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CFT Alumna Hired as Youth Services Bureau Director for the City of Bowie, MD
CFT Alumna Hired as Youth Services Bureau Director for the City of Bowie, MD

Wendy Wilcox, MS, LCMFT, a graduate of and Adjunct Supervisor for the Department of Family Science Couple & Family Therapy (CFT) program, has been chosen as the new Youth Services Bureau Director for the City of Bowie, MD. The Youth Services Bureau serves the citizens of Bowie by providing low-cost counseling services for families, groups, and individuals; by promoting alcohol and drug prevention programs; and by sponsoring student support programs in local schools.

Wendy has been employed by the City of Bowie for the past 19 years as a family therapist, providing clinical treatment for children and families on a variety of issues. She is a Past President of the Middle Atlantic Division of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy and currently serves as the group's Legislative Chair.

Bowie Youth & Family Services is a member of the Maryland Association of Youth Service Bureaus (MAYSB). MAYSB is a consortium of agencies which exist to provide clinical services, parenting education and other prevention, intervention and support programs to Maryland children and families.

(Date Added: July 30, 2014)
2014 CFT Graduates Pass National Licensing Exam
2014 CFT Graduates Pass National Licensing Exam

Congratulations to our 2014 Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) graduates on their recent success in passing the challenging national Marital and Family Therapy Licensing Exam. Eight of our graduates took and passed the exam on their first attempt, continuing the Family Science Department record of 100% success with the exam. Participants included Maya Foster, Leslie Gunderson, Paige Murtagh, Estefania Ospina, Russel Rogers, Shana Simkin, Jennifer Young and Le Zheng. They will next take their respective state tests in order to become Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapists in their states of residence.

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 applicants who seek licensure or certification in marital and family therapy. AMFTRB offers a standardized examination 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.

Congratulations to these deserving graduates, and to our entire Couple and Family Therapy Program!

(Date Added: July 29, 2014)
SPH Students and Faculty Participate in Hispanic Health Care Research Workshop at NIH
SPH Students and Faculty Participate in Hispanic Health Care Research Workshop at NIH

As the newest member of the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS), the University of Maryland School of Public Health was an active participant in the July 24-25 professional development and data systems workshop sponsored by HSHPS at National Institutes of Health.

SPH faculty members Dr. Olivia Carter-Pokras (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) and Dr. Amelia Arria (Behavioral and Community Health) served on the planning committee and conducted workshops, while SPH students staffed the registration table and attended sessions.

The two-day workshop aimed to help prepare scholars interested in Hispanic health research. Sessions focused on strengthening students' knowledge and ability to perform analytical studies of national and state health datasets, so that they may better contribute to Hispanic health care research and provision of adequate health care to Hispanics and other underserved populations.

More than 120 participants received tools and tips to assist with the promotion process, publication in peer-reviewed journals, grant applications, and analysis of large health datasets. Participants were also able to network with renowned health disparities researchers and policy leaders, including Institute of Medicine members and deans.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., HSHPS is composed of schools of medicine, public health, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry that strive to strengthen the nation's capacity to increase the Hispanic health workforce to serve and promote the health of Hispanics.

"The University of Maryland School of Public Health is committed to recruiting and graduating a diverse student body, and to promoting the career development of students and faculty members who will help grow the culturally-competent public health workforce," said Dr. Jane E. Clark, dean of the School of Public Health and HSHPS Institutional Representative. "We are proud to partner with HSHPS around our shared goal of increasing the number of Hispanic public health professionals and enhancing the health of Hispanics living in the United States."

Join the UMD School of Public Health at NIH for the next HSHPS professional development and data systems workshop: June 28, 29 & 30, 2015. Students interested in Hispanic health research, should also visit the HSHPS website to learn more about HSHPS' mentoring and federal government internship programs.

Photo: Participants in the HSHPS workshop on July 24-25.

(Date Added: July 28, 2014)
Public Health Science Students Participate in Innovative Internship Program
Public Health Science Students Participate in Innovative Internship Program

Two Public Health Science students, Sara Torabian and Carol Ferrebu, were among the first group of 12 students selected to participate in an innovative new internship program at the Universities at Shady Grove. Six programs at USG collaborated with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in an Integrated Professional Education summer internship. Students from University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and University of Maryland at Baltimore majoring in public health, nursing, social work, psychology, and pharmacy participated in the internship.

For eight weeks this summer, two teams of students representing the six disciplines, visited myriad programs, departments and agencies within DHHS. Students met with DHHS employees from across the County and discussed case studies of real clients, collaboratively brainstorming solutions to ethical dilemmas and barriers to services.

"We knew Montgomery County DHHS was a huge agency providing many different services, but we had no idea how huge and how many different services the County provides to those in need," said Sara Torabian, a 2014 graduate of the Public Health Science program. "It was an amazing experience to be given this much access to professionals in the County with this great group of students."

Carol Ferrebu, also a 2014 Public Health Science graduate, said, "It was great to be able to see the same problems from all the different perspectives. I have a much better idea of the kind of career I want and what I can do with my degree after this internship."

Thanks are due to Uma Aluwalia, MD, Director, Montgomery County DHHS, for providing the access to her agency's staff. Ron Rivlin, retired manager within the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and Katherine Morris, Ph.D., Director, UMBC Social Work Program, served as mentors and internship coordinators. "Ron and Katie were amazing," said Sara Torabian. "We could not have had this incredible experience without them."

Photo, left to right: Carol Ferrebu, Lynn Cook, Sara Torabian

(Date Added: July 28, 2014)
Study Led by Dr. Amelia Arria Suggests Parental Provision of Alcohol Increases Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Abuse
Study Led by Dr. Amelia Arria Suggests Parental Provision of Alcohol Increases Risk of Adolescent Alcohol Abuse

A new study led by Dr. Amelia Arria reviewed 22 studies which examined the association between parents providing alcohol to adolescents and adolescent drinking outcomes and found parental provision was generally associated with increased use of alcohol by adolescents, and in some cases higher rates of alcohol-related problems.

Published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in July 2014, Dr. Arria, associate professor of behavioral and community health and director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the UMD SPH, and colleagues relied on a mix of cross-sectional and longitudinal peer-reviewed studies for their findings.

Noting that parental provision is a complex issue, researchers included studies in their review where parents offered alcohol, allowed underage drinking in the home, supplied alcohol, were present while their children were consuming alcohol, or hosted social gatherings at which underage children and their friends consumed alcohol. On the whole, the evidence suggested that parental provision of alcohol led to increased adolescent alcohol use and, in some instances, increased binge drinking and higher rates of problems stemming from alcohol use.

The authors' messages for parents regarding alcohol provision, include:

• Allowing children to drink underage, even when supervised by the parent, is always associated with a greater likelihood of drinking during adolescence over time.

• Parents should talk to children early about alcohol use expectations and have consistent rules about it.

• "Social hosting" is never a good idea. Parents might believe they are keeping their children and their children's friends safe by allowing them to drink in their home, but adolescents who attend parties where parents supply alcohol are at increased risk for heavy episodic drinking, alcohol-related problems, and drinking and driving.

Dr. Amelia Arria is the Principal Investigator on the NIH-NIDA-funded College Life Study, a longitudinal prospective study of health-risk behaviors among college students. Her research interests include understanding risk and resiliency associated with underage drinking and illicit drug use, investigating the prenatal effects of maternal drug exposure, and translating research findings for parents and families. She also co-leads the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems.

