Monthly archives: May, 2010

Leadership and Coaching with the UIC MCHP

Hi all.  Below is a link to a short 22 minute video ‘Celebrate What’s Right With the World.’  You do not have to purchase this video…you can watch it directly on this site.  This is what our Leadership and Coaching for MCH Professionals program means to me [].  It speaks to our capacity to be authentic, fulfilled, balanced, and present.  When our lives are filled with these elements, we can make amazing transformations and have tremendous impact both professionally for the women, children, and families we serve and personally!

Martha May Eliot: Life and Legacy

Martha May Eliot was an amazing woman devoted to public health and maternal and child health.  Her work and research explored issues at the heart of social medicine.  In 1964, the American Public Health Association established the Martha May Eliot Award to bring recognition to the field of maternal and child health and to honor extraordinary health service to mothers and children.  Dr. Eliot was an amazing woman and an inspiration to those of us in MCH.  If you want to feel inspired and honored to be part of this MCH legacy, take a listen to Ashley’s presentation.

Click here to view a slide show presentation about the life and legacy of Martha May Eliot that was presented by MCH student Ashley Dyer.


Infant Mortality and Racism in Chicago: Follow-Up

In late April 2010, the UIC MCHP and the UIC Mid-America Public Health Training Center hosted a workshop session on Infant Mortality and Racism with Laurin Kasehagen, MA, PhD.  We had tremendous audience interest in engaging in a follow-up discussion to address these issues in Chicago/Illinois.  A large number of audience participants is scheduled to meet again by phone in late June.  In the meantime, if you have thoughts about how to proceed or any thoughts about infant mortality and racism, please feel free to respond to this posting.  We welcome any and all comments/thoughts/ideas as this will help stimulate our discussion in June.

If you would like to take a look at Dr. Kasehagen’s presentation, please visit the following posting:

Thanks so much and we look forward to hearing from you!

1st Annual UIC MCH Retreat and Alumni Reception

For all of our MCH Alumni…Please Save the Date!  We would love to see all of you!

1st Annual UIC MCH Retreat and Alumni Reception

Date:  July 19, 2010

Time: 5:30-7:30pm

Location: Hyatt Lodge (Hamburger University), 2815 Jorie Boulevard, Oak Brook, IL

The UIC MCHP is sponsoring Leadership, Legacy, and Community:  A Retreat to Advance MCH Scholarship and Practice on July 19-21, 2010.  We would love to have you attend the Retreat but if you can’t, please consider joining us for the 1st annual UIC MCH Retreat and Alumni Reception on Monday, July 19 from 5:30-7:30pm.

Visit old and meet new friends!  Network with a great group of MCH professionals, MCH faculty and staff, and other alumni from across the country.

Free admission to all MCH alumni but RVSP is required.  Please RSVP by Friday, July 2nd to Jaime Klaus at 312-996-0724 or

For more about the Retreat visit our website at:

Illinois Women’s Health Registry

On Monday, May 10, Sarah Bristol-Gould, PhD, Director of Research Programs for the Institute for Women’s Health Research at Northwestern University gave a presentation on the Illinois Women’s Health Registry.  Click here to view slides from the presentation:

The Registry is a database containing answers to a confidential health survey (symptoms, conditions, diseases, family history of disease, environmental exposures, stress and demographic information).  The Registry was created to help researchers have greater access to women in the state who want to participate in research that examines sex and gender differences in health and disease.  The Registry is a great resource for women who want to improve their health by becoming more aware of their health issues and wellness and it provides a great way for women to gain access to groundbreaking research studies and clinical trials.

If you are a student or researcher who is interesting in accessing this database for research purposes please contact the Institute at

If you are an Illinois resident over the age of 18 years, you can participate in the Registry.  To enroll visit: or call 800-984-IWHR to request a paper version of the survey.

It would be great to have a large number of Illinois women included in this database so that we can increase our understanding of how disease/illness affects women vs. men.  Further, this research will help to better tailor prevention efforts for women!

