Social determinants of health and STD prevention: a CDC perspective

Des Moines University continues to improve lives in our global community by educating diverse groups of highly competent and compassionate health professionals. This extends beyond DMU faculty, staff and students into our local health care community, which is particularly important in promoting a sense of unity and creating change at the population level.

In partnership with the Polk County Health Department and the Division of STD Prevention of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, DMU recently hosted a panel discussion, “Social Determinants of Health and STD Prevention: A CDC Perspective,” with members from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly 100 health care providers and public health professionals came together to fight disparities relating to sexually transmitted disease in their communities.

Panelists from the CDC Division of STD Prevention discussed the impact of STDs in the nation and the role of health equity and ways to address social determinants of health to extend the reach of STD prevention efforts. In addition, they shared with the audience the outcomes and lessons learned from the division’s project called “Community Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CARS).” This community engagement project asked participants to develop strategies and activities that would address structural changes with the goal of reducing barriers that influence STD disparities in the community.

“I am pleased that we were able to partner with the CDC and Polk County Health Department to offer this valuable public health learning opportunity to our local health care and public health workforce,” says Rachel Reimer, Ph.D., program director, chair and associate professor for the DMU department of public health. “The DMU department of public health strives to offer high-quality continuing education opportunities to our public health partners, and this was a unique and valuable opportunity that I am proud we were able to support.”

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