Category: Alumni

CDC’s Millennial Health Summit to End Health Disparities

Kera (CoE in MCH Student) with others at the summitAs a public health nerd, who follows the Center for Disease Control and Prevention with as much love and fervor as National Football League fans, I was excited to notice a flyer posted on campus about a free conference at the CDC. The Millennial Health Leaders Summit is a two day intensive training for graduate and medical students to network, learn, and explore case studies about addressing health disparities. My heart dropped when I read that only two representatives would be chosen to attend. “What are the odds that a first year master’s student would be selected?” I thought disparagingly. The application was simple: in 300 words or less answer “What will be the most important public health issue confronting communities that experience health disparities in 2025? What will you be doing in 2025 to address and reduce these disparities?” I wrote my essay in a caffeinated stream of conscience. My deep-seated anger at the smear campaign on Planned Parenthood and the ongoing war in America to limit women’s access to reproductive healthcare finally had an outlet. The essay I constructed is without a doubt my personal manifesto.

One month later I forwarded an email with the subject line of “Congratulations on your acceptance to the Millennial Health Summit” to my adviser with my own addition on the top in all capitals that simply stated, “I GOT IT” followed with six exclamation marks.

I attended the Millennial Health Summit just three months later. I met several Maternal and Child Health majors from across the country. We compared classes, professors, and how our programs were set up. It was a fantastic networking opportunity with the students and presenters from around the country. I learned so much from this conference but here are my top three takeaways from the Summit:

  • Cross Collaboration is key. There was an urban planner who pointed out all of the ways that the poor planning of our cities creates obesity. One cannot fight obesity with just education. We have to work with urban planners, architects, and the department of transportation to create environmental change. He also pointed out if you can partner with the department of transportation to create more bike lanes or parks you have made your city healthier without even touching your public health budget!
  • Advocacy requires both qualitative and quantitative data. Paula “Tran” Inzeo from Family Living Programs, a health promotion specialist from Wisconsin conducted a breakout session, stating “you can have the data, but it is real people’s stories and voices that have the power to move mountains. The example was in their advocacy work to open alternative court systems in Wisconsin. They had all the facts and figures detailing how mass incarceration was a problem in Wisconsin; however, it was the voice of a veteran who had been helped directly by a substance abuse court that helped him get his life back on track with alternative sentencing of mandatory substance abuse treatment and community service rather than jail time.
  • I learned so much through the process of getting there. This is my biggest word of advice to master’s students- apply and try. Just try. I really did not think that I would be selected and even if I had not my 300 word essay is by far the piece of writing from my graduate career. I submitted it as my sample writing for several job applications that I was subsequently offered. More importantly it provided me with an opportunity to think beyond graduate school. It made me stop and think about what issue is most important to me, what aspect of that work do I want to be doing, and what position do I want to host in ten years. Once you think deeply about your priorities you can be selective with your time and energy. You can draft a plan of attack on how to get to your dream job. I highly recommend anyone of any profession to do this writing exercise for their professional development.

Written by Kera Beskin, MPH Candidate 2017 


Life After Graduation as a Presidential Management Fellow

Bree Medvedev , CoE Alumna As a student in the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Concentration at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), like many others, I frequently wondered about my career after graduate school. I knew that I wanted my professional life to reflect my desire to give back to a society that had given me so much, but I was unsure of which path to take.

Late last summer, I stumbled upon the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) Program. The PMF Program is a highly selective leadership program designed to recruit outstanding recent advanced degree graduates for a two-year developmental fellowship with the federal government. As a Fellow, you engage in challenging work assignments, receive excellent training and professional development opportunities, and learn the ins and outs of national programs and initiatives that are crucial to the well-being of our country. I knew immediately that this was the opportunity I had been looking for that would allow me to merge my desire to be a public servant with my graduate education in public health!

After enduring an application and interview process that spanned several months, I was thrilled to see my name on the Finalist list in March for the PMF Class of 2015. I would now be able to apply for PMF-specific positions across the country in every department and agency of the government.

I already knew that I wanted work at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and began to apply for several positions. In June, I was offered a job in Washington, DC under the Office of the Secretary as a Program Analyst in the Office of Budget.

