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Colorado School of Public Health News and Stories

Maternal & Child Health

Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Maternal & Child Health    Worker Health

Southern Colorado Study Examines Heavy Metal Exposure in Pregnancy and Impacts on Newborns

The San Luis Valley sits between two major mountain ranges—the San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos—in south-central Colorado. As the upper headwater region for the Rio Grande River, the San Luis Valley is a fertile and important agricultural part of the state, supporting the majority of Colorado’s potato and buckwheat crop.


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Research    Community    Students    Mental Health    Epidemiology    Firearm Injury Prevention    Infectious disease    Community and Practice    Student and Alumni    Cannabis    Environment    Gun Violence Prevention    Injury & Violence Prevention    Maternal & Child Health    Worker Health

ColoradoSPH's Top Stories of 2023

In 2023, some of the nation’s top public health researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health tackled a variety of the largest public health questions facing us today.


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Research    Public Health    Epidemiology    Giving    Awards    Maternal & Child Health

ColoradoSPH Awarded $15 Million for Research on Environmental Influences on Child Health

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) has been awarded $1.2 million this year to contribute to an National Institutes of Health-funded initiative Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO). The award is part of a planned seven-year grant with an estimated total value of $15 million for the Colorado participation. 


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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Maternal & Child Health

Study Aims to Clear the Air on the Effects of Air Quality in School Classrooms

Across Colorado, thousands of students filing into classrooms this school year are sharing their space with new companions. These nearly silent classmates don’t occupy desks or pore over textbooks. But they are as focused on gathering information and contributing to a positive class environment as the most dedicated student.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date October 12, 2023
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    pregnancy    Maternal & Child Health

Preterm Birth More Likely With Exposure to Phthalates

Pregnant women who were exposed to multiple phthalates during pregnancy had an increased risk of preterm birth, according to new research by the National Institutes of Health. Phthalates are chemicals used in personal care products, such as cosmetics, as well as in solvents, detergents, and food packaging.


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Students    Mental Health    Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Suicide Prevention    Community Health    Maternal & Child Health

Digital Duo Takes Home Award for an Innovative Campaign to Combat Mental Health Issues in Youth

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that half of the nation’s adolescents have experienced a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at some time in their lives. Many young people receive treatment to prevent these and other issues from worsening and becoming chronic, but many others do not, leading to problems that persist into adulthood and have serious consequences, both for the individuals and for society.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date May 19, 2022
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Press Coverage    Climate Health    Maternal & Child Health

How Colorado’s Changing Climate is Putting Children’s Health at Risk

“Climate change is already upon us and we can already detect its influence on the Front Range’s ozone problem” said James Crooks, clinical associate professor of epidemiology. Children with asthma are particularly at risk from ozone, and data shows that asthma rates are higher among those living in poverty.


Author The Colorado Sun | Publish Date May 12, 2022
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Press Coverage    Maternal & Child Health

Childhood Vaccine Schedule Has No Link to Diabetes, Study Confirms

Jason Glanz, CoSPH professor, and senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente took part in this multi-institutional study, which looked at the safety of vaccine schedules in relation to diabetes. Studying a large cohort of children, researchers found no relationship between vaccinations and diabetes.


Author Healio | Publish Date November 10, 2021
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Students    Student and Alumni    Equity Diversity and Inclusion    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Maternal & Child Health

Syd Staggs Works to Create a World More Accepting of All

At a very early age, Syd Staggs felt isolated in their conservative Colorado community in a family that they describe as “traditional Catholic Italian-Americans.” Now 27, Syd recalls not having the words as a young kid to describe their gender identity, but it was clear they were different from other peers.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date August 19, 2021
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Press Coverage    Global Health    Maternal & Child Health

COVID-19 Vaccine Trial for Children Under Age 12 Launching at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Hopes are soaring that children under age 12 soon will be able to get vaccines to prevent COVID-19.


Author UCHealth | Publish Date June 07, 2021
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Mental Health    AI/AN health    Maternal & Child Health

PMHW Winter Faculty Highlight — Nancy Whitesell, PhD

Dr. Nancy Whitesell is one of the affiliated faculty members for PMHW. She sat down with us to share more about her work and the communities that she works with. Here's what she had to say. 


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Press Coverage    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Maternal & Child Health

CNN: A Newborn's Fat Mass is Associated With Obesity as a Preschooler, Study Finds

ColoradoSPH Dana Dabelea, professor of epidemiology and pediatrics, talking about new results show that fat mass can be associated with childhood obesity later in life.


