Monday, November 29, 2010

The good and the bad of working with media: flu

We were delighted that the University of South Carolina Office of Media Relations choose to feature some recent publications from our Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP)-funded Center work. If only they had understood that we weren't working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention!

Oh well, at least the "get a flu shot" message got out. Thanks to our own Kevin Bennett:

On who gets flu shots

On flu myths

Off to Tucson!

The SCRHRC will have multiple presentations at the upcoming NRHA Minority and Multi-cultural Health Conference. Working on cutting down our presentations to the right size -- We love what we do, so our first drafts tend to contain way more information than anyone else is likely to be interested in.

Looking forward to seeing old friends in a couple of days!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rural Congress Representative

Congrats to all of the newly elected NRHA members. And special thanks to the new Rural Congress Constituency Group representative for Research and Education, our own Kevin Bennett.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaching Rural Health: Dr. Amy's Delta Omega Award

The APHA experience was indeed as rich -- overwhelming -- as Jeff described. But one part of it sparkled for the SC Rural Health Research Center: Delta Omega awarded its Innovative Public Health Curriculum Award to our own Dr. Amy Martin (mistakenly referred to as "Amy Brock" by the first presenter!).

In the accompanying video, Dr. Martin walks the Delta Omega attendees through the construction, goals and activities involved in her rural health course. Folks interested in designing a parallel course for their home state are invited to watch. [Jan, who took the video, apologizes in advance. A Flip does a great job in the 5 - 10 foot range, but it less helpful from a distance.]

Amy's talk:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The APHA experience

Hi all and greetings from the Mile High City. Today marks day 3 of the conference and it's about ready to end. The APHA conference is unlike any other I have attended. The size is just staggering. I knew the public health community was big, and APHA is just a small sample of that population.

Upon registering, attendees receive a book about the size of the JC Penney catalog that includes all of the sessions. There is something here for everyone, and there's lots to see. There are 5 time slots with sessions, and there's around well over 50 sessions in each time slot. I counted one session at random, and it had 78 sessions. During each time slot, there is a poster session. I'm afraid to try to count how many posters are presented every hour.

My poster session went well. I presented right after the welcoming address, and the exhibit hall was flooded with participants. I don't think I had more than 60 seconds between people coming by to ask questions. Many people said that they were maximizing their time by identifying posters and sessions they wanted to see. With a conference this size, you have to do that. And you still only see a fraction of what you want to see.

Let's not forget about the time needed in the exhibit hall to get free swag... Actually, the exhibit hall was pretty educational as well. I learned about some services for students offered by SAS, saw many, many new textbooks out on the market, and I was able to talk to some universities about post-doctoral fellowships and faculty positions. They were also giving away free flu shots and chair massages. I do think I picked up way too many pens this time so guess what my colleagues back home are getting from me when I return...

It was great to see faces from USC that I don't always see, faces of previous cohorts from HSPM, former graduate assistants from the Center, hang with Center staff, and meet a lot of interesting people from all over. My hotel was in the suburbs, but wound up being filled with other conference attendees. It was not unusual to strike up a conversation on the train headed to or from the conference, or wound up sitting next to a conference attendee at the restaurant next to the hotel. Just goes to show you that public health is everywhere... :)

But after all of this information and talking, I'm wiped out. Signing off... ---Jeff

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting ready for a full day!

SCRHRC faculty and staff have multiple presentations today at the APHA annual meeting. To get everyone in the mood, please note the cool public sculpture in front of the Colorado Convention Center.

Friday, November 5, 2010

See you in Denver!

Several faculty and staff from the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center will be in Denver for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association. Come see us! Since many of us are cross listed on each other sessions, or are also listed in connection with student presentations, I've just identified the presenter for each session.

As you can see, Monday Nov 8 will be a busy day for us:

Sunday, Nov 7 @ 2:30: Poster Session 2018.1 Childhood and Adolescent Issues. Jeff Hatala. Oral health in rural South Carolina: The importance of the relationship between school nurses and the dental community.

Sunday, Nov 7 @ 2:30, Poster Session 2042.0, Eliminating women’s health disparities, Jessica Bellinger, Cervical cancer prevention and control practices, knowledge, and preferences among women living in the Southeastern United States.

