Feinberg students debut new public health review

Jordan Harrison, Reporter

The new Northwestern Public Health Review will release its first issue Tuesday, featuring topics ranging from policy for funding mental health treatment to an interview with an NU professor who was one of the first to realize the health risks associated with salt.

The review, co-edited by two students in the Feinberg School of Medicine, will include a collection of research articles, opinions, interviews and other content pertaining to public health.

For the issue, Feinberg student Nilay Shah interviewed Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, who, 50 years ago, was one of the earliest people to discover that salt increases risk for cardiovascular disease.

“Often you hear about things that we now take implicitly (like health risks of salt), but I think it’s important to know how that particular factor was discovered and the process that went into it,” said Osefame Ewaleifoh, one of the publication’s editors.

The first edition includes a behind-the-scenes look at the Illinois Department of Public Health, a study of the spread of pneumonia in Chicago and a history of HIV and AIDS research at NU. The review’s editors, as well as medical students and NU alumni, contributed content.

“I wrote about my field experience at the Illinois Department of Public Health,” said Celeste Mallama, also an NPHR editor. “The goal of the review is to bring people behind the curtain of public health and see a side of it that maybe you haven’t had an opportunity to see before.”

Feinberg Prof. Rebecca Wurtz and Rahul Ganatra, a Feinberg alumnus, came up with the idea for the review, and Ewaleifoh and Mallama took over after Ganatra graduated.

Ewaleifoh said many publications exist for medical students to publish their research, but there are few opportunities for those studying public health.

One of the goals of the review is to publish content related to public health from a variety of University departments, not just the medical school, Mallama and Ewaleifoh said.

“I think that whereas this individual relationship we have with medicine really does focus entirely on the medical field, public health is all sorts of fields that are melded together to enhance the health of a population,” said Mallama.  “There’s law and policy, science, medicine, engineering, anthropology — it’s really an amalgamation of a lot of different fields put together.”

Ewaleifoh and Mallama even reached out to NU’s art department for the review’s illustrations, which feature the original work of undergraduates. The artwork and the design can help draw readers to the review, Mallama said.

“We want to encourage undergraduate participation because it’s good for the undergraduate students to know what happens at the medical school and be part of it,” Ewaleifoh said.

The review received funding from a catalyst grant from The Graduate School for a print edition of the review. Readers will be able to find copies in the Evanston and Chicago campus libraries.

Mallama is a doctoral candidate specializing in microbiology and is in the third year of her master’s in public health program.  Ewaleifoh is in the second year of his Ph.D. in neurovirology and the second year of his master’s in public health.

A reception will be held for the review’s launch Oct. 8 from 5-6 p.m. in Baldwin Auditorium on NU’s Chicago campus.

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