SSRC Chronicles: November-December 2011
The Social Science Research Center (SSRC) will have its annual retreat January 5, 2012, at the Burnt Oak Lodge near Starkville.
The SSRC hosted representatives from the National Highway Safety Administration and Mississippi Office of Highway Safety on November 15 at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) Extension Auditorium in Canton. This session was to update the two funding agencies on several projects that are ongoing in the SSRC, including the Public Safety Data Laboratory (PSDL), Mississippi eCitation Training Program (eCite), and the Mississippi Seat Belt and Child Restraint Survey. Those participating from the SSRC included Mr. Lee Weiskopf, Project Coordinator of the PSDL and Project Manager of Mississippi eCite, Mr. David Parrish, Research Fellow and Senior Research Associate, Mr. Bill Henderson, Operations Coordinator for the Mississippi Alcohol and Safety Education Program (MASEP), Dr. Ginger Cross, Assistant Research Professor for the Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU), Dr. Connie Thomas, Associate Director of the SSRC’s Policy Studies and Director of the Mississippi Health Policy Research Center, and Ms. Alicia Falls, Administrative Assistant I.
The Media Collaboration Laboratory (MCL) submitted three entries to the 2011 Bulldog PRism Awards: the New SSRC Logo, the 2011 Annual Report and the “Inquiry Leads to Impact” SSRC brochure. Awards will be announced at the January 18 Starkville/MSU Public Relations Association of Mississippi meeting. The KIDS Count motion graphic video and 2011 Egg Ball poster created by Mr. Foster Page were also submitted for consideration.
Awards and Recognition
Dr. Laura Richardson Walton, APR, Assistant Professor of Communication and Coordinator for the Media Collaboration Laboratory (MCL), has been nominated and elected to serve on the 2012 Southern Public Relations Federation Executive Board as a representative for the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.
Ms. Ashley Loftin has accepted the position of Research Associate I at the SSRC. She will be working with Dr. Arthur G. Cosby, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor and Director of the SSRC, and Dr. Laura Myers, Research Professor, on the Regional Emergency Planning Model (REPM) project as well as any future projects.
Ms. Mercedes Alberson, an undergraduate student worker at the SSRC, received the Day One Leadership Award November 17 for her hard work and dedication at Mississippi State University. The program develops the leadership potential of MSU’s entering freshmen so they may better equipped to lead Mississippi and the nation now and in the future. In addition to managing her course work, Ms. Alberson has volunteered many hours across multiple service projects for the East Oktibbeha County Elementary School.
Ms. Rahel Mathews, MPH, Research Associate III, has accepted the nomination to remain as secretary for the Mississippi Oral Health Community Alliance.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, attended the 2011 Mississippi Teen Pregnancy Prevention Summit in Jackson in December. The Women’s Fund of Mississippi, the Delta Regional Institute at University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) sponsored the all-day Summit. A highlight of the Summit was a presentation by Ms. Therese Hanna, Executive Director from the Center for Mississippi Health Policy (CMHP), on results from a survey of parents regarding sex education in Mississippi schools. CMHP commissioned the survey in response to the Mississippi Legislature’s 2011 passage of House Bill 999, which mandates that public schools implement sex education by June 2012. The survey was conducted by the SSRC. To access the CMHP brief report, “What Do Mississippi Parents Think About Sex-Related Education in Public Schools?,” visit http://www.mshealthpolicy.com/documents/HB999SurveyIssueBriefDec2011.pdf. To access the CMHP full report, “Parental Survey on Sex Education in Mississippi: Implications for House Bill 999,” visit http://www.mshealthpolicy.com/documents/Sex-EdFinalReportMSU11-8-11.pdf. If you would like to access the survey, visit http://www.mshealthpolicy.com/parentsurvey.htm.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, Dr. Laura R. Walton, Assistant Professor of Communication and Coordinator for the Media Collaboration Laboratory (MCL), Mr. Sean Galey, Research Associate I, and Ms. Kiara Taite, Graduate Research Assistant, traveled to Kosciusko in November to conduct focus groups with youth at the Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club of Attala County as part of the “Delta Teen eHealth Focus Group” project. An SSRC intramural grant is funding this project.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, began collaborating with Ms. Joyce Ellenwood, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Golden Triangle, and Cary Lindsey, an undergraduate Geosciences student, to implement the “Boys & Girls Club Educational Community Garden” project at the Starkville Boys & Girls Club. On December 2, Dr. Ragsdale, Ms. Ellenwood and Mr. Lindsey presented a working outline of the proposed grant project to the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors (OCBS). The OCBS passed a resolution in support of the Boys & Girls Club Educational Community Garden project on December 7. A reporter from The Commercial Dispatch, Mr. David Miller, interviewed Dr. Ragsdale and Ms. Ellenwood about the proposed project.
