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Alumnae talk science to promote global and public health
Alumnae talk science to promote global and public health

On Friday, March 29, alumnae Anita Dam '11 and Alison Cuccia '07 spoke to a group of Applied Science and Global Studies students on "Health for All: Using Science to Promote Well-Being at Home and Worldwide." Dam works in the global (public) health industry and has conducted field research in Bangladesh, India, and Uganda. Currently, she is the family planning workforce and communications fellow in the Global Health Bureau at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Cuccia is currently a senior research associate at Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute®. She works on the policy studies team and helps develop, manage, execute, and communicate policy-relevant research. This research helps to inform tobacco-control policies and to evaluate the impact of policies on behavior and health outcomes. Her projects have involved topic areas such as JUUL and e-cigarettes, low-nicotine cigarettes, and tobacco product access.

The alumnae began the presentation by explaining the goal of public health: to prevent disease, prolong life, strengthen health systems, and promote health for society as a whole. They also explained the cycle for improving public health. The sequence begins with research on a topic; then, guidelines are developed, policies are created, funding is received, and the work is implemented.

According to the speakers, topics in public health stretch far and wide. A professional working in public health can focus on a number of issue areas including exercise, vaccines, drug prescriptions, food/water safety, and mental health.

Cuccia works primarily in domestic health. In her position, she looks at the leading causes of death in our country and tries to determine what changes in lifestyle would prevent premature disease or death. Dam, however, looks more at strengthening health systems in middle-to-low-income countries. For example, after the Ebola outbreak, she researched improving surveillance and monitoring so that sort of crisis does not happen again in the future.

The alumnae ended the presentation by taking questions from students who were eager to learn more about the topic.