October 2018

Dear Alumni and Friends:

Thank you for your past contributions to the Department of Maternal and Child Health. I am privileged to serve as the Department Chair and I want to ask for your continuing support for the Department of Maternal and Child Health and the Gillings School of Global Public Health in the coming year. We make important contributions to the field of MCH globally and locally every day and, with your help, we can do even more in the upcoming year.

Dr. Carolyn Halpern

Dr. Carolyn Halpern

Here are just a few highlights of our many student, faculty, and program accomplishments in the 2017-2018 academic year:

  • MCH participated in the Minority Health Conference February 28, 2018 with representatives disseminating information about our curriculum, research, and practice activities. MCH students participated in planning, poster presentation, and breakout session speakers for the 38th Annual Conference.
  • Angela Parcesepe, Tenure-Track Assistant Professor, has been awarded a K01 grant from NIMH, entitled “Understanding and Addressing Mental and Substance Use Disorders among People Living with HIV in Low-resource Settings.”
  • Tamar Ringel-Kulka, Assistant Professor, is the principal investigator for The Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, creating training modules according to the new “Child Rule: Administration of Medications in Child Care for Early Educators”.
  • Ilene Speizer, Research Professor, has received funding ($4M) from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a project: “Full Access, Full Choice: Increasing Youth’s Access to Expanded Method”.
  • Faculty have been successfully submitting grant applications and have new external funding sources, including the Hewlett Foundation, RTI International, WK Kellogg Foundation and Duke Endowment, to name a few, totaling more than $7 million dollars.
  • Faculty and students have made noteworthy contributions to the literature, publishing in North Carolina Medical Journal, Breastfeeding Medicine, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of the International AIDS Society, Journal of Global Health, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, to name a few.
  • Sian Curtis, Associate Professor, served on The Bangladesh NGO Service Delivery Project (NSDP) Impact Evaluation, which aims to determine the impact of the project on selected maternal and reproductive health outcomes in Bangladesh.
  • Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) worked with NC State University’s College of Design, one of the premiere design programs in the country, to develop sidecar bassinet prototypes for testing at UNC Hospitals. Dr. Kristin Tully’s research regarding this project was cited in an American Academy of Pediatrics 2016 Clinical Report as a promising way to promote infant safety while mothers and newborns room-in together in hospitals.
  • Meghan Shanahan, Assistant Professor, received the Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award from the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
  • MCH Adjunct Assistant Professor, Elaine Hart-Brothers, MD, MPH, FACP received the 2017 Women of Vision in Community Health |Outreach and Leadership Award.
  • Former doctoral student Dr. Nicole Kahn won second place in the UNC Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis final competition. She was the only SPH student to reach the finals.

In the upcoming year:

  • We will welcome 37 incoming masters’ students and 4 incoming doctoral students for the 2018-19 academic year. This cohort includes four physicians, one nurse and five international students, one of whom is a Rotary Peace Fellow, and another who is a Fulbright scholar. We also have one Royster fellow, one Graduate School merit awardee and two Gillings merit awardees. There also are 9 MPH/MSW dual degree students and 1 MPH/PharmD student.
  • MCH doctoral students Anna Austin and Yanica Faustin received Dissertation Completion Awards from the Graduate School for the upcoming academic year.
  • MCH is fulfilling an important role in the development of the new school-wide One MPH degree. We are the home department for the new Maternal, Child and Family Health MPH concentration, and are a co-lead on the new Global Health concentration. There are a total of 12 concentrations available for the residential school-wide MPH.
  • We are also engaged with the School’s new Integrated Core. These 5 new courses integrate the content of formerly siloed core courses (e.g., Epidemiology, Health Behavior). Associate Professor Dorothy Cilenti and Assistant Professor Christine Tucker are co-Instructors for a section of the 4-credit “Develop, Implement, and Evaluate Public Health Solutions” course to be launched in spring 2019.

The Department of Maternal and Child Health may be the smallest department in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, but our alumni and friends have the biggest hearts! Your gift to our Annual Fund will help us with our current development priorities:

  • Financial aid for students in need – ongoing state budget cuts have created even greater financial need among students;
  • Discretionary funds to respond to strategic opportunities, including attracting and supporting diverse new faculty and students.

Your gift will make a HUGE difference to our Department. Thank you for your support as we move into our 68th year of serving mothers and children in North Carolina, the United States, and around the globe!

Best regards,
Carolyn T. Halpern, PhD
Professor and Chair