Sunday, Nov 7 @ 2:30: Poster Session 2045.0 Social and cultural contexts of women’s health. Minnjuan Flournoy, moderator.

Monday Nov 8 @ 8:30: 3052.1 Health Services Research: Subjective and Objective Barriers to Vaccination Delivery. Jan Probst, Moderator. Kevin Bennett, Receipt of Influenza and Pneumonia Vaccinations: The Dual Disparity of Rural Minorities

Monday, Nov 8 @ 10 :30, Session 3136.1, Ethnic and racial disparities. Jan Probst, Racial disparities in mortality among middle aged adults in the United States: Is helath Insurance the Solution?

Monday, Nov 8 @ 10:30. Session3132.0 Greg Alexander Outstanding Student Paper Session: Maternal and Child Health Research. Alexa Gallagher “Weight gain during pregnancy in obese women: Should they gain even less?

Monday, Nov 8 @ 10:30: Poster Session 3088.0 Improving the Oral Health for Children and Adolescents, Amy Martin, Rural-urban differences in early childhood dental service utilization patterns among Medicaid-enrolled children in South Carolina.

Monday, Nov 8 @ 10:30: Delta Omega Poster Session I. Amy Martin’s rural health course will be featured as the 2010 award winner for Innovative Public Health Curriculum.

Monday, Nov 8 @ 12:30, 3253.0 Women’s health equity: An examination of social determinants in disadvantaged populations. Jessica Bellinger, moderator

Monday, Nov 8 @ 4:00: Delta Omega Business Meeting at the Grand Hyatt. Amy Martin will be presented with the Delta Omega Innovative Public Health Curriculum Award for her graduate course in rural health.

See everyone there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010: 12:30 PM. 4221.1 Public health approaches to breast cancer: Epidemiology, treatment, and survivorship. Minnjuan Flournoy, moderator.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tenth Anniversary Year!

Belatedly, we are beginning our celebration of 10 years of the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. We first received funding from the Office of Rural Health Policy on September 1, 2000.

Throughout the year, we will be having guest speakers who can help energize us for our mission of research into rural health disparities. Our kickoff speaker was Francis Chesley, MD, Director of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Dr. Chesley was kind enough to provide two talks to interested faculty and students across USC and from our community partners, including the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and Greenville Hospital System. Both talks were well attended and appeared to fire up the troops. One student sent a note reading "the event was the highlight of my semester." Hope we can match that for our next speaker!

If you would like to see the slides from Dr. Chesley's presentations, they are available at:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Congrat's to Dr. Martin

Kudos to the SCRHRC's Amy Martin! Her graduate course, "Perspectives in Rural Health," won the Tenth Annual Delta Omega Award for an Innovative Public Health Curriculum. Delta Omega is the honorary society in public health, founded in 1924 at Johns Hopkins.
Amy's award will be presented at the Delta Omega business meeting in conjunction with the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Denver this November. If you're planning on being at APHA, the Delta Omega meeting will be held at the Grand Hyatt Denver, 1750 Welton Street, Denver, CO on Monday, November 8, 2010 from 4-5:30 p.m, with a reception to follow.
Let's hear it for training the next generation of rural health practitioners and researchers!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Presenting Research at Academy for Health Equity conference

Holdy folks -- I have recently returned from the presenting a poster at the Academy for Health Equity conference in Englewood (suburb of Denver), Colorado. It was a small conference, but it was a good experience.

This is a relatively new group; it started in 2006 as a result of the 2006 Minority Health conference. It sounds like there was a realization at the meeting that there was no group at that time solely dedicated to the elimination of health disparities worldwide. This group is young and energetic, and I would encourage those researchers involved in health disparities to get involved with this group. Although the number of participants was small, that will only change if others attend.

Two presentations really stuck with me -- Dr. Adewale Troutman with Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness gave a phenomenal keynote presentation about health as a human right, which got everyone jazzed for the remainder of the day's sessions. The closing keynote by Dr. David Williams with the Harvard School of Public Health gave a strong presentation about the progress we have made in terms of health disparities and where we still need to do. The power of research presented well has the ability to motivate and cause change. I'm very glad I was able to hear these talks.

