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Arnold School of Public Health


HPEB alumna Caroline D. Bergeron appointed to the editorial board of the American Journal of Public Health

August 29, 2016 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Caroline D. Bergeron, a December 2015 Arnold School graduate, has been appointed to serve on the editorial board of the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), which aims to advance public health research, policy, practice and education. Bergeron graduated with a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB). Her term will begin at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver this October.

As a board member, Bergeron will help develop and review the Journal’s strategic plan and policy issues and provide direction and advice to the Journal’s editors and staff. The board also serves as a link to APHA members and readers, representing their interests by ensuring their viewpoints are shared. Every year, the Board provides a report to the Association’s Executive Board/Governing Council to share progress and setbacks, allowing a transparent assessment of the Journal’s performance.

Since 2012, Bergeron has been actively involved in the American Public Health Association, serving as an abstract reviewer, campus liaison, and student representative of the Aging & Public Health Section. In addition, she served as student representative on the Journal’s editorial board, becoming familiar with its roles and responsibilities while contributing to raising awareness of its different audiences including students and early career investigators. During this time, she assisted in the adoption of the Journal’s “Outstanding Early Career Trainee Paper Award” and co-authored a key editorial with advice on publishing in the Journal. In addition, Bergeron has been an ad hoc manuscript reviewer for a variety of communication and health promotion journals, such as the American Journal of Health Behavior, Health Promotion Practice, Journal of Medical Internet Research, and the Journal of Health Communication.

I knew the DrPH program would help me develop a broad range of core competencies such as advocacy and leadership skills that I would need for my future career in public health as well as research, teaching, and service experience that I would need for an academic career.

-Caroline Bergeron, DrPH in HPEB

“During my appointment on the editorial board, I want to be an advocate for this top public health journal,” Bergeron says. “I aim to contribute to the development of the Journal’s strategic plan and policies and help the journal progress toward those goals.”

Originally from Canada, Bergeron worked at all levels of government, including at the regional level at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, in several of the country’s federal departments (e.g., Department of Justice Canada, Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs Canada) and at the international level with the United Nations Department of Public Information before she was drawn to the Arnold School for its practice-focused DrPH program. “I knew the DrPH program would help me develop a broad range of core competencies such as advocacy and leadership skills that I would need for my future career in public health as well as research, teaching, and service experience that I would need for an academic career,” she says. During her doctoral studies, she gained practical public health experience working at the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa, Canada as well as the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark.

While at the Arnold School, the 2015 Breakthrough Graduate Scholar developed expertise in health promotion research, particularly health communication, with older adults as well as advocacy work in healthy aging. Her dissertation, "Post-Fall Decision Making among Older Women Living in Continuing Care Retirement Communities: A Mixed Methods Study,” was funded by the prestigious Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Research Award for Patient-Oriented Research. One of only 10 students chosen to receive this particular grant in the year she applied, and the only one selected outside of Canada, Bergeron received an award of CAN $93,333.

Dr. Daniela Friedman was the most resourceful and influential person I met at USC, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with her and learned from her mentorship during my five years at the Arnold School.

-Caroline Bergeron, DrPH in HPEB

Based on her dissertation research, Bergeron developed a HOMECARE+ Specialist Training module with the Office for the Study of Aging, which provides education on falls and post-fall decisions and is currently being offered to home care agencies across South Carolina. As a result of her dissertation research and other projects, she now has a total of 19 peer-reviewed publications with five more under review. She has also contributed as a researcher and consultant to a report on age-friendly communities published by AARP. Bergeron continues to serve as a researcher, consultant, advocate and course developer on collaborative projects in health communication and aging both in the United States and in Canada.

Her primary role, however, is with Bexar County Community Health Collaborative in San Antonio, Texas. As a program manager and site evaluator, Bergeron explores the collaborative development of innovative financing mechanisms for health in her county. The initiative, Bridging for Health, is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and coordinated by the Georgia Health Policy Center.

Through this position, she is also involved in county-level public health programs and initiatives including the San Antonio Health Literacy Initiative (SAHLI), the Successfully Aging and Living in San Antonio (SALSA) initiative, Immunize San Antonio, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and the data committee, which is responsible for the 2016 community health needs assessment and the community health improvement plan. Bergeron shares credit with her Arnold School program and mentors for preparing her to make an impact through her many public health roles.

Find out what your specific interests are and meet with faculty members who have similar interests. Get involved in a variety of projects to gain as much experience as you can.

-Caroline Bergeron, DrPH in HPEB

“Dr. Daniela Friedman was the most resourceful and influential person I met at USC, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with her and learned from her mentorship during my five years at the Arnold School,” she says of her former faculty advisor and dissertation chair. “She has shown me that it is important to follow your passion and reach for your goals no matter how farfetched they might be. She has shown me how fun, busy, challenging, and exciting the life of a researcher can be by working on multiple projects at the same time, collaborating with interdisciplinary teams locally and nationally, and sharing that knowledge with students, colleagues, and the community.”

The accomplished alumna also has some advice for current and future Arnold School students. “Find out what your specific interests are and meet with faculty members who have similar interests,” she says. “Get involved in a variety of projects to gain as much experience as you can. Finally, I also strongly recommend considering the DrPH program as it can help you develop the necessary competencies for public health practice, gain great experience, and make contacts—on top of the research and teaching experience.”