MCH Student eNewsletter

September 2022


1. Welcome from the Chair

“As the Chair for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program, I am pleased that you are interested in the field of MCH, and what we have to offer at the University of Minnesota (UMN). We have strong historical underpinnings, as well as a vibrant present day program and set of activities focused on women, mothers, children, fathers and families. We are committed both to the training of new leaders for MCH through our current degree programs, as well as outreach to professionals in the community who are serving MCH populations.” -Dr. Zobeida Bonilla, MCH Program Chair

-Read her entire welcome letter

2. Welcome Cassie!

Cassie Mohawk the Center’s newest Communications RA! Cassie is a first-year MCH MPH student. She graduated in May from the UMN Duluth with a BAS in Public Health Education. During her undergrad, she gained experience in health communication, event coordination, and data collection and analysis. In her free time, she enjoys being an aunt to her two amazing nieces, spending time outside, and hanging out with friends and family. She is excited to start this new journey in her academic and professional career!

3. Welcome Estefania!

Estefania Henríquez Luthje, MD is the Center’s newest MCH National Blog Editor! Estefanía is a first-year MCH MPH student from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She obtained her medical degree from Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo in 2020 and received a certificate in clinical research at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For two years, Estefanía worked as a research analyst in the Department of Nutrition of the Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic. In this position, she supported the design, implementation, monitoring, and data analysis for the first national nutrition surveillance system for pregnant people and children under five. Estefanía's areas of interest include maternal and child mortality reduction, nutrition (breastfeeding), sexual and reproductive rights, and the humanization of the healthcare system.

4. Welcome Estefania, Kailee, and Amanda!

The Center would like to send a warm welcome to Estefania Henríquez Luthje, Kailee Schaberg, and Amanda Moses as they take on new roles as executive committee members in the MCH Interest Group (MCHIG).

5. National MCH Trainee Blog: MCH Competency #10–Interdisciplinary/ Interprofessional Team Building

The MCH training blog is a student-led national blog posted by the Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health and the University at Albany MCH Public Health Catalyst Program. Each month an MCH student affiliated with a HRSA-funded program is featured, with the blog highlighting how the student applies MCH competencies to their work. This month we highlight Katie Lynn (she/her/hers) and her application of MCH Competency #10: Interdisciplinary/Interprofessional Team Building. Katie, a third-year PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina, has incorporated her interest and MCH through an interdisciplinary/interprofessional approach with her research interesting being the characterization of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and health disparities through a socioecological lens in a global context, and culturally competent intervention strategies for NTDs in the maternal-child health space. Read more about her experience here!

6. Student Spotlight: How did volunteering as an abortion clinic escort shape the direction of Olivia Snow’s Master's program?

Olivia Snow was one of two #UMNMCH students who received the Robert Ten Bensel Scholarship in 2021-2022. The scholarship is a one-time scholarship awarded annually by Epi to students who demonstrate outstanding potential for contributions to the principles of MCH, human equity, and community social justice. In spring 2022, we invited Olivia to author a Student Spotlight and share more about how her experience volunteering as an abortion clinic escort inspired her to pursue a Master of Public Health and how that experience has contributed to her coursework in MCH. Read about her experience here!

7. Student Spotlight: How is Haley Lipo Zovic’s interest in pregnancy, birth, health equity, and social justice contributing to her graduate experience, both in and outside the classroom?

#UMNMCH student Haley Lipo Zovic (she/her/hers; MPH 2023) wrote this reflection on how her deployment with the Minnesota Prison Doula Project has not only influenced her academic work throughout her first year, but also facilitated her MCH and social justice involvement outside of the classroom.

Center Events

The Center is proud to co-sponsor the following events:

Big picture

8. Skills Institute Workshop #1: An Anti-racism Approach to Improving the Health of Populations

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | 5:30 PM -7:00 PM CDT

Our first MCH Leaders Skills Institute of the 2022-23 academic year will focus on using leadership to develop an anti-racist approach to enhance population health. In this first session, we welcome #UMNMCH alumni Dr. Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, President and Founder of Leap Pediatric and Adolescent Care, and Greg Hanley, VP of Quality Management and Population Health at UCare, as our guest speakers. This Workshop is for Center MCH and PHN students only.


9. Mini-Lab: Introduction to Coding Techniques with Prof. Johnny Saldana

October 6, 2022 | 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM CDT

Mini-Lab offerings introduce MCH students and practitioners to qualitative data collection principles and techniques. In this two hour workshop, guest speaker Professor Johnny Saldaña will cover the fundamentals of qualitative coding and specifically explore coding with NVivo.


10. The Epidemiology of Abortion

October 14, 2022 | 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM CDT | 364 WBOB and Virtual

The Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Center for MCH, the MCH Student Interest Group (MCHIG), and the Population Center welcome guest speaker Caitlin Gerdts PhD, MHS to speak on the epidemiology of abortion. Dr. Gerdts leads the development and implementation of Ibis Reproductive Health’s research agenda, and serves on the Senior Management Team. She is the author and co-author of several peer reviewed articles and has expertise in study design, implementation, impact evaluation, and causal inference methods. A post-seminar student discussion is being planned. More information coming soon!