Author CNN | Publish Date August 13, 2020
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Research    Women's Health    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Maternal & Child Health

Study: Concussion Concerns with Helmet Regulations in Girls' Lacrosse

According to a new study, high school girls’ lacrosse players who may, but are not required to, wear flexible headgear are at a higher risk of getting a concussion from a stick or ball impact than boys’ lacrosse players, who are required to wear a hard shell helmet with a full face mask.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    S4A    Health Systems    Maternal & Child Health

New Grant Funds Research into Health Care and Social Services Collaboration

The Colorado School of Public Health’s (ColoradoSPH) Department of Health Systems, Management & Policy and the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine’s Prevention Research Center for Family & Child Health (PRC), has been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant under Systems for Action, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to study the alignment of health care and social services with evidence-based nurse-home visiting to enhance maternal and child health. 

The three-year study will examine cross-sector collaboration between health care and social services with Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP) – a national evidence-based home-visiting program designed to improve the health and development of first-time, low-income mothers and their babies. The study will measure changes in collaboration over time, explore associations between NFP nurse collaboration with other healthcare and social service providers and program and health measures, and assess the variation in NFP financing mechanisms.

This project will be led by Venice Ng Williams, PhD, MPH (Post-doctoral Researcher at the PRC and ColoradoSPH alumna) and Greg Tung, PhD, MPH (Associate Professor at ColoradoSPH), in collaboration with the Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office and Jade Woodard, child maltreatment expert and Executive Director of a state-wide nonprofit - Illuminate Colorado. Mandy Allison, MD, MSPH, a practicing Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Co-Director of the PRC, and Associate Professor with CU School of Medicine’s Adult & Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science will contribute as co-investigator. David Olds, PhD, Founder of Nurse-Family Partnership, Professor of Pediatrics at CU School of Medicine, and Co-Director of the PRC will serve as an advisor on the study.

An earlier study, soon to be published, led by Dr. Williams shows that the degree to which NFP agencies are structurally integrated with other health care and social service providers and NFP nurse coordination with different provider types is associated with improved program outcomes. According to Dr. Williams, “Care coordination with substance use treatment providers can positively affect client retention and the health of low-income, first-time mothers in NFP, but this coordination is driven by physical integration of space, technology, finances, and other resources.”

“We hope the outcomes of this study will help facilitate better-aligned policies and practices in evidence-based nurse home-visiting that will address social barriers to health, facilitate care coordination, and advance health equity across the United States especially under the current state of events.”

Systems for Action is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to build a “culture of health” by testing new ways of connecting the nation’s fragmented medical, social, and public health systems.

NOTE: Support for this research is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. 


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COVID-19    Mental Health    Epidemiology    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    ColoradoSPH at UNC    Data and Health    AI/AN health    Biostatistics    Health Advocacy    Maternal & Child Health    Latino Health

ABC News: Wearing a Mask in the United States is Political, but Republicans are Speaking Out as Coronavirus Cases Grow

Wearing a mask or face covering in the US has become about more than just slowing the spread of COVID-19 — some experts say it's a political statement, signalling another layer in the deep divisions within America.


Author ABC News | Publish Date June 30, 2020
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Research    Diabetes    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Maternal & Child Health

Current Youth and Young Adults With Diabetes Have Worse Glycemic Control Than Past Groups

Despite the increased availability of diabetes technology, new therapies and more aggressive glycemic targets, today’s youth and young adults with diabetes in the United States are not demonstrating improved glycemic control compared to their counterparts from years past. Most notably, many age groups have worse glycemic control compared to youth and young adults from 2002-2007. Researchers revealed these data today at the American Diabetes Association’s® (ADA’s) 80th Virtual Scientific Sessions in a study entitled “Trends in Glycemic Control among Youth with Diabetes:

The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study.”  The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth (SEARCH) study began in 2000 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). It represents the largest, most diverse study of diabetes in youth in the U.S. Currently, SEARCH has more than 27,000 participants across racial and ethnic backgrounds from 10 different states visiting one of five study centers in the country (California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington). 

