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Maternal and Child Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2009

NOTES FROM THE MCH SECTION CHAIR

I have just returned from the Families USA meeting in Washington, D.C., where advocates, legislative leaders, and the administration agree that health reform is urgent and imminent.  Passing a bill quickly in Congress must be a priority!  Such a bill must include coverage for everyone through a system with public and private options, and it must protect Medicaid in dealing with the ill and vulnerable, as well as addressing quality, affordability and prevention. 

As advocates for women, children and families, we must lend our voices to the debate and contribute to the momentum. 

·         Most folks know that we need to eliminate insurance discrimination that prevents those with pre-existing conditions from purchasing insurance.  But few realize this includes pregnancy, which is surprisingly regarded as a pre-existing condition under most policies, and in many states, it is still legal to offer health care plans that exclude maternity coverage!

·         Most people are now aware that excessive medical costs are the number one cause of personal bankruptcies.  Fewer are aware of the multiple costs to families with children with special needs. 

We know a lot and can make it very personal.  We can make sure that public health services are considered as well as personal health services. 

I urge you all to visit your Congressional representatives and urge them to act quickly on health care, as part of the economic crisis.  In light of the recent economic bailout, the cost – in the billions – now seems quite modest!  Those of you who are experts in health reform proposals should offer your guidance to legislative committees who are busy drafting proposals.  Offer your ideas at town meetings, on Web sites and on talk shows.  Most of us who have been working on this issue for years will be disappointed that the reform will not be as sweeping and sensible as we would like.  While some of us are contemplating the details of employer mandates, ERISA claims, and single payer opportunities, we were urged not to get bogged down in the details, which can be worked out over time.  Keep the message simple – AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!  Dr. Bob Ross from the California Endowment reminded us:  how many of us thought we would see an African-American president before we would see health reform?  We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

The MCH Section will be submitting our Child Health Policy paper to the administration and hearing from legislative staff from APHA and AMCHP at our mid-year meeting.  Please join us.

JoAnne Fischer, MCH Section Chair

FROM THE NEWSLETTER EDITOR

Thank you all for your wonderful articles!  I am always amazed by the variety of interesting things in which members of the MCH Section are involved.  And even though APHA has now imposed a word limit on the newsletters, everyone writes so succinctly that I have not had to impose a word limit on our members, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your cooperation. 

For future planning, the tentative due dates for the next two newsletters are:

  • May 26, 2009
  • August 28, 2009

We now have a dedicated e-mail address for newsletter articles, so send them to mchnewsletter@gmail.com.  If you have any questions about the newsletter, you can submit them to that address also -- I check it frequently.  Thank you all once again, and keep those newsletter articles coming!

Clare Feinson, MCH Newsletter Editor

SECTION DEVELOPS COMPREHENSIVE MCH CALENDAR

As part of the development of our new Web site, the MCH Section is putting together a comprehensive MCH calendar, which will list not only APHA-related items, but any events, programs, conferences or other important dates in the wider MCH community.  Student Fellow Madiha Qureshi is heading up this project, working with Laura Kavanaugh, who is developing our Web site.  If you have any dates to post on the MCH Calendar, please send them to Madiha at mfquresh@uic.edu and she will include them when the calendar is posted. 

 

"LIFE IS A SERIES OF STORIES" -- KOTCH IS MARTHA MAY ELIOT AWARD WINNER

Former Section Chair Dr. Jonathan B. Kotch was honored with the 2008 Martha May Eliot Award at the Annual Meeting in San Diego in October.  Dr. Kotch has been an educator, an advocate, and a major scholar since his career began in 1978. The following is a summary of his acceptance speech : 

Life is a series of stories.  When our stories intersect, we make history.  Those intersections multiply and create the networks that support the relationships that keep me going.  Thank you all for being a part of a network of relationships for me.

You have heard of “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.” My talk today is entitled, “Six degrees of Helen Wallace,” whose presence here today is a great honor.  First, I am going to ask Barb Levin to pick one of these three cards, each of which represents an MCH faculty member who was a mentor to me, and who previously received the Martha May Eliot award. They are Arden Miller, Naomi Morris, and Earl Siegel.

Barb has chosen Arden Miller, so let me walk you through the steps from Arden Miller to Helen Wallace as a way of framing the story of how I chose a career in MCH, which led me to where I am standing today.

