IU experts and public safety officer give their takeaway on the Pokémon Go phenomenon

pokemon

Players dip their toes in the Showalter Fountain as they play Pokémon Go. Photo by Thom Atkinson.

Although you might not know exactly what a Pokémon is, by now most people have heard of the wildly popular Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game that exploded on the scene early this month.

Throughout the country, people of all ages are hitting the streets, cellphones in hand, attempting to catch virtual creatures known as Pokémon. With the game’s popularity has come a number of stories (some true, some internet tales) highlighting both the instantaneous success of the game and how far people are willing to go to catch a Pikachu or Clefairy.

Health and Vitality reached out to a few Indiana University Bloomington experts and public safety officer for their takeaway, and tips, on the world’s latest mobile phenomenon.

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Debby Herbenick elected president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists

Debby Herbenick, director of IU’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion and associate professor in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, has been elected president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

debby herbenick

Debby Herbenick

Herbenick, who will start her tenure July 1, is the first person from IU to hold this position in the almost 50 years the organization has existed.

“Being elected to serve as AASECT’s next president is an enormous honor,” Herbenick said. “The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists is the certifying body for these professionals in the United States. We have more than 900 certified members. It’s particularly exciting because 2017 marks AASECT’s 50th anniversary.”

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists was founded in 1967 by Pat Schiller. Its mission is to promote sexual health through advancements in the fields of sexual therapy, counseling and education.

Herbenick first became involved with AASECT more than 10 years ago when she attended one of its conferences. Feeling inspired, Herbenick became an AASECT-certified sexuality educator before eventually being named president-elect and now president.

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New survey looks at attitudes, behaviors and challenges of LGBTQ singles

A new survey by Match.com and Justin Garcia, a Ruth Halls assistant professor of gender studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and research scientist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, looks at the evolving attitudes, behaviors and challenges of the single LGBTQ population.

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia, research scientist at the Kinsey Institute at IU

The new LGBTQ in America study is an expansion of Match’s annual Singles in America study, which is also co-authored by Garcia. Topics include when gay men or lesbians “come out” and tell others about their sexual orientation; when transgender people “come out”; marriage and having children; dating; and identity and labels.

“Today’s society is full of rich gender and sexual diversity, yet relatively little is known about the dating experiences of LGBTQ people,” said Garcia, who serves as scientific advisor to Match. “Nearly half of the LGBTQ population in America identifies as single, and a vast majority of these singles, some 80 percent, are seeking a committed relationship.

“By expanding our annual Singles in America study to include more people of diverse identities, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, we are beginning to address these knowledge gaps to better understand singles today.”

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IU expert encourages everyone to revisit safe water practices before heading into summer

With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, many families are preparing for a three-day weekend full of gatherings, cookouts and relaxation. For some, that will include activities in or around water.

Bill Ramos

Bill Ramos

While there can be nothing more fun, or refreshing, than splashing around a pool or a lake, it’s important to take the time to revisit safe water practices during this time of year, said Bill Ramos, assistant professor of recreation, park and tourism studies and director of the aquatic institute at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

“Being in the water is fun for people of all ages,” Ramos said. “But it’s like everything else: It has boundaries, and people need to know how to stay safe around it.”

Ramos, who also serves as a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council’s Aquatics Subcouncil, provides six tips, for people of all ages, to safely enjoy summer water activities:

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IU health experts welcome new FDA rules for e-cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that e-cigarettes will be subjected to rules and regulations previously imposed on tobacco cigarettes, including a ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors.

Jon Macy

Jon Macy, assistant professor at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

That is welcome news to some Indiana University health experts who cite the lack of research on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes and concerns about the devices’ appeal to young people.

“I think it’s good to have uniform regulations across the country such as prohibiting the purchase of e-cigarettes by individuals under 18,” said Jon Macy, assistant professor at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. “The new regulations will also protect the public’s health by requiring the disclosure of all ingredients and requiring all products that contain nicotine to carry an addiction warning label.”

E-cigarettes, battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine and other chemicals in vapor instead of smoke, were introduced almost 10 years ago and have continued to grow in popularity.

The new rules, which take effect in August, will require e-cigarette manufacturers to register with the FDA; provide a detailed account of their product’s ingredients and manufacturing process; and apply for FDA permission to sell their products. The new rules will also ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 and require adults under the age of 26 to show a photo identification when buying them.

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Has virginity lost its virtue? Kinsey study finds adults who wait to have sex are stigmatized

When it comes to sex, the message historically has been it is better to wait. But how long is too long to wait to have sex?

amanda gesselman

Amanda Gesselman

A recent study by researchers at the Kinsey Institute titled “Has Virginity Lost Its Virtue? Relationship Stigma Associated with Being a Sexually Inexperienced Adult,” found that people who wait to have sex are stigmatized, and also stigmatize other sexually inexperienced adults.

