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 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: I attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for undergrad then completed my Masters of Public Health from Boston University. I then served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Guyana, South America for 2 years before beginning a professional career. My professional experience prior to entering the DrPH program and joining the RMPRC focused on research, quality improvement, and administration in a variety of academic and clinical settings mostly in the Boston area.
What I did while at the RMPRC: I worked as a Professional Research Assistant on a variety of projects. I mostly focused on school-based health initiatives including the Culture of Wellness in Preschools (COWP) and the Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP), but was also involved in community-based work in the San Luis Valley and providing evaluation support to various projects through the RMPRC’s Evaluation Center. I also worked on integrating more of a dissemination and implementation science approach into some of the RMPRC’s program evaluation activities.
What I plan to do now that I’ve graduated: I accepted a job as a Program Officer for the Dissemination and Implementation program at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in Washington, DC. For this job I will be helping to manage a portfolio of projects aimed to implement research into practice.
Background before joining the RMPRC: I graduated with my MPH from Tulane University in 2009 where I immediately applied my newly acquired skillset as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia (2009-2011). After completing my service, I moved to Antigua, WI to work as a consultant for a local NGO implementing HIV/TB programming (2011-2012). Not eager to return to cooler climates, I then moved to Mirebalais, Haiti as a member of the Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante mental health and psychosocial support team (2012-2015) prior to calling Colorado my home. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I have a great appreciation for the climate and activities CO has to offer.
What I did while at the RMPRC: Since arriving in Colorado in July of 2015, I have worked as a graduate assistant with the RMPRC. This is a role where I have had the opportunity to learn from many and have been exposed to the intricacies of research and program implementation. This has been one of my favorite positions throughout my graduate experience as I have been able to learn what it takes to implement successful community-based participatory research in (rural) Colorado. Whether it is partnering with local public health agencies in Assess, Identify, Make it Happen (AIM) or providing technical assistance at a district-wide systems level with Working to Improve School Health (WISH), it has been a privilege to learn from the RMPCs humility and expertise working with high-needs communities throughout Colorado.
What I am doing now: I am currently a doctoral candidate at the Colorado School of Public Health in the Community and Behavioral Health Sciences. My interests include translational research, community-based participatory research, health equity, and mental health. When I am not working or TA’ing, I spend my spare time working on my doctoral dissertation which consists of using qualitative and quantitative research methods to define and describe health and wellness in the Denver refugee community. If I’m not working, you can find me on a trail with my canine companion, Pikliz.