Category: 75th Anniversary

MCH Webcasts

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Here is a link to the website which includes many interesting MCH-related talks including several about the integration of Life Course into our MCH work.

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.

Infant Mortality and Racism Town Hall Meeting

Save The Date

Town Hall Meeting

In Honor of the 75th Anniversary of Title V of the Social Security Act

Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant

Infant Mortality and Racism

What is Holding Us Back and How Do We Move Forward?

Friday, October 29, 2010

UIC School of Public Health

1603 W. Taylor Street

(1st Floor Auditorium)


Free Admission

Join us as we celebrate 75 years of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programming (Title V of the Social Security Act) and as we move into the future of MCH by placing increased attention on infant mortality and racism.

The agenda includes a keynote address by Richard David, MD, Neonatologist at John H. Stroger Hospital in Chicago.  Dr. David is featured in the documentary “Unnatural Causes: Is Racism Making Us Sick? Dr. David’s talk will be followed by a family panel discussion and a working lunch to identify action steps to move us forward together to address issues surrounding racism and infant mortality in Illinois.  We will also engage in a cultural sensitivity exercise to explore issues around racism in our society.

Lunch Provided. RSVP Required by October 15.

Please RSVP to Cynthia Jakkarigari at

312-814-4727 or

Registration limited to 100 participants.

Sponsored by:  Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Chapter of the March of Dimes, the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, and the Maternal and Child Health Program, Division of Community Health Sciences, UIC School of Public Health

Written by Amanda Giese, MPH student, University of Illinois at Chicago

Following graduation from college, I decided to take a two-week celebratory trip out of the country. I have always enjoyed doing the unexpected , so when I heard some colleagues of mine owned a travel company in Afghanistan, I knew right away it was the perfect destination for me. In addition to the excitement and eye-opening moments I was sure to experience on the trip, I was also hoping the excursion would clarify my thoughts regarding what I wanted to do with my life.

The adventure ended up meeting and even surpassing all of my expectations. I found the country to be beautiful and nothing like the hostile and uninhabitable environment depicted by the media. At the same time, I saw the suffering and the incredible need of the Afghan population. My heart broke for the women and children who were experiencing hardships most Americans could never imagine. As I traveled throughout some of the rural parts of northeastern Afghanistan, I saw the impoverished conditions the people lived in and the scarcity of their resources. The few schools were at best half-constructed and roofless buildings with four or five classrooms. Often, they were merely flimsy tents that could be blown over by the slightest breeze.

Even worse were the medical facilities, or more appropriately, the absence of medical facilities. While Kabul and some of the larger cities had a fair number of clinics and hospitals, the rural communities most often had none. These rural populations received limited medical services and knew very little, if any, basic health information. It is not at all uncommon for mothers and their babies to die during childbirth in the country. The most current data available suggests one in every four children in Afghanistan will not reach their fifth birthday (WHO, 2008). Witnessing first-hand the dire circumstances in which most Afghans live, I knew something had to be done, but specifically what that was, I hadn’t the slightest clue at the time.

I left Afghanistan with a heavy heart yearning to see the people of Afghanistan experience true hope and joy but continued to lack clear direction about what to do next. One particular memory, however, of an encounter with a certain woman in a market in Kabul would not leave my mind. As I was shopping for souvenirs for my family, this woman, covered from head to toe in a chadari, or what we know as a burqua, tugged at my sleeve and pleaded with me in Dari, the Afghan dialect of Persian. Although I could not understand a word of what she was saying, I could sense the desperation in her voice. My friend who had been living in the area for some time responded, “She is telling you about her sick child and asking you for help.”

Four months later, I was sitting in the humble home of a friend of mine in the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru. My friend told me about the miscarriage she had experienced only a month before I arrived. It had been an extremely hard month for her following the tragedy, but she told me her story without shedding a tear. Instead, she expressed her hope of having a healthy baby in the future.

The two memories never faded from my mind. They led me to begin to research careers related to disease prevention and health promotion among women and children a couple months after my trip to Peru. Through that research, I discovered UIC’s Maternal and Child Health Program and decided to apply to the program and pursue a Master of Public Health degree.

