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MCH PhD Student Andrew Williams Selected for Environmental Demography Workshop

April 11, 2014
Andrew Williams, a second year Maternal and Child Health (MCH) doctoral student in the Department of Family Science, has been selected as one of 10 graduate students to participate in the Environmental Demography Graduate Student Workshop at the University of Colorado Population Center. Andrew was awarded a $500 travel grant to attend the workshop between May 12-13, 2014. The workshop provides a mentoring partnership for emerging population-environment scholars. Student participants are assisted in moving research papers toward completion and, eventually, publication. Andrew will have an opportunity to engage in research presentations, discussion, brainstorming, and feedback, as well as focus on future directions and develop new collaborative research.

Congratulations to Andrew on this exciting training opportunity!

Public Health Research@Maryland 2014 Student Poster Presentation Winners

April 11, 2014
This past Tuesday, more than 70 graduate and undergraduate students from seven universities, including the University of Maryland, College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore, Morgan State University, Howard University and Coppin State University, showcased their research on critical public health issues at Public Health Research@Maryland, and competed for the best presented posters. Congratulations to the 2014 PHR@M Day poster winners: Doctoral students: Luciana Assini (BCH) Emily Cook (FMSC)
Master's students: Kimberly Stinchcomb (MIAEH) Meleah Boyle (MIAEH)
Undergraduate student: Priya Parikh (Public Health Scholars)
Read more about the winning research posters.   Read More >

Family Science PhD Students and Faculty Present at SRA Conference

April 7, 2014
Family Science doctoral students BreAnna Davis and John Hart and Associate Professor Dr. Mia Smith Bynum participated in the Society for Research on Adolesence (SRA) Conference in Austin, TX. SRA focuses on theoretical, empirical, and policy research issues of adolescence via conferences, meetings, and its publication, Journal of Research on Adolescence. BreAnna and John are second year Family Science graduate students in the Department of Family Science in the University of Maryland's School of Public Health. Dr. Smith Bynum chaired a symposium, African American Parenting under the Microscope: An Examination of Parenting Styles, Gender, and Racial Socialization, featuring presentations from doctoral student mentees BreAnna Davis and John Hart. BreAnna presented on Gendered Racial Socialization: Preliminary Results from a Qualitative Study of African American Emerging Adults. John presented on his research internship project Mama Knows Best: African American Parenting Styles and Relations to Adolescent Perceptions of Relationship Quality and Parenting based on The Black Parenting Project. Additionally, BreAnna presented a poster based upon her research internship paper, Racial Socialization, Racial Identity, & Behavior Problems in African American Youth: Global Self-Concept as Mediator. This was presented in the SRA Emerging Scholar Student Travel Award session and in an additional poster session titled, "Adolescence in Diverse Contexts." Dr. Smith Bynum was a featured speaker for a talk on Community-based Recruitment and Engagement Strategies with Ethnic Minority Adolescents and Families, and she also collaborated on several poster presentations with George Washington University graduate students. Congratulations to BreAnna, John, and Dr. Smith Bynum on this scholarly work!

MCH PhD Student Yassaman Vafai Receives MCH Bureau Internship

April 5, 2014
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) doctoral candidate Yassaman Vafai has been selected to participate in the Graduate Student Epidemiology Program (GSEP) sponsored by the Maternal Child Health (MCH) Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Yassaman is a first year graduate student in the Department of Family Science in the University of Maryland's School of Public Health. She will be interning this summer at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Data Translation. Yassaman will be involved in data collection and analysis, program evaluation, and surveillance for the Massachusetts Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) Analysis project.

GSEP provides technical assistance to States and localities while offering graduate students hands-on training in maternal and child health epidemiology. For over 10 years, GSEP participants have had the opportunity to work with health agencies across the country to address specific, defined data or analytic issues with the aim of developing or enhancing MCH and Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) information systems. Congratulations to Yassaman on this exciting internship opportunity!

MCH Doctoral Student Selected as US Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Representative

February 28, 2014
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) doctoral candidate Katheryne Downes is one of 19 selected to represent the United States at the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting of Medicine and Physiology. Katheryne is a second year graduate student in the Department of Family Science in the University of Maryland's School of Public Health. She will be joining 600 of the most qualified young researchers from around the world who were selected as their countries representative at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Katheryne's nomination and selection is based on her work in maternal-fetal medicine and potential applications for global health. Nominees are evaluated on stringent criteria, including working on a funded research project, conducting research that shows significant promise, and ranking in the top 5% of students. Katheryne's research fellowship at NICHD involves studying the timing of cesarean delivery and risk of developing placenta previa in subsequent pregnancies. She has co-authored papers on neonatal intubation, umbilical cord knots, fetal hypoxia, HPV vaccination, and use of silver-plated dressings for preventing surgical infections with cesarean incisions and premature rupture of membranes.

This summer, Katheryne, will participate in the 64th Lindau Meeting in Lindau, Germany, where Nobel Laureates will meet with hundreds of young scientists to exchange knowledge, establish international connections, and discuss relevant topics such as global health, the challenges to medical care in developing countries, and future research approaches to medicine. Established in 1951, The Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting fosters interactions between Nobel Laureates and young researchers and includes seminars, panel discussions, and closed meetings in areas such as chemistry, economics, and medicine.

Congratulations to Katheryne on this exciting award!

CHF/FMSC Honors Black History Month

February 28, 2014
The Center for Healthy Families (CHF), spearheaded by Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) master's student Maya Foster, has honored Black History Month through shared visual and reading materials. Photos and books in the Center's waiting area highlight prominent Black leaders, including civil right activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., scientist George Washington Carver, and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The Center provides therapeutic services to clients of various racial and ethnic backgrounds with an understanding of the importance of culture. The display provides an educational awareness and appreciation for the diverse body of clients served by the center.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, the Center for Healthy Families provides therapy to families, couples, and individuals in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The clinic, housed in the School of Public Health's Department of Family Science (FMSC), provides services including couples therapy, marriage therapy, family therapy, parent education, family therapy conferences, and continuing education for professionals. To make an appointment to see a therapist, call the Center for Healthy Families at 301-405-3659 or 301-405-2273.

"Public Health Without Borders" Team Partners with EWB to Improve Water Sanitation in Peru

February 17, 2014
From January 6 to 16, 2014, students and faculty from the School of Public Health's (SPH) Public Health Without Borders (PHWB) group paired with the UMD Engineers Without Borders (EWB) group to install a chlorine water disinfection unit in the Ayllu San Isidro district of Compone, a rural community in the Andean mountains of southern Peru. The UMD chapter of EWB had been involved in water system and purification efforts in Compone since the spring of 2008. In December of 2012, the SPH Dean's office launched a plan to collaborate with the engineering group. In fall 2013 fall, over 70 EWB students and faculty worked to design and test a solution for the water disinfection system. Meanwhile, the PHWB student team created community organizing and health education activities to improve hygiene and prevent disease, and faculty and graduate students prepared evaluation tools. In January, 12 students and faculty members (six from SPH and six from the Clark School of Engineering) traveled to Peru. The group included Global Public Health Scholars sophomores Stephanie Olcese and Priya Parikh, who co-founded the PHWB student group, SPH graduate students Graciela Jaschek and Greg Raspanti, and Dr. Stephanie Grutzmacher, one of the faculty advisors for the public health team. The other advisor, Dr. Lis Maring, had led the first trip of public health students, in January 2013. Educating children and adults on hygiene, clean water, and water conservation was an important goal of the trip. The PHWB team organized children's health education activities and facilitated workshops that used songs, games, and hands-on practice to teach children to properly wash their hands and brush their teeth. The team also worked with the adult community to sanitize water, prevent water-borne disease, and prepare oral rehydration therapy (ORT) recipes to combat diarrhea. Upon arrival in Peru, the team learned that the project had suffered from failed implementation and lacked continuity, leaving community members frustrated. The team was worried that a crew of 30 volunteers would not come, and feared spending days carrying materials themselves to the worksite, at the top of a mountain. The team's experience was rather different. Graciela and the community leaders organized a workday, and 47 volunteers arrived to help. People, young and old, carried sand and gravel, over 200 cinder blocks, several 100-pound bags of cement, and an enormous water tank up to the site. The day after the successful community workday, the engineering team was able to pour a concrete pad. The workday also resulted in the second of several community meetings that forged a committed workforce of volunteers to help the team with construction. By the end of the project, the community had a functional chlorine water disinfection unit that they were trained to use. View photos from the January 2014 trip to Compone, Peru. You can read more about PHWB here. To get involved, please contact phw.borders@gmail.com. A general body meeting of PHWB will be held Monday, February 24 at 5:30pm in SPH 1303. All majors are welcome, as well as graduate students and faculty.   Read More >

Studying Families From All Angles - FMSC New Button Debut

February 6, 2014
The Family Science Department (FMSC) is proud to announce the second of our Family Science buttons. Designed by FMSC doctoral student Deirdre Quinn with the input of our Undergraduate Advisory Committee, the button represents the evolving face of the work we do as family scientists. Don't forget to pick up a button when you stop by our office. They are located at the front desk.We enjoy seeing the FMSC buttons worn around campus and beyond with pride!

Community Partnership Focuses on Health and Success of African American Male Teens

January 31, 2014
A new partnership between the Alpha Foundation of Howard County (AFHC), Inc. and University of Maryland researchers focuses on promoting academic excellence and self-esteem in African American male high school students. Dr. Mia Smith Bynum, associate professor of family science and director of the Black Families Research Group in the School of Public Health, and Dr. Odis Johnson, Jr., associate professor and chair of the African American Studies Department, will lead an evaluation of the Alpha Achievers Program (AAP), established in Howard County, Maryland in 1997 by the Alphi Phi Alpha Fraternity (and funded by the Alpha Foundation) to address the unique needs of African American male high school students. The objective of the partnership is to document the AAP's operational best practices that foster a positive learning environment and facilitate African American male teens' pursuit of excellence within the Howard County Public School System. "The Alpha Achievers Program is unique - because it is well-established and integrated in the school system - and it provides a safe space where these teens can work against negative stereotypes of African American boys and men and create a positive identity as they reach adulthood," Dr. Smith Bynum said. "We're evaluating the program and surveying the boys who are involved in it to understand how it may improve leadership and thinking skills, confidence, commitment to school, grades, and knowledge of African American and African history and culture, among other things. This information could be used to both refine the program and to serve as a model for similar programs that could be created in other communities and school systems." The partnership between AFHC and the University of Maryland researchers was announced to the Howard County community at the AFHC's 39th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast at Martin's West in Baltimore, MD on January 12, 2014. The event was attended by Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown; Howard County Executive Ken Ullman; Norris Jennings, President of Kappa Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; David. H. Barrett, Chairman of the Alpha Foundation; William Kimbrough, President of Dillard University (an historically black college in New Orleans, Louisiana); and UMD faculty members Mia Smith-Bynum and Odis Johnson. Photo left to right: Norris T. Jennings, President Kappa Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., William Kimbrough, President of Dillard University, Mia Smith Bynum, associate professor, and Odis Johnson, Jr., associate professor

Apply for Horowitz Center for Health Literacy Seed Grant Program

January 17, 2014
The Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy invites seed grant proposals for research projects that bear directly on the Center's mission of advancing science, education and community action in health literacy. The goal of the Seed Grant Program is to encourage innovative, evidence-based research projects that address health literacy and its close correlate, health communication. It is anticipated that up to $20,000 will be awarded this inaugural funding year, and more than one seed grant can be awarded. Priority will be given to research projects that: a) include Center affiliate faculty as co-investigators (please see list of current affiliate faculty on the Center's web site); b) significantly involve graduate students as investigators or research assistants; and c) have the potential to garner external research support in the future. Health literacy is the ability to find, understand and use health information in order to make healthy decisions and affect health outcomes. Health literacy is influenced by many factors, including: access to health care, provider-patient communication, use of information or technology by hospitals, and health media messages and campaigns. Examples of potential seed grant studies include: an exploration of attitudes, knowledge and/or behaviors that impact health literacy levels; assessment of health provider training program in cultural competency; study of how mass media messages affect health literacy; evaluation of new technology that can improve health literacy; or survey that reveals disparities in health literacy levels. Visit the Center for Health Literacy site (HMTL link below) or download complete details at PDF link below.   Read More >

FMSC Now Accepting Scholarship Applications thru February 14th

January 7, 2014
Each Spring the Department of Family Science announces competitive scholarship opportunities available through our department-related scholarship funds. These scholarships honor the educational and research legacy and/or philanthropic focus of their founding funders. Below is a list of the available competitive scholarships for 2013.

• Edlavitch Family Science Fund (Undergraduate) - for outstanding FMSC undergraduates with significant financial need. (3 awards in 2014)
• Noel Myricks Endowed Scholarship (Undergraduate) - for undergraduate students who are among the first generation of children in their family to attend college. (2 awards in 2014)
• Andrew Billingsley Endowed Scholarship (Graduate) - for a graduate student conducting a research project on African American families. (1 award in 2014)
• Ned Gaylin Endowed Scholarship Fund (Graduate-CFT only) - for an outstanding Couple & Family Therapy (CFT) Master's student with financial need. (2 awards in 2014)

If you meet the above requirements and are interested in applying for one of the above scholarships, complete the application and include a one-page typed essay responding to the questions/statements linked to the scholarship. You may apply for more than one scholarship (a separate application, essay and additional statement--if required--must be submitted).

