Category Archives: Podcasts
Future Public Health Leaders: High School Students Shine at Washington, D.C. Epidemiology Competition Finals
Innovations in epidemiology are often showcased in Washington, D.C, but today’s research papers had a slightly younger cast. Sixty high school Regional Finalists from 22 states and Puerto Rico were invited to compete in Washington at the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition.
The competition, created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the College Board, gives high school students a chance to present public health research to a panel of leading public health experts and educators who serve as judges.
The top awards were given to Rebecca Leong, 18, a senior at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Washington. She was recognized for her epidemiological research on injuries associated with the popular trend of barefoot running. Michelle Lee, a junior at North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania, was recognized for her research on MRSA, a superbug infection with a growing impact on high school athletes. Each received a $50,000 college scholarship.
NewPublicHealth spoke with the young winners before they headed home:
NPH: Why did you focus on barefoot running?
Rebecca Leong: I ran cross country for four year and barefoot running has become a growing trend.
NPH: And what did you find?
Rebecca Leong: Shod runners had lower injury rates, so media report of lower injuries among the barefoot runners may not be true.
NPH: What feedback did you get?
Rebecca Leong: My biology teacher was glad I did a research project outside the lab!
NPH: Why a focus on MRSA?
Michelle Lee: I had read about students getting MRSA and even some athletes in my class developed the infection.
NPH: And what were your findings?
Michelle Lee: That students who go to the clinic with a skin infection should be tested for MRSA at a certain point.
(Interview has been truncated and edited.) Listen to the full audio interview with both winners:
As counties continue to review their standings in the 2011 County Health Rankings reports, released last week, NewPublicHealth sat down with the project’s deputy director, Bridget Booske, Ph.D. M.H.S.A., to discuss this year’s reports.
The Rankings, a collaborative project of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, were first released in 2010. The reports rank the health of nearly every county in the nation and show that much of what affects health occurs outside of the doctor’s office. The Rankings confirm the critical role that factors such as education, jobs, income and environment play in how healthy people are and how long they live.
Booske says important changes to the 2011 Rankings came from reactions in the field: “We listened to feedback from a lot of different people across the country."
Listen to the full interview below: