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August 2012 E-NEWS

Table of Contents
Board Member Spotlilght    
Utah Public Health ACTion Campaign    
Utah's Joyce Gaufin runs for APHA president-elect    
Whooping cough outbreak…got your Tdap shot?  
I am public health  

Board member spotlight -- darin sluga

As a new feature to our e-newsletter, we will be spotlighting a board member each month to learn more about them on a professional and personal level. Darin Sluga, Board President, answered a few questions for us to get to know him better.

1. Where do you currently work/go to school?
I work for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department.

2. Why did you choose to pursue public health as your profession?
The two major reasons I decided to pursue public health as my career are as follows:
1) My grandmother had a disabling stroke when I was in my teens. I remember medical staff explaining all the healthy changes she would have to make in her life to stay alive. The list was overwhelming. I wondered why someone didn't tell my grandma these tips before she ever got sick.
2) I had just completed my freshman year of playing college basketball. During the season, I had lost 18 pounds and now weighed in at 169. My body was broken down and I didn't feel like be physically active in the slightest. Over the next 2.5 months of being sedentary, I gained 36 pounds and weighed 205!

I remember eating a dozen Winchell's doughnuts (with a little help from my girlfriend) over a 12 hour period – disgusting! One day, I looked in the mirror and visualized the damage I'd done. I'd gone from being a highly-conditioned, too slim athlete to a chubby guy in less than three months!

I knew this had to change. So I went to the gym and worked out like a maniac for over 2 hours. The result: me bending over the outside stair rail repeatedly vomiting and being so sore over the next week that exercising was the last thing I wanted.

I knew there had to be a better way. I began to read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition, strength training, cardiovascular conditioning and rest periods. My school schedule became heavily populated with health courses. I began to take classes on program planning, implementation and evaluation and loved the logic and structure of these disciplines. The next thing I knew, I had a degree, then a public health job, and then another degree.

3. What is your favorite vacation spot?
Any cruise is my favorite vacation "spot". No driving. Lots of good food. Beautiful scenery. No stress.

4. What time do you typically go to bed and get up in the morning?
Too late and too early.

5. If money weren't an issue right now, what would you be doing?
If money weren't an issue I would sleep more, take up fishing, and read copiously. I would devote more time to religious activities and volunteer at an agency that works with improving the lives of children. I would continue to work in public health, but on my time schedule. I'd spend as much time as possible with my wife and kids, with regular visits to my daughter in California as a top priority. I would learn to surf, have a beach house in a very secluded tropical location and hike the beautiful areas of the globe.

6. What has been the most rewarding project you've worked on as a public health professional?
The most rewarding and memorable public health project I've been involved with was assisting the Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Our SLVHD staff was amazing to work with. My wife assisted in our efforts as well since her multi-language skills were needed. We addressed many public health issues that were impacting the evacuees such as infectious disease, medication needs and dehydration to name a few.

However, our most important role was simply recognizing and addressing the primary human needs of these people who had lived through horrific conditions. We helped them carry their water-logged bags, served them some snacks and water, and lent an empathetic ear to their experiences. We consoled them about lost family members and assisted in helping locate these relatives. Along with our partners, we transported the evacuees to a site where they could have their first shower, clean bed and hot-cooked meal in nearly a week's time.
Most of us worked the better part of a continuous 24 hour period, but no one complained. Since I was by my wife's side throughout this process, I think of it as the best date I've ever had!

7. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

8. What is the best thing you've done in your life?
Marry my wife.

9. What do you to do relax?

10. If you could give only one reason why someone should join UPHA, what would it be?
UPHA provides a unique opportunity to work with some of the most intelligent, fascinating and kind public health practitioners anywhere. UPHA is the cutting edge of public health in Utah

Sluga Family

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Whooping cough outbreak ... got your tdap shot?

Pertussis (whooping cough) is on the rise in the US. So far this year >19,000 cases have been reported and 9 babies have died. Vaccines are the best tool to prevent pertussis and are recommended for people of all ages, including pregnant women. Learn about pertussis protection at http://go.usa.gov/Gcg.

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I Am Public health

Our UPHA Student Caucus is doing amazing things to compliment the efforts of our organization. Each month, you can learn about one of them and why they chose to pursue public health.

From cells to society, public health has the power to influence every stage of a person's life. After working as a bereavement counseling intern specializing in perinatal loss, this motto became even more important to me as I learned how the first few moments of life can impact your health for a lifetime. Thus I became a graduate student in public health at the University of Utah, emphasizing in maternal and child health. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are still the leading cause of death for women worldwide, but through collaborative efforts in research and advocacy, I believe that we can create reliable interventions to decrease these unnecessary losses and improve the health of both mother and child. My awareness for this topic is strengthened through my volunteer experiences with Planned Parenthood, March of Dimes, and global experiences in Central America. The opportunities within the field of public health never cease to amaze me, and I am thrilled to be part of an organization like UPHA that is advances the goals of public health every day!

Stephanie Croasdell

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