This Week @ Gillings: The Abstract

April 17, 2023

Whether you’re local or global, student or alumni, the Abstract’s weekly news digest will help you stay in the loop with our amazing Gillings School community.


Belizán wins John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

Dr. José Belizan

Dr. José Belizan

Congratulations to José Belizán, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of maternal and child health, who has been named the winner of the 2023 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. Belizán was honored for the development of innovative, evidence-based and low-cost global interventions in maternal and child health during the perinatal period that improve well-being and care during pregnancy, reduce morbidity and mortality, and promote equity in vulnerable populations.

“Belizán is a trailblazer in the field of maternal and child health research in Latin America and internationally, focused on the perinatal period and its relevance to community health and the life cycle,” Gairdner wrote in their announcement. “His work spans basic research to international clinical studies, demonstrating the full cycle of scientific effort and leading to innovative, evidence-based and low-cost interventions. These interventions promote equity by improving maternal and child health in vulnerable populations. Through his work within these communities, he educates and empowers pregnant people, and witnesses real-life health problems, which informs his outstanding scientific contributions.”
Learn more.

National MCH Workforce Development Center, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health, presents at annual ASPPH Conference

Members of the Virginia Department of Health and the National MCH Workforce Development Center gather at ASPPH.

Members of the Virginia Department of Health and the National MCH Workforce Development Center gather at the ASPPH Conference.

In March 2023, Rebecca Greenleaf, MPH, adjunct assistant professor of maternal and child health, and Leslie deRosset, MSPH, MPH, adjunct instructor, from the National MCH Workforce Development Center (Center) in collaboration with Marcus Allen and Cynthia deSa from the Virginia Department of Health were honored to present “Academic-Practice Partnerships: Working Together to Enhance Opportunities for Collaboration between Academic Centers and Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Programs” moderated by Ayanna Johnson, with HRSA MCHB’s Division of MCH Workforce Development. Allen and deSa shared their experiences working with the Center over the past five-plus years.

The Va. Department of Health is a consistent Title V Summer Internship site, and hope to host two interns again in the summer of 2023. Allen has also hired an intern from another graduate program to collaborate specifically with him and CYSHCN division.

Allen and deSa highlighted how working with the Center has and continues to increase the knowledge, skills, and capabilities of their statewide Title V team and stakeholders to execute systematic changes in maternal and child health.

“The National MCH Workforce Development Center provides a ‘pay-it-forward’ investment in the next generation of MCH leaders,” said deSa. “The summer internship program benefits the students through opportunities to unlock and realize their potential place as MCH leaders and brings new energy and reminder of the “why” to the state leadership teams who serve as preceptors. It’s a win-win!”

“The National MCH Workforce Development Center provides a very important service in the field of public health and more specifically, maternal and child health,” Allen said. “They support state programs by offering expert guidance and support as many of us struggle to implement complex population health strategies. In addition, they are leaders in encouraging the next generation of professionals to join this wonderful profession. I value them and their work and I know that we are better off because of it. ”

Learn more.

Ricketts research cited in White House economic report

Dr. Thomas Ricketts

Dr. Thomas Ricketts

The White House has released the 2023 Economic Report of the President together with the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers, which includes a citation from Thomas C. Ricketts, PhD, adjunct professor of health policy and management and senior policy fellow at the Sheps Center.

The Report begins with a reflection by President Biden about the Administration’s economic accomplishments, as well as opportunities and challenges ahead. Nine chapters then follow.

The report cites Ricketts’ 2005 publication “Workforce Issues in Rural Areas: A Focus on Policy Equity” in the American Journal of Public Health.


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