U.S. Circuit Judge to Speak at UM Law School

Wilkins to discuss development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins

OXFORD, Miss. – U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins will visit Oxford to speak Wednesday (Oct. 11) at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Wilkins serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was instrumental in the development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. His book, “Long Road to Hard Truth,” tells the story behind the inspiration for the building of the museum.

Wilkin’s presentation, set for 12:45 p.m. in Weems Auditorium, Room 1078, is free and open to the public.

“Judge Wilkins is a good friend of mine; we were colleagues together in Washington, D.C.,” said Tucker Carrington, UM associate professor of law and director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project. “It’s going to be great. He has a great story to tell, not only about the museum, but about the long road to construction.”

Wilkins’ presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Lunch will be provided. 

Following the event, Wilkins will sign copies of “Long Road to Hard Truth,” which will be available for purchase at the law school. The book signing is set for 2:30 p.m.

For more information about Wilkins’ visit, contact Carol Mockbee at carol@ms-ip.org or call 662-915-6000.

Grant Supports Student Internships in East Asia

Freeman Foundation provides $100,000 for experiential learning initiative

Palmer Whiters (left) and William Bumpas, recent graduates of the UM Croft Institute for International Studies, completed a one-semester internship in China during their capstone year of the Chinese Flagship Program. The university has been awarded a grant from the Freeman Foundation to fund UM Experiential Learning in East Asia, an initiative to support internships in East and Southeast Asia. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Freeman Foundation of Stowe, Vermont, has awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Mississippi for an initiative to support student internships in East and Southeast Asia.

The program, UM Experiential Learning in East Asia, will allow 18 undergraduates to complete a summer internship of at least eight weeks in summer 2018. Each recipient will receive $5,000 from the Freeman Foundation grant and an additional $2,500 provided by the university’s Office of Global Engagement and the successful applicants’ respective UM school(s).

“The Croft Institute has been the campus leader in promoting engagement with East Asia for the last 20 years, and this generous grant by the Freeman Foundation will allow us to add another important dimension to those efforts,” said Oliver Dinius, executive director of the Croft Institute for International Studies.

Dinius will administer the program and is working with Joshua Howard, Croft associate professor of history, Minjoo Oh, associate professor of sociology; and Blair McElroy, the university’s senior international officer, to design the application process, select award recipients and assist students as they prepare for their internships.

The goal of the Freeman Foundation’s grant is to help students gain real-life experience while interacting regularly with local populations. Established in 1994 by the estate of AIG cofounder Mansfield Freeman, the foundation’s general mission is “to strengthen the bonds of friendship between this country and those of the Far East” and “to stimulate an exchange of ideas in economic and cultural fields which will help create mutual understanding.”

Headed by Mansfield’s grandson, Graeme Freeman, the foundation donates approximately $50 million annually to programs such as study abroad scholarships for Asian and American students and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, which has supported the Croft Institute’s efforts to strengthen teaching about East Asia in Mississippi for more than 15 years.

The grant will provide students with life-changing opportunities to work and experience life in East Asia, Howard said. Participating students will “be able to put their learning into practice – whether it’s in the field of engineering, accounting, language studies, just to name a few examples – and become global citizens in the process,” he said.

This grant will allow the Croft Institute and the other participating units on the Oxford campus to deliver on the university’s commitment to greater internationalization and support for experiential learning, two core goals set by Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Provost Noel Wilkin. Students chosen for UM Experiential Learning in East Asia will learn how a foreign culture affects the work environment and help prepare them to succeed.

“International experiences give students the skills they need in an increasingly global workplace, such as intercultural communication skills, self-awareness, knowledge of current events and their impact upon the world, and open-mindedness,” McElroy said.

Interested students should find their own internship and apply for the UM-administered funding with a specific proposal. The program welcomes proposals for internships in all parts of East Asia, although priority is given to sending students to countries that are at the heart of UM’s long-standing engagement with East Asia: China, Japan and South Korea.

Oh, a native of Korea, is excited about the potential of this grant reinforcing UM’s recent commitment to Korean studies.

“I hope that many students will take advantage of this opportunity to complete internships in Korea, deepening our engagement with one of the most culturally and economically dynamic places in the world,” she said.

The program is open to undergraduate students from all schools and majors on the Oxford campus. The only restriction is that they must be enrolled as full-time Ole Miss undergraduate students in the semester after completing their summer internship.

Individual awards are designed to offset costs that may otherwise discourage students from interning abroad, including airfare, accommodations and meals. The program will begin accepting applications in mid-October.

Interested students should visit http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/home/freeman-internships-in-east-asia for details about the application process and deadlines. For more information, contact William Mahoney, Croft’s coordinator for career planning, at mahoney@olemiss.edu.

