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CPHA Annual Meeting and Conference - Breakout Sessions
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Conference Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session I (9:45-10:45)

Session A: Suicide Prevention

Moderator: Mark Abraham, Executive Director, DataHaven

Identifying and Supporting High Risk Communities to Prevent Youth Suicide

Suicide among young people is one of the most serious public health problems facing the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the suicide rate in 2013 was 12.5 per 100,000 among youths aged 15-24 years, making it the second leading cause of death in this age group. Five years of data (2010-2014) from the Office of the CT Medical Examiner and the CT Hospital Inpatient Discharge Database were analyzed. A mixed-effects Poisson regression model was used to assess whether suicide attempt/mortality rates in the state’s 119 school districts were significantly better or worse than expected after adjusting for 10 community level characteristics. Ten districts were at significantly higher risk for suicidal behavior, with suicide mortality/hospitalization rates ranging from 154% to 241% of their expected rates, after accounting for their community characteristics. This data capturing hospitalization for suicide attempts and suicide deaths can inform prevention activities by identifying high-risk areas to which resources should be allocated, as well as low-risk areas that may provide insight into the best practices in suicide prevention.

Lead Presenter: Robert Aseltine, Jr, PhD - UConn Health

Second Presenter: Andrea Iger Duarte, MSW, MPH, LCSW - CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services


Zero Suicide Approach Implementation in Diverse Health Care Settings

The Zero Suicide (ZS) continuous quality improvement approach is founded in the belief that suicide deaths for at risk individuals under care within health and behavioral health systems are preventable. To support the statewide adoption of the ZS approach, the CT Suicide Advisory Board and the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital in October 2015 began hosting a monthly CT ZS Learning Community (ZSLC) in partnership with the CT Hospital Association (CHA). Participants are provided with resources and technical assistance, workforce peer support, training resources, and encouragement to adopt ZS within their systems, and promote ZS beyond their systems to their communities impacting suicide statewide. As of April 2017, 74 individuals representing 20 systems with 26 sites are current members of the ZSLC. They include providers who serve populations at increased risk of suicide including, but not limited to persons: with mental health and substance use disorders; incarcerated; who are adjudicated; in military service and who are veterans; and who are survivors of suicide death and attempts.

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Lead Presenter: Patricia Graham, BS, MSW Candidate - Institute of Living/Hartford Healthcare

Second Presenter: Amy Evison, LMFT - Community Health Resources

Third Presenter: Andrea C. Reischerl, PMHCNS-BC, CCHP - Department of Correction

Fourth Presenter: Susan Tobenkin, LCSW, SCSA, - Behavioral Health Team, CT National Guard

Fifth Presenter: John Torello, MS - Court Support Services Division, State of CT Judicial Branch


Session B: Statewide Community Health

Moderators: Cyndi Stern, MA, MPH, Billian-Stern Consulting

Alexander Senetcky, University of Connecticut

The Collective Impact Framework: Promoting Pregnancy Intention Screening into Routine Care

According to 2013 Connecticut PRAMS data, only 27.4% of new mothers in CT reported having had a preconception health care discussion with a provider. Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics, younger women (<24 years), and women who were on Medicaid or uninsured were disproportionately affected by poor health status before, during, and after a pregnancy, unintended pregnancies, and poor birth outcomes. Although preconception care guidelines exist, there is no standardized model for delivering pre-/inter-conception care. The Every Woman Connecticut (EWCT) learning collaborative is utilizing the Collective Impact (CI) framework to support a broad systems-approach to increasing the delivery of pre-/interconception health care in eight communities across the state. Through the careful consideration and planning of a shared agenda, agreed-upon measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, communication, and support of a backbone organization, EWCT members identified one common intervention to be implemented across settings. Diverse place-based teams made of clinical and community-based partners have been trained to ask the One Key Question™: “Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?” and to provide the follow up education, counseling, referrals, and care needed to support her stated pregnancy intention. 