“This large, active registry and cohort study of youth diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 20 enables researchers to make assessments of prevalence, annual incidence, and trends by age, race/ethnicity, sex, and diabetes type,” said SEARCH principal investigator and study co-author Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, director of the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center and the Conrad M. Riley Endowed Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health. “The SEARCH findings have contributed to a better understanding of the complex and heterogeneous nature of diabetes in youth.” 

In the current analysis, researchers examined trends in glycemic control in 6,492 SEARCH participants who had diabetes for more than one year. Participants’ visit data was categorized into three time periods: 2002-2007, 2008-2013, and 2014-2019. In addition, participants were categorized into three groups based upon their duration of diabetes (1-4 years, 5-9 years, and more than 10 years), as well as by age group (10-14 years old, 15-19 years old, 20-24 years old, and 25 and older). Stratified multivariable regression models were used to test differences in hemoglobin A1c (A1c) over time. Adjustments were made for site, age, sex, race/ethnicity, health insurance status, and disease duration. 

Results of the study indicated:


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Press Coverage    Maternal & Child Health

Op-Ed: WHO Cuts Will Lead to Maternal and Childhood Deaths Across the World

If President Trump cuts ties with the World Health Organization (WHO), our country will effectively walk away from long-standing commitments to the world’s most vulnerable mothers and children. 


Author The Colorado Sun | Publish Date June 04, 2020
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Public Health    Obesity    Awards    Maternal & Child Health

Dr. Charlotte Farewell Receives the Lorna Grindlay Moore, PhD Faculty Launch Award

Dr. Charlotte Farewell, Senior Research Instructor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, received the Lorna Grindlay Moore, PhD Faculty Launch Award. The title of her abstract is, "Fostering Resilience Among Mothers Early (FRAME): Protective Impacts on Obesity in Early and Middle Childhood."

Learn more about the Lorna Grindlay Moore, PhD Faculty Launch Fund on the OB-GYN funding opportunities page


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Maternal & Child Health

Helping Kids By Texting Their Parents? Here's What Experts Say About This Exploding Strategy

Texting programs aimed at parents of young children have proliferated over the last several years as smart phones have become ubiquitous and health and education groups look for new ways to get kids on track early.   

Jini Puma, associate director of the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center, said the six-week parenting class represents the “Cadillac” version of the program, but that it was a big ask for parents with multiple jobs or other conflicts. 

Texting, she said, is “super effective to use in this way, where it’s part of a multilevel intervention.”   

Read the full story on Chalkbeat Colorado.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Environment    Maternal & Child Health

Rice Bran Supplementation May Help Curb Malnutrition, Diarrhea for Infants in Middle and Low-Income Countries

Malnutrition is prevalent on a global scale and has numerous negative consequences for children during the first five years of life. For some children, it can mean struggling with health issues for life or a higher risk of death among those under five years of age.


Author Mary Guiden | Publish Date October 10, 2019
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Press Coverage    Maternal & Child Health

Longmont Company's AI Tech to Help Kids with Behavioral Issues

An app is being designed to help make mental health care accessible for children.


Author Daily Camera | Publish Date June 08, 2019
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health    Maternal & Child Health

Helping Colorado Kids Live Healthier Lives

It takes four hours and 20 minutes for Jenn Leiferman, PhD, and Jini Puma, PhD, to drive to the San Luis Valley from central Denver. When faculty and staff from the Colorado School of Public Health get to this rural community in Southern Colorado, they’re often greeted by their first name and a hug. They know the school well here. 


Author Kathleen Bohland | Publish Date June 03, 2019
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Community    Community and Practice    Maternal & Child Health

A Creative and Fun Way for Kids to Learn About Healthy Eating

The Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP) is a creative and fun way for kids to learn about healthy eating in their classroom and to share what they learn with their families. Each lesson includes a hands-on cooking activity that teaches students how to prepare and taste new fruits and vegetables. INEP is funded by SNAP-Ed and conducted through partnerships with the University of Colorado and various school districts and schools from around the state. INEP’s goal is to instill life-long nutrition behaviors to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. To accomplish this goal, INEP targets increased fruit and vegetable consumption, overall healthy eating, children’s willingness to try new foods and increased physical activity.

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Community    Community and Practice    Maternal & Child Health

The Collaborative STANCE (Linking Systems To Address ACEs In Childhood Early On)

Building on our long history of partnerships in the rural San Luis Valley, state partnerships and the need for expansion to other states in HHS Region 8, the Center's public health practice-based core research project is designed to reduce the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in the San Luis Valley (SLV) of Colorado. ACEs are modifiable risk factors that have a profound and lasting effect on a person’s health. To accomplish this, a community-engaged, stakeholder-driven, multi-level intervention, called STANCE (Linking Systems To address ACEs iN Childhood Early on) has been funded by the CDC.

