February 2021 Chronicles

Published by Emile Creel on

Awards & Recognitions

Dr. Cindy Bethel is general co-chair for the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. The conference will be held virtually March 9-11. Learn more about the conference at humanrobotinteraction.org/2021/.

New Projects

Ben Walker will serve as the principal investigator for the SSRC’s data and technical support to the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi for the Mississippi KIDS COUNT project with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. As part of this work, they will assist the Children’s Foundation of Mississippi with the projection of the annual KIDS COUNT data book, county fact sheets, legislative calendar, maintenance of the KIDS COUNT data center, and will provide data support to the Mississippi KIDS COUNT director as needed.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale will serve as  Principal Investigator and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi will serve as Senior Research Scientist for year 8 of the “Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab 2.0: Scaling for Success” project. The research goal is to empower women and youth with gender-responsive and youth inclusive trainings, tools, and resources for the development of viable and sustainable programs that continue to enhance soybean productivity and contribute to improved household income and nutrition. The project is sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the US Agency on International Development.

Mississippi Thrive!

In January, Mississippi Thrive! co-hosted an event for stakeholders in child development fields to come together for discussions, panels, and expert presentations. Read about that event at http://bit.ly/3b9gOR3.

Survey Research Lab 

The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory has partnered with biomedical researchers from The University of Mississippi Medical Center to better understand the barriers toward participation in pediatric clinical trials. A telephone-based survey was designed to measure the prevalence of barriers experienced by caregivers of children with common medical conditions such as asthma, obesity, prematurity, and neurodevelopmental problems. The survey respondents include a representative sample of households with children under the age of 18 from two geographic strata: Rural (n=300) vs. Urban (n=300), as defined by the Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) Codes published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The results of this survey will inform future efforts to maximize participation in pediatric clinical trials across the state of Mississippi and assist in the development of targeted strategies to improve trial design in the future.

Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program 

The Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program has successfully completed two online classes in 2021. The program was converted to an online class during the summer and fall of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kathleen Gresham worked diligently in developing the online format, and Melinda Hardin and Lacey Breen have been monitoring technical issues and offering support. The online classes were conducted by Monica Cummings and Shawn Word. MASEP will begin a third online class on March 18th.


McMillen, R. Invited Speaker,  EnrichMS 2021 Virtual Vaping Summit, 4 Feb 2021, www.eventcadence.com/e/2021_Virtual_Vaping_Summit

Publications & Reports

C. Raina MacIntyre, Valentina Costantino, Linkan Bian & Cindy Bethel (2021) Effectiveness of facemasks for opening a university campus in Mississippi, United States – a modelling study, Journal of American College Health, DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1866579