San Diego State University School of Public Health (SPH) is proud to announce multiple outstanding students who exemplified excellence in research and professional development. Even in the context of virtual learning, SPH graduate students have demonstrated skill through their various accomplishments.
At a national level, SPH is proud to announce that two students – Anah Esquerio and Chloe Hull – were selected to join the 2021 ASPPH Student Leadership Institute (SIL). SIL is a nomination-based professional development and leadership opportunity, where 40 students are selected from a pool of national applicants. This year the topic is about being an authentic and inclusive leader through understanding the identities, unconscious biases, and privilege may affect an individual’s ability to lead in diverse settings and stakeholders. Anah Esquerio (MPH Epidemiology) accomplishments were featured in the SPH Spring 2021 newsletter working for California American Indian Tobacco Initiative Evaluation (CAITIE), which is evaluating the impact of funding aimed at reducing tobacco use in Native American communities. Anah is also an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and has a heritage to the Chumash Tribe and Oglala Sioux tribe. Chloe Hull (MPH Environmental Health) is an intern at the Mother to Baby Pregnancy Studies under the Center For Better Beginnings UCSD since August 2020, as well as a volunteer at Vaccination Sites for the County of San Diego. Both Anah and Chloe note they are very interested and excited to learn more about creating inclusive, safe spaces for themselves and their peers.
Within the university, SDSU hosts an annual Student Research Symposium, where students from across the university, colleges and disciplines are invited to present their unique research to a panel of judges. Three SPH graduate students – Natalie Buchbinder, Victoria Telles, and Marisa Torres Ruiz – all received awards in recognition of their work.
Natalie Buchbinder (MPH, Health Management & Policy, Student Workers in San Diego County of Health and Human Services) was the recipient of the President’s Award for her research about barriers to uptake of the Influenza Vaccine in California. Results of her study found that enrollees in Medicare and military health programs have the highest rate of vaccination (approximately 56% and 51%, respectively) compared with approximately 43% for those with insurance through an employer. Overall, her study found individuals with healthcare coverage had an update of 44% versus 20% for those with healthcare coverage.These findings illustrate that barriers beyond access may likely exist, considering that less than half of adults with healthcare coverage accepted a vaccination known for safety and effectiveness.
Victoria Telles (SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, (Health Behavior)), was the recipient of the Library Award for her review of family-based interventions for improving obesity related health-behaviors among Latinx youth. This review, which was a subset of a larger systematic review, ultimately analyzed 11 articles, where results showed various approaches to culturally-tailoring of interventions. The majority (64%) of studies utilizing a culturally-tailored approach indicated significant differences for primary outcomes between intervention and control groups, which suggests that culturally-tailored intervention approaches are appropriate for improving target health behaviors (e.g., SSB consumption, sedentary behavior, physical activity) in Latino youth. Victoria is a UCSD Hispanic Center of Excellence Scholar.
Marisa Torres Ruiz (SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, (Health Behavior) was the recipient of a Library Award for an analysis that examined how characteristics of research staff influenced intervention outcomes for Latinx participants and how the location of an intervention can help to establish researcher/participant partnerships for research engagement. Results showed that approximately 25% of interventions reported on researcher characteristics and research teams relied on community health workers, lay health staff, and bicultural/bilingual research staff to achieve cultural concordance. Studies that utilized these types of staff saw positive/significant study results related to their primary outcome (62%). Teams also recognized the importance of conducting research activities in trusted locations such as schools and community centers. Marisa was also the recipient of the 2020 Student Research Symposium Research Award for Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and the UCSD Hispanic Center of Excellence Scholar.
The School of Public Health celebrates our scholars and future leaders and looks forward to tracking their future success.