The American Public Health Association honored Wayne State University School of Medicine Master of Public Health 2016 graduate Jisha Panicker, B.D.S., M.P.H., with its Public Health Education and Health Promotion Student Award for her presentation of "Creating a sustainable group prenatal care model for the Women Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network: Detroit at the Henry Ford Health System."
The award was given to the top 10 ranked poster abstracts presented during the PHEHP section of the organization's annual meeting and expo, held Oct. 29-Nov. 2 in Denver.
The WIN Network: Detroit program aims to tighten the net of disconnected services for pregnant women through the collaboration of medical professionals, trained community health workers and community partnerships by addressing the social determinants of health for vulnerable African-American women 18 to 45 years old, Panicker said.
Panicker graduated in October. She also holds a bachelor's degree of Dental Surgery from Mar Baselios Dental College in India, and plans to use her new public health skills set to address issues in oral health disparities and implement sustainable community-based disease prevention and health promotion strategies to promote affordable and accessible oral health care.
"This was a momentous occasion for me, a first-generation immigrant to the United States. This award came in timing with my graduation and was a notable way to conclude my master's in Public Health program," she said. "I am proud to be a Wayne State University School of Medicine alumna, as this university gave me the financial support through the Graduate-Professional Scholarship award and helped me refine my skills through its pedagogical approaches such as the Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium (held in March). In addition, the tremendous support received from our donors to sponsor students for scholarly events, to enhance their professional development knowledge and skills to become future public health champions, has been unsurpassable."
The M.P.H. program at the School of Medicine is administered by the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences. Master of Public Health Practicum Director Dana Rice, Dr.P.H., was Panicker's faculty advisor on the project.
Panicker's conference travel was partially supported by the School of Medicine Class of 1959's Ann Lewicki, M.D., whose annual gifts provide funds for professional memberships and conference fees for WSU's public health students.
Panicker also received a School of Medicine Graduate Student Professional Travel Award to attend, and Henry Ford Health Systems provided her airfare. She completed the practicum portion of her degree with Henry Ford's WIN Network as a public health intern, and is now a public health consultant for its Department of Community Health, Equity and Wellness.