MCH Student eNewsletter

September, 2019

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1. Welcome!

We hope everyone had a great first week of Fall semester! Please see #20 below for a welcome from MCH Program Chair Ellen Demerath.

2. MCH Student Specific Resource Information

Please see the attached PDF to learn about all of the resources that the Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health has for you.

-Learn about resources

Center Announcements

3. MCH Alumna Panel

We are delighted to be hosting an MCH Alumna Panel on October 4th from 1:30 - 2:30 pm in Jackson Hall 2-137. The panel will be hosted during Professor Slaughter-Acey's Women's Health class. (More information coming soon!)

4. New MCH Student Group!

This new student group will serve as a campus community for any student who is interested in Maternal and Child Health. The group will organize community service projects, and hold monthly meetings for discussions about MCH related content. If you are interested in participating or becoming an officer please fill out this short form.

5. LET-MCH Qualitative Mini-Lab

The goal of the mini-lab is to support the growing interest in qualitative research among public health researchers and practitioners. There is now an FAQ section that has been added to the Mini-Lab page. If you have any questions about the mini-lab, submit your questions here!

7. New Student Spotlight!

Hannah McNamee's experience with the Minnesota Prison Doula Project influenced her interests in incarcerated women's health and led her to create a women's health curriculum at the Minnesota's Correctional Facility in Shakopee. To learn more about Hannah's time at SPH, click here!

Student Deployment and Internship Opportunities

Several student internship and deployment opportunities are listed on the Center website. To view position and application details, please visit the student opportunities page here.

8. Find Your Power Research and Evaluation Intern

The intern will be responsible for understanding the needs of FYP’s target population, primarily through focus group facilitation and individual research and analysis.

-View application details here

9. MN Department of Health (MDH) Maternal Mortality Review Project (MMMRP) Intern

This internship position’s emphasis is supporting work around addressing maternal health outcomes with a particular focus on maternal mortality and morbidity in Minnesota and nationally. The Minnesota Maternal Mortality Review Project is a statewide initiative to improve the health outcomes for pregnant women, by preventing maternal death through developing recommendations from case reviews.

-Learn more about the position here

10. MDH Strategy Action Team Member

The student will assist MDH staff from the Division of Child and Family Health in the development of an evidence-based strategy action plan that will be created in partnership with stakeholders based upon the needs that were identified in an extensive process. The student will complete preliminary strategy literature searches on priority needs.

-View application information here


11. U of M Farmers Market

The U of M Farmers Market returns to campus every Wednesday from 11 am -2 pm on the Gateway Plaza, just outside McNamara Alumni Center, through September 25. The market features Twin Cities-area vendors who travel two hours or less to sell a variety of fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

12. EpiCH Fall Seminar Series

All students are invited to attend EpiCH Seminars, held on Fridays from 10am - 11am in WBOB room 364.

9/13/19: Rich Maclehose, EpiCH: Get Off My Lawn: A Manifesto

9/27/19: Daheia Barr Anderson, Kinesiology, UMN: Yoga Intervention to Reduce Sedentary Behavior and Stress in African American Women

-Check for future seminars here- coming soon!

13. 2019 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Summit

The Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Summit is an inspiring and insightful conference dedicated to advancing adolescent sexual health and development. This will be held on Monday, September 9th from 8:30am - 5pm. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health.

-Learn more here

14. 2019 Minnesota Reproductive and Sexual Health Update

The Minnesota Reproductive and Sexual Health Update is an annual conference convening health care providers, educators, and others in the field of reproductive and sexual health. The event will hosted on Tuesday, September 10th from 8am - 5:30 pm. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health.

-To register for this event

Competency Corner

15. MCH Knowledge Base/Context

Every month we’ll send you information on MCH Navigator training organized around the 12 MCH Leadership Competencies. Each competency sits within one of three larger foci areas: self, others and the community. This month we will focus on Competency #1: MCH Knowledge Base/Context.

Maternal and Child Health is a specialty area within the larger field of public health, and it focuses on the promotion of the health and wellbeing of all women, children, adolescents, and families. Rooted in the life course perspective, MCH acknowledges periods of human development that present the opportunity for risk and development over the life span.

-Learn More About MCH Knowledge and Context


16. Maternal and Child Health History Timeline!

The MCH timeline is an orientation tool for those who are new to the MCH profession, MCHB grantees, and MCH trainees/students. The timeline spans MCH history from 1798 to the present day.

-To view the timeline

17. Training Portal on Life-course Theory and Social Determinants of Health

This Training Bundle contains tailored learning opportunities on the leading conceptual models utilized in the field of MCH. Participants will learn the importance of Life Course and Social Determinants Frameworks, Behavior Change theories and other models with respect to the field of MCH.

