Monthly Archives: November 2013

Shiriki Kumanyika Named President-Elect of American Public Health Association

Shiriki Kumanyika has a long history in the public health program at Penn — she was the Founding Director of Penn’s interdisciplinary, multi-school Master of Public Health program and is currently the Senior Advisor to the Center for Public Health Initiatives. But the impact of her work extends beyond Penn and across the country; for example, Dr. Kumanyika founded the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), a national network that seeks to improve the quantity, quality, and effective translation of research on weight issues in African American communities. From 2008-2011 she was Vice Chair of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Healthy People 2020 Objectives. She currently chairs the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention, co-chairs the International Obesity Task Force of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, and is a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Panel on Nutrition. She has also lectured widely within the United States and abroad and can be seen in the HBO series The Weight of the Nation.

And now the Penn public health community is thrilled to announce that Dr. Kumanyika has been named the President-Elect of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The election was help at APHA’s annual meeting in Boston last month.

“I’m honored to have been chosen to serve as the next president of the APHA,” said Kumanyika. “This role will provide me with outstanding opportunities to contribute to the fulfillment of APHA’s  mission of improving the health of people in the US and globally. I look forward to many stimulating and productive interactions with APHA’s network of state affiliates, as well as with APHA’s many sections, caucuses, other membership units and the outstanding Washington, DC, headquarters staff.”

For more information, you can read the official press release from the Perelman School of Medicine and coverage from WHYY’s NewsWorks.

You can also read more about Dr. Kumanyika and her work at the following places:

Congratulations, Dr. Kumanyika!


MPH Alums Present at APHA

Kate Tente

Kate Tente, MSW MPH (May 2012) led a round table discussion on 11/4 at APHA. Kate and others interested in the challenges faced by community health care workers in Kenya and around the world spent an hour sharing ideas and discussing Kate’s work in Kenya, which yielded a list of potential pathways by which various community structures exert influence over the formal health system. Below, Kate checks in from APHA and writes about watching a fellow alum present her own research:

Amna Rizvi

After attending several sessions about quality improvement, patient centered outcomes and patient satisfaction — so I can return to my new job re-energized to tackle some challenging projects — I was thrilled to end my very long Tuesday by seeing a fellow former MPH student present her capstone to an engaged audience. Amna Rizvi presented alongside a panel of top researchers and physicians regarding sexual and reproductive health issues in international contexts. It was more than impressive to listen to and watch a former UPenn MPH peer report out on her important and impressive capstone, “Providers perspectives on family planning devices in Karachi, Pakistan.” Hopefully Amna and her research colleagues will publish their findings as it’s clear the qualitative and quantitative data will be important to enlighten practitioners in Pakistan and inform the greater public health community to critical women’s health issues.



Updates from APHA


Beth Stelson and Ashley Kraybill

The American Public Health Association’s annual meeting is happening now in Boston! Today we bring you a perspective from a current student who is attending, Meredith Curtis (you can read more about Meredith in our recent newsletter — she’s our featured student). Meredith writes:

The annual APHA meeting has just begun and already it has been an energizing and inspiring morning. Along with fellow Penn MPH students Beth Stelson and Ashley Kraybill, I started the morning by attending a town hall meeting about preventing gun violence in our communities which featured moving words from parents who had lost children to gun violence in Boston MA and Newton, CT. We also heard insightful policy analysis from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. They reassured us that the tide is turning steadily towards supporting common sense public health approaches to gun safety including universal background checks but that we must continue to advocate for these measures. With the session over, we hustled over to the other end of the enormous convention center to listen to the opening and welcoming address by public health notables from the APHA. It is overwhelming to know that we are just 3 of the 14,000 attendees here in this room today — and that everyone shares concern for our nation’s health. More to come since the national anthem is starting now!

Kate Volpicelli (right)

Kate Volpicelli,  MPH’13, also presented her Capstone project yesterday at an APHA roundtable session, “Challenges and success stories in international health.” Kate’s project used Demographic and Health Survey data from Peru to analyze sociodemographic correlates of mothers’ care seeking and home treatment for child diarrheal illness. Kate facilitated a lively discussion with public health practitioners and researchers on several aspects of her study, including urban vs. rural differences in care seeking, demand-side interventions, and how mHealth might address this “last-mile” public health problem.

You can check out a growing photo album of Penn at APHA on our Flickr page.