Truth-Telling Teeth is Topic for October Science Cafe

Anthropologist Carolyn Freiwald is second lecturer for fall semester

Carolyn Friewald, UM assistant professor of anthropology, reviews human teeth and bone fragments in her campus lab. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The use of teeth in anthropological investigations and modern forensics is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s second meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at Lusa Bakery Bistro and Bar, 1120 North Lamar Blvd. Carolyn Freiwald, UM assistant professor of anthropology, will discuss “This is your life in a tooth.” Admission is free.

“A single tooth contains a record of your life, from the types of food that you ate to where you lived, to how healthy you were as a child,” Freiwald said. “In this presentation, we’ll look at how science works to help us solve both ancient and modern mysteries.”

Friewald’s 45-minute presentation also will cover how bone chemistry has important applications in forensic cases, including identifying missing persons.

“Archaeologists use chemistry to reconstruct the past, learning what ancient people ate and drank, and discovering just how mobile they were,” she said. “Vegetarians and barbecue lovers have different chemical markers, and so do people with jobs such as blacksmiths. It is ‘you are what you eat’ at the molecular level.”

An Ole Miss professor said Freiwald’s discussion should be most interesting.

This human tooth is among many recovered by Carolyn Friewald during her archaeological excavations. Submitted photo

“Dr. Freiwald’s work bridges two disciplines: anthropology that studies aspects of human society, and chemistry that studies the natural world we humans live in,” said Marco Cavaglia, professor of physics and astronomy. “Her presentations are sure to be fascinating and enlightening.”

Freiwald received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, entering graduate school after earning a bachelor’s degree in history and international relations.

Her research interests are ancient Latin American civilizations, and she has ongoing research projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Freiwald also has worked on archaeology projects in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, Romania, Denmark, and the Upper Midwest and Mississippi.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-7046.

Alumni Association to Honor Outstanding Graduates at Homecoming

Recipients will be recognized on the field during Vanderbilt game

Don Frugé

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Alumni Association is awarding seven distinguished University of Mississippi alumni with its highest annual awards as part of Homecoming 2017.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2017 are: Don Frugé (BBA 67, JD 70) of Oxford; Walton Gresham III (BBA 71) of Indianola; James E. Keeton (BA 61, MD 65) of Jackson; Tom Papa (BBA 57) of Jackson; and Mary Sharp Rayner (BAEd 64) of Oxford.

Former Gov. William Winter (BA 43, LLB 49) of Jackson will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Candie L. Simmons (BBA 02, MBA 15) of Ridgeland will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Friday (Oct. 13) in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows at 7 p.m.

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

Frugé is chairman and CEO of Fruge Capital Advisors LLC, an independently registered investment advisory firm. He is also of counsel at the Fruge Law Firm PLLC, of Oxford.

A 1963 graduate of Meridian High School, Frugé received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degrees from UM followed by a Master of Law degree in taxation from New York University in 1971. He joined the law faculty in 1971 and has continued to teach courses in estate planning, taxation and nonprofit organizations.

Frugé has served the university in a number of capacities, including professor of law, executive director of development, vice chancellor for university affairs, vice chancellor for university advancement, head golf coach and as president and CEO of the University of Mississippi Foundation. He serves as chairman of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation (2005 to present), a board member of the UM Foundation, a member of the Joint Committee on University Investments (1984 to present) and professor emeritus of law.

Frugé and his wife, Mary Ann (BA 66, MA 70), are active members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford.

Walton Gresham III

Gresham serves as president of Gresham Petroleum Co., secretary of Double Quick, secretary of Delta Terminal and director and member of the executive committee of Planters Bank & Trust Co.

He is active in his community and profession and is a past president of Delta Council, the Indianola Rotary Club, the Indianola Educational Foundation and the Indianola Chamber of Commerce. He is chairman of the Community Foundation of Sunflower County. Gresham is past president of the Mississippi Propane Gas Association and Mississippi Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. He also served as the Mississippi director to the National Propane Gas Association.

A longtime volunteer leader, Gresham’s passion is to promote economic development and a better infrastructure in the Mississippi Delta and the state of Mississippi.

Gresham is married to the former Laura Ethridge (BAEd 71) of Oxford, and they have two daughters and five grandchildren. He is a lifelong member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, serving in all offices over the past 45 years in addition to being a licensed lay reader.

James E. Keeton

Keeton served as UMMC’s vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine from 2009 to 2015. He retired in January 2017 and holds emeritus status in these roles and as professor of surgery and pediatrics.

During his tenure, Keeton oversaw planning of and secured funding for a new, state-of-the-art School of Medicine building that is allowing UMMC to expand medical classes to train more doctors for Mississippi.

Keeton was instrumental in planning the construction of the $25 million University Heart Center, the $68 million Translational Research Center and a $23 million public-private project to create housing close to campus for students and faculty.

He shepherded the Medical Center through a $90 million, multiyear effort to implement an enterprise electronic health record that culminated in conversion from paper to computer records in a single day in June 2012.

