Left to Right - Holly Raffle, Kelly Monce (Fairfield County Family, Adult, and Children's First Council), Melissa Thomas (OhioHealth Research and Innovation Institute), Dawn Thomas (Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services)

Voinovich School faculty and students present at Rural Health Conference

Mollie Fitzgerald
December 5, 2012

The Ohio Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) partnered with the State Office of Rural Health to sponsor the Health Educator's Institute (HEI) and Rural Health Conference, "Healthy Communities: Ingredients for Success" at Deer Creek State Park on October 17th-19th. The conference was part of an initiative to bring awareness to health in the state of Ohio. Several Voinovich School faculty members and scholars gave compelling presentations showcasing a variety of public health topics and the methodological skills used to complete research.

With a crowd larger than expected, the conference provided an audience with innovative information on wide-ranging rural and public health topics. Keynote speakers included Dr. Frances Dunn Butterfoss, Dr. Melissa Thomas, Dr. Stephen Sroka, and James White.

Among the many speakers at the conference was Dr. Holly Raffle, an assistant professor for the Voinovich School. Raffle, along with Voinovich School scholar
Holly Strickland, and Alison Murphy from the Ohio Department of Health, gave a presentation on cultural approaches for reaching Appalachian women on health-related issues.Next week they will present the research to the American Public Health Association in California.

Holly Raffle also worked alongside Dr. Melissa Thomas, Dawn Thomas and Kelly Monce on a community readiness assessment workshop. The workshop gave participants experience with the Tri Ethnic Community Readiness model.

Sara Boyd, Senior Project Manager at the Voinovich School,
presented at the HEI and Rural Health Conference. "This conference shows people that Ohio University covers health too," explained Boyd. "We conduct projects in a variety of ways that serve both public and rural needs for our surrounding communities." Boyd presented a model with Laura Milazzo on conducting needs assessments in public health departments around the state of Ohio.

The HEI and Rural Health Conference recognized Voinovich School students as well. Ashley Roberts, a Voinovich Scholar and senior majoring in Community Health Services with an Environmental Studies certificate, received the 2012 Ohio SOHPE Academic Scholarship. Roberts was honored for the award the conference.

Other Voinovich School presenters included Dr. Natalie Kruseand Jennifer Bowman, as well as Ohio University Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Morrone, who led a panel discussion on the public health impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Through the diverse insights from many speakers, the HEI and Rural Health Conference provided a means for people to share their health education philosophies, network and develop the skills necessary for policy change. For more information on the conference, click here.