The Young Public Health Professionals (YPHP) organization offered Student Travel Grants for the November 2018 American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting in San Diego. YPHP has a mission to empower and prepare public health professionals and strengthen the participation of students in APHA. To encourage students to attend the annual APHA conference, twenty $300 stipends, sponsored by Project Brotherhood/AHEC, were awarded to students to assist with covering costs related to the conference such as membership and conference fees, transportation, lodging, and/or meals. To be eligible, applicants must have been currently enrolled in a graduate-level Public Health program, have at least one accepted poster, roundtable session, and/or oral presentation at APHA, and all eligible students were required to attend the Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. Many individuals from across the United States applied, and four of the twenty grants were awarded to SDSU students: Mr. John Ferrand, Mr. Holden Kong, Ms. Erin Dougherty, and Ms. Pearl Kuang.
Mr. John Ferrand, an SDSU MPH graduate and a 1st year doctoral student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health – Health Behavior Track, has a research focus of sexual health promotion, program evaluation, dissemination and implementation science, and brief measurement instrument development. He currently works with Dr. Eric Walsh-Buhi of SDSU to evaluate an innovative healthy relationship and sexual health promotion program that is currently being implemented in several California public high schools.
Mr. Holden Kong, a current SDSU MPH Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences student, has research interests that include reducing health disparities among underrepresented communities, social justice issues around physical activity, and innovative technologies to track and promote physical activity. Kong has plans to apply to a Ph.D. program where he will aim to better integrate the fields of kinesiology and public health to strengthen research in physical activity. Ms. Erin Dougherty, a third-year student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health at SDSU/UCSD, has a research focus on dental public health; specifically, improving access to care and integrating dental and medical care. Dougherty’s interests stem from her service in the US Peace Corps where she implemented a fluoride varnish program for children in the town where she lived and worked.
Ms. Pearl Kuang, a second-year MPH student in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science at SDSU, has research interests that include health disparities based on sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBT health), effects of social stigma on health behaviors and chronic disease, and innovative health communication strategies. Kuang currently supports Dr. Heather Corliss of SDSU on her various research projects at the Center for Research on Sexuality and Sexual Health, including her accepted Poster Presentation for APHA titled, “Rotating Night Shift Work, Sleep Duration and Disturbance, and Body Mass Index among Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Women in the Nurses’ Health Study II”. This study compared the prevalence of negative sleep outcomes among lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women and assessed whether lesbian and bisexual women’s elevated BMI was explained by their greater risk of having shorter sleep duration, more sleep disturbances, and more rotating night shift work experience. When describing her time at APHA, Kuang states that her biggest takeaway from the conference was, “the amazing research being conducted in the field of public health and to not be afraid to network and make connections with experts and public health professionals”.