Proof or Consequences: Evidence and Controversy in Public Health

ProofDuring the 2012-2013 academic year, the CPHI will present a seminar series entitled, "Proof or Consequences: Evidence and Controversy in Public Health." This exciting, interdisciplinary series will examine how evidence shapes lay ideas about what is healthy as well as how evidence is used by public health decision making bodies and professionals to shape policy and programming. The key question of, "when do we have enough evidence to act?" will be explored alongside of the question "what constitutes proof?" These underlying themes will be discussed through a variety of current public health issues and controversies such as:

  • The impact of food deserts
  • Public concerns over immunizations
  • New recommendations for mammograms and the potential impact on public policy

Presenters from a variety of Schools and Organizations will be featured including those from: The School of Arts and Science, the School of Medicine, Wharton, the School of Nursing, and The Food Trust. Please join us!


Fat Fads: Does evidence shape lay ideas about what is healthy?

September 19 | Flyer
Amado Recital Hall, Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street

Featuring Paul Rozin, PhD

Dr. Rozin has been teaching introductory psychology for about 30 years, has chaired the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania, directed the university-wide undergraduate honors program, and has been involved in developing policies and teaching materials to guarantee a minimal competence in quantitative skills and critical thinking in University of Pennsylvania undergraduates.

Communicating science to the public: The vaccine-autism controversy

October 16th | Flyer
Amado Recital Hall, Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street

Featuring Paul A Offit, MD

Dr. Offit is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also the author of five medical narratives: The Cutter Incident: How America's First Polio Vaccine Led to Today's Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007), for which he won an award from the American Medical Writers Association, Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Columbia University Press, 2008), Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Basic Books, 2011), and Killing Us Softly: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013).

Food decisions and food access: Evidence driving the food swamp vs. food desert debate

December 5th (Wednesday) 12:00 - 1:30pm | Flyer
Steinberg Hall - Dietrich Hall, room 215, 3620 Locust Walk

Featuring Dr. Helen Lee (view powerpoint slides), a Senior Research Associate at MDRC, and Dr. Allison Karpyn, Director of Research and Evaluation for The Food Trust. Dr. Shirki Kumanyika, Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, will moderate.

Recent changes in mammography screening guidelines: evidence, controversy and new insights

January 31st (Thursday) 12:00 - 1:30pm | Flyer
Terrace Room, Claudia Cohen Hall

Please join us as we discuss with a panel of experts how the Preventative Task Force came to their decision to update mammography guidelines, the evidence they used, the roll-out plan they used to let the public know, the clinical implications of this new policy and the ensuing controversy that has followed it. Featuring Featuring Sandy Schwartz, MD (view powerpoint slides), Leon Hess Professor in Internal Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and member of US Preventive Health Taskforce; Emily Fox Conant, MD (view powerpoint slides), Professor of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Susan Domchek, MD (view powerpoint slides), Basser Associate Professor in Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine, Executive Director, Basser Research CenterWhen do we have enough evidence to act on the social determinants of health?

February 12th (Tuesday) 12:00 - 1:30pm | Flyer
Amado Recital Hall, Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street

Paula Braveman, MD, MPH (view powerpoint slides) is Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She received her M.D. degree and completed a residency in Family Medicine at UCSF, and received an MPH in epidemiology from University of California, Berkeley. For more than 25 years, Dr. Braveman has studied and published extensively on health equity and the social determinants of health, and has actively engaged in bringing attention to these issues in the U.S. and internationally. Her research has focused on measuring, documenting, understanding, and addressing socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities, particularly in maternal and infant health and health care. During the 1990s she worked with World Health Organization staff in Geneva to develop and implement a global initiative on equity in health and health care. She recently served as Research Director for a national commission on the social determinants of health in the U.S. supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with local, state, federal, and international health agencies to see rigorous research translated into practice with the goal of achieving greater equity in health. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

Evidence-based public health policy: Are we making legislation or sausage?

March 18th (Monday) 12:00 - 1:30pm | RSVP | Flyer
Amado Recital Hall, Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street

Ross C. Brownson, PhD is involved in numerous community-level studies designed to understand and reduce modifiable risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, and tobacco use. In particular, he is interested in the impacts of environmental and policy interventions on health behaviors and he conducts research on dissemination of evidence-based interventions He is the co-director of the CDC-funded Prevention Research Center. Dr. Brownson is the author of six books and over 300 peer-reviewed articles. His books include Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control, Applied Epidemiology, Communicating Public Health Information Effectively: A Guide for Practitioners, Evidence-Based Public Health, and Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health: Translating Science to Practice. He is associate editor of the Annual Review of Public Health, and on the editorial board of four other journals. He is a former and founding member of the 15-person CDC Task Force developing the Guide to Community Preventive Services. Dr. Brownson is the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Prevention Research and Research Translation in Chronic Disease (2000, from CDC) and the Abraham Lilienfeld Award for outstanding contributions in teaching and mentoring (2003, from APHA). He is president-elect of the American College of Epidemiology.

Series co-sponsors