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Lead Presenter: Jordana FrostMPH, CPH, CD(DONA)March of Dimes Foundation & CT MCH Coalition 

Second Presenter: Marijane CareyMSW, MPHCarey Consulting & CT MCH Coalition 

Addressing the Needs of People with Complex Social and Health Needs - The Community Care Team Model

This session will provide information about the Community Care Team (CCT) model of care, which provides services to people with complex social and health care needs who are making extensive use of hospital inpatient and Emergency Departments. CCTs currently operate in 11 communities around the state, with 2 more under development. CCTs bring together local clinical and behavioral healthcare providers, social service providers and housing providers to develop and implement care plans for individuals with complex social and healthcare needs. In Connecticut, most community care teams are closely allied with local hospitals. CCTs usually meet weekly for no more than an hour. Clients must sign a Release of Information to permit the sharing of personal information among CCT providers. Clients are identified and referred to CCTs based on frequent use of EDs, level of housing instability, behavioral or physical health diagnoses and other indications of complex needs. This innovative model enables providers to pool knowledge and resources to address the full range of issues and the complexity of issues that confront individuals. 

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Lead Presenter: Carl Schiessl, JD - CT Hospital Association

Second Presenter: Robert W. Plant, Ph.D - Beacon Health Options

Third Presenter: Eileen Kardos, MSW - Western Connecticut Health Network

Fourth Presenter: Nicole Hampton, CCB, CCAR - Western Connecticut Health Network  

Session C: State Health Improvement

Moderator: Margaret Flinter, Community Health Center, Inc

From Accountable Care to Accountable Communities

The Connecticut State Innovation Model (SIM) is a $45 million grant received from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency created under the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of the grant is to change the way we deliver and pay for healthcare across Connecticut in order to achieve the triple aim: better care, smarter spending, and healthier people and communities. Initiatives launched under the SIM to move the state toward accountable care are currently underway as the grant nears the end of its second year. The next phase of the grant will be to develop a model for Health Enhancement Communities (HECs). HECs will serve as the vehicle to create communities that are accountable for the health of their residents by integrating the various sectors that impact health including healthcare, transportation, education, community services, and housing. 

Lead Presenter: Jenna Lupi, MPHState of CT, State Innovation Model Program Management Office 


HealthyCT 2020 State Health Improvement Plan 101

The Healthy CT 2020: State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) was developed by Connecticut public health partners - for Connecticut public health partners as a roadmap for improving the state’s health and ensuring that all people in Connecticut have the opportunity to attain their highest potentialSince the plan’s release in 2014, seven focus area action teams have prioritized and collaboratively implemented evidence based strategies to improve the quality of life of Connecticut residents.  As we approach the midway point of the Healthy CT 2020 SHIP initiative, this session will provide an overview the basic timeline for the state health improvement process, accomplishments from each of the seven action teams, and updates on newly developed innovative cross-cutting initiatives to address social determinants. Attendees will also learn more about upcoming opportunities to align local or organizational strategies with statewide SHIP initiatives.

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Lead Presenter: Sandy Gill - Healthy CT 2020: State Health Improvement Coalition 

Second Presenter: Melissa Touma, MPH - CT Department of Public Health

The Transformers: How Health Care in CT FQHCs is Improving Health Outcomes, Reducing Costs, and Changing Lives

This session will offer detailed discussion on what Connecticut FQHCs are undertaking to achieve higher quality care, better health outcomes, and lower total cost of care.  Speakers will provide an overview of healthcare transformation efforts at the federal, state, and local levels and describe specific initiatives that are showing tremendous promise in improving health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and reducing the overall cost of care. Additionally, speakers will describe enhanced use of data analytics to drive decision making and change, engagement strategies to educate and empower patients, efforts to infuse joy into the workplace to improve provider/staff satisfaction, implement clinical care team to wrap services around the patient, and building business strategies to sustain these practices as reimbursement models change.

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Lead Presenter: Russell Dexter, MBA - Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, Inc


Breakout Session II (11:00-12:00)

Session A: Health Disparities: A Panel Discussion

Moderators: Crystal Schindo, MHA, Yale New Haven Health System

A Public Health Approach to Health Disparities in Needs Assessment and Strategic Planning for Grassroots Substance Misuse Prevention Initiative

Research professionals from UConn Health will review a model for substance abuse prevention planning, implementation and evaluation and provide an overview of state and community level data sources to drive planning and evaluation within the context of health disparities. Grassroots prevention professionals will present their experience learning about and considering health disparities for the purpose of needs assessment and strategic planning for evidence-based prevention programs, practices and policies. Participants will better understand how substance abuse prevention planning occurs using local level qualitative and quantitative data around disparity and how this may be applied to planning for other public health problems.

