Archive for July, 2013

Tulane MCHLT Scholar Program – now accepting applications (Deadline: August 19)

The Tulane Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training program is now accepting applications for new Scholars!

Funded by the HRSA Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Bureau, the Tulane MCHLT Program seeks to improve the health of women, infants, children, youth and their families through development of the MCH workforce. We provide opportunities for training and experience for students at the School of Public Health, as well as current public health practitioners.  Our programs, guided by the twelve MCH leadership competencies,  also impact other members of the New Orleans community.

The MCHLT Scholar Program provides mentored self-development activities to help students become leaders in the field of maternal and child health. This three-semester program includes:

  • Coursework
  • Service outreach
  • Self-reflection
  • Readings and discussion
  • 5-year development plan
  • Mentoring meetings

Eligibility Requirements

  • First semester MPH student (entering Fall 2013)
  • US Citizen or permanent resident
  • Enrolled in the GCHB department
  • Concentrating in MCH

For the incoming cohort, Scholars will be expected to carry out the following…

First semester: enroll in and successfully complete GCHB 6140 (with tuition for this course covered by the MCHLT), participate in service outreach, participate in additional personal development activities and meetings

Second semester: Develop a service outreach project, participate in additional personal development activities and meetings (small stipend provided)

Third semester: Develop a sustainability plan for your outreach project, participate in additional personal development activities and meetings (small stipend provided)

To apply, submit:

  • an updated resume or CV
  • a cover letter detailing interests in the field of maternal and child health and commitment to and interest in the Scholar program

Applications should be submitted by email to Shokufeh Ramirez (, by 5:00 pm on Monday, August 19, 2013. All applicants are also expected to meet with program staff: a sign-up sheet will be available for individual interviews during orientation (August 21 – 22). Decisions will be made by August 26, so that can Scholars can enroll in GCHB 6140 in time to start the course on August 29.


July 30, 2013 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

KidsWalk Coalition Breakfast Roundtable

Active and Ready to Learn: Transportation’s Role in Creating Healthy and Academic Ready Students

Tulane University’s Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives and KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center are proud to co-sponsor a free breakfast roundtable discussion about the role transportation plays in the health and academic readiness of New Orleans’ school age children.

Please join us for breakfast and to contribute to an important conversation about creating social change through transportation for better health and academic readiness outcomes for our city’s youth.

*Space is limited. Free breakfast will be served. RSVP required by Noon Monday, July 29, 2013 via eventbrite or phone at 504-658-8045.

When: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Where: Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, 2035 Washington Avenue, Suite 105, New Orleans, LA 70125


  • Kathryn Parker, MPH, Ph.D., Director, KidsWalk Coalition at the Tulane Prevention Research Center
  • Debra Vaughan, Director of Research, Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives
  • Shalanda Cole, MBA, Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
  • Mark Jernigan, P.E., PMP, LTC. (Ret.), Director, Department of Public Works, City of New Orleans
  • Cyndi Nguyen, Executive Director, Vietnamese Initiatives for Economic Training
  • Sophia Griffies, Development Specialist, Audubon Charter School

RVSP via Eventbrite:

Special thanks to Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation for the use of its space.

This event is possible through generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living by Design Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program.

July 23, 2013 at 10:31 am Leave a comment

“To make an end is to make a beginning…”

Reflections on the Global Health & Innovation Conference
By Liz Suh, MPH

Though sad to have missed the French Quarter Fest and the balmy, music-filled April evenings that can only be found in New Orleans, I packed my bags and headed to New Haven, CT to attend the 10th Annual Global Health & Innovation Conference (GHIC) at Yale University (April 13-14, 2013). The conference was hosted by Unite for Sight, a global non-profit aimed at eliminating preventable blindness, and this was my first time attending GHIC.

This year’s event welcomed over 300 speakers, including keynote speakers, Tina Rosenberg, a New York Times journalist, and Jeffery Sachs, director of Earth Institute at Columbia University. More than 2,200 participants from over 50 countries attended the conference this year to exchange ideas and best practices in order to improve public health and international development. In addition to traditional poster and oral sessions, GHIC also offered 14 “pitch sessions,” where non-profit startups shared their innovative ideas and projects with the opportunity for feedback, questions, and networking. There were eleven such sessions on Saturday, and three on Sunday.