Click the below link to read the paper, "Providing Alcohol for Underage Youth: What Messages Should We Be Sending Parents?".

html link Web Page
(Date Added: July 23, 2014)
Doctoral Student's Research Recognized by American College of Epidemiology

Jessica Montresor-Lopez, doctoral student in Toxicology and Environmental Health, received an Associate Member travel award from the American College of Epidemiology (ACE) conference in recognition of her research, "Short-term effects of ambient ozone on stroke risk in South Carolina." Montresor-Lopez's abstract, which describes the research conducted for her MPH thesis, ranked second out of all abstracts submitted by Associate Members.

Although recent reports have suggested that exposure to ozone air pollution is associated with stroke events, findings have been inconsistent, according to her research. Montresor-Lopez used a case-crossover study design to explore the association between acute ozone exposure and risk of stroke hospitalization among South Carolina residents, taking race and gender into consideration.

Her research shows that for total stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic combined), a 10 ppb increase in ozone exposure on the day of hospitalization was associated with an increased risk of stroke hospitalization. She observed subtle differences among women, who have a slightly lower risk than males. For hemorrhagic stroke, the magnitude of the association differed by race for all time periods of ozone exposure considered.

Montresor-Lopez completed her MPH in environmental health in 2013, and is now in the PhD program in Toxicology and Environmental Health. She is advised by Dr. Robin Puett, assistant professor in the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health.

(Date Added: July 23, 2014)
Kinesiology and Athletics Receive Grant to Study Impact of Recovery Drink on Mild TBI in Youth Athletes

Dr. Jae Kun Shim, associate professor of kinesiology, has received a Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) award to study the effects of a post-workout recovery drink on concussions in young athletes.

Brain injuries have become a serious problem in youth and college sports. Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), also known as a concussion, is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that results in negative consequences to brain function-- specifically, in cognition and movement control by the brain.

Dr. Shim and fellow kinesiology assistant professor Dr. Ross Miller are co-principal investigators of the project, accompanied by UMD co-investigators Dr. Hyun Joon Kwon, research assistant professor in Kinesiology and Dr. David Klossner, Associate Director in Athletics. Their study, "Muscle Recovery with 5th Quarter Fresh," aims to determine if the high-protein, fat-free chocolate milk drink can improve the negative consequences of cognition and movement control from mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) in youth and college athletes. Data will be collected and analyzed in a collaborative effort involving the University of Maryland and Washington County Public Schools.

The MIPS program's goals are to promote the commercialization of advanced technology through university-industry partnership, and to strengthen the economy of the state of Maryland.

(Date Added: July 17, 2014)
Dr. Alice Horowitz Authors IOM Discussion Paper on Dentist-Patient Communication
Dr. Alice Horowitz Authors IOM Discussion Paper on Dentist-Patient Communication

A new Institute of Medicine discussion paper, co-authored by Dr. Alice Horowitz in the University of Maryland School of Public Health, advocates for dentists to provide patients with written "after visit summaries," a document that provides relevant and actionable information and instructions, and suggests that this is an important tool to help improve oral health and general health literacy for all patients.

Dr. Horowitz, research associate professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, articulates in the IOM publication, "After Visit Summaries: A Tool Whose Time Has Come for Use in Dentistry" that oral health providers are key members of the multidisciplinary health team and that there is a need for closer integration between dentistry and medicine on all levels of the healthcare system.

The paper describes that because people receive and process information differently and act on changing life and health practices when they are ready, it is important that dentists ask patients directly how they learn best and to provide a variety of educational materials in plain and culturally appropriate language which can help patients understand their health conditions and guide them to self manage their chronic diseases.

The notion of after visit summaries came into the foreground as a result of the electronic health record incentive program called "meaningful use," yet the authors assert that after visit summaries are not well-known or commonly used among dental practices in the United States. Dr. Horowitz and her colleagues argue that this is a missed opportunity for oral health education. Given the interconnectedness of oral health with a variety of systemic conditions, incorporating after visit summaries into dental practices could serve as an important care coordination tool for the patients and the multidisciplinary teams inside and outside of the health system, the authors argue.