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Community    Obesity    Community and Practice    Maternal & Child Health

Promoting a Culture of Wellness in Preschools

The Culture of Wellness in Preschools (COWP) is a comprehensive and collaborative early childhood obesity program, which aims to promote a “culture of wellness” in preschool settings by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity levels. This is accomplished by bringing the following to preschool sites throughout Colorado: 


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Community    Community and Practice    pregnancy    Maternal & Child Health

Utilizing Online Technology to Address Prenatal Mood Disorders

Prenatal depression is associated with numerous, deleterious maternal and child health outcomes. Pregnant women have expressed a need for help in identifying and treating their depressive symptoms.  Healthcare providers play a significant role in managing (i.e. identifying and treating/referring to care) prenatal depression as they are often the sole exposure to mental health resources for women. However, many providers may not be meeting these recommendations. Identifying women who are exhibiting depressive symptomatology and providing guidance based on evidence-based practices and/or utilizing linkages to mental health specialists are all integral to providing optimal patient-centered care. This study will conduct a pilot, randomized-controlled trial to test the preliminary effects of an online training with a diverse group of providers on the management of prenatal depression.   

The present study intends to test an evidence-based, online training for a diverse group of providers on how to manage prenatal depression. Providers will be recruited from two states, Colorado and Virginia.   

Our online training provides an overview of the harmful effects of prenatal depression on numerous maternal and child outcomes, as well as provides a framework that uses the 5As model (i.e. Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist and Arrange) to teach providers how to 1) assess for depression, 2) advise the patient on treatment options, 3) agree on a treatment plan, 4) assist patient in any problem solving related to obtaining treatment, and 5) arrange for supports for the patient (e.g. link patients to mental health resources in the community).

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Community    Community and Practice    Equity Diversity and Inclusion    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Workforce Development    Community Health    Maternal & Child Health

Healthy Babies, Strong Families: Joining Forces to Address African-American Infant Mortality

It’s a heartbreaking statistic: African-American/black infants in Colorado are two-and-a-half times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants. The number frames two complicated questions: why the disparity and how to eliminate it?


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date January 09, 2019
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Research    Diabetes    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Maternal & Child Health

Charting New Paths: A 40-Year Legacy of Diabetes Research

When Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, was considering a move from Romania to work in diabetes research in the United States, she was drawn to the work of Richard Hamman, MD, DrPH, saying she was “inspired by his vision and the opportunities he created for diabetes research.” 


Author Kathleen Bohland | Publish Date December 14, 2018
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Community    Diabetes    Community and Practice    smoking    Data and Health    Maternal & Child Health

LEAD Mini-Summit: Lightning Strikes!

Organized by LEAD Assistant Directors Kate Sauder (Translation), Anne Starling (Environment), and Wei Perng (‘Omics), fifteen ‘lightning’ talks of three minutes each were presented. The topics ranged from molecular to community level exposures and outcomes. Small groups were formed at the end of the session to identify areas for collaboration and strategize on future directions.


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Research    Epidemiology    Obesity    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health    Maternal & Child Health

Kids with Autism at Higher Risk for Obesity

A new study including two ColoradoSPH researchers is among the first to show that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) had the highest frequency of rapid weight gain during the first six months of life, which may put them at increased risk for childhood obesity.   


Author Colorado School of Public Health | Publish Date September 12, 2018
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Research    Diabetes    Maternal & Child Health

Video: Expert Commentary on Pediatric Diabetes Medication Trials

Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and director of the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) center at Colorado School of Public Health gave a video response about what was discovered in children during trials for diabetes medication.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    pregnancy    Global Health    Maternal & Child Health

Working to Address Teen Pregnancy in Rural Guatemala

I live in Guatemala, where almost 50% of all children under five suffer from malnutrition, and poverty, but I was fortunate to attend a private school in the capital city. Even at my school they only taught us four classes on sexual health from grades 6-8 and the rest was left to our parents and imagination. These lessons were not only short, but they lacked depth and were imparted by conservative volunteers that distanced themselves from the reality of modern teen messages and sexuality. Their teachings scared students away from sex, and did little to foster healthy relationships, values or skills. 


