Monthly archives: November, 2010

National Children’s Study: Dr. Handler PI for the Greater Chicago Study Center

Dr. Arden Handler, Co-Director of the Maternal and Child Health Program and Professor in the Community Health Sciences division at the UIC School of Public Health, is the principal investigator for the Greater Chicago Study Center of the National Children’s Study.

You can view a segment about the study on WGN and/or read the press release below.

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin White at (847) 491-4888 or


Families can help researchers by providing information that is expected to improve the health and development of children for generations to come

CHICAGO — Why are so many babies born prematurely? Why do so many American children suffer from asthma, autism, obesity, behavior disorders and other health problems? Greater Chicago-area families have a unique opportunity to help better understand and prevent these conditions by participating in the National Children’s Study (NCS).

Starting this month, the National Children’s Study-Greater Chicago Study Center, which includes Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center, will begin enrolling Chicago-area pregnant women and women who may become pregnant in the study.

The study will then follow the children and their families from before birth until age 21 to help determine how family history and physical and social environments influence their health.

Feinberg received a seven-year, $32-million contract from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to conduct the National Children’s Study in the greater Chicago area.

“By participating in this study, women and their families can really contribute to understanding and improving the health of children in their neighborhoods and across the United States,” said Jane Holl, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Feinberg and attending physician at Children’s Memorial Hospital. “All information gathered will be held in the highest confidentiality and privacy.”

Four thousand participants in Cook, DuPage and Will counties will ultimately participate in the study. The research will focus on how key factors influence children’s health and well-being, including what they eat and drink, the air they breathe, the safety of their neighborhoods, their family history, who cares for them, and how often they see a doctor.

Specimens will be collected at birth and, over time, other samples such as blood and hair and in-depth cognitive, developmental, and physical health assessments will be collected, Holl said. Soil, water and other samples from the physical environment will also be gathered.

“We are never going to be able to effectively prevent childhood health conditions until we fully understand how and what contributes to them,” said Holl, the principal investigator of the study.

The National Children’s Study-Greater Chicago Study Center is one of 105 National Children’s Study locations around the United States. More than 100,000 children, representative of the entire population of American children, will be included in the study.

“There has never been a study as large or as long before,” Holl said. “Longitudinal studies about children have been done but none have gathered as much health information, as well as specimens from the children, parents, and the environment.”

Letters with more information are being mailed to households asking women and families to call the National Children’s Study-Greater Chicago Study Center to find out if they are eligible to participate in the study.

To find out more about the National Children’s Study-Greater Chicago Study Center, visit:

Potential participants can call:  1.866.315.7124

Benjamin Zander on Leadership

Hi all.  Wanted to share a bit of inspiration today.  Here is a really great TED clip from Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and author of The Art of Possibility.   He shares lessons on leadership using examples from classical music.

Evidence-Based Challenges in MCH

In 2008, the UIC MCH Program developed four case studies for use in the 2008 MCH Leadership Retreat: Leadership, Legacy, and Community. The case studies address common evidence-based challenges in MCH: 1) The Intervention Works but Not for the Intended Problem: The Case of Prenatal Care and Low Birth Weight/Prematurity, 2) The Intervention Works But There is More Adherence/Uptake in Some Populations: The Case of Breastfeeding, 3) There is Deep Commitment to an Intervention by Some Key Groups but the Evidence Base is Limited: The Case of the Medical Home Model, 4) The Problem is Significant but There is No Known Prevention Intervention: The Case of Autism.

Each case study was designed to be used as the basis for a 3-hour workshop that will help you take a closer look at the evidence-based challenges we face in MCH. In the links below, you will find an overview of the case, a copy of the case study, discussion questions, discussion guidelines, facilitator instructions, and references. Please feel free to use as is or make modifications that suit your individual agency/organizational needs.

Links to the Case Studies:

The Intervention Works but Not for the Intended Problem The Case of Prenatal Care and Low Birth Weight/Prematurity

The Intervention Works But There is More Adherence/Uptake in Some Populations: The Case of Breastfeeding

Infant Mortality and Racism Town Hall Meeting








On October 29, 2010, the UIC MCHP in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, and the March of Dimes Illinois Chapter hosted a day-long event called Infant Mortality and Racism:  What is Holding Us Back and How Do We Move Forward? The purpose of this event was twofold:  1) to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Title V of the Social Security Act which provides ongoing federal support for our Maternal and Child Health programs and 2) to look into the future of MCH and explore infant mortality and racism in our state in hopes of finding innovative ways to move us forward into the next 75 years!

With just one Save the Date email, 120 diverse, passionate, and committed MCH practice and academic professionals as well as family members and MCH program participants attended this event.  The day began with a welcome from the UIC School of Public Health Dean, Dr. Paul Brandt-Rauf and an honoring of Maribeth Badura who recently passed away.   Ms. Badura, who was a Milwaukee native educated in Chicago, was the head of the Illinois Nurses Association before taking on her last job with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.  She was devoted to MCH and responsible for over $110 million in grants to support the health and well-being of women, children, and families.

After the welcome,  we engaged in an exercise to enhance cultural sensitivity that began with watching an excerpt from Race:  The Power Of An Illusion.  The viewing was followed by thoughtful conversation about race, racism, and racially-based discrimination and their impacts on health and well-being (facilitated by Terry Solomon, PhD, Executive Director, Illinois African-American Family Commission and Laura McAlpine, LCSW, Principal, McAlpine Consulting for Growth, LLC).  Through the course of the morning, one could feel the intense collective emotions underlying the spoken word.   One-by-one attendees shared their experiences with racism and feelings about the video.  It was a thoughtful, deliberate, and careful start to the day.  Dr. Richard David, MD, Co-Director, Stroger Neonatal intensive Care Unit and Attending Neonatogist, John H. Stroger Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago provided an interesting and thought-provoking keynote address that moved us safely into the next level of our discussion about racism and health.  Participants enjoyed Dr. David’s presentation and we were engaged by his warm and thoughtful presentation style.  The session was enhanced by a lively audience discussion.

Perhaps the most powerful part of the day was the diverse family panel which included African-American, Latino, European, and Asian consumers of Title V programs including the IL Family Case Management, WIC and Chicago Healthy Start programs.  These brave women eloquently shared their pregnancy and birth experiences.   They were grateful for the support of these programs and the opportunity to connect with a room full of people who understand the value and necessity of such programs; audience members were privileged to hear these stories and proud to be part of a larger MCH family/community who cares about and will fight for the rights and health and well-being of women, children, and families.  Hope and a desire to take action were present in the auditorium.

The day concluded with lunch and an enlivening discussion about what we can do in the short- as well as long-term to address racism.  Many ideas were generated and as a group we are committed to moving forward one step at a time!  Participants were changed by this day, new friendships were made, and participants, I’m sure, are  incorporating changes into their daily lives even if it is only to have more compassion for the idea that while all people are different we are quite similar regardless of the color of our skin.

Stay tuned.  In the next few weeks, we will receive the summary notes from the day and will be contacting participants via email to request additional support regarding the development of an action plan to move identified action steps forward.  If you have questions or comments please contact Kris Risley at

Click here to view Dr. David’s powerpoint presentation.

Click here to view pictures of the event.