Doctoral Student Advances Maternal and Child Health in Peru
While completing his doctoral studies, Christopher Westgard, has continued to work to advance maternal and child health in Peru. Westgard currently serves as the co-founder and director for Elementos, overseeing a grant project and traveling back to the region every three to four months to assess progress and implement adjustments of the mHealth tool. “The mHealth tool gives us the ability to collect data and share it with the community health posts, identify where illnesses are taking place, track epidemics before they get too widespread,” Westgard says. It is providing the local health system important information that was previously unavailable. Read more about Christopher’s work and future goals with Elementos.
Doctoral Student Published in Social Work in Public Health Journal
Doctoral student, Mallory Turner, in collaboration with MCH alum Ana Cabello-De La Garza and Paul Lanier, PhD of the UNC School of Social Work has recently published an article in the Social Work in Public Health Journal. Their article discusses several hypotheses about the factors that influence maternal intentions during in-home visitation services and the link between these intentions and the receipt of a home visit. The findings suggest that mothers who intend to use services look substantially different from those who do not state an intention to participate in home visitation. The results indicate that lower infant birth weight and greater comfort with a provider in one’s home are significant predictors of maternal intentions to utilize home visiting services. Read the full article.
Doctoral Students Published in Implementation Science Journal
Doctoral students, Stephanie Bogdewic and Caitlin Williams, in collaboration with faculty Rohit Ramaswamy, PhD has recently published an article in the Implementation Science Journal. Their article discusses the rapid growth in the development of frameworks, models, and theories of implementation to help midwives assess, diagnose, and determine appropriate care plans more quickly and accurately but the little guidance on how to use these to operationalize implementation practice. Their study proposes one method for using implementation theory, paired with other kinds of mid-level and program theory, to guide the replication and evaluation of clinical intervention in a complex, real-world setting. Read more about the results of their study.
Doctoral Students Published in International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Congratulations to doctoral students, Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen and Hannah Silverstein for their recent publication in the International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare with MCH alum Nicole Khan, PhD, MEd, and faculty member Sandy Martin, PhD. Their paper investigates the associations between minor women’s disability status and victimization via minor sex trafficking. They found that girls with any disability had a higher prevalence of minor sex trafficking than their peers without disabilities. Results for girls with mild or moderate physical disabilities were not statistically significant compared to peers without disabilities. Read more about their findings.
Doctoral Students Develop Bilingual Video Series about COVID-19
Doctoral students, Caitlin Williams and Shara Evans, are the voice of CoronaChat, an online bilingual video series to address misconceptions of COVID-19. Available on multiple social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, Williams posts a short video every day addressing relevant COVID-19 topics after researching and strategizing with Evans. “We do all of this from scratch every day, Monday through Friday,” Williams explained. “I have the utmost respect for anyone working in news. It is really hard to work on this kind of timeline, and the pressure to get things right is tremendous.” Read more about their plans for their video series.
MCH Recognizes Delta Omega Recipients
Congratulations to Edam Aidam, Allie Atkeson, Laura Powis, and Lily Stevens for being inducted into the Theta Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. Membership in Delta Omega reflects the individual dedication to quality in the field of public health as well as to the protection and advancement of the health of all people. Also, congratulations to Lia Garman, recipient of the Delta Omega Service Award, and Michelle Matusinski, recipient of the Delta Omega Academic Excellence Award.
Doctoral Student Writes Pots for MCH Center of Excellence Blog
First-year doctoral student, Alexandria Lesak, recently wrote a blog post for the MCH Center of Excellence blog. In her blog post, she discusses her experience working in the Akron Children’s Hospital prior to beginning her doctoral studies, as well as her current involvement with Teach2Reach, to emphasize the importance of collaboration for experiential learning. Read more about Alex’s experience here.
Doctoral Student Selected to Take American Higher Education Class
Congratulations to third-year Doctoral student, Nkechi Charles, MA, for being selected to take The American Professoriate class that is being co-taught by Chancellor Guskiewicz, Buck Goldstein and Matt Springer in the Fall! The focus of the class is to help doctoral students understand the history and challenges related to American higher education, and then provide them with practical skills they will need to be successful in academia.
