Lifting Up Public Health: Building Trust, Strengthening Resilience, & Applying Lessons

Held on Friday, September 29, 2023 at 8:30 AM - 6:15 PM   |   The Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph, Michigan

Presentation Slides

Lyerla SOPHE presentation Sept 29 2023.pptx
El-Sayed_SOPHE 2023_091823.pdf
Momentum Center Under Fire 2023 GLC SOPHE (3).pptx
Julie Yonker_Partnership Health Service GLS-SOPHE 9-2023.pptx
SOPHE GL Final Slide Presentation_Denise Morrow.pptx
2023 Sexual Health & Systemic Racism_Sam Weaver
Hope Network GLC-SOPHE Presentation 9.29.2023_Kasie Pickart.pptx



8:30 AM - Registration Table Opens

Continental Breakfast will be served 8:00 AM  - 9:30 AM
Check-In for Late Arrivals  will be available 9:15 AM - Noon

8:30 AM - Registration Table Opens

Continental Breakfast will be served 8:00 AM  - 9:30 AM
Check-In for Late Arrivals  will be available 9:15 AM - Noon

9:15 AM - Welcome & Opening Remarks

Welcome & Introductions, Melissa Chavez, Catie Roman, and Bree Bode

9:30 AM - Lifting Up Public Health: Building Trust, Strengthening Resilience, & Applying Lessons
Dr. Rob Lyerla

Slides: Lyerla SOPHE presentation Sept 29 2023

Prior to joining the faculty at WMU, Dr Lyerla had 20+ year career in the US Department of Health and Human Services.  After joining  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), Dr Lyerla worked as a staff epidemiologist in viral hepatitis at the CDC.  He then was seconded  for 5 years to the UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Geneva, Switzerland to help monitor the global HIV epidemic in Asia and the former Soviet Union.  He returned to the US and worked as a Senior Scientist with the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC).  Dr Lyerla retired from government service after serving as the Associate Director for Science at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Dr Lyerla has published over 30 scholarly journals and maintains an active research portfolio in public health and epidemiology. 

10:30 AM - Breathing Exercises & Mindfulness Techniques

Led by Megan Page

11:00 AM - Breakout Session 1

1A. Sexual Health and Systemic Racism | Samantha Weaver, Sexual Health Coordinator, Office of Health Promotion and Education at Western Michigan University
Slides: 2023 Sexual Health & Systemic Racism_Sam Weaver 

Sexual health is important for everybody, but trustworthy sexual health care has not been equitable or accessible to everybody. To build trust as health educators, we must address this reality. This presentation and discussion will overview the racist roots of reproductive health care systems in the US and explore ways to work towards anti-racist sexual health education today.

Samantha Weaver is the Sexual Health Coordinator at the Office of Health Promotion and Education at Western Michigan University. She oversees WMU's Sexual Health Peer Education Program and provides inclusive sexual health education presentations, workshops, and events for the WMU community. Her favorite part of this role is mentoring and learning from passionate student advocates. For the last six years, Sam has been facilitating and organizing at ERACCE (Eliminating Racism and Creating/Celebrating Equity), an organization that provides education on systemic racism in the US and supports anti-racist organizational transformation. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Kalamazoo College in 2017. Sam now plans to graduate from WMU's Clinical Social Work graduate program in 2024 with a specialization in Trauma Across the Lifespan. Sam believes that individual and community healing directly supports the transformation of oppressive systems, and plans to provide therapeutic services to young adults in the LGBTQIA+ community.

1B. In the Line of Fire: Strategies for Surviving | Barbara Lee VanHorssen, MBA, ADS, Momentum Center (Extended Grace dba)
Slides: Momentum Center Under Fire 2023 GLC SOPHE

The Momentum Center is a nonprofit, for impact organization in Ottawa County that serves people with mental illness, addictions, and disabilities. Our center also facilitates conversations regarding social justice and human rights. This workshop will focus on helpful ways to respond to public misinformation and mischaracterizations of the work that we do.  We will discuss the types of responses that are helpful - and those that are not.

Barbara Lee VanHorssen is the founder and Experi-Mentor of the Momentum Center. The Momentum Center is creating a community where every person is fully visible and connected. She is an ordained interfaith minister and holds an MBA in Leadership Studies. She is the author of two books and an international speaker. Barbara has been working with and for marginalized and disenfranchised people for most of her life. She is married to Leif VanHorssen and makes her home with him in Grand Haven, Michigan. Barbara is working to make a more understanding and hospitable world for their children who struggle with mental illness and developmental disabilities. When she isn't working, Barbara loves travel, the theater, chocolate, and spending time with her 4-year-old grandson Silas.

12:00 PM - Lunch is Served!

Mediterranean Style Buffet with  marinated roasted cauliflower, beef, chicken, or vegetable kebabs with peppers & onions, chickpea salad, cucumber salad, tabbouleh, pitas, hummus, and baklava. Beverages include water, lemonade, and iced tea.

