Monday, April 21, 2014

School of Public Health Recognizes Outstanding Students and Faculty

The ninth annual Dean's Scholars Dinner and Awards Ceremony on April 17, 2014 honored outstanding School of Public Health students for their academic excellence and achievements in a variety of service activities. Hosted by Dean Jane E. Clark and alumna Gloria Friedgen ('73), the dinner brings together SPH students, their families and friends with the faculty mentors who nominated them for recognition. In addition to student honorees, several faculty members were also inducted into the school's chapter of Delta Omega, the honorary society for public health.

Congratulations to this year's scholars! View the event photo gallery below or on the UMD SPH Flickr site.


Jerry P. Wrenn Endowed Scholarship
Established in 2008, this fund provides scholarships to outstanding SPH seniors who demonstrate financial need. 

This year’s scholarship recipients included: Ruby Abaka-Yankson, Ketlard Boursiquot
Tralisa Colby, Alta Haddock, Paul Levy, Addison Ludwig, Sayyedeh Mariani, Brianna Miller, Elizabeth Nixon, Dominique Smith, W.A. Lawson Smith and Winifred Turyahikayo.

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health

The Gamma Zeta chapter of the Delta Omega honor society in public health has co-sponsored the Public Health Grand Rounds, National Public Health Week Events, and service opportunities. New chapter inductees were nominated by the faculty of their respective units and elected by a representative body of current Delta Omega Gamma Zeta chapter members based on their academic excellence and leadership skills.

2014 inductees include: Jie Chen, Blair Coleman, Jessica DiBari, Alice Horowitz, Graciela Jaschek, Shannon Jette, Marian Moser-Jones, Clark Lee, Sunmin Lee, Julie Maier, Jessica Montresor-Lopez, Rianna Teresa Murray and Lori Simon-Rusinowitz.

Departmental Awards

Behavioral and Community Health

Outstanding Undergraduates Amanda Stucke, Isaiah Bell, Christopher Noronha
David H. Hyde Award Jehan Zaki
Doris Sands Award Yee (Kane) Cheung
Beck-Feldman Public Health Research Award Ellen Clark
Sharon M. Desmond Community Service Award Miriam Mosbacher
Robin G. Sawyer Health Teaching/Communication Award Gabriella Villacis

Family Science
Outstanding Undergraduates: Charlotte McCafferty, Rachel Croce, Christina Luthers
Noel Myricks Endowed Scholarship: Crystal Martin Evelyn Xin-Yu Xu
Ned Gaylin Endowed Scholarship Award: Maya Foster Ana White
Jeanette Spier Beavers Memorial Scholarship: Jocylynn Stephenson
The Greater Washington Latino Mental Health Network Estefania Ospina
Edlavitch Family Science Fund: Natsnet Haileab Aarayn Perez Natalia Seo

Kinesiology
Outstanding Undergraduates: Jessica Carrignan, Theresa Hauge, Jess Nahmias
Alice Morgan Love Scholars Jessica Beck, Antje Hutgren, Daniel Miller, Benjamin O'Hara, Micah Pate, Erin Stout, Corwin Ward, Stephanie Wilson

Dean’s Graduate Scholars

Behavioral & Community Health
PhD - Alyssa Brooks
MPH - Amanda Strausser

Epidemiology & Biostatistics
PhD - Graciela Jaschek
Family Science
PhD - Amanda Ginter
CFT - Jennifer Young

Kinesiology
PhD - Bartlett Russell
MA - Adam Amorese

Health Services Administration
PhD - Kathleen Ruben
MHA - Kathleen McAndrews

Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
PhD - Greg Raspanti
MPH - Meleah Boyle

Dean’s Senior Scholars

The Dean's Senior Scholar awards are given out to the outstanding seniors within the various majors of the School of Public Health and focus on a student's GPA.

