Botswana-UPenn Partnership/CHOP: MPH Student investigates TB treatment in Gaborone, Botswana. Twenty five interviews complete thus far with primary caregivers of infected children.

Christian Stillson presenting the preliminary findings of his study to a TB/HIV Partnership Forum in Gaborone, Botswana

Earlier this week, Christian Stillson, MPH student, presented the preliminary findings of his capstone research to a TB/HIV Partnership Forum hosted by the Botswana Ministry of Health. Present at the forum were representatives from the Botswana Ministry of Health, Botswana National TB Program, US Centers for Disease Control, UNAIDS, as well as nongovernmental and university organizations such as ACHAP, I-TECH, Botswana-Harvard, Botswana-Baylor, and Botswana-UPenn.

Christian’s research has been investigating the experience of caregivers for children currently on treatment for tuberculosis in and around Gaborone, Botswana. While representing only ten percent of new tuberculosis infections, children account for a disproportionate number of deaths attributable to the disease. This is for a variety of reasons, including challenges to diagnosis and rapid progression of the disease in children. The impetus for this project was the high mortality rate for children diagnosed with tuberculosis in Gaborone. Without the burden of multidrug resistance, tuberculosis remains very treatable in this setting, making the 18% mortality rate all the more alarming. As these children are often too young to manage their own six-month treatment, this responsibility rests with their caregiver.

Senior Pediatric Tuberculosis Research Nurse Malebogo Ntshimane with MPH Candidate Christian Stillson in Gaborone, Botswana

 Aiming to capture the experience of being one of these caregivers, Christian worked closely with Dr. Andrew Steenhoff of the  and Dr. Rosemary Frasso of CPHI to develop a research protocol and boarded a plane for Botswana. Since arriving in May, Christian has collaborated with colleagues at the Botswana-UPenn Partnership to identify and interview the caregivers of children being treated for tuberculosis in both urban and suburban clinics. Alongside his counterpart, senior pediatric TB research nurse Malebogo Ntshimane, they have conducted over 25 interviews so far.

When he returns this fall, Christian will continue to work with Dr. Frasso to analyze the data. He hopes that the experiences described by these caregivers will lead to a greater understanding of the challenges they face and how those challenges can be addressed, leading to more effective treatment programs for pediatric tuberculosis.

A Vision to Build a Culture of Health

Save the Date! RSVP here

What: Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

When: Friday, September 19th 2014 (12:00-1:30pm)

Where: Houston Hall, Bodek Lounge: Lunch reception following lecture in the adjacent Reading Room



Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a position she has held since 2003. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health and health care.

With more than 30 years of personal experience as a medical practitioner, policy-maker, professor and nonprofit executive, Lavizzo-Mourey has built on the Foundation’s 40-year history of addressing key health issues by adopting bold, forward-looking priorities that include:

  • Building a Culture of Health for all Americans.
  • Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.
  • Creating a health care system that provides the best possible care at a reasonable cost.
  • Expanding the role of highly trained nurses.
  • Convincing government, business, and civic leaders to consider the public’s health when making decisions.
  • Addressing the social factors that impact health, especially among the most vulnerable.
  • Ensuring that all Americans have access to stable and affordable health care coverage.
  • Supporting a new generation of health leaders.

A specialist in geriatrics, Lavizzo-Mourey came to the Foundation from the University of Pennsylvania, where she served as the Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems. She also directed Penn’s Institute on Aging and was chief of geriatric medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. She served as deputy administrator of what is now the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and worked on the White House Health Care Reform Task Force, co-chairing the working group on Quality of Care. She also has served on the Task Force on Aging Research, the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics and the President’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry.

A graduate of the University of Washington and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Lavizzo-Mourey earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She also holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Lavizzo-Mourey is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She serves on the Smithsonian Board of Regents and several other boards of directors.

She and her husband of nearly 40 years have two adult children and one grandchild.

Co-sponsored by:

culture of health logos


Introducing: 2014/15 CPHI Seminar Series “Conversations Around Cultures of Health”

 Conversations around  Cultures of Healthculture of health

The 2014/15 CPHI seminar series, is entitled “Conversations around Cultures of Health”. The series builds upon the vision of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation(RWJF)’s around the Culture of Health and coincides with the University of Pennsylvania’s annual theme for 2014/15 – The Year of Health.

What are Cultures of Health? When we think about a Culture of Health, we see one where:

  • Good health isn’t confined to certain zipcodes;
  • Everyone can access healthy food, opportunities for physical activity and quality health care;
  • Individuals can breathe cleaner air, free of second-hand smoke;
  • Employees work in safe environments with healthy incentives; and
  • Health professionals, students and leaders can work together to develop culturally relevant solutions that make the healthy choice the easy choice in places we live, learn, work, shop and play.

Through the series, we hope to build upon this by engaging national and local experts, students, staff, faculty, health professionals and community members in our conversations.

