Monday, November 5, 2007

Poster sessions: A one-stop shop

While it’s easy to get lost in the seemingly endless rows of booths at APHA's Public Health Expo, it’s worth the effort to make your way to the poster sessions alllllllllll the way in the back of the room.

Stopping by the poster sessions is a great way to get an overview of the important initiatives and research happening at universities, departments of health and other public-health minded organizations. Tailor your visit to your needs by fast-forwarding through all the posters, or lingering with the presenters for an in-depth explanation of a few studies.

Take it as an opportunity to speak with researchers on a topic you’re already working on, or learn about a new issue that you may not have time to attend a full session on.

Here are just a few highlights from Sunday afternoon’s poster session:

• The Orange County Health Department in Florida pioneered postpartum nutrition education programs for Hispanic and black women, tailoring the programs to the groups separately to account for cultural differences. Ninety-four percent of women who completed the 24-week “Better Weight for a Better You” program lost weight.

• A poll of voters in Ohio found that helmet use among all-terrain vehicle riders would double if a law were passed to require helmet use. The Columbus Children’s Research Institute found high public support for safety initiatives, including legislation requiring helmet use, safety classes, as well as age and passenger restrictions.

• A study of racial and ethnic disparities in gestational diabetes mellitus in Oregon found that Asian and Pacific Islanders had higher rates than some other groups. However, misidentification of other ethnic groups, namely American Indians, may play a role in this outcome. Regardless, 70 percent of women with gestational diabetes will eventually develop type II diabetes, which can be used as a justification for glucose testing in postpartum health care, according to the research from Oregon Health and Sciences University.

From college binge drinking to baseball injuries to ageism in hospitals, there was something new for all public health professionals. If you missed today’s poster sessions, be sure to check out future poster presentations in the coming days (and at dinner that night, you can wow your colleagues with an array of statistics, such as the rate of pertussis in the United States).

Preview the upcoming poster sessions in the online schedule.

— P.T.