September 2021 Chronicles

Published by Emile Creel on

New Projects

Dr. Sheena Gardner will conduct an evaluation for the Rankin County Youth Court’s juvenile drug court. Dr. Gardner will be responsible for monitoring the project’s adherence to best practice standards, evaluate the effectiveness of the project, track participant outcomes and trends, and fidelity to evidence-based treatment models.

Dr. Heather Hanna and Dr. Connie Baird-Thomas will serve as Co-Principal Investigators for year 5 of the “HRSA Early Childhood Developmental Health System: Implementation in a High Need State.” This project sees the SSRC working with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to improve child health by building a statewide system of early childhood development screenings and interventions. The project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Dr. Angela Robertson will lead efforts to conduct a survey of the Division of Youth Services employees for the Evaluation of Hope Sciences and Trauma Informed Training. The Mississippi Public Health Institute is funding the project.

Dr. Holli Seitz will lead the communications assessment, development, and implementation for the Extension Collaboration on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE) activity as part of the MSU and ASU Increasing Vaccination Rates among Rural Mississippians project. This project is funded by the USDA-NIFA and the P.I. is Dr. David Buys.

Awards & Recognitions

Dr. Ronald E. Cossman is a guest editor for a special COVID-19 issue of the Journal of Rural Social Sciences. The other guest editors are Dr. John Green, Director of MSU’s Southern Rural Development Center, and Dr. Vanessa Parks of RAND.

Dr. Heather Hanna and Dr. Holli Seitz were accepted into the 2021-2022 class of participants in the Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research’s (MCCTR) Mentoring Academy. The Mentoring Academy is designed to develop the mentoring skills and grant writing skills of early-career investigators, and those who want to mentor new investigators. The MCCTR is a multi-institutional center designed to promote the success of research that focuses on diseases that affect Mississippians. It is funded by an Institutional Development Award Program Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research grant through the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences.

In the News

The U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, has selected the FishFirst! Zambia project for a feature story in their October newsletter. FishFirst! Zambia is funded by USAID through the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish (Fish Innovation Lab), which is directed by Mississippi State University’s Dr. Mark Lawrence. FishFirst! Zambia is led by Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi at the SSRC.

Lisa Long was spotlighted in an “Our People” story for the MSU website. Read about Lisa’s work at

On the Horizon

The FishFirst! Zambia research team, including Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale (Lead PI, MSU), Mary Read-Wahidi (Lead Co-PI, MSU), Netsayi Mudege (Zambia PI, WorldFish), and Pamela Marinda (Zambia PI, University of Zambia), are part of a roundtable discussion that will be presented virtually on October 19, 2021, as a pre-event of the 2021 Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue, which is supported by the World Food Prize Foundation.

Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory

On behalf of the Tobacco Control Unit at the Social Science Research Center, the Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory is administering the 2021 Mississippi Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control. Results from this survey assist researchers in better understanding the degree to which people in Mississippi live in smoke free homes, work in smoke free environments, understand the health risks of using tobacco, and talk to their children about tobacco use. Funding for this research is provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health. This telephone-based survey of the general public will include a representative sample of 1,500 adults residing in the state of Mississippi. The primary investigator for this project is Dr. Robert McMillen, Professor of Psychology. The survey administration is being directed by Dr. John F. Edwards, Research Professor at the SSRC.

Presentations & Conference Participation

Dr. Heather Hanna, Laure Bell, Tockie Hemphill, & Callie Poole attended the Help Me Grow National Forum from September 20 to September 23. The Forum is a showcase of early childhood system building efforts promoting shared learning and highlighting promising practices.

Creel, E. (2021, September). Communicating Science. Public Relations Student Society of America, MSU Chapter Monthly Meeting

Martin, H. (2021, September). Promoting Child Health and Development with Vroom and Mind in the Making.  Recorded virtually for “Early Childhood 2021 Virtual Resource Fair” presentation hosted by The Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning.

Long, L. (2021, September) Receive “Real Time” Professional Development from Experts. Project ECHO for Childcare Providers. Recorded virtually for “Early Childhood 2021 Virtual Resource Fair” presentation hosted by The Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning.

Long, Lisa and Cleveland, Michelle. Social Emotional Support of Children During Challenging Times. (2021, September). Training pre-recorded, with accompanying handout materials, to be delivered to the Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood.

Long, Lisa, Poole, Callie, and Long, Bradley. Implicit Bias in Early Childhood. (2021, September). Training pre-recorded, with accompanying handout materials, to be delivered to the Mississippi Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood.

Poole, C. (2021, September) Mississippi Thrive: Resources for Child Care Providers. Presented at the 2nd Annual Resource Fair for Early Childhood Professionals hosted by the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning.

Ragsdale, K., Read-Wahidi, M.R., Marinda, P., Pincus, L., Torell, E. & Kolbila, R. (2021, September). Fish4Zambia: Focusing a Gender Lens on Household-level Hunger among Lake Bangweulu Fisher Families. SSRC Brown Bag Speaker Series, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, [Virtual].

Publications & Reports

Russell, K., Hossfeld, L., & Rico Mendez, G. (2021). “Not a new pattern”: Black farmers’ perspectives on barriers to participating in federal farm programs. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(4), 1–15.