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Members in the News

Members in the News

SUNY: Students Published Op-Ed in Newspapers Covering Isolation Effect on Elderly Amid COVID-19 and Importance of Age-Friendly Information and Communications Technology

The School of Public Health (SPH) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is delighted to share that our students, Lee Hoff and Thomas Reid, drafted and successfully placed their Op-Eds in the local newspapers as a part of an assignment in one of SPH’s new and dynamic required courses, entitled Public Health Leadership and Interprofessional Practice: PUBH 5201.

Lee Hoff’s piece, At the very least, take this as a sign to call your grandma, published in the Brooklyn Eagle, covers the isolation effect COVID-19 and its social-distancing protocols have on aging population—cautioning that the direct physical effects of the virus are not the only things to be concerned with, noting the dangers isolation presents to health.

Thomas Reid’s piece, A Stronger Way to Connect with Our Elderly, published in Newsday, discusses information and communications technology (ICT) and stresses the role of unified communications—suggesting that creating age-friendly hardware and software design might have public health benefits.

The course—designed and led by Lori A. Hoepner, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences—was introduced in the Fall 2019 Term as an SPH core curriculum course to educate MPH students on the interrelated components between public health practice and health care. The course is delivered using an interprofessional education (IPE) model where faculty and students from each of the schools across our campus, as well as non-SUNY faculty, have been involved in the course.

This IPE model has included an inaugural lecture by SUNY Downstate President, Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP,  in Fall 2019, followed by an innovative Big Data Workshop with students and faculty from the College of Medicine and the School of Graduate Studies in Spring 2020, a special screening of documentary Nor Any Drop to Drink followed by Q&A with director-writer-producer Cedric Taylor in Spring 2020, as well as an incorporation of geriatric IPE in collaboration with the BRIDGE program at SUNY Downstate in Summer 2020.

The course provides students with the tools needed to be successful public health practitioners in a variety of settings: departments of health, academic research, non-profit and community-based organizations. Students gain the ability to discuss and clarify different health professions’ scopes of practice and identify the roles of each interprofessional team member.

Leadership skills are taught and reinforced through a semester long writing project where each student produces and refines an Op-Ed around a predetermined topic and then submits their Op-Ed to the media outlet of their choice. For the Summer 2020 Semester, the topic was “COVID-19 in the US: Older Adult Population”, and student projects were facilitated by Public Health Geriatrics Teaching Fellow and current DrPH student, Ludmila FerruzziMPH.

CONGRATULATIONS Lee and Thomas, and bravo on a job well done! We look forward to reading more of these publications from our talented students in SPH in the near future.