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Colorado School of Public Health News and Stories

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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Racial bias and discrimination among women of color can impact their baby’s biological clock

Two people of the same age can look and act very differently in terms of how old they seem. The secret lies in their “biological age,” a measure of cell and tissue health. 


Author Yvaine Ye | Publish Date June 13, 2024
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Research    Diabetes    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    ColoradoSPH at UNC

ColoradoSPH Appoints New Associate Dean for Research

Since 2001, Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, has served in many capacities at the Colorado School of Public Health and at University of Colorado Anschutz. As a Distinguished University Professor and director of the LEAD (Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity & Diabetes) Center, she has championed diabetes research and improved health outcomes.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Leadership    Worker Health

Shared Leadership for Workforce Health: Bridging healthcare and space exploration

What do space exploration, healthcare, construction, and public school workers have in common? They all form teams to carry out their missions! Teamwork requires working together to achieve common goals, solve problems, and innovate. Emerging evidence suggests that multiple people can lead teams at one time. Interest in shared leadership research led me to study why and how this phenomenon might happen in the Total Worker Health® context.


Author Natalie Schwatka | Publish Date April 29, 2024
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Research    Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Worker Health

Research Symposium Highlights Sweeping Efforts to Improve Workplace Health and Safety

The many challenges and opportunities for improving health and safety for workers were in the spotlight April 4 at the 2024 Research Day Symposium, sponsored by the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date April 16, 2024
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

Is Your Workplace Wellness App Working?

If you offer your employees access to digital mental health applications, how do you know if the apps are actually helping them? Many employers understand their workforce’s need for mental health support. Nearly 60% of adults in the U.S. report having been concerned for either their own mental health or that of family and friends, increasing 9% since April of 20201. Poor employee mental health is associated with a $1 trillion annual global cost in productivity2.


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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    Cancer    Community Health

ColoradoSPH Research Shines in the 20th Anniversary Supplement from the Cancer Prevention & Control Research Network

The Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) has published a supplemental issue of Cancer Causes and Control to mark the Network’s 20th anniversary. As one of the Network Centers since 2019, the Colorado-based CPCRN site in the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center (RMPRC) at the Colorado School of Public Health played an integral part of in the writing and release of this supplement.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    AI/AN health    Community Health

Native American State Legislators Visit Anschutz Medical Campus to Learn about Research Advancing Native Health

Members of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators visited the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH) in November to learn about the CAIANH’s work to better understand the health of Native peoples across the United States, to advance culturally oriented and community-driven solutions, and how this work has helped shape public policy.


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Research    Obesity   

Study Finds Infant Gut Microbiome Predicts Obesity in Pre-Teens

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the gut microbiome is a window to future health. Evidence continues to mount that shows the significance gut microbiota has on a multitude of health conditions and disease states. Now, new data from investigators at the University of Colorado suggests that evaluating the gut microbiota of infants may help identify children who are at risk for becoming overweight or obese. Investigators showed that the gut microbiota composition at two years of life is associated with body mass index (BMI) at age 12. Also, the BMI at age 2 was not significantly higher in children who later became overweight/obese, indicating that gut microbiota composition may be the earliest warning sign for detecting obesity.   


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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    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Suicide Prevention    Community Health    Training    Worker Health

New Training Offered to Support Teacher Mental Health During Emergency Drills

Teachers and staff shoulder a significant burden of responsibility for emergency preparedness in pre-k-12 schools. While emergency drills, including active harmer (lockdown, lockout) drills, are designed to instill confidence, they can sometimes lead to fear, anxiety and confusion. Teachers are expected to lead the drills by directing and evacuating students, locking down classrooms, providing safety checks, and emotionally supporting students. Teachers often have unanswered questions and increased anxieties associated with drills and other emergency preparedness efforts. This underscores the importance of providing necessary resources to better support the school workforce, including psychological preparedness and other mental health supports, in addition to regular access to safety and security personnel


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

Forging Academic-Community Connections Highlight of This Year’s Research Exchange Event

The second annual Colorado School of Public Health Research Exchange began October 6 with an emphasis on numbers: dollars, percentages, poster presentation counts, and research award amounts. As the day unfolded, however, lively discussions turned to how statistics translate into the efforts of researchers to address the public health issues that define human lives.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date October 17, 2023
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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    Climate Health    Worker Health

Heat Impacting Tomato and Chili Agriculture Workers in Jalisco Mexico

Climate change is impacting our food chain, and the workers who grow, harvest, and package that food. Global temperatures increases affect the health of workers in the agricultural industry.

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have completed their first round of data collection for a two-year heat-related research project with agricultural workers in Jalisco, Mexico, as the implementing partner ofthe International Labour Organization (ILO)'s Vision Zero Fund. The seasoned team of experts from CHWE are working to improve workers’ occupational safety and health in selected supply chains in Mexico.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date September 07, 2023
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Research    Worker Health

Supporting Teacher and Staff Emergency Preparedness and Well-being

Emergencies happen. Teachers are among many groups that may be anxious about staying safe on the job coupled with concerns about how to prepare for and respond to school-based emergencies. Additionally, many teachers have strong emotional reactions to emergency preparedness activities (such as active harmer drills). While the existing infrastructure emphasizes material preparedness, staff psychological preparedness is not typically acknowledged or supported.


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Research    Climate Health    Environment

New National Academies Report Provides Scientific Review of EPA’s Draft Formaldehyde Assessment

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides recommendations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for improving its draft IRIS [Integrated Risk Information System] Toxicological Review of Formaldehyde.


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Research    Students    Epidemiology    Firearm Injury Prevention    Student and Alumni    Gun Violence Prevention    Injury & Violence Prevention

Mapping Mass Shootings in the United States

The United States has more than 10 times the number of mass shooting incidents than other developed countries, yet little research has shown the distribution and types of shootings, geographically.


Author Colleen Miracle | Publish Date July 26, 2023
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health    Environment    Global Health    Worker Health

Climate Change and the Health of Vietnamese Subsistence Farmers

The rice fields in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam flood.

Extreme heat in the coffee plantations in the Central Highlands is becoming a regular weather pattern. Vietnam experienced a record-setting heat wave in April and May of this year.


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Research    COVID-19    Vaccinations    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CSU

Adios, Pandemic! You Taught Us Much

We are all ready to say goodbye to the COVID-19 pandemic. The past few years have been arduous, exacting a terrible toll in human suffering, economic turmoil, and political strife. More than 1 million Americans perished, as did a sense of well-being for our health and mental wellness. And while the SARS-CoV-2 virus will likely persist among us for a very long time, it appears that the worst is over, thanks to modern medicine and public health prevention.


Author Tracy Nelson | Publish Date May 01, 2023
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Research    Giving    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

$600,000 NIH Grant for Colorado School of Public Health Community Climate Hub

A collaborative group from Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) has been awarded $600,000 from the National Institutes of Health to support the first year of work for the newly-established Mountain West Alliance for Community Engagement-Climate and Health (ACE-CH) Hub, a community of public health researchers and community members working to identify evidence-based and community-driven action in the face of the climate crisis. 


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Global Health    One Health

Study Recommends New Testing Model that Aims to Swat Mosquito-Borne Dengue Fever

Under the best of circumstances, mosquitoes are no better than annoying pests. But many also carry viruses that cause widespread disease and death in large expanses of the world. A new study with contributions from the Colorado School of Public Health describes a novel path to early diagnosis of dengue, the most common mosquito-borne viral illness, in areas of the world where lab tests to confirm the disease are not available.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date March 14, 2023
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Research    Diabetes    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    AI/AN health

A Culturally Adapted Online Experience Improves Type 2 Diabetes Nutrition Education for American Indians and Alaska Natives

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have traditional food and nutrition practices that support holistic health. However, these traditional practices have been interrupted by Western food systems, which has led to disproportionate rates of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among AI/AN communities. Nutrition education interventions are particularly effective when developed to meet the needs of specific communities and when they emphasize strengths-based, culturally relevant healthy dietary practices. A research brief  in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, shares the results of a successful culturally adapted, online diabetes nutrition education program for AI/ANs. The implications of the findings have guided program changes for improved diabetes nutrition education.


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Research    Equity Diversity and Inclusion    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Climate Health    Environment

Racially Segregated Communities More Vulnerable to Toxic-Metal Air Pollution, CSU Study Finds

For many decades, it’s been known that communities of color are exposed to more air pollution than their predominantly white counterparts.


Author Anne Manning | Publish Date November 01, 2022
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    One Health

Integrating Genomics, Ecology and Epidemiology to Battle Parasitic Diseases That Ravage Poor Countries

A new paper in eLife Sciences explores the importance of using advanced genomic sequencing as a powerful tool to control schistosomiasis, the world’s second-leading parasitic disease. 


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date August 30, 2022
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Biostatistics

New Study Presents the First Data-Driven Model of Cranial Bone Development in Children

A new peer-reviewed paper presents the first data-driven sex-specific model of pediatric cranial bone development. 


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Cannabis    Environment

Heavy Metal Inhalation in Cannabis Users: New Study Funded at the Colorado School of Public Health

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have received funding from the Institute for Cannabis Research (ICR) to study the potential exposure to heavy metals from smoking or vaping cannabis.  


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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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Research    COVID-19    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Environment

Brass, Woodwind Instruments Emit Respiratory Particles, Study Finds

Just like coughing, sneezing, talking and singing, playing wind instruments ­– particularly those in the brass section – can spread respiratory particles that may carry the COVID-19 virus, according to a Colorado State University study.


Author Anne Manning | Publish Date July 13, 2022
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Research    COVID-19    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

Statewide COVID-19 Modeling Report Shows Slow, Upward Trend Driven by a New Omicron Subvariant

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado School of Public Health released an updated statewide modeling report which indicates COVID-19 transmission is on a relatively slow upward trend in Colorado as indicated by percent positivity, wastewater concentration, and hospitalizations. Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 is increasing in predominance and is likely driving the rise with its increased transmissibility over BA.2. This modeling report outlines a broad range of potential scenarios, as considerable uncertainty remains  about  BA.2.12.1.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

New Study Examines Decision-Making by Spouses vs. Children of Cognitively Impaired Older Adults

Over half of older Americans near the end of life are diagnosed with mild dementia or cognitive impairment, often leaving them unable to participate in medical decision-making on end-of-life care such as feeding tube placement or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. The responsibility for decision-making then falls to surrogate decision-makers, usually family members such as spouses or children. There is little evidence that end-of-life care is beneficial for quality or length of life for those with dementia, although it could have benefits for those with mild cognitive impairment. Previous studies have also shown that while surrogate decision-makers often have some understanding of their loved one’s preferences in terms of treatment, they have difficulty not approving treatment even when they believe the patient would prefer palliative care.  


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

New Study Examines the Link Between Adult Mental Health and Child Maltreatment

Responses to child maltreatment reports in the United States increased 8.4% from 2014 to 2018. Child maltreatment can include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation. The link between parent or caregiver mental health and child maltreatment has been established by research; caregivers experiencing mental illness have an increased risk of child maltreatment and can negatively impact a child’s development and wellbeing over the life course. Individuals and families living under the stress of poverty experience the highest rates of mental illness, including trauma, stress, social exclusion, and family conflict. Mental health disorders also contribute to poverty, creating a cyclical pattern.  


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

ColoradoSPH Rises in NIH Funding Rankings to the Top 20 in Public Health

Each year, the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research tracks annual National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and publishes rankings across schools of health disciplines, including schools of public health. In 2021, ColoradoSPH rose into the top 20 tier of schools, coming in at 18 in the rankings, reflecting an almost $20 million increase in federal funding. This was a large jump from 2020 when the school ranked 23rd with just over $10 million in NIH funding. 


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Research    Equity Diversity and Inclusion    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    AI/AN health    Community Health

Unique Strengths and Facilitators in American Indian and Alaska Native communities Can Help Reduce Food Insecurity

Urban dwelling American Indian and Alaska Native older adults face multiple layers of challenges related to social determinants of health that present barriers to healthy eating. However, the social and cultural value placed on sharing and supporting one another within these communities can help improve healthy food access for older adults, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier.


