We recognize mental health and substance use as issues of rising importance in public health, and are dedicated to the expanding and investing in research, education, and partnership with practitioners in this burgeoning field. By taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex mental health challenges facing our country today, and by drawing upon top talent, innovative research, and a constellation of resources across our three university campuses, we are uniquely poised to help usher in a new era of integrated population health.

We offer training and professional development opportunities for both students and working professionals.

Ways to get involved

Healthcare workers

Perinatal Depression Provider Training

Healthcare providers play an integral role in identifying and managing (i.e. treating or referring to care) perinatal mood disorders among pregnant women. This training is designed to provide an overview of the harmful effects of depression and anxiety on numerous maternal and child outcomes, as well as enhance patient-provider communication using a 5As framework (i.e. Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist, and Arrange) to teach providers how to assess for depression and anxiety, advise the patient on treatment options, agree on a treatment plan, assist the patient in any problem-solving related to obtaining treatment, and arrange for support for the patient. communicate the current national guidelines, safety, and counseling strategies related to perinatal mood disorders.

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Evidence-Based Public Health Training Course

We are working with the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis (PRC-StL) to scale up their Evidence-Based Public Health (EBPH) Training Course. We worked in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, Colorado public health agencies, and public health practice teams to plan and deliver a training in fall 2021.

September 9 through November 18, 2021, the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center offered an opportunity for public health professionals from rural Colorado to participate in a unique, online training series. The training covered core concepts like defining public health issues, conducting community assessments, prioritizing options, and evaluating program and policy impacts.

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Research and practicum

We have a variety of research and practicum opportunities for students including:

  • Curriculum development
  • Literature searches
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Qualitative research and data analysis
  • Survey development and implementation

If you are interested in becoming involved, please send your resume and a brief description of your area(s) of interest to the appropriate faculty or staff member.

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MPH in Population Mental Health & Wellbeing 

The Master of Public Health in Population Mental Health & Wellbeing centers on the study of mental health and substance use from a population perspective. This program is among the first in the country; only one other CEPH-accredited school currently offers an MPH concentration in mental health and substance use. Students in this concentration will learn about the etiology of mental health and substance use disorders; best practices for addressing these issues at a population level with primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention efforts; and the existing and upcoming models for integrated health systems.

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Certificate in Population Mental Health & Wellbeing 

This certificate prepares current and future public health professionals to respond to the challenges of preventing and treating mental health and substance use conditions, and to promote overall mental well-being at a population level. In this program, students address the unique problems that face behavioral health, such as misinformation and the stigma that interferes with help-seeking behaviors, lack of behavioral health training in the workforce, and a failure to invest in mental health promotion and early intervention. This certificate is designed for those seeking to build expertise in behavior health issues and for members of the behavioral health workforce looking for a population-based perspective.
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Trainings and online learning

The RMPRC partners with the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center (RM-PHTC) on training and professional development opportunities. RM-PHTC is one of the 10 Regional Public Health Training Centers designated by the Health Resources & Services Administration to provide training to professionals addressing public health issues. RM-PHTC works in partnership with subject matter experts to develop a skilled workforce, prepared to address public health needs in their communities.  Dr. Elaine Scallan Walter, Director of the RM-PHTC, is Director of RMPRC’s Training Sub-Core.

Student highlights

Dave LaRocca, DrPH Student, Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health
David LaRocca, MS, Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Student, Community & Behavioral Health

Background before joining the RMPRC: Prior to coming to the RMPRC, I worked for Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City and the Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care in Denver. At Harlem Children’s Zone, I helped direct a school-based health and wellness program for 25 early childhood, school, and afterschool programs across Central Harlem. While at the Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care, I managed quality improvement projects focusing on trauma-informed care, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and tobacco cessation in urban and rural school-based health centers while also supporting emerging school-based health centers through community health assessments, policy development, and advocacy.

What I did while at the RMPRC: I work as a Senior Professional Research Assistant at the RMPRC. In this role, I help support the implementation and evaluation of two projects: STANCE (Linking Systems To address ACEs iN Childhood Early on), which is focused on addressing the intergenerational transmission of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and the COVID-19 Vaccine Supplement, which aims to increase confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. Overall, I am grateful to work with so many amazing people at the RMPRC and be at the forefront of public health practice and research. The RMPRC is full of passionate and talented investigators, project staff, and community partners who I have the privilege of working with every day.

What am I doing now: In addition to my work with the RMPRC, I am working towards a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Community & Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. I am currently completing my dissertation work, which is focused on training youth sports coaches in trauma-informed approaches.

Sarah Gelinas A Girl with Dark Hair and Black Shirt
Sarah Gelinas, Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Population Mental Health and Wellbeing

Background before joining the RMPRC: I graduated from University of Texas at Austin in 2018 with a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. I knew that I loved mental health but was not sure the exact path I wanted to take for Graduate school, so I took a 2 years off to explore some options. I was looking into joining the Peace Corps in 2020, right before COVID hit. Once that door closed, I started looking into Graduate school options and found the concentration program of Population Mental Health and Wellbeing at Colorado School of Public Health and felt like it fit me perfectly. Once I found out I was accepted, my brother and I moved to Aurora to start this new journey. During my first semester of my MPH, I had Jenn as my teacher for my Mental Health Promotion class where I learned about RMPRC and the work that they were doing in the SLV. I felt like it was exactly the type of work I wanted to be a part of. In my second semester, I reconnected with Jenn and asked if there were any opportunities within the center to do my practicum and we developed an opportunity for there. I am very passionate about substance use and mental health prevention/interventions where the focus is placed on what the community needs and wants. 

What I did while at the RMPRC: My practicum at RMPRC is focused on their partnership with the San Luis Valley so that I can gain experience in partnering with communities, learning how to assess their needs and plan interventions that they feel will support their health. One of my main focuses will be on collecting preliminary data in preparation for the RMPRC to receive a grant that would fund a substance use intervention program in the SLV. The data I would be collecting is to better understand what programming the people/organizations in the SLV are already doing or would be interested in doing for prevention of ACES, substance use and overdoses. I would also be helping conduct some evaluations of the programs that are already in place. The activities would consist of going down to the San Luis Valley and getting integrated into the community by attending SLV team meetings and working closely with the SLV Area Health Education Center to conduct interviews with organizations and get immersed into the community and work they are doing.

What I am doing now: I just completed my first year of the MPH program. During this summer I am focusing on my practicum and also have a part time job through the school as a research assistant for the project that is assessing the health effects of high potency THC products.

Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center (RMPRC)

Colorado School of Public Health

CU Anschutz

Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place

3rd Floor East

Mail Stop B119

Aurora, CO 80045

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