And, I gotta say, the conference cuisine was the best of all of the conferences I have had this year. It was clear that what was on my plate was actual food in all instances, and it was actually pretty tasty. Kudos to the Marriott Park Meadows! The bar has been raised for the Denver Convention Center in November.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Congrats to another alum

The SCRHRC team would like to congratulate former team member Daniel Patterson, MPH, PhD on being named to the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council of the US Department of Transportation. And it all started back in South Carolina! Dr. Patterson is now an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine. He also serves as director of research for the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 AcademyHealth Final Thoughts

Good day blogosphere! Jordan here - giving some final thoughts to the AcademyHealth conference held this past week in the Cradle of Liberty, Boston. I, like Jeff, am in the PhD program in the Health Services Policy and Management department in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

The conference was filled with interesting sessions and had designated times for poster presentations and exhibits. The first day, I followed my main interest of Health IT and attended sessions that focused on that topic, however, the following days, I spread my wings and attended sessions dealing with primary care, prescription drugs, how to build an academic career, and palliative care.

I would be wide of the mark without mentioning a realization that Jeffery and I had dealing with the level of "geekdom" in which we had risen. Our last morning, (Tuesday) we found ourselves in a difficult predicament: at 8:00 AM, after dismantling and packing the posters to be shipped back to Columbia, we had not yet eaten breakfast and a session on hierarchical linear modeling was beginning. Thus we found ourselves in the uncommon position of deciding whether to eat now and risk missing past of the session, or going to the session and postponing our dietary needs. Like any good student of Dr. Probst, we chose the later. This ended up being a good decision, as this session truly did add to our statistical analysis knowledge and also adds to our "social gathering/small talk" repertoire.

In conclusion, the 2010 AcademyHealth conference, for me was a great experience. It offered an opportunity to see what my peers from other programs were researching, also it offered other networking opportunities with other professors and researchers. I look forward to next year's conference - to be held in Seattle.

Interesting presentations at Academy Health -- but...

Since Academy Health did not overlap with the annual meeting of the Association of University Programs of Health Administration this year, I [Jan] was able to attend more sessions than in previous years, and actually *pay attention,* versus worrying about missing something at the other conference. There were multiple excellent research method presentations.
Lee Mobley offered interesting remarks on geographic sampling, particularly the need for geographically based samples and geographic contiguity. While I'm not sure I'm 100% in agreement with all of her conclusions, her presentation was truly thought provoking, which is about the highest accolade one can offer. There were also excellent presentations on health disparities, long term care, and multiple other sessions attended by our SCRHRC staff.
But: Rural is *seriously* under-represented at an association that bills itself as a premier health policy and research group. One excellent presentation deal with reimbursement at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The investigator, when asked after the presentation, was unaware that SNFs could be located within rural hospitals. Similarly, one of our posters addressed Board issues at critical access hospitals. When asked, only one person who stopped to glance at the poster knew what a critical access hospital is. I continued the experiment at a breakfast session on HSR, where I was seated at the policy table. No one around the table, which included representatives of two funders in addition to folks from major, urban universities, knew what a critical access hospital was, either.
"Yikes" is sort of an understatement about this. Right now, the existence of rural-specific health issues and policies seems to fall in the "don't know that we don't know" quadrant for AcademyHealth. Those of us concerned about rural communities should begin a campaign to establish a "rural" interest group.

Monday, June 28, 2010

SCRHRC at Academy Health

Following up on Jeff's comments: some photos of our team and their posters.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Summer Conference fun

Hi all -- Jeff here. I'm a research associate for the Center and a PhD candidate in USC's health policy and management program. I'm in Boston with several of us from the Center, and we just finished Day 1 at Academy Health.

A number of us participated in the poster session. I think Dr. Probst wins the conference prize for having the most posters at the conference. She at least wins the prize for having the most from the Center.

The poster session went well. Despite a location by the restrooms, and not near the dessert table in the Exhibit Hall, I had some good conversations with a number of people about our poster "Oral Health in Rural SC: The Importance of the Relationship Between School Nurses and the Dental Community." Some appreciated the 8.5x11 versions of the posters. Some people just can't get enough of the trinket, even a paper one.

I enjoyed talking with the folks around me during the lulls in traffic at the poster session. There's a lot of interesting work in health services research. As a student, it's really gratifying to carry on discussions about research -- design, methods, etc. -- with more experienced researchers. Everyone I have met so far has been very willing to share their knowledge and experiences. As I start to think about dissertation topics, it's been great to hear their insights.

Fellow student staffers Jordan and Alexa (you'll be hearing from Jordan soon) concluded with the evening with dinner at PF Chang's. So good! Here is a photo of Jordan and Alexa eating tasty mini-desserts. A full day of networking and sessions is best ended with a little refined sugar.

More soon... ---Jeff

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Notes from the NAC meeting in Charleston, SC

The SCRHRC was privileged to be able to attend (in the person of Jan Probst, Center Director) the meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, held in Charleston at the beginning of this week. This was Governor David Beasley’s last session as Chair after eight years of service, which made a meeting in his home state somewhat special.

Jan presented Center data on obesity among rural children, one of three topics being addressed by the Committee meeting. After Jan’s national data, Dr. Mike Byrd of the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control presented on the epidemic-like spread of obesity. Dr. Francis Rushton, representing the SC American Academy of Pediatrics, described the clinical picture of childhood obesity – which can literally result in death, even during childhood.

On Tuesday, the Committee group charged with addressing childhood obesity visited Walterboro, SC to learn about a newly implemented community initiative. (See coverage in the local paper:]. The State Director for East Smart Move More South Carolina, Amy Splittgerber, presented an overview while local project Director Marilyn Peters and marketing consultant Rhonda Rawl provided the details about “Let’s Go Walterboro.”

Tuesday evening, Committee members were able to go to Folly Beach for an oyster roast and low country boil in honor of outgoing Chair, Governor Beasley. Actually, folks from outside SC likely thought “low country boil” referred to the weather. As can be seen from Gov. Beasley’s two-toned shirt, it was hot. But folks seemed to enjoy our great SC beach and everyone was delighted to present Gov. Beasley with a remembrance book featuring his history of service to rural people and places.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Congrats to SCRHRC Alum, Mike Mink

Dr. Mink's research on the nutritional content of foods advertised on TV is featured in Time:,8599,1993220,00.html

and covered locally by WTOC in Augusta, GA:

Mike was a research associate at the SCRHRC during his doctoral studies. Yay, Mike!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Great time at NRHA in Savannah!

We in South Carolina were

delighted that the NHRA annual

meeting was drive-able this year, which allowed us to bring a fairly sizeable contingent. Most of our presentations dealt directly with our focus, rural poor and minority populations.

For the Wednesday State Health Resources Track, Kevin Bennett, Jessica Bellinger

and Jan Probst presented information about cancer screening disparities and the costs of eliminating them. A lively discussion at that session lasted well past the 5:30 “stop time.”

On Thursday’s State Health Resources Track, Kevin and Jessica paired up with Mike Samuels to present different measures that could be used to assess disparities, including the Index of Relative Rurality. Thursday afternoon found Jeff Hatala presenting information about dental service availability for rural children, findings from a survey of school nurses in South Carolina.

At the “Contributed Research Papers” session on Friday, attendance was slim: our investigators and the rest of the team for support, plus the lone non-SCRHRC presenter who showed up. But we turned it into a seminar and had a great discussion. Alexa Gallagher presented on obesity during pregnancy, Jihong Liu on obesity among children, and Nancy Morden of the VA White Junction Rural Resource Center presented on the disparity between the need for bone density screening in men with COPD and the proportion of rural men who actually received the screening. A great learning session!

And while running Friday morning, saw the great track at right, which the docent at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge ID's as alligator...

Monday, April 12, 2010

SC Rural Health Conference

The SCRHRC attended and presented at the South Carolina Rural Health Conference in March (over St. Patrick’s Day, actually). Good fun distributing materials and networking with friends from all over the state. Tom Morris and Alan Morgan both provided national perspective. USC-HSPM Grad Rozalynn Goodwin, FACHE, currently with the South Carolina Hospital Association, provided a more locally themed overview of health care reform. Handouts from the talks by Tom, Alan, Rozalynn and the other speakers are available at [ ].

And all participants got to enjoy the South Carolina beach.

Sorry about the picture quality – first attempts with iPhone.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why everyone wants to work at the SCRHRC

Belatedly, here are some pictures from our holiday party back in December. We always have lots of food, with way more sweets than are appropriate. People eat till they sag, then we have activity time. After all, everyone was most creative back in kindergarten.