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Congratulations to Carly Camplain, a doctoral student in interdisciplinary health in the Department of Health Sciences, who was recently appointed as a student representative to the board of directors for the Arizona Public Health Association (AZPHA) Camplain is also a program coordinator for the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER), and her doctoral work has an emphasis in health equity. She also holds a juris doctorate from Arizona State University. The board welcomed her and the other new board members at the APHA 91st Annual Fall Conference and Meeting on Oct. 29 at the Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix. Her appointment is for up to two years.
Our congratulations to Travis Pinn who was awarded a Presidential Fellowship for the 2019-20 year by the Northern Arizona University Graduate College. Pinn is doctoral student for the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) with advisor Dr. Ricky Camplain.
“I am interested in aligning my research goals with CHER and others in the community, who work with incarcerated women,” Pinn said.
The Fellowship award includes a supplemental stipend of $8,000, and also travel and research funding of $1,000 per year, which is renewable for up to four years.
“The fellowship means a lot to me and has been a help with my program,” Pinn said.
Pinn is in the Interdisciplinary Health doctoral program at NAU with an emphasis in health equity. He has a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in literature and writing from Evergreen State College in Washington, and a master’s in sociocultural anthropology from NAU.
While completing his masters, he worked on a mindfulness app called Aurora designed to promote mindfulness among Indigenous youth in rural Arizona.
“We are grateful to have Travis as part of CHER. He has been wonderful to work with, and I know he will bring a new and fresh perspective to the center,” Dr. Camplain said.
What is health equity, anyway? Researchers from Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) are helping listeners to find out through a new podcast series “Fairness First.”
The podcast is part of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) of the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative (SHERC), which is a grant initiative under CHER. One of the objectives of SHERC is to work with the local community about health equity matters.
“The overall goal of the Community Engagement Core is to develop innovative tools and methods of dissemination to build more collaboration with the community,” said Alexandra Samarron, a senior program coordinator with CHER and one of three Fairness First podcast hosts.
In the first episode, Samarron interviews “Olga,” a Flagstaff resident who has experienced housing inequality issues and lost her rental home. With Samarron translating Olga’s Spanish, the host describes how Olga was evicted and began experiencing headaches and other stress-related issues due to losing her home.
Samarron also talks to Julio Quezada, manager of North Country Health Care Integrated Clinic, Darrell Marks, an academic adviser at Flagstaff High School dedicated to working with American Indian students, and Samantha Sabo, the CEC co-lead and an associate professor of health sciences at Northern Arizona University.
“It has been a learning process with how to conduct interviews, especially since I hosted the first episode,” Samarron said. “I am starting to feel more comfortable with talking on the mic.”
The researchers partnered with Northern Arizona University’s Media Innovation Center to help with the podcast recording and editing. They designed the episodes’ structure with Brian Rackham, an associate professor in Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication. Aldric Meints, a student in the communication department, recorded and edited the episodes.
“Brian has been very helpful in guiding us in the process,” Samarron said. “He also introduced us to Aldric, who helped us with thinking about the interviews and all of the technical parts that were challenging to learn.”
The group plans to release two more episodes this semester. In the next episode, Kelly McCue, a senior program coordinator with CHER, will interview CHER students in the master of public health indigenous health track at Northern Arizona University. Carmenlita Chief, a senior program coordinator with the CHER, will host the episode that features SHERC’s Community-Campus Partnership Support (CCPS)—a program that partners community practitioners and leaders with university investigators.
Chief said that she thinks exploring health equity will be helpful to listeners.
“Storytelling is an essential part of our work as public health advocates because it’s a personal and meaningful way of communicating information,” Chief said. “In a previous chapter of my life, I was a journalist so I loved the aspect of being back in my creative element and crafting narratives that make research relatable to a broader audience.”
In addition to the Fairness First, the group is also developing a video series and a webinar that highlights a few SHERC health equity programs with partnerships in the community.
“We also hope to really challenge more researchers to start thinking about building relationships in the community and to start thinking about how their science needs to be more applicable to community needs,” Samarron said.
Two researchers from the NAU’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) recently completed an independent study of the Yavapai County Detention Center Reach Out program to evaluate characteristics of inmates after the first year of a three-year program.
Dr. George Pro, a postdoctoral fellow with CHER and Dr. Ricky Camplain, an assistant professor in Health Sciences and CHER, found that more than 4,800 incarcerated individuals have interacted with Reach Out coordinators. Many of the program participants demonstrated characteristics that put them at increased risk for recidivism.
