Author: Department of Preventive Medicine

Master of Public Health student published as part of The Medical Care Blog’s School Health Policy Series

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The National School Lunch Program serves approximately 30 million children per year, but while the program prevents many children from going hungry, advocates are calling for certain practices to be revisited.

Sarina Patel, MPH candidate. Photo courtesy Sarina Patel.
Sarina Patel, MPH candidate. Photo courtesy Sarina Patel.

Sarina Patel is a graduate student in the Master of Public Health program. She previously acquired her Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with a minor in Health Administration at USC. Her education sparked her interest in both quality improvement and program evaluation. In addition to being a student, she is currently a quality improvement specialist and aims to provide effective, low-cost and quality care specifically to minority and vulnerable populations.

Sarina is a student ambassador to the Master of Public Health program.

Applications open for underrepresented students biostatistics summer program

2019 cohort of LA's BEST@USC

Applications are being considered through February 10th for the summer 2020 cohort of LA’s Biostatistics Education Summer Training program at USC (LA’s BEST@USC). The 2020 program will run June 15th – July 24th.

LA’s BEST@USC is a six-week Los Angeles summer program in USC’s Department of Preventive Medicine that trains underrepresented students to explore health issues using quantitative methods. The program provides public health training from expert biostatisticians, epidemiologists and data scientists.

All expenses are paid for USC and non-USC undergraduate students who have completed at least two years of study. Participants earn USC course credit while exploring health data analysis, epidemiology, clinical trials, statistical genetics and spatial statistics for geographical modeling. In addition to learning R, a widely used research software, the students will examine data from groundbreaking public health research studies including the Southern California Children’s Health Study.

Visit LA’s BEST@USC for more information.

USC study implicates flavored e-cigs in teen vaping epidemic

Researchers found that 64% of teens using flavored e-cigs were still vaping six months later, compared to 43% who used more traditional flavors.

A new study has found that teens who vape candy- or fruit-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to stick with the habit and vape more heavily, implicating flavors in the teen vaping epidemic.

The study — published online Monday in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics — could bolster calls for federal restrictions on flavored e-cigs. The products continue to be sold widely more than a month after the Trump administration announced a plan to clear the market of e-cigarettes in flavors other than tobacco. Juul, the market leader, voluntarily pulled its some of its flavored products.

“While many children try e-cigarettes, not all become regular users. Teens who use e-cigarettes may be more inclined to continue vaping rather than just temporarily experiment with e-cigs,” said Adam Leventhal, director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science and professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Whether or not children continue vaping is important — the longer and more frequently you vape, the more you’re exposing yourself to toxins in e-cigarette aerosol and putting yourself at risk for nicotine addiction.”

Read more…

Jill Johnston recognized at the 31st Annual Clean Air Awards

Dr. Johnston and her USC staff team (L-R): Wendy Gutschow, Jill Johnston, Amanda Jimenez, Dayane Duenas

On October 4, 2019, Jill Johnston, PhD was recognized for her outstanding contributions in the field of air pollution health research and efforts to improve public health as she received the Robert M. Zweig, M.D. Memorial Award given to her by the South Coast Air Quality Management District at their 31st Annual Clean Air Awards Luncheon in downtown Los Angeles.

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Lead contamination found in baby teeth of children living near Exide battery plant

Lead contamination found in baby teeth of children living near Exide battery plant

A new USC study revealed high amounts of lead in the teeth of children in five Los Angeles communities and reinforced the need to test for lead exposure before and during pregnancy.

Learn more about the findings from USC’s Truth Fairy study, led by Department of Preventive Medicine researchers:


Lead contamination found in baby teeth of children living near Exide battery plant

Photo: A worker investigates at the Exide facility, which released 3,500 tons of lead until it closed as part of a legal settlement for its hazardous waste production. (Photo/Department of Toxic Substances Control)

Summer biostatistics program accepting applications for underrepresented students

A six-week Los Angeles summer program in USC’s Department of Preventive Medicine will train underrepresented students to explore health issues using quantitative methods June 15 to July 24.

Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, LA’s Biostatistics Education Summer Training Program (LA’s BEST @USC) provides public health training from expert biostatisticians, epidemiologists and data scientists—all expenses paid—at the University of Southern California.

Participants will earn USC course credit while exploring health data analysis, epidemiology, clinical trials, statistical genetics and spatial statistics for geographical modeling. In addition to learning R, a widely used research software, the students will examine data from groundbreaking public health research studies including the Southern California Children’s Health Study.

Learn more about the program and apply by February 10, 2020.


Funding by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute R25 HL147236.