Lead Presenter: Bonnie Smith, MPH, CPH, CPP - UConn Health

Second Presenter: Jennifer Sussman, MFA - UConn Health 

Third Presenter: Denique Weidema-Lewis, BA - Positive Directions, Inc

Other Presenters: Arnaldo Perez, BS; Angela Rae Duhaime, MA


Using Publicly Available Data for Needs Assessment and Strategic Planning

Connecticut’s data climate is changing, and with it, new opportunities arise to share, link, and use data to address public health issues and alleviate health disparities. Out of this evolving data climate come data resources such as the Connecticut Data Collaborative, Connecticut’s Open Data Portal, the DMHAS Center for Prevention Evaluation and Statistics (CPES), and the State Epidemiological Workgroup (SEOW) which, while their specific missions may differ, share the goal of making data publicly available. Approaches to addressing substance use are also evolving, at the national, state and community levels. The opioid crisis has heightened the focus on shared risk factors and populations at risk, and federal government funding for substance abuse has called upon states to drill down to identify sub-populations at greater risk for health disparities, as well as look more broadly at behavioral and public health issues that face those impacted by substance abuse. This panel discussion will explore how public health data can be used in conjunction with substance abuse data for a comprehensive, public health approach to addressing substance abuse. The panel will also familiarize participants with four Connecticut data resources, as well the challenges and opportunities they face in compiling, sharing, and utilizing data for public use.

Lead Presenter: Jennifer Sussman, MFA - UConn Health 

Second Presenter: Michelle Riordan-Nold, MPPConnecticut Data Collaborative

Third Presenter: Tyler Kleykamp - Connecticut Office of Policy and Management

Session B: Healthy Eating in Connecticut

Moderators: Denise Colaianni, RN, MA, Western CT State University

Sara Namazi, PhD(c), University of Connecticut Health

Hunger in New Haven: Using Data for Action

In the past several years, many community partners have collected data related to food insecurity in New Haven, including DataHaven’s Connecticut Wellbeing Survey, the New Haven Office of Food System and PolicyCT Food Bank, the public schools, and othersIn recognition that a coordinated and strategic approach to these data could describe a more complete story of hunger in New Haven and drive policy decisions rooted in research, CARE convened partners to analyze data. The group is developing a report detailing the state of hunger in New Haven and will drive targeted, citywide policy recommendations. Dissemination is expected July 2017. During this panel presentation, we will present data and findings, review policy recommendations based on findings, and describe the process and strategies for mobilizing a community coalition to use data for action. 


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Lead Presenter: Alycia Santilli, MSWCommunity Alliance for Research & Engagement (CARE)

Identifying Windows of Opportunity for Health Eating and Active Living Policies in CT

Purpose: We examined perceptions of active living and healthy eating community issues among representatives and senators [hereafter, policymakers (PMs)] and health directors (HDs) in Connecticut (CT) to identify potential “windows of opportunity” for policy changes. Methods: A questionnaire was sent via electronic and postal mail to PMs and HDs. Respondents were asked to rate their perceived level of importance for 22 community issues, of which 8 were related to active living and healthy eating. Respondent ratings were categorized into not important (1-3) versus important (4-5). Conclusions: This study revealed a “window of opportunity” in CT to create policies addressing traffic, which has been inversely related to active living opportunities. Health advocates might benefit from linking active living and healthy eating issues to their impacts on jobs, education, and cost of living to gain PMs’ support.

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Lead Presenter: Anna Greer PhD, CHES - Sacred Heart University  

The Impact of Junk Food Marking Regulations on Food Sales

Objectives. To evaluate the impact of junk food marketing policies implemented from 2003 to 2014 on nationwide junk food sales and to identify the most effective policy characteristics in reducing junk food sales. Experimental Methods. Junk food marketing policy data were categorized through a thorough literature review. These data were analyzed in a repeated measures design against junk food sales data. Results. Countries with junk food marketing policies saw a decrease in junk food sales after implementation, while those without said policies saw an increase in sales. Countries with statutory policies saw a decrease in sales, while those with only self-regulation saw an increase. Comprehensive audience restrictions, standardized nutrition criteria and mandated messaging were policy characteristics significantly associated with a decrease in junk food sales before adjustment for policy form. Conclusions. This study utilizes a novel approach to evaluate the effectiveness of junk food marketing policies by measuring changes in country-level junk food sales. Countries with statutory junk food marketing policies demonstrated a significant decrease in junk food sales not seen in countries with only self-regulatory policies. This is consistent with previous studies that have found statutory policies to be successful in reducing child exposure to junk food advertisements, while self-regulation has little to no impact. In order to effectively reduce exposure to child-targeted junk food marketing, governments should establish strong and comprehensive statutory regulations.

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Lead Presenter: Yumi  Kovic, MD/MPH candidate - University of Connecticut

Session C: State Population Health Initiatives

Moderator: Tekisha Everett, PhD, Executive Director, Health Equity Solutions

Clinical Care to Population Health: The Story of Connecticut Children’s

In 2012, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center reaffirmed its commitment to children’s health with the creation of the Office for Community Child Health (the Office). Recognizing health services only account for 10% of an individual’s health status, Connecticut Children’s realized that quality clinical care, research, and education must be paired with strong community programs that address social and environmental determinants to have maximum impact on children’s health. The Office serves as a critical community resource by developing, promoting, supporting, evaluating, and disseminating innovative, effective community oriented programs and services that address children’s critical health needs. Using a population health framework, the Office embraces an “all sectors in” approach and advances local initiatives, particularly those that address health disparities faced by vulnerable populations, of regional and national significance. 

Lead Presenter: Scott Orsey, MBA, MS - Connecticut Children's Office for Community Child Health 

Second Presenter: Eminet Abbe Gurganus, MPH - Connecticut Children's Office for Community Child Health

Third Presenter: Jacquelyn M. Rose, MPH - Connecticut Children's Advancing Kids Innovation Program  

Back to the Basics: Infection Prevention Training Program for Ambulatory Care Settings

Preventing the spread of infectious disease is a cornerstone of both public health and medical careThe Ebola event in 2014 exposed weaknesses in IP practices in health care facilities in CT and across the US. To address these gaps, the CT DPH funded the creation of a workplace training program to improve routine and non-routine IP practices for clinical and non-clinical staff in ambulatory care settings. Working in partnership with CT Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and subject matter experts, the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) developed a free, two-part training program that combined online tutorials on basic IP along and a scenario-based workplace training program. Working with the Community Health Center Association of CT, YSPH conducted a focus group of infection prevention leads from centers to identify the challenges they face with staff training

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Lead Presenter: Kathi Traugh, MPH - Yale School of Public Health and New England Public Health Training Center

Second Presenter: Domina DiBiase, BA - Community Health Center Association of Connecticut 

Applying a Health Equity Lens to Screening and Early Intervention

The CDC estimates that 25% of children in the United States are at risk for a developmental disorder. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends developmental screening, including with an autism-specific instrument, for all children; yet less than half of pediatricians report conducting these screenings. According to national data, children of color are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) two years later than White children. These disparities in age at diagnosis and access to early intervention (EI) services illustrate the need to better identify children at-risk and improve their connection to EI services. This study sought to identify factors that promote higher levels of screening and timely receipt of EI services for eligible children in Connecticut. Utilizing a mixed-method approach, data was collected through focus groups, interviews and surveys. Analysis of the study data identified key themes including systems-level factors such as communication and data sharing practices and organizational-level factors such as scheduling and staffing that act as facilitators to screening and enrolling children.

Lead Presenter: Thyde Dumont-Mathieu, MD, MPH - Connecticut Children’s Medical Center


Breakout Session III (2:10-2:55)

Session A - Roundtable Session

Moderators: Millie Seguinot, Southwestern AHEC

Melissa Touma, MPH, CT Department of Public Health

Sickle Cell Disease and Sickle Cell Trait - Increasing Understanding and Improving Care