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 14, 2014, via email to Erin McClure, elmc@umd.edu. Subject line must contain your name, UID, and "Scholarship Application" (only electronic applications will be accepted). If you encounter problems submitting your application materials electronically, please contact elmc@umd.edu.   Read More >

Happy New Year - A Year in Review from Family Science

January 7, 2014
Greetings from all of us in the Department of Family Science. We have now been in the School of Public Health for six years, and housed in our new setting in the SPH building for four years. We thought you might like to reminisce with us through a department pictorial journey of last year.

We wish you a Healthy New Year!   Read More >

Family Science Celebrates December 2013 Graduates!

December 23, 2013
The Department of Family Science celebrated another year of student success as our December 2013 graduates were awarded their degrees.

Emily Cook, Nicole Finkbeiner, Amanda Ginter, Katie Hrapczynski and Elise Resnick completed doctoral degrees in Family Science, and Laurén Doamekpor completed her doctoral degree in Maternal and Child Health. In addition, 66 undergraduate students were awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Science.

Congratulations FMSC Class of 2013! Stay in touch with us. We love to share alumni news on our web site!

Study Shows Inadequate Pregnancy Weight Gain is a Risk for Infant Mortality

December 23, 2013
Family Science Professor Dr. Sandra Hofferth and Associate Professor Dr. Edmond Shenassa have co-authored a paper in the Journal of Public Health with Dr. Regina Davis '12, Associate Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, examining the relationship between gestational weight gain, mothers' body mass index (BMI) before and during pregnancy, and infant mortality rates. The study found that women who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy are at increased risk of losing their baby in its first year of life. A summary of the study's important findings is provided in this press release.   Read More >

Doctoral Student Article Selected Flagship Paper of December Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health

December 13, 2013
Jenifer Fahey, a Maternal and Child Health doctoral student and faculty member at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore), has written an article for the Journal of Midwifery & Women's health. The article, 'Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Women in the Postpartum Period: The Perinatal Maternal Health Promotion Model,' discusses ways to optimize postpartum maternal health. This flagship paper focuses on health promotion for new mothers and skills and behaviors that promote optimal well-being for these mothers and their families. The article also includes techniques to buffer stress, and ideas for health care providers to best assist with the implementation of these strategies. Jenifer has written a blog post for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, explaining more about the process of writing her article.

FMSC Faculty Named NCFR Legacy Scholar

December 13, 2013
Family Science Associate Professor Leigh Leslie (third from left) was recently named a Legacy Scholar for The National Council on Family Relation's (NCFR) Family Therapy Section. This special recognition, given in honor of NCFR's 75th anniversary, acknowledges Dr. Leslie's extensive history of service and scholarship in family therapy and was awarded at the NCFR Annual Conference.

NCFR, formed in 1938, is the premier professional association for multidisciplinary study and understanding of families. The Family Therapy Section unites members who share common interests, goals, and purposes in marital and family therapy. The Section improves the practice of marital and family therapy through the promotion of: a) open dialogue between clinicians, and researchers relative to marital and family therapy theories, research, practice and training; b) the integration of theory, research and practice; and c) effective, efficient and ethical practice methods.

Congratulations to Dr. Leslie on this honor!

FMSC Faculty and Graduate Student Participate in 2013 ABCT Conference

December 6, 2013
Family Science professor Dr. Norman Epstein and CFT graduate student Le (Clio) Zheng participated in the 47th Annual Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee from November 21-24. They were part of an international panel on Cognitive-Behavioral Couple Therapy Around the World representing China, and working with other panel members from Switzerland, England, and Colombia.

ABCT, founded in 1966, is an organization that seeks to understand and improve human functioning through the use of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assess, prevent, and treat human problems. The conference, held each year, covers such topics as CBT for the LGBT community, treatment of OCD, and CBT across global contexts.

Support SPH Students on Scholarship Day, Dec. 11!

December 6, 2013

For 24 hours on Dec. 11, the University of Maryland is hosting Scholarship Day, our first-ever, 24-hour giving challenge to support student scholarships.

The School of Public Health is calling on all alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends to give any amount they can to support undergraduate scholarships for public health students. Each school and college can qualify for matching scholarship funds by getting the most donors. 

Any amount you give will go to help students in need. 

Spread the word and help the School of Public Health win the Scholarship Day challenge! 

Scholarships are critical to recruiting the best and most diverse student body to Maryland. They change lives. And the public health students who receive them go on to change lives everyday. Your contribution to the School of Public Health scholarship fund can help support students like these SPH students and alumni. 

Read about some of our inspiring SPH students and alumni who have succeeded with the help of scholarship support! 

Ana Martinez, Family Science junior 
A first generation college student and daughter of Mexican immigrants, Ana is interested in helping Latino families, and specifically women, who experience domestic violence.

Isaiah Bell, Behavioral and Community Health junior 
Dedicated to educating others about health, Isaiah serves as a peer educator with the university's Sexual Health and Reproductive Education (SHARE) program and a peer counselor with the UMD Help Center.

Chris Day, BS '12, Kinesiology 
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Chris got his degree in physical education and is now making a difference in the lives of high schoolers in Montgomery County, Md.

Tawanna Sawyer, BS '12, Behavioral and Community Health 
A first generation college student who earned her degree while raising seven kids, Tawanna now works for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health where she was named 2013 "Person of the Year" for her HIV/STD prevention work in the community. 

  Read More >

Drs. Thomas and Quinn are Guest Editors of AJPH Issue on Ethics of Research with Racial and Ethnic Minorities

