MdPHA Newsletter

Fall 2016

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2016 Annual Conference | 2017 Legislative Session Priorities | New Board Members | Health Night in Annapolis | Membership Discounts | Join a Committee | President's Corner | Connect on Social Media

2016 Annual Conference

Nearly 100 public health professionals gathered for the 2016 MdPHA Annual Conference, "Behavior, Lifestyle, and Social Determinants of Health" hosted by the Department of Health Science at Towson University on October 25th. The day-long event started with a warm welcome from Dr. Lisa Plowfield, Dean of the College of Health Professions, and opening remarks from Congressman John Sarbanes.

Breakout sessions featured some of the most critical public health issues facing our nation, including topics on the opioid epidemic, mental health in LGBTQ youth, and utilities as a public health issue. Delegate Steve Lafferty moderated a Legislative Panel with Delegates Luke Clippinger and Antonio Hayes and Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond on "Policies Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Maryland."

The keynote address, "Less Talk More Action: Accelerating 4th Generation Disparities to Achieve Health Equity," was given by Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, Director of the Maryland Center for Health Equities at the University of Maryland School of Public Health who motivated the participants to act on what we already know in public health.

The Student Section of the MdPHA held the annual Donald O. Fedder Poster Competition. The winner, Paul Nestadt of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was awarded for his poster "Urban-Rural Differences in Maryland Suicide: The Role of Firearms." See all winners here.

Each year MdPHA honors several people and/or organizations at the conference for their contributions to the field of public health. Honorees included: President's Award: Center for Health Equity, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, Excellence in Public Health Media: Timothy B. Wheeler and Luke Broadwater for their articles on "Lead paint: Despite progress, hundreds of Maryland children still poisoned." The Baltimore Sun. December 5, 2015, Outstanding Public Health Program: Health and Education for Haiti, Inc. in partnership with St. Francis of Assisi Parish for its ongoing and sustainable humanitarian, medical missions, community health and education programs in Haiti over 20 years, serving thousands of underserved populations in Haiti to improve access to care and reduce health disparities. 

Sponsors included: Gold Level - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Bronze Level - Health Care For All.

Exhibitors included: Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy and Network for Public Health Law – Eastern Region, The Maryland Environmental Health Network (MdEHN), Maryland Hospital Association, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, and Towson University, Department of Health Science.

We are grateful to all the attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors who made this conference possible. Thank you!
2016 Award Winners
Congressman Sarbanes
Matt Celentano, Maryland Health Care For All
Legislative Panel
Keynote Speaker

2017 Legislative Session Priorities

At the Annual Conference, MdPHA members were polled about what matters most to them in policy making. The theme of the meeting, “Behavioral, Lifestyle, and Social Determinants of Health” yielded a robust discussion about public health policy and improving health outcomes and quality of life for all Marylanders. Our legislative priorities this year reflect the polling results and the sentiments expressed by our membership.
Health Equity

The American Public Health Association (APHA) has named health equity a guiding priority and core value. MdPHA will prioritize policies that address health equity, which ensures everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Healthy People 2020, the nation’s health objectives for the current decade, defines health equity as the “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities."
Priority Bills
Earned Sick Leave
All workers deserve paid sick days so that no one faces the impossible choice of providing for their family or taking care of their health or their family’s health.

Prescription Drug Price Affordability
The skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs contributes significantly to an already burdened health care system. We must address these costs to ensure that these life-saving medicines are available to all Marylanders.

Keep the Door Open Act
Marylanders affected by mental health and substance use disorders must have high quality and accessible services to meet their needs.

Ban on Hydraulic
Fracturing (“Fracking”)

Fracking and related activities in neighboring states are associated with increases in asthma attacks,

adverse birth outcomes, and other illnesses; we have an opportunity this session to prevent harm from this industry in Maryland.

Looking Forward

Gun Violence is a
Public Health Issue

Gun violence has emerged as a priority among our membership. As APHA states, “The issue of gun violence is complex and deeply rooted in our culture, which is why we must take a public health approach to ensuring our families and communities are safe. We must place a renewed emphasis on improving gun injury and violence research.”