MCH Students Volunteer with PORCH during time of need
Second-year MPH students Allie Atkeson and Laura Powis, first-year MCFH student Emily Howe, and recent MCH graduate Kathleen Shumaker volunteered with PORCH to assist with food distribution. Most of their regular volunteers are 65+ and don’t need to be putting themselves at risk for COVID-19, so these students helped fill the need for extra hands!
Literature regarding access to reproductive health services highlighted in doctoral student’s published research
Congratulations to doctoral student, Tara Casebolt, for her publication in the Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Journal. The publication was focused on determining the existing literature regarding access to reproductive health services for women with disabilities in low- and middle- income countries. View the publication here.
Doctoral student’s research published in Reproductive Health Journal
Congratulations to doctoral student, Caitlin Williams, for her publication in the Reproductive Health Journal. The publication was focused on discussing the importance of providing “the most respectful, humane, careful, friendly, effective, evidence-based childbirth care in our health facilities.” View the publication here.
Doctoral student’s manuscript accepted for publication
Christopher Westgard, current doctoral student had a new manuscript accepted for publication! The manuscript is focused on discussing the impact of an mHealth tool used for health promotion and surveillance by CHAs to improve child development in the Peruvian Amazon. Read more here.
Research by Master’s Student published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Journal
Congratulations to first year Master’s student, Lian Folger, for her publication in the BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Journal. The publication was focused on describing the population-based prevalence, risk factors, etiology and antimicrobial resistance patterns of UTIs in pregnancy in Bangladesh. The publication can be found here.
Academic-practice partnerships highlighted in doctoral student’s published research
Congratulations to doctoral student, Isabel Morgan, for her publication in the North Carolina Medical Journal with research staff, Diana Urlaub, and faculty members Christine Tucker, PhD, MPH, and Dorothy Cilenti, DrPH, MPH, MSW. The publication was focused on how an academic-practice partnership was integral to successful implementation of a community maternal and child health program, and how it may serve as a model for such moving evidence-based programs to practice in local health departments.
Doctoral student publishes commentary with faculty member
Congratulations to doctoral student, Caitlin Williams, for her publication with faculty member, Benjamin Mason Meier. Inspired by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women’s September report on mistreatment and violence against women in sexual and reproductive health services, they developed a commentary, ‘Ending the abuse: the human rights implications of obstetric violence and the promise of rights-based policy to realise respectful maternity care’. The commentary, which was recently published in Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, builds on the report and outlines potential avenues for operationalizing the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations via rights-based health policy. The publication can be found here.
Doctoral student reveals high health service utilization by prospective mothers in Amazonian communities
Doctoral student, Christopher Westgard, reveals how health service utilization for prospective mothers in Amazonian communities is relativity high in an article published in the International Journal for Equity in Health. However, there are individual- and contextual- level factors that may affect their experiences: (i) embarrassment, fear, and trust, (ii) insufficient number and poor attitudes of health personnel, (iii) limited supply of basic medicines and materials in the health facility, and (iv) low demand for family planning services and limited awareness of adolescent-specific services. Read the article.
Students volunteer at Diaper Bank
Special shout out to Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen, Allie Atkeson, Chelsea Ducille, Alex Lesak, Hannah Winslow, Elizabeth Reddington, Marjorie McVay, Caitlin Gest and Lian Folger for joining Dr. Meghan Shanahan and Dr. Anna Austin and volunteering at the Diaper Bank of North Carolina on September 28, 2019!
MCH students visit Zambia
Two Maternal and Child Health students, Enam and Munguu, visited Zambia this past summer, to support the Fetal Age and Machine Learning Initiative. The Initiative aims to develop a robust, affordable ultrasound device that can be deployed in limited-resource settings.
Three Gillings School graduate students selected as 2019 Winston Policy Scholars
Three students at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health were named recently as 2019 Winston Policy Scholars.
Allie Atkeson, Adrienne Lloyd and Laura Ellen Powis were among the 19 recipients of the David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship. Atkeson and Powis are both master’s students in the maternal and child health department, and Lloyd is a master’s student in the health behavior department. As Winston Policy Scholars, they all have been recognized for their excellence and achievement as students of health administration, health policy and public health.
