Chiles Center Symposium highlights recent work in community and family health

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The USF College of Public Health’s Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies strives to integrate and apply the best in evidence-based research, education, practice, and service to promote optimal health and well-being across the life-course.

Faculty, staff and students disseminated their findings through the Chiles Center Symposium held in April, featuring presentations, research posters, and a keynote guest lecture.

This year’s annual symposium was led by the Chiles Center’s director Dr. William Sappenfield and was attended by the COPH dean Dr. Donna Petersen and the former founding Chiles Center director Dr. Charlie Mahan.

This year’s faculty and student presentations highlighted the research done by Florida Covering Kids & Families (FL-CKF).

Project director Jodi Ray led the discussion and presentations included overviews from FL-CKF staff Xongenese Jacobs, Katie Roders-Turner, Sarah Brumley, and Ashley Richards.

They discussed the Florida network of navigators assisting Florida’s children, families, and military families with becoming insured and understanding insurance programs.

FL-CKF staff answer questions from the audience regarding their work (from left): Xongenese Jacobs, Sarah Brumley, Ashley Richards, and Katie Roders-Turner. (Photo courtesy of Erika Thompson)

Other presentations included:

  • Cheryl Vamos, assistant professor in CFH: research on current and future efforts for integrating oral health care during the prenatal period
  • Chinyere Reid, CFH doctoral student: survey research on the perinatal quality improvement capacity in Florida’s Hospitals
  • Grace Liggett, CFH MPH student, and Stacey Griner, CFH doctoral student: qualitative research on behalf of Dr. Erika Thompson on perspectives of preventing sexual transmission of the Zika virus in Florida
  • Alexis Barr-Wood, CFH doctoral student: secondary investigation of the influence of grandmothers on breastfeeding

Grace Liggett and Stacey Griner presenting on Zika research. (Photo courtesy of Erika Thompson)

The annual Charles S. Mahan, M.D. Award for Best Student MCH Paper was presented to Sabrina Luke.

This award recognizes the best paper authored by a College of Public Health student on maternal and child health by providing a $500 award.

Sabrina Luke earned the Charles S. Mahan, M.D. Award for Best Student MCH Paper. (Photo courtesy of Erika Thompson)

Following presentations and awards, all attending guests and speakers were invited to view research posters, network with potential colleagues, and meet the authors.

Guests enjoyed a complimentary luncheon. (Photo courtesy of Erika Thompson)

The symposium also featured a session where attendees could speak to faculty, staff and students of the Chiles Center regarding their latest work to promote the health and well-being of the community. (Photo courtesy of Erika Thompson)

Dr. Arthur R. James, an OB/GYN, pediatrician, and a professor at The Ohio State University delivered the keynote address, “Equity…A Dream Deferred,” discussing infant mortality rates among African-American and Caucasian babies.

African-American babies’ survival rates lag behind Caucasian babies, and racism may be a contributing factor, according to James.

He spoke on social determinants and its effects on the health and delivery of African-American babies, and how to improve infant mortality rates among African-American babies.

James continues to work towards closing the gap of infant mortality rates between African-American and Caucasian babies set by Healthy People 2020.

Dr. Arthur R. James of The Ohio State University College of Medicine delivered the keynote address at the 2017 Annual Chiles Lecture and Symposium. (Photo courtesy of Erika Thompson)

Story by Theresa Nguyen, USF College of Public Health