To check out the Institute’s blog, visit  This blog is an education resource for information regarding women’s health.

Leadership Development and Coaching for MCH Professionals

Leadership Development and Coaching For MCH Professionals

A Program for MCH Professionals in DHHS Regions V & VII

Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa


The Maternal and Child Health Program (MCHP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is committed to providing easily accessible, engaging, and efficient leadership development opportunities for MCH professionals.  In the broad field of MCH, there are many and varied opportunities to develop leadership capacity related to a specific skill-set and/or knowledge base; however, there are limited opportunities to engage in personal leadership development and to establish strong communities-of-practice in which members support one another in exploring their goals and vision for MCH.  In response, the UIC MCHP is offering this exciting 6-month, distance-based professional leadership development and coaching program that is designed to create a community-of-practice and also address the unique and individual leadership development and coaching needs of each participant.

The program includes monthly group leadership development phone calls and monthly, individual coaching sessions with a professional leadership coach.  All work takes place by phone. The target audience includes intergenerational, interdisciplinary MCH professionals in DHHS Regions V and VII who work in a Title V-funded program or an MCHB-funded training program (LEND, LEAH, PPC, SPH, Nutrition, etc.).  Participants may include senior level leaders, mid-level managers, emerging leaders, and young professionals.  Participants will be selected for inclusion in this program based on completion of an application and submission of a 1-2 page Letter of Interest.  The program begins Friday, June 25, 2010.  The application is due Friday, May 28, 2010.

Participants in this program will:

  • Identify their leadership strengths and action steps to support the enhancement of these strengths. [Strengths Based Leadership]
  • Identify their leadership gaps and steps to address noted gaps.
  • Align their decision-making process with personal/professional values.
  • Engage in self-reflection exercises to enhance personal leadership and explore opportunities to improve their skill set, work satisfaction, and level of work engagement.
  • Identify sources of personal reward and rejuvenation to sustain productivity and MCH commitment.
  • Explore their passion for MCH and engage in work that has the impact they desire.
  • Create a leadership development action plan to support their ongoing leadership development and commitment to the field of MCH.

The program and professional coaching will be delivered by UIC MCHP Continuing Education Director, Kris Risley, DrPH, CPCC.  She is a certified professional coach trained through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).  Additional CTI-trained coaches will also provide coaching sessions.

Program Cost:  $1800/person.

If you are a senior level leader with a desire to take on different responsibilities or you would like to develop and carry out a new vision, you are a young professional or emerging leader exploring your career path, you are burned out in your existing work environment, you are ready to move to the next level, or you simply  have more to offer, please consider this program.

For additional information and to request application materials, please contact Kris Risley via email/phone or Jaime Klaus at  If you are not in DHHS Regions V or VII but are interested in bringing this program to your region, please let us know.

How do I subscribe to the blog?

There are two ways to subscribe to the UIC MCH Program blog:

1) Email Subscription.  On the top left of the blog you will see a box where you can type in your email address.  If you do this, blog updates will be sent to your email inbox.  You may want these notices to go to your work email or your personal email.

2) RSS.  I am not at all clear about all the ways to access RSS but will share what I know.  I like RSS because blog updates do not go directly into my email inbox.  I subscribe through gmail and when something posts to the blog, the posting goes into my gmail reader which is basically a separate page in my gmail account.  Below is a short youtube clip that is VERY helpful in understanding how to receive RSS. I know you can set this up through gmail and yahoo.  There are probably other ways.

Basically, anywhere on any site where you see a little orange box, that is RSS.  You can click on that to receive RSS or you can subscribe on gmail, yahoo, etc. using the website’s url.  The video below describes this process in more detail.  If you need more help, please feel free to email me at

Infant Mortality is a Civil Rights Issue

The below story is re-printed from WKNO-FM: NPR for the Mid-South.  Theresa Chapple is one of our MCH program graduates.  Theresa works for the Memphis, TN, Shelby County’s Fetal & Infant Mortality Review.

A link to the audio interview can be found here:


MEMPHIS, TN (WKNO) – Here in Shelby County babies die at a rate almost twice that national average. Figuring out why is Theresa Chapple’s job. Chapple heads up Shelby County’s new Fetal & Infant Mortality Review.

Despite the enormity and gravity of her work, Chapple is spunky. She’s short and well dressed. She often smiles displaying a gap between her front teeth.

Chapple is the first to say infant mortality doesn’t effect everyone equally. Nationwide a black woman is more than twice as likely as a white woman to lose her baby.

“We don’t know who we’re losing when we lose these babies before they turn one,” Chapple said. “We could be losing the next leader in the African-American community.”

A black woman with a Master’s degree is still more likely to lose her child than a white woman who hasn’t graduated from high school.

“So we know it’s more than education, it’s more than class,” Chapple says. “It’s something else; and it is something that has to do with race in this country.

Chapple wasn’t born caring about infant mortality. She was a senior in college in Chicago preparing to apply to law school when she attended a lecture about racial disparity in birth outcomes.

“That’s when I found out that it was a major problem in our communities. I am shocked that I made it that long in my life without realizing,” Chapple said.

The lecture was called Infant Mortality from 1900 to 2000.’ In those 100 years infant mortality has decreased for whites and blacks. But the gap between races hasn’t. And in 2000 it started getting wider.

“I remember leaving that day trying to figure out what epidemiology’ meant,” Chapple laughs. “What was this word that he kept using? And how could I do that in order to make a difference?”

Instead of a law degree, Chapple has a master’s in maternal and child health and a doctorate in child reproductive and perinatal epidemiology.

Chapple works with hospitals, funeral home directors, and the county cemetery to identify every fetal and infant death in the county. After each death she sends a nurse to grab the medical records, and a social worker to talk to the family.

That information is then passed to a Case Review Team. The team determines the circumstances that led to that baby’s death, and comes up with recommendations for what the community, as a whole, can do to make sure those circumstances are less likely to be repeated. The team doesn’t assign blame, and it never determines a death unavoidable.

“My view is that there are no accidents. We may have to look hard for it, but there it going to be someplace that we can intervene,” Chapple said.

Finally the recommendations of the Case Review Team are passed to a Community Action Team. It’s the job of the community team to make the recommendations a reality.

In Memphis the racial disparity in infant mortality is even larger than it is nationwide. Here a black woman is about three times more likely to lose her child than a white woman.

“I would like to really understand why,” Chapple said. “Why would race have that much of an impact on rather your baby lives or dies?”

One of the leading causes of infant death is premature birth and the complications that come with it. In Shelby County infants are indeed being born too small and too early more often than other places across the country. Doctors know what contributes to prematurity it’s things like stress, the age and health of the mom, and not getting any prenatal care. Smoking, drinking, or using drugs during pregnancy also plays a part. But none of that solves Chapple’s mystery.

“That doesn’t help explain what’s going on here in Shelby County that’s making us higher than the national average,” Chapple explained.

And finally there’s being black. As well as being more likely to lose a baby, a black woman is also more likely than a white woman to have a baby preterm.

Chapple says she doesn’t yet know why Memphis has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the nation, but this, she senses, is at the heart of it.

“It definitely is a justice issue, and it definitely is more than a health issue. It’s not just a medical approach that is going to fix this it’s a societal approach. I see this as our new civil rights issue.”

Find Shelby County’s Fetal & Infant Mortality Review on Facebook under ‘ShelbyCo Fimr’ and on Twitter at

© Copyright 2010, WKNO

Infant Mortality and Racism

On Friday, April 30, 2010, the UIC Maternal and Child Health Program and the UIC Mid-America Public Health Training Center collaborated to host a workshop entitled:  Infant Mortality and Racism Action Learning Collaborative:  Community Recommendations For Reducing Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality.

