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Public Health Club at UIS receives IPHA award

May 7, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - The Public Health Club at the University of Illinois at Springfield has received the Public Health Student Worker of the Year Award from the Illinois Public Health Association. The award was presented April 19 during the IPHA annual conference in Bloomingdale and recognizes the club’s “outstanding public health service” for hosting health fairs in the Springfield community.

The Public Health Club, part of the master’s-level Public Health program at UIS, has as its main objective to initiate and promote activities that raise awareness of public health in the community. Officers for 2003-2004 are Anuradha Shanmugham, Anna Moore, and Tracy Jackson, all graduate students in the MPH program.

The club has been involved in various service efforts for nearly 10 years and most recently co-sponsored Health Awareness Day (April 6), celebrated as part of National Public Health Week which this year focused on the theme “Eliminating Health Disparities.” Approximately 20 local organizations – ranging from the American Red Cross to the Springfield Vegetarian Association – and 200 individuals participated in this community event held on the UIS campus. Those who attended were able to receive information on a number of current health-related issues; watch demonstrations; and take advantage of various health screenings. A mini-conference on health disparities at the international, state, and local level featured a keynote address by Dr. Mushtaque Chowdhury, visiting professor at Columbia University and director of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee.

A similar community health fair in 2003 focused on healthy eating and active living.

Recognizing homelessness as an issue with major impact on public health, the club has also adopted M.E.R.C.Y. Communities, a local nonprofit organization that works to provide a stable environment and support services for homeless families. Club members have undertaken fundraising and education efforts on the organization’s behalf and have periodically conducted workshops for M.E.R.C.Y. participants on topics such as breast cancer awareness and stress management.

The primary objective of the MPH program at UIS is to prepare public health professionals who are competent to deal with myriad issues such as access to quality health care, prevention and control of disease, environmental protection, health needs of special populations, data analysis and evaluation, policy planning and administration, and health promotion.

The IPHA, Illinois’ oldest and largest voluntary organization devotedly exclusively to matters of public health, is an affiliate of the American Public Health Association. IPHA’s annual conference is one of the largest of its kind in the nation.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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