Author Javier Balsells | Publish Date October 11, 2017
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Research    Epidemiology    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Global Health    Maternal & Child Health    One Health

Researchers to Study Neurological Effects of Zika Virus in Young Children

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the Baylor College of Medicine will join with Guatemalan investigators in a major study examining the clinical outcomes of children infected with the Zika virus after being born, focusing on long-term brain development. 


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Research    Diabetes    Maternal & Child Health

Ten-Year Study Shows Increase in Diabetes in US Youth

A broad-scale, five-state study published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that from 2002 to 2012, the yearly rate of newly diagnosed cases of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in youth increased significantly and steadily over the 10-year period, especially among Hispanic youth.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Global Health    Maternal & Child Health

Helping Babies Breathe: Lessons Learned from 5 Years and 80 Countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that between 1990 and 2003, mortality of children under five years old fell from 12.7 million to 6.3 million. During the same time, the proportion of deaths that occurred in the neonatal period (the first 28 days) actually increased from 37 percent to about 44 percent. Global recognition of this gap has motivated many in the field of neonatal care to scale up effective and affordable interventions to address the primary causes of neonatal mortality: asphyxia, low birth weight, and infection. Among those leading the effort to improve newborn survival worldwide is Susan Niermeyer, MD, MPH, FAAP, professor of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, both located on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. 


Author Molly T. Moss | Publish Date April 03, 2017
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Research    Diabetes    Maternal & Child Health

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis in Youth Leads to Increased Health Complications

A new report published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association points to a significantly higher burden of diabetes-related complications in adolescents and young adults with type 2 diabetes compared to type 1 diabetes, with greater health complications in minority youth.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Global Health    Maternal & Child Health

Center for Global Health Leads Revision of Pediatrics in Disasters Training to Address Needs of Refugees and Children in High Conflict Areas

The Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Global Health announced today the rollout of a revised Pediatrics in Disasters (PEDs) training program, which trains healthcare and humanitarian workers to prioritize life-saving care for children in disasters. 


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Community    Women's Health    Community and Practice    Global Health    Maternal & Child Health

WHO Redesignates Center for Global Health as Int'l Collaborating Center

The maternal and child health program within the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Global Health has been re-designated by the World Health Organization as a WHO Collaborating Center for Promoting Family and Child Health. The program, which is a partnership between Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) and the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), is the only maternal and child health collaborating center in North America.


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Research    Diabetes    Obesity    pregnancy    Maternal & Child Health

Dabelea: Exercise During Pregnancy Benefits Mom and Baby

"Exercise during pregnancy can keep weight gain in check, reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, decrease discomfort, and set you up for an easier labor and delivery. Now, new research shows that breaking a sweat, especially after 29 weeks, has a big benefit for your baby, too."


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Colorado School of Public Health In the News

Colorado Public Radio

State launches first-ever firearm data dashboard meant to help Coloradans better understand gun violence, prevention

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateFebruary 26, 2024

Beyond mass shootings, which generate a lot of media and public attention, gun deaths have steadily increased in Colorado for more than a decade, according to the state health department and reflected on the dashboard. During that time, state leaders and community advocates have worked to fight the trend. Now they’re turning to a new avenue — a public health approach to gun violence prevention. 

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The Denver Post

CDC chops $5 million in funding to Colorado research center working with local public health groups

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateFebruary 23, 2024

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to end its funding for a Colorado center that helps local public health organizations get their programs off the ground and prove they work. Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the director of the CDC this week asking that the agency reconsider cutting funding to the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center.

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Colorado Public Radio

Can Colorado teachers feel more prepared for school emergencies?

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateFebruary 21, 2024

Between reading, writing, and arithmetic, there are also disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and acts of violence at schools. While school districts have security and drills for these events, educators often have unanswered questions and are left feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Two Anschutz researchers wanted to change that, starting with gathering school staff’s ideas and addressing their questions about safety.

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CSU Source

What do your blood test results mean? A toxicologist explains the basics of how to interpret them

news outletCSU Source
Publish DateFebruary 07, 2024

As a toxicologist, Brad Reisfeld, a ColoradoSPH professor at CSU, studies the effects of drugs and environmental contaminants on human health. As part of his work, he relies on various health-related biomarkers, many of which are measured using conventional blood tests. Understanding what common blood tests are intended to measure can help you better interpret the results.

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