For the eighth Battle to Save Lives case competition, students in Dr. Eric G. Bing’s Pandemics course are presenting strategies to enhance user safety on the Katy Trail.
The Katy Trail in Dallas was once an abandoned railroad line, but now it is a very popular destination for jogging, biking, skating, and walking. Safety concerns for trail uses have increased due to the increasing popularity of the trail, growing commercial and population density surrounding the trail, increasing vehicular traffic crossing trail sections and the ubiquitous use mobile devices and headphones.
For the eighth Battle to Save Lives case competition, students in Dr. Eric G. Bing’s course Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Control are presenting recommendations to enhance trail-user safety. Working alongside Friends of the Katy Trail, three teams of students gathered and analyzed data on the occurrence of behaviors that can result in biking, pedestrian, and vehicular accidents. Data was collected at times of high and low trail use, at different tail locations and at trail-road intersections.
The teams will present their recommendations in increase trail-user safety to Friends of the Katy Trail, community members, friends and families at the Battle to Save Lives case competition. Join us on April 25th and help select the winning team!
Event Details Date: April 25, 2023 Time: 5:30pm to 7:30pm Location: Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall Room 144, 3101 University Blvd Room 144, Dallas, TX 75205 Parking: Information available here
Undergraduate students in a public health course at SMU honed their persuasive speaking abilities in a formal debate on reducing firearm suicide.
Gun-related deaths in the United States hit an all-time high in 2020, with a record number of gun murders and near-record gun suicides, according to new statistics from the Center for Disease Control. In 2020, more than 45,000 people lost their lives from gun-related injuries, including murders, suicides, and other types of deaths tracked by the CDC. Based on this information, the students of Dr. Eric Bing’s class Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Control (APSM/ANTH/MNO 4344), held a debate on the topic: To reduce firearm-related suicides in the United States by 30% by 2031, should the primary focus be increasing access to mental health care or restricting access to firearms?
The students began their arguments by highlighting the significance of the topic, pointing out that many people in the United States experience mental health issues but lack access to necessary resources. One team noted that the top 3 states with the highest suicide rates share a neglect of mental health care providers, underscoring the importance of increasing access to mental health care. In contrast, opposing teams argued the dangers of firearm access, noting the quick and impulsive nature of suicide and providing data showing the increased risk of suicide with handgun access. They also cited the success of legislation like the Permit-to-Purchase (PTP) law in reducing suicide rates.
After the arguments of each side were given, the judges had a chance to ask follow up questions or for clarification, then rebuttals were given to the arguments by each side. After providing feedback to all of the teams, the judges ultimately chose the winning teams: Team 5 and Team 4.
Throughout the semester, students will keep learning and exploring global diseases, as well as discovering how epidemiologists relying on a range of academic disciplines can fight pandemics.
Undergraduate students in a new public health course at SMU are honing their persuasive speaking abilities in a series of formal debates about ongoing public health issues.
Students in the new SMU course Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Controlhave spent the last several weeks learning about the basics of public health research design and constraints faced by the public health field. Now, they’re putting that knowledge to use in a series of debates judged by panels of experts.
Earlier this week, students in the course faced off over whether focusing on introducing additional gun control measures or focusing on increasing access to mental health care would be the preferable policy approach to reducing firearm suicides in the United States. While weighing the potential impact of each family of policies, students introduced criteria including political feasibility, effectiveness, cost, and risk. The judges ultimately favored teams who outlined specific policy plans and demonstrated that they could effectively respond to their opponents’ points. Out of the three debates between six teams of students, two “mental health” teams and one “gun control” team emerged victorious.
SMU Professor of Global Health Eric G. Bing, the creator of Pandemics, took inspiration from his popular course Creating Impact in Global & Public Health, which also includes formal debates. Bing said he hopes that the debates in both courses will help his students become better advocates and critical thinkers.
In light of the era-defining COVID-19 pandemic, SMU epidemiologist Dr. Eric G. Bing has created a new undergraduate course focused solely on international diseases and how we can combat them. Pandemics! The Science of Disease Spread, Prevention, and Control (APSM/ANTH/MNO 4344), which kicks off in Spring 2021, will give SMU students the basic tools they need to understand the many factors that drive disease spread and how local and global communities can combat it.
The interdisciplinary course will offer an interactive, participatory overview of epidemiological principles, using real-world infectious and social pandemics as a backdrop. Through a series of case studies, guest speakers, discussions, and live debates, students will study pandemics, evaluate epidemiological research, and develop evidence-based pandemic response strategies.
To understand and combat pandemics, epidemiologists think outside the box, using insights from diverse academic disciplines. Therefore, students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply, and no background in health is required.The course is a capstone for the Health & Society major.
Participation in the course is by instructor consent only; submit an application to join the course here or learn more on the course flyer.