Behavioral and Community Health
Brittany EmeIle
Zachary Gilbert
Alexandra Walsh

Department of Family Science
Linda Billotti
Melanie Levin
Hayley Siegel

Department of Kinesiology
Benjamin Brewster
Brooks Leitner
Elizabeth Nixon

Public Health Science Program (at Shady Grove)
Maya Jean-Baptiste
W.A. Lawson Smith
Amber Wilcox

Lester M. Fraley Award

The award is based on academic excellence and achievement, community and campus involvement, leadership, and personal character. The recipient is chosen by the School of Public Health's faculty and given to a student the faculty believes to have the potential to make a difference.

Behavioral and Community Health - Anna Lourie
Family Science - Lindsey Zemeir
Kinesiology- Josh Schimmel
Public Health Science - Eric Jacob Hassani

The dinner was co-sponsored by the School of Public Health and the School of Public Health Alumni Chapter.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Lois Gibbs Urges Strong Voices for Environmental Justice

Lois Gibbs passionately shares her story of the political
fight for justice for Love Canal residents.
Thirty-five years after the Love Canal disaster raised public attention about the serious impacts of chemical waste on health, it is still legal to poison people in the U.S., says grassroots activist Lois Gibbs, and we need to organize communities to speak up about environmental threats to health.

Ms. Gibbs, founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), delivered an inspiring talk on Wednesday, April 16 at the School of Public Health's Third Annual Environmental Justice and Health Lecture.

Ms. Gibbs explained her experience building an association of homeowners in Love Canal, a development that was built on a toxic chemical dump in Niagara Falls, NY, in the late 1970s. Research by the homeowners association showing that 56% of children born in the area had birth defects was initially dismissed as "useless housewife data" by authorities. However, the association's persistent efforts through legal action, public events and a media campaign to bring attention to the sick children eventually led the state and federal government to take action, first by evacuating the area and later by creating legislation to locate and clean up toxic waste sites throughout the United States.


Lois Gibbs was introduced by Sacoby Wilson (right),
Assistant Professor in the Maryland Institute
for Applied Environmental Health and director of the
Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health program
The movement for environmental health faces many of the same political challenges today, Ms. Gibbs noted. Despite having vested interests, oil companies and fracking businesses commission studies that are perceived as sound science, while communities, especially those with high levels of poverty, may not have their voices heard. Chemical plants are issued discharge permits which allow them to release a certain amount of chemicals known to cause cancer. Activists are often ignored by authorities or intimidated by lawsuits from businesses.

"The environmental justice movement needs strong voices," Ms. Gibbs said. She gave advice on how to use health studies and science in political fights and how to plan strategically for confrontation with political leaders. "If you're opposed to fracking in Maryland, you have to be in Governor O'Malley's face," she said. She urged  audience members to get the governor's phone number and make a call to his office to express anger and disapproval about issues like the export of gas extracted by fracking through the Cove Point liquified natural gas export facility in southern Maryland. She jokingly suggested that if you get bad grade or get cut off in traffic, that you can redirect the anger in a constructive way by calling your elected officials!

"We're fighting a political fight," she urges.

liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility
Lois Gibbs displays a copy of
Everyone's Backyard
, CHEJ's newsletter

Left to right: Rebecca Rehr (MPH '12), Rianna Murray (PhD candidate), Lois Gibbs,
and Crystal Romeo Upperman (PhD candidate)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Public Health Research@Maryland 2014 Student Poster Presentation Winners

This past Tuesday, more than 70 graduate and undergraduate students from seven universities, including the University of Maryland, College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore, Morgan State University, Howard University and Coppin State University, showcased their research on critical public health issues at Public Health Research@Maryland, and competed for the best presented posters.

Congratulations to the 2014 PHR@M Day poster winners:

 Family Science Doctoral student Emily Cook with winning poster
Doctoral students:

  •  Luciana Assini (University of Maryland School of Public Health (UMD SPH), Dept. of Behavioral and Community Health), “Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Births among African American Urban Youth” 
  • Emily Cook (UMD SPH, Dept. of Family Science), “Treating Behavioral Health Conditions of OEF/OIF Veterans and their Families: A State Needs Assessment of Civilian Providers”

Environmental Health MPH student Meleah Boyle 
with winning poster
Master's students:

  • Kimberly Stinchcomb (UMD SPH, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health), “A Comparison of 24 Hour Versus First Morning Void Urinary Deoxynivalenol Biomarker Concentration in UK Adults”
  • Meleah Boyle (UMD SPH, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health), “Seasonal Fluctuation in Serum Aflatoxin-Albumin Levels in Children from Guinea, West Africa”

Undergraduate student:

  • Priya Parikh (UMD, Global Public Health Scholars Program), “Engineering and Public Health: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Addressing Water Quality in Compone, Peru” 

Undergraduate winner Priya Parikh with
UMD SPH Dean Jane E. Clark and Dr. Bruce
Jarrell, Chief Academic and Research Officer,
Senior Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School,
University of Maryland Baltimore

Posters were judged for quality based on identification of research problem, appropriateness of research design and data analysis, interpretation of results, clarity of oral presentation, description of relevance of findings to public health and presentation skills.








For the complete list of poster abstracts, visit: http://sph.umd.edu/PHRM/PHRM14posters.pdf.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dr. Carson Smith Addresses Pre-Med Students at Alzheimer’s Research Night


Department of Kinesiology Associate Professor J. Carson Smith, a leading researcher in the effects of exercise and physical activity on human brain function and mental health, spoke to the UMD AMSA chapter (the premedical chapter of the American Medical Student Association) last night at the Stamp Student Union as part of an Alzheimer’s Research Night they organized. Dr. Smith has published research showing that regular exercise may improve cognitive function among older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Marie A. Bernard, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging, whose research interests include nutrition and function in aging populations, with particular emphasis on ethnic minorities, was also invited to speak. Dr. Bernard and Dr. Smith talked about the current state of Alzheimer’s research and how students can get involved in research, awareness and advocacy.

Photos: Top right: Dr. Marie A. Bernard and Dr. J. Carson Smith; below: UMD AMSA members, with Drs. Bernard and Smith

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

National Public Health Week 2014

http://nphw.org
The University of Maryland School of Public Health will observe National Public Health Week by hosting its second annual Public Health Research@Maryland Day on Tuesday, April 8 at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union.  The all day event will recognize contemporary leaders in public health and discuss strategies to address issues including HIV/AIDS, cancer prevention, tobacco control, physical activity, and the public health opportunities and challenges presented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.

sph.umd.edu/phrm
The PHR@M 2014 event will be bookended by keynote lectures from two former U.S. Surgeons General: Dr. David Satcher, who will discuss building leadership teams to address critical public health needs, and Dr. Richard Carmona, who will discuss the future of tobacco control. Student and faculty researchers will showcase new and ongoing research projects via a poster session, and panel sessions will feature public health experts from the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore campuses who are collaborating to improve population health. 

Public Health Research@Maryland Day is an MPowering the State event co-sponsored by the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park and by the School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland Baltimore. This year the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Officers Foundation is also a partner in the event. More information is available at: http://sph.umd.edu/PHRM/. 

In addition to the Public Health Research@Maryland Event, the School of Public Health will host several other events to commemorate National Public Health Week: 

Monday, April 7, 11:30 am -1:00 PM

Nyumburu Cultural Center Networking Reception, Friedgen Family Student Lounge
For SPH students, faculty and staff to network and build bridges with the Nyumburu Cultural Center. Meet Center staff, network, and enjoy food and refreshments.


Wednesday, April 9, 10:00 am
Portraits of Social Change: Meet the Artist Reception

 
Half the Sky Movement at UMD president and artist Melanie Oppenheimer will be here for a “Meet the Artist” Bagel Reception at 10 a.m. in the Student Lounge. Stop by and learn more about how you can get involved with Half the Sky Movement at UMD.Portraits for Social Change will be on exhibit in the School of Public Health lobby throughout Public Health Week, from April 7-11.

Thursday, April 10, 9:30 am-4:30 pm
Test Your Health Literacy
On Thursday, April 10, the school's Horowitz Center for Health Literacy will host an interactive booth at the University of Maryland’s Stamp Student Union from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm  to offer health information, activities and prizes to help students learn about health literacy and how they can take charge of their health.


Thursday, April 10, 5:30-6:30 PM
Health Disparities Lecture by Dr. Stephen B. Thomas 

Maryland Center for Health Equity Director Stephen B. Thomas will speak on strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Francis Scott Key hall, room 0106. Sponsored by the Charles R. Drew Pre-Health Society and open to all students, faculty and staff.

 
Friday, April 11, 10:00 am - 11:30 am, Friedgen Family Student Lounge 
National Launch of the 2014 Town Hall Meetings To Prevent Underage Drinking

Friday, April 11, the University of Maryland School of Public Health wil host the National Launch of the 2014 Town Hall Meetings To Prevent Underage Drinking. The meetings are sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Office of the Surgeon General, and the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, which is co-led by Amelia Arria, PhD, director of the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Center for Young Adult Health and Development. The first meeting’s speakers will include Pamela S. Hyde, JD, SAMHSA administrator, Rear Admiral Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH, Acting Surgeon General, and Dr. Arria. The Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems is a statewide initiative involving 11 participating universities that are working together with community partners to reduce college alcohol use and create environments, policies and practices that support a safe and healthy college experience for students. Register to attend at:  https://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings/_SGreg/registration.aspx     

Friday and Saturday , April 11, 12 Gymkana Homeshow On Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12, the University of Maryland's Gymkana Troupe will host its its 67th annual gymnastic exhibition, showcasing high-flying acrobatic circus performances by the Troupe's 80+ members. Based in the School of Public Health, Gymkana has a community outreach mission and serves to promote healthy, drug-free living.



National Public Health Week is observed during the first full week of April each year to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the health of our nation. Visit nphw.org to learn more.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Support Public Health Terps on Scholarship Day, Dec. 11!


For 24 hours on Dec. 11, the University of Maryland is hosting Scholarship Day, our first-ever, 24-hour giving challenge to support student scholarships.
The School of Public Health is calling on all alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends to give any amount they can to support undergraduate student scholarships for public health students. Each school and college can qualify for matching scholarship funds by getting the most donors.

Any amount you can give will go to help students in need. 

Scholarships are critical to recruiting the best and most diverse student body to Maryland. They change lives. And the public health students and alumni who received them are changing lives everyday. Your contribution to the School of Public Health scholarship fund can help support students like these.

Spread the word and help the School of Public Health win the Scholarship Day challenge!

Ana Martinez, junior
Family Science


Ana Martinez with Dean Jane Clark and Dr. Elaine Anderson.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Ana is the first in her family to go to college. She is pursuing her degree in Family Science and is interested in a career helping Latino families, and specifically women, who have abusive partners.

She wants to eliminate the negative effects of machismo and patriarchy in families. Ana also wants her work to support parents in creating safe and loving environments for children as well as alternative coping/support systems for stress.

Ana is a recipient of the Noel Myricks Scholarship from the Department of Family Science, which helped supplement her financial aid and offset the financial burden on her parents.

She said the scholarship makes it easier for her parents to know they don’t have to struggle or work harder for her to achieve her goals. Ana hopes to eventually pursue a master’s degree in counseling.

Tawanna Sawyer, '12 
Behavioral and Community Health

Tawanna Sawyer was named the Anne Arundel County 
Health Dept's "Person of the Year" in 2013. 
She is pictured here with her supervisor, HIV/STD Prevention
 and Care Program Administrator James Leber.
After 17 years, Tawanna Sawyer, ’12, decided she wanted to go back to school. And the mother of seven had a very specific goal in mind: 

“I wanted to be on the forefront of health issues – to be able to go out and speak with minority, underserved communities,” she says. 