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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CSU    smoking

New Study Highlights Key Health Opportunities, Causes of Death for Coloradans

Scientists at Colorado State University used one of the most comprehensive global health datasets in the world to analyze the causes of deaths and disabilities in Colorado over a 29-year period, from 1990 to 2019. The analysis included risk factors for poor health and deaths, making the study unique, according to Dr. David Rojas-Rueda, senior author of the study and an assistant professor of epidemiology in CSU’s Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences.

Cardiovascular disease and neoplasms, or cancers, accounted for half of the deaths in Colorado during this time frame. In relative numbers, Colorado has seen an improvement in health indicators observed in the study over the last 29 years, with mortality and disability rates accounting for an aging population.


Author Mary Guiden | Publish Date December 30, 2021
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

New Study Shows Promising Result of Peer Advocate Mental Health Digital Intervention Pilot Study

One million teenagers report suicide attempts and 1 in 5 teenagers considers suicide every year in the United States. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents ages 10-19 years of age. Because suicidal youths are more likely to confide in peers than adults, peer support is a critical piece of any mental health intervention for this age group. Social support has also been shown to directly impact mental health. Social media networks are a common source of communication and social support for teens, and therefore a potential place for mental health initiatives. A new study from the Colorado School of Public Health described the results of a peer advocate mental health digital intervention program pilot study for Ohio youth initiated by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Motivational Educational Entertainment Productions Inc team.  


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz

Study Examines the Relationship Between Syringe Services Programs and Law Enforcement in the State of Colorado

Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) reduce the transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C through the distribution of sterile needles to people who inject drugs. These programs also provide additional health services such as overdose prevention education, HIV and Hep-C testing, and naloxone provisions. These programs now operate in 39 states and Washington D.C., however, discrepancies remain in the approach that states have taken towards the possession or purchase of syringes. Thus, the relationship between SSPs and law enforcement is varied and can influence the operation of SSPs.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health

Health Care Providers Exhausted by Pandemic Enroll in Sleep Trial

More than a year and a half after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no secret that responding to the disease has caused crushing stress among health care providers. To cite one of many examples, a survey of more than 1,100 industry workers reported that more than 90% experienced stress and three-quarters suffered from exhaustion and burnout as a result of the pandemic.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date December 07, 2021
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Environment

More than 200,000 Deaths Could Be Prevented Annually if Countries Support More Urban Cycling by 2050

Biking plays a significant role in urban areas and has been suggested as a tool to promote public health. Now, a new study led by Colorado State University has for the first time estimated the health benefits of urban cycling in 17 countries.

According to the research team, up to 205,424 premature deaths could be prevented each year if countries support high levels of urban cycling. In the U.S., it is estimated that more than 15,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year by supporting urban cycling.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, modeled the benefits of promoting urban cycling up to 2050 and if 100% of bike trips replace traveling by car.

CSU’s Dr. David Rojas-Rueda led the research project in collaboration with scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

An avid urban cycler and senior author of the study, Rojas-Rueda said that the team found global biking policies may provide important mortality benefits in the years ahead.

“This study should be seen as a call to implement policies that support sustainable mobility and a healthy urban design,” he said.  “Current policies will impact our future and the health of future generations.”

The study compared current cycling trends with high levels of urban cycling among 17 countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom and the U.S.

The high cycling 2050 scenarios were based on policies that have been shown to bring a quick increase in biking levels. This includes things like:

  • Retrofitting biking infrastructure onto existing roads to create networks on arterial streets, small residential streets, and intercity roads.
  • Implementation of bike-share systems in large cities.
  • Reforming laws and enforcement practices to better protect active transport.
  • Investment in walking facilities and public transport to offer trips that can be combined with bike trips.
  • Elimination of policies that support additional motorized vehicle use, such as free parking and fuel subsidies.
  • Establishment of congestion pricing, travel fees and development impact fees to charge a price for driving.

The research team used a quantitative health impact assessment methodology, which considered the physical activity benefits and the risks associated with traffic fatalities and inhalation of air pollution.


Author CSU MarComm Staff | Publish Date December 01, 2021
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment

Researchers Expand Study on “Forever Chemicals” in Drinking Water

Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health and partner institutions will expand on a groundbreaking study examining the effects of contaminated drinking water on residents of El Paso County thanks to a $5 million grant from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.


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Research    COVID-19    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Worker Health

Study: Mask Wearing, Hand Washing Protected CSU Essential Workers Early in Pandemic

In the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, vaccines were not yet available, and workplaces and universities, including Colorado State University, had taken what operations they could online.


Author Anne Manning | Publish Date July 29, 2021
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Research    Awards    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CSU

CSU Receives $2 Million Grant to Help Prevent Future Pandemics

Building on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado State University has received a $2 million commitment from The Anschutz Foundation to further the development of new solutions for building resilience and agility in stopping infectious disease transmission among animals and people.


Author Jeff Dodge | Publish Date July 26, 2021
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Research    Cancer    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment

American Cancer Society 4-Year Grant Funds Deeper Look at Risk Factors Associated with Oil and Gas Development, and Childhood Leukemia

The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has approved funding for 42 research grants nationwide totaling $33.8M, including one grant in Denver. Grant applications undergo a rigorous, independent, and highly competitive peer review process. The newly approved grants will fund investigators at 33 institutions across the United States, including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Grant-funded projects will begin on July 1, 2021.


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Research    COVID-19    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center Grant Targets COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy

More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic began, the United States at last appears to be gaining the upper hand in fighting the spread of COVID-19. That’s thanks largely in part to effective vaccines delivered to hundreds of millions of people. As of late May, half the U.S. population had received at least one vaccination dose; about 40% were fully vaccinated.  


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date June 18, 2021
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Global Health

Rapid Respiratory Virus Testing Does Not Impact Antibiotic Prescribing Among Children

One of the most common causes of pediatric emergency department and urgent care visits is acute respiratory infections. Around 55-57% children presenting in these settings are prescribed antibiotics, despite these infections having primarily viral causes. The overuse of antibiotics can have negative consequences such as antibiotic resistance, increased healthcare costs, and adverse drug events. Respiratory pathogen identification could lead to improved evaluation and management of acute respiratory infection in children; it could also lead to decreases in the overuse of antibiotics. New advances in rapid respiratory virus testing provide an opportunity for the identification of pathogens in short timeframes in the emergency department and urgent care setting. A new randomized trial examined whether rapid knowledge of the pathogen impacted the prescribing patterns of physicians in these settings. 


