Volume 2.3 | May 1, 2018
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine's Office of Population Science and Policy (OPSP) is excited to bring you The Pioneer Pulse, a monthly supplement to our larger quarterly newsletter, The Pioneer .
SIU School of Medicine Honored for
Social Mission in Education
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has received the 2018 Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Award for Institutional Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education. The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and the Beyond Flexner Alliance granted the annual awards which recognize "outstanding leadership in advancing social mission in health professions education."

SIU School of Medicine was honored for its longtime efforts in meeting the social mission of our 66-county region in central and southern Illinois. SIU was also lauded for creating the Office of Population Science and Policy and the Office's programs to address toxic stress in schools, enhance child development and combat the growing opioid crisis.

Learn more about the award and watch the SIU SOM video created for the award ceremony.
OPSP Presents Panel on Public Health
In honor of National Public Health Week in April, OPSP invited faculty, staff and students to attend a viewing of "Out in the Rural" and subsequent panel discussion. The short film, which explores one of the first community health centers in the nation, gave way to an informative discussion on a myriad of public health issues including access to care, residential segregation, gun violence and cancer disparities.
OPSP in the News
OPSP Executive Director Dr. Sameer Vohra penned a guest column for the State Journal-Register about the Office's work to bridge health disparities in Illinois. The column, published in conjunction with National Public Health Week, urged Illinois residents to consider the health challenges faced by residents in rural Illinois.
Dr. Vohra was recently presented the "Friend of Education" award from the Illinois Education Association. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the success of public education and to the ideals and mission of the IEA-NEA.
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National Women's Health Week
National Women's Health Week starts on Mother's Day each year to encourage women to take control of their health - but in some communities that is easier said than done. Multiple studies show rural women and black women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than their urban and white counterparts.
OPSP Senior Research Development Coordinator Whitney Zahnd , PhD, recently completed her doctoral dissertation on disparities in breast cancer subtype, stage and access to mammography facilities in the eight state Mississippi Delta Region, a federally designated, impoverished, mostly rural region with a high proportion of black residents. Her research found that women in Mississippi Delta Region had higher rates of triple-negative breast cancer—the most aggressive subtype—compared to those who lived in non-designated part of the eight states. She also found that black women in the Delta Region had higher rates of breast cancer overall and higher rates of more advanced stage breast cancer compared to white women in the Region. Further, she found that certain geographic pockets of the Delta Region had lower access to mammography services.
Upcoming Events
OPSP Executive Director Dr. Sameer Vohra and Administrative Director Heather Westrick will be presenting "Designing a Parent-Engaged, Developmentally-Oriented Rural Hospital" with Rex Brown, CEO of Hillsboro Area Hospital, at the National Rural Health Association Rural Hospital Innovation Summit May 8-11 in New Orleans.
P rofessor Jeanne Koehler, OPSP Social Innovation Director, will be presenting "Fostering Trauma Informed Pedagogy Through a Community Coalition" at the Fourteenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Champaign on May 16-19.
OPSP Senior Research Development Coordinator Whitney Zahnd is presenting at the Rural Cancer Control Meeting in Bethesda, MD. Her discussion, "Using Cancer Registry Data to Elucidate Cancer Incidence Disparities in Rural Populations" is scheduled for Wednesday, May 30.
The SIH/SIU Health Policy Institute is sponsoring "Opening Pandora's Bottle: Law, Policy, and America's Opioid Epidemic" on May 18 at SIU School of Law in Carbondale with simulcasts in Springfield and Chicago. Learn more and register for the event.
Office of Population Science and Policy faculty and staff are routinely invited to speak at local, statewide and national events. If you are interested in learning more about our Office or would like to have a member of the Office attend or speak at your local event, please contact us at opsp@siumed.edu .
Celebrate with us!
Please join the Office of Population Science and Policy on Sept. 19 for a reception celebrating the Office's innovative partnerships with community stakeholders to improve health outcomes in central and southern Illinois. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months!
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