Reach Out is designed to connect people with mental health diagnoses and substance abuse disorders to treatment following their release from the Yavapai County jail. The goal of the Reach Out Initiative is to improve cross-system collaborations to reduce involvement in the justice system.
According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, the goals of Reach Out is to connect individuals with life-saving resources that:
- Transition inmates into appropriate mental health and substance use treatment
- Enhance communication between courts, pretrial services, attorneys, probation and local behavioral health services
- Offer access to recovery support, benefits, housing and employment services
Reach Out was is funded by a $500,000 grant over three years through the governor’s office. The project is also funded by a $250,000 grant from the Department of Justice and $224,290 through legislative funding.
About 170 local and national judges, attorneys, social workers, probation officers, health care providers, community members, and researchers, as well as state, county, and city and officials, gathered at the High Country Conference Center at Northern Arizona University on Sept. 26 for a workshop entitled “The Consequences of Juvenile Justice System Involvement on the Health and Well-Being of Adolescents, Families and Communities of Color.”
The one-day event, sponsored by the Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) at Northern Arizona University, in partnership with the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), The NARBHA Institute, and the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre, examined strategies to transform the juvenile justice system throughout the nation. More than 250 also attended the event by video conference.
Keynote speakers were Scott Bales, executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) of Denver and former Arizona Chief Justice, and Judge Kathleen Quigley, from the Pima County Juvenile Court and a Northern Arizona University alumna, along with three panels of juvenile justice experts in Arizona and from across the nation. A special group of young adults, counselors, and parents also shared their experiences in the juvenile justice system with attendees during a lunch session.
CHER Director Dr. Julie Baldwin, and Dr. Mark Carroll, chief health officer and vice president of discovery and development at The NARBHA Institute, moderated the workshop along with other members of the NASEM Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity.
“We see this as a critical launching point for dialogue and action around this topic, both locally and nationally,” Dr. Baldwin said in her introduction.
Throughout the day, experts in their fields discussed challenges in the juvenile justice system, especially for communities of color, and they also highlighted successful, established programs and policies that serve as models for the nation.
During his keynote, Justice Bales gave statistics for Arizona youth in the juvenile justice system. He said that African American youth are referred to the juvenile justice system 3.7 times more often and American Indians are referred 1.8 times more often than Caucasian youth. About one in five referrals resulted in detention; however, youth who are American Indian had a detention rate of two and a half times that of white juveniles. He said that African American youth are charged five times more often and Hispanic youth are charged three times more often than white youth.
In her address, Judge Quigley said that one of the key goals of the Arizona courts was to reduce the number of juveniles in detention and to connect families to services. She said that there have been positive changes recently in Arizona for youth in the juvenile justice system and that the state has reduced admissions to detention by 50 percent. She said a few of the Arizona counties reduced their numbers so effectively that they were able to close their detention centers and turned them into youth recreation centers.
As an example, Judge Quigley said that in Apache County there are 320 youth registered in the converted youth center —95 percent of the students from the local high school. She said some of the centers have counseling services on site and that the centers have positively affected youth who attend—some resulting in up to 55 percent reduction in youth referrals to the juvenile justice system.
“Navajo County and Apache County are leading the way and there really have been impressive outcomes,” Quigley said.
In the third panel discussion, titled “What do we still Need to Learn? Where Should we go in the Future?” Michal Rudnick, a project manager with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which serves as the Medicaid agency in Arizona, said that their agency is dedicated to listening to the community and learning from experts. She said that she admires AHCCCS leaders who have been courageous in “pushing the limits and the boundaries on what is possible.”
As an example, she said that several years ago, Pima County told AHCCCS about their problem with continuity of health care coverage for people who are or who had been incarcerated.
“They shared with us the very real and unfortunate situation of jails and prisons becoming health care facilities and the adult cycle back into their system,” Rudnick said.
In response, Rudnick showed a video of a program AHCCCS created that she called “one of the most innovative” programs she has seen—13 integrated “health homes” across the state where people on probation or parole could see their probation or parole officer and in the same visit receive medical visits, behavioral health services and assessments for behavioral health. The program also offers them assistance with food insecurity, housing, and obtaining a job.
Other panel discussions included “What we Know about the Effects of Involvement with the Juvenile Justice System on Health Outcomes for Vulnerable Populations,” and “Alternatives to Juvenile Detention in Building Systems of Justice and Equity.”
The workshop was the last in a series of three workshops hosted by the NASEM Roundtable on Promotion of Health Equity: the first focused on incarceration as a structural determinant of health and the second examined how race, ethnicity, drug control laws, and policies intersect within the criminal justice system.
The presentations are available on the workshop website.