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Welcome to the March/April 2018 UC Berkeley Maternal and Child Health Program newsletter!   In this issue.... 

  • School of Public Health 75th Anniversary
  • UC Global Health Day
  • Student & faculty updates
  • Alumna profile: Amelia Plant
  • MCH job opportunities
  • Recent publications by MCH faculty, students and alumni


School of Public Health 75th Anniversary Party

Saturday, April 21  | 6-9 p.m.
Healthy Futures Building, Berkeley Way
$75/regular $35/recent graduate

We’re ​very ​excited ​to ​celebrate ​our ​past, ​present, ​and ​future ​in ​the ​perfect  location: ​the ​new ​home ​of ​the ​School ​of ​Public ​Health ​on ​Berkeley ​Way.  The school ​will ​be ​honoring ​the ​most ​influential ​members ​of ​our ​alumni ​community.   Enjoy ​good ​food ​and ​drink, ​great ​music ​and ​company, ​and—of ​course,  building ​tours! 

Click here for tickets.  


UC Global Health Day 2018:   Committing to a Healthier World

Sunday, April 22, 2018  |  8:00am – 5:00pm
The Price Center  |  University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive  |  La Jolla, CA 92093

This system-wide conference on global health, now in its sixth year, showcases the outstanding research, training and outreach taking place across the University of California and is an amazing opportunity for UC students, fellows, faculty, staff and visiting scholars to gather to share their work.

Interdisciplinary by nature and collaborative in spirit, global health efforts encompass a range of academic topics – from psychology to engineering to sustainability and economics, scholars are committed to improving the health of humans, animals and ecosystems around the globe. This year’s theme, Committing to a Healthier World, builds on the work of global health practitioners from UC and beyond by bringing together partners, leaders and young career professionals for a day of sharing and discussion.


General registration
Undergraduate students/$30,  Graduate/Professional students/$40
Non-students/General public/$60



Thanks to all who made the 2018 Adolescent Health and Emerging Adulthood Research Symposium a success! 
Presentations from the event will be available online soon!  

student & postdoc highlights

Eric Coker leads study of VHEMBE South African birth cohort

Former MCH postdoc Eric Coker led a recent study on the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as DDT and pyrethroids on body size and composition of children.  The  study's subjects were part of the VHEMBE Study,  a longitudinal cohort of mothers and babies based in the Vhembe District of Limpopo, South Africa, where such chemicals are frequently sprayed for mosquito and malaria control.   

Findings of Dr. Coker's study included association between DDT and increase in body weight and composition of young girls; in boys, pyrethroids were connected to a decrease in these characteristics.  Their research supports evidence that these chemicals may be contributing to the global obesity epidemic, and may also explain the country's increase in obesity in girls and underweight in boys.

The study was funded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; MCH Professor Brenda Eskenazi is the principal investigator.  
Desmond Kispert-Bostick:  
Designing a CBPR Evaluation for a Community Health and Justice Based Education Program

In collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley and the California Adolescent Health Collaborative, MCH student Desmond Kispert-Bostick developed an evaluation plan for the Castlemont Health Equity Academy (CHEA); a specialized school community founded as a collaboration between the Oakland Unified School District and the California Adolescent Health Collaborative (CAHC).The CHEA educates students through a work-based learning and action research curriculum. The authors designed an evaluation plan, which engages students in creating interview questions and collecting data, to assess learning outcomes related to student understanding of inequalities of health within their community.
Taiji Wang:  Graduate Student Assessment Fellow, Spring 2018

MCH student Taiji Wang was one of 7 students chosen for the Spring 2018 Graduate Student Assessment Fellows Program cohort.   Fellows spend 5 hours per week split between cohort meetings and project assistance and work on a faculty-led program-level assessment project focusing on undergraduate or graduate curriculum on the Berkeley campus. GSA fellows must have at least a 3.0 grade point average and be in good academic standing, and must have an interest in pursuing a position in higher education.  At the end of the semester, they receive a stipend and recognition of completion.

Lauren Caton publishes article on Texas Tribune's Tribtalk site

MCH student Lauren Caton published an article on the Texas Tribune's Tribtalk site about Texas laws that impact teen access to healthcare, specifically certain types of birth control and mental health services. The state has a statistically high rate of teen pregnancy and repeat adolescent births, and state laws prohibiting young mothers from making their own healthcare decisions, Caton argues, “traps these girls and their children in lives of poverty”.  

Read the article here. 

Ann Soliday co-authors with MCH professors on Hispanic father involvement paper

Maternal and Child Health MPH candidate Ann Soliday recently co-authored a paper comparing father/young child involvement between Hispanic immigrant, United States-born Hispanic and US-born White fathers. The research measured disparities in pregnancy intendedness and father involvement outcomes such as physical care, warmth, outings, reading and discipline.

Co-authors included UCB MCH Professors Sylvia Guendelman (lead author) and Maureen Lahiff, and Recent Epi/Biostat MPH graduate Juliet Nussbaum. 

Click here to read the paper.


Amelia Plant consults on LGBTQ, family planning projects

UCB MCH Alumna Amelia Plant ('MPH '17) is currently living in Tunisia and consulting on projects based in the United States and Egypt.  Two projects are focused on the experiences of LGBTQ communities--an interview-based report on LGBTQ experiences of masculinity in Cairo and a paper on condom use amongst transgender women in Cambodia. In the area of family planning, she serves as the grant manager for a family foundation, coordinating communication between the organizations and the funder.  In addition, she is helping a physician in Seattle design an online family planning course, covering abortion, contraception, and post-miscarriage management. 