A first generation college student, Tawanna felt it was important to connect with her community, particularly the underserved members. 

She worked with the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center to research the effect of HIV on minorities, an experience that helped her secure a position at the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. She was recognized as an outstanding undergraduate student and awarded the David Hyde scholarship from the Department of Behavioral and Community Health.

In 2013, Tawanna was named the Anne Arundel Health Department’s Person of the Year for her involvement in the community. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in social work to further her impact on community health.

Isaiah Bell, sophomore
Behavioral and Community Health
Isaiah Bell knew even before he got to Maryland that he wanted to spend his life educating others about health.

A beneficiary of the Incentive Awards Program, geared toward helping outstanding young people faced with adversities in their personal lives, Isaiah set out to make the most of his college experience, for himself and those around him.

The sophomore Behavioral and Community Health major is known throughout the department as hardworking and personable, and for his campus-wide commitment to improving the health and well being of his peers.

He serves as a University Peer Educator with the Sexual Health and Reproductive Education (SHARE) Program and a peer counselor with the UMD Help Center

“SHARE was pretty much the reason I wanted to come to Maryland,” said Isaiah, whose interest in peer education started in high school when he volunteered at Planned Parenthood doing community health outreach.

Isaiah is now leaning toward a career in occupational therapy.

As the Community Chair representative for the Incentive Awards Program, Isaiah is in charge of putting together community service events.

“This semester I hosted KEEN, which is Kids Engaged in Exercise Now, where you work with kids with special needs. And I tell you those kids touched my life. It was a really humbling experience that made me want to continue working with kids with disabilities and help them develop motor skills.” 



Chris Day, '12 (right), with Kinesology instructor Susan Kogut
Chris Day, '12
Kinesiology

Chris Day, ’12, entered the Army just out of high school. After four years of service with 27 months in Afghanistan under his belt, Chris came back from active duty and immediately enrolled in the University of Maryland.

“When I was in Afghanistan, the two things I missed most were sports and kids, and so when I got back I merged those two and decided to get my degree in physical education,” he says.

Making the shift from active duty in Afghanistan to living in a freshman dorm was quite a change of scenery for Chris, but he excelled in his program and was recognized as the Physical Education “major of the year” in 2010.

Chris benefitted from scholarship support including the Alice Morgan Love Scholarship and the Quinn Scholarship from the Department of Kinesiology. He was also named a Merrill Presidential Scholar in 2012.

“As a student, you have so many stressors going on, and any scholarship you can get brings a little peace of mind,” Chris recalls.

Since graduating, Chris is working as the physical education teacher and assistant athletic director at Springbrook High school in Montgomery County. He says that he loves to work with students that really benefit from the extra attention that he can give. “Whenever the light appears at the end of the tunnel that I have been trying to direct them towards, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

World AIDS Day events, Dec. 2-7, 2013

The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center is working with the Prince George's County HIV Taskforce and community partners to host several events in observance of World AIDS Day.

The events are designed to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in Prince George's County and beyond.



Monday, December 2

Free HIV and syphilis testing — 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
Prince George's Community College, Largo Student Center, 101 Largo Road, Largo, Md.
Heart to Hand, Inc. is providing free HIV and STI testing. Tray Chaney from HBO's The Wire will be there supporting World AIDS Day. Light refreshments will be served with entertainment including a theater group and Chaney's song "Live (World AIDS Anthem)."


Tuesday, December 3

Living With (AIDS) - Hear Greg's Story — 6:30 p.m.
UMD Stamp Student Union, Charles Carroll B
Alpha Theta Gamma Multicultural Sorority is sponsoring the event that discusses living with AIDS through a speaker with first hand experience.

