Public Health Science Day
by Brenda Melles
November 20, 2015 - Over a hundred students, staff and faculty gathered at the Tett Centre for the Department’s annual Public Health Science Day. Plenary speakers - all groundbreaking researchers in their fields - as well as students from the Department’s various degree programs showcased the broad scope of public health experience and expertise in the Department.
Emergency response and surveillance was a theme of the morning plenary speakers. Dr. Susan Bartels, Clinician Scientist from the Department of Emergency Medicine, described her research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the setting for the world’s most devastating complex humanitarian emergency in terms of its impact on morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Assistant Medical Officer of Health and KFL&A Public Health and Adjunct Faculty in the Department assigned participants into various emergency scenarios. Small groups buzzed with discussion on surveillance needs and public health responses to events such as large scale outbreaks, mass casualty events, or prolonged heat waves.
In the afternoon, Dr. Ian Janssen, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Obesity and Professor in the Department, described his current research using accelerometers and GPS watches to track actual, versus self-reported physical activity among children. Results are fascinating but discouraging with the vast majority (9 out of 10) not meeting physical activity guidelines.
The day also included a variety of student presentations from students in the PhD and Master of Science programs in Epidemiology as well as Biostatistics. From research on military family health, to sleep and injury in Saskatchewan farmers, to molecular epidemiology and breast cancer, to new biostatistical approaches to missing data, student’s work showcased a compelling range of important topics. Eight Master of Public Health students also profiled their summer practicum placements in a variety of settings, including health units, northern communities, and provincial and government organizations.
The day ended with student performances of original health-related poetry. Whether haiku, rhyming couplets or free verse, performers closed out the day to the sounds of laughter and applause.