Sickle cell disease is one of the most common inherited diseases, affecting 100,000 individuals in the US and approximately 1,000 in Connecticut. A national shortage of hematologists experienced with adult sickle cell disease (SCD) remains a public health disparity in this inherited blood disorder hallmarked by acute, unpredictable severe pain episodes, progressive organ dysfunction, and early mortality. While most patients try to manage pain episodes at home and only visit the ED when pain is unmanageable, 94% of SCD patients visit the ED at least once a year. Furthermore, at least 3,000,000 people in the US carry the sickle cell trait, a genetic trait many individuals are not aware that they carry and may pass on to their children. This session presents responses to the need for improved care of adult patients with SCD in CT, including the establishment of the New England Sickle Cell Institute for adults diagnosed with SCD, and the development of a pain management algorithm to improve management of SCD pain the ED setting. In addition, we discuss customized obstetrical care for women diagnosed with SCD versus the gap in medical guidance for the management of prenatal care and delivery for women who are sickle cell trait carriers and the need for additional studies to determine increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with sickle cell trait.

Lead Presenter: Kim E. Radda, RN, MA Institute for Community Research

Second Presenter: Sasia-Marie Jones, MPH UConn Health 

Third Presenter: Rashea M. Banks, MPH - UConn Health


Intimate Partner Violence is a Health Disparity

As a health disparity that impacts thousands of women across Connecticut each day, it is imperative that students entering public health be taught about IPV and that healthcare providers feel comfortable screening their patients. Research shows that when a woman is assessed for abuse and given a referral to a domestic violence program she is more likely to end a relationship and seek help. When women are not screened for IPV, they remain in danger and their health related concerns may go unaddressed. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence has an effective training program that has provided thousands of public health providers and students throughout the state with information about IPV, how to effectively screen a patient, and where to make a referral. But, we can and should do more. All efforts to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity must include conversations about IPV. 


Lead Presenter: Jillian Gilchrest, MSW - Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence


The Impact of a Community Health Worker and School-Community Collaboration on Asthma

With an emphasis on reducing identified health disparities and led by an Asthma Self-Management Coach, the Breathe Well * Respira Bien intervention has improved patients’ lives and health outcomes through two domains: post-ED visit for community-based cohort and inpatient/school-based for student cohort, through implementation of multi-modal strategies.  The strategies implemented included health care system navigation, asthma education outside of the typical healthcare setting, and attention to the barriers to care that affect the ability of individuals to manage their chronic diseaseInterventions in both cohorts had a significant impact on asthma control as measured by Asthma Control Test scores. Qualitatively, the proportion of participants whose asthma was considered well controlled increased from 16.7% to 47.6% in the community-based cohort (p=0.0024), and from 37.1% to 74.3% in the school-based cohort (p=0.0018). This suggests that utilization of a community health worker has tremendous promise in helping to improve quality of life through a multi-faceted approach.

Lead Presenter: Jennifer Muggeo, MPHLedge Light Health District

Second Presenter: Laurel Holmes, MSW - L+M Healthcare

Third Presenter: Russell Melmed, MPH - Ledge Light Health District

Bridging Health and Community-Based Services: A Panel Discussion

Integrating clinical service delivery with community prevention affords opportunities to support medical providers in addressing social determinants and in doing so, reflects a vision for health that extends beyond the absence of disease. The Office for Community Child Health (OCCH) at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center provides a unifying infrastructure for community-facing initiatives that influence children’s health and development. Using a population health framework, the Office embraces an “all sectors in” approach and advances local initiatives, particularly those that address health disparities faced by vulnerable populations, of regional and national significance. During this session, representatives of five OCCH programs will lead a panel discussion specific to strategies that bridge health and social services.

Lead Presenter: Kimberly Martini‐Carvell, MA - Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Second Presenter: Susan Roman, RN, MPH - Connecticut Children's Center for Care Coordination

Third Presenter: Tregony Simoneau, MD - Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Other Presenters: Eminet Abebe Gurganus, MPH; Kevin Borrup, JD, MPA


3 Steps Detect

15-40 Connection is teaching audiences in high schools, universities, hospitals, corporations and retail environments how to use personal health awareness to detect cancer earlier and improve survival rates for everyone. The statistics are staggering - 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Early detection is the best and most effective treatment for any type of cancer. Yet the most common cancer symptom, a subtle and persistent change to your normal health, is often ignored, accepted as new normal or associated with aging, diet or lifestyle. 15-40 Connection was founded to empower individuals with the lifesaving advantage of early cancer diagnosis. Its name is a reflection of the alarming fact that cancer survival rates for those aged 15 to 40 have barely improved since 1975. Delayed diagnosis is a major culprit of this problem. The early detection presentation is needed by people of all ages. 15-40 Connections 3 Steps to Detect can lead to early detection of not only cancer but also other diseases and health concerns. These three memorable and actionable steps to early detection help people recognize important yet subtle health changes, know when to seek medical care and provide their health care practitioner with important information that contributes to a correct diagnosis. 

