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Maternal and Child Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

NOTES FROM THE CHAIR

When we asked members last year to tell us why they belonged to the MCH Section, they often replied that it was like family – a home within APHA. It certainly felt that way for me this season!

 

First there were the births, including Student Fellow Jen Breaux’s son, who came early and prevented her from joining us in Philly, even though she was part of the local host committee! Then the illnesses: Secretary Karen VanLandeghem could not join us because her son had H1N1, as did Adolescent Committee Co-chair Michele Kelly. And finally, the deaths: Child Health Chair Marianne Hillemeier’s mom died right before the Annual Meeting, while my own mom hung on for another month and died shortly thereafter, followed by Senior Fellow Lianne Estefan’s dad and Program Chair Ann Dozier’s mom.  Finally, our dear colleague and Breastfeeding Committee Chair Mary Rose Tully. What is constant during this season was the caring notes of congratulations or condolence, the donations and the tributes, and the willingness to step in and cover for each other. It is being with each other through personal tribulations as well as political administrations that makes our work together so satisfying. We also get to celebrate professional and personal accomplishments and joys. Working together year after year develops our collegial relationships and creates wonderful opportunities for support and camaraderie. I urge you to show up, again and again. Volunteer to take on some Section work and responsibility. Before you know it you will find that you will have a home within APHA and connection with colleagues who are as passionate about MCH as you are and some who have become dear friends.

 

Join us Nov. 6-10 at the Annual Meeting in Denver, where we will have some time to get to know one another. The Host Committee, including Marilyn Krajicek, Eusa Patt, and Karen Peifer, is already working to plan a Section social event on Saturday night and to recommend interesting things to do while in Denver. See you there!

 

JoAnne Fischer

MCH Section Chair

www.momobile.org

IN MEMORIAM: MARY ROSE TULLY

We are sorry to announce that Mary Rose Tully, chair of the MCH Breastfeeding Committee, died of pancreatic cancer on Jan. 20, 2010. A self-described “Energizer bunny,” her cheerful vitality will be sorely missed by those of us who knew her. Toward the end, Mary Rose was still lucid and funny, and she spent her time as she lived: smiling and holding hands while she listened to people.

 

In her last days, Mary Rose worked with her family to establish The Mary Rose Tully Education Fund, which will be used to create an educational trust for her granddaughter Anika, as well as to initiate an ongoing scholarship fund for graduate breastfeeding education at the UNC School of Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, to carry on Mary’s passion for her life’s work. Please send any donations to:

 

        The Mary Rose Tully Education Fund
        c/o Karen Britt Peeler, Attorney-at-Law
        P.O. Box 12154
        Raleigh, NC  27605

 

If you wish to direct your contribution to a specific purpose, please indicate that on your check. Any personal notes to Mary’s family will be delivered to them. 

 

The MCH Section will also accept gifts to our enrichment fund in memory of Mary Rose. For more information, contact our Section Secretary, Karen VanLandeghem at kvanlandeghem@ameritech.net.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE SEEKS CANDIDATES FOR APHA LEADERSHIP POSITIONS IN 2010

The Nominating Committee for APHA's Governing Council is looking for the following candidates for leadership roles in the organization:

 

  • APHA President Elect (three year commitment, one year each as president-elect, president and past-president)
  • Executive board – three positions available (4-year term)
  • Speaker of the Governing Council (3-year term)
  • Treasurer (3-year term)

The APHA Governing Council will vote to select these officers at the November (2010) meeting, and they would begin serving immediately after the APHA conference (so terms would start Nov. 10, 2010).

 

As I'm sure you know, the next APHA Annual Meeting is Nov. 6-10, 2010, in Denver.

 

Applications are due March 31, 2010 and should include the relevant (attached) one-page form along with resume/CV of the nominee, and any letters of support. The nominating committee will meet May 6 to select the list of nominees for consideration by the Governing Council at the 2010 Annual Meeting.

 

We hope you will be able to think of individuals who would be excellent candidates for the above positions. 

