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On the Front Lines of Public Health

August 17, 2009

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Nicole Spencer working with children at the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Rensselaer County this past semester.

Public health is a passion for Nicole Spencer, who assisted at the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Rensselaer County this past spring with UAlbany's Public Health Leaders of Tomorrow CORE. A May graduate,  Spencer is now involved with influenza A (H1N1) preparedness efforts for the coming fall at the New York State Department of Health. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) are in the midst of preparations to control the spread of the swine flu virus throughout the United States this fall. As the nation braces for another potential major outbreak, two recent UAlbany School of Public Health graduates are on the frontlines, spending their summer at NYSDOH dealing with emergency preparedness after securing CDC fellowships.

Nicole Spencer of Fonda, N.Y. and Greg Giambrone of Phoenicia, N.Y., have won prestigious Centers for Disease Control and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) fellowships and are currently working at NYSDOH.

"This summer, I have already participated in outbreak investigations of healthcare associated diseases, and been involved with influenza A (H1N1) preparedness efforts for this coming fall," said Spencer, who earned a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology in May from UAlbany, and is a fellow in the Bureau of Healthcare Associated Infections for DOH.

Children do push-ups as Greg Giambone tells them about the benefits of exercise.

Recent UAlbany alumnus Greg Giambrone, who taught children about healthy diet and exercise this past spring, is now working on 2009 influenza A (H1N1) surveillance efforts for the NYS DOH as a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Fellow. (Photo Mark Schmidt)  

Giambrone, who graduated with a Master of Science in epidemiology, is a fellow with the DOH's Emerging Infections Program. Giambrone said the fellowship is a unique experience, allowing him to further his knowledge of what hands-on epidemiology is all about and how it impacts the public. He is working on 2009 influenza A (H1N1) surveillance efforts that are important to ensure the public's health and safety, and that show why a highly trained Department of Health is essential.

In addition to the fellowship, Spencer has been named a 2009 Student Poster Session Winner from Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health. Her research poster will be presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., in November. She was nominated by the Alpha Gamma Chapter, UAlbany School of Public Health.

While at UAlbany, Spencer and Giambrone were also members of the School's Public Health Leaders of Tomorrow CORE, a group of a dozen students who led programs on developing healthy diet and exercise habits at the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Rensselaer County this past spring.

"I look forward to continuing my fellowship with the New York State Department of Health, and learning more about infection prevention and control issues," Spencer said.

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