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The Future of Public Health is Happening at the Yale School of Public Health

You and Yale. Your ideas and our collaborative culture. That's what will improve public health.

YSPH possesses an uncommon ability to connect the widest possible range of people, disciplines, and ideas — within our school, across Yale, and beyond academia — to create innovative public health solutions that work. We’re a new breed of adventurous collaborators. We dream. We draw on every discipline. We consider every facet. We pursue groundbreaking talent, novel technology, and new knowledge, whatever its origin.

Amazing things happen when ideas take shape together… as you can see in these examples of how our adventurous collaborations impact lives.

  • Where positive thinking meets public health

    New groundbreaking research led by Becca Levy, PhD, Professor of Public Health and of Psychology, and published in JAMA Open found that older persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI, a common type of memory loss) were 30% more likely to regain normal cognition if they had assimilated positive beliefs about aging. This is the first study to find evidence that a culture-based factor — positive age beliefs — contributes to MCI recovery. This exciting development supports the idea that age-belief interventions at the individual and societal levels could increase the number of people who experience cognitive recovery.

  • Where workforce development meets public health

    The Yale School of Public Health Office of Public Health Practice, in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, other public health agencies, and academic and community partners, has created a pipeline of future public health professionals to address a workforce shortage in the state. They initiated the powerful new Public Health Fellowship Program, which now supports fellows from more than 20 universities in and around Connecticut. These rising talents are making a difference in areas that will improve both public health and health equity.

  • Where fossil fuels meet public health

    A multi-disciplinary study led by Nicole Deziel, PhD, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and Cassandra Clark, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate with the Yale Cancer Center, drew on environmental epidemiology, statistical analysis, and the use of spatial data. It found that children living near fracking sites at birth were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with leukemia between ages 2 and 7. Knowing that the risk of adverse health outcomes increases the closer oil and gas wells are to people’s homes can help ensure that the latest science is used to inform and update governmental fracking policies regarding setbacks and other issues.

  • Where wearable tech meets public health

    A team of YSPH students and associates worked with Assistant Professor Krystal Pollitt, PhD, P.Eng, to develop the FreshAir Clip, a clip-on air sampler that detects exposure to airborne SARS-CoV-2 virus, other respiratory viruses, and thousands of airborne chemicals. The project brought together people and resources from Yale’s School of Public Health, School of Medicine, and School of Engineering Applied Science, and combined disciplines as diverse as epidemiology and chemical research.

  • Where pride and empowerment meet public health

    Ijeoma Opara, PhD, LMSW, MPH, leads the Substance Abuse and Sexual Health (SASH) Lab. The SASH Lab, which includes graduate and doctoral students from Yale, instills pride in and elevates the strengths of teen Black girls, in a direct effort to reduce future rates of substance abuse and HIV. This noble work is a multidisciplinary combination of psychology, social work, epidemiology, and human development.

  • Where technology-enabled baby talk meets public health

    Expect With Me is a unique technology-enabled group model for prenatal care. Pregnant women participating in the program had a 58% lower risk of preterm births, a 63% lower risk of low-birthweight infants, and a 37% lower risk of newborns entering neonatal intensive care. Created by YSPH researchers Jessica Lewis, PhD, LMFT, and Jeannette Ickovics, PhD, Expect With Me combines expertise in information technology, counseling, and medicine. It is the product of partnerships with a major health insurer and two other universities.

  • Where prosperity and pollution meet public health

    In separate studies, Kai Chen, PhD, and Xi Chen, PhD, demonstrated eye-opening correlations between air pollution and depression and heart disease, and between weather conditions and the spread of COVID-19. Combining expertise in epidemiology, climate, economics, and health policy can yield fascinating results.

  • Where legislative justice meets public health

    While on internship, Sreeja Kondeti (MPH ’22, Health Policy) uncovered opportunities that resulted in a state law allowing low-income, undocumented women to access prenatal care. In all of her work — in the field, in the classroom, in her career as a software engineer for a large health insurer — she effects change by combining her knowledge of and interest in the law, policy, data science, analysis, and social justice.

  • Where agility and logistics meet public health

    Anne Wyllie, PhD, and her team of experts combined epidemiology, community engagement, marketing operations, and logistics to create SalivaDirectTM, a breakthrough innovation and a critical tool for detecting COVID-19. SalivaDirect is the first direct PCR test for saliva. The test is fully deployed in 41 states, has helped reopen schools and is used by professional sports organizations.