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

NIH Research Grant to Address Kidney Disease Among Women in Guatemala

Dr. Jaime Butler-Dawson, from the Center for Health, Work, & Environment (CHWE), has received a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. The three-year K01 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will provides support to examine the environmental determinants of kidney injury in female sugarcane workers and female community members in Guatemala.


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Research    Diabetes    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    AI/AN health

Psychosocial Factors Impact Health-Related Quality of Life Among American Indians with Diabetes

American Indian adults have a diabetes prevalence of 15%, the highest of any racial or ethnic group. Their likelihood of dying from diabetes complications is more than 50% over that of their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Health-related quality of life is a measurement of health that encompasses physical, psychological, and social aspects of health and it has been to shown to be negatively impacted by type 2 Diabetes. A recent systemic review showed that the presence of complications, hypertension, depression, and type of diet were associated with worse health-related quality of life, however, American Indians were not included in this analysis. A new study explores the relationship between psychosocial factors and health-related quality of life for American Indians by describing functional social support, emotional support, coping, resilience, post-traumatic stress disorder, and health-related quality of life. It also investigates the association between psychosocial factors and health-related quality of life among American Indians living with diabetes.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Bringing Total Worker Health® to a Multinational Agribusiness in Latin America

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have published a paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health studying the effectiveness of applying Total Worker Health (TWH) in an international context. The study, led by a team at CHWE, is the first to examine how a TWH framework operates outside of a western context in Latin America workforces.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 25, 2021
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

$3 Million NIH Grant for Colorado School of Public Health Worker Health Study

Three groups from the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have been awarded a $3 million 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of air pollution and climate on the kidney health of sugarcane workers in Guatemala. The award provides funding to identify how air pollutants contribute to chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu), a growing international epidemic.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 25, 2021
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Climate Health    Environment

Four CSU Researchers Selected for NASA Team Studying Air Quality and Health

Three atmospheric scientists and one epidemiologist from Colorado State University will interpret NASA data for public benefit as part of NASA’s Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team. The team’s goal is to translate information from NASA satellites, models and surface observations to help officials make decisions to protect public health.


Author Jayme DeLoss | Publish Date March 05, 2021
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Research    COVID-19    Epidemiology    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU

CDC Study Shows High Level of Face Covering Use at Colorado State University

Colorado State University researchers say the vast majority of people around the university are wearing face coverings, according to a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 


Author Joe Giordano | Publish Date February 26, 2021
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Strong Laws Increase Awareness and Reporting Rates of Concussions

In the United States, approximately 2 million children under the age of 18 experience sports-related concussions annually. Concussions can have negative impacts on a child’s health, including physical, cognitive, emotional and sleep health. Between 2009 and 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia enacted concussion laws in an effort to raise awareness of symptoms and to reduce the risk of repeated concussions.  These laws all include three elements: immediate removal from play, clearance by a health professional prior to a return to play, and mandatory concussion education for coaches, parents, and athletes. When these laws went into effect, an increase in concussions and concussion-related emergency visits occurred, most likely due to higher awareness and reporting. Over the following 2.6 years, rates of reported concussions decreased, suggesting improved concussion practices due to the enactment of the laws. Previous studies on the effectiveness of these laws have looked only at the existence of the concussion law. A new study investigated the association between multiple design elements of various state concussion laws and rates of new and recurrent sports-related concussions. Three design elements were examined: strength of law, number of law revisions, and speed of law adoption.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Health Systems    Health Advocacy

Cognitive Assessments During Medicare Annual Wellness Visits Increases Rate of New Dementia Diagnoses

As the population ages, this number is projected to grow to 14 million by 2050 if no significant advances in prevention or treatment are made. Currently no cure exists for dementia and treatment options are limited in their effectiveness. Because of this, screening for dementia is not commonplace, despite the fact that early detection of dementia could allow for more effective treatment.


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Research    Mental Health    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

Higher Demands and Lower Access to Resources Impact Job Satisfaction Among the Early Childhood Education Workforce

The early childhood education workforce has a significant impact on the development of language, motor, cognitive, and social-emotional skills in young children. The ability of these workers to foster this development in the children under their care is influenced by their own physical and mental health. The well-being of this workforce is often overlooked when considering the quality of the care that children receive. Early childhood education is an occupation with many stressors, including low wages, long hours, high job demands, increased risk of exposure to infectious diseases and environmental hazards such as cleaning supplies. These work conditions contribute to the disproportionately high mental and physical conditions experienced by the early education workforce, where high turnover rates are also seen. Those who work at Head Start programs, which provide free care to low-income families, have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to these demands.


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Research    Diabetes    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Study Finds Lifestyle Changes Are Most Beneficial for Those at High Genetic Risk of Diabetes

The incidence and prevalence of diabetes mellitus is on the rise. Lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, increased physical activity, and dietary change have all been shown to decrease rates of incident diabetes; however, some people will still progress from prediabetes to overt diabetes despite achieving weight loss, physical activity goals, or dietary changes. This pattern was observed in the Diabetes Prevention Program, a randomized trial that included an intensive lifestyle intervention arm. An understanding of how personal characteristics affect how an individual reacts to lifestyle modifications could assist in targeting diabetes prevention. A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health examined how genetic risk for diabetes modifies the association of successful lifestyles changes with incident diabetes.


Author Michelle Kuba | Publish Date January 04, 2021
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Research    Mental Health    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Suicide Prevention    Injury & Violence Prevention

Psychiatric Diagnoses Are Associated With Selection of Lethal Means in Suicide Deaths

Suicides are the second leading cause of death among 15-44-year-olds and the tenth overall leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide prevention efforts include consideration of whether an at-risk individual has access to lethal means and whether an individual has any psychiatric disorder such as mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, or substance abuse disorders. A psychiatric disorder diagnosis is a known risk for factor for suicide. Previous studies that examined specific means of suicide focused on demographic factors such as gender, race, urban/rural designation, age, or health status, and whether those factors are associated with specific lethal means. A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health examined whether the choice of means by which a person dies by suicide is associated with specific psychiatric diagnoses.


