MCH faculty members co-wrote AJPH Paper of the Year

November 05, 2012
Two maternal and child health faculty members at Gillings School of Global Public Health, authors of a paper published in the June 2011 American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), received the journal’s ‘Paper of the Year’ award at the annual American Public Health Association awards ceremony on Oct. 30, 2012, in San Francisco.

Study co-authors (l-r) are Hyunsan Cho, Dr. Denise Hallfors, Dr. Carolyn Halpern and Bonita Iritani.

Study co-authors (l-r) are Hyunsan Cho, Dr. Denise Hallfors, Dr. Carolyn Halpern and Bonita Iritani.

Denise Hallfors, PhD, adjunct professor and senior research scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), and Carolyn Halpern, PhD, professor, were colleagues on the study, “Supporting adolescent orphan girls to stay in school as HIV risk prevention: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Zimbabwe.”

Other co-authors were co-investigator Hyunsan Cho and study coordinator Bonita Iritani, now at PIRE, who worked with lead author and principal investigator Hallfors on the project when she was research professor in the UNC public health school’s Department of Maternal and Child Health.

The winning paper reported study findings from a cluster randomized controlled trial testing whether the provision of school fees, uniforms and school supplies could help keep orphan adolescent girls in school and prevent HIV risk behaviors.

After two years, the intervention significantly reduced school dropout by 82 percent and early marriage by 63 percent. Compared with control participants, the intervention group also reported greater school bonding, better future expectations, more equitable gender equity attitudes and more concerns about the consequences of sex. Study participants lived in rural areas and were, on average, 13 to 14 years old at follow-up.A cost-effectiveness analysis, led by PIRE principal research scientist and study co-investigator Ted Miller, PhD, found that support for day school, but not for boarding school, was cost effective; boarding school was much more expensive and did not improve benefits. The analysis, “Cost-Effectiveness of School Support for Orphan Girls to Prevent HIV Infection in Zimbabwe,” is in press at Prevention Science.



UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or