News and Events
Suzi D. Baxter, PhD, RD, LD, FADA was named the 2012 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the South Carolina Dietetic Association at its annual meeting in April in Charleston, SC. The award recognizes demonstrated competence, involvement in professional and community activities, and contributions to the South Carolina Dietetic Association through participation and commitment to the association at the district, state, and national levels. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a member by the South Carolina Dietetic Association, and is recognized at the national level by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dr. Baxter and her research team
Dr. Baxter is a Research Professor with the Institute and is also an Affiliated Scholar for USC's Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities and a member of the Research Consortium on Children and Families. She conducts methodological research concerning the accuracy of children's dietary recalls as well as childhood obesity and nutrition.
On February 2, Dr. Rhonda L. White-Johson was presented the 2012 award of the Andrew Billingsley African American Families Pilot Research Program. Given annually by the Institute, the award is intended to facilitate interdisciplinary research and scholarship on the African American family and is given in tribute to the work of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Andrew Billingsley whose extensive body of professional research has brought important focus to African American families. During his tenure at USC, Dr, Billingsley served as the Senior Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Families in Society.
An assistant professor in the Psychology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. White-Johnson's plans are to use the research award in a pilot study aimed at increasing mental health literacy and reducing the stigma of mental illness among economically disadvantaged African American women. Please join us in congratulating Dr. White-Johnson on having been selected as this year's award recipient.
Dr. Ana Lòpez-De Fede, who heads the Division of Policy and Research on Medicaid and Medicare, has been appointed to a three-year term as a standing member of the Healthcare Systems and Value Research (HSVR) study section of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)–the lead federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. The HSVR committee is one of five standing study sections concerned with the organization and functions of health care systems. Issues of translational and implementation research, health care markets, access, utilization, quality, cost/financing, organizational delivery systems, and capacity building research are the focus of the study section.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Lòpez - De Fede on receiving this important opportunity to impact health care quality at the national level.
The Institute for Families in Society welcomes Dr. Kathleen Hayes as its new Director. Dr. Hayes assumed the role effective September 1, 2011 and she comes to the Institute following a career in state government that includes having served as the State Director of the Department of Social Services and Chief of Staff at the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Dr. Hayes has a life-long and passionate interest in promoting quality program services for vulnerable children and families. Her own research interests have included work on adoption of special needs children; child abuse/neglect, foster care and delinquency; and child welfare reform. One of her current interests is promoting evidence-based models of family engagement that lead to improved protection of children—and which in turn safely reduce the number of children who must come into the state’s foster care program.
She has had extensive experience with working with foundations and federal competitive grant programs. “I am honored to be part of the Institute for Families in Society and to have the opportunity to work with some of the finest researchers on children and family issues in the country,” Dr. Hayes said upon accepting her appointment.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Hayes.
Researchers within the Policy and Research Unit on Medicaid and Medicare (PRMM) have had work related to their analysis of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and HIV/AIDS diagnosis rates and socioeconomic disadvantage published in the latest issue of Public Health Reports. The article explores the presentation of data related to county-level diagnosis rates and socioeconomic disadvantage using a geospatial ring map. The complete text of the article in pdf format can be found here. The GIS Unit within PRMM is headed by John Stewart and PRMM is led by Dr. Ana Lòpez-De Fede and Kathy Mayfield-Smith.
