Archive for May, 2016

Join us for a webinar: “Political Power, Policy, and Health Equity”

Please join the Tulane Prevention Research Center and Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health for a group viewing of the 22nd National Health Equity Research Webcast…

“Political Power, Policy, and Health Equity”
Tuesday, June 7, 2016; 12:30-3pm CDT / 1:30-4:00pm EDT
Room 1831A, 18th floor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans LA 70112

Presenter panel:

  • Mildred Thompson, Senior Director, PolicyLink, and Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place
  • Malia Villegas, Director, National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center
  • Lydia Camarillo, Vice-President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP)
  • Thomas Ross, President Emeritus, The University of North Carolina, Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC; Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow, Duke Sanford School of Public Policy (Moderator)

This free, interactive session will be broadcast with a live audience in the Tate-Turner-Kuralt auditorium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Social Work and can be viewed over the internet (webcast). Please register (free) to attend in person or view online.

For more information on the speakers, ways to participate, sponsor, or register:

 For questions and information about the Tulane group viewing of this webcast, contact Naomi at or 504-988-7410.


May 19, 2016 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Youth, Technology, and Health in the Tech Hub of San Francisco

By Alissa Bilfield, MSc

Technology is omnipresent in all of our lives – in fact, aside from the precious hours we spend sleeping, there is barely a time when we are separated from one of our favorite screens (smartphone, computer, ipad, etc.). This is why like-minded public health professionals have been innovatively integrating technology-based components into cutting edge health interventions. I had the opportunity to be surrounded by a very inspirational group working at the forefront of this trend at the Youth, Health, and Technology Conference in San Francisco, April 24-26th, 2016. In addition to having the opportunity to present about using an online training platform to certify and empower a network of food literacy educators around the world through my work as co-founder of The Cookbook Project, I was able to learn about other effective approaches using mobile apps and 1- and 2-way text-messaging.

One of the sessions that was particularly interesting was a session on text-messaging interventions. The panel was diverse, representing initiatives happening in south San Francisco, rural Ethiopia, and across a network of geographically diverse Native American communities. What I appreciated most about the panel format of the session was that it allowed for dynamic interaction between the panel members, as they presented, reflected, and fielded questions from the audience and each other. This session, like many others, was focused on sharing best-practices, and provided plenty of opportunity for audience interaction. I brought away many important insights into translating these approaches into my public health area of interest, which includes community nutrition and food systems.

Alissa Bilfield is a second year PhD student at Tulane concentrating on Nutrition. She is currently preparing for her comprehensive exams, and plans to graduate in 2017/18. She is interested in food choice behavior, food culture, food policy, and sustainable agriculture. She loves cooking from scratch, practicing yoga daily, rock climbing, and hiking.

May 18, 2016 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

I Found the Silver Lining

by Lauren Biagioli, BS

I attended the American Association of Medical Colleges Health Workforce Research Conference in Chicago on May 5-6. The conference’s focus was on issues surrounding the workforce mainly geared towards physicians. My biggest hope going into this conference was being able to see how medical professionals think so that maybe I could brainstorm some solutions to bridging the gap between public health and medicine. It wasn’t until the second day at the plenary session, Patient’s View of the Health Workforce: Who Speaks for Them?, that I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Lisa de Saxe Zerden talk about the LGTBQ community. Her focus was in oncology so she spoke to her knowledge base. She was the first presenter that I encountered that stood up in defense of an underserved community and basically told the audience to stop stigmatizing the LGTBQ community and to treat their needs. She was not shy to point out the errors that physicians are making in their care. In a relatively conservative environment she pushed the envelope and gave me the glimmer of hope that I was looking for. Sadly, I think there are few Dr. Lisa de Saxe Zerdens in the field of medicine at this time. The finding leads me to believe that the bridging of the gap is going to be incremental. In most of the presentations there was discussion of research findings but a lack of how prevention efforts might address the issues. If we could bridge the gap here and work together I think we could do much more for our country’s health and provide less of a burden on our health system, especially in the rural populations, which was a population emphasized during this conference.

Regardless of how I might have felt during the conference, I believe that I have a better understanding of some topics. Although I might not have been able to brainstorm a solution to bridging the gap, I was at least exposed to why the gap exists, which is giving me better insight to how this problem perpetuates and how steps can be made to improve the system we have in place. I feel confident that more Dr. Lisa de Saxe Zerdens will enter the field of medicine and will be instrumental in bridging the gap to public health.

Lauren Biagioli is a first-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her interests include child abuse, child marriage, human trafficking, immigrant equity, and highly vulnerable children. She also loves nutrition, exercising, and being with her friends.