December 2, 2013
Remarkable improvements in the quality of life, prevention and treatment of disease have been made possible through advancements in biomedical research, including clinical trials involving human subjects. The November 2013 issue of the American Journal of Public Health focuses on the ethics of human subjects research and the critical need for researchers to do better in their efforts to include women and racial and ethnic minority populations into the research enterprise. University of Maryland Center for Health Equity directors Dr. Stephen B. Thomas and Dr. Sandra C. Quinn are guest editors of this theme issue, focusing on The Ethics of Human Subjects Research on Minorities. Research abuses in the past have contributed to fear and mistrust among minority populations, resulting in regulatory measures designed to protect them due to their real or perceived "vulnerability." But, what makes a research subject vulnerable? Is it the color of their skin? The language they speak? Their socio-economic condition or physical abilities? Increasingly, groups seen as "vulnerable" are demanding access to the benefits of research, and investigators are making progress in successfully including women and minorities. The question of vulnerability is just one of many ethically relevant concepts raised in the American Journal of Public Health issue (Nov. 2013). The theme issue is made possible by a grant to the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity from the NIH-National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for their project Building Trust Between Minorities and Researchers, which provides online training modules for researchers and community members on the ethical engagement of minority populations in research. The peer-reviewed papers assembled for the AJPH issue explore the complexities involved in the ethical inclusion of minority populations in research, and the challenges of creating a national research enterprise that is both protective and inclusive of vulnerable groups. In addition, an interview with Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, is available in audio podcast form. Drs. Thomas and Quinn talked with Dr. Ruffin about the importance of including minorities in research, and his insights on the changing demographics of the US population, new challenges for researchers, and the value of community participation. Read the commentary Building Trust for Engagement of Minorities in Human Subjects Research: Is the Glass Half Full, Half Empty, or the Wrong Size? by Sandra C. Quinn, PhD, Guest Editor, Nancy E. Kass, SCD, Guest Editor, and Stephen B. Thomas, PhD, Guest Editor. Read the transcript of the interview with Dr. John Ruffin, Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. View the entire theme issue, including the audio interview with Dr. Ruffin. The print version will be available in December 2013.   Read More >

SPH Students and Faculty Honored at Merrill Presidential Scholarship Program

November 19, 2013
Two students and three faculty members in the School of Public Health were honored Friday at the Philip Merrill Presidential Scholarship Program, which celebrates the university's most prestigious seniors and their designated mentors from Maryland and K-12.

SPH seniors Linda Billotti and Joshua Schimmel chose Dr. Marian Moser Jones from the Department of Family Science and Dr. Eva Chin from the Department of Kinesiology, respectively, as their university mentors. Dr. Donna Howard from the Department of Behavioral and Community Health was selected by a senior in Undergraduate Studies, marking the fourth time in the last seven academic years that she has been recognized as a mentor by the program. To read more visit the SPH blog.   Read More >

SPH Faculty Members Honored as UMD Research Leaders

November 18, 2013
Twelve School of Public Health faculty members were honored at the 15th Annual Research Leaders Luncheon on Nov. 14, 2013 hosted by Vice President Patrick G. O'Shea and President Wallace D. Loh. Those honored include:
  • Dr. Amelia Arria, Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development, associate professor in Behavioral and Community Health
  • Dr. Brad Boekeloo, Director of the Prevention Research Center and professor in Behavioral and Community Health
  • Dr. Pamela Clark, Principal Investigator for the FDA/NIH funded Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science and research professor in Behavioral and Community Health
  • Dr. Sandra Hofferth, professor in Family Science
  • Dr. Tim Kiemel, research assistant professor in Kinesiology
  • Dr. Hongjie Liu, associate professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Dr. Sandra Crouse Quinn, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Center for Health Equity Senior Associate Director, professor in Family Science
  • Dr. Stephen Thomas, Center for Health Equity Director, professor in Health Services Administration
  • Dr. Min Qi Wang, professor in Behavioral and Community Health
  • Dr. Sacoby Wilson, assistant professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
  • Dr. Laura Wilson, professor emerita in Health Services Administration. These faculty members were honored as leaders who have made significant contributions to the research program at the University of Maryland. Dr. Sylvester James Gates, Jr., University System of Maryland Regents Professor, John S. Toll Professor of Physics, and Center for String and Particle Theory Director, gave remarks about the outstanding research achievements of all those recognized. SPH Dean Jane Clark thanks these faculty members and their teams, as well as the school's research administration staff and many others, for their contributions in helping these faculty achieve their scholarly goals.

FMSC Students Spend Summer in India to Gain Cross Cultural Perspectives on Families and Health

November 18, 2013
Department of Family Science (FMSC) Maternal and Child Health doctoral candidate Mili Duggal and Family Science doctoral candidate Lauren Messina led a study abroad course in India this past summer for undergraduates in the School of Public Health. The focus of the class, Cross Cultural Perspectives on Health in India, was to gain cross-cultural perspectives on health and families, specifically examining social determinants of health, within a global public health and family systems framework. The first week, students traveled to Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur and spent the final three weeks in Manali in Himachal Pradesh, a picturesque town in the Himalayas. The students interacted with faculty members at the Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur, a premier public health research, training, and educational institute. They also met with UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Dr. Sangita Jacob, who discussed the issue of severe malnutrition in the State and its management by the Government of Rajasthan with Unicef's support. Students were provided a field visit to one of the related treatment centers.

Coursework in the Himalayas entailed focusing on individual research topics, visiting local public health organizations, volunteering at the Lady Willingdon Mission Hospital, along with daily class sessions that addressed the intersection of cross-cultural views and public health. Student research projects explored public health and family science issues such as gender bias in schools, uterine cancer awareness, Ayurveda medicinal practices, breastfeeding habits and patterns, mental health, and nutrition during pregnancy. Outside of class, students explored cultural sites and local food and had the opportunity to visit with a family in the community. Undergraduate participant Christopher Noronha created a video, which captured several experiences during the study abroad course.

Military Family Interns in FMSC and BCH Contribute to Veterans Day Events

November 15, 2013
Undergraduate Military Family Interns in Family Science and Behavioral and Community Health played an important role in planning, marketing, and implementing Veterans Day/Week events on the UM campus and in the larger community. Family Science Military Family Interns, Modinat Mustapha, Nicole Serra and Erica Fatal (pictured), assisted Ginger Miller, CEO and founder of Women Veterans Interactive, in sponsoring the 2nd annual Women Veterans and Women in the Military Veterans Day Extravaganza at National Harbor. Suze Orman, nationally-acclaimed financial guru, headlined the event as keynote speaker, followed by a gala attended by veterans, their friends and families, and county, state, and federal officials who work on veterans' issues. Behavioral and Community Health Military Family Interns, Avielle Bender and Norris Vassell, likewise made major contributions to creating, marketing, and implementing campus events during the University's Veterans Week activities. For example, the Interns planted approximately 800 flags in front of the Stamp Student Union to represent the large number of student veterans at UM, and they organized an event in which members of the campus community wrote letters to Wounded Warriors. The students' intern supervisors, Ms. Miller and Mr. Brian Bertges, UM's Coordinator for Veteran Student Life, praised the School's interns for their "creativity," "superb planning skills," "boundless energy," and "dedicated commitment to the well-being of veterans, service members, and their families."

