MCH Student eNewsletter

May 2021

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A Message from Program Chair, Dr. Ellen Demerath

The mission of Maternal and Child public health is to use our research skills to develop and deploy evidence-based programs to protect and promote the optimal health of women, children, youth, families, and vulnerable communities.

However, we cannot fully achieve this goal unless we acknowledge that racism is a public health crisis and that it directly impacts the health outcomes of our communities and the families and

individuals we serve. The physical and mental health of the Black community, other communities of color, and indigenous peoples today, and the disparities we observe here, are the product of the intergenerational and chronic stress caused by individual and systemic racism.

Given the recent events and collective reckoning around the killing of George Floyd and others, we in Minnesota are reminded of how urgent this issue is. As graduates of the University of Minnesota Maternal and Child Health program, we know you will be actively working to use your learning to dismantle racism and bring about real change.

Be bold, brave, and courageous as you go out to lead in this work,

wherever that work may take you.

--Ellen W. Demerath, PhD

Program Chair, MCH MPH Program

Center Announcements

1. Extended Deadline: Send Your VideoHug and Congratulations to the MCH Graduating Class

We need more messages! Congratulate the UMN MCH Class of 2021 with a video hug! To gift a video wish to the UMN MCH Class of 2021, submit here by Friday, May 14! 2021 graduates are welcome and encouraged to submit messages to their cohort, too!

2. 2020 MN Women’s Health Report Card (MN-WHRC): A Snapshot of Minnesotan Women’s Health

The Report Card has been updated with new data about COVID-19, LGBTQ health, demographics and more thanks to the efforts of many, including MCH students!

There are many local and national data sources that can be accessed to learn about the status of women’s health in MN. However, there is no one source that provides Minnesotans with a comprehensive review of the specific indicators of and barriers to women’s health. In order to paint a broad picture of how Minnesota’s women are faring, we have worked with the MN Department of Health (MDH) to comb through the latest data and compile the 2020 MN-WHRC, which provides citizens, public health professionals, policymakers and others with a short, visual synopsis that highlights key areas of women’s health.

–Download the Report Card (PDF)

–Visit the MN-WHRC webpage

3. Thank You MCH Students!

These MCH students received Center funds to support state agencies, local public health units, community organizations, schools and the Center in 2020-2021, an unprecedented year. Thank you for all that you contribute to improve the health of MCH populations, the public’s health and our university community!

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4. Student Spotlight: How is Olivia Sullivan Working to Support Incarcerated Parents and their Families with the Minnesota Department of Health?

Olivia Sullivan wrote this reflection on how her work with Dr. Rebecca Shlafer and recent deployment with the MDH have contributed to her experiences in the MCH Program.

5. TA Corner: Dr. Zobeida Bonilla’s Technical Assistance (TA) with Our Bodies, Ourselves–An Enduring Voice on Sexual and Reproductive Health

May is Reproductive Health Awareness Month, which focuses on raising awareness for comprehensive, evidence-based reproductive health education. From May 9-15, 2021 National Women’s Health Week is also celebrated. In this TA Corner, we share Dr. Zobeida Bonilla’s involvement with the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (aka Our Bodies Ourselves), a women’s health organization that started in 1970 as a group of women in the Boston area who published Our Bodies, Ourselves, the classic book on sexual and reproductive health.

-Learn more

6. MCH Trainee Blog: Cultural Competency

Osmari Novoa is an MPH Candidate at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, affiliated with the HRSA-funded MCH Catalyst Program. She reflects on the importance of developing MCH Leadership Competency 7: Cultural Competency in her recent experience with the Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade that has prepared her as she begins her Ph.D. in Health Disparities.

-Read more about Osmari’s experience

7. Congratulations Delaine Anderson

8. Maternal and Child Health Interest Group (MCHIG) Launches New Website

The new MCHIG website is available here. Bookmark it to stay tuned for future events. Email for more information on the student group and opportunities to participate.

MCH Events

9. Public Health Matters—MPHA Policy Forum Series: "Environmental Health: Is Thereustice for All?"

May 7, 2021 | 7:15 AM - 9:30 AM CST


Join Minnesota’s public health community in this thought‐provoking breakfast conversation. The final forum of this MPHA series will examine the public health response to environmental health. Participants will ponder the question, "What can we do better?" Co-sponsored by the Center.

-Register here

MCH in the News

10. Racism is Making Us Sick. How Can Equity in Medicine Help Us Heal?

The George Floyd killing caused deep trauma for many people of color in MN. The trial of former officer Derek Chauvin has revealed how witnesses to the event continue to suffer. In this panel discussion, two doctors and a medical researcher–MCH Program alumnae J'Mag Karbeah (MPH ‘17)–talk about how racism affects their patients’ health, and how racism in medicine leads to inadequate medical education and poor care.