 

Should you or a potential candidate wish further information on these positions, please refer to the job descriptions and nomination form available on the APHA Web site at: http://www.apha.org/about/gov/nominations/default.htm

 

If you are interested in running, we suggest you contact your APHA Section, SPIG, Caucus and/or Forum leadership to solicit their support and assistance with your nomination. 

 

All nominees for the Executive Board are selected from among the membership of the Association, except that the nominees for  Honorary Vice-President may include persons who are not members of the Association.

  

For more information on the Nominating Committee, contact Ida Plummer via e-mail at governance@apha.org.

MCH SECTION STUDENT FELLOWS 2009-2010 UPDATE

The MCH Section welcomed a new class of Student Fellows at the APHA Annual Meeting.  Twelve Student Fellows and two Senior Student Fellows are now participating in a series of MCH leadership development conference calls and working with mentors across the Section to support the committees and activities of the Section.   This includes Student Fellow Cara de la Cruz, who worked with Editor Clare Feinson to produce the newsletter you are reading.  Visit the Student Fellows page on the MCH Section Web site to see bios of this year’s Fellows!

MCH SECTION STUDIES SOCIAL MEDIA AT ANNUAL MEETING

Building on the momentum of its Town Hall meeting at the November 2009 APHA Annual Meeting, the MCH Section reached out to conference-goers over several days to learn more about how Web 2.0 technologies can be employed to expand and strengthen connections with and among its members. A two-question poll , employed at a number of sessions and at the Section exhibit booth to explore the use and utility of specific social media strategies, included the following questions:

 

  • Which social media applications are most useful to you in gathering and sharing ideas and information related to MCH training?
  • How would availability of these applications in the MCH community be useful to you?

Forty-three individuals participated in the poll at APHA, and additional data on use of social media technology were simultaneously gathered by several MCH training program grantees at their annual meetings. 

 

Overall, Facebook, YouTube and News Aggegators were applications of higher interest in the poll across all groups. Twitter was also of interest, primarily among students. Poll participants identifying themselves as “advanced” in their careers were more likely than others to identify Linkedin and podcasts as social media resources of interest.

 

Linking with peers was the most important use of social media for all poll participants. Career development and access to training resources were important for all students and for those early in their careers.  Also, about 40 percent of poll participants use social media for connecting with youth, parents and consumers.

 

The MCH Section is interested in hearing ideas from members about how to capitalize on social media strategies to engage young people in the excitement and potential of public health maternal and child health as a career path. For more information, contact Holly Grason at hgrason@hrsa.gov.

MCH DATA CONNECT: A TIME-SAVING ONLINE RESOURCE

Need data? Not sure which data sources to use for an upcoming report or presentation? Let MCH Data Connect help!

 

MCH Data Connect is a comprehensive online catalog of maternal and child health databases, datasets, interactive tools and other data resources for public health professionals, researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and students. Visitors to the site can search by keyword, topic area or geographic unit for summaries of public datasets and link directly to more than 120 resources broadly associated with Maternal and Child Health. MCH Data Connect was developed with support of an MCHB training grant under the direction of Drs. Marie McCormick, Lindsay Rosenfeld and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia.

 

You can access the MCH Data Connect from:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-concentration/mch-data-connect/

MAJOR MEDICAL JOURNAL RETRACTS FLAWED STUDY LINKING MMR SHOTS TO AUTISM

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010, the Associated Press reported that the  medical journal The Lancet was retracting a well-known study linking the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) to autism and bowel disease. Originally scheduled for Wednesday, the retraction was published early after the competing British Medical Journal (BMJ) called for The Lancet to formally recant the publication. Ten of the original authors of the research renounced the conclusions of the study several years ago, but three others, including the principle investigator, have refused and may lose their right to practice medicine.

 

Since the controversial study appeared in 1998, according to the BMJ, “the arguments were considered by many to be proven and the ghastly social drama of the demon vaccine took on a life of its own.” Subsequent to the study, many British parents abandoned the vaccine, leading to a resurgence of measles, and vaccination rates in Great Britain have never recovered. Subsequent studies have found no proof that the vaccine is connected to autism.