FMSC Professor Writes Book to Make Family Law Accessible

November 14, 2013
Dr. Kerry Weil Tripp, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family Science, is the author of a new book, "Family Law for Non Lawyers", which uses approachable, jargon-free writing and current events examples to illustrate the complexities of and rapid changes in the field of family law. The book surveys family law in general, allowing the reader to become familiar with the similarities and differences in the law throughout the country, and offers short summaries of the law and related cases (including celebrity participants and tabloid-style fact patterns) to bring legal principles to life. Dr. Tripp places hot-button topics such as same-sex marriage, birth control, and assisted reproduction on the same stage with courtship and divorce, custody/child support and parental rights. The book also capitalizes on the unusually high number of family law cases during the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 session to allow the reader to decide how the cases will be resolved. Designed to be student-friendly, this book is the perfect tool for courses in family studies, couples and family therapy, paralegal studies, and undergraduate and graduate family law classes. For more information about Dr. Tripp's book, click on the related link.   Read More >

Couple and Family Therapy Alum Receives Award at AAMFT Conference

November 12, 2013
Department of Family Science Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) alum Leidy Magdalena Mena is the awardee of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) 2013 Minority Stipend. This annual award supports minority supervisors-in-training in an effort to recruit, train, and retain minorities as AAMFT supervisors in marriage and family therapy. Leidy was honored as one of two recipients at the 2013 AAMFT Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.

A 2009 graduate of the Couple and Family Therapy Program, Leidy completed her clinical training here at the Center for Healthy Families. Upon graduating, she has worked with such organizations as the YMCA, the Children's Rights Council, Montgomery County Maryland's Sexual Abuse Program, and now provides services in her private practice in Marriage and Family Therapy.

In addition to her own work as a therapist, Leidy has continued her involvement with the Center for Healthy Families and our UMD training program by working as a supervisor. In this supervisory role she observes therapy sessions and is present to give direct feedback and assistance to clinicians as therapy is proceeding. The Center's facilities with one-way mirrors and digital and phone capabilities enable Leidy to be a "live" presence and share her expertise with clinicians in training. As a Spanish speaker, Leidy is also able to provide help to families and their therapists who conduct sessions in Spanish. This has enabled the Center to serve more Spanish speaking families, which fills a tremendous community need.

Congratulations to Leidy on this award!

Family Science Initiative Supports Maryland Veterans with Enhanced Healthcare and Peer Networks

November 11, 2013
The Department of Family Science's (FMSC) Maryland Veterans Resilience Initiative (MaVRI) is working to ensure that Maryland's veterans are receiving adequate health care and support after returning home from military service. Some veterans experience post-traumatic stress and have difficulty successfully transitioning to civilian life, and many health professionals are not properly trained to address veterans' issues. The MaVRI project, led by FMSC Professor Dr. Sally Koblinsky and her colleagues Dr. Leigh Leslie and Emily Cook, are providing training to mental health and primary care professionals in order to better understand and treat veterans and their families. Seven hundred behavioral health professionals have been educated about military culture and best practices for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, family stress and relationship problems, suicide ideation, traumatic brain injury, and women veterans' issues. MaVRI also trains student veterans from the University of Maryland to work as peer facilitators at other state colleges with the goal of establishing new student veteran organizations, veterans centers, and support communities for veterans adapting to college life. More information about MaVRI can be found here.

Family Science Professor Receives Moving Maryland Forward Grant

November 8, 2013
Family Science Graduate Director and Associate Professor Kevin Roy is the recipient of a 2013 Moving Maryland Forward Grant. "Moving Maryland Forward" grants seek to foster opportunities for leadership training, mentoring, professional growth, and advancement of diverse faculty and staff. These University of Maryland grants aim to maintain a high level of diversity in the student body and implement diversity based initiatives within the school and with the community.

Dr. Roy's project, 'Engagement and academic success for young men of color: Best practices in Family Science and Public Health at the University of Maryland,' will identify existing practices that lead to academic success among young men of color in Family Science. The study will examine what types of mentoring models, advising approaches, and classroom interactions with the Family Science department promote academic success for young African American and Latino men. Through data collection and focus groups conducted with undergraduates, the researchers, Dr. Roy and Family Science doctoral student John Hart, hope to develop new practices in the classroom to promote higher rates of retention and graduation among young men of color.

FMSC Faculty, Alumni, and Graduate Students Participate in the 2013 Annual NCFR Conference

November 7, 2013
Department of Family Science (FMSC) faculty, doctoral students, and alumni are presenting at the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Annual Conference November 6-9. Founded in 1938, the NCFR is the oldest multi-disciplinary professional organization that focuses on family research, practice, and education. Their mission is to provide an educational forum for family researchers, educators, and practitioners to share in the development and dissemination of knowledge about families and family relationships, establish professional standards, and work to promote family well-being.

The 2013 conference focuses on how family professionals understand and enhance the well-being of children and adolescent family members and their communities. 2011-2013 NCFR President Elaine Anderson is presiding over the Board of Directors and University Administrators Forum, among other events. Dr. Kevin Roy is giving a talk on Qualitative Family Research Commission Recommendations. Department presentations span a variety of topics including military families, the couple therapy process, and transracial adoption.

Family Science Department Presents at APHA

November 1, 2013
Twenty Family Science faculty, doctoral students, and alumni are presenting at The American Public Health Association's (APHA) 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition, in Boston November 2-6. The meeting addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health. Family Science presentations span a variety of topics including domestic violence, maternal and child health, mental and physical health care needs of veterans, the effects of prenatal alcohol use, health disparities, and traumatic loss and homicide survivorship among black males.

Dr. Stephanie Grutzmacher is conducting a learning institute on Utilizing Text Messages in Health Education. This three hour workshop includes sessions on ways that text message-based interventions can be used to encourage health behavior change. Dr. Grutzmacher will be joined by Ashley Munger and BreAnna Davis, two Family Science doctoral students, and Lisa Lachenmayr, Erin Braunsheidel, and Jane Kostkeno from UMD Extension's Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education.

Learn more about the Department's and School of Public Health's involvement in this year's APHA meeting via the SPH blog. The full list of presentations can be found here.

FMSC Faculty and Graduate Students Present at AAMFT and ABCT Conferences

October 28, 2013
Five Family Science faculty and graduate students presented at the 2013 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Annual Conference held in Portland, Oregon. Participants included Family Science Professor and Director of the Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) Master's Program Dr. Norman Epstein, Instructor and Director of the Center for Healthy Families Dr. Carol Werlinich, CFT master's student Jenni Young, and Family Science doctoral students Lauren Messina and Emily Cook presented at the 2013 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Annual Conference held in Portland, Oregon. The group presented a research poster titled "What Affects Perceived Criticism in Couple Communication?" Dr. Epstein also conducted a Conference Institute on Cognitive Behavioral Couple and Family Therapy with Dr. Frank Dattilio, one of the leading figures in the world in the areas of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), and clinical and forensic psychology. This session included an overview of the CBT model, strategies for engaging clients in therapy, and assessment and treatment methods with a focus on partner aggression, low emotional intimacy, ineffective parenting, and parental responses to children's depression and anxiety.

