Presentations and Panels

Rita Colwell

Keynote Address (9:15 AM)

Climate, Infectious Disease and Human Health in an Era of Climate Change ​
Rita Colwell, PhD, Distinguished University Professor

Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Member of the National Academy of Sciences, US State Department Science Envoy to South Asia, and Recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize and US National Medal of Science. She was the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, and is senior advisor and chairman emeritus of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and president and CEO of CosmosID, Inc. Her research interests focus on global infectious diseases, water, and health. She is currently developing an international network to address climate change and infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Other interests include increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering.

Keynote Address (2:15 PM)

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, MDBecoming the Healthiest Nation: A Public Health Approach
Georges C. Benjamin MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association

Georges C. Benjamin, MD, an internist and emergency physician, has served as the Executive Director of APHA since December 2002. Immediately prior to that time, he served as Maryland’s Secretary of Health during which he oversaw the expansion and improvement of the state’s Medicaid program. He will reflect upon our nation’s changing health and health care needs and opportunities. He also will recognize 2015 as the 20th anniversary of National Public Health Week (always celebrated during the first full week in April), and the reason we have scheduled our annual Public Health Research@ Maryland event at this time each year.

Distinguished University of Maryland Professor Dr. Rita Colwell presented the morning PHR@MD (link sends e-mail) keynote, which detailed her research linking cholera outbreaks to weather patterns. She and her team were the first to link global warming with a potential rise in cases of infectious disease. Introduction by Donald Milton, MD, DrPH, Director, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, UMD School of Public Health.

Keynote speech by American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin at Public Health Research@Maryland (link sends e-mail) 2015. He described how Americans are dying younger and at twice the health care cost than those in other wealthy nations, and detailed ways that public health can address health disparities and the many social determinants of health to achieve the status of the “healthiest nation in a generation.” He also detailed the success of the Affordable Care Act, the need for new health system models to better address prevention and coordinate care, and the role of public health in raising awareness and influencing policy changes needed to bring that new model to life.

This panel focused on programs to support maternal and child health in Maryland and nationwide, including ways to address infant mortality and the importance of health literacy in maternal health. The panel featured leads Sandra L. Hofferth, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Family Science, UMD School of Public Health Wendy G. Lane, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health, UM School of Medicine and panelists: Rebecca Dineen, MS, Assistant Commissioner, Maternal and Child Health, Baltimore City Health Department Pamela Creekmur, RN, Health Officer and Director, Prince George’s County Health Department.

This panel discussion focused on climate change's affect on public health, such as links with asthma, hay fever, and salmonella infections, and Maryland government strategies to address the issue. Public Health Research @Maryland 2015 panel discussion led by MIAEH Associate Professor Amir Sapkota, PhD, and UM SOM Epidemiology and Public Health Professor Laura Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD, with panelists Clifford S. Mitchell, MS, MD, MPH, who serves as the
 director of the Environmental Health Bureau
 in the Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene and Jennifer Martin, MA, JD of the Baltimore City Health Dept.

Experts in health care reform discussed ways that Maryland is working to deliver better health care at a lower cost, including new innovations such as the “global budget revenue” program, which is moving the state toward paying healthcare providers based on improving population health rather than on volume of services. Leads: Stephen B. Thomas, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Health Services Administration; Director, MD Center for Health Equity, UMD School of Public Health; Karen S. Kauffman, PhD, CRNP, RN, FAAN, Chair and Associate Professor, Dept. of Family & Community Health, UMB School of Nursing. Panelists: Madeleine Shea, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Office of Minority Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; George H. Bone M.D., Commissioner, Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission