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LHU News

LHU students attend state public and community health conference

PA Public House ConferenceLock Haven University students recently presented with area high school students during the Pennsylvania Public and Community Health annual conference in Lancaster. The students and LHU faculty are shown with Lisa Davis, PA Office of Rural Health president, far right.

In April, several Lock Haven University students and faculty attended the 2018 Pennsylvania Public and Community Health annual conference in Lancaster.

The Pennsylvania Public Health Association (PPHA), the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH), and the Penn State College of Medicine’s public health program hosted the conference, “Understanding Public Health in Pennsylvania: A Retrospective Review and Forecast for the Coming Year.” The conference highlighted community and public health issues and initiatives for diverse and underserved populations.

LHU health science students who attended the conference were: Catherine Mohn community and public health major; Kelsey Leach, pre-physician assistant major; Kalista Swartz, pre-physician assistant major; Morgan Capobianco; and Jennifer Lange, clinical mental health counseling major.

LHU faculty who attended the conference were: Dr. Beth McMahon, professor of health science and coordinator for the Master of Health Science program; Dr. Kristin Vincenzes, LPC, NCC, ACS, assistant professor and director of clinical mental health counseling program; and Dr. Fay Cook, health science professor.

Area high school students also attended the conference with the LHU students and faculty. They were: Lysia Gehris, senior, Williamsport Area High School; Colton Lovell, senior, Williamsport Area High School; Alyssa Johnson, junior, South Williamsport Area High School; Anna Barto, junior, Hughesville High School; and Samantha Thompson, senior, Hughesville High School.

In the past 12 years, McMahon said she has taken 10-18 students to the conference each year.

Students that typically present at the conference are engaged in community-based participatory research with McMahon, Vincenzes, or Dr. Jennifer Rudella and often dedicate time outside the classroom to participate in research, according to McMahon.

The conference focus provided learning opportunities for the students in the areas of community and health advocacy; practices in improving the health of special and underserved populations, with a special focus on migrant and immigrant farmworkers; and the use of data-driven and evidence-based practices in public and community health.

“I learned to implement health education into the community using the health policy database,” Mohn said about her experience at the conference.

An oral presentation was given during the conference by Lange, Swartz, Capobianco, McMahon, and Vincenzes on “Vulnerable Victims of the opioid Epidemic Advocate for Community Response.” A poster presentation was given by Mohn and Leach on “Domestic Violence Fatality Review Teams Impact Community Change.” All abstracts were peer-reviewed by professionals in the public and community field.

Following the conference, Leach said she is more excited than ever to further her academic career in public health. “I was able to meet with admissions for Penn State Hershey. I feel very prepared to apply to their MPH program this fall and eventually perform in a professional setting,” she added.

For more information on Lock Haven University, visit, email, or call 570-484-2011.

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Lock Haven University is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

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