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Research    COVID-19    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Environment

Colorado State University Teams Up with UCHealth to Develop COVID-19 Biobank

Devin Kadis, a fourth-year student at Colorado State University, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in August 2020. It’s been a journey, which unfortunately is not yet over. 


Author Mary Guiden | Publish Date December 17, 2020
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Research    COVID-19    Epidemiology    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU

The Breadth of Public Health Research at CSU

What’s interesting about public health is when it’s working efficiently you don’t know it’s there. We take for granted our clean water and air, that the food we eat, the parks our children play in, and our work environments, are safe, and importantly that infectious diseases are controlled through vaccination programs, proper hygiene, and vector control. When a public health problem overwhelms the system like in the coronavirus pandemic, public health becomes front and center, we realize the importance of this system built to prevent and protect ourselves and our communities.   


Author Tracy Nelson | Publish Date December 01, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Environment

When Fracking Moves Into The Neighborhood, Mental Health Risks Rise

Hydraulic fracturing has boomed in the U.S. over the past decade, but unless you live near it, you may not realize just how close fracking wells can be to homes and schools. In Colorado, the wellbore — the hole drilled to extract oil or gas — can be 500 feet from someone’s house under current state rules. In some states, like Texas, drilling can be even closer.


Author Stephanie Malin | Publish Date October 22, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Community Health

Stereotypes Influence Personal Views of Aging and Health Outcomes

The link between views on aging, including attitudes about aging and older adults, and physical and mental health has been supported in numerous studies. However, the interactions of different types of views on aging are not well understood. Two types of views on aging were examined in a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health: aging stereotypes, which are defined as general beliefs about aging shared in a given culture, and self-perceptions of aging, which reflect people’s personal experiences of aging. The researchers hypothesized that societal views of aging would influence how participants perceived their own aging process. They also predicted that participants’ perceptions of their own aging would influence their health outcomes.


Author Michelle Kuba | Publish Date October 15, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment

Act Now on Wildfires, Global Climate Change for Human Health, Study Says

Immediate actions are needed to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change that helps fuel wildfires, and ultimately affects human physical and psychological health according to a new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


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Research    COVID-19    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Community Health

Survey Identifies Key Stressors, Solutions for Low-Income Families Dealing with COVID-19

A recent survey conducted by Colorado researchers sheds light on how severely COVID-19 is affecting the region’s most economically vulnerable families — and the most effective ways for them to cope with it.


Author Jeff Dodge | Publish Date August 28, 2020
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Open Philanthropy Project Funds Urgent PPE Research at ColoradoSPH

By mid-March, Clinical Professor of Epidemiology May Chu could already see that that personal protective equipment (PPE) was going to be a huge issue in the fight against COVID-19. Shortages were already emerging, and medical equipment supply chains made it clear that those shortages would last for a while. Chu discussed the predicament with officers at the Open Philanthropy Project, and by April, the conversations turned into a $250,000 dollar gift to support fast-track, urgent research overseen by Chu related to PPE for healthcare workers.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Training    Worker Health

$9 Million CDC Grant for Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environment

The Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health has been awarded a $9 million five-year training and research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve worker health, safety and well-being. The award from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides continued support for the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC), under the direction of University of Colorado Distinguished Professor Lee Newman, MD, MA and Colorado State University Professor Stephen Reynolds, PhD.  


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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    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

New Study Looks at Opioid Use and Driving Outcomes in Older Adults

A new study from faculty at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus looks at the relationship between opioid use and driving among older adults.

The findings published today in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

“We chose to focus on older adults because they face an increased risk of experiencing chronic pain and are commonly prescribed opioid medication as a treatment,” said Emmy Betz, MD, MDH, emergency physician, and researcher at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “However, it’s known that the side effects of opioid medications can compromise driving abilities, and we wanted to find out more about the current relationship between the two among an older population.”

The researchers examined data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) study, one of the largest and most comprehensive databases available on senior drivers incorporating 2,990 participants being followed for five years. Data presented the opportunity to examine opioid use in a large cohort of older drivers (65 to 79 years old). More specifically, the goal of the researchers was to answer three questions through a cross-sectional analysis of data:


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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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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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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment

Study Examines Environmental Justice Impact of Senate Bill 181 in Colorado

In Colorado, Senate Bill 181 (SB19-181) is changing the way oil and gas development is regulated, and one of the main effects of the bill is a large shift towards increased local control over siting decisions. In a first of its kind study, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded researchers in Colorado a $730,000 grant to examine the impact of the bill and whether or not shifting oil and gas decision-making to the local level will lead to fairer outcomes for marginalized communities. 

“Poor communities and communities of color persistently face higher risks to their health and well-being. Recent events have shown that this is true for a wide range of risks. Some of these risks are linked to policies that affect where environmental hazards like oil and gas operations are cited,” said Katie Dickinson, PhD, assistant professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, and principal investigator in the study. 

The new study conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health at the Anschutz Medical Campus in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver and Colorado School of Mines will look at how the bill is impacting Colorado’s towns and cities, and how its effects may differ for individuals and communities across racial and class lines. 

“Disadvantaged communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution and do not have equal access to environmental goods,” Dickinson adds. “Being able to contribute to a framework for decision-making around oil and gas siting, that also takes into account a community’s social and environmental disadvantages, is key to protecting the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens.” 

More specifically, the research is aimed at answering three questions:
1) Do socially disadvantaged communities tend to be closer to oil and gas development than communities that have more resources?
2) Do these disadvantaged communities have equal access to information about the risks and benefits of oil and gas development that could affect where they choose to live and if they choose to get involved politically?
3) Will increasing local government control over oil and gas siting lead to more equitable siting decisions and broader access to those decision-making activities?