Dr. Norman Esptein will also be serving on a panel discussing cognitive-behavioral couple therapy around the globe at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 47th Annual Convention November 21-24 in Nashville, Tennesee.

Seven Family Science Faculty, Staff, and Students Appointed to University Senate

October 28, 2013
Newly elected and appointed Department of Family Science faculty, staff, and students have begun the 2013-14 academic year in service through the University Senate. Associate Professor Edmond Shenassa has been elected as faculty representative for the School of Public Health on the University's Elections, Representation, & Governance (ERG) Committee. Adjunct faculty member Kerry Tripp has been selected as a 2013-2015 member of the Student Conduct Committee. Coordinator and Assistant to the Chair Erin McClure has been elected as Exempt Staff Senator for a 3 year term beginning Fall 2013, and has been selected as a 2013-2015 member of the Committee on Committees. Program Management Specialist and Graduate Secretary Jessica Serna has been selected as a 2013-2015 member of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Maternal and Child Health doctoral student Andrew Williams has been selected as 2013-2015 member of the General Education Committee, and Family Science doctoral student BreAnna Davis is the 2013-2014 Ex-Officio Graduate Student Government Representative of the Student Affairs Committee. Undergraduate student Natsnet Haileab has been selected as a 2013-2014 member of the Student Affairs Committee.

Congratulations to our Family Science members on their new positions!

Family Science Alum and Graduate Student Presents Undergraduate Thesis at Conference

October 18, 2013
Sam Allen, a first year graduate student in the joint Master's/Ph.D. program in Couple and Family Therapy and Family Science, is presenting his undergraduate honors thesis at The 37th Wisconsin Women's Studies and 8th LGBTQ Studies Conference. This conference in Madison, Wisconsin, joins academics, students, activists, and others in a multidisciplinary context to investigate women's and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues. This year's conference focuses on student strategy and coalition building to address these topics. Sam will be presenting his paper, 'I don't want the neighbors to know': A contextual analysis of Jewish, Orthodox gay men and their relationships with their mothers under the Reconciling Identities category. His thesis, supervised by Family Science Professor Dr. Marian Moser Jones, examines the coming out process ("disclosure") in a familial and religious context. Little to no qualitative research examines the relationships between gay, Orthodox sons and their families (especially mothers) post-disclosure. This study utilizes in-depth interview and content analyses to investigate the impact disclosure has on the relationship between gay men from Orthodox backgrounds and their mothers. Substantial findings are discussed, in addition to implications for future research and the need for intervention programming.

Study Shows Stress Hormones During Pregnancy May Predict Adult Nicotine Addiction

October 18, 2013
Family Science Associate Professor Dr. Edmond Shenassa has co-authored a paper in the September issue of Biological Psychology that may provide links between pregnancy hormones and nicotine addiction. The study is titled: Prenatal Glucocorticoids and Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy Independently Program Adult Nicotine Dependence in Daughters: A 40-Year Prospective Study. Dr. Shenassa expands upon this study, saying, "We are learning secrets of what happens in the womb during pregnancy, and one interesting lesson is that what happens during pregnancy does not stay with pregnancy, what happens during pregnancy has interesting implications throughout life. For example, the amount of stress a woman experiences during pregnancy seems to changer her fetus' brain structure." A summary of these exciting new findings is provided in this press release.

Three Faculty Openings in Family Science

October 15, 2013
The Department of Family Science is conducting three faculty searches for Assistant/Associate Professors in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland. The three tenure-track positions are in the following areas:

  • Couple and Family Therapy

  • Family Health and Well-Being

  • Maternal and Child Health

Additional details regarding each position, position requirements, and our Department, School and University can be found in the attached position announcements.

All three positions have officially posted with the university and will remain open through November 30, 2013. We encourage you to apply by this best consideration date and share this announcement with your colleagues and students.

The Department of Family Science is a dynamic unit uniquely housed within a School of Public Health. Our close proximity to our nation's capital, the state capital of Maryland, Baltimore, and the surrounding communities provides numerous opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration in research and practice. We are a Department, School and University with a well-recognized commitment to diversity.

We hope you will consider applying for and sharing these exciting opportunities!   Read More >

FMSC Undergraduates Present Findings at Annual McNair Research Conference

October 15, 2013
Family Science undergraduate students Khirchelle Forde, Rhonda Roach, and Charlene Osei are among 29 University of Maryland undergraduate students who presented research projects as well as oral presentations at the Annual Ronald E. McNair Research Conference at the University of Maryland (UMD). This conference showcases the research and scholarship of Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholars. The McNair program pairs students from disadvantaged backgrounds with UMD faculty mentors to lay groundwork for doctoral study. Participants receive assistance preparing for graduate school admissions tests; academic counseling, tutoring, and mentoring; faculty-guided research and mentoring, advanced writing classes, the opportunity to present original research at academic conferences and national forums, and more. The McNair Program at the University of Maryland is one of approximately 177 such programs nationwide.

Under the leadership of Dr. Augusta Lynn Boles from the Woman's Studies Department, Khirchelle Forde presented her research, "The Adverse Effects of Stress on Family-work Balance Among African American Women." Rhonda Roach, who worked under the direction of Behavioral and Community Health Assistant Professor Dr. Mary Garza, presented her research titled "A Comprehensive Analysis of Literature Surrounding Re-victimization of Women Post-Interventions." Charlene Osei, mentored by Department of Family Science Associate Professor, Dr. Jinhee Kim, presented her work, "Understanding the Role of Social Work in Financial Capability." Congratulations to Khirchelle, Rhonda, and Charlene on their outstanding work!

New Academic Year Brings Changes to Family Science Leadership

October 14, 2013
The 2013-2014 academic year has brought about many exciting changes in our department. Dr. Kevin Roy has accepted the position of Graduate Director. In this transition, we also thank Dr. Leigh Leslie for more than ten years of service as Family Science Graduate Director. Thank you to Dr. Edmond Shenassa for his service as Director of the Maternal and Child Health Program beginning the first year of the program through this past academic year. Dr. Sandy Hofferth is the newly appointed Maternal and Child Health Program director, along with the University's ADVANCE Professor for the 2013-14 academic year. Additionally, Dr. Stephanie Grutzmacher and Dr. Manouchehr Mokhtari serve as the newest instructors of our Preparing Future Faculty and Professionals (PFFP) program. We thank Dr. Sally Koblinsky for her extensive work in creating and implementing the PFFP program along with her continued mentorship. Dr. Koblinsky is now the School of Public Health's Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Finally, we congratulate Dr. Grutzmacher and Dr. Elisabeth Maring on their new faculty appointments. Dr. Grutzmacher is now a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Science. Previously she served as an Extension Specialist with the University Extension. Dr. Maring has a new faculty home as Research Assistant Professor and Director of Global Health Initiatives in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH). She is also Director of the Global Public Health Scholars program, a living and learning program for academically talented freshman and sophomore students at UMCP. Dr. Maring's teaching and research will be missed in the Department of Family Science, but we look forward to continued collaborative opportunities with Lis on new global initiatives.