Dr. Laura Myers, Research Professor, and Ms. Ashley Loftin, Research Associate I, attended the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station (GGNS) Exercise at the State Emergency Operations Center in Pearl November 1.
Dr. Laura Myers, Research Professor, and Ms. Ashley Loftin, Research Associate I, are conducting a tornado weather warning improvement survey in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. The National Weather Service (NWS), a partner in the Regional Emergency Planning Model (REPM) project directed by Dr. Myers will use the survey results to help improve the severe weather warning process. As a result of the April 27, 2011, tornadoes, emergency planners including the NWS, emergency managers and community leaders have initiated a long-term analysis of how people respond to weather warnings and what changes need to happen to improve severe weather preparedness. This survey is the second phase of this initiative, which began, with an analysis of storm victims in Alabama in October 2011. This survey is available to all residents in these states. If you would like to participate in the survey, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WeatherWarningStudy.
Ms. Rahel Mathews, MHP, Research Associate III, manages the Evaluation for HIV/STD State Services Project, and now has 3 surveys in the field. Ms. Jessica Shappley, Research Associate I, Ms. Jennifer Harrington, Research Associate I, and Ms. Alyson Karges, Research Associate I, were hired to assist part-time. One survey is being conducted statewide with 200 high school and middle school principals to gather their feedback on providing access to STD testing services near or on school premises. The team has used a mixed-mode method, primarily mailings and telephone, to reach this population. The second survey was conducted among school nurses for their viewpoint on providing referrals to adolescents to STD testing services located near school premises. The other focus of this month was a community assessment on knowledge of HIV transmission, HIV testing and services. The project team will be summarizing the results of these surveys for a mid-January deadline.
Ms. Gloria Tempka has joined the SSRC as a Graduate Research Assistant. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition. Ms. Tempka will be working with Dr. Ginger Cross, Assistant Research Professor for the Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU), and Dr. Chiquita Briley, Assistant Professor for Mississippi State University’s Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion. A Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is supporting the project.
Chi, G. (Forthcoming). The impacts of transport accessibility on population change across rural, suburban, and urban areas: A case study of Wisconsin at subcounty levels. Urban Studies.
Chi, G., & Ventura, S. J. (2011, November). An integrated framework of population change: influential factors, spatial dynamics, and temporal variation. Growth and Change 42(4): 549–570.
Felmlee, D. H., Sweet, E., & Sinclair, H. C. (Forthcoming). Can women and men be friends? Cross-gender and same-gender friendship and life-stage. Sex Roles.
McMillen, D., Abernathy, T., Edwards, J., & Valentine, N. (2011). A brief intervention to improve graduation rate, retention rate and academic performance of freshmen (A 12 year study). Annual National Symposium on Student Retention Proceedings, 519-524.
Lyndon, A. E., Sinclair, H. C., MacArthur, J. R., Fay, B. A., Ratajack, E., & Collier, K. E. (Forthcoming). An introduction to issues of gender in stalking research. Sex Roles.
Misra, K., & Chi, G. (2011, November). Measuring public school competition from private schools: A gravity-based index. Journal of Geographic Information System 3(4): 306-311.
Sinclair, H. C., Ladny, R. T., & Lyndon, A. (2011, November). Adding insult to injury: Effects of Self-regulation, rejection sensitivity, and rejection type on obsessive relational intrusion. Aggressive Behavior 37, 503-520.
Sinclair, H. C. (Forthcoming). Still connected: A review of the stability of most social connections. Journal of Social Psychology.
Walton, L. R., Cooley, S. C., & Nicholson, J. H. (Forthcoming). “A great day for oiled pelicans”: BP, Twitter and the Deep Water Horizon crisis response. Journal of Business Communication.
Wright, B. L., & Sinclair, H. C. (Forthcoming). Pulling the strings: Effects of parent and friends opinions on dating choices. Personal Relationships.
Presentations, Panels & Conferences
Betcher, R., Chaney, P., Otey, K., Wood, D., Lacy, P., Lee, M., & Chi, G. (2011, November). A retrospective analysis of post operative pain in patients following da vinci robotic hysterectomy and total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Presented at AAGL 40th Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology, November 6-10, 2011, Hollywood, FL.
Boydstun, J. (2011, October). Variations in the career expectancy of Mississippi physicians. Poster presented at the Southern Demographic Association annual meeting, Tallahassee, FL.
Brauner-Otto, S. (2011, October). The effect of flora quality on fertility behavior. Presented at the Southern Demographic Association annual meeting, Tallahassee, FL.
Chi, G., & Marcouiller, D. W. (2011, November). Migration effects of natural amenities along the urban-rural continuum. Presented at the 58th North American Meeting of the Regional Science Association International and the 2nd Conference of Regional Science Americas, November 9-12, 2011, Miami, FL.
Chi, G. & Voss, P. R. (2011, November). Small-area population forecasting: Borrowing strength across space and time. Presented at the 58th North American Meeting of the Regional Science Association International and the 2nd Conference of Regional Science Americas, November 9-12, 2011, Miami, FL.
McMillen, D., Abernathy, T., Edwards, J., & Valentine, N. (2011, November). A brief intervention to improve graduation rate, retention rate and academic performance of freshmen (A 12 year study). Presented at the Seventh Annual National Symposium on Student Retention, Charleston, SC.
Myers, L. B. (2011, December). Major events of 2011 – initial assessments: A synthesis of initial findings from community surveys after the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Presented at the Weather Ready Nation: A Vital Conversation Workshop, December 13-15, 2011 in Norman, OK.
Myers, L. B. & Loftin, A. C. (2011, November). REPM model process and facilitation assistance training. Presented to the Business Continuity project coordinators at the John S. and James L. Knight Nonprofit center, November 8, 2011, Gulfport, MS.
Myers, L. B. & Loftin, A. C. (2011, November). Emergency planning for coastal populations: Creating emergency response networks in high-risk vulnerable locations. Presented to the Mississippi Civil Defense Emergency Management Association (MCDEMA) Mid-Winter Conference, November 15, 2011, Hattiesburg, MS.
Ragsdale, K. (2011, November). Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear: College drinking culture & risk behaviors among fraternity/sorority members versus non-Greeks. Presented at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) 2011 Conference, November 16-20, 2011, Montréal, QC, Canada.
Ragsdale, K., & Taite, K. (2011, November). Engaging ‘frontline’ substance abuse treatment center staff in integrating rapid HIV testing (RHT) into rural non-medical setting in the Mississippi Delta. Presented at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2011 Conference, October 29-November 2, 2011, Washington, D.C.
Robertson, A. A., & Stein, J. A. (2011, November). Risk and protective factors for post traumatic stress disorder and delinquency. Presented to the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, and Ms. Rebecca Read-Wahidi, University of Alabama, co-organized and co-chaired the inaugural SMA/NAPA Mentoring Program Career Development Seminar, which was a joint venture between the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) and the National Association of Practicing Anthropologists (NAPA) during the American Anthropological Association (AAA) 2011 conference. The panel of senior-level applied and academic medical anthropologists included Dr. Mary Odell Butler, Battelle Centers for Public Health Research & Evaluation, Dr. Douglas Feldman, SUNY Brockport College, Dr. Lenore Manderson, Monash University, Australia, and Dr. Sandra Lane, Syracuse University. The highly interactive event focused on professional career development among advanced PhD students and early-career PhDs. The event’s audiotape will be broadcast as a podcast on the SMA and NAPA websites.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, was invited in November to serve on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Special Emphasis Panel (SEP) “PS11-0010201Supp12 HIV Behavioral Surveillance” to evaluate the scientific merit of proposals submitted in response to the funding announcement. The SEP will convene in January 2012.
Dr. Laura Myers, Research Professor, accepted an invitation to present at the Weather Ready Nation: A Vital Conversation Workshop during the week of December 13-15 in Norman, Oklahoma. She presented the results of her research on weather warning improvement. The conference involved discussions with weather professionals and social scientists on improving the severe weather warning process.
Dr. Laura Myers, Research Professor, and Ms. Ashley Loftin, Research Associate I, attended and observed the Business Continuity Project (BCP)/Disaster Planning Workshop at the John S. and James L. Knight Nonprofit Center November 8 in Gulfport.
Dr. Laura R. Walton, Assistant Professor of Communication and Coordinator for the Media Collaboration Laboratory (MCL), attended the Public Relations Tactics Tools and Techniques for Maximizing Twitter conference November 10 in Las Vegas. Public Relations News hosted this conference.
Ms. Ashley Loftin, Research Associate I, attended the Tri-State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) November 16 in Jackson. The states involved include: Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The Delta Oral Health Project was highlighted at a Mississippi Department of Health discussion of programs and projects in December. Ms. Rahel Mathews, MHP, Research Associate III, has been asked to present at this forum.
The delegation of students and facility from the University of Catania, Italy participated in a workshop, “Social Media Data in the Social Sciences,” at the SSRC on November 1. The workshop was lead by Dr. Arthur Cosby, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor and Director, and Ms. Melanie Morse, a Graduate Research Assistant.
Dr. Connie Baird-Thomas, Associate Director of the SSRC’s Policy Studies and Director of the Mississippi Health Policy Research Center, will serve as Principal Investigator for the Affordable Care Act Implementation Project Evaluation (ACA-I). This project will provide an evaluation of the ACA-I of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. ACA-I seeks to assess the views of the public on issues related to health care reform implementation in Mississippi, as well as increase capacity for community-based organizations to impact health care reform implementation. The Mississippi Health Advocacy Program is funding this project.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, was awarded a grant in November from the Mississippi State University Office of Research Economic Devolvement (MSU ORED) to support the “eHealth Research Group: Risk Behavior Prevention among Rural & Minority Youth” project. Dr. Ragsdale’s colleagues on the project include: Dr. Laura Richardson Walton, Assistant Professor of Communication and Coordinator for the Media Collaboration Laboratory (MCL), Dr. Ron Williams, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food, Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion at MSU, and Dr. Jeremy Porter, The City University of New York (CUNY) Brooklyn College & Institute for Demographic Research.
Dr. Robert McMillen, Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator for the Mississippi Tobacco Control Data Laboratory, will serve as Principal Investigator for the “Economic Impact” project. Several objective methods for assessing potential impacts of smoke-free laws on the hospitality industry, but the most common approach is to examine trends in sales tax revenue from the hospitality sector before and after the smoke-free laws or ordinances are enacted. The Center for Mississippi Health Policy is funding this project.
On the Horizon
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Research Fellow and Assistant Professor, submitted an abstract to present at the Sex: Tech 2012 Annual Conference on New Media, Youth & Sexual Health, during the week of April 1-3, 2012, in San Francisco, California. The presentation is entitled, “Designing a DVD to promote rapid HIV testing & HIV/STI prevention among substance abuse treatment clients in the Mississippi Delta.” Dr. Ragsdale’s co-authors include Dr. Angela Robertson, Associate Director and Research Professor, and Dr. Connie Baird-Thomas, Associate Director of the SSRC’s Policy Studies and Director of the Mississippi Health Policy Research Center.
Dr. Laura Myers, Research Professor, and Ms. Ashley Loftin, Research Associate I, will attend the International Disaster Conference & Expo (IDCE) during the week of January 16-19, 2012 in New Orleans.
Dr. Laura Richardson Walton, Assistant Professor of Communication and Coordinator for the Media Collaboration Laboratory (MCL), and Ms. M.B. Humphrey, an undergraduate communication assistant in the MCL, will present “The Public Relations Internship Experience: A Qualitative Assessment” to the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, during the week of April 11-15, 2012. The paper was selected as the “top paper” for the PR Division. Dr. Walton will also organize and be a part of a panel presentation entitled, “Developing Consensus: Creating Unity in Defining the Public Relations Process” at the SSCA annual conference.
Ms. Ona Balkus will be a visiting scholar from Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Public Health starting in January. Ms. Balkus will be spending the month of January working on building support for a farm-to-school bill in the state legislature in Jackson, and the rest of her time will be spent talking with farmers and school nutrition employees to learn about the legal barriers they currently face when trying to start farm-to-school initiatives in their communities. From this research, Ms. Balkus plans on developing a legal guide through the Harvard Health Law and Policy Clinic to help local public schools connect with local small-scale farms so that schools can purchase local, fresh produce for school meals, local farmers can have a new source of income and students can have the opportunity to learn about agriculture, health and environmental issues.December 19, 2011