 

For the full AP report, go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35197332/ns/health-mental_health/.

HAITI QUAKE PUTS 63,000 PREGNANT WOMEN AT RISK: March of Dimes Grant Will Help Provide Needed Resources

In a country that already had the highest maternal mortality rate in the northern hemisphere, an estimated 63,000 pregnant women were affected by the earthquake in Haiti. The New York based United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has spearheaded efforts to help minimize the risks faced by women giving birth or seeking prenatal care in the earthquake-ravaged region.  UNFPA is distributing delivery kits -- including clean cloths, sterile blades and plastic sheets -- to pregnant women to facilitate safe births in the absence of medical facilities. The agency also is distributing  “dignity kits,” which include sanitary napkins, moist towelettes, and fresh underwear for menstruating women. 

 

The earthquake was disastrous for the health care system in Haiti. Many hospitals and clinics in the capital were damaged or destroyed, and the ones still operating cannot handle the volume of those seeking treatment.  Some doctors have reported doing Caesarean sections and deliveries on park benches because no other facilities were available. Medical supplies remain scarce, despite substantial international relief efforts.

 

It is not known how many people in the Haitian Ministry of Health survived the earthquake, which will seriously impair future efforts to rebuild the public health system.  For example, when the earthquake hit, the Ministry of Women was meeting with 20 development partners who work with the UNFPA – tragically, almost all in the meeting were killed.

 

For more details, read the full report by Rebecca Harshbarger of Women’s E-news at http://www.womensenews.org or via this link: http://www.womensradio.com/articles/-Haiti-Quake-Puts-63,000-Pregnant-Women-at-Risk/4365.html.  

 

In related news, the March of Dimes has made a $100,000 grant to UNICEF to help thousands of pregnant women, mothers and babies in Haiti who are struggling in the aftermath of the earthquake. The March of Dimes funds will help Haitian women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and babies who are in serious need of proper nutrition and safe water, in addition to providing supplies such as diapers and clothing. Over the next few months, additional needs must be addressed for this group, including prenatal and newborn care for pregnant women and babies, specialized care and equipment for an expected rise in the number of babies born prematurely, and immunizations and other measures to prevent infectious diseases in mothers and babies.  For more information, go to http://www.marchofdimes.com/aboutus/49267_62824.asp.

ILCA ENCOURAGES BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT IN HAITI

In the aftermath of the powerful earthquake disaster in Haiti, the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) urges health care providers and rescue workers to include breastfeeding support as a vital part of disaster relief and humanitarian aid efforts. ILCA also discourages donations of infant formula since artificial feeding can increase illness and disease in an emergency. President Angela Smith said, “Breastfeeding provides a sanitary, safe, and consistently available food source, which is vitally important during and following a disaster. Human milk also contains important anti-infective properties that protect infants from malnutrition, diarrhea, and other diseases that commonly arise during an emergency such as this tragic situation in Haiti.”

 

According to the Emergency Nutrition Network, artificial baby milks were distributed to 72 percent of families with infants following the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. This predominantly breastfeeding region of the world experienced a dramatic decline in breastfeeding rates as a result and, according to Smith, the well-meaning donations of formula were linked to a tripling of the rate of diarrheal disease. Smith added that with breastfeeding, perfect nutrition for infants is always available no matter what the status of the environment. Mothers affected by a disaster can continue to make milk, even if they are stressed or malnourished. In fact, Smith says, breastfeeding lowers stress levels in both infants and mothers. In case of emergencies and natural disasters, ILCA has the following recommendations:

 

·         Encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding to give infants sanitary, safe nutrition, to help fight infection and disease, and to keep infants warm.

 

·          Feed the mother so she can feed her infant.

 

·         Provide a safe environment for breastfeeding or expressing milk, including providing a private area or a way to breastfeed discreetly, if the mother desires it.

 

·         Assist mothers who are separated from their infants with regular milk removal to maintain their milk production and avoid engorgement.

 

·         Provide donor human milk from a human milk bank if a mother is injured or unable to directly breastfeed.

 

These recommendations are consistent with directives from UNICEF and the World Health Organization. ILCA also encourages the general public to avoid donating infant formula and, instead, to donate funds to relief organizations for use in meeting highest priority needs. To learn more about breastfeeding in emergency situations, visit the ILCA Web site at www.ilca.org, contact the ILCA Office at info@ilca.org, or call us at at (919) 861-5577. Additional resources can also be found at: http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/FamilyCommunity/BreastfeedingPromotion/WorldBreastfeedingWeek2009

BREASTFEEDING AND BPA

In January, the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration is now willing to look into the health hazards of Bisphenol-A (BPA).1  Given that BPA is present in the lining of infant formula cans, the article tells us that the FDA recommends that nursing mothers continue breastfeeding for 12 months. But there’s a catch.  The same New York Times article failed to mention that BPA has also been found in breast milk itself, which researchers suspect arrives there via the countless food and beverage containers adults use every day that also contain BPA.2

 

The effects of BPA are potentially serious and long lasting, particularly for children whose developing bodies are most vulnerable. Numerous scientific studies have shown that exposures to low doses of BPA during prenatal development and early infancy are associated with genital abnormalities in male babies, early puberty in girls, metabolic disorders such as insulin-resistant (Type 2) diabetes and obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), breast cancer, and infertility in men.3

 

Until last week, the FDA had declared BPA safe. The New York Times article reported that the FDA is now reversing its position and expressing “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children” and will join other federal health agencies in studying the effects of the chemical in both animals and humans.  This leaves mothers in the United States in a classic Catch-22:  feeding breast milk to infants, universally recommended as the healthiest option, may also expose them to toxic BPA. 

 

Do you recall when fish was a safe and healthy choice for parents to feed their children?  Now, due to mercury contamination, health authorities have relegated fish to only two small servings per week.  When our kids become parents themselves, will the FDA recommend that mothers only give their infants two small servings of breast milk per week due to BPA contamination? 

 

Urge your Senator to co-sponsor the BPA Act, which would ban the chemical from all food and beverage containers, used by both children and adults, by signing the Momsrising.org petition at http://bit.ly/5fNmpm.   MomsRising is a million-member, multicultural organization which advocates for family health and economic security.  For more information, contact Mary Olivella, Vice-President and Public Health Policy Advisor, at www.momsrising.org.  

 

1. The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/16/health/16plastic.html

2, 3. The Breast Cancer Fund   http://www.breastcancerfund.org/atf/cf/{DE68F7B2-5F6A-4B57-9794-AFE5D27A3CFF}/BPAandBC_factsheet_120808.pdf

OBESITY A GROWING PROBLEM FOR BABIES

WBZ-TV in Boston reports that infant obesity has risen more than 70 percent since 1980.  Researchers believe a common household chemical may be to blame for infant obesity. 

 

"Research has shown since 2001 that being exposed to BPA during development changes your body weight," said Tufts University scientist Dr. Laura Vandenberg.

 

BPA, or Bisphenol-A, is found in hundreds of consumer products.

 

"Humans are most likely exposed to BPA through oral exposures," Vandeberg said. "BPA is used to line the inside of cans, and that's thought to be a major exposure in adults." 

 

WBZ-TV’s full report is available at http://wbztv.com/local/overweight.babies.obesity.2.1439102.html.

 

HEALTHY SEXUALITY AS PART OF POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

MCH Section member Michele Kelley recently published an article with UIC College of Education doctoral stude nt Katherine Romeo entitled Incorporating Human Sexuality into a Positive Youth Development Framework:  Implications for Community Prevention . The authors argue for a conceptualization of adolescent sexuality beyond libido and risk, toward a normative developmental asset that can be supported at the individual, relational, and collective levels of well-being, as defined by Prilleltensky and Prilleltensky.They call for a reframing of youth sexuality as part of a healthy identity, and promote a model of positive youth development that emphasizes self-awareness, empathy, sensitivity and responsibility for interactions with others. The article documents the need for supportive, pro-social programming across community contexts wherever youth interact, not just within schools.

