Fight Against COVID-19
In the middle of a pandemic, Ethar has continued her efforts in making sure care delivery functions as smoothly as possible. In the Registration Department in Sharp, Ethar is the first point of contact for patients where she provides emotional support that every individual craves during such difficult times. Everyday, Ethar finds motivation from nurses and physicians also in the front-line fighting this pandemic. She will move on in her career as a strong public health practitioner amending health inequities; improving health systems; and decreasing the number of uninsured and underinsured patients.
Matthew’s motivation for humanitarian work grew after seeing the impactful work that the Red Cross does in underserved communities. Like public health, emergency preparedness emphasized community health; seeing the intersection where the two fields meet, Matthew chose to pursue a degree in public health. Now, as a Community Service Officer for the SDSU Police Department, he has created a virtual center that digitizes FEMA and University forms — an incredible advancement mid-pandemic! As he advances his career, Matthew will continue aiding future activations, and contributing to overall preparedness and response capabilities in SDSU.
Virtual Town Hall: Leadership in the Time of a Pandemic
On April 28, San Diego’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, and County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s Director, Mr. Nick Macchione joined the School of Public Health Director, Dr. Hala Madanat for a town hall, Leadership in the Time of a Pandemic: The COVID-19 Experience. At the time of the town hall, San Diego County was arriving the dip of the peak (for current statistics, click here). Prior to COVID-19 arriving to San Diego County, the public health work force had already begun preparing for the pandemic. As COVID-19 inflicts new challenges across all sectors worldwide, it has been critical for collaboration efforts to continue growing. Public health officials coming together with the School of Public Health indicates the institution’s commitment to ensure health and safety while keeping our communities informed. To find updated testing locations near you along with other COVID-19 information, scroll to the bottom for the Community Resources se
Student Research Symposium School of Public Health Awardees
Talia Kieu, Public Health
The Impact of Specific Dimensions of Gender Sexuality Alliance Participation on Academic Outcomes Among LGBTQ+ High School Students
Ivette Lorona, MA Latin American Studies & MPH Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
The Right to Healthcare: Central American Asylum Seekers in Chiapas, Mexico
Marisa Torres-Ruiz, Joint Doctoral Public Health
Colorectal Cancer Trends and Screening Modalities Among Californians in 2018
Dr. Tayo Fakunle started the program while pursuing postdoctoral research in bioengineering and regenerative medicine. After noticing the disparity in the population and research agenda of the community, she chose to pursue her MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science. As a MPH student, she created opportunities for students to learn about stem cell research at Scripps and remained involved in community organizations. In 2010 her accomplishments led to her being awarded the Forty under Forty Inspired Leaders of Tomorrow by the San Diego Urban League. Dr. Tayo Fakunle is currently pursuing her MBA and plans to innovate new processes in medical affairs that integrate her MPH knowledge. Her advice to students is to embrace adversity as an opportunity to grow and take advantage of every opportunity to learn.
Graduate Student Highlight
Being raised in both Tijuana and San Diego grew the interest and drive for Alma Behar to further her educational career at SDSU for the great work they do with the Latino Community and for its diverse faculty. Before starting the SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, Global Health track, Alma Behar dedicated ten years working in health-related research. Upon the beginning of her Doctorate Program, Alma has taken advantage of many opportunities offered by SDSU, from teaching to continuing field work and joining projects with multiple faculty members including Dr. John Elder, Dr. Elizabeth Reed, and Dr. Noe Crespo.
Alma’s wide span of experience in the health research field has shaped her into an incredible well-rounded public health professional. To students navigating graduate school, Alma recommends that they take advantage of learning opportunities, such as volunteer work and internships, to help them identify the kind of work they would really want to pursue during and after graduate school. “Hands-on experience definitely helped shape my career path.”
Health Promotion & Behavioral Science
Co-Director, SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Global Health
Associate Professor of Global Health
Dr. Elizabeth Reed is a social epidemiologist focused on gender-based violence, and sexual and reproductive health. Dr. Reed’s interest in the field began as she saw how violence in her hometown interconnected with HIV/STI and substance abuse, as well as gender norms promoting male dominance and its detrimental health effects on men as well. Her decision to come to SDSU stemmed from the innovating and diverse research she saw being done and is now supporting the same efforts.
Undergraduate Student Highlight
Talia Kieu is a graduating senior majoring in Public Health with a passion for social justice and advocating for reproductive health. Her curiosity for public health stemmed from taking a Women’s Studies class in a community college where she found that public health is not just social justice-based, but it also holds an emphasis on practical applications and interventions.
At SDSU, Talia had the opportunity to be involved in many organizations, but the one closest to her heart in Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA). She recommends anyone interested in increasing reproductive health access, promoting sexual health education, and advocating for reproductive justice to check out PPGA at SDSU. Along with amazing professional experience, SDSU also helped Talia find a great niche within her student cohort in the SDSU School of Public Health; a diverse, fun, collaborative and supportive group. Her advice to first and second public health students: “getting involved in student organizations as soon as possible can transform your college experience”.
The Burn Institute was started in 1972. Aiming to give community members across San Diego and Imperial Countries autonomy over their overall safety through education and prevention programs, it created two programs: Fire Safe Kids and Senior Smoke Alarm. Aside community engagement, The Burn Institute also strongly focuses on academic advising and professional development. Since 2013, the Burn Institute has provided an average of 12 internships per semester for San Diego State University students.
To support student interns’ contributions, The Burn Institute encourages students to bring their own personal and academic perspectives in order to properly consider communities’ diversity. The Fire Safe Kids and Senior Smoke Alarm programs target very different communities, allowing student interns to individually interpret situations on a case by case basis while putting into place their individual skill set. Omar Aguilar, a student intern for the Senior Smoke Alarm program and undergraduate public health student, shared how the Burn Institute continuously goes the extra mile to extend from community efforts to student support. His efforts, along with the rest of The Burn Institute’s staff has contributed to making San Diego and Imperial Counties safer regions for various vulnerable populations.
If I Could Change One Thing
Gary Rotto has dedicated the past 12 years directly supporting community health centers through policy and advocacy. Until recently he was the Senior Vice President of Government and Community Affairs for Borrego Health; currently he serves as a Board Member of San Diego Leadership Alliance and is an adjunct faculty member for SDSU’s School of Public Health. His extensive policy and advocacy experience informs the new podcast, If I Could Change One Thing created to highlight and increase awareness of health policy to the SDSU community.
Currently, there are five episodes available with content expanding from policy development and leadership, to COVID-19 efforts and a look into life after the pandemic. Thanks to Gary Rotto’s extensive network, speakers vary across the health policy spectrum, bringing unique perspectives on the topic. With many interesting projects undertaken by faculty members and doctoral students at SDSU, Gary Rotto will continue widening the podcast’s impact. Check out If I Could Change One Thing on most platforms including Apple Podcasts, IHeartRadio, Spotify and many more.
- California Department of Public Health: COVID-19 Updates
- CDC: Webinars, Information and Fact Sheets
- Coronavirus in San Diego
- County of San Diego Safe Reopening Updates
- Find a free COVID-19 testing site and schedule your appointment
- San Diego County: Volunteer Program
San Diego Daily Press Briefing Mon-Fri at 4:30 PM
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