Funding has been awarded to South Carolina, one of 15 states chosen, to develop new ways to meet the often complex and costly medical needs of the approximately nine million Americans who are eligible for both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, known as “dual eligibles." The goal of the program is to eliminate duplication of services for these patients, expand access to needed care and improve the lives of dual eligibles, while lowering costs. The Policy and Research Unit on Medicaid and Medicare at the Institute will be working in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on this initiative. The Policy and Research Unit on Medicaid and Medicare is directed by Dr. Ana Lòpez - DeFede and Kathy Mayfield-Smith. You can find more information about the award here. (April 14, 2011)
A near month-long exhibit,"TB Elimination: Together We Can, " concluded at the McKissick Museum on March 24, World TB Day, following a reception on March 23. You can visit the slideshow from the exhibit and reception here. The exhibit reception highlighted gubernatorial and legislative proclamations recognizing TB Awareness in South Carolina and Dr. Robert Best of the USC School of Medicine was recognized as "SC TB Advocate of the Year" by the Richland Tuberculosis Association (RTBA). Co-sponsored by the Institute for Families in Society, the RTBA, and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, TB Control Division, the exhibit brought attention to the disease in South Carolina, which remains a signficiant public health concern.TB Partnership projects at the Institute for Families in Society are conducted under the direction of Dr. Ana Lòpez - DeFede. (March 29, 2011)
Effective March 15, the Health Services Research Team has a new name as the Policy and Research Unit on Medicaid and Medicare. Reserch Professor Dr. Ana Lòpez-De Fede, Director of the Unit, explains that the "new name reflects our current and future initiatives and reflects our unique area of expertise." Recent work by the Unit made the "Most Viewed" and "Most Referred" rankings of the International Journal of Health Geographics for their article "Diabetes and the socioeconomic and built environment: geovisualization of disease prevalence and potential contextual associations using ring maps." (March 15, 2011)
Dr. Barabara Hirshorn, formerly with the Institute has returned as an Affiliate Faculty member. Dr. Hirshorn will be working on the "Villages Project" in affiliation with the Policy and Reserch Unit on Medicaid and Medicare. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Hirshorn back to the Institute. (March 15, 2011)
Caroline Guinn gave a brief research presentation at the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Boston, MA in November, 2010. The presentation was titled "Children’s body mass index and participation in the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program: Does the information source of participation matter?" The abstract is published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The research presented was funded by grants R21HL088617 and R01HL074358 with Dr. Suzi Baxter as Principal Investigator.
(November 23, 2010)
Christina Devlin gave a research poster at the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Boston, MA in November, 2010. The presentation was titled "Participation of 1,782 fourth-grade children in school-meal programs: Comparing school-district administrative records to study records." The abstract is published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The research presented was funded by grants R21HL088617 and R01HL074358 with Dr. Suzi Baxter as Principal Investigator. (November 23, 2010)
The first recipient of the Amy Joye Memorial Research Award is Sarah Wilson. Sarah has a BS in Psychology and is currently working on a MS in Dietetics at the University of Georgia. Her mentor, Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia. Sarah's proposal is titled "Perceptions of the Local Food Environment among Low-Income Adults in Athens, Georgia". Amy Joye, MS, RD served as Research Associate and Project Director for Dr. Suzi Baxter’s nutrition research at USC until a routine medical procedure in 2004 turned into a medical tragedy that resulted in severe brain damage. After being in a semi-alert, comatose state for 4.5 years, Amy passed away on June 21, 2009 at the age of 41. The Amy Joye Memorial Research Award is given to honor Amy’s memory by fostering the scientific development of future nutrition leaders, especially in South Carolina and Georgia. Applicants are required to work with a mentor. The project must involve human research and focus on one of the following areas: obesity prevention/weight control, dietary assessment methodology to investigate/enhance accuracy of dietary reports, or fruit/vegetable gardens. The deadline to apply for the next award is March 1, 2011. Applications will be available in December on the American Dietetic Association Foundation’s website at http://www.eatright.org/Foundation/content.aspx?id=6921. (November 23, 2010)
The Institute for Families in Society is please to announce that Dr. Ana Lòpez-De Fede has been named a Palmetto Patriot by Lietutenant Governor André Bauer.
