Public Health Dialogues

Speaker Series

The Office of Public Health Practice and Workforce Development (OPHPWD) aims to create an inclusive process that expands involvement in the selection of topics and speakers that bring about value-added results for the School.

Through Public Health Dialogues we produce a balanced portfolio of cutting-edge public health topics that, when taken together, represent a compelling set of events.

There are several ways to contribute to this process. Any person or unit internal or external to the School of Public Health (e.g., organizations, departments, programs, association) with the skills, knowledge, and institutional resources necessary to carry out a proposed event should present a proposal.

While we hope to feature events on selected topics, strong proposals on any topic will also be considered where proposal applicants demonstrate a persuasive reason for a subject.

Background and Explanation of Topical Preferences

Good health results from systems of public health and medical care, from sound public policies that create the social conditions that support health, and from individual decisions and behaviors that value health.

Public health research continues to deepen our understanding of the powerful influence of social, economic, and environmental policies on our health and well-being.  An emphasis on social and economic conditions does not minimize the importance of health care or personal health behavior and decisions.  These factors are all interrelated considerations in a comprehensive effort to produce good health in a society.

The Public Health Dialogues speaker series incorporates a political economy approach to public health.  Political economy is the study of the role of economic processes in shaping society and history. A political economy approach to public health incorporates the study of disease patterns, causation, and solutions integrated with class analysis to understand society and history in the context of political, cultural, and environmental processes, as well as other economic processes.

Accordingly, the speaker series will explore research theories, policies, and interventions on group differences in health based on the way that societies and governments address the economic and social factors that shape current patterns of ill health and lifestyles.

For example, employment and labor policies may minimize the harms from an economic downturn.  Educational policies can improve economic and employment opportunities and thereby lower the risk of many illnesses throughout our lives. Transportation projects and land-use plans made with health in mind can minimize the risk of traffic injuries, offer better access to healthful foods, and allow people to be more active by providing safe routes for pedestrians.

Economic development policies can fund farm-to-table initiatives that provide income for farmers and healthful food for those who cannot access fresh food. Criminal justice programs such as therapeutic courts, which are designed to lower corrections costs and reduce recidivism, can improve mental health and reduce substance abuse rates.

Participation and Financial Details

We offer several ways to work with us.  You may contract with us to assist with managing a featured speaker and/or organizations and groups may request financial assistance and use a cost sharing mechanism to fund, create, and implement events. In this case, a review panel will evaluate all event proposals to determine their fit with the goals of the speaker series.

Cost sharing is the process of negotiating the distribution of the costs for an event (see Table A in the Submission Form).

Table A displays typical expenses involved in organizing an event, along with estimated costs.  The honorarium may be adjusted to suit your budget.  Further, the travel expenses are estimates and may be adjusted depending on your speaker’s location.

To summarize, partnership options include the following:

  1. Request financial assistance and submit a proposal for review that follows the application guidelines below.  This option is suitable for individuals, groups, and organizations that have some financial resources but desire or require financial and administrative assistance to implement the event.
  2. Submit a proposal as an official student organization.  In this case, we will work with you to review the proposed idea and develop a budget.  Student organizations will follow the application guidelines below, with the exception of developing a budget.
  3. Submit a self-funded proposal.  These applicants may submit information requested in the application.  We will work with you to arrange the scheduling of your event and to discuss the services we offer to self-funded events.   These events may be scheduled at any time during any given month.

Preferences and Goals

This year preference will be given to proposals in one or more of the following categories listed below.  However, where proposal applicants demonstrate a persuasive reason to explore a subject, strong proposals on any topic will also be considered.

  • Proposals that focus on an innovative public health topic for which relatively few speakers have been presented at the School of Public Health or the WVU Health Sciences Center.
  • Proposals that cover topics in any of these categories:
    • Appalachian culture, history, and population health
    • Links between the built environment and health
    • Climate change and population health
    • Poverty and population health
    • Social determinants of health (SDOH)
    • Theories and research related to social epidemiology
  • Proposals that offer value-added results for the School:
    • The presenter/presentation topic will help the department/center/unit achieve a better relationship with a potential funding agency.
    • The presenter is a noteworthy researcher who will foster a relationship for the department/center/unit and the school.
    • The presentation topic provides information that is highly relevant to West Virginia.


Any person or unit internal or external to the School of Public Health (e.g., organization, department, program, association) with the skills, knowledge, and institutional resources necessary to carry out a proposed event should present a proposal.

Application Instructions

All groups are asked to follow the format below including student groups and self-funded organizations.  Applicants are advised to carefully review the instructions provided and contact Crystal Rhodes at with any questions.

All applications requesting funding assistance will receive an administrative review for completeness and adherence to the application instructions provided in this document. Any application that does not conform to these instructions will be returned to the applicant and full consideration may be delayed.

Receipt of the application will be acknowledged by e-mail.

Speaker Participation

Please note that the applicant should obtain all necessary agreements and approvals for the proposed event from the speaker (s). Speakers should be made aware that the event will be recorded and made available as part of the School’s archived learning series.

The applicant should secure and present evidence (via email) demonstrating the speaker’s agreement to have the presentation recorded and made available in our online learning series.   The applicant should provide a first and second choice of dates that the speaker is available.  Any date may be considered including the first Friday in a month that has not been booked with a speaker.

Continuing Education Credit

If not requested, we reserve the right to determine whether the proposed presentation is eligible for continuing education credits.  In the event that it is eligible, additional information such as learning objectives and pre- and post-test questions will be required.

At this time, we are offering Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Certified in Public Health (CPH), and Continuing Nursing Education (CNE).

Presentation format

We are interested in different presentation formats.

  • Oral presentation (with PowerPoint slides)
  • Presenter and respondent
  • Panel discussion
  • Discussion session: A substantive presentation of 15–20 minutes on an issue, with the remaining time being the give and take of ideas, questions, and answers during a free-flowing session.
  • Workshops: Interactive sessions in which skills or concepts are taught, demonstrated, or explored.
  • Colloquia: Groups of five colleagues present separate papers on a common topic or theme.

Review Process and Criteria

Proposals requesting funding will be reviewed by a volunteer panel comprised of representatives from the School of Public Health and external experts from the School’s Community Advisory Board, Alumni Advisory Council, nonprofits, and local health departments.  

All reviewers will asked to disclose whether they have a relationship with any of the applicants that may pose a conflict of interest. Any reviewer with such a conflict will refrain from participating in the review of that application.

All applications will receive an evaluation and critique by the review panel.  The panel will rank the proposals from highest to lowest.

Once ranked, the applications will be presented to the Director for the Public Health Dialogues.  The Dean of the School of Public Health will retain a standing invitation to review proposals.

The Director will then engage in discussions and negotiations.   All proposals will be reviewed for feasibility with the applicant.

The scoring of applications by the panel will be based upon the following review criteria:

Programmatic Priorities and Preferred Topics: Does the proposed event fit within any of the programmatic categories designated as preferred?

Event Marketability: Proposals will be evaluated on the event’s ability to attract an audience.  Who would attend this event?  Will the event attract other sectors and audiences outside the School of Public Health, e.g., College of Law, Extension Service, Department of Communication Studies, College of Business and Economics, and the School of Social work?  Would public health practitioners attend the event?  Is the event of interest to students?  Is the event a news story of interest to the community?   Would the media be interested in interviewing the speaker?

Feasibility: Can the proposed event be actualized with the resources contributed and with the expertise and background of the speakers?


Program Contact

For questions related to application procedures, contact Crystal Rhodes at

For event inquiries, please contact Lauri Andress at


Proposal Submission Form