Monthly archives: February, 2012

The Happiness Advantage

Hi all!  Thought you may be interested in this talk on the Happiness Advantage.  Shawn Achor, a Harvard Psychology researcher, discusses his research on happiness and the many benefits of happy people including better performing brains (maybe we can actually begin to see what the brain is capable of); a rise in our creativity, intelligence, and energy; we are better at securing jobs and keeping jobs; we are more resilient and experience less burnout and less turnover.  It’s interesting to think of the public health implications for the public health workforce and for our work!

A Student’s Journey to DC for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Annual Conference

Anne Cutler, Arden Handler, MCH students, and LEND trainees advocating at Mark Kirk's office for Title V programs and funding

Attending the annual AMCHP conference was a great experience for me.  As students, we were able to network and learn a lot, even by the first day!  On Sunday, I had the chance to see the official kick-off of the conference.  The first general session we attended was on the topic of the life-course model, which was led by Dr. Arden Handler and Amy Fine. We also had the opportunity to hear about how Indiana and Rhode Island were applying the life- course model to their state-level MCH programming. Later in the afternoon, we attended the welcome session with lectures from the newly appointed associate administrator of MCHB, Michael Lu; AMCHP’s director, Michael Fraser; and the John C. McQueen memorial awarded, Gail Christopher. All three talks were wonderful.  It’s great to hear from and also become familiar with the faces of the key leaders in our field. Along with this, I attended an adolescent health session about teen pregnancy prevention and a networking event for new conference participants where a fellow student and I got to meet the Title V Director of Texas. This was a great opportunity for me to apply my knowledge from our CHSC 511 MCH Systems course in order to understand the work that he was doing and maybe, even impress him a little!

Viewing the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in DC

The following day,  Dr. Handler invited students to go with her and members from the Illinois LEND program to advocate in Senator Dick Durbin’s and Senator Mark Kirk’s offices.  We advocated not to cut funding for the MCH Title V programs, as well as the LEND program.  This was a very unique experience for me because we all had the opportunity to speak to the Senators’ aids about what we are doing, how our programs are so valuable to us, and what impact these programs have on MCH populations.  Later that day, we attended the Region 5 meeting (which includes IL, WI, MI, MN, OH, IN) during lunch where we discussed hot topics among our states and other business-related issues that needed to be addressed.  Additionally, I went to an adolescent health session, where the first section was presented by a representative from Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) about a bill they are advocating for regarding comprehensive sex education in the state of Illinois.  This was great to see Illinois leadership at the conference and also see a particular focus on our home state.  The second section of the presentation was about a preconception health program implemented in North Carolina.  When listening to the speaker,  I found myself somewhat choked up by the examples of how students have felt so empowered to be given the opportunity to do program activities, such as create a reproductive life plan.  I think this is an excellent and successful MCH program.

On Tuesday, AMCHP also had a specific session about advocating for MCH programs specifically in our current times with reduced budgets and spending.  This was very useful for me and other students, especially as we are nearing graduation in May.

AMCHP also set aside additional time that afternoon for groups to go to the Capitol and speak to their respective representatives and senators. I thought this was a great way to develop a concrete skill in maternal and child health practice, as well as test my knowledge and understanding of maternal and child health issues.

All in all, attending the AMCHP conference was a great experience for me as a 2nd year graduate student at UIC.  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go.  I think the biggest thing that I learned was how state leaders go about promoting maternal and child health programs, as well as providing an array of successful programs for MCH populations in their state.

By Elizabeth Bennetts, 2nd year MCH-MPH student

2nd Annual Making Lifelong Connections Meeting

Thinking Inside the Box

This past January, I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual Making Lifelong Connections meeting in Orlando. Making Lifelong Connections is sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and is designed to bring together current and former MCHB trainees to enhance their professional connections across the MCHB training portfolio and to enhance their leadership skills. The meeting was coordinated by the University of Florida and the University of Wisconsin Pediatric Pulmonary Centers. The planning committee encouraged us to ‘Think Inside the Box’ and be inspired by our connections and what others are doing to improve the physical and mental health, safety and well-being of women, men, children, and families.

