Public Health Institutes explore issues, provide hands-on training

The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is expanding its summer offerings, including two new summer institutes designed to introduce students to public health and give them applicable new media skills.

Welcome to Public Health introduces students to the field of public health from both historical and contemporary perspectives. The institute combines two 3-credit courses required for the public health undergraduate major which can be taken be taken separately or as a paired summer course. Across both courses, students are introduced to current public health practice in both the U.S. and abroad as well as the mechanisms of health and disease at the cellular, individual, and population or community level.

New and Social Media Boot CampThe New and Social Media Boot Camp will demonstrate how the ever-expanding array of new and social media are used in public health communications. Taught by Dr. Elisabeth Glecker and guest lecturer Dr. Robert Williams, this 3-credit intensive course will use a case-study approach to demonstrate how the use of modern media is specific to a product or goal.

“Employers expect younger staff to know social and new media, it is one of stereotypes about this generation that is now college aged,” says Gleckler. “Being able to use social media for fun is different than using it and other outreach tools for strategic reasons.”

Several local non-profits will present their new and social media issues to the students, who will create prototypes of test solutions for these “clients” as part of their final project.

“This course is presented in a lab format so students learn how to use each of the key tools and can weigh how to integrate them in an informed manner,” Glecker adds.

Spinning-the-hive-framesSPHTM is also repeating its successful Food Institute (Food: Farm to Table) which focuses on the topic of food and nutrition. This institute encompasses two consecutive but interconnected courses taught by assistant professors Lorelei Cropley, DrPH, and Elisabeth Gleckler, PhD.

“Nutrition has become a very big area,” says Cropley. Poor nutrition is one of three behaviors, along with physical inactivity and smoking, which are leading contributors to death in the U.S. Worldwide. Poor nutrition poses a dual burden to health encompassing both obesity from over-nutrition and malnutrition from under-nutrition.

The course builds on many of the same components as last year’s course, including numerous field trips to food processing facilities, area markets, urban farms, and local restaurants. Emerging topics in nutrition, Cropley says, will also be covered. The approach, however, will be to offer best-practice, evidence-based view on the hot topics.

Two courses,Health Systems of China and Public Health Threats in Suriname, will take students abroad to explore issues of economic development, community intervention, and the global healthcare landscape. The travel abroad courses are only available to Tulane students.

Learn more about the Summer Institutes at

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April 11, 2014
Dierdre Boling



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