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Student Achievements

Dr. Miguela Caniza, a Medical Program Director at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and an MPH student, delivered two presentations at the National Infection and Control Congress in Mexico, hosted by the Mexican Association for the Study of Nosocomial Infections: 1) "Precautions in Severe Neutropenia" and 2) the keynote address “The Domino Effect in Optimizing Care and Prevention of Infections in Children with Cancer.” Over 1,000 physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers attended this national congress. Dr. Caniza was also recognized with the "Hero in Infection Prevention" award.

Four MPH students were named LIFEPATH Field Scholars and received funding to pursue their Practicum experience with medically underserved populations in Shelby County. The students and their Practicum locations are as follows: Selamawit Adera (Shelby County Health Department- Epidemiology); Kayla Larson (Planned Parenthood); Linda Rickman (Methodist Healthcare); and Robin Rutherford (YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South).

Damita Beck

Damita Beck, (MPH 2012), has been accepted into the Systems and Procedures Trainee Program at Mayo Clinic. The traineeship is a one-year learning experience designed to develop outstanding individuals committed to a career in health care management. Ms. Beck begins her training at Mayo in July 2012.

Dr. Julie Ware, (MPH 2012), will present a poster titled "Assessing the Barriers to Breastfeeding in the African American Population of Shelby County, Tennessee: Collaboration with Community Partners" at the Fourth National Conference of State/Territorial/Tribal Breastfeeding Coalitions. The conference takes place in August 2012. Dr. Ware's poster describes outcomes of her MPH Master's Project research.

Larita Webb, pursuing a PhD in Social and Behavioral Science in the School of Public Health, has been selected for the University of Memphis Society Doctoral Fellowship. This prestigious and competitive university-wide annual award is based on academic achievement and professional goals.

Larita Webb and Dr. Koh

Social and Behavioral doctoral student Larita Webb is pictured with Dr. Howard Koh (Assistant Secretary of Health for Department of Health and Human Services) at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco annual conference in Houston Texas. Ms. Webb won a diversity travel award to attend the conference.

Andy Collins, Matthew Smeltzer, and Larita Webb, doctoral students in the School of Public Health, presented posters at the University of Memphis 24th Annual Student Research Forum on April 2, 2012. Mr. Smeltzer won first place in the "Life and Health Sciences" division and first place for an overall award for high scores sponsored by MENSA.

Robin Bloodworth, MPH (2012), will enter the PhD program in Health Services (emphasis on Policy) in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park Campus in fall 2012.

Adrienne Adler, MPH (2012), will enter the MD/PhD program at Wake Forest University in fall 2012.

The following three Public Health graduate students presented posters at the Tennessee Public Health Association West Tennessee Grand Division meeting in April 2012:

   "Predictors of major depression in a cohort of Hurricane Katrina Survivors"
   Larita Webb, MPH

   "Relationship between wait-time for antibiotic initiation and outcomes of
   hospitalization among children with cancer in Davao, Philippine”
   Jeannette Kirby

   "Greater Distance from a Sickle Cell Center Does Not Compromise Routine
   Healthcare Management"
   Matthew P. Smeltzer, MS; Banu Aygun, MD; Vikki G. Nolan, DSc; Bertha
   Davis, AS; Winfred Wang, MD; and Jane Hankins, MD, MS

Shahin Samiei (MPH 2011), received a “Play it Forward” award at the HARC Community Banquet on August 18, 2011. Mr. Samiei was recognized for his community service and environmental activism. He is pictured with Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, also an award recipient.

Four recent MPH graduates (2011) began their medical training at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Fall 2011. The MPH graduates include Peyton Pinkard, Lauren DeSain, and Amanda Yacko. Not pictured is Mohsinah Usmani

Dr. Julie Ware, a pediatrician who is a first-year MPH student, was awarded a 2011 Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Implementation Funds grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Ware's application, titled  "Save Memphis Lives with Breastfeeding Support," was one of only 20 CATCH grants funded nationwide. Dr. Ware is chair of the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition and serves as the Co- Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinator of Tennessee's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (TN AAP).

Four MPH students were awarded scholarships for international study from May 21-31, 2011. The course is titled  “Global Health and Social Justice: Focus on India.”  The MPH students include Altovise Boyd, Lauren DeSain, Peyton Pinkard, and Amanda Yacko.

Mohsinah Usmani, a second-year MPH student, received a research fellowship to work at the National Institutes of Health over the summer of 2011.

Ellen Rakow, a first-year MPH student, was elected Secretary in the  Tennessee Public Health Student Association. TPHSA helps work with Tennessee Public Health Association to promote Public Health in student populations.

In September 2010 four students presented their research at the Tennessee Public Health Association conference:

    Doris Amoah: "College Students' Knowledge, Perceived Risk and Lifestyles Related to Hypertension"

    Patrick Denning: "Ventilation Conditions in University Offices and Classrooms- a Pilot Study"

    Shahin Samiei: "Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors of Respondents at a Sustainability Fair in an Urban University"

    Mohsinah Usmani: "Social Support, Depression, Anxiety, and Coping among African American Women with HIV/AIDS in the Mid-South"

Erica Walters recently had an article published in the Tri-State Defender called HIV/AIDS: All in the Family. The article takes an in-depth look at the current HIV/AIDS issue occurring in Memphis. Through journalistic skill she highlights some of the current interventions and strategies that health practitioners are using to help reduce HIV and AIDS transmission rates. 

MPH student Dana Fitzgerald (second from left) visited the World Health Organization during a study abroad global health course in the Spring of 2010. Dr. Carolyn Speros of the Loewenberg School of Nursing directed the course and is pictured on the far right.

Doris K. Amoah, Virginia Harrison Carney, and Chee Lam were inducted into the Pinnacle National Honor Society in recognition of their academic achievements.

Webb Smith will present his research at the 2010 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) meeting. His abstract is titled “Measured versus self reported physical function in adult survivors of childhood cancer. “ His co-authors are Brent E. Carlyle, Vikki G. Nolan, and Kirsten N. Ness of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dana Fitzgerald, a second-year MPH student, is one of three new Certified Community HIV testers in Shelby County. Dana has been certified by the State of Tennessee and also completed a counseling training program created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is qualified to provide confidential rapid HIV testing and education and counseling about HIV prevention.

Free community HIV counseling and testing provides many benefits to our community. When individuals know how HIV is spread and know their HIV status, they can better protect themselves and their partners. Early and frequent testing for HIV also allows HIV-positive individuals to begin viral suppressive treatments sooner, allowing them to lead longer and healthier lives.

MPH Student Ginger Carney authored a guest column in the Commercial Appeal. The article, titled "Mother's Milk is 'Dream' Potion to Start Life," was published December 16, 2009. The Op-Ed described the numerous benefits of breastfeeding to infants and their mothers. Ginger is a certified lactation consultant and a leader of the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition.

Ms. Carney has also been selected as the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the Tennessee Dietetic Association.

Shahin Samiei, a first-year MPH student, has recently been appointed to the campus recycling committee at the University of Memphis. "It's a pleasure to partner with the University's recycle committee. Our efforts help further sustainability objectives for the campus and public health at large," said Shahin.

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Last Updated: 4/9/13