New Projects

Dr. Holli Seitz, director of the Message Laboratory, has received an undergraduate research program award from the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development for the 2018-2019 academic year. The project, “Advancing Undergraduate Research in Communication Science,” will fund research assistantships for undergraduate students interested in health and science communication.

Dr. Holli Seitz is a Co-PI and will serve as the communication specialist on a new project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The $1.1M project, “PReventing Opioid Misuse in the Southeast: The PROMISE Initiative 2.0,” will address opioid misuse in Mississippi through interventions with rural youth and agricultural producers. The project team is led by Dr. David Buys, and the team includes Dr. Laura Downey, Dr. Alisha Hardman, and Ms. Mary Nelson Robertson.

Dr. Sheena Gardner will serve as Principal Investigator for the 2018 Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Report. Researchers will assess DMC within Mississippi’s juvenile system. States participating in the Federal Formula Grants Program are required by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 2002 to collect juvenile justice data to guide DMC identification and reduction efforts. Using data from the Mississippi youth Court Information Delivery System (MYCIDS), researchers will determine whether there is an over-representation of minority youth at eight points of contact within the juvenile justice system. Mr. Andrew Tatch will also serve on the project. The project is funded by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Dr. Sheena Gardner will serve as Principal Investigator for the 2018 DYS Report project. Dr. Gardner will compile and report statistics related to juvenile delinquency in Mississippi and the 2018 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. Ms. Sierra Nelson will also serve on the project. This project is funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Awards & Recognitions

Dr. Holli Seitz has been named a member of the Cancer Control, Epidemiology and Cancer Disparities Research Program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Lisa Long, Research Associate II, was awarded a certification as a Zero to Three Provisional Trainer on the Growing Brain by the Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. Long recently attended their regional course entitled “The Growing Brain: From Birth to Five Years Old Training-of-Trainers” in New Orleans, LA.


Laura Herring, an SSRC intern, has accepted a post-graduation position with Goldman Sachs in Dallas, Texas. She will begin her career as an Analyst in Goldman Sach’s Global Compliance Division. Specifically, she will work on the Financial Crime Compliance Team, which is responsible for the firm’s anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, and government compliance programs. Her work will include performing due diligence and government sanctions screenings, as well as surveillance and investigations designed to identify potential terrorist financing, money laundering, bribery, market abuse, or other suspicious activity.

On The Horizon

MSU will host the 5th Annual Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) Researcher Retreat and SIL Advisory Board Meeting on December 12-14, 2018. The meeting will kick off with a reception for researchers and board members, including:

The SSRC’s Drs. Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read-Wahidi — who lead SIL’s Socioeconomic and Gender Equity Research arm — will give a presentation on data across two large-scale surveys in Ghana’s Northern Region that explores SIL’s impact on improving soybean productivity among smallholder women farmers in this region, who are often the poorest of the poor in Northern Ghana. Ragsdale and Read-Wahidi’s team will also administer Wave II of the GRADA-SIL (Gender Responsive Agricultural Development Assessment-Soybean Innovation Lab) to SIL researchers to collect data on factors that impact agricultural productivity in regions in sub-Saharan Africa where SIL activities are conducted.

Publications & Reports

Cosby, A.G., McDoom-Echebiri, M., James, W., Khandekar, H., Brown, W., & Hanna, H. (2018). Growth and Persistence of Place-Based Mortality in the United States: The Rural Mortality Penalty. American Journal of Public Health. (First look – online November, 2018).

McMillen, R. (2018). A vaccine to stop lung cancer? It’s made from tobacco taxes and legislation. The Conversation.

Stubbs-Richardson, M., Cosby, A. K., Bergene, K. D., & Cosby, A. G. (Forthcoming 2018). Searching for Safety: Crime Prevention in the Era of Google. Crime Science.

Presentations, Panels & Conferences

Dr. Ronald E. Cossman presented “Data Documentation, Findings Replication & Data Archiving” on November 1, 2018 to MSU faculty, staff and students. The presentation was part of the on-going series of seminars hosted by the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development. Attendees are eligible for Responsible Conduct of Research credit.

Dr. Robert McMillen attended and participated in American Nonsmokers’ Rights’ Regional Smokefree Casinos Workshop, Baton Rouge, LA.

Gardner, S. (2018, November). Using interagency workgroups to increase HIV/STI testing among youth on community supervision: Successes and challenges. Presented at the American Public Health Association conference, San Diego, CA.

Hanna, H. L. (2018, November). Mississippi KIDS COUNT and the 2020 Census. Presented at the Mississippi Urban League Census Solutions Workshop, Jackson, MS.

McMillen, R., Winter, A., & McClelland, E. (2018). Smoke-Free Ordinances in Mississippi Predict Lower Hospital Admission Rates for Acute Cardiovascular, Stroke, and Pulmonary Events. Poster accepted to the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association.

McMillen, R., Tanski, S., Wilson, K., Klein, J. D., & Winickoff, J. P. (2018). Adolescent Use of Different E-cigarette Products. Oral presentation presented at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition, Section on Tobacco Control.

Rico Méndez, G., Ragsdale, K., Lower, K., Read-Wahidi, M.R. (Forthcoming). Customary Land Tenure Systems and Gendered Land Rights in Ghana’s Northern Region: Results from Phase II Gender Equity and Land Tenure Focus Groups. Accepted Oral Presentation. To be presented at the World Bank 20th Land & Poverty Conference, Washington, DC, March 25-29, 2019.

Rico Méndez, G., Read-Wahidi, M.R., Ragsdale, K. (Forthcoming). Harnessing the Potential for Rural Youth-Inclusive Agri-Food Systems Livelihoods: A Landscape Analysis. Accepted Oral Presentation. To be presented at the World Bank 20th Land & Poverty Conference, Washington, DC, March 25-29, 2019.

Robertson, M. N., Buys, D. R., Downey, L. H., Seitz, H. H., & Hardman, A. (2018, October). Prescription opioid use and misuse: Perceptions among the sandwich generation of Mississippi. Mississippi Public Health Association 81st Conference and Annual Meeting (poster presentation).

Robertson, M. N., Downey, L. H., Buys, D. R., Hardman, A., & Seitz, H. H. (2018, October). Perceptions of prescription opioid use: Findings from focus groups with rural Mississippians. Delta Society for Public Health Education Annual Conference (poster presentation).

Seitz, H. H. & Khandekar, H. (2018, November). Prevalence and typology of vaccine misinformation in social media. Extended abstract presented at the National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention, Salt Lake City, UT.

Southward, L. H, & Walker, B. H. (2018, October). Using Integrated Data to Answer Critical Policy Questions: Lessons Learned in Three States. Workshop conducted with Carlise King (Child Trends) at the 2018 KIDS COUNT Institute, Atlanta, GA.

Southward, L. H. (2018, October). Child Health and Development Project: Mississippi Thrive!: An Overview and Call to Action. Presentation at the 2018 Mississippi Public Health Association Annual Conference, Jackson, MS.

Stubbs-Richardson, M., May, D. C., Sinclair, H. C., Abney, A., Goldberg, R. M. & McCleon, T. (November, 2018). The Reasons for Retaliation: A full test of the Multi-Motive Model across types of bullying victimization. Presented at the American Society for Criminology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Walker, B. H. (2018, November). Using Integrated Data to Answer Critical Policy Questions: Lessons Learned in Three States. Panelist on webinar sponsored by the Child Trends Early Childhood Data Collaborative.

SSRC Chronicles: November 2018