-View training module here

18. Check-out the New UMN Exhibit Exploring History of LGBTQ Student Activism

A new exhibit opened in June at the University of Minnesota, highlighting the school’s first LGBTQ student organization.

-Learn more here

19. Get to know the UMN Campus!

Check out this checklist of events and places to visit while on campus.

-View the list here

20. Welcome from Ellen Demerath

Hello MCH-ers!

So great to have everyone here for the semester! Welcome again!

By way of introduction, I am a biological anthropologist by training and have spent the past 20 years studying the complex genetic, familial, and nutritional relationships that shape how children grow, develop, and achieve optimal health for them, with a particular focus on the transgenerational transmission of obesity risk. This broad research interest is probably why I teach such disparate classes: in the MCH MPH Program, I teach Child Health (PubH 6606), while in the Epidemiology MPH Program I teach Genetics in Public Health (PubH 6381) and in the Public Health Nutrition MPH Program I teach Nutritional Assessment (PubH 6915). My current major research projects examine the epigenetics of obesity and biological aging, and the role of maternal nutritional status in altering breast milk composition and lactation success.

How did a biological anthropologist become a maternal and child health researcher and teacher? I loved being an anthropologist. I deeply immersed myself through participant-observational research in a local culture (in my case, a rural fishing village in Papua New Guinea). What I saw and wrote about was that changing foodways, the product of rapid economic change and globalization had two sides: first, a benefit in a reduction in child malnutrition; and second, a down-side: increased adulthood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes prevalence. What public health, and maternal and child health specifically, adds to this picture is that we have a primary mission to improve health, beyond analyzing and comparing. We advocate for communities. We gather data to aid in prioritizing populations and communities and problems for allocation of public health resources. We read the literature to know not only WHAT the science says but how those findings can be USED to create better interventions and programs to reduce disparities. Same questions, often similar methods, but often different goals. That ethical focus really drew me toward public health science.

The University of Minnesota is a gorgeous campus full of hard-working, curious, and intellectually generous students and teachers. I do believe we are “driven to discover” and do so in a rather humble, Minnesotan manner! We don’t brag about what we do, which is so refreshing, we just do it. The downside is that with SO many things going on, SO many experts and potential collaborators and opportunities, it can be overwhelming. Like a kid in a candy store….TOO MANY options. I think that is the hardest thing is to pare it down to what I am MOST interested in spending my time on. That is an important thing for you to be considering here as well……being in an MPH Program is training for a career, but it is also a time to sift through different ideas and issues to see which ones you feel strongest about pursuing in your next phase.

I have a few recommendations:

  • Please do meet with your academic advisor and if you aren’t feeling like they are helping you, let me know! They are the best people to help you decide which path to go for your Integrated Learning Experience and can give you names of other people they know who are interested in your areas

  • Take the time to prepare for your Applied Practice Experience by querying the SPH searchable Field Experience database a few months in advance of the term you wish to start.

  • Talk to the EpiCH academic student services group (especially Shelley and Marlin) often, for answers to all of your questions on courses and meeting the requirements of the degree

  • Visit the SPH Career Services office once in your first year, and once in your second year

  • Focus less on grades in courses and more on choosing courses that expand your MCH skills and on getting immersed in ideas with your fellow students, mentors, and co-workers.

  • Sit outside and have a cup of coffee: enjoy these fall days before it gets really cold!

Favorite things to do to relax in the Twin Cities? The answer depends on the season!

  • Summer: Kayaking on area lakes with my daughters; Lake Harriet is my favorite

  • Fall: Walking tours of our interesting neighborhoods and historical sites with the Minnesota Historical Society. I especially love going to the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins and Mill Museum right near my office at WBOB.

  • Winter: Loppet Luminary Cross-country skiing event on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. So magical. Where else are there bonfires marking your ski trail? But so cold, so the next best thing is to soak up needed moisture at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at Como Park in Saint Paul

  • Spring: We don’t have spring, just a few weeks of mud. So, in “Spring” I would say, keep trying to go outside to avoid seasonal sadness.

I hope that answers some of your questions about who I am and how I can best help you. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about my research, courses, and/or experiences. I look forward to another successful year with you in the Maternal and Child Health program!

-Ellen Demerath

The aims of the Center include providing continuing professional education in maternal and child health (MCH) and support for students in online and in-person MCH graduate programs at the University of Minnesota. Center and MCH Program faculty are involved in research and training in infant and child health, adolescent health, family health, health disparities, reproductive health, and women's health.

The Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T76MC00005 for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health in the amount of $1,725,000. This information or content and conclusions of our outreach products are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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