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Annual Texas Public Health Summit

From Sewage to Solutions

The Possibilities and Implications of Wastewater Early Detection

Final Houston Mayoral Debate to Take Place at Texas Southern University

Chuck Gerba, PhD, Professor of Environmental Microbiology, University of Arizona, was awarded the first Friends of TEPHI Award for his contributions to microbiology and epidemiology.

The second annual Texas Public Health Summit, entitled From Sewage to Solutions: The Possibilities and Implications of Wastewater Early Detection, hosted by the Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute (TEPHI) in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health took place at the Cooley Center on October 19, 2023. It was attended by nearly 100 in-person and 300 online participants.

The summit kicked off with opening remarks by the DSHS Associate Commissioner of Regional and Local Health Operations, David Gruber, and a morning keynote by Anthony Maresso, PhD, that focused on “Wastewater Science – The Possibilities.” Dr. Maresso also led a panel discussion titled “Wastewater Watching: Practice, Prospects & Policy.” The afternoon session explored “Wastewater Science – The Implications” and included a collaborative keynote by David Persse, MD, Katherine Ensor, PhD, and Lauren Stadler, PhD that focused on the Houston Health Department’s use of wastewater science during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Persse also moderated a panel discussion titled “Uncharted Waters: Translating Wastewater Science into Public Health Action.”

Janelle Rios, PhD, Deputy Director of TEPHI, shared in her closing statement that TEPHI is working to overcome challenges surrounding wastewater monitoring, saying, “After all, we have a shared goal – to save Texans’ lives, their livelihoods, and ultimately maintain a strong and healthy community.”

To learn more about how to become involved in TEPHI’s wastewater early detection network, email info@tephi.texas.

Opening Remarks

Keynote Speakers - David Gruber

Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Panel Discussions

Wastewater Watching:

Morning Panelists

Uncharted Waters:

Afternoon Panellists

Session 1

Session 2

Fostering Trust Through Effective Communication

Texas Public Health Summit 2022The inaugural Texas Public Health Summit took place July 14, 2022 at The Cooley Center on the campus of UTHealth Houston. Attended by nearly 100 individuals in-person, and over 200 virtually, through a live and interactive digital stream, the Summit, entitled Fostering Trust Through Effective Communication, was dedicated to health communication and featured keynote presentations from two prominent regional experts; Michael Mackert, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Communication at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School; and Kimberly Baker, DrPH, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Following their presentations, the speakers led panel discussions with esteemed local and regional communications and health experts, including professional communicators, state and county public health officials, journalists, public health educators, and representatives from the business sector. The Summit was hosted by Eric Boerwinkle, PhD, Dean of UTHealth School of Public Health, who initiated and organized the summit in collaboration with the Texas Epidemic Health Institute (TEPHI), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The conference was free, and was conceived of as an annual event that will address prescient topics in public health locally, regionally, and nationally.

Session 1

Session 2