This year we will build new partnerships and strengthen existing relationships with groups working to prevent gun violence in Maryland and expand research opportunities.

Welcome New Board Members

President Elect

Kelsey Shields, BA

Kelsey Shields is a native Marylander raised in Annapolis who is currently completing her MSPH degree at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is passionate about the public health effects of social and economic policy and is excited and honored to be ​​a part of the MdPHA leadership team. 

At-Large Members

Jody Gan, MPH, CHES

Jody is on the faculty of American University in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Health Studies. Formerly, for almost a decade, she coordinated alcohol and drug prevention programs at the University of Maryland, College Park and then worked at Maryland-based government contracting firms as a public health consultant for programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. With 25 years of experience planning, implementing and evaluating health programs at the local, state, and national levels,
Jody enjoys sharing her experiences and passion for health and wellness with her public health and health promotion students.

Adriane Griffen, DrPH, MPH, MCHES

Dr. Griffen oversees public health efforts at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. She has over 16 years of experience in the disability and health field, with specialty areas in health promotion, social marketing, qualitative research, and health education. Her activities focus on building the nation's capacity on public health activities for developmental disabilities and health promotion for people living with disabilities across the age span.

Felicia Pailen, MPH

Felicia Pailen, MPH, is the Director of the Policy, Planning and Communications Bureau at the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) in Columbia, MD where she leads health planning, policy, data collection and analysis, public health communications and quality improvement efforts. Prior to joining HCHD, she was the Executive Director for the Baltimore Area Health Education Center and held positions at the University of Maryland School of Nursing managing health outcomes studies and the University of Maryland School of Medicine administering cancer control planning activities at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 
Membership Discounts
Anyone who attended the Annual Conference as a non-member and signs up to become a member by December 31, can become a MdPHA member for only $25, half the regular cost.

We have extended the #GivingTuesday offer on membership. Anyone who signs up or renews their membership by December 31 will get one free, additional month added to their membership that will carry you through January 1, 2018
Committee Members Wanted

Join a Committee

To help MdPHA succeed, we need the help of all or members. Whether you have been a long-time MdPHA member or recently joined, we look forward to your input and participation. Please know there is always a spot at the table for you.

Committees include the following: Membership, Programs, Finance, Communications and Advocacy. There are two sections, Student and Health Education.

Learn More

* Treasurer Needed *

Do you have a background in finance or budgeting? Are you a person who likes numbers and has time to donate to a good cause? Our open Treasurer position on the MdPHA Board of Directors might be the perfect opportunity for you. Interested members should contact the MdPHA President, Raimee Eck, or President-Elect, Kelsey Shields, to learn more.


President's Corner

The Maryland Public Health Association is one of the oldest public health member organizations (indeed if not THE oldest—see some of our history here []) in the country, and it is my honor to act as President for the next year.

The last few months have likely been extremely trying for many of us and much uncertainly lies before us, perhaps now more than ever than many of us can remember. What IS certain is that MdPHA will continue to act as a strong advocate for public health initiatives, funding, research, and training along with our partners and our members.

Our advocacy priorities agenda (as you see above) will keep us busy this winter, but does not reflect the numerous other issues we try to follow and support throughout the year. We will continue to bring high quality education opportunities on topical issues and ensure we have some fun social events sprinkled in as well. And remember we are always open to new members, opportunities and partnerships, so please contact us anytime.

I look forward to spending the coming year with you!



Raimee Eck

Board of Directors

Our Board consists of members elected from and by the general membership. Members have come from Maryland universities, DHMH, local health departments, state and federal government, health care organizations, non-profit agencies, consulting firms, and more.

Executive Committee

Raimee Eck — President
Kelsey Shields — President-elect
Cassandra Greisen — Secretary
Open — Treasurer
DiemThanh (Tanya) Dang — Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council
Mishale Mistry — Immediate Past President

At-Large Members

Yen Dang
Jody Gan
Adriane Grifffen
Jill Nolan
Felicia Pailen
Lana S. Sherr
Gillian Silver
Hoai-An Truong
Carlos Williams

Copyright © 2016 Maryland Public Health Association, All rights reserved.

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