Lead Presenter: Alicia Donavan, MA - 15-40 Connection

Session B - Rapid Fire

Moderators: Chantelle Archer, MPH, CT Department of Public Health

Crystal Schindo, MHA, Yale New Haven Health System

Trends in Emergency Department Visits by Young Adults for Suicide Attempts in Connecticut, 2011-2015

An inclusive method for determining suicide attempts from ICD‐9 billing codes was applied to nearly 9 million de‐identified individual level data points from an administrative discharge database of Connecticut’s 30 acute care facilities. Counts and cross‐tabulations were then combined with state population data to determine rates of suicide attempts across various socio‐demographic variables. Results: Rates of suicide attempts among 15‐24 year‐olds in Connecticut ranged from 44.7 per 10,000 population in 2013 to 29.7 per 10,000 population in 2015. 15‐19 year olds had higher rates than 20‐24 year‐olds, and females had more attempts than males. Rates of attempts were similar across racial and ethnic groups. Poisoning (60%) and cutting (36%) comprised the majority of attempt methods. Conclusions: Females aged 15‐19 years old attempted suicide at almost double the rate of males of the same age. Young adults are more than twice as likely to be discharged home from the ED rather than admitted to the hospital.

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Presenter: Elizabeth McOsker MPH, CPHJordan Porco Foundation and the CT Suicide Advisory Board

The Innovative Training in Clinical Practice Transformation Program

In an effort to improve collaboration in primary care, Danbury Hospital introduced the Innovative Training in Clinical Practice Transformation (INTRCPT) program. INTRCPT connects practice redesign with interprofessional collaboration (IPC) by addressing primary care training across the continuum, and leverages Danbury Hospital’s Simulation Center to train practitioners. Between April 2016 and January 2017, INTRCPT trainees took part in four IPC events and subsequently formed a taskforce to develop strategies for integrating concepts learned. Taskforce participants then answered a six question survey regarding their understanding of the importance of IPC, capacity to integrate concepts, and programmatic direction. Results indicated that 65% of participants felt their practice was prepared to implement team‐based care following training, and 68% of respondents believed the group’s goal should be integrating additional professions into primary care offices. Ultimately, training events reinforced the importance of IPC among healthcare providers,the majority of whom felt prepared to implement this care model.

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Presenter: Amy Bethge, MPHWestern Connecticut Health Network

Second Presenter: Robert Carr, MD, FAAFP - Western Connecticut Health Network

Third Presenter: Damanjeet Chaubey, MD, MPH, SFHM, FACP Western Connecticut Health Network

Workforce diversification through the integration of CHWs in clinical teams

Community health workers (CHWs) have been engaged to improve the diversity of the clinical workforce by bringing a socially‐driven perspective to patient care. CHW integration embeds CHWs’ socially‐informed perspectives as core elements of the clinical team. However, the management of diversity within integrated teams can be challenging, given conflicting backgrounds and approaches to care between CHWs and between CHWs and providers. Little work has focused on the strategies used to manage diversity in the clinical context, and this work seeks to build a qualitative understanding of diversity management in the merging of the clinical and social worlds through the introduction of CHWs. Initial findings suggest that defined motivations help CHWs utilize the diversity of their backgrounds to work with clinicians towards the common goal of helping patients. CHWs manage diversity through clear communication of team member skillsets, building an understanding of how diversity can be leveraged in clinical environments.

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Presenter: Lanxin Jang - Yale School of Public Health

Free Health Information in Multiple Languages

Margot Malachowski will introduce two websites developed by the National Library of Medicine to provide free access to reputable health information in multiple languages. MedlinePlus has extensive information from theNational Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 1000 diseases and conditions. There is no advertising allowed on the website. This presentation will introduce the English and Spanish versions of MedlinePlus, and demonstrate how the website is easy to use for non‐Spanish speakers who are serving a Spanish speaking population. MedlinePlus has additional resources in multiple languages—from Amharic to Vietnamese. HealthReach is a website for health professionals working with immigrants and refugees with limited English proficiency. Although not as vast as MedlinePlus, HealthReach is a useful tool for accessing health information on a broad range of topics.

