Public Health Springboard Program Supports Eight New Research Projects at the Miller School

Thanks to a generous $100,000 gift to the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, 10 public health graduates and Miller School students have received eight grants under the Public Health Springboard Program, which supports innovative, independent projects by students who are working toward or recently earned a Master of Public Health.

“Those who support our graduate public health programs make it possible for us to achieve our mission of training future public health leaders,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School. “This gift makes it possible for us to do just that — prepare our students to address the biggest public health challenges of our time.”

The Springboard grants will be administered by Julie Kornfeld, Ph.D., director of education in the department.

“This award is truly an investment in one of our best assets – our students,” said Kornfeld. “The Springboard grants are supporting our students in their efforts to bring creative, evidence-based solutions to complex issues that will have an impact here in Miami and across the globe.”

The grants were awarded at a May 14 luncheon to:

Jonathan Colasanti, M.D., for his project “Una Prueba, Una Mujer – Dos Vidas Salvadas, Throughout District 6 in Managua, Nicaragua,” which will evaluate the impact of decentralized HIV testing on HIV testing rates among pregnant women in Managua.

Harold Gil, for “Strengthening HIV/AIDS and TB informatics through health center and laboratory data,” an HIV/AIDS project at the CDC regional campus in Guatemala.

Devlin Paiva McGlohn, for “Influenza Surveillance at the Human and Animal Interface,” a project at the CDC Regional Campus in Guatemala to detect new strains of Influenza that may emerge from the animal-human interface.

Vanessa Cutler, for “Maternal Health Trends of the Kuna on Tikantiki Island in Panama,” for which Cutler will travel to Panama to continue research on factors that contribute to a significant decrease in time between first sexual intercourse and first birth, as well as menarche and first birth.

Karina Lifschitz, for “Strengthening the Economic Sustainability of the Community-Based Organization Atención Primaria en Salud (APS) and Its Extensive Network of Community Health Workers,” which aims to pilot a rural and an urban municipal-level pharmacy to generate sustainable funding for the organization and community health workers.

Stefania Prendes-Alvarez, for “Let’s Talk About It,” a project that focuses on the sustainability of a school-based intervention for 8th graders to decrease the stigma associated with mental illnesses.

David Haverman, Carly Rivet, and Anne Kimball, for “Testing the Efficacy of a Childhood Obesity Intervention for 1st-4th Graders,” a longitudinal curriculum in underserved Miami communities to combat childhood obesity.

Mihai Puia-Dumitrescu, M.D., for “Examining Interrelationships Among Childhood Trauma Exposures, Cocaine and Other Drug Use and Abuse, and Psychological Distress,” for which Puia-Dumitrescu will investigate previous abuse (physical and sexual) as a predictor of later drug and alcohol use in a high-risk urban cohort of African American women.

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