“Our innovative framework examines geographical patterns of development alongside the decision-making processes that goes into oil and gas development, bridging two main areas of environmental justice research,” said Deserai Crow, PhD, associate professor at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, and co-principal investigator. “Our project offers methodological innovation by using multiple datasets at different spatial scales, which is especially important for rural areas where capturing proximity of people to increasingly intensive oil and gas operations has been challenging in past studies.” 

To answer the first question, the researchers will analyze large geospatial datasets to assess the distribution of oil and gas impacts, triangulating between multiple datasets and analyses at different levels of spatial aggregation to evaluate how these methodological choices affect results. The second question will be addressed using a household survey in purposefully selected Colorado case study sites. To investigate the third question, the researchers will use a mixed-methods analysis of local decision maker surveys, policy documents, and in-depth interviews, focusing specifically on policy and rulemaking changes following the April 2019 passage of SB181. 

“Everyone deserves equal protection from environmental risks and opportunities to participate in decision-making processes that affect local environmental and health outcomes. In Colorado, this means that communities should be meaningfully involved in decision-making around issues that affect their local environments such as oil and gas development, especially given the far-reaching economic, social and environmental impact of the industry. Our goal is to provide useful information for local communities, Colorado state-level policymakers, and national leaders who are engaged in oil and gas decision-making,” Dickinson adds.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    S4A    Health Advocacy

Systems for Action Brings Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Health Systems Research to ColoradoSPH

When Glen Mays came to the Colorado School of Public Health in 2019 to chair the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy, he brought an entire research program with him. Five years ago, while at the University of Kentucky, Mays created Systems for Action, a signature research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Mays and the Systems for Action team, now housed on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, conduct extensive research and also select and administer research grants to a handful of external organizations each year.


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Research    Epidemiology    Firearm Injury Prevention    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Gun Violence Prevention    Injury & Violence Prevention

Colorado Emergency Departments Take New Steps to Prevent Youth Suicide

A new study conducted in seven Front Range emergency departments demonstrated success in helping parents make their homes safer when a teen is distressed.


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Research    Mental Health    Suicide Prevention    Environment    Worker Health

Mental Health in the Mountains

Mental health is at the front and center as our world faces the coronavirus pandemic. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 9.6 million American adults suffer from a serious mental illness —that is 1 in 5 adults. Mountain and rural communities, ski towns specifically, have significantly higher rates of suicide compared to the national average (14.0 per 100,000). Destinations such as Telluride and Aspen in Colorado and Alta and Snowbird in Utah have up to two to three times as many suicides as the national average. It has been referred to as the “paradise paradox”.” With the allure of the West’s landscapes and outdoor lifestyles often comes a host of realities including isolation, lack of mental health care, easy access to firearms, and financial stressors. Experts from the University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center have also cited the social makeup of these communities as a contributing factor to mental health conditions and suicide. The transient nature of resort communities results in people having to regularly rebuild their support systems. 

Last September, we partnered with community groups in Summit County, Utah to invite local employers to share their perspectives on the topic. Representatives from the tourism and service industries expressed the significant mental health struggle their communities face. One participant, an owner of a local restaurant group, summed it up as a “toxic work environment.” “You have people who come here to live the dream but have to work three jobs just to get by,” he explained. “We live and work in a place with primarily seasonal jobs which come with income instability, very high demands, and stress in peak times.” Other participants shared how they support employees by shifting schedules to allow employees to take days off even at busy times. “Overall, we heard from local business leaders that mental health is an issue they care about. They want to find solutions to ensure that their workforce is safe not only when they come to work, but when they go home,” shared Lili Tenney, director of outreach at the Center for Health, Work & Environment. “These employers often face ongoing struggles just to stay in business, so to have people take time off to share their personal stories and commitment to take action was very encouraging.” 

In response to the workforce needs of these communities, our Center partnered with the Depression Center to host two days of workshops in February for mental health and suicide prevention in the workplace. The in-person trainings focused on reducing stigma, identifying warning signs, gaining crucial conversation skills, and establishing adaptable workplace supports. The first day trained 150 employees from Vail Resorts representing seven company divisions including base and mountain operations, hospitality, skier services, and corporate administration. The group of supervisors ranged from 25-66+ years of age and responded in pre and post surveys that they had all been in contact with someone who appeared to be experiencing mental health challenges at work. Sixty-nine percent of them reported being in contact with someone who appeared suicidal. The second day was hosted by the Park City Chamber of Commerce and brought together managers and supervisors from the service and tourism industries. Participants improved their knowledge about suicide from pre-training (3.1/5) to post-training (4.1/5) and improved their ability to get help for someone considering suicide from pre-training (3.4/5) to post-training (4.6/5). 

“Employers in these communities are eager to play a role in supporting their employees,” says Tenney. “While our work at the Center aims to serve workers across the Western region, we are focused on developing community models that provide education and resources to help prevent mental illness and suicide in all places where access to care is lacking and risk factors are high.” 

To receive more information on supporting employees, visit our Health Links Resource Center and training opportunities.   

Special thanks to Alex Yannacone, Director of Education and Community Programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center, CONNECT Summit County, Park City Chamber of Commerce, and Vail Resorts.   


Author Liliana Tenney, DrPH, MPH | Publish Date April 07, 2020
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Research    Environment    Worker Health

New Study Finds Ways to Increase Employee Motivation in Total Worker Health® Programs

Many employers invest in Total Worker Health® (TWH) programs but struggle to engage employees in them—even when they offer incentives for participation. Findings from our recent study, in collaboration with Clemson University, published in the Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health, show that employers looking to increase employee engagement should first focus on how their organization demonstrates its commitment to TWH through leadership, values, and practices. 

Using data from the Small+Safe+Well (SSWell) Study, our team looked at 36 small businesses representing 1,052 employees implementing different levels of TWH. The study aimed to understand employee perspectives on how much their organization valued and was committed to their safety, health, and well-being. Dr. Natalie Schwatka, the study’s lead author, says, “We know these perceptions are related to employee engagement, but what we did not know was how they were related. That’s where motivation comes into play.” 