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Presenter:  Margot Malachowski, MLS - National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Improving Access to Health Food by Promoting Healthy Food Donations

One objective of the Connecticut State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) Obesity Subcommittee (OSC) is to “reduce by 5% the prevalence of obesity in children 5‐12 years of age and grades 9‐12.” SHIP OSC focused on increasing healthy food options, including improving the nutritional quality of food available in distribution programs. Representatives from non‐profit and government agencies merged existing healthy food and beverage resources into one common list of guidelines, resulting in a healthy food donation list embraced and promoted by food banks, nutrition professionals and other assistance programs. SHIP OSC is distributing this list statewide to key donors, including employers, as well as school systems, faith-based institutions, and other groups in the area that sponsor food collection drives. Ultimately, this partnership will promote an increase in the donation of lean protein food, whole grains, low sodium canned goods and other items allowing food pantry clients and their families to eat healthier.


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Presenter: Lynn Faria, MA - Hartford HealthCare Central Region

Second Presenter: Gina Smith, MA, CHES - Yale New Haven Health

Third Presenter: Teresa Martin Dotson, MS, RD, CD-N - University of Saint Joseph SNAP-ed

Session C: Academic Research Program and State Development in Health Equity

Moderators: Amber Butler, MPH, Middlesex Hospital and Danbury Hospital

Sandy Gill, HealthyCT 2020: State Health Improvement Coalition

The SCSU-CARE Community Garden Nutrition Education Program

The SCSU (Southern Connecticut State University)-CARE (Community Alliance for Research and Engagement) Community Garden program, in partnership with New Haven Farms, is a pilot garden-based, nutrition education program for residents of neighborhoods adjacent to SCSU. This program is a collaboration across the departments of sustainability and public health at SCSU. The purpose of this program is to provide New Haven residents with nutrition education and resources in order to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables and assist them in achieving personal wellness goals. This six-week, summer program will serve seven to ten New Haven families, targeting members from the Dixwell/Newhallville and West Rock/West Hills neighborhoods.

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Lead Presenter: Meadeshia Mitchell, B.A., MPH CandidateSouthern Connecticut State University 

Second Presenter: Kaelyn Audette, B.S Southern Connecticut State University

Right from the Start: Supporting Children's Development and Health Equity

This workshop will describe a state/local partnership between CT Child Development Infoline (CDI) and the City of Norwalk and will offer information on lessons learned and implications for replication. In April 2013, CDI secured a three- year grant from the Grossman Family Foundation to embed CDI’s state level activities into Norwalk’s local systems that serve young children, families and pregnant women. The goal of the grant is to ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to learn. Through relationship building and a common commitment to children and families, the project has demonstrated the value added through state/local initiatives and how it supports health equity.

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Lead Presenter: Marijane CareyMSW, MPH - Carey Consulting & CT MCH Coalition 

Breakout Session IV (3:00-3:45)

Session A: Food Insecurity and Public Health Protection

Moderators: Sandy Gill, HealthyCT 2020: State Health Improvement Coalition

Michael Craven, University of Connecticut Health

Researching and Teaching Food Insecurity 

Food justice as integral to the public health goal of achieving health for all communities, The importance of addressing food insecurity is obvious with 14% of the United States population being food insecure in 2014 (USDA). This is a four part presentation on research examining food insecurity locally and developing course work in the study of food systems and food justice. 1. A survey of 226 participants examined the relation of food security and shopping practices in Bridgeport CT, 2. Undergraduate college students at SCSU are not immune to food insecurity, 3. Working with the New Haven Summer Meals program and the CT Food Bank, 4. Faculty at SCSU have collaborated across disciplines to create course work in food systems and food justice.