The Palmetto Patriot Program, established by Lieutenant Governor Bauer, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their fellow citizens and the State of South Carolina. The Palmetto Patriot Award is given for one's commitment to public service within their state and community and is the highest the Lieutenant Governor can bestow. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Lòpez - DeFede on this well-deserved acknowlegement of the contributions made by her work on behalf of all South Carolinians. (October 29, 2010)
Dr. Ana Lopez–DeFede's team has had an article published in the Summer 2010 edition (Volume 20) of Ethnicity & Disease. The article, titled "Associations between mental health and diabetes: Findings from the SC Medicaid managed care program in 2006-2008" was authored by Ana Lopez–DeFede, James Hardin, Kathy Mayfield-Smith, Qiduan Liu, Teresa Payne, John Stewart, and Verna Brantley. (August 25, 2010)
Dr. Ana Lòpez–DeFede has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for completion of her service as a member of their Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. CDC Director, Thomas Frieden, M.D., acknowledged the considerable number of personal hours and level of professional dedication to the cause of TB elimination that are represented in Dr. Lòpez–DeFede's work. Please join us in congratulating her on this well-deserved recognition by the CDC. (August 25, 2010)
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health recently awarded Suzi Baxter a four-year, $2.7 million R01 grant for her research project titled “Children's Dietary Recalls: Prompts, Retention Interval, and Accuracy.” The relationship between diet and disease is a critical one in public health, but dietary assessment is challenging, especially among school children. As parents are not present everywhere children eat meals (e.g., at school), many studies and surveys must rely on elementary school children in upper-grade levels to self-report dietary intake. Although accuracy of children's dietary recalls is problematic, research has shown that it can be improved by aspects under direct control of investigators and practitioners. The R01 grant will compare crucial yet untested aspects of commonly-used protocols for obtaining 24-hour dietary recalls from fourth-grade children. Results from this research will provide empirical evidence for refining software to obtain more accurate 24-hour dietary recalls from children for epidemiologic studies, interventions, and clinical practice, and thereby lead to improved understanding of relationships between diet and disease. Dawn Wilson (Professor in the Department of Psychology) is a Co-Investigator on this grant. The R01 application included results from a pilot study that was funded in part by the Research Consortium on Children and Families (RCCF). The RCCF is a multidisciplinary University endeavor drawing together faculty from behavioral/social sciences and closely related disciplines who conduct grant-funded research related to children/youth and their families. Baxter and Wilson are both members of RCCF. (August 18, 2010)
Suzi Baxter’s team has had a chapter published in a book titled Appetite and Nutritional Assessment edited by S.J. Ellsworth and R.C. Schuster. The title of the chapter is “Methodological research concerning the accuracy of children’s dietary recalls” and the authors are Suzi Baxter, Caroline H. Guinn, Julie A. Royer, James W. Hardin, and Dawn K. Wilson (USC Department of Psychology). You can link to the open access chapter here.
Suzi Baxter’s team has had a research article published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The title of the article is “Shortening the retention interval of 24-hour dietary recalls increases fourth-grade children’s accuracy for reporting energy and macronutrient intake at school meals” and the authors are Suzi Baxter, Caroline H. Guinn, Julie A. Royer, James W. Hardin, and Albert F. Smith (Cleveland State University).
Caroline Guinn presented a research poster at the Society for Nutrition Education’s annual conference in Reno, NV in July, 2010. The abstract is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The title is “Explaining the positive relationship between fourth-grade children’s body mass index percentile (BMI%) category and observed energy intake at school meals” and the authors are Suzi Baxter, Caroline H. Guinn, Julie A. Royer, and James W. Hardin. (August 9, 2010)
Suzi Baxter’s team has had a research article published in the Journal of Health Psychology. The title of the article is “Fourth-grade children’s dietary recall accuracy for energy intake at school meals differs by social desirability and body mass index percentile in a study concerning retention interval.” Caroline Guinn is first author and coauthors are Suzi Baxter, Julie Royer, James Hardin, Alyssa Mackelprang, and Fred Smith (at Cleveland State University).
Suzi Baxter and her team recently published “Children's body mass index, participation in school meals, and observed energy intake at school meals” in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The authors are Suzi Baxter, Caroline Guinn, Julie Royer, James Hardin, Alyssa Mackelprang, and Christina Devlin.
Amy Joye, MS, RD served as Research Associate and Project Director for Suzi Baxter’s nutrition research until a routine medical procedure in 2004 turned into a medical tragedy that resulted in severe brain damage. After being in a semi-alert, comatose state for 4.5 years, Amy passed away on June 21, 2009. To honor Amy’s love of her profession and the loss of her enthusiastic contributions to nutrition research, Suzi Baxter spearheaded efforts with the South Carolina Dietetic Association, Georgia Dietetic Association, and Amy’s family to establish the Amy Joye Memorial Research Award through the American Dietetic Association (ADA) Foundation. In 2009, the fund reached the $50,000 minimum required to establish an endowed fund, which will award nutrition research grants through the ADA Foundation. Congratulations to Dr. Baxter and the other volunteers who worked so hard to achieve this goal! The first Amy Joye Memorial Research Award should be made in 2010.
Dr. Andrew Billingsley recently was honored for his distinguished career in higher education. The two-day public event, titled “A Life of the Mind: Honoring Leadership, Scholarship & Service of Andrew Billingsley,” featured some of the country’s top scholars in African-American studies as well as a number of faculty from USC. Each reflected on the contributions Billingsley has made as a teacher, researcher, college administrator, author and active community member during his 50-year career. Dr. Howard Dodson, one of Billingsley’s former students and the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, was the keynote speaker. Artist Jonathan Green also paid tribute to Dr. Billingsley at the event.