As a medical student I had the opportunity to work in a mission hospital in Liberia. Dr. Jim Stull, the medical director of Phoebe Hospital, and I saw 75 clinic patients each and every day.  It suddenly dawned on me that I was seeing the same patients every day, not the same individuals, but the same cases of schistosomiasis and gastroenteritis, day in and day out.  That is when I realized that the only way to improve health status would be to prevent these diseases before they happened.

I still needed to satisfy myself that I was not cut out for clinical pediatrics, so I arranged for a four-week elective with a private practice in Ukiah, Calif. At the end of the elective I concluded I needed to shift to public health.  On our way back to New York, Anne and I stayed with friends in San Francisco. While there I flipped through the phone book and ran my finger down the list of departments under UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. When I got to Maternal and Child Health, I thought, “That is something a pediatrician ought to be able to do.” So I called for an appointment and the next day met Helen Wallace, who recruited me to MCH during the hour she spent with me. When I decided to choose Carolina over Berkeley, it was only because it was closer to New York.  I told my mother I would only be away for a year.  I lied.

Now, the connection to Arden Miller.  Arden was the MCH faulty member who sat me down on his sofa when I visited Chapel Hill for my interview and said, “Jonathan, we want you to come to Carolina.” After finishing my MPH and my residency, I joined the faculty.  Arden invited me to travel with his CDC-funded local health department project, which later became a publication describing high performing local health departments that provided personal health services. Our team visited outstanding health departments in Memphis, Seattle, Newark, and Contra Costa County. Whenever he was in the vicinity, Arden would visit Helen, and this time he took me with him. Thank you so much, Helen, for being the one who opened the door to MCH for me. God bless you.

I have been very lucky, but luck is being ready when the opportunity presents itself. As Wayne Gretzky said, skate to where the puck is going to be. In our case, I see a major opportunity on the horizon, and we have to be ready. It was Judith Katzberg and Debbie Allen who reminded me that I had previously advised the Section not to be polite. APHA was concerned about getting a seat at the table, so they were polite.  And they didn’t get a seat. They didn’t even get a stool.

So don’t be polite. Make some noise.  And don’t let the good seduce you from pursuing excellence.

I have some more thank you's before I step down. I need to thank the MCH members of the committee, Dot Browne and Lisa Kavanagh.  I need to thank the chairs of MCH at UNC who supported me, from Naomi to Arden to Milt Kotelchuck to Pierre Buekens to Bert Peterson. My fellow MCH Department faculty, represented here by Dot and Pierre, were a tremendous support. And then there are the students, current, recent and long term graduates. It is my greatest thrill to follow my students as their careers develop, and as they become leaders in our field. Many of them are here today. Thank you all again for this great honor.

(Below) Jonathan and his grandson

 

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE HONORS LINDA RANDOLPH

At its 38th annual meeting on Oct. 13, 2008 in Washington, D.C., the Institute of Medicine honored long-time Section member and former chair Dr. Linda Randolph by electing her as one of the 65 newest members of the Institute of Medicine.  The election is a very high honor, and Dr. Randolph said, “I am so pleased to be recognized for my work by colleagues I hold in high esteem, many of whom have served as mentors.” A graduate of the Howard University College of Medicine, the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Harvard University School of Business, Dr. Randolph is a public health pediatrician and senior level executive with over 30 years of experience as a clinician, administrator, and public health expert in federal, state and city government, academia, and private philanthropy. Congratulations, Linda!

Dr. Randolph is President and CEO of the Developing Families Center in northeast Washington, D.C.  The Developing Families Center, Inc. is an innovative collaboration of three not-for-profit organizations (the Family Health and Birth Center, the Health Babies Project, and the United Planning Organization's Early Childhood Development Center) whose mission is to meet the primary health care, social service and child development needs of under-served individuals and childbearing and childrearing families. 

ADOLESCENT HEALTH COMMITTEE SEEKS NEW MEMBERS

Welcome to the Adolescent Health Committee!  My name is Lauren Radano, and I am the new committee chair.   My educational background is in developmental psychology, and I have worked for the last three years in public health.  Most recently, I worked as a prevention specialist for the New Jersey statewide youth-led, youth-driven tobacco prevention movement, REBEL (Reaching Everyone By Exposing Lies).  The mission of REBEL is to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices by designing and implementing events to counter-market the tobacco industry.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed my job, after three years, I moved across the country to San Diego in January 2009!  I am eager to get to work with the committee and welcome anyone who is interested to join us.  We are a small committe and are currently in need of members to review abstracts, write newsletter articles, moderate conference sessions, etc.  Our focus this year will be on adolescent behavioral issues, injury, outreach programs, school health, comprehensive sexual health education, peer relations, teen parenting, and more!  Please contact me directly at lradano@gmail.com if you are interested.  Thank you, and I look forward to working with you!

