Students host symposium on international maternal and child health

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The Maternal and Child Health Student Organization (MCHSO) held its Fourth Annual Symposium on April 11-12 at the USF Marshall Center.  “Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Promise: Maternal and Child Health Worldwide” was the theme of event and it focused on international MCH.

Donna J. Petersen, ScD, MH, dean of the USF College of Public Health, kicked off the two-day symposium with a talk on the global life course perspective. Salimah Walani, PhD, MPH, RN, director of global programs for the March of Dimes, highlighted the organization’s preterm birth initiatives. And, FBI Special Agent Gregory Christopher gave a heart-wrenching presentation on domestic sex trafficking of minors in Tampa Bay. Thursday concluded with student research presentations and a discussion led by Rae Davies, BSH, CD(DONA), LCCE, IBCLC.  She explored the role of doulas and explained the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative.

On Friday, William Sappenfield, MD, MPH provided attendees with a global perspective of MCH. As director of the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, co-chair of the March of Dimes prematurity initiative, and a professor and chair of the Department of Community and Family Health at the USF College of Public Health, he approached MCH from multiple lenses. The day also included presentations on global health education from Andrew Romaner, a COPH alumnus working for the Ministry of Health in South Sudan, and an interactive leadership workshop on the power of polarities led by Russ McCallian, MSM, senior faculty at the Global Markets Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs.



Approximately 70 community members, students, faculty, and staff attended each day of the symposium.

“It was a privilege to be in the presence of so many leaders, educators, and people who are concerned about MCH worldwide. THANK YOU to the Maternal and Child Health Student Organization for providing Tampa Bay with this symposium. It enlightened my knowledge about so many different aspects of MCH,” said one community member.

The USF College of Public Health is the academic home for the Maternal and Child Health Student Organization. To learn more about their initiatives or opportunities for involvement and financial support, visit their website or on Facebook.