The scholarship commemorates the qualities and contributions of David A. Winston, who played a significant role for 20 years in shaping health policy in the United States. The award includes $10,000 and the opportunity to attend a two-day paid health policy symposium in Washington, D.C. Read more.[June 2019]
Doctoral candidate, Mallory Turner, Poster Winner at 2019 Population Association of America Annual Meeting
Intergenerational Effects of Mass Incarceration: Parental Incarceration and Children’s Earnings in Young Adulthood
Mallory Turner , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carolyn Tucker Halpern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Objective: To analyze the association between maternal/paternal incarceration and children’s earnings during young adulthood. Methods: Data were from Waves I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Using propensity score weighting, a two-part model calculated the association between maternal/paternal incarceration and children’s earnings between ages 32–42. Results: Maternal incarceration was associated with average earnings significantly lower for respondents who were not yet born ($19,063.25), or ages 0–4 ($14,754.60), 5–10 ($10,544.68), and 15–17 ($8,453.85) at first maternal incarceration, compared to those whose mothers were never incarcerated. Paternal incarceration was associated with significantly lower average earnings for respondents ages 5–10 ($7,929.68), 11–14 ($10,264.91), and 15–17 ($10,670.16) at first paternal incarceration. Conclusions: On average, children experiencing maternal/paternal incarceration earn less during young adulthood than children who do not. The association is stronger when children were younger when their mothers were incarcerated, or older when their fathers were incarcerated. [April 2019]
Doctoral candidate, Kurar Ahsan heads to Malawi as Policy Communication Fellow
This June, Karar Zunaid Ahsan, MIPH, MSc, will visit Lilongwe, Malawi, to kick off a year of service as a Policy Communication Fellow. Implemented by the Population Reference Bureau and the African Institute for Development Policy, the fellowship focuses on effectively communicating research findings to influence policy development on a global scale.
Ahsan, who is a doctoral student of maternal and child health in the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, will build on a wealth of previous international experience. Originally from Bangladesh, he has conducted monitoring, evaluation and research in the health sector for more than 12 years. Most recently, he worked at UNC’s MEASURE Evaluation, where he was a senior research associate and served as the monitoring and evaluation adviser to the Program Management and Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh. [read more][April 2019]
Katie Wouk, PhD, one of three selected for NC TraCS funding
Three researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health are among those selected for funding by the N.C. Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS).
Kathryn Wouk, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow with the Gillings School’s Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, was funded with a pilot grant for her project, “Predictors of Postpartum Health Care Utilization and Receipt of Recommended Health Services Among Underserved Mothers in North Carolina.”
Carol Golin, MD, professor of health behavior at the Gillings School and of medicine in the UNC School of Medicine, will work with Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, assistant professor of health behavior, on a project funded by NC TraCS’ Stakeholder Engagement Voucher Program.
Their project is “Engaging Stakeholders in a Community-Academic Partnership to Address Mental Health and Access to Care among Durham Housing Authority Residents.” [March 2019]
Stacey Klaman, MPH, successfully defended her research on opioid treatment programs and sexual and reproductive health
Stacey received a Bachelor of Art degree in English from CUNY, Brooklyn college and later earned her Master of Public Health degree from the Gillings School of Global Public Health in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at UNC-CH before moving into the PhD program. Stacey has had an interesting variety of volunteer and professional experiences outside of her academic work. Not surprisingly, given her MCH interests, Stacey has been a volunteer birth doula since 2012.
She also has extensive professional experience developing K-8 science and social studies curricula and has worked for many years as an editor and director for different publishing firms. Stacey’s dissertation work focuses on the possibility of integrating reproductive and sexual health education and services into opioid treatment programs. Congratulations Stacey![March 2019]
Doctoral candidate, Anna Austin, MPH successfully defends her dissertation
Anna earned a BA in Psychology and BS in Statistics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2011. In 2013, Anna received her MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. Prior to entering the MCH doctoral program, she completed a CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship in the North Carolina Division of Public Health Injury and Violence Prevention Branch. Anna was the recipient of numerous honors during her doctoral training, including the APHA Maternal and Child Health Section Outstanding Student Author award, a UNC Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship, and a UNC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship.
Anna has authored an impressive 25 publications, 14 of which are first authored, and has presented her work at numerous local and national meetings. Anna produced a well-designed dissertation project that will make a significant contribution to applied child health research as it involves using methods to simultaneously model risk and protective factors for child well-being, as well as model trajectories of child maltreatment exposure. Congratulations, Anna![February 2019]
Doctoral candidate Franchino-Olsen authors publication on sexual exploitation
Hannabeth Franchino-Olsen, MPH authored a new publication, “Vulnerabilities Relevant for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children/Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: A Systematic Review of Risk Factors.”
Franchino-Olsen holds a BS in biology, an MS in physiology and developmental biology, and recently completed her MPH in maternal and child health at UNC. She is currently a trainee with the Carolina Population Center Predoctoral Traineeship and a previous winner of the Doctoral Merit Assistantship, the FLAS, and the Master’s Merit Assistantship.[see published article][February 2019]
Three MCH students chosen among eight as injury and violence prevention fellows.
Eight students at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health have been named inaugural Injury and Violence Prevention (IVP) fellows at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center (IPRC).
They are Anna Austin, Natalie Blackburn, Jess Bousquette, Venita Embry, Alex Gertner, Sarah Treves-Kagan, Kathleen Shumaker and Venera Urbaeva.
Austin, a fourth-year doctoral student in maternal and child health, earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) in chronic disease epidemiology from the Yale University School of Public Health and worked as a fellow for the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers Partnership. Her research interests include the prevention of child maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences and parenting in the context of substance use.
Blackburn is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in health behavior. She holds an MPH in behavioral sciences and health education from Emory University. Prior to starting the UNC doctoral program, she was an ORISE fellow in the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where she focused on strengthening the evidence for screening of hepatitis C among persons who use drugs.
Bousquette is a first-year MPH student in health behavior. She previously served as the child protection policy adviser at World Vision, where she focused on violence against children, child labor and children affected by armed conflict.
Embry, a third-year health behavior doctoral student, earned an MPH at Emory University. Her research interests include violence prevention interventions, court system responses to public health problems, and the effects of justice involvement on health. [read more][January 2019]
Doctoral candidate, Bianka Reese, MSPH successfully defends her dissertation
Bianka earned a BSPH, summa cum laude, from the dept of HPM here at UNC in 2012 and her MSPH from the MCH department in 2013; her master’s thesis was titled Sequences of Sexual Initiation and Subsequent Depression Among Adolescents. During that time Bianka was also a predoctoral trainee in the highly competitive population science training program at the Carolina Population Center. She has received numerous honors including a Career Development Award from the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Cynthia H. Cassell Doctoral Dissertation Award in MCH.
Bianka has an impressive 7 peer reviewed publications, the majority of those first authored, and numerous invited and peer reviewed presentations. Bianka is a gifted teacher, and has generously shared her expertise with undergraduate and graduate students within and beyond the MCH department. She has been working full time as a program evaluation specialist at SHIFT NC since 2017, yet her discipline, intellect, and hard work have brought her to this place and time to defend her innovative and important dissertation work. Congratulations Bianka![January 2019]
Doctoral student publishes three studies about women’s reproductive health
Prior to her August 2018 enrollment in the doctoral program in maternal and child health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Isabel Morgan, MSPH, led a range of research projects during her tenure at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The results of three of those projects recently were published in noted journals.
Morgan’s research team — comprised of CDC colleagues Yokabed Ermias, MPH, Lauren B. Zapata, PhD, Kathryn M. Curtis, PhD, and Maura K. Whiteman, PhD – analyzed health care providers’ attitudes and practices related to providing adolescents contraception on the day of the initial health care visit. The findings, “Health Care Provider Attitudes and Practices Related to ‘Quick Start’ Provision of Combined Hormonal Contraception and Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate to Adolescents,” were published online Nov. 1, 2018, in the Journal of Adolescent Health. [Read more][January 2019]
Chauvenet lead author for WIC program shopping experience study
Researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health examined how participants in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program viewed their retail environment.
The findings, “WIC Recipients in the Retail Environment: A Qualitative Study Assessing Customer Experience and Satisfaction,” were published online Nov. 27 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The study identified problem areas that could direct future interventions to improve the shopping experience for WIC recipients. Maximizing the program benefits should encourage healthier food choices leading to prevention and treatment of obesity and food insecurity.
Christina Chauvenet, MSc, MSPH, is a doctoral candidate in maternal and child health, with a minor in health behavior, at the Gillings School. [Read more] [December 2018]