Dr. Horowitz is an expert on the intersection of health literacy and oral health. In 2010, Dr. Horowitz was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Oral Health Initiative.

(Date Added: July 16, 2014)
Dr. Rada Dagher to Receive 2014 APHA Young Professional Award
Dr. Rada Dagher to Receive 2014 APHA Young Professional Award

Dr. Rada Dagher, assistant professor of health services administration in the University of Maryland School of Public Health, was selected to receive the Young Professional Award from the American Public Health Association's Maternal and Child Health Section.

This APHA award recognizes a young professional on behalf of either a specific, creative endeavor or sustained, outstanding achievement in the maternal and child health field over the years. APHA also considers an awardee's potential to make a sustained and meaningful contribution to his or her field long-term.

Dr. Dagher specializes in research on postpartum depression. She also researches how work policies and work-family conflicts influence workers' mental and physical health outcomes and health care expenditures.

A study led by Dr. Dagher, published by Women's Health Issues in May, found that mothers in the United States who have unintended pregnancies return to work sooner after childbirth than mothers whose pregnancy was intended. Dr. Dagher also led a study--published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law in December 2013--that found that women who return to work sooner than six months after childbirth are at higher risk for postpartum depression.

Dr. Dagher will receive the award at APHA's annual conference, which will be held November 17, 2014 in New Orleans.

(Date Added: July 16, 2014)
FMSC Couple and Family Therapy Program Faculty and Students Participate in Beijing Family Therapy Conference
FMSC Couple and Family Therapy Program Faculty and Students Participate in Beijing Family Therapy Conference

Professor Norman Epstein and eight graduate students from the Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) program are traveling to China July 19-29 to participate in the Second International Forum on Marriage and Family Therapy at Beijing Normal University (BNU). The conference is a gathering of family scholars and clinicians from several universities in the U.S. and across China. Its goal is to enhance the young but rapidly growing field of Marriage and Family Therapy in China.

Students Jennifer Young, Lindsey Foss, and Elizabeth Brown will present a paper "Experiences of Intercultural and Immigrant Families: Suggestions for Working with Couples and Parent-Child Dyads in the US and China." The presentation reviews research on sources of stress in immigrant and intercultural families in the United States, including language barriers, differences in values and customs, discrimination, acculturation differences among family members, and limited social support from family of origin. The presenters describe a study conducted in our Center for Healthy Families indicating higher conflict in intercultural couples than in couples from the same racial background, which accounted for intercultural couples having a higher risk of separation. A strengths-based approach to couple therapy for immigrant families is described that can help them learn constructive ways of communicating about their cultural experiences and reduce sources of stress.

Students Sam Allen and Michelle Collins will present a paper "I Don't Want the Neighbors to Know: An Analysis of Untraditional Gender Roles in Traditional Families." In spite of increased tolerance toward changing gender roles and diverse sexualities in many countries, traditional assumptions regarding what is normal and abnormal lead many families to experience stress and hardship when adolescents exhibit such diversity. The presenters describe findings from a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews and content analyses investigating how adolescents with untraditional gender roles have navigated the historical and traditional assumptions and stigma in their families and communities. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Students Andrea Lystrup and Jocylynn Stephenson will present a paper "Culture-Infused Solution-Focused Family Therapy" addressing concerns that the empirically supported solution-focused family therapy model lacks cultural sensitivity for addressing problems of diverse clients. The presenters will focus on gaps between principles and procedures of solution-focused therapy and concepts of cultural competence. A culturally sensitive version of solution-focused therapy will be described.

Dr. Epstein will present a half-day training workshop "Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Couples" for the conference attendees, as well as lead a discussion group "Transitioning from Child-Focused Family Sessions to Couple Therapy." Dr. Epstein and the CFT students also will have discussions with the Chinese faculty and students about family therapy research and practice in China, and will plan further research projects to continue the ongoing collaboration between our CFT program and the Institute for Developmental Psychology at BNU.

(Date Added: July 16, 2014)

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