11. Advisory Committee on Infant and Maternal Mortality (ACIMM)

September 13-15, 2022 | Prior Lake, MN and Virtual

Would you like to join this event? A virtual option is available for those who cannot attend in-person. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) in Prior Lake, Minnesota will host this meeting. The Committee will hear directly from tribal communities to inform their recommendations to HHS related to improving the birth outcomes of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) mothers and infants. This committee advises the HHS Secretary on department activities, partnerships, policies, and programs directed at reducing infant mortality, maternal mortality, severe maternal morbidity, and on improving the health status of infants and women.


12. Using Respect to Develop Successful Relationships

September 15, 2022 | 12:00 PM CDT

This presentation is part three of the Racial Justice Resources to Promote Social and Emotional Skills Webinar Series presented by the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety, and Sesame Street in Communities. In this session, participants will explore resources to help develop social and emotional skills in young children. Supporting young children, their families, and staff in working together to make decisions and resolve conflicts is crucial to developing healthy, successful relationships. Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish will be offered.


13. 2022 National Maternal Nutrition Intensive Course

September 1 - December 31, 2022

This continuing education program focuses on the improvement of maternal and infant health through the delivery of risk-appropriate, high-quality nutrition services. It is designed for dietitians, nutritionists, certified nurse midwives, registered nurses and nurse practitioners, physicians, and public health professionals who serve pre-conceptual, pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women. This is a self-led course and will include six recorded presentations. Registration closes on November 30, 2022.


14. WIC/FHV (Family Home Visiting) Maternal and Child Nutrition Webinar

September 26, 2022 | 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM CDT

The webinar will focus on key aspects of toddler and preschool health and nutrition. Participants will learn to identify and describe feeding patterns, essential nutrients, feeding relationships, milk alternatives, and concerns related to sugary beverages and low physical activity. This is the third presentation of a three part webinar series presented by Dr. Jamie Stang, MDH staff, and WIC staff. The event will be recorded.


15. Conducting Policy-Relevant Research to Promote Black Children’s Optimal Development

September 28, 2022 - September 29, 2022 | 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM CDT

The Researchers Investigating Sociocultural Equity and Race (RISER) Network is hosting its first conference for early childhood researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. Attendees will gain insight into the state of knowledge on Black children’s and families’ strengths and cultural assets, as well as tools to provide policy information that is actionable, strengths-based, and with a focus on wellness promotion.


16. Indigenous Lactation Course

September 28, 2022 - September 30, 2022 | 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM CDT | In Person

Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigaming is proud to sponsor and support this free 20-hour training. This training is for any health care provider that serves Native families in the Bemidji area. Community Health Workers, physicians, OB/GYNs, Midwives, and anyone working on healthcare serving Native families. You do not have to self-identify as Indigenous to participate in this training. This training is unique in that it centers how to support Indigenous families and provides health care providers with ways to serve Indigenous lactating families.

MCH Competency Corner

17. MCH Competency #10: Interdisciplinary/ Interprofessional Team Building

Each month, we highlight MCH Leadership competencies for our students to learn more about. Interdisciplinary and Interprofessional approaches provide a supportive environment in which team members from various disciplines make a collaborative effort to apply their skills and expertise.

-Learn more about MCH competencies


18. Webinar: UMN Lactation Advocacy Committee (LAC)

Last spring, the Lactation Advocacy Committee (LAC) and Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) hosted Understanding UMN Policy: Accommodations for Lactation. In this webinar, questions related to University lactation spaces, lactation policy interpretation, and lactation needs in clinical settings are answered.

-View the webinar recording

-Read a written summary of the webinar Q & A

-Find a UMN lactation space here

19. Podcast: Parenting Done Differently

In this podcast series, Marjorie Aunos hosts conversations exploring how parenting can be done differently and how professionals can best support parents with disabilities. Marjorie is a clinical psychologist, author, and researcher from Montreal who has dedicated her career to working with parents with intellectual disabilities and then also became a parent with disabilities herself.


20. Newsletter: Youth Development Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Center of Youth Development Extension provides several links to self-guided online courses, events, and blog posts around healthy youth development topics.


21. Campus Support: Student Parent Help Center

The Student Parent Help Center serves as a resource and assistance for parents, both undergraduate and graduate level students, to help them achieve their educational degrees. The Center offers child care assistance, parent groups, consultation, and parent events.

-Learn more

22. Article: Talking the Baby Formula Shortage with the U of M

MCH faculty member Dr. Ellen Demerath was recently featured in SPH News as she answers questions about the baby formula shortage and the barriers it presents.

National Observances

23. September is...

...National Suicide Prevention Month, Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Awareness Month. We note these observances to increase education, awareness, and research.

-The suicide prevention hotline number is 800-273-8255 or can be reached by dialing the three digit dialing code, 988

-Learn about the National Alliance on Mental Illness

-Access the CDC's Steps to Better Health for People with Sickle Cell Disease Toolkit

-Access the CDC’s FAS resources

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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