“Public Health Through Pictures” – Tell Your Story!

The Northwestern Public Health Review invites you to share your stories and experiences of health and public health through pictures during our annual Public Health Matters seminar series and reception. The theme of the poster session this fall is “Communicating public health through pictures”. Along these lines we invite you to submit photographs, artwork, graphics or other images that communicate local, national or international public health stories.
art by Elise Walker
Art from the latest print issue of the NPHR, by Elise Walker, BME Graduate Student, Northwestern University
Accepted images will be displayed during the public health matters reception and will be featured in future published issues of the Northwestern Public Health Review.
Entry Criteria:  Public health or medically centered images of any form. All submissions must be the author’s original work. As always, please ensure you have your subject’s permission before submitting any image including people.
Deadline: All submitted entries should be received by the 30th of August 2014. Please include a very brief description of your entry.To submit your image or to contact us for more details, email the editor of The Northwestern Public Health Review at nphr@u.northwestern.edu or Claire Vernon at cgvernon@u.northwestern.edu.

For more information on the NPHR and our mission, visit www.nphr.org.

Public Health in the News – July 26, 2014


  • Speaking to delegates at the AIDS 2014 Conference, Singer and activist Bob Geldof took donors to task for their “preposterous reluctance to fund the last mile,” calling it a disgrace.
  • Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, one of the main doctors in Sierra Leone treating Ebola patients has been reported to have caught the virus. He has been put in isolation and is being treated by Doctors Without Borders.
  • Women and girls are less likely to undergo female genital mutilation, or FGM, than 30 years ago. That’s the encouraging news from a UNICEF report on the controversial practice, presented this week at London’s first Girl Summit.


  • Many American kids don’t realize they’re overweight or obese, but knowing can help them change, according to a new CDC report.
  • Michael Farrell, head of the troubled CDC anthrax lab has resigned after some anthrax leaving the lab was found not to have been deactivated.
  • Researchers have found some evidence of a connection between the use of a nicotine patch by pregnant women and ADHD in their children.


  • Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah has created a new PAS against gun violence. The “Chicago Stand Up” PSA campaign urges Chicagoans to put down the guns and stand up for peace.
  • Dr. Steve Whitman, who served as Chicago Department of Public Health’s Director of Epidemiology for many years, died Sunday. After leaving CDPH, Dr. Whitman directed the Sinai Urban Health Institute, where his groundbreaking research fully documented alarming differences in breast cancer mortality among African American women compared to white women in Chicago and other cities across the nation.


  • A multi-disciplinary team of scientists from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Chicago investigated how lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, increase inflammation in the body during colon cancer. The results were published in Science and Translational Medicine.
  • A new Northwestern Medicine study, lead by Dr. Seema Khan, investigated a gel form of tamoxifen, that when applied to the breasts of women with noninvasive breast cancer reduced the growth of cancer cells to the same degree as the drug taken in oral form but with fewer side effects that deter some women from taking it.
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has been selected to join a new research network funded by the American Heart Association (AHA) to promote cardiovascular health and prevent death from heart disease and strokes. The AHA has awarded the center a four-year $3.7 million grant for this work.

Public Health in the News – July 20, 2014


  • Among the victims of the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down this past week was Joep Lange, a prominent AIDS researcher.
  • “After malaria is controlled, what’s next?” Science blog The Mermaid’s Tale discusses this question and talks about the different mindsets needed for malaria control vs. elimination.
  • Many scientists have signed an open letter calling for reforms of Europe’s Human Brain Project, a large-scale neuroscience initiative. Here’s why.



  • After adopting a Medicare expansion proved to be more costly than expected, the Cook County health system is facing a $63.5 million deficit by the end of the year.


  • Niacin, a drug prescribed to fight heart attack and stroke, may not provide any benefit while increasing risk of death, according to a new study and an accompanying editorial by NU cardiologist and chair of the Department of Preventative Medicine, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones.
  • NU professor Dr. Seema Khan and colleagues have released a study indicating that the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen may have fewer side effects when used as a gel.
  • Dr. Shyam Prabhakaran, NU neurology professor, was interviewed on Chicago Tonight regarding strokes in women.

Public Health in the News – July 13, 2014



  • After two incidents, federal health officials announced Friday that they had temporarily closed the flu and anthrax laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
  • Sad news to report – the “Mississippi baby,” thought to have been cured to HIV as an infant is now showing signs of infection, according to new reports.
  • According to a recent vote by the Berkeley City Council, those considered poor (making less than $32,000 per year) will be entitled to free marijuana related to their treatments so that no one goes without medical care.
  • AIDSVu, a new project out of Emory University, presents fascinating graphics of the spread of HIV throughout the U.S., including Chicago.


