National Public Health Week events at Brown will be truly national this year

In pivoting to an all-virtual event, Brown’s School of Public Health will offer opportunities for interaction on key public health issues, including a podcast series and topical discussions, to listeners everywhere.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A basic tenet of public health holds that health crises require leaders to think creatively and adapt quickly. So it’s apt that Brown’s celebration of National Public Health Week for 2021 will feature an array of events and educational opportunities that can be accessed remotely while allowing participants to adhere to recommended COVID-19 pandemic health protocols.

The American Public Health Association convenes the weeklong celebration of public health annually to highlight new research and promote health and well-being — Brown’s School of Public Health typically hosts in-person events that spark discussion and showcase the work of student and faculty scholars.

It’s a highly anticipated event among the Brown community, said Jennifer Tidey, associate dean for research at the School of Public Health.

“National Public Health Week is the school's opportunity to raise awareness at the University of our work on a diverse array of public health issues,” Tidey said, “and our opportunity to recognize our faculty, staff, students, trainees and partners working to enhance public health practices locally, nationally and internationally.”

"Many of us have been physically separated by remote work. National Public Health Week gives us an opportunity to come together to discuss, learn, share, and remember that our research continues even amid a global pandemic."

Destry Jensen Master of Public Health student
NPHW mask

During this year’s all-virtual event, which will take place April 5 to 11, the school will launch a short-term podcast series titled “Humans in Public Health.” Each day, a downloadable, 10- to 15-minute episode will feature interviews with Brown scholars on relevant public health issues. Megan Hall, a multimedia journalist and health policy expert who earned her master of public health degree from Brown in 2015, will host. 

“Because of the pandemic, people are paying attention to public health in a way they never have before,” Hall said. “But the field is incredibly diverse, and being a practitioner of public health can mean so many different things. In creating this podcast series, I’ve had some amazing conversations with Brown researchers doing fascinating work in the public health realm. I look forward to sharing those stories.”

In addition to the daily podcast episodes, attendees from across the globe can tune in on Thursday, April 8, to a conversation between Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the School of Public Health, and medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, an international nonprofit that provides health care services and leads research and advocacy on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. An interactive audience Q&A will follow the discussion.

For members of the Brown community, a virtual Public Health Research Day hosted via Zoom will showcase new findings and scholarly achievements by students, trainees and partners. Many of the event’s presentations will be live with opportunities for interaction.

“Research Day is always an opportunity for us to congratulate our students, trainees, partners, and their mentors and collaborators for successfully completing a significant research project,” Tidey said. “That’s particularly notable this year in light of the difficult circumstances under which they've been working.”

A full schedule of National Public Health Week events at Brown is available on the School of Public Health website. Some events require advance registration, a few are available only to attendees with Brown login credentials.

“Humans in Public Health” podcast series (episodes available via SoundCloud)

NPHW podcast lineup
The podcast series will feature voices from across the School of Public Health.

Starting on Monday, April 5, a new episode will be made available each day during National Public Health Week. Guests will include:

Joseph Braun, an associate professor of epidemiology, on the health impact on children of exposure to chemicals in plastics.

Lorin Crawford, an assistant professor of biostatistics, on misconceptions surrounding the connections between race and genetics.

Amy Nunn, a professor of behavioral and social sciences, and of medicine, on her community partnerships to address disparities, including engaging clergy and community leaders in HIV testing, treatment and social marketing campaigns.

Judson Brewer, director of research and innovation at Brown University's Mindfulness Center and associate professor of psychiatry at the Warren Alpert Medical School, on unwinding anxiety.

Sara Caniglia, a second-year Brown master of public health student and senior clinical research assistant at Rhode Island Hospital, on her work with individuals facing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.