IU researcher reflects on the first White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing

Guest blog courtesy of Brian Dodge, associate professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.

Sept. 21, 2015, became an unexpectedly meaningful day in my life both as a public health researcher, educator and advocate and as a bisexual man. It marked the first ever White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing, an event for which nearly 100 scientific, governmental, community and other experts gathered in the hallowed halls at the heart of our federal government to discuss issues of importance in the lives of bisexual men, women and others.

Brian Dodge at White House

Brian Dodge, center, poses with bisexual and trans advocate Dr. Scout, left, and bisexual author and advocate Robyn Ochs, right.

Bisexual individuals are a particularly at-risk and understudied public health population, often reporting the highest rates of adverse physical, mental and other health concerns relative to both heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals — so in many ways, allocating a day to recognize the unique challenges faced by the bisexual community was long overdue. Aside from the obvious logistical and political aspects of developing and implementing such an event, we certainly had our work cut out for us with reviewing, revising and putting forth policy briefs and recommendations on issues as diverse as data collection, education, employment and economics, immigration, mental health and suicide prevention, physical health, violence and HIV prevention, treatment and care (or, in other words, sexual health). It was in the latter area, based on my own scientific and advocacy efforts, which I attempted to contribute … that is, when I was not lost in thought with marveling at how we had come this far.

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IU School of Public Health-Bloomington celebrating milestone year

Mohammad Torabi

Mohammad Torabi

Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington has had a banner year.

In June, the school was awarded full accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health for five years, the maximum for an initial accreditation by the accrediting body.

Throughout the past year, the school has also increased its credit hour production; expanded its undergraduate program to include a degree in environmental health; recruited and hired academic leadership and public health specialists from throughout the country; and is celebrating its third anniversary of becoming the School of Public Health.

“Our school takes its mission of research, teaching and community engagement very seriously,” said Mohammad Torabi, founding dean and Chancellor’s Professor at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. “We’re unique as a school on campus, because not only do we conduct important research and teach the next generation of practitioners, preparing them for both rewarding and in-demand careers, but we also play an important role across the campus and throughout our local and regional community in so many ways.”

Now, it is time to celebrate the school’s growth and accomplishments.

The School of Public Health-Bloomington is hosting a Campus and Community Fall Celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 25 on the west side of the School of Public Health building, 1025 E. Seventh St. The event is open to all IU faculty, staff and students and the community.

In honor of the day, IU Provost Lauren Robel and Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan have proclaimed Sept. 25 “Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington Day.”

“Quality of life is an important component of wellness,” Torabi said. “The Bloomington campus is a beautiful place that contributes greatly to our lives. With the School of Public Health-Bloomington right in the middle of it all, it’s a great place to bring our friends, colleagues, students and partners together to celebrate all the wonderful things about our campus and our city.”

IU hosting upcoming event that celebrates student recovery

When Indiana University student Jacob Desmond decided to return to campus after seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, he was nervous.

Sober and in recovery, Desmond wanted to make sure he had the support he needed to be successful a second time around.

Jacob Desmond

Jacob Desmond

“My biggest thing was having a social group to do fun, sober things with,” said Desmond who got sober at the age of 19. “The last thing I wanted to do was come down here and not do anything with anyone because I was scared to go out.”

Although IU has a number of programs for students dealing with addiction, Desmond found there wasn’t really a student-run group that served as a supportive and social atmosphere for students in recovery and those supporting recovery.

So with the help of Jackie Daniels, director of OASIS, which provides campus-wide alcohol and drug prevention, education and intervention, Desmond helped create Students in Recovery – Bloomington.

Founded in the spring of 2015, Students in Recovery – Bloomington aims at providing a safe and supportive community for students in addiction recovery. The group was established from a Transforming Youth Recovery grant OASIS received

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IU School of Public Health-Bloomington receives grant to create Healthy Schools Corps program

School districts throughout South Central Indiana will now have an additional resource when it comes to keeping students healthy.

The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington was recently awarded a three-year AmeriCorps grant from Serve Indiana to support a new Healthy Schools Corps program.

School of Public Health-Bloomington

The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

Through a partnership with the School of Public Health and IU Health Bloomington, the Healthy Schools Corps program will place AmeriCorps members in 10 Indiana counties starting this fall.

“This is another way Indiana University is being proactive by partnering with IU Health and our local school systems to further promote health and wellness,” said Linda Henderson, community relations specialists for the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

The AmeriCorps members will assist with recruiting and organizing volunteers on local wellness teams; completing school-based community needs assessments; and drafting coordinated school health plans.

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Tips for managing stress during the back-to-school rush

Change, even positive change, can be difficult.

That’s why the beginning of the school year — with its new routines, increase in activities and, in some cases, a new environment — can be a stressful time for both students and parents.

