June/July 2022 Chronicles

Published by Kinnadi Walker on

New Projects

Dr. Sujan Anreddy will lead the “CHEWS” project with Nell Valentine serving as Co-PI. This project will develop a visual analytical tool that facilitates the evaluation of programs and services administered by the MSDH Office of Chronic Disease and Prevention’s Community Health Workers program. The Mississippi State Department of Health is the funding agency.

Dr. Sheena Gardner will conduct an evaluation for the Madison County Juvenile Drug Treatment Court. Dr. Gardner will be responsible for evaluating the implementation of the After-School Program and providing performance measure data required by the Office of Justice Programs.

Dr. Sheena Gardner will serve as Principal Investigator for the “DYS Annual Report” project. Dr. Gardner will compile and report statistics related to juvenile delinquency in Mississippi and the youth court data from the Administrative Office of the Courts (MYCIDS database). The final report will provide statistics on state and county level demographics, youth cases and referrals, intakes per month, referring agents, intake decisions, offense categories by race and gender, mental health and AOP, electronic monitoring, post-disposition sanctions, and training schools. This project is funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Dr. Robert McMillen will serve as Principal Investigator of the “Surveillance and Evaluation Services for the Mississippi Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program” July 2022 – June 2023. The project will seek to develop and implement a system of surveillance and evaluation for programs and services administered by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Office of Tobacco Control (OTC). Nell Valentine will serve as Co-PI on the project. This project is funded by the MSDH.
Awards & Recognition

Ania Issac – an ADI/ORED Undergraduate Research Scholar and SSRC Intern with the SSRC Gender Impacts Lab – was provided with travel support by the SSRC and by an award from the Arts & Sciences Student First Undergraduate Excellence Opportunity (SFUEO) Award program from Mississippi State University to conduct field-based research in Zambia in Summer 2022 for the FishFirst! Zambia project under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale and Dr. Mary Read-Wahidi.
 Project Updates
Faculty from Mississippi State University led an online event for the presentation of the results of the project “Research and Learning from the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Programs in Africa”. This presentation was led by Dr. Gina Rico Mendez (project PI), from the MSU-SSRC; Dr. Daniel Petrolia (Project Co-PI), from the MSU-Dpt. of Agricultural Economics; and Dr. Terezie Tolar-Peterson (Project co-PI), from the MSU-Dpt. of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion. This interdisciplinary effort led by MSU addressed research gaps around the implementation of the McGovern-Dole school meals program in three key areas: partnerships, procurement, and nutritional composition of school meals and impact on educational outcomes. The project received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The presentation included approximately 75 attendees from different U.S. Government entities (USDA-FAS, USDA-FNS and USAID) located in the U.S. and the U.S. Missions abroad, and organizations like the World Food Programme, the Catholic Relief Services, Project Concern International, and Counterpart International. Brooke Jamison, USDA-FAS Associate Administrator, provided the closing remarks for the presentation.

The SSRC HRSA team deployed the CCRMS (Centralized Community Resource Management System) portal. This portal helps SSRC manage and verify information related to available resources for children (birth -5) in communities across Mississippi. The utility of the portal was demonstrated during the SSRC HRSA team meeting held on July 27, 2022.

Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale conducted FishFirst! Zambia Phase II fieldwork and data collection at Lake Kariba, Zambia, with WorldFish colleagues and graduate and undergraduate students from Mississippi State University, the University of Zambia, and Levy Mwanawasa Medical University in June. Read more at https://bit.ly/3QhWuhT.
In the News

Dr. Devon Brenner is co-chair of the Whippoorwill Award Committee which names the best rural young adult literature each year. Recently, the committee announced the 2021-2022 Whippoorwill Award winners. See https://whippoorwillaward.weebly.com.

Dr. Heather Hanna and Dr. Connie Baird-Thomas were featured in a story for MSU’s Alumnus Magazine. Read the story at https://bit.ly/3vC5NRQ

Tockie Hemphill authored a blog titled What’s the Meaning Behind Gestational Diabetes? for the Mississippi Diabetes e-News.

Dr. Diana Outlaw coauthored an article for the Daily Yonder. Read Commentary: The Importance of Covid Vaccination in Rural Schools at https://bit.ly/3BJJuxP
Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program

MASEP held its annual training for its facilitators July 22-23 via ZOOM There were 42 facilitators in attendance. There was a presentation on illicit drug use trends presented by Captain John Harless of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and also a presentation on recognizing cannabis impairment by Officer Rob Banks of the Oxford Police Department. Dr. Angela Robertson and the MASEP R & D staff gave updates on their work and Dr. Blythe McCance presented a Motivational Interviewing refresher course.

The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory

On a monthly basis, the Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) collects data for the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS) managed by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control. BRFSS is the nation’s premier system of health-related survey data from U.S. residents regarding health risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventative services. In the month of July, the SRL completed approximately 450 BRFSS telephone-based interviews with a representative sample of adult respondents residing in the state of Mississippi.


Dr. Sheena Gardner has been promoted to Associate Research Professor at the SSRC.

Tockie V. Hemphill was selected as one of 16 participants of Mississippi State University Human Resource Management’s Leadership Development Program for 2022-2023.