Lead Presenter: Victoria Zigmont PhD MPH - Southern Connecticut State University

Second Presenter: Peggy Gallup,  PhD RN MPH Southern Connecticut State University

Third Presenter: Stephen Tomczak PhD MSW  - Southern Connecticut State University

Fourth Presenter: Stanley Bernard, DrPH MPH Southern Connecticut State University

Connecticut's Approach to Public Drinking Water and Public Health Protection

Safe drinking water is critical for public health and essential for life.  The U.S. drinking water system is one of our country’s greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century.  For many in America, the availability of clean, safe, and plentiful water is taken for granted.  You turn on the faucet and the water comes out.  However, many people are not aware of the complex process of planning, collecting, storing, treating and distributing water that helps ensure its availability and quality. This presentation will highlight the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Drinking Water Section’s critical role in the administration and implementation of state and federal public health-focused drinking water laws, regulations and initiatives to assure the purity and adequacy of the state’s public drinking water systems and sources.  This session will feature the efforts of the DPH, such as state’s first State Water Plan, in protecting the health and safety of Connecticut by ensuring the precious resource of the highest quality public drinking water is available for all of our state’s residents.

Click here for presentation.  

Lead Presenter: Lori Mathieu, Connecticut Department of Public Health

Session B: Looking for Mentors in All the Right Places

Looking for Mentors in All the Right Places

It is estimated that today, the average person changes jobs an average of 12 times during her/his work life. Personal, technological and economic factors may influence decisions to make these changes, so how can someone who has invested in a degree in public health best prepare? Is it possible to have just five jobs? Where are the non-traditional jobs and worksites for public health professionals? Panelists, who have all been mentors, represent a range of public health careers and workplaces, from the public sector to the private sector to education.  They will describe their career paths, and through a question and answer exchange moderated by CT Forum co-founder Richard Sugarman, they will share: 

  • Insights about the skills and attitudes that have helped them grow, succeed and lead throughout their public health careers; 
  • Skills they have used to tackle population health and health equity issues; 
  • Job outlook and trends in their area of expertise; 
  • Experiences and advice about finding and being helped by mentors. 

To complement this session, selected MOR mentors will offer speed mentoring to interested undergraduate, graduate and mid-career changers, during networking periods throughout the day.

Moderator: Richard Sugarman, MSW - Hartford Promise


 Frances Padilla, MPA - Universal Health Care Foundation

Michael Pascucilla, MPH, CF-SP, RSEast Shore District Health Department 

Tracey Scraba, JD, MPH - Aetna

Anthony Dias, MBBS, DPM, MPH  - Connecticut Hospital Association

Nkemdilim Anako, MPH - Trinity Health New England

Session C: Describing Health Disparities - A Panel Discussion

Moderator: Kristen Soto, MPH, CT Department of Public Health

Using Area-based Measures with Public Health Surveillance Data to Describe Health Disparities

Without complete information on socioeconomic measures in many public health surveillance systems, health disparities remain hidden. However, US Census data can be used to describe socioeconomic conditions such as household poverty and crowding in the census tracts, or neighborhoods, where we live. Neighborhood affects health independently of personal characteristics; in other words, place matters. Thus, there is value in linking geocoded public health surveillance data to area-based measures of socioeconomic status. Panel description: Panel members will each share their experience using the methods of the Public Health Disparities Geocoding Project on an infectious disease surveillance dataset. Topics covered will include: • Working with US Census data, both decennial population files and American Community Survey estimates • Health department resources needed to complete similar analyses • Establishing interdepartmental partnerships to carry out specialized methods (e.g. geocoding) • Consulting subject matter experts to interpret results • Communicating findings for use in public health policy and action Specifically, the audience will hear from three epidemiologists who conducted similar independent analyses. From New York City, the discussion will include the challenges associated with analyzing 53 diseases in an area of exceptionally high poverty. Presentation of the analysis of high grade cervical lesions due to HPV infection in Connecticut will include discussion of unexpected results. Discussion of the analysis of influenza hospitalization data from over 70 counties in 14 states will help to illustrate the challenges and ultimate value of sharing data across jurisdictions. Audience engagement (how the moderator intends to engage the audience in discussions on the panel topic): Audience members will be asked to discuss barriers to implementing routine analysis of surveillance data within their own jurisdictions according to area-based poverty.  

    Panelists: James Hadler, MD, MPH - NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
    Linda Niccolai, PhD - Yale School of Public Health

Kimberly Yousey-Hindes, MPH, CPH Yale School of Public Health

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