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