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‘Protecting, Connecting and Thriving’: WVU School of Public Health to celebrate national week of recognition

Students, faculty and staff in the West Virginia University School of Public Health are striving toward a vision of healthy people in thriving communities. They are part of a community of educators, scientists, clinicians and many more professionals working – often behind the scenes – to give everyone a safe place to live, learn, work and play.

In celebration of their dedication and the ways public health improves lives, National Public Health Week is observed during the first full week of April each year to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation's health. This year’s American Public Health Association campaign, “Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health,” focuses not only on the ways public health serves communities, but the ways communities flourish when their needs are met.

The WVU School of Public Health encourages everyone to join in with students, faculty and staff to celebrate with a series of events, April 1-5, focused on collaboration and community engagement. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Throughout the week, look for apparel giveaways at in-person events, while supplies last.

Schedule of Events

Monday, April 1 | Civic Engagement with Tim Leshan | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. | WVU Health Sciences Center – North Room 3129 and Zoom

The WVU School of Public Health is honored to host Tim Leshan, MPA, chief external relations and advocacy officer at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), for a compelling conversation about civic engagement in the field of public health. During his presentation, Leshan will share invaluable advice and insights gleaned from his extensive work in advocacy, offering guidance on how individuals can contribute to meaningful change through civic engagement. Following his talk, participants will have the opportunity to engage with Leshan directly during a Q&A session. This event is a must-attend for anyone interested in understanding the power of advocacy in public health and learning how to become more involved in shaping policies for the betterment of our communities.

Leshan has a wealth of experience in advocacy within the public health domain and has enjoyed a long career in governmental relations and community affairs.

Prior to joining ASPPH, Leshan served as vice provost for research government affairs and strategic partnerships for Northeastern University’s global research network, director of government relations and community affairs at Brown University, branch chief and senior policy analyst in the Policy and Program Analysis Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health and director of public policy for the American Society for Cell Biology. He has also worked at Duke University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Register online to participate via Zoom.

Tuesday, April 2 | Healthy Neighborhoods Volunteerism | 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. | Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center

WVU School of Public Health students are invited to join their peers for volunteer activities at the Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center. Projects will include outdoor activities like gardening, power washing and staining to help create a welcoming environment for children and families seeking support at the Center. The students will be hosted by alumna Taylor Shultz, director of awareness and development.

Space is limited. Register online via iServe.

Wednesday, April 3 | Virtual Career Expo | 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. | Zoom

One of the central themes of National Public Health Week focuses on the public health workforce and its essentiality to the future. To help recognize and celebrate the importance of the public health workforce in our communities, the WVU School of Public Health will host its third annual virtual career expo. The event will allow current students to connect with potential employers, organizations and community partners including the American Red Cross, Booz Allen, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Monongalia Emergency Medical Services, WELL WVU, WVU Extension and WVU Office of Health Services Research. This networking event is open to all WVU School of Public Health students.

Register online.

Thursday, April 4 | AI for Public Health with Randi Foraker | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. | Zoom

The WVU School of Public Health is pleased to welcome Randi Foraker, PhD, director of the Center for Population Health Informatics at Washington University, for a special presentation titled “AI for Public Health: Designing for Dissemination.” The session will provide an in-depth look into the transformative potential of artificial intelligence in public health, exploring innovative strategies to ensure the advancements reach those who need them most. Following her presentation, participants will have the opportunity to engage directly with Foraker during a Q&A session.

In addition to her role with the Center for Population Health Informatics, Foraker is a professor of medicine in the Washington University Division of General Medical Sciences. Foraker specializes in the design of population-based studies and the integration of electronic health record data with socioeconomic indicators as well as the use of synthetic data for research. Her recent research has focused on the application of clinical decision support to complement risk scoring in primary care, cardiology and oncology.

Register online.

Friday, April 5 | Research Day | 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | WVU Health Sciences Center – North Room 1901, Fukushima Auditorium

In partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the WVU School of Public Health is excited to showcase the collaborative work of students, faculty and staff. The half-day event will feature a keynote presentation, collaborative demonstrations and poster presentations from researchers, faculty and students focused on occupational health. The keynote presentation, “Building Bridges for Worker Health: NIOSH and Public Health Collaborations,” will be delivered by Senior Scientist Officer Leslie MacDonald of the NIOSH Division of Field Studies and Engineering.

MacDonald conducts occupational health research focused on evaluating associations between physical and social conditions at work and chronic disease among employed populations, including older workers and pregnant individuals. Her presentation will address work as a social determinant of health, describe how workplace settings can be important venues for health protection and health promotion, and provide examples of research collaborations with NIH-funded public health researchers to generate new knowledge addressing the role of work in the occurrence and pattern of chronic disease among working aged adults in the United States, such as cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Attendees must register to attend Research Day by March 22.

Mark your calendar for these events and connect with the School of Public Health on Instagram, X/Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn using #NPHW to help raise awareness and promote public health.

Jessica Wilmoth
Senior Communications Specialist
University Relations – WVU Health Sciences