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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

School of Public Health

Recent Research & Publications

Ambient and Household Air Pollution on Early-Life Determinants of Stunting—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Children looking out the windowStunting is an important risk factor for early growth and health implications throughout the life course, yet until recently, studies have rarely focused on populations exposed to high levels of particulate matter pollution or on developing countries most vulnerable to stunting and its associated health and developmental impacts. In this study, DrPH student, Russell Dowling, MPH, and his collaborators found a consistent and significant evidence of elevated risk of stunting-related health outcomes associated with household air pollution exposure. This evidence reinforces the importance of promoting clean air as part of an integrated approach to preventing stunting.

Read the full article in SpringerLink >


Bioterrorism: Applying the Lens of COVID-19

Bioterrorism ReportOur very own alumnus, Donell Harvin, DrPH, MPA, MPH, Chief of Homeland Security at DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, co-authored this report for the Counter Terrorism Preparedness Network (CTPN) to highlight how the threat of bioterrorism could accelerate against the backdrop of COVID-19 and advances in technology and biosciences. It also noted how an integrated approach towards preparedness for public health crises and bioterrorism needed to be applied, underpinned by investment in urban planning and design as well as the development of city infrastructure and services. Dr. Harvin presented the report at the CTPN’s International Bioterrorism Conference on March 30th, 2021.

Read the full CTPN report >


Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers Administering COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States

NeedlestickAs mass COVID-19 vaccination programs roll out across the country, we are potentially faced with compromising workers’ health for the sake of the broader public health, as it relates to occupational exposure to contaminated needles and syringes. In this article, Eric Persaud, DrPH student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and another researcher raise awareness of needlestick injuries during mass COVID-19 vaccination programs. They provide suggestions for the role that engineering controls, such as devices with sharps injury prevention features play in protecting workers from exposure to bloodborne pathogens, as well as the importance of ongoing injury incident surveillance.

Read the full article in NEW SOLUTIONS >


Trends in Healthcare Facility-Onset Clostridioides difficile Infection and the Impact of Testing Schemes in an Acute Care Hospital System in New York City, 2016-201

Clostridioides DifficileHealthcare facility-onset Clostridioides difficile infection is associated with adverse clinical outcomes and hospital reimbursement. A four-year review involving eleven hospitals of the NYC Health + Hospital system was undertaken in this study that is first-authored by Briana Episcopia, BS, RN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention at Kings County Hospital Center, NYC Health & Hospitals and a current MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. 

Read the full article in ScienceDirect Journal of American Infection Control >


Horizons and Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy: HIV Prevention for Alcohol-Using Young Black Women, a Randomized Experiment

African American Woman and AlcoholBlack women are at disproportionately greater risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections than women of other ethnic/racial backgrounds. Alcohol use may further elevate the risk of HIV/sexually transmitted infection acquisition and transmission. In this research, Janet E. Rosenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and researchers evaluated the efficacy of a Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy (GMET) module to complement the evidence-based horizons intervention in reducing alcohol-related STI/HIV risk, incident STIs, and risky alcohol use among young Black women. 

Read the full article in American Journal of Preventive Medicine >

Read NYU Press Release >


Prevalence and Risk Factors of COVID-19 Symptoms among U.S. Adults with Allergies

Adult with AllergiesAccording to international epidemiological and clinical studies, adults with existing chronic diseases are at highest risk of morbidity and mortality related to COVID-19. Population-based data on the physical and mental health impacts of COVID-19 among U.S. adults with allergies are needed. In this research, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, ScD, MS, MPH, Assistant Professor for the Department of Community Health Sciences, and investigators evaluated COVID-19 associated physical and mental health symptoms experienced in the past seven days among adults with allergies compared to the general U.S. adult population. They hypothesized that adults with allergies would be more likely to experience physical and mental health related symptoms than those without allergies during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Read the full article in IJERPH >


Preventive Behaviors and Mental-health Related Symptoms Among Immunocompromised Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis of the COVID Impact Survey

COVID Immunocompromised AdultDisruption in care may be a barrier to identifying COVID-19 associated sequelae, such as mental health symptoms, among the immunocompromised. In this study, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, ScD, MS, MPH, Assistant Professor for the Department of Community Health Sciences, and resaerchers evaluated COVID-19-related preventive behaviors, with a focus on canceling doctor's appointments as a proxy for continuity of care, and compared COVID-19-related mental health symptoms among the immunocompromised with the general population.

Read the full article in PubMed >



Determinants of COVID-19 Preventive Behaviours Among Adults with Chronic Diseases in the USA: An Analysis of the Nationally Representative COVID-19 Impact Survey

Chronic Health ConditionsPreventive behaviours have been recommended to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Adults with chronic diseases (CDs) are at higher risk of COVID-19-related mortality compared to the general population. In this research, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, ScD, MS, MPH, Assistant Professor for the Department of Community Health Sciences, and collaborators examined preventive behaviors among adults with chronic health conditions. Their study found that adults with chronic health conditions were more likely to adhere to many of the recommended behaviors, but there was significant variability by education, employment, background, income, and rural place of residence.