In the month of July, Dr. Gina Rico Mendez began collaborating with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish housed at Mississippi State University’s – Global Center for Aquatic Health and Food Security. Dr. Rico Mendez will support the Lab’s efforts to conduct a self-assessment of their activities as they prepare for their fifth year of implementation. Dr. Rico Mendez will be acting as self-assessment facilitator. This effort will identify key lessons learned and opportunities for improvement of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish efforts and impacts on current and future projects. In her role as self-assessment facilitator, Dr. Rico Mendez traveled to Bangladesh (cities of Dhaka and Mymensingh) to participate in the 2022 Bangladesh Sector Meeting. This was an opportunity to have a closer look at the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish activities in Bangladesh, to communicate with research teams, and to listen to stakeholders’ perspectives on aquaculture.

Dr. Holli Seitz, director of The Message Laboratory, has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Communication, effective this fall.

Looking Forward

Tockie V. Hemphill will serve as a Panelist for the Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi August Quarterly Meeting on August 5, 2022. Panel Discussion: Mississippians’ Perspectives on Social Determinants of Health in Diabetes along with Kristal Hillie, MSN, APRN, CFNP, CME, Inspire Health + Wellness; Stephen Farrow, MD, MBA-AEC, CPE, FACP, NDORI; Katherine Nesbitt, University of Mississippi; Moderator—Ashley Ellis, PharmD, MBA, CDECS, Chair of Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi.

Tockie V. Hemphill will participate in the Seed & Agricultural Technology Short Course at the Bost Extension Center on MSU Campus on August 15-16, 2022.
Presentations & Conference Participation

Callie Poole attended the Systems Science for Social Impact 2022 Impact Institute, Systems Science Thinking & Principles in Social Systems Track in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Dianna Outlaw attended the 2022 National Science Foundation Noyce Summit.

Mackenzie Paul attended the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) Conference 2022.

Brenner, D. & Outlaw, D. (2022, June). Keeping Teachers Takes Everyone: Delta Communities and the Teacher Workforce. Delta Regional Forum. 

Cafer, A., Buys, D.R., Brenner, D. & Baird-Thomas, C. (2022, May). Defining rural for better health outcomes. [Panel discussion]. 2022 Mississippi Health Disparities Conference. Biloxi, MS.

Gardner, S. and Stouffer, C. 7/13/2022. Presentation of the FY 21 Final Report at the Annual Tobacco Council Meeting. Virtual.

Gardner, S. and Stouffer, C. 7/28/2022. Presentation of the FY 21 Final Report at the Statewide Sub-Grantees Meeting. Virtual.

McMillen, R., (2022, June 21). Invited Speaker, Tobacco and Nicotine Use in Mississippi, Second Annual Virtual Chronic Disease Symposium: Envisioning the Future Through Prevention, Innovation and Collaboration.

McMillen R, Valentine N, McClelland E. (2022). The Mississippi Experience, 1998 to 2022. Poster presented at the 2022 National Conference on Tobacco OR Health, New Orleans, LA.

McClelland E, McMillen R. (2022). Shifting E-Cigarette Preference Among Undergraduates in Mississippi. Oral Presentation at the 2022 National Conference on Tobacco OR Health, New Orleans, LA.

Paul, M., Wicks, S., & H. C. Sinclair. (2022, July 28—August 2). Balancing Relationships: What happens when your friends and romantic partners don’t get along? [Conference full paper presentation]. IARR 2022 Conference, Virtual.

Robertson M, McMillen R. (2022). Impact of Graphic Design in Public Service Scholarship. Poster presented at the 2022 National Conference on Tobacco OR Health, New Orleans, LA.

Stouffer C, Gardner S, Anreddy S. (2022). Mississippi’s Data Portal: TRAPS (Tobacco Reporting and Progress System). Poster presented at the 2022 National Conference on Tobacco OR Health, New Orleans, LA.

Stouffer, C., Anreddy, S., Gardner, S. (2022, June 22). How to navigate and report Statewide Youth program information using the Tobacco Reporting and Progress System (TRAPS), data portal. Office of Tobacco Control New Directors Training. Virtual training session (1 1/2-hours).

Valentine N, McClelland E, McMillen R. (2022). Youth surveillance in a pandemic: Shifting from the school-based YTS to virtual focus groups. Poster presented at the 2022 National Conference on Tobacco OR Health, New Orleans, LA.
Publications & Reports

Dr. Ronald E. Cossman (MSU-SSRC), Dr. John J. Green (MSU-SRDC) and Dr. Vanessa Park (RAND), were Co-Editors of the special issue of Journal of Rural Social Studies entitled “Space, Place, and COVID-19.” The issue contains five articles related to the rural COVID-19 experience and its’ impact. JRSS, Vol 37 (2).

Methvin, J., Gardner, A. J., Pylate, L. B., Hunt, B., Seitz, H., & Hyatt, R. Y. (2022). Making COVID-19-related decisions: A qualitative study of university students. Journal of Public Health in the Deep South, 3, 62-73. https://journals.library.msstate.edu/index.php/jphds/article/view/1322