Everyday at HHS is different then the one before and I am able to use the critical thinking, policy analysis, and advocacy skills I gained throughout my time at UIC to develop, analyze, and implement wide-reaching health policy decisions within the MCH field and beyond. Motivated colleagues who share a passion for promoting and improving the health of the nation surround me. There are ample trainings available to me that not only help me build technical skills important to my position, but overarching leadership skills that will further my career in the federal government.

Each day I am proud to go to work, knowing that I am affecting positive change in the health of Americans across the country. The PMF program has given me an opportunity to develop my career in public service and pursue my passion of improving the public health of my fellow citizens.

If you are searching for an opportunity that will challenge you and allow you to develop in your role as a public servant, I recommend checking out the PMF program. The application for the Class of 2016 will be open from September 28-October 13. Good luck!

By Bree Medvedev, MPH
Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Alumna, Class of 2015

*The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the PMF Program, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the U.S. Government.


MCH Students Champion Human Milk Banking

1965420_823145687700167_1210488824_oThe Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, a non-profit donor human milk bank, was established in January 2011 with the mission to provide pasteurized donor human milk to premature and low-birth-weight babies in the Wisconsin and Illinois region. Our most fragile babies’ lives rely on human milk. Their sensitive and underdeveloped digestive systems have special feeding needs in which formula feeding may do more harm than good. Infant formula lacks the anti-infective and anti-inflammatory ingredients found in natural human milk that can help prevent intestinal conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and other long-term health complications that are prevalent in premature babies. Several studies have shown that infants that are born premature who receive even partial human milk feedings leave the hospital earlier and are less likely to develop NEC. Donating breast milk gives lactating mothers an opportunity to use their excess milk supply to save a premature infant’s life, and is also seen as a bereavement strategy for grieving mothers who recently lost their infant.

Jennifer Anderson, a current UIC Maternal and Child Health (MCH) student and Executive Director of the organization, has been growing and managing the extensive network of milk bank supporters and donor milk drop-off centers, or depots, in Wisconsin and Illinois. The organization’s outreach efforts have focused on raising awareness among physicians, nurses, and public health professionals, about ways to incorporate pasteurized donor milk as a standard feeding practice in hospital neonatal intensive care units.

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In January 2014, a group of UIC MCH classmates formed the Associate Board of the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes with the goal of increasing awareness among young professionals and garnering support with regard to the importance of human milk access. Since its inception, the Associate Board has hosted a screening of the documentary “Donor Milk” to bring awareness of the issue, held several fundraising events, and assisted with planning the Mother’s Milk Bank 2014 Race to Save Tiny Lives 5K Run/Walk. The funds raised have directly contributed to opening the milk processing facility in Northern Illinois.

This year, the Associate Board is actively pursuing the establishment of additional milk depots in order to make the donation process easier for mothers living within the city of Chicago. Members are also excited to be assisting with the Inaugural Human Milk Banking Conference, hosted by the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, taking place in November 2015 at the NIU Hoffman Estates Conference Center.

10365315_966815979999803_1042634725965134391_oWe are always seeking new members who are dedicated to providing human milk to the most vulnerable infants in our region. To stay updated on our meetings and events, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Bree Medvedev, MPH in MCH Candidate, and Tamara Kozyckyj, MPH and Maternal and Child Health Program Alum


Alumna Success Story–Jessica Bushar Providing Access to Crucial Health Information for Mothers

Jessica_Bushar_picture

Jessica Bushar, MPH
Research Director Text4baby
National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition

Jessica Bushar earned a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology at UIC in 2010 and was a recipient of an award from Irving Harris Foundation. Following her graduation from UIC, Jessica was a Principal Research Analyst at NORC at the University of Chicago. In 2012, she began working at the National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) where she now holds the position of Research Director of Text4baby.

Jessica is passionate about her work on Text4baby, which partners with more than 1,200 local, state, and national partners to improve the health of mothers and babies by providing timely, vital health and safety information to mothers by via text message. The Text4baby program has reached over 800,000 pregnant women and new moms and provided them with over 116 million text messages. As the Research Director, Jessica spends much of her time at HMHB working with partners and staff to evaluate Text4baby’s impact and facilitate research informed quality improvement.

