Institute for Families in Society

2023 News

2023 Smith Scholarship Recipient

Sarai Deese, a dual major Psychology BS and Public Health BA student in the Honors college, has been awarded the Smith Scholarship Award for the year 2023. Please join us in congratulating her on this award.

Institute translates the power of big data to advance the well-being of South Carolinians

In an interview with COSW, Research Professor and Associate Directors for the Institute for Families in Society in USC’s College of Social Work, Dr. Ana López-De Fede and Kathy Mayfield-Smith shares how the Institue conducts and disseminates its research in the areas of integrated health and policy, child mental health, and early childhood in "way[s] that people at all levels can understand and use".

Congratulations on 30 Years of Service to South Carolina

Congratulations, Dr. Ana López - De Fede, on 30 years of service to the state of South Carolina. We are grateful for the leadership and wisdom she has shared with us over the years at IFS.

📢 New Publication 📢

Low birthweight (LBW) is one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality in the US, and also is a major causative factor of short- and long-term adverse health effects in newborns. To prevent adverse birth outcomes, it is critical to precisely predict and identify which mothers are at high risk of bearing LBW babies in the early stage of their pregnancy. Previous studies proposed various LBW prediction models from different ML algorithms primarily on small datasets. However, their model performance is significantly limited by data access barriers and data quality issues with one major technical challenge of handling data imbalance issues. A recent study involving Research Professor and Associate Director, Dr. Ana López-De Fede and Research Assistant Professor Dr. Sarah Gareau aims to establish benchmarking ML models in predicting LBW and identify associated risk factors in extremely unbalanced large-scale datasets. Learn more about this study, its findings, and implications in the recently published article in The Journal of Medical Internet Research.

📢 New Publication 📢

Congenital syphilis can cause severe morbidity, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Although preventable with early detection, rates are increasing rapidly within the U.S. Research Professor and Associate Director, Dr. Ana Lopez-De Fede, led IHPR’s collaboration with colleagues at AcademyHealth, and in Kentucky and Louisiana to conduct an analysis examining associations between the odds of prenatal syphilis screening and sexually transmitted infection history or other patient characteristics across 3 states with elevated rates of congenital syphilis. Learn more about this study, its findings and implications in the recently published article in the Journal of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

📢 New Publication 📢

Featured in the latest issue of Esri's ArcNews magazine, IFS showcases the latest innovation of its GeoEScan© with the first release of a web-based product for the Children's Health and Resource Geographic Exploration for Data-Driven Decisions (CHARGED3) project, funded by The Duke Endowment. Read the article in the Spring 2023 issue here.


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