Pitt Public Health Dean Delivers Keynote Address at Statewide Health Conference

A local company with a global commitment to public health, innovative approaches to community health care and making better use of data to guide health decisions are among the highlights of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association’s annual conference, “Moving the Needle on Public Health Outcomes,” this Thursday and Friday in Pittsburgh.

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice is collaborating on the annual conference, which brings together public health professionals from around the state to share their experience and research on health-related issues, including policy, education, disease prevention and health care delivery. Pitt Public Health Dean Donald S. Burke, M.D., will deliver the conference’s keynote address on how data collection and dissemination can improve public health outcomes.

“I’m pleased to have this gathering of public health expertise in Pittsburgh to discuss the use of data-driven and evidence-based practices in public health programs, improvement of county health rankings, the Affordable Health Care Act and innovations in health care practice,” said Dr. Burke, UPMC-Jonas Salk Chair of Global Health.

This year’s conference, at the Marriott City Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, will feature the inaugural Pennsylvania Public Health Association (PPHA) Awards. The awards showcase exceptional public health work in Pennsylvania that often takes place outside of the formal public health infrastructure.

“The PPHA is pleased to be back in Pittsburgh for our annual conference this year,” said Jessica Boyer, M.S.W., M.P.H., president of PPHA. “We are also thrilled to be celebrating the incredible work of the winners of the inaugural PPHA awards. Our annual conference is possible only by the work of our great volunteer planning committee, and we are grateful to Pitt Public Health for its assistance with this year’s conference.”

Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. will receive the first “Corporate Partner in Public Health Award,” both for its commitment to integrate health promotion principles and strategies into its corporate culture and for its Heinz Micronutrient Campaign, which provides essential vitamin and mineral powders to more than 3.5 million malnourished children in 15 developing world nations.

“Heinz is honored to receive the Corporate Partner Award from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association. Heinz is dedicated to the sustainable health of people and the planet,” said Tammy Aupperle, chair, H.J. Heinz Co. Foundation. “Through our Heinz Micronutrient Campaign, a non-profit, humanitarian program that continues to expand globally, we are treating and preventing iron deficiency anemia in millions of children by developing and providing innovative, cost-effective solutions, particularly vitamin and mineral powders.”

The “Public Health Leadership in Health Care Award” will go to Mary Libengood, president and CEO of Meyersdale Medical Center; the “Keystone Award for Distinguished Service in Public Health” will go to Matthew Masiello, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention in Windber; and the “Community Leadership Award of Merit” will go to the Favors Forward Foundation of Williamsport and its executive director, Valerie Robitaille.

Innovative health programs delivered by community-based organizations will be highlighted at a panel discussion moderated by Angela Ford, Ph.D., former director of the Pitt Center for Health Equity. For example, Malik Bankston, of the Kingsley Association, will discuss “Imagine Larimer,” a project that engages the community to create a sustainable future using a Web-based tool to design interventions such as trees, rain gardens, housing and trails. Patricia Stubber, of the Northwest Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center, and Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, of Women for a Healthy Environment, will also discuss innovations at their organizations.

A wide variety of poster and oral presentations will examine key public health issues on topics including caregiver stress, tobacco cessation, vaccination campaigns and bullying.

Steven M. Albert, Ph.D., chair of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, will examine the incidence of falls among older Pennsylvanians and the effectiveness of state-level primary prevention efforts.

Charles Vukotich, senior project manager in Pitt Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice, will facilitate a panel presentation about the threat posed by school-aged children as spreaders of disease and how disease modeling can be used in developing policy and practice in disease outbreaks.

People interested in attending the conference or the PPHA Awards breakfast can register at or onsite at the conference in the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, 112 Washington Place, Pittsburgh 15219. Please call Andrea Imperatore, PPHA executive director, at 215-680-8166 for more information or for late registrations.


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