Jessica believes her degree in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology from UIC helped improve her qualitative research skills and gain the competencies needed to make her a well-rounded researcher – skills that have made it possible for her to excel at her position as Research Director of Text4baby. Jessica’s research is implemented in real time to make a widespread positive impact on the lives of moms and babies through easy to access, crucial health information.

Written by Cristina Turino, UIC Research Assistant and UIC MCH MPH Candidate


Alumna Success Story–Madiha Qureshi Improving Health Outcomes for Mothers & Infants

Madiha Qureshi, MPH
State Director of Program Services
March of Dimes

Madiha Qureshi is the State Director of Program Services at the March of Dimes. As State Director, Madiha oversees the Illinois chapter’s programming and grant making to support state-wide efforts to reduce premature birth, infant mortality, and help mothers have full term pregnancies. She is currently working with maternal and child health leaders, health providers, and stakeholders across Illinois on initiatives to lower early elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. The campaign empowers and educates consumers about the importance of letting labor begin on its own and works with hospitals to develop “hard stop policies” and procedures to prevent early elective deliveries. Additionally, under Madiha’s leadership, the Illinois Chapter of March of Dimes is working on increasing bilingual prenatal education programs for expecting mothers and male involvement programming.

Madiha graduated from UIC with a Master of Public Health from the Maternal and Child Health Program (MCHP) in 2009, and she was a recipient of an Irving Harris Foundation Award. Madiha chose to attend the UIC School of Public Health because of her passion for advocating for women and infants, and the strong Maternal and Child Health Program. One of her most formative experiences while at UIC was attending Leadership, Legacy, & Community: A Retreat to Advance MCH Scholarship & Practice Leadership, which was hosted by MCHP through support from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The Retreat brought together “amazing leaders from the field” who were truly excited about the work they were doing. This experience solidified Madiha’s commitment to the MCH discipline and helped her form connections with public health leaders in Chicago.

Madiha is making significant contributions to the MCH community through her leadership at the March of Dimes to improve health outcomes for mothers and infants.

Written by Cristina Turino, UIC Research Assistant and UIC MCH MPH Candidate


MCH Alumna Success Story—Dr. Bozlak Combating Childhood Obesity

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Dr. Christine Bozlak, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, University at Albany School of Public Health
Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior

Dr. Christine Bozlak feels that her choice to attend the UIC Maternal and Child Health Program was “the best thing that could have happened,” because she was given unique teaching experiences, was part of a talented and supportive cohort, and had wonderful mentors who she continues to work with today. After completing her undergraduate and MPH in smaller community settings, Dr. Bozlak decided to do her PhD at UIC partially because of its location. Chicago gave her the chance to work with diverse organizations and communities in an exciting urban environment.

Dr. Bozlak completed her PhD in Maternal and Child Health at UIC in 2010 and received the Peterson Award. She was also chosen as the recipient of the Donaldson Award, the most distinguished award granted by the UIC School of Public Health to an individual that demonstrates leadership, academic excellence, and community service. Dr. Bozlak is now an Assistant Professor at the University at Albany School of Public Health, where she teaches courses to graduate and undergraduate students about the emerging needs of the maternal and child health population, specifically focusing on childhood obesity and adolescent health.

According to Dr. Bozlak, “community engaged research is where public health should be.” She is passionate about community-engaged action research and is working on a book entitled Participatory Action Research with other authors that will be published in 2015 by Oxford University Press. Dr. Bozlak is also collaborating with New York State YMCAs to improve food offered in vending machines, promote breastfeeding, and support the implementation of nutrition and physical activity standards for their child care programs; an effort funded by the Faculty Research Awards Program at the University at Albany.

Currently, Dr. Bozlak is completing an evaluation project with Dr. Maryann Mason at the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) of the Chicago Children’s Museum’s Made to Move Program. She is also a co-chair, with Dr. Michele Kelley and Dennis Li, of the American Public Health Association’s Adolescent and Young Adult Health Committee, and a member of the Strategic Alliance for Health at Albany County Department of Public Health. In addition, she is a member of the Leadership Team for the Alliance of New York State YMCA’s Pioneering Healthier Communities grant.

Dr. Bozlak is truly a MCH leader that is providing invaluable contributions to public health practice, community based participatory research, and her local community!

