Jonathan Metzl and Derek Griffith receive RWJ grant to study masculinity, race and the politics of men’s health policy…

NEWS from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College

RWJF Center for Health Policy Awards Pilot Project Mini-Grants to Faculty
The RWJF Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College is excited to announce the awardees for the 2012 Pilot Project Mini-Grant Program. Totaling $140,000 in funding, five faculty members from Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University have been awarded funding in the amount of $20,000 for new pilot project investigators and $40,000 for successful 2010 Pilot Project Mini-Grant recipients to continue their research. Their projects will contribute to health policy and social science research to improve minority health and/or to eliminate health disparities. All 2012 recipients and a brief description of their respective projects are listed below.

C. Andre’ Christie-Mizell, Ph.D.
Project Title: Racial Variation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Poverty, and the Family Context
Award Amount: $40,000

Dr. Christie-Mizell is a RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC-funded Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University and Health Policy Associate. His study entitled, Racial Variation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Poverty, and the Family Context, evaluates and states that children of poor families are at higher risk for developing poor mental health and associated behavior problems (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders and antisocial behavior) compared to their non-poor counterparts. However, despite the substantial association between poverty and children’s outcomes, how socioeconomic conditions are linked to child development and health is not well understood. This project aims to help discover these linkages and how they vary by race and ethnicity.

Flora A. Ukoli, MD, MPH
Project Title: Obesity Prevention in Low-Income African-American Babies and Young Children: An Early Childhood Nutrition Education Intervention with Breastfeeding Promotion Component
Award Amount: $40,000

Dr. Ukoli is a Health Policy Associate and Professor of Surgery at Meharry Medical College. The goal of her study entitled, Obesity Prevention in Low-Income African-American Babies and Young Children: An Early Childhood Nutrition Education Intervention with Breastfeeding Promotion Component, is to recommend policy changes to support mothers to prevent early childhood obesity (ECO) and eliminate social barriers for doing so. A culturally appropriate education intervention will be developed in partnership with African-American mothers to foster informed decisions about exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), delayed weaning, restriction of sweetened beverages, and transition to healthy food choices. Rationale: Increasing knowledge about underlying causes of obesity, reinforcing positive attitudes and dispelling misconceptions about breastfeeding (BF) and infant feeding, and providing strategies to achieve appropriate actions will set the foundation for childhood obesity prevention in this most high-risk and vulnerable population.

Ethel P. Harris, DDS
Project Title: Oral Health Effects on Women in Recovery and Transition
Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Harris is a Health Policy Associate and the Interim Dean of Clinical Affairs at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. She also serves as Director of Compliance and Safety in the Department of Clinical Affairs and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry. Her study entitled, Oral Health Effects on Women in Recovery and Transition, proposes to describe the social and professional impact of poor oral health among women in recovery and transition. The poverty and lack of attention to healthcare that results from substance abuse and addiction is very apparent when focusing on oral health among populations experiencing high rates of addiction. Methamphetamine mouth (meth mouth) is an extreme form of poor oral health. The combination of methamphetamine use and poor oral health increases the risk of low birth rate outcomes and many physical health problems including cardiac issues. Substance abuse has also been associated with low income and homelessness or marginalized housing. Further, addiction history, homelessness and poverty affect social supports and self-esteem. A qualitative method will be used to gather data from women who have had dental reconstruction and those who have not.

Jacinta P. Leavell, Ph.D.
Project Title: Factors Influencing Barriers to Accessing Oral Healthcare by Immigrants in the Metropolitan Nashville Area
Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Leavell is a Health Policy Associate and an Associate Professor of Dental Public Health at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. Her study entitled, Factors Influencing Barriers to Accessing Oral Healthcare by Immigrants in the Metropolitan Nashville Area, proposes to establish pertinent preliminary data needed for the implementation of appropriate oral healthcare services for immigrants. The United States has experienced significant growth in the immigrant population during the past 15 years. As a result, some key challenges specifically related to oral healthcare have been created. This project intends to evaluate factors influencing barriers to accessing oral healthcare by immigrants in the metropolitan Nashville area. The main goal of the project is to provide a foundation for understanding the association between barriers and the accessing of oral healthcare by immigrants. The intended project would further allow the Meharry School of Dentistry to obtain an advantage in developing alliances with the community that can engender appropriate oral healthcare services for immigrants residing in the Nashville area. Due to the lack of appropriate formalized dental services in some immigrants’ birth countries, they sometimes present with some very unique dental problems that go untreated for a long time. The long-term goal is to increase the number of immigrant individuals accessing oral healthcare in Metropolitan Nashville. More specifically, the project will (1) determine the barriers encountered by immigrants while attempting to access oral health services and (2) delineate the factors related to those barriers.

Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, Ph.D.
Project Title: Masculinity, Race, and the Politics of American Men’s Health Policy
Award Amount: $20,000

Dr. Metzl is a Health Policy Associate and the Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. He is also the Frederick B. Rentschler II Endowed Professor for the Department of Sociology and Center for Medicine, Health, and Society and a Professor for the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt. His study entitled, Masculinity, Race, and the Politics of American Men’s Health Policy, presents a multi-layered analysis of the contemporary politics of men’s health. Working with men from the Nashville, TN and Detroit, MI areas, the project proposes to explore the diversity of contemporary American cultural narratives regarding masculinity, manhood and men’s health and compare how race, implicit ideological and cultural attitudes, age, and socioeconomic status shape notions of masculinity and health, particularly for working-class men.

National Advisory Board Member Paula McClain Named Dean of the Graduate School at Duke University
Source: Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Paula D. McClain, current National Advisory Board member for the RWJF Center for Health Policy at MMC, was named dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education at Duke University. She is a professor of political science at Duke and is the former chair of the university’s Academic Council. She joined the Duke faculty in 2000. Previously, Professor McClain taught at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Arizona State University, and the University of Virginia.

She will be the first African American to serve as a dean of one of Duke’s schools.

“Paula McClain is a distinguished scholar and outstanding university citizen whose work as a graduate mentor has been widely acclaimed,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. “With her belief in the importance of graduate education and her concern for the well-being of individual students, she will make an exceptional dean.”

Professor McClain holds bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in political science, all from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

www.meharryhealthpolicy.org

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