University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Graduate Student Wins
Scholarship to Attend National Conference

 MAILED:  Nov. 3, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate student Kaia Johnson was one of only 25 students in the nation awarded a scholarship by the American Public Health Association Environment Section to attend the APHA 132nd Annual Meeting and Exposition Nov. 6-10 in Washington, D.C.

"I am very honored to have received a scholarship and am thankful for the financial help" said Johnson.

The American Public Health Association is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is concerned with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health, including federal and state funding for health programs, pollution control, and professional education in public health.

The Environment Section of APHA awarded a total of $7,500 to public health students involved in environmental health promotion across the nation. The scholarships are to be used for registration and/or travel costs associated with attending the annual meeting at the Washington Convention Center, where the students will be encouraged to participate in the activities of the Environment Section.

Johnson said she is eager to connect with other students and professionals in the field of environmental public health.

"I hope to gain a better understanding of emerging topics and trends in environmental public health," Johnson said. "I have found that professional meetings provide an excellent environment for learning about new and exciting issues."

The annual APHA meeting provides more than 13,000 participants the opportunity to stay on top of trends in public health. It provides a place to share successes and failures, discover exceptional best practices and learn from expert colleagues and the latest research in the field. The theme for this year's meeting is "Public Health and the Environment." Scientific and educational sessions, networking opportunities and events, and the largest public health exposition in the nation will be offered at the meeting.

Johnson said she is particularly interested in attending the scientific sessions on epidemiology and environment because her graduate thesis focuses on the environmental public health tracking of carbon monoxide poisoning in Wisconsin. Other sessions Johnson is interested in attending include "Environmental Public Health Tracking" and "Addressing Environmental Health Disparities in Environmental Public Health Tracking."

A Chippewa Falls native, Johnson graduated from St. Olaf College in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and Spanish. She is currently working toward a Master of Science degree in Environmental Public Health at UW-Eau Claire and expects to graduate in May 2005.

Dr. Christine Gabel, a lecturer in UW-Eau Claire's ENPH program, said she believes Johnson was chosen both for her excellent grades and progress in her master's program and her work with the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health in Madison during her summer internship.

"This is the main public health conference in our nation, and the environment section is the oldest of all the 32 sections in APHA," said Gabel, noting that Johnson's attendance would provide great educational as well as networking opportunities. "She also will be able to publicize and promote our ENPH program to the national public health audience."

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Updated: November 2, 2004