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Fall 2017 Child & Maternal Health

This event featured three panelists who presented their research, insights and experiences on various health issues concerning mothers and their infants, a topic which occupies a key position in the field of global health.

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On November 8th, 2017, the UC San Diego Global Health ProgramStudents for Global Health, the UC San Diego Global Health Institute and the Global Forum at International House proudly presented another strong Quarterly Conversations in Global Health. This time, the subject of Child and Maternal Health was spotlighted in a global perspective.

Quarterly Conversations is a series of talks held to provide a forum for the Global Health community to come together to discuss relevant issues in the field from an interdisciplinary perspective and increase community interaction at UC San Diego.

We welcomed and would like to give our special appreciation to:

For supporting, sponsoring, and making this event a memorable one. We also would like to thank every student who attended and participated in our critical conversation this quarter.

This event  featured three panelists who presented their research, insights and experiences on various health issues concerning mothers and their infants, a topic which occupies a key position in the field of global health.

Panel Recap

Dr. Anita Raj

As the Director of the UC San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health, Dr. Raj’s research includes epidemiologic and qualitative assessment of gendered, social, and cultural vulnerabilities for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health.

Dr. Raj held the floor first and presented a study on intimate partner violence (IPV) as it relates to maternal and child health outcomes in Bihar, India. The study posited that IPV is generally related to a higher risk of complications and increased likelihood of abortion; and so, improving the situation in Bihar can improve the situation in India as a whole, which will in turn have global impacts, given the significance of the nation. The study specifically examined the role of poverty in exacerbating the outcomes of interest among women who experienced IPV, as well as looking at other covariates (SES, gender equity indicators,…). The findings indicated that half of the young women sampled (50% with no formal education and married before 18, significant portion from marginalized group) had experienced IPV within the last year. There were further indications that a younger age is associated with an increased likelihood of miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion, and that pregnancy and labor complications were more likely among women experiencing IPV and women in the workforce (due to the strenuous nature of labor). This concluded that IPV prevention and quality care in tandem may produce better Maternal-Child Health outcomes than either one standing alone.

Lauren French Hoy,  MSM, CPM, LM.

Lauren French Hoy is a Global Maternal Health Researcher and Advocate. She was professionally trained as a midwife in Oaxaca, Mexico and has also performed midwifery work in the US and Africa. Her research and advocacy focuses on cultural and clinical reasons for maternal and newborn mortality, the need to integrate professional midwives in the health care system, the cesarean section crisis and obstetrical violence.

Throughout her presentation, Lauren emphasized the central role of midwives in improving maternal mortality by drawing case studies and data from the health system of Mexico. Mexico experienced a shift in its healthcare paradigm from utilizing midwifery to institutional care with physicians. She explained how this is problematic due to the lack of specialized skills of these physicians and the increased inaccessibility for pregnant mothers living in poor conditions. For low-risk pregnancies, professional midwifes are proven in many studies to be able to greatly reduce the risk of maternal mortality, and so there is a great need for professional midwives to be integrated into every level of the healthcare system in Mexico.

Janine Schooley, MPH

Janine Schooley is the Senior Vice President of Programs at Project Concern International (PCI). While Janine’s MPH was focused on maternal and child health, she has become a specialist in non-profit leadership, with an emphasis on program design and management of comprehensive programming, including capacity strengthening, gender equity and behavior/social change aspects of integrated, community-based health and development programs.

Janine presented the progressive works done at PCI as it pertained to their rooted mission of providing global reproductive healthcare. Their projects and on-the-ground work focus on improving behavioral changes within the targeted communities, i.e: exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, care seeking, water, sanitation and hygiene behaviors. Janine identified the common elements of successful intervention programming as: convergence and integration with the community healthcare system while paying respect to mothers, paying attention to intersectional social determinants, and using assets that are already available to merge and continue to improve the care within. Finally, she drew attention to the structural changes that are necessary to improve maternal and child health, namely: strengthening social capital, efficacy, agency and collective action as well as female empowerment and gender equity to elevate women’s values as a whole.

The event was moderated by Distinguished Professor Thomas Csordas, the Director of the Global Health Program who opened the event.

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