The memory of those two women continues to move me forward in my MPH program. I hope to some day head abroad again to work with women and youth to witness the creation of positive social change in their communities. While at the time, I did not know how to help that woman in the market in Kabul, and I could not guarantee that my Peruvian friend’s next pregnancy would be without complications, I have pursued this maternal and child health career path in many ways to honor their stories and hopefully make an impact in the lives of many other women whose stories I have yet to hear.


World Health Organization. (2008). World Health Statistics (2006 data). Retrieved September 9, 2010 from

Never Say Never, Loving Maternal Child Health

Written by Julia Marynus, RN, BA, Director of Public Health Family Services, Stephenson County Health Department

Who knew the day I became a nurse I would be working in the Maternal Child Health field?  Certainly, not me; I became a nurse because my boyfriend of ten years had suffered a work accident that resulted in brain injury.  I was all about rehabilitation and traumatic brain injuries—that is where I was headed.  Now, mind you, the only nursing book I returned to the college book store was my Maternal Child Health book, because I was never going to do anything in nursing that dealt with moms and babies.  But, God had another plan for me.

Years after my friend’s accident I moved on with my life, married, and became the step-mother to two beautiful young girls.  While I loved my work on the Van Matre Rehabilitation Unit at Rockford Memorial, my heart ached when the weekend would arrive and I would be off to work; leaving my family behind.  Between weekend work and holiday rotation, I feel like I missed so much.

Then one day while I was visiting my local health department, the door to public health and maternal child health was flung wide open.  I began my journey as a Medical Case Manager for children who were in Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) care.  Soon after that I became the program coordinator for the Family Case Management program—also known at that time as Healthy Moms, Healthy Kids; a program working hand-in-hand with WIC to reduce infant mortality rates in Illinois.

It seemed I learned something new on a daily basis, and the wonderful world of networking—Maternal Child Health has the best! In 1999, I participated in UIC’s Institute for Maternal Child Health Leadership (MCHIL).  My local project brought attention to the need for certified car seat safety technicians, along with several small grants to purchase car seats and open a program at the Stephenson County Health Department—which still operates today.  My group project brought attention to the need for students who are diagnosed with asthma to have an asthma action plan on file at their local school, as well as making it alright for children to carry their inhalers should an emergency situation arise.  A statewide round of Asthma 101 trainings with the help of the American Lung Association aided in making changes in many schools.  Some great accomplishments!

Several years later I participated as a mentor for another group of Maternal Child Health Leaders in the same program.  This group focused on the identification and referral for treatment for post-partum depression.  My group’s work in this area helped bring attention to the need for regular screening and the opportunity for health departments to implement screening within their Family Case Management and WIC programs.

During my work at the local health department and through networking with other leaders participating in MCHIL; I learned about the need for local representation on a regional child death review team.  I have been participating on this team for ten years and cannot tell you how rewarding it is to see so many caring people from a variety of professions across the state come together for the benefit of children.

In 2000 the Healthy Families Illinois program was implemented under my direction in Stephenson County; and I have gone on to add doula services, and All Our Kids Network, and Teen Parent Services to the array of programs under my supervision and leadership.

In 2003, I was recognized by the Illinois Public Health Nursing Section for my contributions to public health in Illinois; in 2005, I was the recipient of the YWCA’s Women of Excellence award for work within the community; and in 2008, I received recognition from UIC’s College of Nursing’s for advancing nursing leadership in Illinois.

In October I will be celebrating 15 years of work at the health department, and when I look back at all the people I have met, the lives I have touched, I can hardly believe it.

The recognition for doing the work I love is wonderful; however the most rewarding part of the job is the paycheck!  No, not the paycheck you get every two weeks—it is the paycheck you receive daily from the clients and families you work with and serve—it is the paycheck to the heart! I cash at least one daily and feel like I am the richest woman on the face of the earth.  This is what inspires me and every once in awhile I think back to the day I said never, and smile.  The joke’s on me and it was a great one!

