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    Fighting for Social Justice through Public Health

    MSM professors, students and researchers are joining a “meeting of the minds” at the world’s largest public health conference to fight for social justice.

    Fighting for Social Justice through Public Health

    Eleven professors, students and researchers from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) took part in the “meeting of the minds” at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting Nov. 6-10, 2010 to tackle the issue of social justice in public health.

    The meeting – the largest of its kind in the world – brought together more than 12,000 public health experts to address major health challenges in the U.S., with a special focus on exploring why certain populations bear a disproportionate burden of disease and mortality.

    As the number-one ranked medical school in the country for social mission, MSM was an important part of the conversation on health inequities and public health. Here’s a summary of who was there from MSM and what they contributed:

    Fatou Ceesay, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant, Community Health & Preventive Medicine

    Presented: Pregnancy outcomes among Ghanaian sickle cell patients; preventing malaria and anemia in pregnancy.
    Take Away: Pregnant sickle cell patients are at higher risk of seizures and cesarean sections, but counseling, good prenatal care and effective physician intervention can minimize problems.

    Katherine Erwin, DDS, MPA, MS, Assistant Professor, Community Health & Preventive Medicine

    Presented: Predictors and prevalence of cigar use among 18 to 25-year-olds.
    Take Away: Cigar use decreases with educational attainment – high school graduates and college graduates are significantly less likely to light up. Anything on decreasing usage among the 18-25 crowd?

    Stephanie Hall, Student, Master of Public Health Program

    Presented: Stress and coping among students in health profession programs: An HBCU experience.
    Take Away: Health professions students attending an HBCU reported high levels of stress in a survey study. Self-blame, self-distraction and emotional coping strategies were found to predict stress levels.

    Venice Haynes, MSPH, Research Assistant, Community Health & Preventive Medicine

    Presented: Successes of the REACH/SUCCEED Legacy program in providing breast and cervical cancer education and screenings in African-American communities.
    Take Away: A mix of one-on-one educational sessions, community events and faith-based workshops are keys to success for MSM’s breast and cervical cancer community education program.

    Megan Ivankovich, MPH, ORISE Fellow, Center of Excellence for Sexual Health

    Presented: The influence of maternal characteristics on contraceptive use after abortion.
    Take Away: Poor, uneducated women with children are less likely to practice safe, effective contraceptive use after having an abortion, so effective intervention must target this population.

    Thomas J. Kim, MD, MPH, Telehealth Project Manager, Regional Coordinating Center for Hurricane Response

    Presented: Telehealth in a post-Katrina Gulf Coast; Requirements of strong and sustainable telehealth programs.
    Take Away: The success of telehealth programs hinges on administrative commitment, adequate support, effective operating guidelines, appropriate implementation and buy-in from stakeholders.

    Tamica Moon, MPH, Research Assistant, Community Health & Preventive Medicine

    Presented: Factors influencing the use of mosquito bed nets in southeastern Nigeria.
    Take Away: Knowledge of malaria prevention leads to bed net use, but more research is needed to understand the best ways to drive bed net use in Nigerian communities.

    Ayanna Robinson, MPH, Research Assistant, Community Health & Preventive Medicine

    Presented: Breast is best: A breastfeeding intervention program for young minority mothers.
    Take Away: Breastfeeding rates among African-American mothers are low; a targeted intervention program in Atlanta will seek to change attitudes and beliefs about breastfeeding.

    Nana Otoo Wilson, MPH, Research Assistant, Microbiology, Biochemistry & Immunology

    Presented: Pregnancy outcomes among Ghanaian sickle cell patients; preventing malaria and anemia in pregnancy.
    Take Away: Intermittent preventive treatment using the anti-malarial drug sulphadoxine-pyrimethane is effective in preventing malaria and anemia among pregnant women in Accra, Ghana.

    Nastassia Laster, MPH, Research Assistant, Prevention Research Center

    Presented: Impact of a culturally sensitive model to address HIV/AIDS and hepatitis disparities among African-Americans in metro Atlanta.
    Take Away: MSM’s Health, Enlightenment, Awareness and Living (HEAL) Program has successfully increased hepatitis knowledge and decreased cigarette smoking and other risky behaviors that can lead to hepatitis.