 The seminar series will begin by further defining cultures of health. We will first hear from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation about their new vision around building a culture of health, and understand various definitions and applications of health, drawing from anthropology and ethnographic research methods. Next, we will examine multi-sectorial and multi-cultural approaches to improving health outcomes. These will focus on solutions to health disparities including but not be limited to healthy lifestyle, access to health resources, addressing opioid use in urban communities, and hot spotting work in Philadelphia.

Throughout each series, we aim to bring in different perspectives to add to the conversation; we are interested in defining health for different populations; communicating health and health outcomes research effectively; and understanding how to use tools to build cultures of health.

Specific Questions include:

  • What does health mean for different populations? How does the definition of health influence policy and practice decisions?
  • How do we work across sectors to build a culture of health?
  • What sources of technology help capture and promote health?
  • How can individuals more easily access good health?
  • What are significant cultural considerations of achieving the best health outcomes?
  • How do we market “good” health in a world where “bad” health is continually in our face
  • How do we translate what we know about achieving positive health outcomes to the general public?
  • How do we continue to work to close the gap on health disparities by creating healthier environments?

$4.35 Million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Grant Establishes UPenn Prevention Research Center

CPHI will play an important role in the community engagement, partnerships, training and evaluation components of the new Center.

A five-year, $ 4,350,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a Prevention Research Center (PRC) at the University of Pennsylvania, which will begin in September 2014. The PRC, one of 26 in the nation, will conduct innovative public health and disease management research aimed at preventing chronic disease and reducing health disparities in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This will be the first PRC in Philadelphia, and a major win for public health at Penn.

The PRC is co-directed by Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, George A. Weiss University Professor and professor of epidemiology and nursing, and Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, professor in the department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine and professor of health care management at The Wharton School. Glanz is also Interim Director for Research at the CPHI.

The PRC will strengthen public and private sector community partnerships; conduct research on how behavioral economics and public health strategies can reduce health risks and improve health in social-environmental contexts; and extend collaborative training, education, and communication in high-risk and underserved populations in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The new UPenn PRC will advance missions that are also integral to the CPHI. This grant is a unique opportunity to create a hub for interdisciplinary chronic disease prevention research, training, and dissemination here at Penn, and will extend our commitment to reducing disparities and improving the health of those in our communities. Faculty members from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Annenberg School for Communication, The Wharton School and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are among the leadership of the new Center. CPHI Fellows Carolyn Cannuscio, David Grande, Doug Wiebe, John Holmes and Alison Buttenheim are on the leadership team.

The CDC awarded a total of $19.5 million to 26 academic institutions in 25 states to support development and evaluation of practical public health prevention interventions during the first year of the funding period. Further information, a map of all centers and their research description may be found at:


Penn Undergraduate Public Health Award

CPHI announces our 2014 Marjorie Bowman under-graduate award winner in Pubilc Health: Robert Hsu

Robert Picture

Robert is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying biology in the College of Arts & Sciences and business in Wharton, with an individualized concentration in public health.  His life mission is to make the world a healthier place, and at Penn, he’s explored this from various perspectives.  Robert was a research assistant at the Center for Health Behavior Research (led by Karen Glanz) for two years and then spent one summer at the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at Cambridge University under Theresa Marteau.  Currently, he is working on independent projects in soft contact lens care compliance and e-cigarette experimentation.  He also provided consulting services to a local community health organization to help it start a social enterprise to provide affordable, healthy food to underserved areas through a food truck.  Robert also provides physical activity and health education programming at a local school, the City School at Spruce Hill.  Finally, Robert helped start the Healthy Food Truck Initiative, which collaborates with food trucks to promote healthier meals to customers, provide some degree of nutritional information, and host events to educate people on healthier options available from food trucks. 

To read more about the Health Food Truck Initiative click here.

Interested in receiving an award for your public health work? Read more about CPHI awards and scholarships here.  



Pressure at Penn

On this graduation day, we’re reflecting on all of the hard work and accomplishments of our students. Which makes us wonder about the following question: what comes to mind when you think about “pressure” at the University of Pennsylvania?

Picture1This is one of the topics students in Rosemary Frasso’s qualitative research course set out to explore this semester. An exhibit summarizing their work is currently on display at UPenn’s Weigel Information Commons.

The students used a variety of methods to arrive at their results. In a great write-up of the exhibit at the PennWIC blog, WIC’s Anu Vedatham explains the process:

When I visited Rosie’s class, SW781 Qualitative Research, the students described how they used different qualitative techniques during each step of the process.

First they came to consensus on a topic they wanted to explore using a Nominal Group Technique, and how they began to explore the meaning of pressure among 75 graduate students across campus using Free-Listing. Then, employing snowball sampling they conducted a series of Photo Elicitation Interviews to gain a better understanding of how graduate students experience pressure.

The study protocol used by the class was developed by Carolyn Cannuscio. Below is a visualization of the freelist data collected by the students: