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National and state health leaders visit University of Indianapolis for Public Health Day event


INDIANAPOLIS—As the nation observes National Public Health Week during the first week of April, the University of Indianapolis will host the inaugural Public Health Day Expo and Celebration on Friday, April 5, 2019, featuring a public health fair and discussions with thought leaders from the public health sector.

Dr. Judith Monroe
Dr. Judith Monroe

Dr. Judith Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, and Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner, will provide remarks and participate in question-and-answer sessions. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to noon in the main lobby and the R.B. Annis Theatre, Room 138, of the Health Pavilion at 1643 Hanna Ave., University of Indianapolis. The event is free of charge and registration is encouraged.

Organizing the event is Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch, associate professor and director of the Public Health Program. She said the theme of the discussions will focus on the collective impact of partnerships to reduce health inequities.

“One of the great things about public health, but also one of the biggest challenges is that public health specialists are working under so many different job titles and for so many different organizations. If we work in our silos as professionals, we miss out on the types of community collaborations that could help move us forward in addressing health equity and other health needs,” Hancher-Rauch said.

As leader of the CDC Foundation, Dr. Monroe works with philanthropic organizations, private entities and individuals to help CDC have greater impact protecting the health, safety and security of America and the world. Her lecture, “Improving health equity through public-private partnerships,” will explain the importance of those partnerships and how to achieve collective impact. Dr. Monroe, who served as Indiana State Health Commissioner from 2005 to 2010, will also discuss health equity and health disparities especially in Indiana and touch on the importance of workforce development.

“We must start any and all conversation around public health with the knowledge that progress does not occur in a silo or without collaboration, whether it be through conducting research, implementing education programs, recommending policies or administering public health services,” said Dr. Monroe. “Individuals, groups and organizations can have greater positive impact and can accomplish more collectively than individually.”

Another theme that speakers will explore is that health is not just an individual issue, but a community issue. Through programs such as the 500 Cities project, a first-of-its-kind health data analysis, the CDC Foundation works with the CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to determine estimates for chronic disease risk factors. That type of data allows cities and health departments to understand the healthcare needs of the population.

Dr. Kristina Box
Dr. Kristina Box

Making the most out of collaborative initiatives is a key goal for Dr. Kristina Box, who has served in her role as Indiana State Health Commissioner since 2017. Her work includes building the first multi-disciplinary women’s center in the Community Health Network and developing critical partnerships with area children’s hospitals to improve care and decrease health care costs.

“Indiana faces a number of pressing health challenges, such as the opioid epidemic, infant mortality, tobacco use and obesity. No one entity can solve these problems alone, but by working together at the state, federal and local level, we can improve outcomes and achieve better physical, mental and financial health for our entire state,” said Dr. Box.

Learn more about the Public Health Day Expo and Celebration.