Connecting the Voices of Public Health in Ohio
A Message from Our President
Angela J. DeJulius, MD, MPH
I recently attended Ohio’s 2023 Public Health Conference. Mingling with peers in this setting was refreshing, exciting, and triggered some nostalgia for those normal, pre-covid times. As a profession and a nation, we have taken a step back and seriously contemplated the future of public health. We’ve realized that we must invest in our workforce if we are to attract and
retain good people.
OPHA has taken the lead on this work by launching our Early Career Professionals program, with the support of ODH. The first cohort of 12 local health department employees, nominated by their health commissioners, gathered at the conference. Representing several disciplines and geographic regions of Ohio, they established meaningful connections with each other, engaged in conversations with public health leaders, and provided valuable feedback for growing the program. This is the future of public health – building a network of young leaders to synergize and best serve Ohio’s residents.
Developing programs and policies to promote health in Ohio requires us to focus on evidence and apply best practices. To this end, OPHA expanded our competitive student program this year, bringing research directly to practitioners through poster and oral presentations. The students’ work covered a variety of topics including Hepatitis C treatment, smoking and vaping behaviors among sexual and gender minorities, caring for high-risk infants, mental health in the aftermath of covid-19, addiction recovery, immigrant health, and more. Moving forward, OPHA will continue building our statewide student programming, reaching out to additional Ohio institutions of higher education that have public health graduate or undergraduate programs. We want to inspire young people (borrowing a phrase from our ODH colleague, Wally Burden) to wake up each day and say, “It’s a great day for public health in Ohio,” and to help them understand that they can make an impact with a career in public health.
We celebrated the commitment of dedicated public health professionals in person at the OPHA Awards Dinner for the first time in four years. Gathering to recognize excellence among our peers was a nice reminder that our work matters, and that we must treasure and support each other. Congratulations to our public health heroes. We talked a lot about self-care during Covid – let’s prioritize this as we settle into new routines.
Finally, I hope that all in attendance at the conference will appreciate the hours of work that go into such an event – before, during, and afterwards. As facility costs continue to increase dramatically from year to year, the support of ODH to sustain this conference has proven to be essential. Our thanks go to Dr. Vanderhoff, Bobbi Krabill, Laura Rooney, and their team for their leadership!
Ohio Journal of Public Health: Spotlight on Ohio-based Research
Examining Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Ohio Youth with Oppressed Identities Using the 2019 Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey. C. Rosie Bauder, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University; Austin G. Starkey, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10 to 14 years and third for those aged 15 to 24 years in the United States and in Ohio. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors disparately affect youth with oppressed identities, including those with oppressed racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual minority identities. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between self-reports of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among Ohio youth with oppressed identities. This research, conducted by C. Rosie Bauder and Austin G. Starkey of the Ohio State University, also examines relationships through the context of intersectionality.
Mr. Starkey concluded that suicidal thoughts and behaviors disparately affect youth with these oppressed identities. He noted that the findings suggest further examination of these youth nationally may influence public health suicide prevention strategies. Further, he stated that the implications also suggest that researchers, practitioners, and organizations across the spectrum of youth suicide prevention in Ohio should understand the increased risk that youth with multiple, intersectional oppressed identities face for suicide. Read the article here. You can also listen to our partner at Prognosis Ohio, Dan Skinner, interview Dr. Bauder, about her research, here.