DATA AND EPIDEMIOLOGY COMMITTEE -- NEW MEMBERS WELCOME!!

Are you interested in MCH data? Join the Data and Epi committee! This committee identifies MCH data trends or issues, solicits abstracts for the annual APHA MCH program, arranges the data and epidemiology sessions for the Annual Meeting and identifies specific focal areas for future meetings. If interested, contact Ann Dozier at ann_dozier@urmc.rochester.edu .

2008-2009 STUDENT FELLOWS MCH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT SERIES KICKS OFF

Eleven MCH Section Fellows are participating in the MCH Leadership Development Series to gain leadership skills and build a learning community among the MCH Student Fellows.  These interactive sessions are designed to expose Student Fellows to leadership concepts through video lectures, facilitated group discussion, and individual self-reflection exercises.   The first conference call session had a 100 percent participation rate from Student Fellows, as well as participation from some members of the Section leadership and Student Fellow Mentors. 

Six leadership skills development sessions are planned for the year, covering topics from “Tapping into Your Leadership Potential” to “Building and Supporting Teams” to “Leadership Revealed in MCH Action: Stories of Jane Addams.” Each call will be facilitated by a member of the MCH Section Leadership. The calls are also open to all Student Fellow Mentors – don’t miss this opportunity to engage with the Fellows! 

Lianne Estefan, Senior Student Fellow, said, "Participating in the MCH Leadership Series has been a fantastic opportunity for me.  As a Fellow last year, I worked with a wonderful mentor and through participating in various activities, gained greater insight into both the MCH Section and APHA as a whole. This year, as a Senior Fellow, I look forward to continuing to develop my leadership skills and fostering relationships with other students and professionals in the MCH field."

For additional information about the MCH Leadership Skills Development Series, visit http://www.jhsp.edu/wchpc/mchlds.  For additional information about the Student Fellows Program or to get involved, please contact Lauren Secretary-Elect Raskin Ramos at lramos@amchp.org.

CELEBRATE THE NEW ADMINISTRATION THROUGH PARTICIPATION

Barack Obama has now been inaugurated as our 44th president, and while the country and the world celebrate this historic event, we also recognize it as a great opportunity to enhance the health of our nation.  As part of his inaugural activities, President-Elect Obama asked people to get involved. We need to celebrate by making our voices heard in support of health and welfare for women and children in the United States and around the world, especially since health care is a leading policy topic for this administration.

Submit comments on health care issues at http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/health_care/.  Tell your story, why health care is important to you, or what you'd like to see an Obama-Biden administration do and where you'd like the country to go.  Your personal stories are the most powerful, but you may find the following links useful if you if you need help with talking points regarding key policies related to women and children:

·         AMCHP Policy Steps the Next President and Congress Can Take to Improve the Health of Women, Children, and Families: A 100 Day Policy Agenda http://www.amchp.org/Advocacy/LegislationPolicy/Documents/AMCHP_100DayPolicyAgenda_11-10-08.pdf

·         AMCHP Principles for Health Reform http://www.amchp.org/Advocacy/LegislationPolicy/Documents/AMCHP%20Principles%20for%20Health%20Reform%2011-7-08.pdf

The MCH Section is currently drafting a policy statement on MCH policy which we hope to finalize at the mid-year Section meeting on Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C.  We will be circulating this document to the membership, so when you receive it, please take the time to send us your comments.  If you are available, plan to attend the mid-year MCH Section meeting where we will be discussing this document.

THIS IS AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO ALL STAND FOR MOTHERS AND CHILDREN! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!  GET INVOLVED!!  CELEBRATE!!

CHILDREN AND THE ENVIRONMENT ON "COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT" IN FEBRUARY

The Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health and the Environmnet (MACCHE), a joint project of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC), has been featured on the RCN-TV Community Spotlight Program.  In the Washington, D.C. area, this two week series began Feb. 1, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.  The program features MACCHE Co-Director and MCH Section member Dr. Benjamin Gitterman.

The first week focuses on the organization of MACCHE, its mission, the resources provided to the Mid-Atlantic community, and information on common environmental concerns.  Dr. Gitterman discusses the structure of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) and the importance of environmental health to parents, health professionals, government agencies and school officials. He also highlights past and present accomplishments of MACCHE. The second week focuses primarily on specific environmental hazards that include lead, mold, other asthma triggers, plastics, air quality and pesticides.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health and the Environment (MACCHE) is one of the 10 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) in the country supported by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics. The mission of MACCHE is to provide education and outreach on environmental health issues that affect children in EPA Region 3, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.  For more information, visit the MACCHE Web site at www.health-e-kids.org.

Community Spotlight is a program produced by RCN-TV that highlights local organizations and events in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Metro Areas. The half-hour talk show features a host who initiates a question and answer style dialogue with representatives from the highlighted organization. RCN-TV is a national organization that provides both individuals and businesses with high-speed Internet, cable, and phone services Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, the D.C. Metro Area, Lehigh Valley, and New York City.
 

NEW BOOK USES MCH TO TEACH PUBLIC HEALTH

A new textbook from Springer combines epidemiology with a broad range of topics that influence maternal and child health.  Six years in the making, Perinatal Epidemiology for Public Health Practice synthesizes perinatal knowledge through the lens of public health practice.  Co-authors include Section members Russell Kirby and the late Greg Alexander.  “Greg was the driving force behind this book,” said Kirby.  “We would have completed it much earlier had he still been with us.”   The comprehensive text offers:

·         A spectrum of topics affecting maternal and child health, such as reproductive health, gestation, and fetal growth.

·         Information on timely issues, such as postpartum depression and SIDS.

·         Detailed discussions of current epidemiological trends and measurement issues.

·         Emerging areas of interest and research.

·         Text boxes, definitions of key terms, discussion questions, appendices, and other helpful features.

This highly-structured text is appropriate for new students or experienced professionals seeking a quick reference to a broad range of topics that influence maternal and child health.  For more information, see http://springer.com/978-0-387-09438-0.

 

AHRQ RELEASES KID'S INPATIENT DATABASE, OTHER COST AND UTILIZATION REPORTS

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released the 2006 Kid’s Inpatient Database (KID) in June.  Published every three years, KID is the only dataset in the United States designed specifically to study hospital use, outcomes and charges in the pediatric population.  KID includes all patients under 21 regardless of payer, and includes data from 3,739 hospitals in 38 states.  KID can be weighted to produce national estimates, allowing researchers and policy-makers to identify, track and analyze national trends in pediatric health. 

HCUP is a family of databases and related products developed by AHRQ through a federal-state-industry partnership, with a wide variety of recent titles including:

·         HCUP Facts and Figures:  Statistics on Hospital-Based Care in the United States, 2006:  This report presents data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database on hospital care in 2006, as well as trends in care from 1993 to 2006.  The NIS database itself is also available.

·         Hospital Stays Related to Mental Health, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #62):  About 1.4 million hospitalizations in 2006 involved patients who were admitted for a mental illness, and another 7.1 million had a mental disorder in addition to the physical condition for which they were admitted.  Like all HCUP reports, data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the Unietd States and include all patients, regardless of payer, including the uninsured.

·         Hospital Stays for Lung Cancer, 2006 (HCUP Statistical Brief #63):  Hospital admissions for lung cancer remained relatively stable between 1995 and 2006, even though lung cancer rates were dropping. 

·         Hospitalizations Related to Pressure Ulcers Among Adults 18 Years and Older, 2006:  Pressure ulcers, developed either before or after admission, increased by nearly 80% between 1993 and 2006.

HCUP produces powerful, comprehensive health care data that can be used to study a wide variety of health care interests in utilization, access, charges, quality, and outcomes.  Additional information about HCUP databases and reports is available on the User Support Web site at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov.

COMMUNITY-BASED DOULA MODEL EMBRACED BY HRSA

 

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded HealthConnect One (formerly Chicago Health Connection) a 2-year grant to provide training, technical assistance, and cross-sited evaluation to a cohort of six new HRSA-funded community-based doula programs across the country.  The result of tireless advocacy by the HC One national community-based doula network and other MCH stakeholders around the country, this is the first federal funding stream for community-based doula programs. Congratulations to all of you who helped to make this vision real! 

HC One also extends sincere appreciation to Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., for their support of community-based doula programs, and to President Barack Obama, who demonstrated his support of the community-based doula model as a previous co-sponsor of Senator Durbin's funding request. 

The community-based doula model has received increasing media attention the past few years, as people have begun to comprehend its effectiveness.  According to HRSA’s press release of Oct. 3, 2008, “Doulas provide culturally sensitive pregnancy, breastfeeding and childbirth education and counseling. They also promote links to health care and social services, labor coaching and parenting skills.”  Catalyst Chicago describes the impact in an article of Jan. 6, saying, “Helping young moms bond and build a healthy relationship with their baby before it is born are the first steps that, down the road, foster school readiness and better performance in school, say early childhood experts.”  Following the HC One model, community-based doulas mentor women within their own communities during pregnancy, and for at least 12 weeks following birth.

As the Community-based Doula Leadership Institute, HC One is thrilled to partner with:

  • Access Community Health Network, Chicago, IL
  • Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Atlanta, GA
  • Migrant Health Promotion, Weslaco, TX
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Onamia, MN
  • Queen of Peace Center, St. Louis, MO
  • Tewa Women United, Espanola, NM

In December 2008, HC One gathered these fellow grantees for an introductory training on the Community-Based Doula Model, in connection with the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Board for the new Community-based Doula Leadership Institute.  The Advisory Board discussed opportunities to promote the use of the community-based doula model, potential advocacy to encourage public/private partnerships in order to advance fiscal sustainability of community-based doula programs, and plans to evaluate the outcomes from HC One’s network of community-based doula replication sites.

To join the HC One Doula Network and receive regular e-mail updates, please send your request to laura@lmcalpine.com.  For more information, see:

·       HRSA Awards $6.3 Million to Launch New Parents Initiative, ‘Doulas’ Training - http://newsroom.hrsa.gov/releases/2008/doulastraining.htm

·      The HealthConnect One Doula Replication Program - http://www.chicagohealthconnection.org/doula/nati_repl.htm

PRE-PARENTING EDUCATION IMPROVES ADOLESCENT FAMILIES

MCH Section member Randi Rubenstein has launched the non-profit organization Education for Successful Parenting (ESP), to provide pre-parenting education to adolescents before they conceive a child.  Tackling health risk factors for children at their pre-conception source, the ESP program is health-oriented and science-based.  Topics include:

·         Perils of teen parenting.

·         Risks of prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs.

·         Fatherhood roles.

·         Safe haven laws to prevent baby abandonment.

·         Prenatal care and the importance of folic acid.

·         Child abuse prevention.

The ESP pre-parenting education program has been consistently well-received among diverse youth populations, including foster youth, incarcerated teens, and recovering teens, as well as public school adolescents enrolled in health education and family life classes.  As a result of participating in the program, over 90 percent of participating students report they are more inclined to wait before becoming a parent, and they feel better prepared to provide, protect and nurture a child when they do become parents.

In partnership with the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion, the Orange County Department of Education, and the USC School of Social Work, ESP is trail-blazing a new approach to improving the well-being of children.  Copies of the ESP student workbook, My Life Plan for Parenting, are available on the ESP Web site, www.eduparents.org. Ms. Rubenstein also welcomes questions via e-mail at rrubenstein@eduparents.org and by phone at (949) 646-6016.

KANGAROO MOTHER CARE MAY AFFECT INFANT SURVIVAL, HEALTH STATUS

Kangaroo mother care (KMC), which places newborns in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers’ breast, to promote thermal regulation, breastfeeding, and maternal-infant bonding, has been shown to reduce morbidity in low birthweight newborns.  Section member Dr. Nancy Sloan and her colleagues, working in rural Bangaladesh, tested this method to determine if it would reduce mortality as well. Although 40 percent of the newborns in the study were not weighed at birth, compromising the outcome of the study, this was the first study to assess the affect of KMC on newborn and infant survival, and Dr. Sloan and her colleagues will continue to study the value of this strategy in helping Third World infants survive and thrive.  To read the full article in Pediatrics, go to http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/121/5/e1047 .

CHILDREN GET INTO THE SPIRIT OF PROMOTING HEALTH REFORM IN D.C.

