Volume 3.6 | September 3, 2019
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine's Population Science and Policy (PSP) is excited to bring you The Pioneer Pulse, a monthly supplement to our larger quarterly newsletter, The Pioneer .
Forming a Multidisciplinary Team to Improve Rural Health
The Department of Population Science and Policy’s strength is in its faculty and staff. PSP is fortunate to have built an organizational structure with varied expertise and research interests as well as personal and professional backgrounds.
This diversity was created by design so each team member offers a unique perspective when collaborating with communities in PSP's 66-county service region of mostly-rural central and southern Illinois. No one rural area is identical to another and no two communities share the exact same set of challenges. PSP’s diverse expertise brings a wealth of knowledge, fresh viewpoints and unique solutions to its projects to improve the health and wellness of Illinois communities, which is one of the reasons why the Department is often used as a rural health consultant.
The Department of Population Science and Policy needs more people to help expand its work and fulfill its mission of creating a healthier central and southern Illinois. Headquartered in Springfield, Illinois, PSP has open positions for virtually all experience levels – from (paid) interns to experienced thought leaders.
PSP is especially focused on filling two mission-critical positions: Division Chief, Human and Community Development and Division Chief, Health System Science . Candidates for these positions should have a PhD (or equivalent), MD or JD, be comfortable representing the Department externally and have a clear vision of how to use innovative, population health-based solutions in PSP's mostly-rural service region.
Learn more about our open positions and current research priorities below:
Research Project Specialist (BA/BS) : This entry-level position provides operational support for community-based population science and policy activities. Candidates should possess strong interpersonal skills necessary to maintain cooperative working relationships with PSP employees, physician faculty and other research staff; computer skills and proficiency with various software packages including, but not limited to, MS Office (Access, Word, Excel and PowerPoint); demonstrate analytical skills necessary in order to gather, organize and tabulate data; and knowledge of pharmaceutical and medical terminology. 
Post-Doctoral Fellow (PhD) : This position provides coordination and facilitation of varied population science research projects. This position will also assist with analysis and interpretation of research findings; organize and prepare data for research grant proposals, presentations and publications; assist with clinical research protocol development; and assist with manuscript development, writing and submission.
Assistant/Associate Professor – Division Chief, Health System Science (MD or PhD) : This high-level leadership position provides insight in health services research to better understand social problems, analyze existing policy and develop policy-oriented solutions.
Assistant/Associate Professor – Division Chief, Human and Community Development (MD or PhD) : This high-level leadership position provides insight and innovative ideas pertaining to children and community health outcomes.
Research Assistant Professor – Biostatistician / Bioinformatician / Clinical Epidemiologist (PhD) : This position provides expertise in database creation and maintenance, computer and statistical programming, study design and advanced statistical methodologies for population science-based research and programs. The position requires expertise in behavioral and population-based research studies with the goal of changing health outcomes in central and southern Illinois through big data analysis.

Interested individuals can register for an account and apply for PSP positions via the SIU HR site.
SIU Benefits
The Department of Population Science and Policy is an innovative, inspiring place to work. Southern Illinois University School of Medicine provides ample opportunities for career development and a very generous benefits program. Learn more about working at SIU Medicine – and if you know someone who would be a good fit for PSP, please direct them to [email protected] to learn more.
Current PSP Focus Areas
PSP narrows its focus to the most pressing issues in rural central and southern Illinois. Faculty and staff special interests are important factors when choosing new projects. A sample of PSP projects, priorities and day-to-day work is included below.

  • Opioid misuse epidemiology and intervention: PSP was awarded a National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse Rural Opioid Initiative grant, involving the health and healthcare of opioid and other drug users in rural Illinois.

  • Rural-urban and other cancer disparities: PSP has multiple active cancer research grants.

  • Sexually transmitted infection epidemiology: PSP is developing proposals for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) expansion into rural areas and also aims to learn more about aspects of sexually transmitted infection risk in the context of HIV infection and opioid misuse.

  • Nutrition: PSP has two active projects focused on youth nutrition.

  • Children and Families: Human and Community Development projects are focused on children and/or families. Projects include educating parents on baby brain development and youth mental health.

  • Rural Health Policy: PSP is developing policy briefs to reduce rural health disparities through legislative action.
Veteran's Summit
The Department of Population Science and Policy is working in conjunction with the Southern Illinois University system to present a Veteran’s Summit on September 12-13, 2019, at the Mt. Vernon Armory in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The first day will include an invitation-only Veteran's Summit Symposium with speakers, discussion groups and presenters to inform and instruct individuals who serve veterans in health, education or legal capacities. The second day of the Summit is open to the public and will feature a Veteran's Resource Connection Fair to provide veterans with health and dental assessment screenings and referrals, home test kits for colorectal cancer, legal advice and/or referrals and education benefits counseling and advisement. Learn More and register for the Summit – and please help spread the word on social media.
PSP in the News
The Department of Population Science and Policy works closely with agencies and organizations which share similar missions to improve health outcomes. PSP is honored some of these partners have recently shared PSP’s information in their newsletters and websites. The USDA Health Care Partners newsletter (subscribe here ) recently gave PSP a nice shout out and invited PSP Assistant Professor Anne Scheer to share her work during a conference call with its Midwest health care partners. The Department was also featured in a blog post by the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS), and Dr. Vohra appeared in an extended post as a de Beaumont Foundation 40 Under 40 in Public Health award recipient.
Conferences and Events
PSP Research Assistant Professor Min Jee Lee ’s poster, “Cancer Screening Disparities Among Rural Sexual Minority Individuals: Implication for Prevention and Policy,” will be displayed at American Association for Cancer Research’s 12th Annual Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in San Francisco on September 20-23.
A team of PSP faculty and staff, including Senior Research Project Coordinators Amanda Fogleman and Heather Ladage , Director of External Relations Kara Bowlin and Assistant Instructor Tracie Johnson , will present “Coming Together: Forming and Funding Healthy Rural Illinois Communities” at the Illinois Public Health Association’s 78th Annual Conference on September 12 in Springfield, IL.
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