  • The Chicago Department of Public Health has been named “Public Health Department of the Year” by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Way to go CDPH!
  • MedCity News presents a report on the $56 million dollars of the Affordable Care Act funds that have been given to new Illinois health initiatives.


Public Health in the News – July 6, 2014


  • When researchers studying ways to solve global food issues needed a cheap, modular, transparent material in which to grow plants for their experiments, they turned to Legos.
  • A new test that can diagnose tuberculosis much more quickly than other methods has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.
  • People infected with malaria give off odors that attract more mosquitos, a new study finds. This may help researchers develop new ways of detecting people who have been infected.



Public Health in the News – June 29, 2014



  • Adding a newer test to digital mammograms can increase the detection rate for breast cancer and decrease nerve-racking false alarms, in which suspicious findings lead women to get extra scans that turn out normal, a study found.
  • On Tuesday the American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy asserting that doctors should tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth to improve brain development.


  • Chicagoans must be doing something right! The City of Chicago reports life expectancy has climbed to 77.8 years, growing twice as fast as the rest of the U.S. over the past twenty years.
  • Mayor Emmanuel, with the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, announced the launch of PlayStreets 2014, which will host 140 events over the summer to get families active.
  • The City of Chicago Department of Public Health is conducting mosquito tracking and abatement in an effort to curb West Nile Virus and other vector borne viruses.


  • Katherine Wisner was quoted in the New York Times about her work on postpartum depression treatment and screening.
  • What impact is the ACA having in emergency room visits? Dr. James Adams is quoted in a Chicago Sun Times article on this subject.

The Latest Volume of the Northwestern Public Health Review is Here!

The second edition of the Northwestern Public Health Review is here! Below, find an overview of this edition’s articles.

Letter from the Editors

Celeste Mallama and Osefame Ewaleifoh

We are delighted to welcome you to the second edition of the Northwestern Public Health Review (NPHR). We have come a long way since our first issue, and it has been an exciting journey. Among other things, we have started a highly active public health blog (http://nphr.wordpress.com/), hosted the first ‘Public Health Matters’ reception, and started a growing public health bookshelf that highlights new and innovative public health works (http://www.publichealth.northwestern.edu/nphr/bookshelf.html). Perhaps most significantly, we have grown from two student editors to a diverse and dynamic editorial board consisting of 18 students and faculty members, drawn from various programs across the university. Working together, we pledge to continuously bring you the most insightful and engaging public health stories and perspectives. Read on

Inside the Journal:

Prisons As Insane Asylums
by Arvin Akhavan

art by Elise Walker
Art by Elise Walker

This article explores the growing need for jails to operate as mental health facilities.

Social Networks and Text Messaging in Public Health
by Ekkehard Beck and Benjamin Armbruster

At the frontier of prevention interventions,  a study of social network analysis to visualize and model existing real-world networks.

Northwestern’s Project Rishi: Health Interventions in Charnia
by Srivarshini Cherukpalli

A founding member of Northwestern’s RISHI chapter, currently a senior undergraduate, describes the work she and her colleagues have done in India.

Milestones in Public Health: Public Safety Trends
by Osefame Ewaleifoh

Advances and critical turning points that exemplify the consequence of highly impactful multi-disciplinary approaches to public health.

New Rationale for Treatment as Prevention
by Adina Goldberger

Cost-effective HIV management strategies from the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). Our blog post contributes to this piece.

The Affordable Care Act and Public Health
by Neil Jordan, PhD, and Philethea Duckett, MPA

We highlight some of the features of the ACA that directly or indirectly target public health.

Sleep as a Pubic Health Issue
by Nelly Papalambros

Sleep and circadian rhythms are often overlooked, and it is time for their debut as a public health issue. Our blog post contributes to this piece.

The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission
by John Phair

Dr. John Phair reflects on his time at the ABCC.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road Ahead
by Sarah Jane Quillin

Avenues to curb texting & driving in the US. Our blog post contributes to this piece.

Responsible Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects
by Lewis M. Smith

Historical lessons and public health implications.

Alumni Spotlight: Discovering What It Means to Work in “Public Health”
by Kristen Unti

An Interview with Dr. Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH.

About This Issue’s Cover Art
by Kate Lamy

Reflections on this month’s cover design from the artist.

If you would like to check out the NPHR volume one, you can find it here.


Public Health in the News – June 21, 2014



  • Dr. Arnold S. Relman, longtime outspoken editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, passed away this week at 91 years old.
  • The CDC reports that 75 employees were exposed to live anthrax bacteria that they’d believed was deactivated.  So far, none of the employees have reported any reaction.
  • The Labor Department issued a proposed rule stating that any employee is eligible for leave to care for a same-sex spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to White House officials, regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes their marital status.
  • Microsoft, after years of development, may be coming out with a health focused smart watch using it’s HealthVault health data platform, which uses light to measure the biometrics of the user.


  • After plastic particles were found in Lake Michigan, Illinois became the first state to ban microbeads, a common ingredient in facial and hand cleansers.
  • After difficulties reconciling different electronic records systems, Alexian Brothers Health Systems, out of Arlington Heights, has suspended its effort to launch a new Medicare system.


  • Professor Teresa Woodruff’s groundbreaking work on the importance of gender in medical research, is explored in a recent article in the Chicago Sun Times.
  • In a disturbing new study, Professor Linda Teplin found that delinquent children are much more likely than their nondelinquent peers to die violently later in life. Worse are girls who end up in juvenile detention, dying at nearly five times the rate of the general population.

What Will It Take to Curb Cell Phone Use While Driving?

Kate Klein, MA, MPH

Want to hear something scary? In 2011 at least one quarter of all car crashes involved cell phones [1]….one quarter! Furthermore, 78% of teens and young adults say they have read an SMS message while driving [2]. These are scary statistics for everyone. A momentary lapse of attention on the part of a driver will impact everyone around them with devastating results.

These effects can be seen portrayed dramatically in ads to raise awareness about cell phone use and driving. The Texting and Driving Prevention campaign by the Ad Council, the office of the State Attorneys General and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced a series of chilling videos, one showing a group of laughing teens in a car – the driver texting – while they come upon a mother and child crossing the street [3].  It’s a video one could barely watch without cringing.  Many other entities, both government and civil society, are also producing advertisements aimed at scaring drivings into putting down the cell phones.

In addition to these behavior change campaigns, most states have passed laws to ban cell phone use while driving.  Thirty-seven states and DC ban all cell phone use by teen or novice drivers, and eighteen states and DC ban any cell phone use for school bus drivers [4]. Penalties for cell phone use range from $20 in California to $10,000 in Alaska [5]. In 2012, the the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed a law banning anyone with a Commercial Drivers License from using cell phones will driving. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones face a maximum penalty of $11,000 [6].

This Map Shows State Laws Against Cell Phone Use While Driving (credit: LifeHacker)
This Map Shows State Laws Against Cell Phone Use While Driving (credit: LifeHacker)

So the question is, do these laws and ad campaigns do the trick? Are people using their cell phones less?  One study, conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry group, looked at accident rates before and after cell phone bans took effect in New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and California. Overall, the results were discouraging. Accident claims did not change after the cell phone bans took effect compared with states that do not have a cell phone ban [7].

As for advertisements, as part of its anti-texting & driving campaign, AT&T conducted a survey and found that 97% of teenagers know texting while driving is dangerous, however it also revealed that 89% of teenagers felt pressured to respond to a text message within one minute.

So if laws aren’t working, and advertisements aren’t working, what can be done? One place to start is with Sarah Jane Quillin’s article in the recently released Northwestern Public Health Reivew. Her article “Keep your Eyes on the Road Ahead: Avenues to Curb Texting & Driving in the US” presents a fascinating look at this health issue and ways we can try to tackle the problem. Find her article, and others, in the new issue at http://www.publichealth.northwestern.edu/nphr/.


[1] http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats/

[2] http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#facts

[3] http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#videos

[4] http://lifehacker.com/this-map-shows-state-laws-against-cell-phone-use-while-1469665547

[5] http://lifehacker.com/this-map-shows-state-by-state-penalties-for-texting-whi-1453133028

[6] http://www.drivingambitioninc.com/blog/bid/73562/Final-Rule-Bans-Cell-Phone-Use-for-CDL-Truck-Drivers

[7] http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123084040

[8] http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/txting_driving/att_teen_survey_executive.pdf


Public Health in the News – June 15, 2014


  • The West Africa Commission on Drugs has just released a report that recommends decriminalizing drug use, and instead treating it as a public health issue.
  • A large genetic study of Mexicans showed that there is a huge amount of genetic diversity within the population.
  • Brazil is trying to tackle the obesity epidemic by giving people free access to gyms. Catherine de Lange explains why this solution may help fight health inequalities.



  • A new report shows that the average life expectancy for Chicago citizens is rising dramatically!


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital held a boxing class for Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers. Watch a highlight video here!
  • People who get less sleep at night take more risks and probably exercise less, shows a study led by Northwestern professor Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD.