CPHI Seminar Series 2018-2019



CPHI Fall Seminar Series kickoff with Dr. Benoit Dubé

The Center for Public Health Initiatives launched its 2018-2019 Seminar Series, themed "The Year of Why," with Penn's first Chief Wellness Officer, Dr. Benoit Dubé. A room of about 170 students, staff, and faculty were eager to hear Dr. Dubé's plans on promoting wellness on Penn's campus. Dr. Dubé organized the seminar into a conversation around three key areas: the meaning of wellness, the current state of wellness at Penn, and the future of wellness at Penn. Dr. Dubé highlighted established resources readily available such as CAPS and Student Health Service, as well as successful initiatives of students, schools, and faculty. He also explored opportunities to improve wellness at Penn, explaining that he wants to give Penn a "Facelift". He acknowledged the de-centralized nature of Penn’s services as a challenge and hopes to lead efforts to more effectively integrate wellness initiatives (Wellness at Penn) and establish resources to increase access and better serve the entire Penn community. While Dr. Dubé began his talk by asking the audience to start a conversation, he concluded his talk by asking the room to join him in starting a "Wellness Revolution!"

There was an article published in The Daily Pennsylvanian about Dr. Dubé’s talk. Find it here: 
Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé discusses ideas to solve 'deficiencies' in Penn's wellness culture


CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat — Public Health vs. Viruses
A Matchup for The Century

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, headlined our CPHI Seminar on October 25th, 2018. With the 2018-2019 theme The Year of Why in mind, Dr. Schuchat talked to the crowd of 220 about why we need public health preparedness measures in place to combat infectious disease threats. She detailed recent outbreaks and pandemics, highlighting traits that contributed to their spread across communities, and lessons learned from each of those responses.



Judge Alice C. Hill on Climate Change & Health: The Hidden Threat

Judge Alice C. Hill of the Hoover Foundation headlined our November seminar on the topic of climate change and health. 
She discussed the urgent need to address climate change and the implications of the failure to act, including the rapid spread of vector-borne diseases, increased exposure to water-borne toxins, droughts that reduce water supply, and more . Hill detailed the growing threats of climate change both in the United States and globally and also spoke alongside panelists from Penn Design, Penn Vet, and Wharton. 



January seminar with Dr. Paul Offit — "How to Communicate Science to the Public or Die Trying" 

We were thrilled to have Dr. Paul Offit of the Vaccine Education Center at CHOP as the speaker for our first CPHI seminar of 2019! In his talk, "How to Communicate Science to the Public or Die Trying," Dr. Offit delved into the challenges of communicating science and health information to the media and the public by describing her personal experiences with various news outlets. Scientific misinformation is common and widespread, in part because celebrities, politicians, activists, and other so-called "experts"provide misleading or incorrect information about science to the public. Despite these challenges, Dr. Offit remained optimistic, stressing that it is more important than ever for scientists, physicians, and public health professionals to counter misinformation with facts and stand up for science. 



Dr. Colleen Kraft on the Crisis at the Border

We were excited to hear from Dr. Colleen Kraft, MD, FAAP, the Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, at the February CPHI seminar, "Crisis at the Border: The effects of trauma and stress on migrant children and families." Dr. Kraft articulated the need to address the issues surrounding the separation of immigrant children and parents seeking refuge in the United States. She discussed the public health risks experienced by children during migration and while in Border Patrol custody, highlighting the significant trauma and its lasting impact on health and well being. Dr. Kraft engaged the audience in a thoughtful discussion regarding needed policy change, and reinforced the value of advocating through both individual and collective action. 



Dr. Gary Wu on the Impact of Diet and the Microbiome on Health 

We were thrilled to have Dr. Gary Wu, Ferdinand G. Weisbrod Professor in Gastroenterology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, lead the March CPHI seminar, "What's public health got to do with it? The impact of diet and the microbiome on health and disease." Dr. Wu articulated the need to bridge the gap between research and clinical medicine involving nutritional science. He discussed the impact of nutrition and environment on an individual's microbiome and how this can change their susceptibility to disease. In Dr. Wu's discussion he highlighted how the Penn Center for Nutritional Science and Medicine is using nutrition as a way to improve human health and disease outbreaks. Dr. Wu engaged the audience in a thoughtful discussion regarding the need to study the role of diet and the microbiome in human health.