Nancy Stockton

Nancy Stockton

“Many people do not do well with transitional periods,” said Nancy Stockton, director of IU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. “Instead of viewing them as opportunities for trying new things and growth, people experience a great fear of change and become anxious about the unfamiliar.”

According to the 2014 Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association, millennials and Gen X’ers (age 18-49) felt more stress than the average American. Women, parents and young Americans reported higher levels of stress than other groups, according to the survey, and parents and young people were more likely to point to financial concerns as a source of stress.

While some stress can be positive, such as feelings of anxiousness before a big test or performance, Stockton said, too much stress can cause serious mental and physical issues such as chronic headaches, fatigue, an inability to concentrate, irritability, depression and coronary disease.

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IU professor is co-editor of handbook on men and masculinities

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

What does it mean to be a man? Not long ago most people would have answered with clichés about courage, assertiveness and responsibility. But in recent years researchers have produced a more complex picture, suggesting that gender stereotypes can be harmful to men as well as women.

Joel Wong

Joel Wong

The “APA Handbook of Men and Masculinities,” co-edited by Indiana University professor Joel Wong and published this summer by the American Psychological Association, brings together theoretical, empirical and practical research on the psychology of men and masculinities.

“This is the first comprehensive attempt to synthesize, summarize and evaluate the entire field of study,” said Wong, associate professor of counseling and psychology in the IU School of Education. “The area is relatively new, and this is the first handbook in our field.”

Addressing how men and boys are shaped by biological, psychological, sociological and cultural factors, the volume includes sections on historical, theoretical and methodological issues; specific populations of men; and topics such as sexism, stereotypes, violence, fathering and sport.

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The legacy of Paul Gebhard

Post courtesy of IU Communications colleague, Milana Katic:

When I was asked to film Paul Gebhard in August 2014, I wasn’t fully aware of the unique opportunity I had been given.

Like me, most people wouldn’t recognize his name right off the bat. However, everyone seems to know the name of his former employer and colleague: Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

Gebhard was one of the original four interviewers who helped Kinsey gather research for what would become some of the first empirical studies of sexuality in the United States. The sexual histories that would be gathered by Kinsey and Gebhard, along with Clyde Martin and Wardell Pomeroy, would later be compiled into the Kinsey Reports, ultimately changing how human sexuality would be studied for years to come.

“I felt like a little boy that fell into a candy shop,” Gebhard said in one of our on-camera interviews, all of which can be seen on the Kinsey Institute’s website. “After sex being hushed up, suddenly I was in the middle of it.”

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Video highlights issues in accessing health care for transgender people

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

Visiting a doctor can be unnerving for anyone. But for people who are transgender, it can be a lot worse. From one-size-fits-all medical forms to health care providers who are confused or insensitive about diverse gender identities, issues abound that can make the experience traumatic.

A video written and directed by an IU School of Public Health-Bloomington graduate student aims to help change that. “The Waiting Room: Transgender People and Health Care” is being used in classrooms to raise awareness of transgender issues. And it will debut this month on WTIU, IU’s public TV station.

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Student volunteers drive campaign against mental illness stigma

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

IU students with Glenn Close

IU students involved with U Bring Change 2 Mind have their picture taken with Glenn Close. From left are junior David Haggerty, sophomore Lauren Smith, Close, junior Elliott Hudson and freshman Hannah Powers.

The U Bring Change 2 Mind initiative to combat the stigma associated with mental illness is backed by serious star power in the person of award-winning actress Glenn Close.

But the project has something else that may be even more essential to its success: student power.

Dozens of IU Bloomington students signed on to help when U Bring Change 2 Mind announced its formation last fall and started to roll out its Campus Toolbox Project, aimed at developing activities that will change the way people think about mental illness.

Dozens more made presentations this week for a competition to help create anti-stigma public awareness campaigns — presentations that were judged by Close and Pamela Harrington, executive director of Bring Change 2 Mind, the foundation Close started in 2010.

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Urban farmer-activist to speak Friday at IU School of Public Health-Bloomington

Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog:

Will Allen’s official biography describes him first as a farmer and second as CEO of Growing Power, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve access to health food by helping people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

Keep reading, and you’ll learn he has also been a professional basketball player, worked in corporate sales and marketing, been awarded a McArthur Foundation “genius grant” and, not to mention, remained a powerful advocate for small-scale agriculture and its ability to transform urban communities.

Will Allen

Will Allen

Allen will be at IU Bloomington Friday to deliver the Reynold E. Carlson Lecture sponsored by the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. The lecture will be at 1 p.m. in the school’s Mobley Auditorium.

It’s the Milwaukee-based activist’s second visit to Bloomington in the past year. He was here in April 2014 to give the Ben Brabson Lecture for Sustainable Ideas, a preview event for last fall’s Themester 2014: “Eat, Drink, Think: Food from Art to Science.”

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