Manager of Community Partnership (Job Code 1574): Children's Hospital Oakland's Department of Community Health and Engagement; Oakland, CA

Associate Administrator (Maternal and Child Health Bureau): Department of Health And Human Services; Rockland, MD

Internships/fellowships: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Headquarters; New York, NY

Deputy Director: Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC); Washington, D.C.

Director of Business Development and Partnerships: d.tree; Washington, D.C.

Project Assistant, Women and Health Initiative: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Boston, MA

Public Policy Assistant: Guttmacher Institute; Washington, D.C.

Senior Research Scientist (Domestic): Guttmacher Institute; New York, New York

Program Associate: California Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi-CA) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH); San Francisco, CA

faculty updates

MCH Chair Julie Deardorff consults with Google's Code Next

MCH Professor Julie Deardorff is working with Code Next, a Google-funded program which introduces inner-city Black and Hispanic youth to the world of tech. Deardorff led a training session for the program's New York City- and Oakland-based instructors on how to support youth who are going through challenging life experiences (e.g., trauma, depression, suicidal ideation). Dr. Deardorff provided instructors with training on how to provide youth effective coping strategies.

MCH Professors Prata and Guendelman awarded Packard grant to research online access of reproductive health information

Dr. Sylvia Guendelman and Dr. Ndola Prata were awarded a Packard Foundation grant to explore how people seek reproductive health information online using data from Google. The specific aim of the  project is to provide the landscape of internet searches for contraceptive technology and services and identify the most popular sites for information seeking in Louisiana, Mississippi, California and the United States as a whole. As part of the formative phase of the research project,

The professors recently traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana to convene working groups of key stakeholders and leaders to identify and prioritize the questions for research on search traffic in each state. Research findings and recommendations arising from both the research and evaluation phase of the project will be amply disseminated and help inform stakeholders in the working groups about the main concerns, preferences, interests and websites related to contraceptive/birth control methods that people/clients search for using the Google search engine.

research centers

Best Babies Zone, MCH Alumna featured in
California Health Report

Claudia Zaugg, MCH alumna and Best Babies Zone program associate, was quoted in this February California Health Report article on Bay Area organizations that are working to prevent premature births.   Kiko Malin, MCH advisory board member and head of the Castlemont Best Babies Zone in Oakland, was also quoted.

CHAMACOS study cited in NEA Today article 

UC Berkeley CERCH researchers and the CHAMACOS study were cited in an NEA (National Education Association) Today article from last November.  The article focuses on the use of pesticides in the Salinas Valley, a major agricultural area which has been the primary focus population for CHAMACOS's research. The article highlights a victory achieved by California Teachers Association members:  a new rule from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation that bans pesticide spraying within a quarter-mile of schools between 6 am and 6 pm.  


Featured Publication

Professor Sylvia Guendelman co-authors paper tracking migrant use of health care in Mexico and the US

MCH Professor Sylvia Guendelman co-authored a recent paper tracking migrant use of health care in Mexico and the US.  Primary data for the study were collected in 2009-2010 in Tijuana's bus terminals, common stopping points on migration trips between Mexico and the United States.  The authors examined how access changes as people move through different phases of the migration cycle:  pre-departure, destination, interception/deportation and return.   

The paper was co-authored by researchers from Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, the Mexico Section of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, and San Diego State University. For the study, Dr. Guendelman provided expertise on methodological issues related to immigrant access to care.  

The researchers concluded that  “Im/migrants at post-migration phases had lower likelihood of receiving health care and having a usual source of care, and higher rates of forgone care, than their counterparts at pre-departure”, with recommendations that “Binational efforts to provide affordable insurance coverage and reduce transportation limitations and incarceration could contribute to improving health care access among Mexican im/migrants.”

The paper was published in the January 2018 Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 
Select recent publications by MCH faculty, students and alumni. 
Julianna Deardorff

Associations Between Maternal Obesity and Pregnancy Hyperglycemia and Timing of Pubertal Onset in Adolescent Girls: A Population-Based Study.  Kubo A, Deardorff J, Laurent CA, Ferrara A, Greenspan LC, Quesenberry CP, Kushi LH.  Am J Epidemiol. 2018 Mar 15.  [Epub ahead of print]

Adolescent Sleep Barriers: Profiles within a Diverse Sample of Urban Youth.  Hoyt LT, Maslowsky J, Olson JS, Harvey AG, Deardorff J, Ozer EJ.  J Youth Adolesc. 2018 Mar 2.  [Epub ahead of print]

Julianna Deardorff/Brenda Eskenazi/Kim Harley 

Worry About Deportation and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Among Adult Women: The Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas Study.  Torres JM, Deardorff J, Gunier RB, Harley KG, Alkon A, Kogut K, Eskenazi B.  Ann Behav Med. 2018 Feb 5;52(2):186-193. 

Kim Harley/Brenda Eskenazi

Residential proximity to agricultural fumigant use and respiratory health in 7-year old children.  Gunier RB, Raanan R, Castorina R, Holland NT, Harley KG, Balmes JR, Fouquette L, Eskenazi B, Bradman A.  Environ Res. 2018 Feb 23;164:93-99. [Epub ahead of print]

Brenda Eskenazi

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, and 2,2-Bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethene in 7- and 9-Year-Old Children and Their Mothers in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas Cohort.  Sjödin A, Jones RS, Gunier RB, Wong LY, Holland N, Eskenazi B, Bradman A.  Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Feb 20;52(4):2287-2294. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


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