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TODAY news for Thursday, March 26, 2007

School of Public Health news

Healthy People conference prepares for pandemic illness

Conference guests converse with keynote speaker Mark Horton, MD, MSPH (left), California�s state public health officer, after his talk.
Conference guests converse with keynote speaker Mark Horton, MD, MSPH (left), California’s state public health officer, after his talk.
About 300 people left Healthy People 2007 earlier this month more capable of preparing for and responding to pandemic illnesses.

A wealth of speakers tackled topics from HIV and obesity to methamphetamine addiction and influenza.

This annual conference, hosted by the School of Public Health, met March 6 through 8 on the LLU campus.

“We are pleased that nearly 50 percent of the Healthy People conference attendees were from local public health agencies, reflecting the School’s desire to provide relevant professional development programs valued by the workforce at large,” says David Dyjack, DrPH, dean of the School.

The conference’s keynote speech was delivered by Mark Horton, MD, MSPH, California’s state public health officer. He outlined the role of California’s new Department of Public Health, as well as shared the governor’s plan for health care reform.

Another memorable speaker was Kay Warren from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, where she works with the congregation’s HIV initiative. She spoke about the role that churches can play in preventing and addressing illness, attributing this capability to factors such as Christianity’s distribution, administrative structure, growth rates, staying power, and calling from God.

“The church has the capacity to be a major player in dealing with pandemic disease,” she said.

Other speakers included experts from various local entities, professors from LLU and
Speaker Kay Warren talks about the role churches can play in dealing with pandemic disease.
Speaker Kay Warren talks about the role churches can play in dealing with pandemic disease.
elsewhere, and representatives of nonprofit organizations. For example, speaker Richard Rawson, PhD, is associate director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I learned something new every day,” says Claudia Lee, a medical student from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, who is at Loma Linda for a clinical rotation.

Michelle McFarlane, MPH, RD, attended Healthy People to earn continuing education units. She reports that the most useful topic of the conference for her was being ready for a flu epidemic—she wants to make sure her elderly grandmother is prepared.

Another attendee was Bill Davenhall of Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). This Redlands software company helps make Healthy People a success each year, and it is an honor to do so, says Mr. Davenhall, ESRI’s global health and human services solution manager.

“It’s exciting to see health professionals from around the world come together at this program each year and share, learn, and discuss issues that really matter to lives of people,” he says. “Every year I come away myself with valuable information that I can apply to the daily challenges of my maintaining the health of my family.”

The annual Healthy People conference has attracted participants from Australia, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia in addition to North America. Previous topics have included “spirituality, culture, and health” and “risk and resiliency: protecting kids from harm.”

In 2008, the topic of the School of Public Health conference will be vegetarian nutrition.

By Heather Reifsnyder

TODAY news for Thursday, March 26, 2007