’ needs back to policymakers,” Dr. Bledsoe said.
Yet, as a physician and public health policy leader, he said he does look forward to a broader perspective on health sometime in the future.
“I look forward to a shift in attention from care for chronic disease to preventive medicine and tackling the root causes of disease,” Surgeon General Bledsoe said.
Dr. Bledsoe is an Associate Professor in the UAMS College of Medicine and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UAMS College of Public Health. He is a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician and a graduate of both the College of Medicine and the Emergency Medicine residency program at UAMS.
The M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D., Endowed Professorship in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is among 13 UAMS programs to receive a Chancellor’s Circle Award for 2016. The $25,000 award was announced by Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., at a ceremony Feb. 5. Dr. Elders, a member of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board, and Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., Dean of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH), accepted the award.
The Endowed Professorship was created in 2015 in honor of Dr. Elders, who is a former US surgeon general and the third African American to graduate from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). She served as the director of the Arkansas Department of Health and is currently a Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management in the UAMS COPH and a Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine.
As he made the presentation, Chancellor Rahn called the endowed professorship “a really important initiative” and said the grant will help the professorship reach the endowed chair level.
“ was established to foster and enhance the teaching, research, and community outreach that embodies the lifetime work of Dr. Joycelyn Elders in Arkansas, across the nation and throughout the world,” Chancellor Rahn said.
The 13 Chancellor Circle grants, ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 for a grand total of $305,000, were the most ever awarded by the Chancellor’s Circle for a single year.
Members of the Chancellor’s Circle provide about $350,000 annually in discretionary funds, which provide support to programs in UAMS’ key mission areas of health care education, medical research and patient care. Since its creation in 1984, the Chancellor’s Circle has raised more than $7.8 million.
“We use these funds in a very specific, dedicated way to advance our work,” said Rahn. “And we use them for programs in which a certain amount of money can make a difference.”