 

1.  Romeo KE. and Kelley M.A. (2009). Incorporating Human Sexuality Content into a Positive Youth Development Framework: Implications for Community Prevention.  Children and Youth Services Review, 31:10001-1009.

 

2.  Prilleltensky, I., & Prilleltensky, O. (2007). Promoting well-being: Linking personal, organizational, and community change. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

MIRINE DYE LAUNCHES PREVENTION WORKS

Mirine Dye, an MCH Section member in the Florida Keys, received certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in October 2009. IBCLCs are health care professionals specializing in human lactation and breastfeeding management who work in a wide variety of health care settings, including hospitals, pediatric offices, public health clinics and private practice. Mirine, who has worked in both hospital and community-based settings, recently launched Prevention Works, a new non-profit health and safety organization in the Florida Keys. For more information, visit www.preventionworksmonroe.org.

PATIENT DEATHS IN HOSPITALS COST NEARLY $20 BILLION

One of every three people who died in 2007 in the United States was in the hospital for treatment at the time of death, according to a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  The cost of their hospital stays was about $20 billion.

The federal agency's analysis of 765,651 hospital patient deaths in 2007 found that the average cost of hospital stays in which patients died was $26,035, versus an average of $9,447 for patients who were discharged alive. The costs were higher for patients who died because their hospitals stays were longer than those of patients who lived (8.8 days vs. 4.5 days).

The study also found that:

  • Medicare patients accounted for 67 percent of in-hospital deaths and $12 billion in hospital costs, while privately insured patients accounted for 20 percent of deaths and $4 billion. Medicaid patients accounted for 2 percent of deaths and $2.4 billion, and uninsured patients, 3 percent and $630 million.
  • The average cost for each Medicaid patient who died was $38,939 — roughly $15,000 more than the average cost of a Medicare or uninsured patient who died, and about $10,000 more than a privately insured patient who died.
  • About 12 percent of patients who died had been admitted for an elective procedure or other non-urgent reason, and 72 percent were emergency admissions.  Roughly 7 percent of patients who died were admitted for accidents or intentional injury, and about 2 percent were newborn infants.
  • Septicemia, a life-threatening blood infection, was the major cause of death, accounting for 15 percent of all deaths, followed by respiratory failure (8 percent); stroke (6 percent); pneumonia (5 percent); heart attack (5 percent); and congestive heart failure (4 percent).  Other leading causes of death included cancer, aspiration pneumonia, and kidney failure.

These findings are based on data described in The Costs of End-of-Life Hospitalizations, 2007. The report uses statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals.  The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

OCCURENCE IN A NAIL SALON

Section Member Karel R. Amaranth offers this poignant reminder of why our work matters.

 

I didn’t really need a manicure and yet I knew I would need one by the end of the week when I had a date to go to the Whitney Museum. I had to stop in the town I used to live in, the town where I had lived when I was married, the town where my youngest daughter grew up and still lives with her father. Being in this town is now always a little surreal; it is home, but it is not. It is where I still do my banking and where I have my photos printed. It is a town where I sometimes uncomfortably run into ex-neighbors, now my ex’s neighbors, and where I sometimes happily re-connect with friends who live there.