 

Wednesday, December 4

HIV testing and discussion session — 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veteran's Plaza, Silver Spring, Md
African American Health Program and Community Education Group will hold HIV testing and a discussion session called "Getting to Zero" A Community Discussion.

Screening of The Other City
6 p.m.
at the University Health Center
Sahet Room (room 1150)
 
The Sexual Health Education and Prevention (SHEP) and Sexual Health And Reproduction Education (SHARE)  peer education groups will screen a documentary about HIV/AIDS in Washington by Susan Koch. The film highlights the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC. The screening is hosted by Jose Ramirez, who is featured in the film. A panel featuring members of the documentary will follow the film. Free pizza will be served.


 

 

Thursday, December 5

Condom Couture — 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Stamp Student Union, Grand Ballroom
SHARE, Bedsider UMD, and Theta Pi Sigma present Condom Couture, a fashion show with pieces made solely from condoms to promote safe sex and healthy sexual decisions. The event will feature live entertainment, a photo booth, door prizes, and food and drink during the reception at 5:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to dress in formal attire. The event is free but donations will be given to the Whitman Walker AIDS Walk Washington.

Free rapid HIV testing
11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 

University Health Center,
Ground Floor
The entire campus community can get same-day results from and HIV test for free. Tests are performed on a first-come, first-served basis.


Friday, December 6

Forum on HIV and Stigma— 6 - 9:30 p.m.
Solid Rock Full Gospel Baptist Church
7711Walker Mill Drive, Capital Heights, Md.
Linda Scruggs, minister at Solid Rock Full Gospel Baptist Church, is hosting a spaghetti dinner (6-6:45 PM) which will be followed by a forum including guest speakers, testimonials, videos on barriers to wellness, and a panel discussion on the HIV epidemic from an interventionist perspective. There will be an adult session for questions and answers and a youth session with HIV testimonials. (General admission)


Saturday, December 7 

Prayer Breakfast — 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Solid Rock Full Gospel Baptist Church
7711Walker Mill Drive, Capital Heights, Md.
Solid Rock Full Gospel Baptist Church is hosting an invitation only prayer breakfast for family members affected by HIV. To receive an invitation, contact Solid Rock (301-499-1001) or Heart to Hand (301-772-0103).  The intimate program will include guest speakers from the Prince George's County Health Department, Health Officer Pamela Creekmur, and Program Chief Gwen Anderson.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SPH students and faculty honored at Merrill Presidential Scholarship Program

Two students and three faculty members in the School of Public Health were honored Friday at the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholarship Program, which celebrates the university’s most prestigious seniors and their designated mentors from Maryland and K-12.

Family Science senior Linda Billotti (center) with mentors
Dr. Marian Moser Jones (right) and high school teacher
Gretchen Martin. 
SPH seniors Linda Billotti and Joshua Schimmel chose Dr. Marian Moser Jones from the Department of Family Science and Dr. Eva Chin from the Department of Kinesiology, respectively, as their university mentors. Dr. Donna Howard from the Department of Behavioral and Community Health was selected by a senior in Undergraduate Studies, marking the fourth time in the last seven academic years that she has been recognized as a mentor by the program.

Billotti expressed gratitude for Dr. Jones’s guidance during her time at Maryland, writing in her program profile that Dr. Jones helped her explore different career paths and open her eyes to new perspectives. Billotti, who will pursue a career in social work, credited Dr. Jones for providing her with first-hand experience and opportunities that have pointed her down the road to success.

Schimmel credited Dr. Chin with reaffirming his desire to expand his knowledge and “research the unknown” as a kinesiology major. Dr. Chin granted Schimmel an opportunity to perform research in her muscle physiology lab and to pursue an independent research study of his own in the Spring 2013 semester. 