Congratulations to all our faculty on their extensive service and appointments.

FMSC Doctoral Student is the 2013-2014 GSA Vice President for GSG

October 3, 2013
Second year Family Science doctoral student BreAnna Davis is the 2013-2014 Vice President for Graduate Student Affairs of Graduate Student Government (GSG). The GSG is the only campus organization sponsored, staffed and run exclusively by graduate students. The organization advocates for graduate students on and off campus, bringing concerns to University officials, USM officials, the Board of Regents, and lawmakers.

BreAnna has a history of service with the GSG beginning as a master's student in the Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) Program in Family Science. She has held positions as a CFT representative (2011-2012) and a PhD representative (2012-2013). During this time, BreAnna served on the Diversity Committee as Secretary and Acting Chair. In this capacity, she worked closely with the Center for Teaching Excellence to develop and implement a Diversity Training pilot series for Teaching Assistants. This series included five training workshops geared to better prepare graduate teaching assistants in handling issues of diversity that arise in the classroom. BreAnna's passion and drive to implement this workshop series contributed to her nomination as a finalist for the Outstanding Graduate Student Assembly Award.

As Vice President for Graduate Student Affairs for the 2013-2014 academic year, BreAnna remains committed to ensuring University policies and programs appeal to the interests of graduate students.

Congratulations to BreAnna on her dedicated service and outstanding accomplishments!

Recent FMSC Graduates Secure Employment

October 3, 2013
The Department of Family Science is pleased to share position appointments of several recent graduates of both our master's and doctoral programs.

Katie Hrapczynski, a 2013 graduate of the Family Science doctoral program, is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Family Science. In this role, Dr. Hrapczynski assists the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion with School of Public Health diversity-related activities. She also collaborates on several initiatives intended to enhance veteran and military family well-being.

Ui Jeong Moon, a 2012 graduate of the Family Science doctoral program, has accepted an offer as a Senior Research Associate at Lyndon State College, in Lyndonville, Vermont. Dr. Moon will co-direct a longitudinal panel study in PK-12 schools and conduct research to understand and change the factors that influence rural, first-in-family, modest-income students' educational and occupational aspirations.

Ebony Edwards, a 2013 graduate of the Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) master's program, has accepted a job as a Family Therapist at the Center for Children in La Plata, Maryland. She is a Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist, and is excited to work in the field that the CFT program prepared her for.

Nicole Ehlert, a 2013 graduate of the CFT master's program, has recently begun a job as a Senior Family Service Worker in Howard County with Way Station Inc., a non-profit, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Social Services. In this position Nicole will be providing short-term, in-home interventions for families who are at high risk of having one of their children placed outside the home.

Stephanie Powell, a 2013 graduate of the Couple and Family Therapy master's program, is currently working with Montgomery County Public Schools as the Resource Counselor at Wheaton High School, where she supervises the counseling department and counsels students. She also works as a Crisis Intervention Counselor (CIC) at Greenbelt CARES doing individual and family therapy.

The Department of Family Science congratulates our graduates on their new positions!

Dr. Moser Jones Receives AJPH Paper of the Year

October 1, 2013
Family Science Assistant Professor Dr. Marian Moser Jones has been selected to receive a Paper of the Year award from the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). Her article, "Poison Politics: A Contentious History of Consumer Protection against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States," was published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The article discusses how protective mechanisms against childhood and other household poisonings- such as warning labels on cleaning products and other household chemicals, and protective packaging- developed, and how legislation was passed to make them mandatory only after tragic deaths and injuries had occurred. Dr. Moser Jones explains more about the topic in this video. Her full paper can be found here. Congratulations to Dr. Moser Jones on this outstanding award!

Dr. Bonnie Braun's Work Empowers Americans to Make Smart Choice about Health Insurance

September 26, 2013
Sweeping health care reform legislation means starting October 1, hundreds of millions of Americans - both those currently insured and uninsured - will have more options than ever before when it comes to health insurance. That's why a team of our Extension experts, led by Family Science Professor Bonnie Braun and Lynn Little, developed Smart Choice Health Insurance - a comprehensive, research-based, unbiased curriculum designed to equip people with the tools they need to make the best decisions possible when choosing health insurance.

The Smart Choice Health Insurance Consumer workbook is now available to everyone online at http://www.extension.umd.edu/insure. Open enrollment for state health insurance plans begins October 1.All University of Maryland employees are encouraged to utilize the Smart Choice Health Insurance Consumer Workbook, regardless of whether they participate in state health insurance plans or not. Open enrollment also begins October 1 for the state's insurance marketplace where currently uninsured people can sign up for coverage.   Read More >

Family Science Alum Develops Project THANKS

September 24, 2013
Dr. Ndidiamaka (Ndidi) Amutah, graduate of the Family Science Department's Maternal and Child Health doctoral program, has developed an intervention for women of color with HIV/AIDS. Project THANKS seeks to help women with the disease in managing their overall health, while addressing the many complications that often present with HIV/AIDS. The intervention includes specifically tailored sessions in which women participate in group meetings and set their own pace and goals during the duration of the project. The sessions include group conversation and activities and information about how to manage their chronic disease. Dr. Amutah and her research partner Dr. Meena Mahadevan received grant funding from the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services this April. Project THANKS has been a great success in its early stages, and has helped women of color to manage their disease and its symptoms, teaching them valuable skills along the way. Learn more here

Dr. Amutah is also being honored with a Livingston College Distinguished Alumni Award for her professional achievements. Congratulations to Ndidi on this award!

Dr. Jinhee Kim Receives AFCPE Award

September 24, 2013
Family Science Associate Professor Dr. Jinhee Kim has been selected to receive the 2013 Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning Outstanding Journal Article Award for her article, "Childhood Financial Socialization and Young Adults' Financial Management." She and her research partner Dr. Swarn Chatterjee, of the University of Georgia, will be honored at the 2013 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education Annual Research and Training Symposium Awards Luncheon on Friday, November 22. This honor recognizes creative and innovative approaches, sound research methodologies, and a thorough review of the topic addressed. The AFCPE is a professional organization that certifies and trains financial counselors and editors. Dr. Kim's article can be found here.

Congratulations to Dr. Kim on this award!