May 16, 2016 at 9:04 am Leave a comment


One of our MCH trainees participated in this year’s Making Lifelong Connections meeting, held in April.

By Miranda Pollock, BS

IMG_3994The Making Lifelong Connections conference is a gathering of various people who are grantees of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau Leadership Training programs. This year, it took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The grantees include Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP), Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH), Nutrition, Leadership and Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND), Pediatric Pulmonary Centers (PPC), and Schools of Public Health. As a Tulane School of Public Health student, and as a Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEMCH) scholar, it was great to meet people and have exposure to organizations that are also under the broad umbrella of MCH, that I may not have otherwise interacted with. We often cringe in public health at the idea of operating in “silos,” and this was a chance for me to break through the university setting and interact with people from a more diverse MCH background.

I had the wonderful opportunity to view posters and hear presentations on topics such as diversity trainings, maternal morbidity, and providing care for folks who are differently-abled. Overall, the conference was mostly about leadership and networking in the field of public health. In small groups, we discussed the importance of social media in our work, self-care, leadership vs. management, and cultural humility. Additionally, we all exchanged information with each other via LinkedIn. This has helped to significantly widen my network.

I did, however, notice some missing parts of the conference. I always find it shocking whenever anything tied to MCH fails to recognize the linkage between environmentalism, feminism, and compassion. This omission was so exemplified by the serving of meat, dairy, and other animal products. After attending another conference this year where almost all the food was vegan, the abundance of bacon and butter made me shudder! I recommend all public health workers (and all people in general) read the books “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” by Carol Adams and “Staying Alive,” by Vandana Shiva if they are unclear about my shock and frustration. Additionally, there was much talk about the importance of diversity, but the paradox was that there was almost no talk about supporting gender and sexual minorities like queer and trans communities. It has been my observation that we tend to overlook such connections in public health; I long for MCH to find solidarity with all those oppressed.

IMG_4024However, I must acknowledge that I am an idealist who may never feel satisfied if I am always longing for solidarity across all peoples and species. In a more positive light, the MLC conference allowed for many life course connections to be made. For example, I was able to personally connect and share ideas with people in adolescent health and other schools of public health who share common goals as I around a future vision of comprehensive sexuality education and a world free of institutionalized racism. Within this conference where I found some parts outdated, I also found fellow peers who felt similarly. Through this, I found my own connections and satisfaction, and have decided that there is hope for the future of MCH and all those we wish to serve and liberate.

Miranda Pollock is finishing her first year as an MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. Her background is in human biology and environmental microbiology. She plans to graduate in May 2017. Her interests include teen pregnancy prevention, STI prevention, and community collaboration. She also loves the arts, cycling, yoga, and meeting new people.

May 12, 2016 at 8:17 am Leave a comment

CEMCH Webinar with APHA on 5/24

UPDATE: Click here for this webinar’s recording, slides, and additional materials

“Health Equity Research and Practice: Using a Community-Centered View of Influences on Eating, Activity, and Body Weight”


Date: May 24, 12-1 PM CDT / 1-2 PM EDT

Presenter Name: Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH

Presenter Title: Research Professor, Department of Community Health and Prevention, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University

UPDATE: Click here for this webinar’s recording, slides, and additional materials

There will be a group viewing of the webinar at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans LA 70112. The viewing will be in the Usdin Family Conference, 18th Floor, Room 1831A. (For information about the group viewing, contact Naomi at or 504-9887410.)

Sponsored by the Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, Tulane Prevention Research Center, and the American Public Health Association.

About the Webinar:
Learn how to identify and describe the various community-level factors that not only influence eating, activity and body weight, but also what resources are available to address these influences. And learn how to translate community-centered influences into sustainable obesity prevention and treatment strategies. Discover examples that integrate community priorities and values into efforts to promote healthy weight.

The webinar draws from A Community-Centered View of Influences on Eating, Activity, and Body Weight, a framework that can be used to facilitate discussions among community members, academically based researchers and their community research partners. Developed by the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), the framework can be used in both research and practice.

The underlying concept: approaches to obesity intervention are better framed in ‘people-oriented’ terms rather than from a narrow, problem-oriented perspective. The framework prompts answers to such questions as:

– How do eating, physical activity and weight reflect the opportunities, constraints, and issues in people’s everyday lives?

– What aspects of people’s everyday lives and circumstances must be considered in order to develop appropriate, effective, and sustainable intervention approaches?

– How can interventions on obesity support high quality of life and community priorities that are broader than food, activity, or weight?