“While virginity prior to marriage has been historically valued, there has been a generational shift that has made premarital sexual activity the norm for young adults,” said Amanda Gesselman, a postdoctoral research fellow at Kinsey and co-author of the study. “For us, the biggest question was whether person’s level of sexual experience is it still a No. 1 value trait – something you think about when looking at a potential relationship partner? Our research shows that yes it is, but not in the same way.”

The three-part study co-authored by Gesselman, Gregory Webster at the University of Florida, and Justin Garcia, from Kinsey, was recently published in The Journal of Sex Research.

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IU School of Public Health-Bloomington presenting sponsor of Bloomington AIDS Walk

Blog post courtesy of Amanda Roach, assistant director of marketing and communications for the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington:

HIV and AIDS remain a significant health issue in our community, with hundreds of individuals affected in Monroe County and over 4,000 people statewide. After last year’s HIV outbreak in southern Indiana, communities are focused on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

bloomington AIDS walk

The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington is a presenting sponsor at this year’s walk.

On April 22, the Community AIDS Action Group of South Central Indiana will host the 12th annual Bloomington AIDS Walk with the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington serving as this year’s presenting sponsor. The walk brings together individuals, families and friends to support those living with HIV or AIDS and remembering those who have lost their lives to the virus. All proceeds from the walk benefit Positive Link, a program of IU Health Community Health.

“Positive Link not only supports people living with HIV/AIDS through individualized case management, but also focuses on HIV prevention,” said Jill Stowers, Positive Link program manager. “We work with communities throughout south central and southern Indiana to provide free, anonymous HIV testing, education and counseling.”

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IU men’s lacrosse team will support mental health awareness in upcoming game

IU senior David Haggerty knows how it feels to struggle with a mental illness. During his freshman year of college, the biology major began to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.

David Haggerty

David Haggerty during a previous men’s lacrosse game. | Photo provided by David Haggerty

Haggerty also knows how scary it can feel to reach out for help. So when he finally sought treatment, he decided to make it his mission to help other students facing the same struggles.

“I’ve always been an activist, so when I sought treatment my doctor suggested I get involved with some type of organization or group so I could try to help other people avoid what I went through,” he said. “That was the spark that got me thinking, maybe I can actually do something about this.”

So Haggerty joined IU’s U Bring Change 2 Mind College Toolbox Project– a national research and advocacy program that aims at reducing the stigma of mental illness.

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School of Public Health student awarded Trudy Bush Fellowship

Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

Anna Gorczyca, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology and biostatistics at IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, traveled to Arizona this week to present research at the Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2016 Scientific Conference, and to accept the Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Disease Research in Women’s Health.

Anna Gorczyca

Anna Gorczyca during this year’s conference. | Photo courtesy of Anna Gorczyca.

The organization gives the fellowship to recognize the top three presenters on cardiovascular research in women’s health at their annual conference.  Bush was a leading expert on menopause, osteoporosis and hormone replacement as a means of preventing heart disease in women.

“It is an honor to receive the Trudy Bush Fellowship,” Gorczyca said. “I strive to become a prominent researcher and leader in the field of women’s health, as Trudy Bush was.”

Originally from Indiana, Gorczyca returned to the Hoosier state after receiving her bachelor’s of science degree and master’s of science degree in exercise physiology at Adelphi University in New York.

“I chose IU because of the opportunity to partake in the wide variety of research in the School of Public Health,” Gorczyca said.

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School of Public Health launching new webinar series

Beginning this month, the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, through its Public Health & YOU initiative, will host a monthly webinar featuring experts from the school.

Eight Dimensions of Wellness

The School of Public Health’s webinar series will focus on the eight dimensions of wellness.

The webinar series will focus on the eight dimensions of wellness — emotional, intellectual, physical, environmental, social, financial, spiritual and occupational – and aims at enhancing the understanding of public health, enhancing connections with community members and providing important, relevant and useful information to the community.

“We’re excited to offer this free webinar series to those who are working in and have an interest in public health,” said Gina Forrest, community partnerships and workforce development for the School of Public Health. “Public health encompasses so many aspects of our daily lives and we know that public health workers, whether in the community or in an academic setting, face a number of challenges. This webinar series strives to highlight the numerous facets of the world of public health.”

John Seffrin, a professor of practice at the School of Public Health-Bloomington, will lead the first webinar on Feb. 24. Seffrin, former CEO of the American Cancer Society, will provide an overview of all eight dimensions of public health.

Each webinar will take place from 12 to 12:45 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month. The series will run through November. Each session is free, but registration is required and can be completed online. Viewers who complete each webinar can earn up to one continuing education unit.

More information on upcoming webinars is available online.

Launched in 2014, the Public Health & YOU initiative seeks to provide high-quality education and training to Indiana’s health workers in order to increase awareness about public health and improve public health outcomes.