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Student Winners from the Public Health Poster Forum Inspire Us!

Among so many impressive posters showing community engagement programs and research, a few students earned awards for their outstanding work in public health and related health fields.

Many students within MEZCOPH responded to the call for the 2022 Annual Public Health Poster Forum (PHPF). The theme for this year’s Poster Forum, Building Resilience, motivated MEZCOPH students as well as the larger University of Arizona community to present creative and innovative solutions to public health issues.

We want to celebrate all our student winners from the 2022 PHPF.  Learn more about them and check out their posters below!

Community Engagement Awards

William Carson

First Place
William Carson, PhD student in Health Promotion Science
Topic: IndigiWellbeing™: Pilot of a wellbeing program grounded in Indigenous culture
I am a member of Ohkay Owingeh interested in self-determination for Indigenous people. I first grew interested in public health when I lived in South Carolina and saw the differences in how certain areas of the state looked depending on the healthcare offered there. After taking a class on the history of public health during my undergrad studies, I fell in love with the field. I was also involved in my college's Indigenous student body, and I felt that I could mesh my interest in public health with my biracial identity to make an impact. Community level changes in both policy and programming are necessary to decrease health disparities that are seen in marginalized communities, and public health is the perfect medium to affect these areas.  Eventually, I hope to use translational science to take critical public health research and craft policy at the tribal, local, state, and federal level to best help Indigenous people.

Kerry Johnson

Second Place
Kerry Johnson, MPH student in Health Behavior Health Promotion
Topic: THRIVE! Community Assessment of San Luis Teen Pregnancy, STI, and Optimal Health
My background in social services, nonprofits, and international community development in Central and South America led me to pursue my MPH. I am passionate about addressing the social, structural, and environmental factors that influence a community's health outcomes, such as clean water, food security, education and employment. Specifically, I believe building systems that promote health equity and increased access to care for underserved populations is a basic human right and my responsibility as a public health professional. I hope to work in a rural health department after graduation to support programming, funding and policies to improve access to care and other services for these communities.

Likith Surendra

Third Place
Likith Surendra, MD student in the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
Topic: Narcan Distribution and Education Initiative for Phoenix's Homeless Population
Seeing the disparities in access to health services and basic resources that are prevalent in our community, I am driven to engage with vulnerable populations and help address these disparities. Specifically, I have worked with people experiencing homelessness over the past few years and learned about the needs of this population. Through Street Medicine Phoenix, my team and I provide medical services and resources directly to unsheltered individuals on the streets. It saddens me that people in our own backyards are suffering without access to basic resources, and I am motivated to do what I can as a medical student and future physician to help them. I aspire to become a physician that improves people’s health and quality of life, empowers people to take charge of their own health, and engages in initiatives that benefit people in need in my community.

Research Awards

Sohail Daulat

First Place
Sohail Daulat, physiology undergraduate, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson
Topic: Evaluation of Educational Material for Low Literacy Populations
Public Health raises my awareness about the barriers that communities face and the cyclical nature of worsening inequities. As a future health professional, I want to have a greater understanding of these barriers, so that I can build stronger relations with my patients and have a more knowledgeable background. Additionally, I want increase access to resources, such as health care, education, and technology, for underserved communities. I aspire to become a surgeon without borders, to be able to practice medicine and conduct surgeries in communities where they cannot afford the procedure or lack access to a surgical clinic.

Erika Austhof, MPH

Second Place
Erika Austhof, MPH, Epidemiology PhD student
Topic: Health and economic benefits are motivations for individual climate action
I believe that public health is the best way to make the largest positive impact on the health and wellness of greatest number of people, and I’m passionate about using the tools of public health to improve lives. Looking ahead, I plan to run my public health consulting business, Aengle Consulting, full time once I graduate. At Aengle I support public health organizations and professionals to make effective and empowered decisions using their data.

Priyanka Ravi

Third Place
Priyanka Ravi, PhD student in Health Behavior Health Promotion
Topic: From isolation to vaccination: School health staff pandemic experiences in Pima County, Arizona
I developed an interest in public health during my rural outreach activities. I found public health can be a very effective approach to address disparities and to improve the access to health care in disadvantaged populations and among rural communities. I would like to work on global health and cancer health disparity in lower-middle income countries.

Resilience Expertise from Across the University

Keynote speaker presentations on the topic of Resilience at the PHPF included Greg Collins, PhD, MPH, who gave a presentation titled The Rise of Resilience in International DevelopmentWilliam Simmons, PhD, MA, gave a presentation titled Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth among Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, and Nicole P. Yuan, PhD, MPH, gave a presentation titled Uncovering Resilience in Narratives from Young People Living in Southern Appalachian Communities.

This year’s pre-event activity highlighted a podcast hosted by MEZCOPH alumna Maria Guadalupe Valdez, MPH, called What’s Up Public Health. The podcast episode recorded for the Poster Forum, titled Building Resilience During COVID and Now, included a roundtable discussion among the Poster Forum judges, Dr. Mona Arora, PhD, MSPH, Dr. Conrad Clemens, MD, MPH, Zaida Dedolph, MPH, and Dr. Laura Gronewold, PhD. Listen to the episode here!

In conclusion, we thank all the public health and healthcare professionals in our community for the work they have done over the past two years despite all the challenges! And we thank our students, staff, and faculty for continuing to promote public health and for their resilience in the face of adversity!

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