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Recently I was interviewing a student for a Student Spotlight in the next edition of the Academic Prospectus when he mentioned how valuable being so close to Washington DC has been for him. As someone interested in health systems and health policy, having access to all the national institutes of research as well as where the national policy decisions are made has enhanced his MPH experience. While it wasn’t something I had previously thought about, it made sense. But at the same time, the traffic between Baltimore and Washington, DC made me cringe. This brings me to the real topic of this blog: Trains.

I am writing this blog as I’m traveling for a recruitment event and riding my first train in the US. Sure, I’ve ridden the famously on-time Swiss trains and traveled a bit of Europe via trains, but the U.S. doesn’t have the extensive system found in many other parts of the world. As I have now calmed down from my adorable childlike glee of riding the train, I’m finding it incredibly convenient. Baltimore’s Penn Station is easily accessible and with trains leaving consistently to both the north and south, cities like Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York are in fact very accessible. Having spent a large part of my life in Wilmington, Delaware, I now know why former Vice President Joe Biden took Amtrak every day from Wilmington to Washington, DC as a senator. And when I attempt to see the cherry blossoms this year, I know I’ll be taking the train to Washington, DC.

In the US, it’s common to see a ribbon pinned somewhere to show support for a disease. Pink for breast cancer, red for heart diseases, yellow for leukemia (and a long list of other items). But one that you won’t find a ribbon for is gallbladder cancer. With gallbladder cancer a far less common disease in the US, it doesn’t receive the attention that more common diseases receive. However, look outside peoples of European decent and gallbladder cancer is far more common. In fact, there is such a significant difference in the cases of gallbladder cancer between those of European decent and South Asian, Indian, Central and South American, and Native American decent, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, along with the National Cancer Institute and Tata Memorial Cancer Center in Mumbai, India, began searching for a common gene. On Tuesday, March 6, they published their finding of that common DNA variants.

The researchers discovered the combination of two DNA variants, one previously linked to gallstones, led to a predisposition to gallbladder cancer. These variants were shown for the first time to be inherited and the researchers will continue to look for additional DNA variants.

Gallbladder cancer is considered quite deadly as often it isn’t discovered until the cancer is well advanced and has spread to other organs. The findings will hopefully lead to earlier detection and better treatment. You may read the news release of the research on our website.

When I think of what Career Services does for our students, I usually think automatically of the Career Fair. And while the Career Fair is the main event each year, (you can read my blog about last year’s fair here), the Office of Career Services does far more.

In addition to meeting one on one with students for career counseling, Career Services runs events and workshops throughout the year to provide career advice and opportunities to connect with employers. From tips on how to succeed when networking, how to arrange your resume and CV, preparing for interviews and more, Career Services offer a wide array of resources to help students and alumni be successful.

Career Services also maintains a database of Public Health jobs around the world exclusively for students and alumni. JHSPHConnect is a central recourse for students. In addition, through Passport Connect, students and alumni looking for jobs specifically outside of the US have access to tools for what is expected in those countries. In essence, it’s a globally minded job resource for our students and their families as they look for global jobs.

In the midst of news that so often is troubling, I was quite excited this week to come across the Bloomberg School’s press release on a significant decrease in adolescent suicide attempts. In research published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, Julia Raifman, ScD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology, looked at adolescent suicide attempts in the U.S. by state from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2015. Her research team found a direct correlation between the decrease in adolescent suicide attempts and when states legalized same-sex marriage. She estimates there were more than 134,000 fewer suicide attempts. Generally, this was a seven percent decrease in high school student suicide attempts.

The decrease in adolescent suicide, while reducing the overall number, still leaves gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents in the highest population of adolescent suicide attempts. The research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Read Raifman’s full article on her research.

As many of you know, Admissions Services communicate application decisions via e-mail. If you are an applicant using a Gmail account, it is important to also check your “Promotions” tab. Unless you mark a previous e-mail from us on Gmail as “Primary”, Gmail’s filters will automatically send it to the Promotions tab.

Remember, don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions. We are available via e-mail and phone (410-955-3543) Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.