Driven by a common passion for prevention, public health leaders from across the state gathered to share the latest in public health research and trends at the 69th annual Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) Conference & Meeting Oct. 14-15 at Oregon State University.
Through keynote speakers, focused learning sessions, poster presentations and networking opportunities, public health professionals, students, advocates and stakeholders received the opportunity to further their efforts to make Oregonians healthier through prevention.
“This conference, a longtime tradition and hallmark of OPHA, is the key learning opportunity that we provide public health professionals,” says College of Public Health and Human Sciences Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Marie Harvey.
OPHA 2013 highlighted public health’s role in healthcare transformation and featured more than 130 presentations on topics covering the full spectrum of public health in Oregon.
“Conference attendance has nearly doubled in the past three years, reflecting increasing interest in public health solutions to the healthcare crisis,” she says. “Along with attendance growth, which hit more than 550 participants this year, our list of sponsors and exhibitors has also expanded.”
CPHHS Dean Tammy Bray provided welcoming remarks, emphasizing how public health is vital in the success of healthcare reform.
She asserted how the college’s efforts of ensuring lifelong health and well-being for every person, family and community in Oregon and beyond – and becoming the first accredited college of public health and human sciences in Oregon – will contribute to that success.
“I feel very lucky to have a built-in network of health Extension professionals working hand-in-hand, on site in our communities, providing a pipeline to improve our population’s health,” she says. “I am excited by our college’s work in health policy and workforce development, the interdisciplinary research of our faculty and our focus on all of the things that contribute to health – including exercise and nutrition. Above all, I’m excited that we are working with public health professionals at all levels across the state and improving the health of people in Oregon and beyond.”
Monday’s plenary speaker, Science and Environmental Health Network’s Science Director Ted Schettler, made a case for health and public health workers to address social and environmental factors leading to poor health and disease in his keynote speech titled “Connecting Health Care to Public and Environmental Health.”
He emphasized the healthcare costs of chronic exposure to currently accepted environmental and nutritional factors that cause disease, and noted that environmental and nutritional policy is health policy.
Tuesday’s keynote speaker, Oregon Public Health Division Director Lillian Shirley, discussed how transforming health services is an ongoing journey in her speech titled “Discussion of Various Definitions of Population Health and the Implications they have for Public Health and CCO/ACO Relationships.”
She noted that public health science brings expertise in analyzing population health necessary to focus clinical and community health improvement efforts. She explained how evidence-based approaches to Oregon’s health systems improvement will allow emerging new collaborations to achieve the triple aim of improved access, quality and health.
In addition to educational forums and poster sessions, networking opportunities and the exhibit hall, OPHA recognized Oregon’s public health advocates and leaders – including two CPHHS graduate students who were awarded the “Outstanding Student Poster Award” – during its association awards.
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Kathleen O’Leary, Public Health Administrator, Washington County
- Policy Champion Award: Oregon State Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward
- Emerging Leader Award: Sara Gardner-Smith, Lead Program Liaison, Moda Health
- Outstanding Student Poster Award:
- Erika Sanchez, Oregon State MPH student in Health Promotion and Health Behavior. Title: Family Care of Older Latinos with Diabetes: A qualitative study
- Tassnym Sinky, Oregon State PhD student in Health Promotion and Health Behavior. Title: Lessons Learned from Breast Cancer Narratives of Saudi Women