Population Mental Health & Wellbeing Newsletter—Summer 2021
A quarterly newsletter of the Population Mental Health & Wellbeing ProgramJun 23, 2021
What's new with PMHW?The PMHW program will have its first cohort of fully online students starting in the Fall. These students represent many areas of the country and many different backgrounds. They will be completing their MPH degrees completely online. This new format offers increased flexibility and availability to students who work full-time or who are unable to relocate in order to complete a degree program. We are looking forward to welcoming these students into the PMHW family.
Graduating class of 2021
Lauren Phillips, MPH
What made you decide to join the PMHW program?
I found out about PMHW half way through my MPH. When I heard "mental health," I jumped on board!
Tell us about your practicum experience.
My practicum was a great opportunity. I worked with Tatiane Santos and the Colorado School of Public Health to help collect stakeholder feedback on their COVID-19 county dashboard. In addition to collecting feedback, I also collected secondary data on mental health in Colorado to include in the dashboard indicators. It was a great way to get hands on experience and learn what it is like to work in a public health setting that has several levels and needs.
Tell us about your capstone project.
My capstone project was completed with Dr. Charlotte Farewell. I developed a process evaluation for the Fostering Resilience in Early Education Program. It was a mixed methods study using thematic analysis and descriptive statistics to assess program implementation. I loved working with Charlotte and learning how to apply program evaluation skills into a research setting.
Graduating class of 2021
Teresa Mescher, MPH
What was the most beneficial PMHW course that you took during your tenure at CSPH and what set it apart from the others?
The course I most often refer to is PMHW 6621 (Mental Health & Wellbeing Promotion). I thought the course content was incredibly interesting and it taught me about wellbeing constructs and methods to improve mental health and to prevent/treat substance use disorder that are less commonly leveraged compared to traditional medical treatment. I absolutely recommend that course to anyone interested in mental health and substance use because it not only opened my eyes to lesser-known concepts that I used constantly throughout the remainder of my degree, but it is also delivered incredibly well and in a way that promotes information retention.
Do you have any words of advice for current or future students in PMHW?
I recommend current/future PMHW students explore their interests by taking a couple of single-credit topic electives and obtain a broad, yet well-developed, skillset that you can apply post-graduation by enrolling in diverse methods electives. In addition, communicate with your cohort! The relationships I built with members of my cohort are very meaningful and it is so helpful to have someone you can talk school with, whether it be a quick question about a course you’re thinking about taking or going for a long walk with a classmate to relieve stress when grad school feels overwhelming (because I’m sure it will at some point).
Sarah Beary, MPHGraduating class of 2021
How do you plan to apply your education to your work post-graduation?
I plan to dive further into mental health research and quality improvement. I would love to work more with adolescents and marginalized communities by identifying the unique mental health needs of these populations and then revamp or create programs with these populations to effectively address their needs.
If you already have a job lined up, what will you be doing?
Currently, I work at the National Mental Health Innovation Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus. I mostly work with community and clinical organizations where I help integrate technology into their practice to address gaps in mental healthcare, but I am diving further into research areas with adolescents, students, and inmate populations.
Can you give one sentence to describe the PMHW program?
The PMHW program is a unique concentration made up of dedicated people who are passionate about addressing gaps in our mental health system in order to affect positive change for individuals, families, and at-risk communities.
Recent PMHW Publications & Presentations
Farewell, C.V., Melnick, E., & Leiferman, J. (2021). Maternal Mental Health and Early Childhood Development: Exploring critical periods and unique sources of support. Journal of Infant Mental Health In press.
Leiferman, J.A., Jewell, J.S., Huberty, J., Lee-Winn, A. (2021). Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Interconception Period. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing In press.
Faculty, staff, and students have also been accepted for presentations at the following conferences: Society of Behavioral Medicine, Society for Research in Child Development, Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, American Psychological Association, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, and Association for Psychological Science.