If you are an employer, you might be asking yourself, “My business has a TWH program. Isn’t that enough of a demonstration of commitment?” The answer is yes…and no. Employees make judgment calls about their organization’s commitment by observing whether TWH programs are supported by management; given adequate resources; based on employee input; and continually improved. These observations make up what are called “safety and health climates.” These climates are a snapshot of a business’s health and safety culture at one point in time. 

We find that motivation is the key link between safety and health climates and employee participation in TWH programs. As you think about what motivates you personally, consider how your organization shows that it cares about health and safety and how that impacts you.

Interestingly, we find that three kinds of motivation are at play here:  

1. External motivation – “I do it because I have to”
2. Identified motivation – “I do it because I know it’s good for me”
3. Intrinsic motivation – “I do it because it’s interesting to me” 

When your organization decides to improve safety and health climates, it is influencing each kind of motivation. Importantly, it is influencing intrinsic motivation, which is thought to be the most powerful kind of motivation. It represents an internally driven reason that causes an employee to engage in TWH programs. 

What does this mean for your business or your TWH practice? Based on our study’s findings, we recommend the following steps:   

1. Conduct an employee survey. Assess your company’s safety and health climates through an employee survey to learn whether they perceive a commitment to safety and health. *Businesses enrolled in Health Links™ Premium Plan can access our validated employee health and safety culture survey.   

2. Explore creative ways to increase engagement. Think beyond the use of incentives as they do not have a lasting impact on behavior and can actually decrease engagement when removed. Make sure management actively participate in your programs. Get feedback from diverse groups of employees. Consider not only what they need but what they want. When employees have a say in the programs, they will feel a greater sense of ownership of them.  


Author Natalie Schwatka | Publish Date March 10, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Young Sugarcane Workers at High Risk of Kidney Function Decline

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work and Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have published a paper in PLoS-ONE studying the decline in kidney function for young, first-time sugarcane workers in Guatemala. The study, led by University of Colorado Instructor Miranda Dally, is the first to examine kidney function decline in workers starting their first day on a job with a high risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDu), a rising epidemic in rural workers in Central and South America. 


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 09, 2020
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Research    Cancer    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Health Systems    Health Advocacy

Study Links Disparities in Diagnostic Imaging to Lower Lung Cancer Survival Rates Among Minority Patients

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. While survival rates of lung cancer are low for all patients, rates are lower for Black patients, with a 15% five-year all-stages survival rate, compared to 18% for non-Hispanic whites. At diagnosis, Black and Hispanic patients are more often at an advanced stage compared to non-Hispanic whites. Research has shown that factors such as early detection, smoking, biology, environmental and societal factors contribute to these disparities.


Author Michelle Kuba | Publish Date March 05, 2020
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Environment

CU Anschutz and CSU Team Up to Fund Inter-Institutional Health Innovation Projects

One of the pillars of the Colorado School of Public Health is its collaborative model that leverages the unique strengths of three Colorado universities into one school. Comprising the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, the collaboration now also manifests as internally-funded, inter-institutional research projects, thanks to a new jointly-funded grant program.   


Author Tori Forsheim | Publish Date January 03, 2020
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Research    Women's Health    Equity Diversity and Inclusion    ColoradoSPH at UNC    Community Health

Redefining Women’s Health for Transgender and Nonbinary Inclusivity

Traditionally, women’s health has been defined by its contrast to men’s health, but using a male/female gendered dichotomy to define entire fields of medical care has resulted in entire populations, like transgender and nonbinary (TNB) individuals, falling through the cracks.  According to a new commentary co-authored by Colorado School of Public Health researchers and published in Women’s Health Issues, there isn’t enough research on TNB health needs to help restructure health services in an evidence-based way to better serve these populations.


Author Tori Forsheim | Publish Date January 02, 2020
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Research    Diabetes    Obesity   

Focusing on Diabetes and Obesity Prevention

While Colorado may be the skinniest state, reports indicate that our state’s residents, both adults and children, are growing more and more obese each year, while both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have increased exponentially in our nation’s youth over the last decade. Researchers are now honing in on human developmental periods (in utero, neonatal, and early childhood) and environmental factors as possible culprits. 


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Climate Health    Environment

Studying Air Quality in China, and Creating a More Sustainable Future for Millions

As Colorado State University students were wrapping up finals and heading out for fall break, Ellison Carter was boarding a plane headed back to Colorado, following an action-packed two weeks in China.


Author Jayme DeLoss | Publish Date December 05, 2019
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    One Health    Worker Health

The Role of Veterinarians in the Opioid Crisis

More than 399,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription and illicit opioids from 1999-2017. There are many efforts to educate physicians and dentists about their roles and responsibilities in addressing this national crisis. But what about veterinarians? Animals, like humans, may receive opioids for pain. Veterinarians and veterinary clinics can be registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and in many states can administer, prescribe, stock, and dispense opioids. As efforts to educate and monitor opioid prescribing by medical and dental providers have increased, individuals may try to covertly access opioids for their own use from their pets or other animals. In addition, leftover opioids from veterinary prescriptions can also result in diversion, misuse, or inadvertent exposure for members of the household. Access to opioids in the workplace can also lead to misuse by veterinary staff leading to overdose and death. 


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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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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment

Colorado Part of Large National Study to Evaluate Health Consequences of Toxic "Forever Chemicals" in Drinking Water

Researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus received notification of a $1 million, first-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to address the human health effects of contaminated drinking water in El Paso County, Colorado. The grant is part of the first major study to look at exposure nationwide, and six other sites are also being funded to total $7 million this year. 


Author Colorado School of Public Health | Publish Date September 23, 2019
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU

International Collaboration Provides Research and Educational Opportunities in Ecuador

Cardiometabolic risk refers to an individual’s chances of having stroke, heart disease or diabetes. Some factors, like age and gender, increase a person’s cardiometabolic risk and can’t be affected by behavior change. Many factors, though, may be affected by lifestyle, and those are what Dr. Chris Melby has studied for a significant portion of his career. 


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date July 03, 2019
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment

Is Treating Drinking Water Enough to Limit PFAS Exposure?

