Impacting Public Health through Technology

An Interview with MPH Faculty Member Christopher Tex, PhD, MPH

Technology and healthcare are known to go hand in hand. But how does access to technology change healthcare delivery as our global population increases? We sat down with Chamberlain University Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program faculty member, Christopher Tex, PhD, MPH and learned he found his passion where technology and public health intersect.

What drove your passion for technology and public health?

I’m passionate about technology and public health because the practice relies on technological innovation in order to solve current and emergent threats in communities. Innovation allow the delivery of important public health interventions that will enable public health professionals in carrying out core public health functions applicably, appropriately, and effectively.

What are some examples of the work you’ve done related to technology and public health? What were the outcomes?

I’ve implemented a variety of videos in my courses to demonstrate Chamberlain Care® initiatives for all our students. I provide study hall sessions where students can log on to the course and speak with me via WebEx. As a MPH Student Mentor, I conduct WebEx sessions with my MPH student mentees. Using technology in this way helps me to build strong relationships with the MPH faculty, as well as their peers.

As a birth defects epidemiologist for a state health department, I’ve tracked statistical trends of a variety of birth defects by using electronic medical records, statistical software packages, MS Access, Open DataBase Connect (ODBC), and Oracle databases. This practice allowed me to provide evidence for intervention services.

As a volunteer for a medical relief agency in rural Mexico, I’ve assisted in obtaining electronic blood glucose monitoring devices for residents in order to assess their risk for developing diabetes. This data is so important because it will allow community members to recognize and reduce health risks.

What is Chamberlain University doing when it comes to technology and public health?

Chamberlain’s MPH program faculty have been developing Kaltura videos, as well as VoiceThread applications to their courses. These practices allow students to interact virtually with their professors and peers when discussing important public health issues. Chamberlain University also uses Respondus Lockdown, a software application that prevents cheating on quizzes. As such, academic integrity and ethical practices are ensured by our MPH graduates. Providing students the opportunity to include ePortfolios also contributes to experiential learning, as well as reflection throughout the program.

How are students prepared to impact public health through technology?

There are a variety of ways. For instance, throughout our courses, faculty have incorporated Kaltura and VoiceThread applications to discuss important public health concepts. Within the biostatistics course, I provide many opportunities for students to use electronic spreadsheet software programs to do statistical calculations, which can aide in making informed decisions about public health issues.

As MPH faculty representative for the newly formed, first fully-online MPH Student Group (MPHSG), I’ve collaborated with our students, faculty, and staff to provide a variety of opportunities for our students to network with peers and potential employers in public health via social media platforms (i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook Group). The MPHSG will be hosting a virtual global cultural event soon, where the leadership of this group will present a mini movie presentation, presentation of four health disparities and ways to address the issue as a public health professional. Afterward a Q&A panel with the student leadership will convene to discuss these issues with participants.

When it comes to technology and public health, what is your greatest hope?

My hope is for technology to be easily available to all communities of people who need access to public health interventions. As our global population increases, access to such technologies will be more inherent. One example of such technology is text messaging apps. Public health professionals can use these to send personalized messages to expecting mothers to ensure proper maternal and child health.

Why do you think the topic of technology and public health is being highlighted during Public Health Week?

The mission of public health is to uphold the health of a population. As the global community expands, the need to reach people in a timely manner will be inherently important. It’s very rewarding to see that new technologies are being employed to address current, new, and emerging threats.

Interested in learning how you can contribute to improving the health of communities? Explore the exciting opportunities available through Chamberlain University’s Master of Public Health degree program. Request more information here.

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