By the way, both my step-daughters are UIC grads, one in business and the other in health sciences—maybe a little bit of never will rub off on them. I guess only time will tell.

75th Anniversary of Title V – Emerging Leaders Blog Submissions

In recognition of the rich history of its programs, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) is commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Title V of the Social Security Act.  Since 1935, under the Title V mandate, MCHB has supported continuing education, and later, graduate education programs, that develop the next generation of leaders in the maternal child health (MCH) field.   As part of the commemoration activities taking place, MCHB invites current trainees to contribute to the 75th Anniversary of Title V – Emerging Leaders Blog.

The purpose of the 75th Anniversary of Title V- Emerging Leaders Blog is to generate discussion among MCH leadership trainees about the significance of the Title V program and its contributions to the health and well-being of women, children, adolescents and families.  The blog is a safe space for trainees to share commentary, reflections and personal experiences related to the significance of Title V programs and services, as well as leadership issues related to the programs and services.

Blog submissions may be sent to the MCH Training Resource Center at  Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis through October 14, 2010.  New entries will be posted weekly in September and October (until the 75th anniversary celebration on October 20, 2010.)

Blog submissions should not exceed 500 words. The following are sample blog topics. You may choose from one of the examples below or generate your own Title V MCH Leadership related topic.

•  Experiences as an MCH Leadership Trainee  (e.g., personal commentary; description of an event that has significantly affected your training experience)

•  History of Title V Program (e.g., commentary on specific events; lessons learned from the history that speak to current issues affecting the field)

•  Leadership (e.g., characteristics then and now; regarding a particular MCH issue or population; what will be needed in next 75 years of the program¬preparing future leaders)

Questions about the 75th Anniversary of Title V – Emerging Leaders Blog may be directed to Aisha Moore at Altarum Institute ( or Sue Lin in MCHB’s Division of Research, Training and Education (

UIC Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Title V of the Social Security Act

October marks the 75th Anniversary of Title V of the Social Security Act.  This Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant provides the strong foundation for ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our nation’s women and children.  For additional information about Title V, please visit

In conjunction with this milestone anniversary, the UIC Maternal and Child Health Program is engaging in a variety of MCH-related activities.  These activities include the following:

MCH Story Campaign
We encourage you to share a 1-3 page story about why and how you became involved in your MCH work.  What do you do in the field of MCH?  What inspires you?  How did you get involved in this field?  If you have a story to share, write it up and send it to Amanda Giese (, Chair of the MCH student planning committee, and she will post it on our blog!  Please remember, it’s your stories that will inspire the next generation of MCH professionals.  Please don’t be shy about sharing your story!!  We will be accepting stories between September 13, 2010 and December 20, 2010!

Infant Mortality and Racism Town Hall Meeting
In honor of national efforts to recognize 75 years of MCH programming and future visioning, the  UIC MCHP and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IL Title V program) will sponsor a Town Hall Meeting entitled Infant Mortality and Racism:  What is Holding Us Back and How Do We Move Forward?  This event will take place at the UIC School of Public Health, 1603 W. Taylor Street, Friday, October 29 from 8:30am-1:30pm.  Join us for a presentation of the current state of affairs in Illinois and discussion about infant mortality and racism in Illinois, an exercise about cultural sensitivity, and a candid discussion about what is holding us back and possible next steps.

75th Anniversary of Title V: UIC MCH Seminar Series
Date:  September 15, 2010
Time: 12pm-1pm
Location:  UIC School of Public Health, 1603 W. Taylor St., Chicago, Room 932
Title:  Children’s Savings Accounts – Creating Financial Stability for Illinois’ Children
Speaker:  Chris Giangreco, Senior Policy Associate, Heartland Alliance Needs & Human Rights

Date:  November 10, 2010
Time: 4:30pm-5:30pm
Location:  UIC School of Public Health, 1603 W. Taylor St., Chicago, Room 932
Title: Dancing Around the Body: Sex, Gender, and Intersexuality
Speaker:  Georgiann Davis, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago

For more information visit our website at