Written by Cristina Turino, UIC Research Assistant and UIC MCH MPH Candidate


IAIMH Dolores Norton Student Research Award

Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health (IAIMH)
2013 Dolores Norton Student Research Award

This award is presented each year to recognize a promising doctoral student or post-doctoral scholar in the field of infant and toddler social-emotional health, development, and intervention.  The award honors Dolores Norton, known to most as “Dodie,” who is the Samuel Deutsch Professor Emerita at the School of Social Service Administration of the University of Chicago.  Professor Norton has been an extraordinary mentor to a generation of graduate students who learned from her the importance of early child development, the roles of community and culture in early child development, the principles of family support practice, and the ways research can inform practice.  Dr. Norton devoted her research career to understanding children and families living in conditions of poverty and to understanding children and families through the complex lens of an ecological systems framework.

The award provides a $5,000 stipend to support research on an open topic regarding 1) social-emotional development or mental health during the zero to five age period, 2) behaviors, beliefs, and mental health of expectant parents or parents of young children, and/or 3) interventions for infants, young children, or families.   The award is open to doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows enrolled in or affiliated with an educational or research institution in Illinois. Area of discipline is open.

Applications will be reviewed by the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health Research Committee.  The recipient will be chosen based on the quality of the study proposed and the potential for contribution to the scholarly literature and to practice.  The award will be presented on October 25 at the ILAIMH annual meeting (awardees will be notified in advance, and will be given complimentary registration for the meeting, as well as a year’s membership in ILAIMH).  Awardees will be expected to present a progress report after one year that indicates how they used the funds and the progress of their proposed project. Awardees are also expected to present on their project to the ILAIMH membership, either as a research poster at the 2014 annual meeting, or in a brief report in the ILAIMH newsletter.

Application deadline:  September 1, 2013

Application Guidelines:
Submit via e-mail (in MSWord or PDF) a brief narrative description (1500 words or less) of the proposed research project. The narrative should address the following questions:
1. What questions is the study attempting to address?
2. What are the core research methods being used?
3. In what way will the research provide a better understanding of the socioemotional development or mental health of children or the behavior or mental health of their parents in the birth to five period? What is unique or innovative about the proposed research?
4. What are the potential implications for the research for practice or in applied settings?
5. What faculty members are mentors for this research project?  Is the study a dissertation project?  Has the dissertation proposal already been approved by a faculty committee?
6. What is the timeline for completion of the project?  How much of the work has already been done, and how much remains to be accomplished during the period of the award?
7. Does the project have appropriate IRB approval?
8. How will the funds from the award be used? How, specifically, would the funding assist in the completion of the project? The funds may be used to fund all or a portion of the proposed project, such as research materials, software, training on research methods, payments to research study participants.  The funds may not be used to pay for student living expenses or conference travel.

Submit applications to Jon Korfmacher at jkorfmacher@erikson.edu

The awardee will be notified by October 1.

An announcement and presentation of the award will be made at the ILAIMH annual meeting on Friday, October 25, 2013. Questions about the award may be directed to Jon Korfmacher, Co-chair of the ILAIMH Research Committee at jkorfmacher@erikson.edu or 312-893-7133.

 

 


“We are MCH”: Presentations about Maternal and Child Health

 Learn about the MCH field, our legacy, and the positive impact we have had on the health and well being of women, children and families.

 

The University of South Florida coordinated efforts with the Maternal and Child Health Training Programs to create Prezi presentations entitled “We Are MCH”.  Several MCH training programs (including our program) submitted pictures and quotes that were included in these presentations. The hope is to raise awareness about the field of MCH and the great work that is being done.

 

Click on the following links to view the presentations:
http://prezi.com/rz0qkn_wwzvp/we-are-mch/
http://prezi.com/c7e6u6hpyk2u/we-are-mch-mini-1/
http://prezi.com/wc9jvevjv3nz/we-are-mch-mini-2/
http://prezi.com/kyjdfgl9b17o/we-are-mch-mini-3/

 

 


UIC Management Skills Series: March 2013-Feburary 2014

Program Description:
Management Skills Series is a professional development initiative designed to strengthen the participant’s basic and intermediate level management skills. The curriculum encompasses 12 topics offered on a monthly basis for three hours in person at the UIC School of Public Health.  Sessions can be taken on a stand-alone basis or as a certificate program.

