12:27 PM

Center for Public Service and Community Research to Host Expert Panelists

Important conversations are the driving forces of change. The University of Houston- Downtown's (UHD) Center for Public Service and Community Research (CPSCR) will host a discussion panel titled "Criminal Justice and Public Health: Where Are We and Where Do We Need to Go?" Wednesday, April 18. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room A-300 of the Academic Building.

The purpose of the panel is to address the topic of drug abuse by viewing it as a social or public health issue rather than a legal issue. The audience will be presented with a broader perspective in harm reduction, public health in the community and in incarcerated populations.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome to attend and will have the opportunity to hear from Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Texas House of Representatives member Garnet Coleman (D). Ogg will be speaking on the topic of "How Public Health Impacts Criminal Justice" while Coleman will tackle "Syringe Exchange Legislation and Condom Distribution in Prison." Other panelists include Dr. Jessica S. Khan, director of Clinical Virology at the University of Texas- Medical Branch, and UHD's Dr. Heather Goltz, associate professor of Social Work.

The mission of the CPSCR is to initiate and develop collaborative partnerships within the community, to participate in active engagement and mutually beneficial problem solving, to advocate and effect positive change, and to facilitate community based research. The CPSCR supports the growth of students, faculty, and staff through authentic, academic and profession-based high impact experiences in community engagement, service learning, research, and internships.

"The issues addressed in this panel are important to the fields of Criminal Justice, Public Health, and society as a whole," said Dr. Beth Pelz, associate professor of Criminal Justice. "Intravenous (IV) drug use affects not only individuals who abuse drugs but also their families and friends, various businesses, and government resources. These panelists will provide 'food for thought' for policymakers and their constituents."