Our incredibly gifted speaker and expert was Laura Kasehagen, MA, PhD, CDC Senior MCH Epidemiologist, CDC/ONDIEH/NCCDPHP/DRH/ASB/MCH Epidemiology Program, Assignee to CityMatCH, University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Kasehagen discussed an integrated mixed methods approach called Concept Mapping and how the methodology was applied to better understand how participant communities may engage in activities to decrease racial disparities in infant mortality.  With participation from members of a diverse Collaborative, a series of statements was generated from the following prompt:  “One specific action a community could take to decrease racial disparities in infant mortality is….”

Dr. Kasehagen shared with us some initial findings from the research generated by Collaborative efforts as well recommendations to address the impact of racism on birth outcomes.  The Collaborative continues to analyze and interpret data from this work.

Over 50 local MCH academic and practice professionals participated in this workshop either in-person or via webcast.  An audio of the presentation and slides are available at:

NOTE: when you access the presentation/slides, it will download Saba Centra which allows you to access the audio/slides.


Participants were very excited about this workshop and are currently exploring ways to keep the high energy and passion around these topics alive in Chicago.   Exciting next steps to follow!  If you are interested in learning more about next steps (or helping to develop next steps), please let us know by contacting Jaime Klaus at

July Retreat: Opening Keynote and Plenary Sessions

Hi everyone!  We hope you will agree that the 3rd annual UIC MCH Leadership, Legacy, and Community:  A Retreat to Advance MCH Scholarship and Practice is going to be a program not to miss.  Below are the descriptions of the opening Keynote Address and Plenary sessions.  Very exciting!

Paradigm Shifts in Public Health and MCH:  An Historical Perspective on Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities

Maxine Hayes, MD, MPH, Washington State Health Officer, Department of Health

In this exciting keynote address, Dr. Maxine Hayes will provide the historical context in which maternal and child health public health has evolved over time and the important role that paradigm shifts have played in ensuring the health of women, children, and families.  In the late 1800s when safe milk was one of the most significant child health problems we faced, the first Milk Stations were established in an attempt to decrease infant mortality and morbidity caused by diarrhea.  Due to these stations and the advent of pasteurization in 1910, infant mortality decreased substantially because diarrheal disease was no longer a major problem.   While these initial MCH efforts evolved out of a social movement and a  a social justice framework, over time, the field of public health moved away from a social justice framework and increasingly emphasized  more of an individual approach to solving health problems.  However, over the last 10 -15 years, the field of MCH has begun to embrace the social determinants of health and to champion a social justice framework as a viable and necessary approach to improving MCH.

In this session, Dr. Hayes will discuss major paradigm shifts in public health/MCH including some of the successes, challenges, and opportunities.  This session is intended to highlight the importance, necessity, and value of the field of MCH returning to its roots in ways that are consistent with cultural norms and that takes into consideration our current economic and political climate.  A return to a social justice framework is necessary to ensure that we more effectively meet the changing health and well-being needs of women, children, and families as well as ensure  that we reach  and ultimately surpass the  Healthy People objectives for MCH.


Life Course, Health Equity, Social Determinants of Health:  New Approaches for a New Decade

Deborah Allen, ScD, Director, Bureau of Child, Adolescent and Family Health, Boston Public Health Commission

Increasingly, MCH programs are adopting a “lifecourse” approach to adverse health outcomes and persistent disparities in health.  Interest in lifecourse reflects renewed recognition of the role of social factors as predictors of health status.  But lifecourse is not just a return to the wisdom o f the past; it links the insights of early MCH social reformers to emerging science to explain how social conditions affect health and what we can do about it.  In this plenary, Dr. Allen will suggest key elements of a lifecourse approach, starting with theory and then engaging participants in discussion about the interplay of those elements in their own lives.   The big challenge for many, however, is not what lifecourse means, but what it means we should do.  Dr. Allen will share information about how life course has been operationalized in Boston,  pointing to specific strategies to move lifecourse from analysis  to action.

To learn more about the Retreat and to register online, visit our website at: