SSRC Chronicles: June 2012
During June, Dr. Angela Robertson, Ms. Kathleen Gresham, Mr. Walter “T.” Rueff and Mr. Jared Grigg traveled to drug courts in Panola and DeSoto Counties to meet with drug court judges and coordinators. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss recruitment of participants from these courts into the Drug Court Project’s HIV/STD intervention program. The intervention program has been underway since March, with current participation from drug courts in Washington, Leflore, Sunflower and Lafayette Counties.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Kate Fouquier (University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing) are Co-P.I.s on the Lanier Community Health House Project, which is funded by a proposal to the Women’s Fund of Mississippi. The study aims to establish a youth-friendly health clinic at Lanier High School in Jackson, Miss. and conduct process and outcome evaluations related to student utilization of the clinic.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale is P.I. on the “HealthWorks! Evaluation- Year 6 Project,” which is funded by the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi with support from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The study will evaluate the impact of the HealthWorks! program on students’ health knowledge and attitudes.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the MASEP program. A celebration will be held at the MASEP annual training session on July 20 and 21 at the Table 100 Conference Center in Flowood.
Survey Research Lab
The J.W. Landrum Observational Survey Laboratory (OSL) conducted the annual Mississippi Seat Belt and Motorcycle Helmet Survey around the National “Click It or Ticket” (CIOT) Campaign. The OSL also conducted a child passenger safety survey in 40 Mississippi municipalities. Mississippi has historically been below the national average in seat belt use rates (2011 national average belt use is 84 percent). Each year media efforts and enforcement activities are focused on the Memorial Day period in an attempt to encourage vehicle occupants who do not “buckle up” to alter their behavior. This OSL project was funded by the Mississippi Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to evaluate the occupant protection status of Mississippi motorists as mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. David Parrish was the Principal Investigator for the project.
The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) is continuing to collect data for three large telephone-based surveys that have been reported in earlier issues of the SSRC Chronicles. Two of these on-going surveys measure parents’ attitudes toward legislation to improve the nutrition, health education and physical exercise of students attending public schools in Mississippi and Arkansas. Additionally, the SRL is continuing to survey a representative sample of state legislators across the nation to better understand the policy decision-making processes that contribute to health-related legislation.
In the past month, the SRL began collecting data for two new surveys: The Mississippi Career and Technical Education Survey and the Mississippi Public School Superintendents Survey.
The Mississippi Career and Technical Education Survey is a telephone-based survey of a representative sample of 400 Mississippi residents. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the public perception of Mississippi’s career and technical education system. The Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University is funding this survey. The Principal Investigator for this project is Dr. Robin Burkes Parker, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Manager and Assistant Research Professor at the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Dr. John F. Edwards, MAFES Research Scientist and Coordinator of SSRC Laboratories, is directing the survey administration and data collection.
The Mississippi Public School Superintendents Survey is a telephone-based survey of all superintendents of education throughout the state of Mississippi. The purpose of this survey is to better understand school district policies in the areas of physical education, nutrition and health education. This research is being funded by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy. The lead researcher on this project is Dr. Linda H. Southward.
Ms. Heather Carson joined the SSRC as the Mississippi KIDS COUNT Communications Director in the Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU) with Dr. Linda Southward. She will be responsible for design and implementation of a strategic communication plan for the MS KIDS COUNT program. Ms. Carson holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Washington. Before joining the FCRU, Ms. Carson taught public high school for seven years and worked for the international nonprofit Teachers Without Borders as Director of Membership.
Ms. Lawren Busby and Ms. Catherine Everett joined the MASEP department as undergraduate student workers.
Ms. Meagan McNeil joined the SSRC as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the J. W. Landrum Observational Survey Laboratory. Among many duties, Ms. McNeil’s primary responsibility will include the construction of large datasets from field-gathered occupant protection surveys in Mississippi.
Ms. Alex Calhoun, a student at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, joined the Social Science Research Center as a high school Research Assistant. She will be assisting in various research projects over the summer.
On The Horizon
The summer of 2012 marks the fifth anniversary of research collaboration between the Social Science Research Center and Tec de Monterrey. For five consecutive summers, the SSRC has hosted visitors from Tec de Monterrey. The topics of interest for both units are primarily related to Hispanic immigration to the U.S. This summer, Dr. Mariana Gabarrot Arenas, a professor and research fellow to the SSRC, and Iza Maria Sanchez Siller, a doctoral student in social sciences at Tec, will visit the SSRC during the week of July 1. The visitors will be working on a grant submission with the intention of looking at issues related to Hispanic women and their children’s health care. It will be a comparative study of women living in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon and Mexican women living in the state of Mississippi. This research collaboration was founded by Mrs. Monica Rosas of the SSRC and Dr. Mariana Gabarrot Arenas of Tec de Monterrey.
Dr. Angela Robertson, P.I., and Dr. Laura Myers, Co-P.I., submitted a proposal to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Planning’s Office of Justice Programs in response to its Program Evaluation RFP. The proposed “Mississippi Justice Assistance Program (JAG) Recovery Program Evaluation” funding would cover a 12-month period beginning July 1.
Dr. Angela Robertson has accepted a second invitation from the Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, to serve on a Special Emphasis Panel. The panel will review pre-doctoral (F30, F31) and post-doctoral (F32) AIDS Fellowship applications, including those for both behavioral and basic AIDS and AIDS-related training. The meeting is scheduled for July 17.
Drs. Ronald Cossman, Jeralynn Cossman, Wesley James and Gerald Shoultz had a paper accepted for presentation in July, hosted by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Their paper, “The Association Between Migration and Mortality at the U.S. County Level – Are Health Rates Stable When Populations Are Not?” will be presented at the special two-day conference entitled “Innovative Perspectives on Population Mobility: Mobility, Immobility and Well-Being.”
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale is collaborating with Dr. Alexander Rödlach (Creighton University) on a panel entitled, “Cross-cutting Borders between Community and Health: Health Disparities and Community Health across Diverse Vulnerable Populations.” They will submit the panel for consideration at an Invited Session at the 2012 American Anthropological Association Conference, held Nov. 14-18 in San Francisco, Calif.
Ms. Melanie Morse, a Graduate Research Assistant, is to present her research at the 46th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Her work, “Can a Simple Manipulation of Social Desirability Change Late Adolescents’ Attitudes Towards Substance Use by Peers?,” will be presented at the conference, which is to be held Nov. 15-18 in National Harbor, Md.
Dr. Angela Robertson, P.I., and Dr. Laura Myers, Co-P.I., submitted a letter of intent to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative’s Request for Proposals (RFP-II). The proposed research assesses “The Impact of Oil Spills and Response Efforts on Public Health and Community Well-being.”
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, Co-P.I., is collaborating with MSU colleagues from the Department of Food Science, Nutrition & Health Promotion on an NIH grant proposal entitled “Jackson Heart Study Participants’ Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors that Attenuate or Exacerbate Obesity and Diabetes” (Dr. Diane Tidwell, P.I.).
Mr. Lee McCluskey, a Graduate Research Assistant, will be participating in a course in structural equation modeling (SEM) offered by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kenneth Bollen, a Henry Rudolph Imerwahr Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is teaching the course. Dr. Bollen is recognized as an expert in the field of SEM and has been named one of the World’s Most Cited Authors in the Social Sciences by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, P.I., and Dr. Lisa Long, Co-P.I., submitted a USDA RIDGE Center proposal to the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) on May 5. The project is entitled “Rural EIF Study: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Early Infant Feeding Practices among Rural & Low-Income Primiparous Young Mothers.” The study aims to explore the determinants of early infant feeding practices (e.g. household food security, cultural norms) among African-American and other rural low-income primiparous teen/young mothers.
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, P.I., and Dr. Laura Walton, Co-P.I., submitted a USDA NIFA proposal on May 15. The project is entitled “Enhancing Early Infant Feeding (EIF) Practices among Low-Income First-Time Teen/Young Mothers through New/Social Media (eBaby Project).” The study aims to convert existing and new extension Just in Time Parenting (JITP) content into culturally relevant parenting videos for culturally/ethnically diverse low-income teen/young mothers in the rural South.
Publications & Reports
Chi, G., & Zheng, Y. Accepted. Estimating transport footprint along highways at local levels: A combination of network analysis and kriging methods. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.
Ragsdale, K., Porter, J. R., Mathews, R., White, A., Gore-Felton, C., &McGarvey, E. L. (2012). ‘Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear’: Binge drinking and other risk behaviors among fraternity/sorority members and their non-Greek peers. Journal of Substance Use, 17(4).
McThomas, M., & Buchanan, R. J. (2012). President Obama and gay rights: The 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. PS: Political Science & Politics, 45(3), 442-448.
Dr. Angela Robertson, Mr. Lee McCluskey and Ms. Sheena Gardner are preparing a report for Ms. Gloria Salters of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office on characteristics of juveniles held in detention facilities. The report will include average length of stay and reasons for admission. This information will help inform the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Presentations, Panels & Conferences
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale attended the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) “Infant Mortality Resource and Awareness Forum” held June 6 in Macon. Approximately 40 researchers, health professionals and community-based organization members from Oktibbeha and Noxubee Counties attended the forum. The more than 12 speakers and panelists included Dr. Evelyn Walter, MSDH Medical Director of the Office of Health Disparities Elimination, Dina Ray, Director of the Mississippi March of Dimes and Dr. Linda McGrath, Lactation Specialist. The forum focused on reducing maternal and infant health disparities in Mississippi.
Mr. David Parrish, Senior Research Associate, and Ms. Twyla Jennings of the Mississippi Governor’s Office of Highway Safety presented a session on Rural Traffic Safety at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators Region II Conference in Charleston, W. Va., June 11.
On June 12, Dr. John F. Edwards and Mr. Josh Richardson served as speakers at a seminar hosted by the Social Science Research Center, titled, “Explorations in Emerging Data for the Social Sciences.” As part of a continuing international collaboration between Mississippi State University and the University of Zagreb, the seminar was held at the University of Zagreb’s Center for Advanced Academic Studies in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The topic of Dr. Edwards’ presentation was the science of micro-blogging and Mr. Richardson spoke about the application of sentiment analysis in quantifying social media data.
Ms. Monica Rosas, Research Associate, was selected to present at the 11th Annual Conference Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) – Latinos in the Heartland, in Columbia, Mo., June 13-15. Ms. Rosas presented “Mexican Immigration and the Emergence of Mexican Food in the U.S. Written Culture.”
Mr. Bill Henderson, Mr. Billy Brister, Ms. Blythe McCance and Ms. Jennifer Alberson attended the Lifesavers 30th National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities in Orlando, Fla., June 14-16.
Dr. Angela Robertson and Ms. Sheena Gardner presented a poster entitled “MASEP: 40 Years
of DUI Research and Program Development” at the Lifesavers 30th National Conference on
Highway Safety Priorities in Orlando, Fla., June 14-16.
On June 18, Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale attended the 2-hour American Association for Public Opinion Research webinar entitled, “Single and Multi-Mode Surveys Using Address-Based Sampling.” The webinar was organized by Dr. Robert McMillen and supported by the Tobacco Control Unit.
On June 26, Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale traveled to Jackson to attend a meeting with University of Mississippi Medical Center and Women’s Fund of Mississippi to discuss logistics related to the start-up of the Mississippi School Health Equity Project, which was funded in May 2012 by the Washington, D.C.-based organization, Advocates for Youth and the Women’s Fund of Mississippi.
Dr. Arthur Cosby was the keynote speaker at the Mississippi Health Summit. The event was held at the University of Southern Mississippi on June 29.July 2, 2012