11. How is the BCBSA Aiming To Reduce Racial Disparities in Maternal Health by 50% in the Next 5 Years?

Associate Professor Dr. Rachel Hardeman is on the board of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) which has recently launched a national strategy to address racial health disparities, starting with maternal health. The BCBSA is aiming to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50% in the next 5 years.

-Read more

MCH Competency Corner

12. MCH Competency #9: Developing Others Through Teaching, Coaching and Mentoring

MCH leaders should be able to demonstrate foundational and advanced skills in teaching, coaching and mentoring others. We design learning environments, help people set and reflect on their goals and influence the professional growth of others.

-Learn more about developing others


13. Leadership in Research Workshop: Developing and Managing a Research Team

June 22 & 29 | July 20 & 27 | August 10 & 24, 2021 | 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM CST


This workshop brings directors and managers of community indicators projects, economic and workforce development research together. Through facilitated discussions, scenario-based group exercises and open peer-to-peer exchanges, participants will hone their skills in strategic planning, team management and development, and budgeting. The course will impart innovative strategies and tools for defusing challenging situations, expanding research networks, and attracting new resources, and communicating effectively with internal and external customers.

Workshop registration includes free registration for the virtual 2021 Community Indicators Consortium Impact Summit (November 1-5, 2021). Proposals are still being accepted for the Impact Summit, so please consider submitting an abstract and sharing your good work at the conference.

14. U of M Summer of EngageMNt Seeks Student Participants

The University's Summer of EngageMNt program provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from across the University's five-campus system to apply and develop their leadership skills in response to current and emerging community needs. The initiative is coordinated by the University's Office for Public Engagement, in collaboration with the Center for Community-Engaged Learning. Participating students will select community partners to work on remote service assignments that address a broad range of societal issues. Deadline: Monday, May 17, 2021

15. SERU Survey

Take the SERU survey for a chance to win prizes! The School of Public Health (SPH) uses the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium data often to understand students' academic and advising experiences, career goals and engagement.


16. SPH Commencement

Monday, May 17, 2021 | 5:00 PM CST


More details on how to access this virtual ceremony will be posted here as they become available. SPH welcomes keynote speaker, Loyce Pace, MPH, who is the current director of the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

17. 2022 Young Scholars Program LOI Webinar: A Review of the Process

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CST


This informational webinar will provide an excellent opportunity for interested applicants to learn more about the Letter of Intent (LOI) process for the 2022 Young Scholars Program Call for Proposals. Foundation staff will discuss the Young Scholars Program (YSP) research focus and review the LOI process, including applicant and institutional requirements. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session.

18. 7th African Mental Health Virtual Summit | Beyond COVID-19: Addressing the Past and Future in the Present

Friday, May 21, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 4:15 PM CST


The COVID-19 global pandemic uncovers the deeply entrenched racial inequalities which have been severe among Africans in the Diaspora. The 7th African Mental Health Virtual Summit will feature important presentations that would bridge the gaps between challenges and solutions, provide tools and skills to inform true and collective action needed to find psychological liberation during the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond.

19. Save the Date: MN Rural Health Virtual Conference

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM CST and

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM CST


This year’s theme is “Charting the Course for Change” and will include a keynote address from MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm, six interactive workshops, and a policy panel. Hosted by MDH’sOffice of Rural Health and Primary Care, the MN Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Resource Center.

-To register


20. Recording: Disparities in COVID-19–Social Justice, Policy and Ethical Considerations in Vaccinating the U.S. Population

Last month the Center co-sponsored the Health Disparities Roundtable, featuring Center faculty. Check out the recorded conversation!

21. The Impact of Coronavirus on Food Insecurity

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Feeding America has been projecting how food insecurity may be changing locally and nationally.

-Read the latest briefs

22. Summer Public Health Institute

The Summer Public Health Institute offers courses for students and practicing professionals in public health and related fields. This year, all courses will be offered online from May 17-June 4, 2021.

23. State of Babies Yearbook: 2021

ZERO TO THREE officially released the State of Babies Yearbook: 2021. It is the third annual state-by-state examination of how where a baby is born impacts the course of their lives. This year's report explores not only how racial and economic inequities start even before birth, but how those deeply entrenched disparities created a world where babies, toddlers and their families were particularly vulnerable to a major crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in learning more, read the major findings, explore state profiles and consult the indicator dictionary.


24. Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a rich heritage thousands of years old and have both shaped the history of the U.S. and had their lives dramatically influenced by moments in its history. Every May during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and throughout the year, the National Park Service and its partners share those histories and the continuing culture thriving in parks and communities today.

25. Mental Health Awareness Month

You Are Not Alone. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) amplifies the need to use this time to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay. Share your story (blog, personal stories, videos, etc.) or read stories.

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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Copyright © 2021The Center for Leadership Education in Maternal & Child Public Health - University of Minnesota.
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