1:00 PM - Executive Board Meeting

All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

1:30 PM - Breakout Session 2

2A. Translating Public Health Achievement to African American Communities | Dr. Denise Morrow,  BEMORE
Slides: SOPHE GL Final Slide Presentation_Denise Morrow

Public health programs are implemented to improve overall population health, yet are often missed opportunities for African Americans. A history of egregious mistreatment of Black people in the public health system has fostered distrust and created a dilemma that necessitates reconciliation in order for public health to achieve its mission and responsibilities for population health. This presentation discusses action-based methods to reconcile the disconnect. 
This presentation will address area 7. Communicating health and health education needs, concerns and resources and subcategories 7.1.4, 7.2.4, 7.5.

2B. Partnership between a University and Health Service Agency: Benefits for Older Adults’ Physical and Mental Health and Students’ Health Education | Dr. Julie Yonker, Ph.D., Calvin University, Professor of Psychology and Public Health
As part of a service-learning project in Health Psychology, we partnered with Tandem 365, a health service agency that assists medically complex older adults in navigating the healthcare system, empowering them to safely stay in their homes. I will report on three studies showing benefits of such a partnership for physical and mental health of older adults who received weekly, friendly visits from university students and health understanding benefits for students.

Julie Yonker received her doctorate in Cognitive and Experimental Psychology from Stockholm University, Sweden. She has taught at the University of Cincinnati and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Public Health and the undergraduate program director of Public Health at Calvin University. She has over 25 peer-reviewed publications and 50 presentations ranging from topics such as embryology, biological contributors to cognition, older adult and emerging adult well-being, and religiosity.

2:30 PM - Comfort Break

2:45 PM - Session 3

Hope Network GLC-SOPHE Presentation 9.29.2023_Kasie Pickart.pptx 

3A. Year One of Embarking on Our Journey to Zero: Implementing the Zero Suicide Framework  | Kasie Pickart, MPH, Zero Suicide Initiative Project Director, Hope Network
In 2021, Hope Network was awarded a five-year grant from SAMHSA to implement the Zero Suicide Model throughout Hope Network across the State of Michigan to raise awareness and improve care and outcomes for individuals who are at risk for suicide. This is being accomplished by enhancing behavioral health services, focusing on suicide reduction, through professional development; increasing consistent, uniform screening and referral; and improving level of care in residential, crisis residential and outpatient programs through implementation of evidence-based practices. Throughout this presentation, a member of the Zero Suicide Leadership Team with lived experience will highlight activities implemented including program workflows, key metrics and clinical outcomes, evidence-based practices, and lessons learned through year one of this initiative.

Kasie Pickart is a Master of Public Health graduate from Grand Valley State University with nearly 10 years of experience in project management and grant writing to improve clinical outcomes and access to comprehensive behavioral health services. In her current roles, Kasie is the Zero Suicide Initiative Project Director at Hope Network where she provides oversight for implementation of the Zero Suicide Model across the State of Michigan, and serving as an Adjunct Professor at Grand Valley State University. Under Kasie’s leadership, she has led grant writing efforts for nonprofit organizations resulting in over $2.5 million dollars in federal funding. She is also a recipient of the 2018 Peer Leadership Award by Michigan Primary Care Association and Master of Advocacy by the National Association of Community Health Centers. Kasie takes pride in her passion for collaboration and connectedness by serving as a Board Member on Michigan’s With One Voice, an active member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids, previously serving on the Executive Board, an active member of Kent County Community Health Needs Assessment Workgroup, serving on five suicide prevention coalitions across the state, including the Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention Reducing Access to Lethal Means Workgroup, and she has trained over 1,000 individuals across the U.S. in the evidence-based Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention.

4:00 PM - Poster Presentations, Sponsors, and Exhibitors

Poster topics include: 

Sponsors Include: 

Exhibitors Include: 

4:30 PM - Afternoon Snack Break

Vegetable Crudite with roasted red pepper, hummus, and creamy herb dip

5:00 PM - The How & Why of Public Health: Changing Context & Embracing Tensions 
Dr. Abdul El Sayed 

In this talk, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed uses the example of Wayne County, MI to examine how the theory of public health translates to real action on the ground. He surfaces some of the inherent tensions in public health—and how we can work through them to build healthier, more equitable communities.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a physician, epidemiologist, educator, and county health commissioner. Abdul hosts Crooked Media’s award-winning “America Dissected” podcast, attracting tens of thousands of weekly listeners to go beyond the headlines to explore the intersection between health and society. His three books include “Healing Politics,” calling for a politics of empathy to cure our epidemic of insecurity, and “Medicare for All: A Citizen’s Guide” with Dr. Micah Johnson. His over 100 peer-reviewed publications have earned over 3,000 citations. He holds academic appointments at the intersection between public health, public policy, and politics at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Wayne State University, and American University. He is formerly the health director for the city of Detroit, candidate for governor of Michigan in 2018, and commentator at CNN. He’s a proud member of the National Writers Union, AFT Locals 477 and 6244, SEIU Local 500, and the AAUP.

6:15 PM - Closing Remarks

SOPHE, including its chapters, is a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 3 total Category I Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH).