My Experience Presenting at Public Health Conferences

By Jason Paltzer
Faculty, College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

public health conference

This past October and November, I had the privilege of presenting my research and work at three national conferences. Presenting and attending these conferences have been a great aspect of my career in public health.

Speaking at Health Conferences

The first conference was the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science conference in Austin, Texas sponsored by the Robert John Wood Foundation. The topic of this conference was “Improving Population Health: Now, Across People’s Lives, and Across Generations to Come.”

The second conference was the Addiction Health Services Research Conference in Madison, WI where I was able to connect with my research collaborators, Dr. D. Paul Moberg and Dr. Richard L. Brown, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The topic of my research investigates the effectiveness of substance use screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) in primary care settings to reduce healthcare utilization and costs. SBIRT has been shown to be effective in reducing risky alcohol consumption, but its impact on longer-term healthcare use is inconclusive. The SBIRT program used paraprofessional health educators to administer SBIRT, which is a cost and time-saving alternative to using primary care providers (Brown et al. 2014).

The data consists of SBIRT program data linked to Medicaid claims data and uses a comparison group of Medicaid beneficiaries to assess changes over time while adjusting for secular trends. Overall, my findings show that SBIRT does reduce high-cost inpatient utilization and increases outpatient use, particularly among dual Medicaid/Medicare beneficiaries resulting in a net cost savings (Paltzer, et al. 2017). Future research will assess the likelihood of patients accessing substance abuse treatment services after receiving SBIRT.

Developing a Health and Wellness Program

In November, I presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. The topic of my presentation was the evaluation of a church-based health and wellness program I co-developed when I was serving as the global health director for Kingdom Workers, a faith-based organization (Kingdom Workers, 2017).

The 5|150 Wellness Circle program helps people start their wellness journey by guiding them in achieving the two basic health behaviors of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and engaging in 150 minutes of activity per week. The evaluation found that the program was effective in increasing fruit and vegetable intake by 58% and minutes of activity by 14% over the eight-week program. The Caucus on Public Health and the Faith Community sponsored the session where all the presenters shared work on supporting the local church to improve community health.

CIRT Scholarly Engagement Grants helped supported my participation in two of these conferences.

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  • Paltzer, J. Brown, R.L., Burns, M., Moberg, D.P., Mullahy, J., Sethi, A.K., & Weimer, D. (2017) Substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment Among Medicaid Patients in Wisconsin: Impacts on Healthcare Utilization and Costs. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 44(1):102-112.
  • Brown, R.L., Moberg, D.P., Allen, J.B., Peterson, C.T., Saunders, L.A., Croyle, M.D., Lecoanet, R.M., Linnan, S.M., & Breidenbach, K. (2014) A team approach to systematic behavioral screening and intervention. American Journal of Managed Care, 20(4):e113-e121.
  • Kingdom Workers. (2017) 5|150 Wellness Circle. Retrieved from:

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.