In this 2-day meeting, we had the opportunity to learn about the various MCHB-funded training programs (LEAH, LEND, PPC, Nutrition, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Leadership Education in Child Health Nursing, SPH, and the Pipeline Programs) and to connect with amazingly talented people who are working and training in these various programs and areas of MCH. We were also inspired to reflect on our own leadership through a focus on servant leadership, self-care, and career development.

Perhaps the most compelling part of the meeting was having the opportunity to listen to a large number of trainees in the various programs present their research, projects, and programs. We heard talks about early intervention, stress and coping in fathers whose children have autism, family-centered care, transition, postpartum depression, adolescent feelings of hopelessness, fertility, smoking cessation, cyberbullying, and disaster preparedness for children with special nutrition needs (to name just a few). The meeting was filled with people who really care about making our country healthy and safe for all. With all of these efforts, there is no doubt in my mind that we can make a difference!

All-in-all, it was quite inspiring to hear meeting participants talk about their work and lives, to see how my work fits into the bigger MCH picture, and to feel like I belong to a larger effort or movement, if you will, to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s women, men, children and families. I left the meeting feeling connected with other like-minded folks, grounded in my decision to pursue a career in MCH, proud of my status as ‘former MCHB-funded trainee’ and excited about my work in an MCHB-funded training program helping to develop new MCH leaders and support current MCH leaders.

By Kris Risley, DrPH, CPCC, Continuing Education Director and Clinical Assistant Professor for the Maternal and Child Health Program, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago



MCH Seminar–Self-Care: Practical Ways to Move from “Should” to “Good” Habits

On February 23, 2012 Nikki Lively a Clinical Social Worker in the Women’s Mental Health program in the Department of Psychiatry at the UIC Medical Center gave a presentation about self care.  The workshop covered key obstacles to healthy self-care, and provided tips and experiential exercises that participants could choose from to build their own customized “tool kit” for taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.


Click here  to download the powerpoint presentation and the handouts

Click here to download the audio recording of the workshop (please note that the first 40 minutes of the 90 minute presentation was not recorded. We apologize, but we experienced some technical difficulties)


Relevant Links:


“The operative word is “practice”.  Practicing self-care is not the path of least resistance; it is a conscious choice you make again, and again, and again…” ~ Nikki Lively


UIC MCHP Retreat Keynote Speaker: Dr. Stephen Bogdewic

This year at the UIC MCH Retreat the leadership training will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, the Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  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.

Learn more about Dr. Bogdewic by reading a couple articles that he wrote or listening to his radio show Sound Medicine.



UIC Management Skills Academy: March 2012-February 2013

Program Description:
The Management Skills Academy 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 will 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. This is open to public health professionals working in state or county health department, federal agencies, state agencies, and community-based and non-for-profit organizations.



Foundations of Managing a Organization
March 5, 2012
Introduction to Management Principles

April 2, 2012
Vision, Mission, and Strategic Planning

May 14, 2012
Building an Effective Board of Directors/Advisory Board

Increasing Your Management Effectiveness    
June 4, 2012
Understanding Communication Styles

July 9, 2012
Building and Motivating Teams

August 6, 2012
Conflict Resolution

September 10, 2012
Overcoming Burnout

Managing Operations 
October 1, 2012
Planning and Managing a Sustainable Budget

November 5, 2012
Project Management

December 3, 2012
Continuous Quality Improvement

Managing the 21st Century Organization     
January 8, 2012
Increasing Impact through Collaboration and Partnerships

February 4, 2012
Using Social Media for Marketing and Advocacy

Click here to view a list of objectives for each workshop.

All the workshops are from 9am-12pm, except for the last session on February 4, 2013 which will be until 1pm.


$50 per session
$450 for all 12 sessions


Registration: To register please click here


MCHP Alumni Scholarships Available:
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 by February 17, 2012.  You will be notified if you received the scholarship by February 21, 2012.


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 (MAPHTC), Greater Cities Institute at UIC, and the Maternal and Child Health Program.