Almost 400 kids submitted entries for the America's Future Starts With Healthy Children art exhibit, and over 60 pieces were on display in Washington, D.C. in January.  The project was organized by the Health Rights Organizing Project, a coalition of nonprofit community groups pushing for reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), as well as for more flexible insurance coverage for legal immigrant children and pregnant women.  The art project was intended to put a face on an otherwise dehumanizing issue.  To solicit entries, organizations held workshops for students throughout the country, explaining basic concepts related to health care and health insurance.  The exhibit was displayed at the Rayburn House Office Building on Jan. 23, and Jan. 26-28 at Union Station in Washington, D.C.  For more information about the Health Rights Organizing Project and the art exhibit, see their Web site at http://iwanttobehealthytoo.org/blog/ .

GET CONNECTED WITH THE NATIONAL HEALTHY MOTHERS, HEALTHY BABIES COALITION

For nearly three decades, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition has served as a credible resource for professionals working on behalf of families.  The most popular resource of the Coalition, the "Monday Morning Memo," offers a look at the latest news in maternal and child health in a unique format, compiling and summarizing recent research, offerings, relevant conference announcements, advocacy initiatives and job postings.  Hundreds of professionals in a variety of disciplines value the resource, which covers a host of topics, including breastfeeding, immunization, nutrition, occupant protection, oral health, perinatal mental health and prematurity.  To subscribe or contribute items for this communication vehicle, send an e-mail to info@hmhb.org with "MMM" in the subject line.

VIOLENT PARTNERS -- A BOOK WORTH READING

Violent Partners starts improbably with author Linda Mills, JD, PhD, using her own relationship failures to show that even someone raised in a middle class, stable home can become victim to domestic violence. But what is provocative about her book is the assertion that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which requires that at least one of the pair in domestic battery cases be arrested, has unintended consequences that must be addressed. Mills argues that arrest and incarceration should be reserved for perpetrators who refuse to put down their weapons or cease physical  battery, and that family therapy can foster families remaining together, which has significant benefits for the dependent spouse and children. 

In her most controversial passages, Mills charges the feminist movement with heavy handed efforts to give a voice to battered women. “Imposing certain legal responses on victims of domestic violence, including the arrest and prosecution of their batterers, can reproduce the rejection, degradation, and isolation that is typical of an abusive relationship (“We don’t care what you think; he is being arrested!”).”  Although the safety of the victim at the moment of intervention is a priority, the issue may be more complicated.  If the victim initiated the violence, if arresting a mother takes her from her children, if arresting a man guarantees that he will lose his job, we may want a more nuanced response from law enforcement, one that will provide better role models to the children involved, helping to break the cycle of abuse rather than perpetuating it.

An alternative to incarceration that is strongly supported by Mills is family therapy.  Interviews with experts in treating family violence describe the importance of aligning themselves with both members of the couple to develop respectful relationships with both clients.  One therapist says, “To succeed in this work, the therapist must create a context in which the woman can speak the truth about her life under siege and her partner can be recognized, not only in terms of his shameful identity as an offender, but as a child-victim who also has a story that needs to be told.” 

Further, it is in the context of a healing relationship that the harmful lifestyle responses to abuse (alcohol, food, tobacco, and drug addiction) can be addressed. Family, friends, employers and health care providers who support the therapy of abusive adults are less interested in locking up the perpetrators than they are in seeing the injuries and injustices acknowledged and condemned. Mills describes Circle programs, in which a team of supportive community members and a therapist provide a safe environment that the legal system cannot.  The adversarial process of the courtroom risks further injury to the victim and is not the place for personal healing.  Mills recommends widening VAWA to accommodate therapy, and to use incarceration only in extreme cases.

COMMENTARY: HELPING CHILDREN IN NEED

In a commentary in the Washington Times on Jan. 18, Charles MacCormack suggested the following five practical steps for the new administration and Congress that can make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children both at home and abroad:

·         Save children and mothers:  Solutions need to be found for the large number of children without reliable access to health care.  More than 9 million children around the world die each year before their fifth birthday from causes that are treatable and preventable. 

·         Conquer hunger among children and improve their nutrition:  Food prices are up, economies are down, and safety nets are fraying. 

·         Provide basic education for all children:  Protect children and lift up their lives while enhancing the capacity of developing nations to progress.  Eliminate the education deficit that traps children and families in poverty. 

·         Give children a Head Start in school and life:  One-fifth of children living in poverty in the United States are unable to access robust early education, depriving them of the foundation for a richer and fuller school experience and adult life. 

·         Include children in disaster preparedness planning at home and abroad:  FEMA and Congress must ensure that children are protected before, during and after disasters so families are kept together. 

Charles MacCormack is the president and CEO of Save the Children in Westport, Conn.  Click here for the full text of the commentary.  The article was listed in the Daily Local Health Alert, published by the DC Primary Care Association in Washington, D.C.  To subscribe to this free daily compendium about health care in the D.C. metropolitan area, send your e-mail address to Audrey Kudler, akudler@dcpca.org, and request to be added to the list.

CONFERENCES AND AWARDS

Leonard P. Rome CATCH Visiting Professorships Program Call for Proposals :  Once again, the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative (CPTI) is partnering with The Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Program to offer the Leonard P. Rome CATCH Visiting Professorship Program, to promote advocacy for children and advance the field of community pediatrics. The program provides four accredited pediatric residency programs up to $4,500 each to fund a two- or three-day educational program focusing on the field of community pediatrics. The guidelines and application are available online at: http://www.aap.org/commpeds/cpti/Opportunities.htm .  

Applications and letters of support must be submitted by e-mail to cpti@aap.org in a Word or PDF file by 4 p.m. CST March 23, 2009.   This program was established in honor of Leonard P. Rome, MD, a pediatrician and tireless child health advocate who dedicated his life to improving children's health.  For more information, please contact Monique Evelyn at cpti@aap.org or (800) 433-9016, ext. 7397.

Presentation Opportunities for Child Health Services Researchers:  Proposals for research panels and posters are being accepted for the 2009 Child Health Services Research Meeting to be held on June 27 in Chicago.  This meeting, now in its eleventh year, features the latest in child health services research and policy. Proposals must be submitted online by Feb. 16, 2009.  To submit a proposal or for more information, visit the ARM Web site at http://www.academyhealth.org/childhealth/abstracts/abslogin.cfm.

Nominate your colleagues for the Nemours CHSR Award:  The Nemours Child Health Services Research Award recognizes the scientific work of emerging scholars in the field of child health services research.  Nominations must be received at Academy Health by April 15, 2009. The winner will receive $1,000 in recognition of his/her contribution to child health services research, and the award will be presented at the Eleventh Child Health Services Research Meeting on June 27 in Chicago.  For more information on the award, visit the Web site at http://www.academyhealth.org/childhealth/award.htm.

Pediatric research scientist job announcement:  The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy seeks a social or behavioral scientist to join the research programs of the center.  The successful candidate will have a PhD in an appropriate field (e.g., economics, health services, sociology, psychology, public health) and a proven track record of publications and externally funded research in areas with some relation to child health.  The position will include a faculty position at Harvard Medical School at the level of assistant or associate professor.   Interested candidates, please send a letter and CV to Karen Kuhlthau, PhD, Associate Director, 50 Staniford Street, Suite 901, Boston MA 02114 kkuhlthau@partners.org.

The MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy is dedicated to improving the health of children and adolescents through research that identifies and promotes effective programs and policies for their health care.  The center carries out multidisciplinary research in child and adolescent health services, outcomes, and health policy.  For more information about the Center, see our Web site at www.massgeneral.org/children/ccahp

Nineteenth Annual APHA Public Health Materials Contest:  The APHA Public Health Education Health Promotion Section is soliciting your best health education, promotion and communication materials for the 19th annual competition. The contest provides a forum to showcase public health materials during the APHA Annual Meeting and recognizes professionals for their hard work.

All winners will be selected by panels of expert judges prior to the 137th APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  A session will be held at the Annual Meeting to recognize winners, during which one representative from the top materials selected in each category will give a presentation about their material.

Entries will be accepted in three categories; printed materials, electronic materials, and other materials.  Entries for the contest are due by March 27, 2009.  Please contact Kira McGroarty at kmcgroar@jhsph.edu for additional contest entry information.

YOUNG SCHOLARS AWARD IN PERINATAL BIOETHICS

In collaboration with the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), the March of Dimes is pleased to announce the creation of an annual Young Scholars Award in Perinatal Bioethics

To be eligible for this award, applicants must be early in their career development, including those who are actively enrolled in graduate school, post-doctoral programs or no higher in their career achievement than the assistant professorship level.  Applicants are invited to submit proposals on the topic of perinatal ethics in any of the submission categories offered in the ASBH Call for Proposals. Proposals about pregnancy, birth, lactation, prenatal causes of disability, neonatal decision-making, and other perinatal issues will be considered.  