 

I didn’t really need the manicure and yet the idea of my hands in hot paraffin and silky hand cream being massaged by a sweet Korean woman on a cold January night was appealing. I had spent most of the afternoon at my office at Montefiore Medical Center doing research for my thesis on global maternal mortality, specifically the impact of clean delivery kits to reduce deaths due to sepsis. I had a specific research task that day: learning about the off-label effects of misoprostol to prevent post partum hemorrhage.  I had met the day before with the director of an international program advocating third stage of labor treatment to address complications leading to death during childbirth. She told me that the paradigm of preventing maternal deaths had shifted from prevention programs, like the one I was researching, to programs that developed resources to provide emergency obstetric care. Her work and the strategies employed by her organization were quite opposed to prevention, viewing it as a distraction from the medical treatment needed to save lives. Although I was somewhat intimidated, I was grateful to her for her insights and her expertise with an approach very different from the preventive model that was not only the basis of my thesis but of most public health approaches. One strategy she said that would be a preventive model would be the distribution of misoprostol, which could be taken by the mother if there was uncontrolled bleeding after the birth. Perhaps birthing kits could be distributed that would include this inexpensive drug which could save lives. So there I was the next day trying to find out whatever I could about misoprostol.

 

Misoprostol as it turns out was not developed to be used in childbirth. It is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat ulcers, but off-label it is used to induce abortion, to induce labor, and to treat postpartum hemorrhage. It is less effective than oxytocin but very inexpensive so use in developing countries is more cost-effective.  However in randomized trials there have been more deaths with misoprostol than with control groups. 

 

My cuticles were being snipped in the nail salon when I noticed the mother of one of my daughter’s school friends. I couldn’t remember the girl’s name, although I could envision her on the soccer field as a 10-year-old.  I was informed by the mother, who was having her nails painted a lovely shade of pink, that Meredith (yes, now I remember) was in her last year of pharmacy school in Boston. We chatted and thankfully, there was no mention of my divorce.

 

We both migrated to the drying machines where our fingers were warmed and dried under the blowing air and the manicurists gave us mini-neck massages. I was happy that I had decided to get my nails done after all. It was cozy, it was female bonding, it was a little indulgent.

 

She asked me if I still worked at the hospital in the Bronx and I said yes. She had taken a teaching job for the family benefits, and I wondered if she had gotten divorced or if her husband had lost his job, but I didn’t ask.  Briefly her son and his girlfriend stopped by and said “hello” to her and left. I noticed the girlfriend’s boots, which I liked a lot.

 

She asked me again about my job and I told her I was finishing a thesis on maternal mortality. And then she told me that the mother of her son’s girlfriend, the girl with the boots I liked, had died last year in childbirth at the age of 43, not in Afghanistan, or Sierra Leone, or Rwanda, but in Maryland, in a hospital, surrounded by well-trained professionals. Her labor had been assessed as taking too long, but before they did a C-section they decided to try a drug that could induce labor. She convulsed and went into a coma and died; her heart was kept pumping for five days until the family requested that the machines be turned off. She had given birth before her death to a healthy baby boy who would never know his mother because she died from hyperpyrexia -- death by misoprostol. And a young girl would never again shop for boots or a prom dress or go to a nail salon with her mother or have her as a role model for her own motherhood. Maternal mortality any place in the world is a tragic loss to children, families, communities and to all of us. We lose more than 500,000 mothers a year. We need to assure that there are clean supplies, trained health workers, and appropriate labor management so that every delivery is a safe delivery, every child has a mother, and every mother has her life.

LEARNING MEDICINE THE CUBAN WAY

The California Bay Area has become a hub for new doctors who are taking advantage of a little-known program that provides medical training in Cuba. The Cuban experience gives these young people an excellent medical education and allows them to practice family medicine and help the poor without the burden of debt incurred by students at most American medical schools. 

 

Cuba started inviting medical students from the United States after members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Fidel Castro on a visit to the island in 2000. Caucus members told Castro about health professional shortage areas in the United States, and he responded with an offer to fund 500 medical students who showed aptitude and a commitment to work in under-served communities.  Since then, 34 have graduated, and more than 160 are currently enrolled. Many apply through the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization in New York City, a group seeking to increase the number of minority providers in medicine and to expand available health care services in under-served areas of the United States.

 

Cuba, where health care is a right, has health statistics and life expectancy comparable to those of industrialized nations, at a fraction of the cost of care in the United States. Too poor to rely on high-tech equipment or expensive invasive procedures, the Cuban model stresses prevention and the social determinants of health. 