Sessions will be offered in a workshop format and include an information-packed overview of the workshop topic as well as participatory learning activities such as case studies, role-playing, and group discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to build their knowledge base on management practices, policies and principles, sharpen comprehension of complex topics, and practice ways to apply new knowledge as a manager in a public health setting.

Workshops:

Foundations of Managing an Organization
03/15/2013    Introduction to Management Principles
04/19/2013    Vision, Mission, and Strategic Planning
05/17/2013    Building an Effective Board of Directors/Advisory Board

Increasing Your Management Effectiveness
06/21/2013    Understanding Communication Styles
07/19/2013    Building and Motivating Teams
08/16/2013    Conflict Resolution
09/20/2013    Overcoming Burnout

Managing Operations      
10/18/2013    Planning and Managing a Sustainable Budget
11/15/2013    Project Management
12/13/2013    Continuous Quality Improvement

Managing the 21st Century Organization  
01/17/2014    Increasing Impact through Collaboration and Partnerships
02/21/2014    Using Social Media for Marketing and Advocacy

** All the sessions are from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm**

Cost:
$450 for all 12
$50 for each session

Click here for session descriptions and to register (Note: There are three tabs at the top of the page to choose from, click on the tab to view the information you would like to see)

Scholarship Eligibility—MCHP Alumni:
Scholarships will cover the cost of all 12 sessions. We will be giving out 2 scholarships to MCH/MCHP EPI alumni. In order to qualify for the scholarships you must be an alumna of the Maternal and Child Health Program or the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program.  Ideal candidates would have 2-4 years of work experience and be able to attend all 12 workshops.

Application Requirements:
Please submit your resume and a short statement describing your interest in the program.

Please address the following questions:
1) Why do you want to participate in this program?  2) What goal(s) are you hoping to achieve through this program?

Please email your resume and your statement to Jaime Klaus, MA, at jaimkl@uic.edu by February 18, 2013.  You will be notified if you received the scholarship by February 20, 2013.

Thank you for the interest in the program!

Please note: Continuing education units (CEU’s) are not available for this program Participants will receive a certificate of completion if they sign up for all 12 courses. However, he/she is absent for more than 3 workshops out of the 12 he/she will not receive the certificate.

 

 

Sponsored by:  MidAmerica Public Health Training Center, Great Cities Institute at UIC, and Maternal and Child Health Program.

 

 


Registration Open – July 2012 MCH Leadership and Legacy Retreat

July 22-24, 2012

Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook, IL

 Leading in Challenging Times: Innovations & Inspiration

Please consider joining us this summer for the 5th annual UIC MCH Leadership, Legacy, and Community Retreat.  This year’s retreat is exciting! Our focus is on Leading in Challenging Times; however, we will not talk about this concept in ways that you may expect. We will begin with sharing personal stories of our journey and work with women, men, children, and families. Dr. Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) will lead us in this process. We will continue to connect with one another through a building common ground exercise followed by a thought-provoking discussion about what motivates us!

During the rest of the Retreat, we will explore and practice various leadership concepts including challenging the assumption that these are indeed challenging times. Change is ubiquitous. Everything is always changing and today these changes are happening at an increasingly rapid pace across all aspects of our lives: the economy, the environment, technology, public health, medicine, music, leadership, etc. As we continue to move forward in ever-changing times, what do we know and do in this day and age to support ourselves, each other, the environment, the economy, and the work to which we have devoted our lives?

We will explore a process that will turn our thoughts about leadership upside down. This will be followed with work about managing change as change is a primary leadership challenge we all face. Finally, we will conclude the program with work on the core act of leadership which involves changing the typical conversations in which we engage so that we can ultimately experience the positive outcomes for women, men, children, and families that we all desire!

The leadership training will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, PhD, Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Many of us have had the honor of working with, learning from, and being inspired by Dr. Bogdewic. He is an innovative, thought leader. He is connected with the human spirit and our core desires to make an impact. He has taken what he teaches and implemented it in practice to help change the face of the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Click on the following link to view the agenda.

*Please note the event starts on Sunday

 

Registration

Professionals: $325 (early registration ends on 07/06/2012) or $425 (late registration)

Students: $150

Click on the following link to register.

 

For more information visit our website.