Researchers from three states that are currently grappling with water contaminated with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), are joining forces to tackle one of the biggest remaining questions facing communities who have found the toxic chemicals used in firefighting foam, nonstick cookware and water-repellent clothing lurking in their water supply.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Data and Health

Refining Research in a Complex World of Data

For many men and women on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, each day is a search. Their quarry is the signals in data: information necessary to answer an endless array of questions about the complex world of public health and medicine.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Community Health

Breakthroughs in Body Image with Virtual Imaging

Though Dr. Juyeon Park has devoted much of her professional research to studying how humans use technology – focusing more on the human aspects than on designing the technology itself – she still didn’t anticipate the “Eureka!” moments and, sometimes, tears that came when young women truly saw themselves.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date January 25, 2019
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Research    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Older Adults with Gastrointestinal Infections Display Fewer Symptoms

ColoradoSPH researchers Alice White and Elaine Scallan, PhD, research instructor and professor of epidemiology joined with colleagues in in Canada, Australia, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study enteric infections, or those affecting the gastrointestinal tract. They found infections can present differently in older people compared with younger individuals. 


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment

Breaking Ground: Understanding the Health Implications of Oil and Gas Development

To publish research on the environmental impact of Colorado’s oil and gas industry is to resign yourself to pleasing some and not others.


Author Michael Booth | Publish Date January 09, 2019
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Biostatistics

A Data Democracy: Quantifying Disease Through Data Imaging

If data were a traded commodity like corn and soybeans, its market price would be sky-high. Worldwide appetite for it is keen in every business sector and promises only to accelerate. 


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date January 08, 2019
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Research    Cancer    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health

Study Shows How Social Media Can Help Reduce Cancer Deaths

According to a study led by Community and Behavioral Health alum Nicole Harty, MPH '16, and including Professor Sheana Bull and Senior Research Assistant Andrea Dwyer who is also director of the Colorado Cancer Screening Program, advertisements on popular social media sites can instigate people getting tested for cancer sooner. 


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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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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    Epidemiology    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz   

Landscaping Predictors for Deadly Pulmonary Condition

A new study led by Gregory Kinney, MPH, PhD, assistant research professor of epidemiology, shows joint assessment of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using Pulmonary function testing (PFT) and computed tomography (CT) can identify patients at higher risk for death. 


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Research    Epidemiology    Suicide Prevention

Researchers Find Little Association Between Suicide and Hypoxia

Following an extensive analysis of published studies, research conducted in part by Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, assistant professor of epidemiology at Colorado School of Public Health, has found that while suicide rates are higher at higher altitudes, they are unlikely caused by hypoxia, (low oxygen) at these elevations.


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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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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Biostatistics

Improving Quality of Life for People with Chronic Heart Failure

Patients with chronic heart failure face related problems, such as depression and fatigue, that could be relieved by an expanded model of care, according to a recently published study took part in by Diane Fairclough, DrPH, MSPH, professor of biostatistics and informatics at Colorado School of Public Health.


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Research    Mental Health    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Depression and Fatigue Increase Women’s Risk of Work-Related Injuries

Women who suffer from depression, anxiety, and fatigue are more likely to be injured at work, according to a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine led by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environment on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The study found that these health factors significantly affected women’s risk of injury but not men’s risk. 


Author Avery Artman | Publish Date February 14, 2018
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Research    Injury & Violence Prevention

Data from ColoradoSPH Finds Brain Injury Laws Reduce Concussions in High School Athletes

Between 2009 and 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia enacted one or more traumatic brain injury (TBI) laws, more commonly known as concussion laws. These laws often include mandates to remove athletes from play following an actual or suspected concussion, a medical clearance before they can return to play, and annual education of coaches, parents, and athletes regarding concussion signs or symptoms. Now a new study using data collected in a national sports injury surveillance system by researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, has found that state-level TBI laws are, in fact, beneficial in reducing the rates of new and recurrent concussions among U.S. high school athletes. 


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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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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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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

The Denver Post

“Hear/Say”, a groundbreaking art exhibition, explores the effects of high-concentration cannabis

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateJune 11, 2024

At the intersection of art, science, and health, BRDG Project Gallery at 3300 Tejon St. in Denver hosting “Hear/Say”, a groundbreaking art exhibition exploring the effects of high-concentration cannabis. Sponsored by the Colorado School of Public Health, the show is a science-based examination that encourages conversation and open-minded understanding of a controversial subject through the artistic lens of local and national artists. The public is invited to view the exhibition from June 14 through July 14, 2024 during regular BRDG Project gallery hours. 

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Healthline

Man with First Human Case of H5N2 Bird Flu Variant Dies in Mexico

news outletHealthline
Publish DateJune 07, 2024

A 59-year-old man in Mexico who contracted a type of bird flu known as A(H5N2) died in April, the World Health Organization said June 5Trusted Source. This is the first laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with an A(H5N2) virus worldwide, and the first avian H5 virus reported in a person in Mexico, the WHO said. “These viruses, such as H5N1 and now H5N2, primarily circulate among birds, with occasional spillover into mammals, including humans, under the right circumstances,” said Daniel Pastula, MD, MHS, chief of neuro-infectious diseases and global neurology at the University of Colorado and Colorado School of Public Health.

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STAT News

Smoke exposure from California’s wildfires linked to 52,000 early deaths, study says

news outletSTAT News
Publish DateJune 07, 2024

When large swaths of the East Coast were shrouded in wildfire smoke last summer, scientists in California grimly joked that maybe, finally, power brokers in New York and Washington, D.C. would be spurred to act on the burning issue that has long plagued the West Coast. Despite wildfire seasons that regularly burn hundreds of thousands of acres in California alone each year, researchers know relatively little about the long-term effects of chronic wildfire smoke on the body, and funding to reduce the known harms of exposure is scarce.

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Health Affairs

Reimagining Public Health: Mapping A Path Forward

news outletHealth Affairs
Publish DateJune 01, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic and other ongoing public health challenges have highlighted deficiencies in the US public health system. The United States is in a unique moment that calls for a transformation that builds on Public Health 3.0 and its focus on social determinants of health and partnerships with diverse sectors while also acknowledging how the pandemic altered the landscape for public health. Based on relevant literature, our experience, and interviews with public health leaders, we describe seven areas of focus within three broad categories to support transformational change.

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