MCHSO to hold its 12th annual symposium

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The USF College of Public Health’s (COPH) Maternal and Child Health Student Organization (MCHSO) will hold its 12th annual symposium over the course of two days in partnership with the Chiles Center and the USF Center of Excellence in MCH Education, Science and Practice. The virtual event will be held on March 4 and March 5 from 1-4 p.m. and will focus on “Creating a Better Tomorrow: Prioritizing the Global Strategy.” 

The college’s MCHSO is a forum for all students interested in maternal and child health issues. The group works to educate students about maternal and child health matters—including those that affect families—and connect them with service and learning opportunities. 

According to Sharonda Lovett, president of the MCHSO, this year’s event will highlight global challenges faced by women and children and focus on the effect globalization has on health. The symposium will bring together a diverse group of speakers with backgrounds in medicine, civil engineering, biocultural anthropology, geography and public health. 

Photo taken pre-COVID-19. (Photo source: Pexels Photo)

Some of those on tap to speak are the COPH’s Dean Donna Petersen and faculty members Drs. William Sappenfield, Russell Kirby, Abraham Salinas-Miranda, Miguel Reina and Jaime Corvin.

Others from a variety of USF colleges and institutes will also participate, as will experts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Tulane University and American University in Beirut, Lebanon.

Topics to be discussed include neglected infectious diseases and pregnancy, maternal mortality, adverse sexual and reproductive outcomes in international settings, building sustainable partnerships and COVID-19’s impact on mothers and children.

“Considering the current situation in the world, global health has become increasingly important,” said Tatiana Gerena, MCHSO research and education chair. “Global health is about looking beyond national lines and past a country’s borders to see that we are all facing the same challenges. Nations uniting to address the difficulties they face could go a long way in ensuring that every mother and child truly can be healthy.”

Thanks to its virtual nature, organizers of the symposium hope the event reaches a wider-than-ever audience.

“This is the first time in MCHSO symposium history that the annual event will be facilitated 100 percent online,” noted Lovett. “MCHSO leadership is excited at the prospect of connecting with students, providers, practitioners and advocates who might not have been able to attend prior symposiums due to the in-person format. Concerning students, this year’s symposium has been approved for Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Passport to Professionalism (P2P) opportunities and for the Global Citizens Project (GCP), which focuses on enhancing students’ global knowledge, skills and abilities.”

The deadline to register for the event is March 1. To participate in the live sessions, visit:

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health