Study Shows Need to Improve Health Insurance Literacy as ACA Expands Coverage

September 19, 2013
As the U.S. prepares to expand health insurance coverage and launch state-based insurance exchanges as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a report published by scholars from the Department of Family Science suggests that many consumers lack an adequate level of health insurance literacy, or the necessary information and understanding to make optimal decisions about health insurance. The article, published in the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal and authored by Dr. Jinhee Kim, Associate Professor, Dr. Bonnie Braun, Professor, and Andrew Williams, Graduate Research Assistant, provides a comprehensive review of current literature and existing curricula in an effort to address the void in consumer knowledge, ability, and confidence regarding health insurance.

The article highlights a handful of factors necessary for consumers to make optimal health insurance decisions, including clarity about the financial aspects of different options, reliable and easy-to-understand information, trustworthy and accessible sources, and an effective way to navigate through the available options. With both insured and uninsured consumers facing changes, the articles points to a "teachable moment" for educators, and an urgent need to improve health insurance literacy, an important step toward improving consumer health and well-being.

The University of Maryland Extension program is leading a multi-state health insurance literacy initiative, with the first curriculum and consumer workbook to be released October 1, 2013.

Read more on the University of Maryland Smart Choice for Health Insurance initiative. Read the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal article.   Read More >

Get Ready Day Promotes National Preparedness

September 17, 2013
The Department of Family Science encourages you to think about ways you can Get Ready and prepare for emergencies and disasters. The American Public Health Association's Get Ready Day is held each year on the third Tuesday in September to coincide with National Preparedness month. Have you thought about what you and your family might do in an emergency or disaster? It is important to prepare your family and talk to your kids about emergencies before they occur. Creating family plans, having an emergency preparedness kit, and getting flu vaccines for the family are a few ways to get ready. You can involve your kids in family preparedness activities to help keep everyone safe and engage the whole family.

If you, your kids or family need support talking about emergencies or disasters, the Center for Healthy Families can provide therapy services. Located within the School of Public Health, the Center offers therapy for families in the Maryland and Washington D.C. metropolitan area. To make an appointment at the Center for Healthy Families, call 301-405-3659 or 301-405-2273. Join the Department of Family Science in helping build stronger, healthier, and more resilient families on September 17 Get Ready Day.

FMSC Professor Reassures Parents over Children's Media Use

September 12, 2013
Between cell phones, laptops, and tablets children today are frequently using multiple media sources. Many parents worry about the negative impacts all of this "screen time" on their kids. Dr. Sandra Hofferth helps to ease parents' worries over screen time use in the Alumni Association's September Issue of The Shell. Instead of being concerned over screen time use, Dr. Hofferth encourages parents to become familiar with the types of media that their children are exposed to. Interactive devices like computers and tablets can actually be great communication and reading and writing tools. Dr. Hofferth soothes parents' concerns stating, "There's no overall negative effect of media use on children& in fact, there are positive benefits."   Read More >

Dr. Grutzmacher Receives Gemstone Mentor of the Year Award

September 12, 2013
Congratulations to Department of Family Science Research Assistant Professor Dr. Stephanie Grutzmacher, the 2013 Gemstone Mentor of the Year Award recipient. Dr. Grutzmacher led the 'Food Deserts' Gemstone team to a successful thesis defense in Spring 2013. The team included two Behavioral and Community Health majors. The team project was a finalist for the Thesis Conference Presentation Award and was the only public health/social science project among the presentations. Family Science Associate Professor Dr. Mia Smith Bynum, Behavioral and Community Health Associate Professor Dr. Sharon Desmond, and Family Science doctoral students Lauren Messina and Ashley Munger served as discussants for the 'Food Deserts' paper. Congratulations to Dr. Grutzmacher and the 'Food Deserts' Gemstone team!

Dr. Jones Discusses Public Health Efforts and the History of Toxic Chemical Regulation

August 13, 2013
Family Science Assistant Professor Dr. Marian Moser Jones talks about her recent paper, Poison Politics: A Contentious History of Consumer Protection against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States, and her research on the history of toxic chemical regulation with DugDug. DugDug bridges the gap between academic journals and mainstream publications to report and analyze significant advances in science. Click here to learn more about the history of toxic chemical regulation in the 19th and 20th centuries and Dr. Jones' suggestions for prevention.

2013 CFT Graduates Pass National Licensing Exam

July 18, 2013
Congratulations to six 2013 Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) graduates on their recent success in passing the challenging national Marital and Family Therapy Licensing Exam. Andrew Dauler, Ebony Edwards, Nicole Ehlert, Elizabeth Ott, Stephanie Powell, and Robin Smith have all passed the exam on their first attempt; this is a phenomenal accomplishment for the graduates. They are continuing the Family Science Department record of success with the exam.

The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Board's (AMFTRB) Examination in Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) is provided to assist state boards of examiners in evaluating the knowledge of applicants for licensure or certification. There is a wide diversity of educational backgrounds among the applicants who seek licensure or certification in marital and family therapy. AMFTRB offers a standardized examination, for use by its member boards, in order to determine if these applicants have attained the knowledge considered essential for entry level professional practice, and in order to provide a common element in the evaluation of candidates from one state to another.

Now that the graduates have successfully passed the national exam, they will take the respective state test in order to be Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapists in their state of residence.

The Department of Family Science is extremely proud of our students' success. We commend our Couple and Family Therapy Program and the entire faculty for preparing the graduates so well.

Family Science Professor Weighs in on Federal Budget Cuts to Social Science Research

July 17, 2013
In a Baltimore Sun Op-ed, Family Science Professor Dr. Sandra Hofferth moves the discussion of partisan feuding over federal budget cuts in research beyond economic impact to include how these changes have the potential to undermine health outcomes. To read more about the impact of these cuts on behavioral and social science research, click here.

FMSC Faculty Sandra Hofferth Comments to the Wall Street Journal on Kids and Chores

July 12, 2013
Department of Family Science Professor Dr. Sandra Hofferth shares insights into children's use of time related to household chores in an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Hofferth discusses the latest trend data of children's assistance in helping with tasks around the house. These data are discussed alongside a new app to encourage children's' participation in chores.   Read More >

Family Science CFT Therapists Aid in Shifting Attitude among African Americans towards Therapy

July 11, 2013
Damian Waters, Department of Family Science Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) alum and Clinical Supervisor and current Family Science doctoral student, and CFT alum and Clinical Supervisor Sonja Williams are featured in a Washington Post article discussing the increasing numbers of African Americans seeking mental health services and how African American therapists are contributing to this shift. To read more on these changes click here.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, the Center for Healthy Families, provides therapy to families, couples, and individuals in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This clinic, housed in the Department of Family Science, provides services including couples therapy, marriage therapy, family therapy, parent education, family therapy conferences, and continuing education for professionals. To make an appointment to see a therapist, call the Center for Healthy Families at 301-405-3659 or 301-405-2273.