Read the full article in BMJ Open >


Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation versus Endotracheal Intubation in Treatment of COVID-19 Patients Requiring Ventilatory Support

VentilatorRespiratory failure is a frequent cause of mortality in COVID-19 victims. A study on COVID-19 patients receiving non-invasive ventilation (NIV 1) and intubation found 28-day mortality rates of 79% and 86%, respectively. A team of researchers from SUNY Downstate, which included Max Mecklenburg  (MPH 2016 and current COM student), Chanée Massiah (DrPH-C, Epidemiology), Clara Wilson (4th year MD-MPH), Sabrina Rosengarten  (MPH 2018 and current COM student), and Vice Dean Michael Joseph, PhD, MPH, compared all-cause 30-day mortality for hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure who underwent intubation first, intubation after NIV, or NIV only. This paper shows the effectiveness of various respiratory management approaches for severe COVID-19.

Read the full article in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine >


Evaluating Mental Health–Related Symptoms Among Cancer Survivors During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis of the COVID Impact Survey

COVID Mental HealthThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of adults in the United States because of recommended preventive behaviors such as physical distancing. In this study, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, ScD, MS, MPH, and researchers used nationally representative data of 10,760 US adults from the COVID-19 Impact Survey to evaluate mental health symptoms and identify associated determinants among cancer survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The study concluded that cancer survivors are reporting mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly young adults, adults without a high school degree, women, and survivors with limited social support.

Read the full article in JCO Oncology Practice >


Thinking with Two Brains: Student Perspectives on the Presentation of Race in Preclinical Medical Education

Medical EducationThere is growing concern that during their education medical students come to believe that “race” is a biological construct and that differential treatment of patients based on “race” is clinically beneficial. How “race” is presented to medical students may influence both their implicit biases and future clinical practices, potentially widening racial disparities in care. In this study, Marlene Camacho-Rivera, ScD, MS, MPH, and researchers conducted interviews with medical students, focusing on how they experience the presentation of race in their medical education, use race in their learning experiences, and envision using race as physicians in future clinical encounters.

Read the full article in the Journal of Medical Education >



Powered-Hand Tools and Vibration-related Disorders in US-Railway Maintenance-of-Way Workers

Railroad workerMaintenance-of-way workers in North America who construct railroad tracks utilize specialized powered-hand tools, which lead to hand-transmitted vibration exposure. In this study, Paul Landsbergis, PhD, MPH, EdD, Associate Professor for the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and DrPH student, Marco Stillo, analyzed the survey given to the maintenance-of-way workers about neuro-musculoskeletal disorders, powered-hand tools and work practices. The survey showed that maintenance-of-way workers frequently reported typical hand-transmitted vibration-related symptoms, and appear to be at a risk for neuro-musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity.

Read the full article in J-STAGE >


Attitude Towards COVID-19 mHealth Use Among Adults with Chronic Health Conditions: A Secondary Data Analysis of the COVID-19 Impact Survey

Mobile Health AppAdults with chronic conditions are disproportionately burdened by COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. While COVID-19 mobile-health (mHealth) applications have emerged, research examining attitudes towards COVID-19 mHealth use among those with chronic conditions is scarce. Marlene Camacho-Rivera, ScD, MS, MPH, Assistant Professor of the Department of Community Health Sciences, and three researchers demonstrate that attitudes towards COVID-19 mHealth use vary widely by modality (web-based vs. app) and across chronic health conditions..

Read the full article in JMIR mHealth and uHealth >



Guest Editors, Dr. Laura Geer and Dr. Lori Hoepner, Invite Manuscript Submission for IJERPH's Special Issue 'Maternal and Fetal Exposure to Environmental Chemicals'

Household ProductsAs public health responds to the global pandemic, we should increase awareness of exposures from household products as more time is spent “quarantined” in the home. We must also be responsive to health impacts of climate change. In response to these challenges, Laura Geer, PhD, MHS, Chair and Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Lori Hoepner, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, invite papers to a special Issue they will be co-editing for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH).

Click here for more information on the IJERPH's Special Issue and manuscript submission guidelines >


Sotagliflozin in Patients with Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease

DiabetesThe efficacy and safety of sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors such as sotagliflozin in preventing cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes with chronic kidney disease with or without albuminuria have not been well studied. In response, Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcome Research and Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and researchers conducted a multicenter, double-blind trial and found that in patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease, with or without albuminuria, sotagliflozin resulted in a lower risk of the composite of deaths from cardiovascular causes, hospitalizations for heart failure, and urgent visits for heart failure than placebo but was associated with adverse events.

Read the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine >


Sotagliflozin in Patients with Diabetes and Recent Worsening Heart Failure

HeartSodium–glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure or death from cardiovascular causes among patients with stable heart failure. However, the safety and efficacy of SGLT2 inhibitors when initiated soon after an episode of decompensated heart failure are unknown. In response, Michael Szarek, PhD, MS, Executive Director of the Center for Clinical and Outcome Research and Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and researchers conducted a multicenter, double-blind trial and found that in patients with diabetes and recent worsening heart failure, sotagliflozin therapy, initiated before or shortly after discharge, resulted in a significantly lower total number of deaths from cardiovascular causes and hospitalizations and urgent visits for heart failure than placebo.

                                         Read the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine >






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