Submit an abstract to the ASBH Call for Proposals on the ASBH Web site no later than March 2, 2009 at http://www.asbh.org/meetings/annual/callguidelines.html

From those submitted abstracts, a select group of applicants will then be invited to submit a full paper for review by the March of Dimes/ASBH review committee. 

The award will be presented at the ASBH Annual Meeting in October to the applicant whose paper was selected to be of the highest quality and intellectual rigor among the submitted papers.  The award winner will be receive an honorarium of $1,000 and will be invited to present his/her paper at a plenary session at the ASBH Annual Meeting, which will feature an invited lecture by a distinguished scholar from the field of perinatal ethics.

For further information concerning this award, please contact Alison Saylor of ASBH at asaylor@connect2amc.com or Ann Umemoto of the March of Dimes at aumemoto@marchofdimes.com.

"ACT EARLY" SUMMITS ENHANCE EARLY CHILDHOOD SYSTEMS FOR AUTISM

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) will convene a series of Act Early Summits as a new initiative of the CDC “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign (LTSAE) to address autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities.  LTSAE seeks to increase the awareness of developmental milestones and the importance of early identification and intervention for children. The Act Early Summits will bring together stakeholders to address challenges and opportunities in early identification, diagnosis, and service provision and coordination for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families.  Funded through the Combating Autism Act Initiative of 2006, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau has joined with the CDC to sponsor these activities. 

Act Early Summit participants come from state offices on health, early intervention, special education, developmental disabilities, and Head Start, as well as representatives of community service providers, state legislators, pediatric medical home providers, parents and advocacy organizations.  Three additional summits have been scheduled for 2009.  The Region 4A summit was held in Nashville the first week in January, and two others will be held in Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming) and Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) later in the year.

The partnerships will enhance the process of identification and diagnosis of autism and will work toward ensuring increased availability of services to identify and support children with autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities and their families. 

The Act Early Summits offer presentations from national autism experts from health, education, and policy domains and interactive sessions to bridge professional disciplines and perspectives. As the pinnacle activity, state teams develop action plans for improving awareness and coordination of service systems within their states. Materials from past Act Early Summits and resources are available at: www.aucd.org. LTSAE campaign materials are available on the CDC Web site: www.cdc.gov/actearly

For more information about the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign, contact Georgina Peacock, MD, MPH, FAAP at gpeacock@cdc.gov.

LEADERSHIP, LEGACY, AND COMMUNITY: RETREATING TO ADVANCE AT UIC

On July 20-22, 2009 the Maternal and Child Health Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health will offer the 2nd annual MCH leadership retreat entitled Leadership, Legacy, and Community:  A Retreat to Advance Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Scholarship and Practice.   
  
Leadership, Legacy, and Community is an exciting and new type of professional development program that will take place at the Hyatt Lodge at McDonalds campus in Oakbrook, IL.  The Retreat is designed by and for intergenerational, interdisciplinary MCH practitioners and academic scholars.  When individuals across the generations come together to share, new ideas, plans, and programs can be generated and developed to address our most pressing MCH issues.  The synergy that develops when generations work together will shape our focus on MCH in the future.  

While at the Retreat, participants will develop their leadership skills through experiential leadership development sessions and working sessions with their MCH colleagues to address current and cutting-edge MCH issues.  For example, with the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, we will take a look at how we focus the work we do public health/maternal and child health in the language of human rights.   

Registration is limited to 100 participants, and we encourage you and your colleagues to attend!   

For more information and to register online please visit our Web site at http://www.uic.edu/sph/mch/mch_leadership_conference.htm or contact Kris Risley, DrPH at (312) 996-2875 or kyrisley@uic.edu

BANKING SYSTEM STRONG AT MOTHER'S MILK BANK OF NEW ENGLAND

The Mother’s Milk Bank of New England (MMBNE) wants you to take note of the following dates:

  • Friday April 24, 2009:  MMBNE is holding a one day conference at Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass., "Human Milk Banking: Preventive Medicine in Practice." CMEs, CEUs, CERPs. Information and registration at www.milkbankne.org.
  • April 12-13, 2010:  The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) will hold its international conference in Boston, celebrating 100 years of milk banking in North America and 25 years of HMBANA. Further information  at www.HMBANA.org.
  • Summer 2009:  In August 2008, MMBNE opened a dispensary and has been dispensing milk from Mothers' Milk Bank of Ohio. We are currently setting up our processing lab and expect to be screening donors and processing milk by summer 2009.