Given my current area of study in Maternal Child Health in the Global Community Health & Behavioral Sciences Department at Tulane SPHTM, my interests lie in women’s reproductive health and the social determinants of health. I attended three pitch sessions, all related to women’s health, children’s health, and community-based projects.  These “pitch sessions” were certainly the highlight of the conference. My favorite pitch was presented by Danielle Grace Warren, Founder and Executive Director of One Village Planet and JustShea. In just 2 years, her One Village Planet created a women’s shea collective in one village in Ghana to safely and sustainably harvest shea nuts. Snake bite morbidity is the greatest barrier for shea farmers, as it limits the quality, quantity and negotiating power of their harvest. One Village Planet provides women farmers with protective clothing, shea nut storage silos and microfinance loans. These components allow the women to send their children to school, to feed their families and to negotiate for greater gender rights. In the near future, JustShea will release a sustainable, fair-trade shea beauty product line that rakes in greater profit and female empowerment for these Ghanaian shea farmers. The collective aims to expand their membership, replicate their model in neighboring regions, and create their JustShea line in the near future.

I would also like to mention two notable presenters, whose progress I will be tracking over the next few years. The first is Dr. Laura Stachel, co-founder of WE CARE Solar. Dr. Stachel is an OB/GYN, and her husband is a solar energy specialist. Together, they created a way to bring light to clinics in resource-scarce settings through solar suitcases. These suitcases are currently used in delivery rooms and infectious disease wards in over 20 countries, and have saved over 20,000 lives.

The next is Dr. Sara Berkelhamer, neonatologist at Northwestern University, who presented on Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), a toolkit aimed at training traditional birth attendants and midwives to provide neonatal resuscitation in a low-literacy, low-resource setting. Already two papers have been published on the notable efficacy of HBB, including a site in Tanzania, whose results can be found in the past issue of Pediatrics (Msemo, 2013 So far 80,000 healthcare providers worldwide have been trained. HBB addresses the challenge of unacceptably high neonatal mortality rates in low and middle income countries, and is being used by many countries to meet the Millennium Development Goal #4 of reducing “under 5” mortality rate by two-thirds by 2013 (MDG4).

I return to New Orleans empowered and encouraged by witnessing the cadre of young, intelligent public health innovators whose fresh ideas are aggressively aimed at solving one puzzle piece of global health problem one [INSERT IDEA HERE] at a time. One student this weekend ended his PowerPoint presentation with a Bill Gates quote, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” Leaving New Haven, I realize that this statement is highly likely in the field of global health and development. Being around leaders in my field inspires me to devote myself to evidence-based, culturally competent public health research in women’s health.

I am also deeply grateful for the quality education that I am receiving at Tulane University. After two years of training as a public health graduate student, I feel confident in examining epidemiological data with a critical eye, assessing the health burden of public health problems through a socioecological model, evaluating the limitations and biases of proposed project, and providing feedback on a presenter’s evaluation plans. Silly as it sounds, I can ask intelligent, productive questions in a roomful of 200 peers and future employers at a conference. One less thing that I have to worry about!

As after any conference, I feel refreshed and inspired to continue in my current research in women’s health; I, too, want to contribute to the evidence base of public health and social science research. I am reminded of a quote by T.S. Eliot, one of my favorite poets, “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end of where we start from.”As I am nearing the end of my MPH program, I am constantly wondering where my degree will take me five or ten years down the line. Though that is yet uncertain, I am returning from this conference humbled and inspired. Students and young professionals are tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems with the pluck and fearlessness of seasoned professionals. I consider my education at Tulane and conference opportunities such as these as launching pads for future research and career opportunities, both in public health and medicine, starting here in New Orleans.

Liz Suh completed her MPH, with a concentration in MCH, in May 2013. She is starting medical school this fall.

July 16, 2013 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Conquer the world with new underwear

By Anoop Jain, MPH

I am about to give you a set of instructions. I need you to follow them very carefully.

Go immediately to your bathroom. Dismantle your toilet. Every last bit of it. You can donate the spare porcelain to NASA for all I care. Maybe they can use it to build a space ship that will take us to Mars.

Finished? Good. Now, defecate. Into a bag. If you have a few extra pennies lying around, I’ll grant you permission to purchase a small bucket that you can place the bag into, just so that you don’t have to balance squatting with holding a bag under your bottom. But do remember, the bucket is a luxury.

OK. Now take the bag and walk with it down the street. I promise someone will be waiting there for you. They are going pay you $.10 for your troubles. Sound good? Good!

There is no iteration of this universe that exists in which you do not have a toilet. That is a fact. And there really doesn’t need to be. Because there are already plenty of people (over 1 billion, in fact) that don’t. These people are forced to defecate outside. This causes the spread of diseases such as diarrhea. Diarrhea kills over 2 million children under 5 annually, more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB combined. In India alone, this disease causes lost productivity, amounting to almost $10 billion in economic losses. This is a tremendous burden, especially in some parts of India where the average yearly income is less than $400. And finally, in rural India, where 5 out of 6 schools do not have a bathroom for girls, girls drop out because when they reach puberty, they have no place to change their sanitary pads.

So why the bag? What does that have to do with anything? Well, what if I told you that in the slums of Nairobi, biodegradable bags are sold to residents who live without toilets. They are expected to defecate in the bags, and return them to centralized collection points. Now the same individuals responsible for this “innovation” are being heralded as saviors.

I don’t ascribe any value to the notion that something is better than nothing. Especially when it comes to attempts at restoring people’s dignity. What I do appreciate, however, is acknowledgement that people’s needs ought to be fundamentally met, in the same way we (benefactors) would expect them to be, if we were in the similar situation as them (beneficiaries). This requires patience and understanding. It also means sacrificing the applause that is so commonly given these days, for inventing the next best thing.

The issue of inadequate sanitation persists as one of the world’s greatest development challenges. Yet, rather than finding ways to urge local governments and leaders to install toilets (because guess what, they work!), or at least looking for ways in which they can be implemented, we are looking for quick solutions that are nothing more than gimmicks. Our beneficiaries should not be our lab rats for our mad scientist tendencies. Those who are defecating outside today, need our help now. Not a week from now, after the patents have been filed and after the awards for world’s greatest innovator have been handed out. Let us be driven by an urgency to work with communities, politicians, and funders, to affect change that we would feel comfortable having our children use. Anything less than that would be an injustice.

Anoop Jain completed his MPH, with a concentration in MCH, in May 2013. He is now working in Bihar, India, with his organization Humanure Power, through a Fellowship from Echoing Green.

July 9, 2013 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Practicum: Surveying and Evaluating Louisiana Sex Education Policy and Advocacy

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of Louisiana is seeking a Health Education & Communication or Maternal & Child Health master’s degree candidate for a local, fall semester practicum in surveying and evaluating the policy and advocacy of sex education programming.

All practicum activities have the potential to influence statewide sex education legislation by aiding the real-time work of the Louisiana House Committee Resolution (HCR) 90 Task Force, which aims “to study and evaluate the effectiveness of sexual health education programs used throughout the state and other states.”

Practicum activities include, but are not limited to:

1.      Literature review and policy research, sufficient to give rise to a full public health analysis (PHA).

2.      Survey design, evaluation, and implementation.

3.      Developing policy briefs and summative recommendations for the HCR 90 Task Force.

4.      Collaborative work with representatives from two local public health partners of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of Louisiana.

5.      Developing an innovative summary tool combining incidence rate, needs assessment, and existent education programming data.

Completed coursework related to survey methodology, data analysis, and policy & advocacy is highly preferred. Applicants must be able to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week during traditional working hours during the fall semester. To apply, please send CV, cover letter, and contact information to Norine Schmidt

Application Deadline: AUGUST 15, 2013 4:00PM

July 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment

Let the toilet revolution begin

Recent alumnus Anoop Jain is leading The Humanure Power Project, which seeks to convert toilet waste into power in India.

Recent alumnus Anoop Jain is leading The Humanure Power Project, which seeks to convert toilet waste into power in India.

The Humanure Power Project was launched by Anoop Jain, an MCHLT Scholar, during his first year at SPHTM and aims to provide sanitation  and electricity to rural India by building community toilets that harness methane gas from human waste to produce electricity for the community via 12-volt batteries. more>>

Visit Tulane SPHTM Global Health News to read this and other stories.

July 2, 2013 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

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