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Population, Family and Reproductive Health

PFRH E-NEWS Fall 2020

Welcome to the fall 2020 edition of PFRH E-NEWS.

We find ourselves in challenging times amid ongoing threats to the public’s health-- a global pandemic which disproportionately impacts communities of color, systemic and structural racism, and the politicization of science. Along with these challenges, we also have critical opportunities to promote life course and population health through our research, practice, and teaching. Teams of PFRH faculty, staff and students are engaged in more than twenty COVID-19 related projects; the foci range from adaptations in home visiting in the US to disparities in sexual and reproductive health outcomes globally.

The many accomplishments of our alumni provide us with optimism about the next generation of public health leaders and the future that lies ahead. Congratulations to alumna Suzannah Gibbs, PhD, MSPH who was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Young Professional Award from the Sexual and Reproductive Health section at APHA. Please read about PhD/MSPH alumna Meghan Bohren’s inspiring work on culturally-responsive care for refugees and migrants in Australia and MSPH alumna Ayanna Johnson’s enduring focus on health equity and eliminating health disparities.

Under the leadership of Terrinieka Powell, PhD, MA, newly appointed as Vice Chair of Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (IDARE), a committee, comprised of students (Quiana Lewis, MPH and Gabriela Marmolejos), staff (Vira David-Rivera, MA) and faculty (Charvonne Holliday, PhD and Beth Marshall, DrPH) seeks to support the schoolwide IDARE strategy and elevate a culture that values and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion within PFRH.

Our training of the next generation of public health leaders continues as this fall, we welcomed 4 new PhD and 31 new Master’s students. I also am thrilled to announce the new Blum Scholarship for Advancing Equity in Public Health. This scholarship recognizes Professor Bob Blum’s prior outstanding leadership of PFRH and his legacy of advancing health equity. The fund will enable first generation graduate students to purse public health training in PFRH.

We recognize many faculty honors! Michele Decker, ScD, MPH, and Maria Trent, MD, MPH are newly appointed Bloomberg Professors of American Health, and Marycatherine Augustyn, PhD is promoted to Assistant Scientist. We also are delighted to welcome Assistant Professors Dylan Jackson, PhD, MA and Suzanne Bell, PhD, MPH, Assistant Scientists Celia Karp, PhD and Shannon Wood, PhD, ScM, and Research Associate Kara Hunersen, MPH.

This is also a time of transition as Professors Stan Becker and Anne Riley are newly emeritus faculty, Dr. Scott Radloff soon begins a part-time faculty role, and Professor David Bishai accepts the Harford County Health Officer position. We thank each of them for their many contributions to PFRH and the field and look forward to their continued involvement in PFRH. When on campus activities resume, we have much to celebrate!

I encourage you to read further to learn about some of the ongoing work in PFRH – housing services for victims of intimate partner violence in Baltimore City, COVID-19’s impact on food security and household income in four African countries, promoting trauma-informed approaches in California, identifying risk and protective factors for COVID-19 susceptibility, the application of CQI to New Jersey’s early childhood Central Intake system—and much more.

As the holiday season approaches, I remain incredibly grateful for our amazing PFRH community. During this time of unprecedented challenges, students, staff, faculty, and alumni remain steadfast in their commitment to public health and their support and compassion for each other.

As always, I welcome your input and am most appreciative of your ongoing support of our department.

Best wishes and good health.

Cynthia Minkovitz



Cynthia Minkovitz, MD, MPP
William H. Gates, Sr. Professor and Chair
Population, Family and Reproductive Health