Kinesiology senior Joshua Schimmel with mentors
Dr. Eva Chin (right) and high school teacher Laura Mattick.
Undergraduate studies major Rebecca Silverman called Dr. Howard “an extremely dedicated, passionate and brilliant teacher who serves as the faculty mentor for my individual studies major, global women's health.” Dr. Howard’s Introduction to Public Health class sparked a growing interest in the subject for Silverman. The senior said Dr. Howard’s passion for public health has led to her own increasing passion for the field and has inspired her to continue to work hard and pursue the things that excite her. Silverman called Dr. Howard “an example and a role model” who took on the responsibility of overseeing Silverman’s major despite an already busy schedule.

Global Women's Health senior Rebecca Silverman (right) with
Behavioral and Community Health faculty mentor

Dr. Donna Howard.
The students received the designation of Merrill Presidential Scholars for their outstanding undergraduate achievements, and scholarships were given in the name of their K-12 mentors to a new first-year student from the teacher’s school district.

The program looks to build a community of scholars, university faculty members, and K-12 teachers that celebrates the importance of mentoring and teaching and fosters a future of mentorship for the next generation.







Monday, November 18, 2013

Sharing the Gospel of Health: SPH partners with local churches to improve community health

M-PACT’s pilot session at Maple Springs Baptist Church raises awareness for men and
their health partners about prostate cancer early detection and screening.


School of Public Health (SPH) researchers met with faith leaders from Prince George’s County in early November to discuss long-term strategies for meeting community health needs.

Some of the critical issues identified were a need for preventive care and health education, and the development of free health clinics and centers.

The School of Public Health’s goal for the forum and ongoing relationship with local faith organizations is to create lasting solutions that will have a sustainable effect on the community, said Dean Jane Clark.

“In discussing the critical issue of our project’s sustainability, our hope is that we can make an impact not only for the present, but also the future,” she said.

Faith communities participating in the discussion included First United Methodist Church, Greater Beulah Baptist Church, St. Paul Church, Miracle Center of Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Greater Saint John Church and Mt. Victory Baptist Church. 

Dr. Cheryl L. Holt, an associate professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, has been building relationships with these local churches for several years through her CHAMP Health cancer education projects, which include the M-PACT (Men’s Prostate Awareness Church Training) program and Project HEAL (Health through Early Awareness and Learning).


Minetta Coles, Community Health Advisor from Maple Springs
Baptist Church, relays important information to female participants
about prostate cancer awareness and screening for the men
 in their lives.
Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, M-PACT is a faith-based intervention program designed to increase African American men’s informed decision making about prostate cancer screening. Project HEAL, also a long-term intervention program, is supported by the National Cancer Institute and aims to increase screening for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer through African American faith-based settings. 

The CHAMP (Community Health Awareness, Messages, and Prevention) Health projects use safe and familiar faith-based environments to build relationships between researchers and community members. Initiatives include training local congregation members as “community health advisors” who can help educate peers and assist with screening and treatment options. These programs have already been effective in increasing knowledge about cancer, cancer screening behaviors, and perceived benefits of screening.

Holt, together with Dr. Muhiuddin Haider, research associate professor of environmental health, led the forum to discuss ways to sustain the impact of the educational initiatives introduced via Holt’s community-based cancer prevention projects.

Dr. Haider recommended several strategies to accomplish this -- including that the churches formally establish health ministries, dedicate a portion of church funds to support the health promotion activities and continue to train and support community health advisors working in the congregations.

Holt and Haider were joined by Col. Jimmie Slade, Executive Director of Community Ministry of Prince George’s County.  Community Ministry serves as a liaison to the faith-based community, and plays a key role in the aforementioned projects.  This includes building the faith-based partnerships and playing a central role in project staffing and scientific decision making.

African Americans are 25 percent more likely to die from all cancers than Whites, and early detection through screening, along with preventive health care, is critical to saving lives. By partnering with communities to reach people where they live, work, play and pray, public health researchers at the University of Maryland are hoping to have a substantial – and sustainable – impact on reducing health disparities and extending lives.


Please visit www.champhealth.org for more information.