“We are beyond the need for days of reflection,” said Dean Thomas LaVeist in a school address earlier this year. “We are beyond the days for incremental change. The country needs major fundamental change. There can be no disagreement with that statement. If we are going to root out racism from our country, change is needed not just in policing, but all sectors of society – even public health.”
With that idea in mind, LaVeist committed to a set of goals for the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, goals that will put health and racial equity at the forefront of the school’s priorities. His efforts are designed to create lasting change.
Tulane public health faculty among first to receive federal funding for gun violence research after decades-long ban
The National Institutes of Health awarded a $146,000 research grant to Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine to study how state gun laws may reduce homicide among women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. The school is among the first to receive federal funding for gun violence research after a nearly 24-year ban by Congress.
Since it’s known that viral RNA is shed through feces, even in asymptomatic individuals, the best way to head off COVID-19 outbreaks in New Orleans and elsewhere might just prove to be its waste. Or, as Samendra Sherchan, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences puts it: “Poop never lies!”
The COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly transformed the access and the organization of health services for an indeterminate time, circumventing the efforts made in recent years to improve women, children, and adolescent health indicators in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With many COVID-19 cases going undetected, researchers question how much more widespread the virus may be in the U.S. population. Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is one of five institutions using antibody testing and symptom data to estimate overall COVID-19 infection rates over time
Over the past nine months, students around the world have shifted to online learning to continue their education in the midst of COVID-19. For one subset of students, this shift has been business as usual – students already participating in programs like the Online MPH at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Diabetes. Stroke. Heart disease. Even COVID-19. All of these deadly health concerns disproportionately affect Black communities, but the underlying reasons for the inequity have little to do with biology and everything to do with the systems and myths that adversely impact health. The Skin You’re In (TSYI) is a multi-media social marketing campaign, the goal of which is to improve Black health outcomes. The brainchild of Dean Thomas LaVeist, the campaign started with a documentary but now includes social media platforms, outreach, and, soon, neighborhood level action committees.
In September 2020, the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine welcomed Dr. Erica Whitiker as the assistant dean for student experience. Whitiker has a long history as a passionate advocate for students from a wide array of backgrounds, and she intends to dramatically shift the culture at the school to be more focused on student needs and to support them throughout their time at SPHTM.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the task force in April saying, “We know that right now 70 percent of our deaths in Louisiana from coronavirus are African Americans. This is a disturbing trend and one that deserves our attention, which is why we are engaging a group of leaders right now while the crisis is still ongoing.”
Dr. LuAnn White, a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine for forty years, will step down as senior associate dean effective June 30, 2021, in the first step of a phased retirement. During her tenure at the school, White has served as associate dean twice and has been involved with numerous rounds of the school’s accreditation process with the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). She was also the driving force behind the distance learning program that began at the school in 1994 and has witnessed the tremendous improvements in environmental quality in the state and across the country.
As part of a strategic plan to strengthen the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s academic offerings, effective July 1, 2021, the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences (GCHB) will be divided into two departments to better serve students and better align the teaching faculty. The two new departments will be the Department of International Health and Sustainable Development and the Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences (SBPS).
Tulane University’s prestigious MD/MPH combined degree program will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, and the program has only grown in popularity and renown throughout the years. The program is open to students who have been accepted to Tulane School of Medicine and wish to pursue both an MD from Tulane and an MPH from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. More than 1,000 students have graduated from the program since its start in 1971.
Initially, Cliff Gevirtz, MD (M *81, PHTM *81) chose his field of study at Tulane because he just wanted to stand out from the crowd a little bit. Instead, he found a dual-degree program that kicked-started his career and taught him skills he continues to use to this day. “I had a very smart professor at the University of Rochester who said, ‘You need something to stand out from the crowd, and combined degrees help pull people from out of the pile of applications.’ I also somewhat had a management bent to me. Tulane was one of the few programs at that time that had an MPH in Health Systems Management,” Dr. Gevirtz recalls.
Sprinting to the Front Lines is a rapid funding mechanism for Tulane students to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Teams of current Tulane students were invited to submit a proposal that would directly impact the health and wellbeing of the New Orleans community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Projects were selected by a panel of three faculty at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the six were selected from 50 applications submitted.
Last spring the Tulane MD/MPH Program placed and supported several students in COVID response projects at the DePaul Community Health Center. Mark Dal Corso, MD, MPH, associate professor of global community health and behavioral sciences at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a pediatrician at DePaul Community Health Center serves as the faculty director for the MD/MPH rotation. He helped students plan projects to help DePaul with their needs.
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine provides an excellent, skills-based education, but there’s nothing like hands-on experience to bring that education to life. Three environmental health sciences students recently got that hands-on experience as they each played a unique role in the New Orleans response to Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm that threatened the city before making landfall in western Louisiana.
After a competitive selection process, two Tulane University students, Caitlin Boyle from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Althea Alquitran from the School of Medicine, have been named as Albert Schweitzer Fellows along with four other local graduate students. The Fellows will be charged with improving the health of people most in need across New Orleans
2020 was a year like any other in the school’s history. Take a look at some of the year’s work in the selected videos.
The Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is sorry to announce the passing of Dr. Donald Krogstad, a long-time professor of tropical medicine and a renowned malaria researcher, and Dr. Joseph Contiguglia, beloved professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences.