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APHA 2016

APHA 2016

The Bloomberg School helps promote health equity at the American Public Health Association conference.

Dozens of Bloomberg School faculty and students will join 12,000 of their closest friends and colleagues in Denver starting this Saturday, October 29, for the purpose of “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health.”

Among those from the Bloomberg School contingent who will be sharing new research at the APHA’s 144th Annual Meeting & Expo is Raimee Eck, MPA, MPH, a research fellow with the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY). Eck is presenting a poster entitled “Binge Drinking and Associated Health Risks Among Underage Youth” which finds that U.S. high school students who reported binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks in a row in the past 30 days) had greater likelihoods of reporting that they have smoked marijuana, texted while driving, used cocaine or participated in other risky behaviors compared to non-drinkers.

Eck’s research analyzes data from the CDC’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. While the percentage of high school students who drink has declined over the past 20 years, these findings suggest that more work needs to be done to address underage drinking. Binge drinking remains high, as do risky behaviors associated with it.

Beyond assessing the prevalence and intensity of binge drinking, Eck’s analysis also shows the problems associated with binge drinking among high school students. “Understanding how these young people are drinking, [and] how much they’re drinking is important in order to effectively reduce alcohol-related problems among high school students,” she says.

Although policies are in place to reduce underage drinking, such as the age 21 minimum legal drinking age, the association between students who report binge drinking and report engaging in risky behaviors is strong. Evidence-based strategies may help in reducing underage drinking and associated risky behaviors.

Eck also is a co-author of a related study—“Violence Prevention Potential of Reducing Alcohol Outlet Density in Baltimore, Maryland”—that will be an oral presentation at the APHA meeting by Bloomberg School CAMY research fellow Pamela Trangenstein, MPH.

“My work aims to bridge research and policy more closely—using research to better inform policy decisions such as the number and concentration of places that sell alcohol in Baltimore,” says Trangenstein.

Eck, who previously served three years on the APHA Governing Council, is looking forward to reconnecting with friends and expert colleagues from all over the country. After all, Eck relates, “an email is never better than a face-to-face conversation.”

Eck’s poster presentation is scheduled for Sunday, October 30 from 2:30- 3:30 p.m. Trangenstein’s presentation with coauthor David H. Jernigan, PhD, an associate professor in Health, Behavior and Society, will be Tuesday, November 1 from 5:10-5:30 p.m.

Festivities also include an Alumni Reception on October 31 at the Clyfford Still Museum from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. For more information and to RSVP visit the alumni page.

David Holtgrave, PhD, Janice Bowie, PhD, Ellen MacKenzie, PhD, Kirsten Koehler, PhD, Keshia Pollack, PhD, Robert Lawrence, MD and Robert Blum, MD are among the presenters. For a full list of Bloomberg School participants, connect with JHSPH at APHA.