About the Presenter: 

Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH is founder and chair of the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN) and a research professor at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health in the Department of Community Health and Prevention. She is also Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine following a 15-year tenure on the faculty. Dr. Kumanyika is immediate past president of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and has been principal investigator or co-investigator on randomized multi-center and single-center clinical trials related to diet, obesity, weight control, and cardiovascular disease. Her research has focused on the development and evaluation of culturally appropriate lifestyle interventions for African Americans and the influences of food and beverage marketing on African Americans’ food purchases and consumption.

UPDATE: Click here for this webinar’s recording, slides, and additional materials

May 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

An example of m-health: Text4baby

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) in April, in Washington, D.C. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Leah Taub, BA

One of my main areas of interest in public health is innovation for behavior change, an example of which is mobile health, or m-health. As such, I was pleased to hear that Zero To Three and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Office of Creative Media and Design would be presenting at AMCHP on Text4baby, a mobile-based system that provides information about newborn care via text messages to new mothers.

The session, entitled, “Leveraging Technology for Outreach: How to Integrate Mobile Based Health Education in Maternal and Child Health,” stood out to me because it addressed an innovative approach to health education and communication that I often fail to see in public health. Not only is Text4baby innovative because it takes advantage of the popularity of information and communication technology, but also because it is a public-private initiative, encouraging collaboration across local, state and federal levels as well as across government and private industries. For instance, in some states, like South Carolina, state health departments partner with mass media organizations to broadcast messages about the app. Another example is Text4baby’s partnership with Too Small to Fail and Sesame Street. This integration with mass media allows the service to reach and hopefully impact a larger number of moms.

Text4baby is also unique because it is a free service, making it more accessible to women of lower socioeconomic status.  In addition, HRSA conducted a randomized control trial on the service, which resulted in a substantial impact on the knowledge and behavior of moms receiving text messages from the app.

Overall, I am drawn to Text4baby’s emphasis on impact and innovation, two areas in which I am very interested and hope to be a part of after graduating in May.

Leah Taub is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health, and a former broadcast media professional. She plans to graduate in May 2016. Her interests include social and behavior change communication, monitoring and evaluation, and maternal, sexual and reproductive health. She also loves yoga, running, cooking, and live music.

May 6, 2016 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Finding Inspiration in Hidden Treasures

Several of our MPH students attended the annual meeting of the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) in April, in Washington, D.C. What follows is a post from one of these attendees.

By Sylvia Adjei, BA

Attending a public health centered conference felt like one of the milestones that every public health student has to experience before graduating and venturing out into the real world. With this notion, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the AMCHP conference. As a first time attendee of a conference focused on the field of public health, I did not know what to expect. Were the attendees going to be public health gurus too high up to even engage with the emerging young public health professionals like myself? Would the topics discussed in the sessions be too complex for my mind to comprehend, yet the fear of not wanting to sound unaware prevent me from asking clarifying questions? These and so much more were the questions that I replayed constantly until my first day at AMCHP.

During my first session, “Building a Multisector Approach to Reducing Infant Mortality,” the uneasiness that I felt prior to the conference began to fade away. I realized, each person in the room, as learned as they are, still thirst for new knowledge and information to take back to their states and cities to shape their public health practices. I learned from the session presenters that in building multisector partnership, we have to do three things: 1. Determine the priority issues, which results from having honest conversations with communities; 2. Get the right partners – the best approach is to use the life course perspective; 3. Determine how to turn it into action – either build off toolkits developed by other sectors or use design thinking to come up with innovative approaches.

This session fine-tuned some ideas that I already held regarding multisector partnerships, but it also imparted unto me some new information. Perhaps, the gem that I came across at this session and the entirety of the conference was learning about Oakland, California’s Maternal Paternal Child and Adolescent Health (MPCAH) Program. Judging by the heads that turned and the hands raised in the room, it was no secret that Oakland’s MPCAH was the first and only one in the nation. Oakland’s MPCAH program addressed a question that I have asked myself several times after choosing to concentrate in MCH. The question being, “If fathers’ involvement is important in addressing maternal and child health issues, why then have we systematically excluded fathers from initiatives addressing maternal, child and adolescent health?” Learning about the MPCAH program made me wonder how bright the future of MCH would be once we begin to shift towards the inclusion of fathers.

Sylvia Adjei is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student with a concentration in Global Maternal and Child Health, and is expected to graduate May 2016. Her interests include health equity, improving minority birth outcomes, and evaluating the impact of public health programs. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and immersing herself in new cultures, going for a walk, drinking tea, and catching up on her favorite comedy shows.

May 4, 2016 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

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