 

Many students enter American medical schools wanting to practice family care but are discouraged by the second-class status of primary care, coupled with lower reimbursement rates for preventive medicine and diagnosis, and a system organized around insurance and payer source, not necessarily the long-term health of the patient. 

 

To read the full report by Julia Landau in the East Bay Express, go to http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/learning-medicine-the-cuban-way/Content?oid=1564592&showFullText+true

 

PREVENT BLINDNESS GETS MCHB GRANT FOR CHILDREN'S EYE CARE CENTER

Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has been awarded a multi-year grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), a bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prevent Blindness America will use the funds to establish the National Universal Vision Screening for Young Children Coordinating Center, which will promote and ensure a continuum of eye care for young children within the healthcare system.

The Center will focus on the following:

  • Providing national leadership in the development of the statewide vision screenings and eye health programs for all children prior to entering school;
  • Developing and implementing a plan to assist states in coordinating existing vision screening activities; and
  • Collaboration with the states of Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Ohio to develop and implement a statewide strategy for universal vision screening, data collection and creation of a standardized performance measure for vision screening.

Prevent Blindness America will also establish a National Expert Panel on Young Children’s Vision Screening as part of this groundbreaking grant award. The Panel will include representatives from the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, pediatrics and public health. This panel will serve as an expert advisory panel to the National Coordinating Center.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12.1 million school-age children have some form of a vision problem, yet only one in three children in America have received eye care services before the age of 6. The National Eye Institute reports that the most prevalent and significant vision disorders of preschool children are amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes) and significant refractive error.

“Our children are our most important asset, and we want to ensure that every child in America has been given the opportunity to succeed academically by being able to see clearly as they start school,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “Through this generous grant for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, we can create and implement programs that will help to place our children on a path to a lifetime of healthy vision.” 

For more information on children’s vision health and safety or what you can do to help advocate for children’s vision and eye health, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org.

UPR SHOWS COMMITMENT TO LATINO/HISPANIC MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH

Public health is about prevention, and there is no better place to start than maternal and child health. The University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus (UPR-MSC) is the only higher educational institution on the island accredited to offer this degree. While our program focuses on the Puerto Rican population, we include issues that affect all of Latin America, such as MCH issues in Haiti. Our program gives students the opportunity to help implement a health program that has been researched by faculty, helping the students develop strong research backgrounds through state of the art education.

 

Our program is proud to announce that during the upcoming health research congress to be celebrated at UPR-MSC on March 15, 2010, the program will include nine presentations by currently enrolled students. Experiences like this develop a robust research mind and respect for the development of health programs. Presentation themes for this year’s Congress are as diverse as “Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health” and “Food Hygiene Counseling for Pregnant Women.”  In addition, the UPR-MCH program would like to invite you all to visit our Web page at http://www.rcm.upr.edu/mch/. 

 

Give yourself an opportunity to become part of our program.  We are currently accepting students for the academic year starting in August 2010. If you are interested in being part of this exciting new group of Latino/Hispanic health practitioners, you will have a place among us. 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND GENDER GROUP MEETS IN JUNE

The International Women’s and Children’s Health and Gender Group (InWomen) is a multidisciplinary forum that addresses all aspects of the consequences of substance use. 

 

InWomen is holding its third meeting Friday, June 11, 2010 from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Fairmont Scottsdale Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.  This meeting is held in conjunction with the NIDA International Forum and the 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.  This conference will bring together expert researchers and clinical providers passionate and committed to improving the lives of women and children.  Topics for discussion include women-centered treatment; sex and drug trafficking; pregnancy and post-partum; violence; health disparities and HIV; and co-occurring disorders.  For more information, contact Wendee Wechsberg at wmw@rti.org. 

 

If you would like to join the InWomen virtual network, please go to http://nivc.perpich.com to register online. Membership is free. When filling out the registration form, select the International Women's and Children's Health and Gender Group from the group list. Your registration will be activated within 24-48 hours, and you automatically will be added to a discussion list.

OFFICE ON WOMEN'S HEALTH OFFERS CALENDAR, BOOK

The 2010 Women’s Health Calendar is available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. This FREE calendar, now available in both English and Spanish, offers information about common health problems and important symptoms to watch out for. You will also find charts that describe the screenings and immunizations you need, tips on how to get a second opinion and how to read a drug label, and more — all in a handy, portable calendar you can keep with you year round. Use our easy online form for single orders at:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/pub/calendar/index.cfm .  For bulk orders of our Spanish calendar, call us at (800) 994-9662.

 

The Office on Women’s Health also has a new book available. The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for All Ages is available to order online and in bookstores nationwide. From the nation's leaders in women's health, the Guide covers a broad range of health topics affecting women of all ages.  Order your copy today at http://www.womenshealth.gov/The-Healthy-Woman/.

NEW BOOK ON WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN YEMEN

An arid and mountainous country in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is mostly rural, with over half the population younger than 15. One of the poorest Arab countries, Yemen’s birth and population growth rates – and infant mortality rates – are also among the world’s highest.  Although the government recognizes population growth as a major challenge to development, little progress has been made in implementing population policy, and societal consensus remains elusive. Thus, the structural context of reproduction in Yemen exposes women to many risks.  Women’s Reproductive Health in Yemen is a compilation of the authors’ studies and finds that higher economic levels and improved social conditions for women do help bring about real improvements in reproductive health.  It is an important book for scholars of demography and population health.

 

Author and MCH Section member T.S. Sunil is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Co-author Vijayan Pillai is a professor of social work at the University of Texas.  For more information or to order the book, go to www.cambriapress.com.   

MCHB PROVIDES RESOURCES FOR NEW STAFF ORIENTATION

Got new staff?  This new resource just might be for you!  The federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) Division of Research, Education, and Training has compiled a one-page summary sheet of materials useful for familiarizing colleagues or students with Title V.  Quick Access Orientation Resources for New Title V Staff is available at:

 

http://www.amchp.org/MCH-Topics/O-Z/WorkforceDevelopment/Documents/Title%20V%20Orientation%20doc.pdf

 

The list of resources includes the following:

 

·         MCH Timeline: History, Legacy and Resources for Education and Practice:  This site traces the history of maternal and child health in the United States.

 

·         MCHB History, Vision, Mission, Strategic Plan, and MCHB Partnership of Investment:  This 50-minute video presents an overview of Title V philosophy, legislation, operations, and history by former Section Chair Dr. Peter van Dyck, associate administrator for Maternal and Child Health, HRSA. 

·         Leading State Maternal and Child Health: A Guide for Senior Managers:  This manual outlines oversight and management responsibilities for Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants. 

 

·         MCH Leadership Competencies:  This site defines MCH leadership competencies in 12 areas and provides information about educational experiences, additional reading and assessment tools for each competency area.

 

·         Maternal and Child Health Leadership Skills Development Series:  This open-access Web series includes six modules on leadership concepts, allowing you to conduct your own training sessions, within your own time frames and in your own settings. 

 

 

JOB ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ASSISTANT OR ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

The Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, seeks a full-time Assistant or Associate Professor for a teaching position focusing on maternal and child health. The Division has a regionally recognized MCH Program (http://www.epi.umn.edu/mch) with 22 faculty members and 85+ students.  Responsibilities include:  1) teaching online and conventional MCH graduate courses; 2) developing written materials for continuing education; 3) advising graduate students; and 4) proposing community-focused research.  Specific requirements are: 1) doctoral degree in MCH or a related field; 2) experience in graduate online and conventional course curriculum development and teaching; 3) experience developing outreach materials for MCH professionals; 4) relevant publication record in peer-reviewed journals; and 5) ability to develop and conduct research studies.

 

For a detailed job description go to:

http://employment.umn.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=85037.  Please reference job requisition #164613.  The position will be available in summer 2010, and the search will remain open until the position is filled.