New Faces in Public Health

New Faces in Public Health is an annual public health training forum designed to introduce high school students to the field of public health through the eyes and experiences of SPH faculty, staff, and graduate students. New Faces works with health-themed high schools throughout Boston, including Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers and Community Academy of Science and Health.

New Faces in Public Health is one of the many ways the school reaches out to the surrounding community, says Harold Cox, an SPH associate professor and associate dean of public health practice. “The day is an opportunity for high school students to admire the work of graduate students working in the field and encourages them to strive for a similar goal,” Cox noted. “And the high school students see the actual implementation of public health in the real world, like newly designed programs and policy analysis.”

The 2012 event focused on obesity and tied to a new two-year, school-wide initiative called Spotlight on Obesity, launched by SPH this past October. The program examines the complex legislative, environmental, social, behavioral, and economic issues surrounding obesity, which in turn could have direct implications for the local community in terms of better research and funding. Read More

“Encouraging Public Health Leadership in Boston Teens”

From 2010

As part of SPH’s New Faces in Public Health program, on December 7, 2010, more than 125 local high school students converged on campus to discuss teen dating violence.

The forum was held in response to the results of a survey conducted by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) on the dating violence incident involving pop music idols Chris Brown and Rihanna; nearly half of Boston youths surveyed said she was responsible for what happened while 52 percent said they were both to blame.

New Faces in Public Health is an annual public health training forum designed to introduce high school students to the field of public health through the eyes and experiences of SPH faculty, staff and graduate students. New Faces works with health-themed high schools throughout Boston, including Edward M. Kennedy Academy of Health Careers, Community Academy of Science and Health, and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School.

This year’s forum was conducted in partnership with BPHC’s Start Strong team and SPH student members of the Public Health Alliance for Minorities (PHAM). Start Strong is a nationwide teen dating violence prevention program.  Nicole Daley, SPH ’08, the Start Strong team leader, presented “Teen Dating Violence: Dispelling Myths” in the morning forum and during the afternoon breakout session.  The morning session also included video presentation and analysis, and an interactive clicker presentation that allowed assessment of the students’ base of knowledge and opinions on the topic of dating violence. SPH Dean Meenan addressed the students, as well, encouraging their interest in public health.

The students then attended the SPH Fall Poster Session, reviewing and judging posters presented by SPH candidates for Masters Degrees.  The students provided thoughtful comments, such as “Your presentation intrigued me because I am a teenager and a lot of teenagers my age are taking these pills” (re: Pharmaco-epidemiology and drug safety); “I love this so much…the presentation fascinated me a lot…I want to be a pediatrician or a maternity nurse so I will definitely be interested in learning more about this.” (re: The influence of early nutrition on obesity); and “The way she explained what congenital heart disease is gave me a really good idea on what it was.  This really helped me understand what her project was about.”

During the afternoon breakout sessions, students and group leaders discussed teen dating violence in a setting that gave everyone an opportunity to be heard.  The exercises included identifying types of abuse; warning signs of an abuser; and role play strategies to engage in healthy relationships and healthy break-ups.

In addition to Nicole Daley, Start Strong session leaders included Darrus Sands of BPHC’s Division of Violence Prevention and Casey Corcoran, BPHC’s Start Strong Director.

The 2005 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 16% of high school girls and 4% of high school boys had experienced violence in a dating relationship.  Students who had experienced any dating violence were significantly more likely to report considering suicide (35% vs. 10%), attempting suicide (23% vs. 5%), lifetime sexual intercourse (84% vs. 41%), recent sexual intercourse (69% vs. 30%), having been or gotten someone pregnant (18% vs. 3%), and drinking and driving (18% vs. 10%).