Keeton was named the 2014 Distinguished Medical Alumnus by his peers. The award is given to an alumnus who made distinctive contributions to the field of medicine.

Keeton and his wife, Jona (MSN 90), live in Jackson and are parents of two children and grandparents to seven grandchildren.

Tom Papa

Papa was born and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He graduated high school from Subiaco Academy in May 1947 and joined the U.S. Navy. He went on to attend UM, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. While at Ole Miss, Papa was an active member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

After graduation, Papa returned to Jackson to work for the Internal Revenue Service. Shortly thereafter, he began his private practice accounting career at Touche Ross & Co. Upon his retirement, Papa helped form the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, where he served as president for many years. In 1998, the Ford Foundation awarded the university $20 million to design and build the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Through his work at the foundation, Papa has been instrumental in the foundation’s support of the university, including gifts to the planned new science building and the UMMC Mind Center.

Papa lives in Jackson with his wife, Gayle. He is the father of two children and grandfather of four.

Mary Sharp Rayner

A native of Grenada, Rayner graduated from Ole Miss with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She taught history, speech and English for several years in the Jackson and Memphis public school systems. After she and her husband, Jim (MD 66), moved to Oxford, she worked in his ophthalmology practice as a front office manager.

Since moving to Oxford in 1971, Rayner has served on the founding boards of Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the first Oxford Little Theatre. She also served on the boards of numerous other local organizations. She has remained active in her collegiate sorority, Delta Delta Delta, serving in many advisory capacities locally and as a national officer. She served as president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association from 2002 to ’03 and was chair of the Ole Miss Women’s Council in 2007-09.

Rayner volunteers her time with several local organizations, her church, the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation board of governors and the Ole Miss Women’s Council. She remains active in the Ole Miss Alumni Association as a member of the board of directors.

Rayner and her husband have three children and four grandchildren.

William Winter

Alumni Service Award recipient Winter served as governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984. Before that, he was elected to the offices of state representative, state tax collector, state treasurer and lieutenant governor. He served as chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Commission on the Future of the South, the National Civic League, the Kettering Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid-South, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Ole Miss Alumni Association.

Winter was a member of President Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race and was instrumental in the founding of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at UM. He was awarded the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

In 1998, Winter was the recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His credentials within the academic community are longstanding: Jamie Whitten Professor of Law and Government at the UM School of Law (1989); Eudora Welty Professor of Southern Studies at Millsaps College (1989); fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University (1985); and president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association (1978).

Born in Grenada, Winter served overseas as an infantry officer in the Pacific in World War II. An attorney in the Jones Walker law firm in Jackson, he is married to the former Elise Varner (BA 48). They have three daughters, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Candie L. Simmons

The Outstand Young Alumni Award recipient, Simmons is a senior vice president and regional marketing director for Regions Financial Corp. in Jackson.

A native of Ocean Springs, she is the youngest African-American on the bank’s Mississippi Executive Leadership Team and youngest senior vice president in Mississippi. In 2017, she was selected for Regions Financial Corp.’s prestigious Leaders at All Levels III Class.

Simmons was selected by the Mississippi Business Journal as a 2009 “Top 40 Under 40” and 2013 “Top 50 Leading Business Woman,” where she placed in the top 10. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., recently completing her second term as treasurer for her local chapter and was voted 2013 Soror of the Year.

Simmons was selected for the 2018 American Heart Association Executive Leadership Team and selected as a 2017 Champion of Change and a Woman Making a Difference in Madison County for the Madison County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

UM Accountancy Programs Maintain Top 10 Standing

Undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs continue string of elite rankings

Conner Hall is home to the competitively ranked Patterson School of Accountancy at UM. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications.

OXFORD, Miss. – All three degree programs at the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy are among the top 10 in the 2017 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the journal Public Accounting Report.

The undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are No. 8. The master’s program leads the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the SEC. One or more Ole Miss programs have led the SEC in each of the past seven years.

The Patterson School has become a mainstay on the national scene, with its programs ranked in the top 10 nationally for seven consecutive years, and among the top 20 in the nation for 10 straight years. The PAR has been ranking accounting programs for 36 years.

“These rankings are very meaningful for us,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “They enhance our visibility nationally and validate that we are experiencing success in pursuing our vision, which is to be one of the leading accounting programs in the nation.”

The rankings are based on a survey of accounting professors in the United States. Other undergraduate SEC programs ranked in the top 25 are Alabama, at No. 7; Texas A&M, 9; Florida, 10; Georgia, 11; and Missouri, 13.

Among the highly ranked master’s programs are Alabama, at No. 9; Texas A&M, 10; Florida, 11; Georgia, 13; and Missouri, 15. The doctoral rankings include Alabama at No. 7; Texas A&M, 9; Georgia, 13; Florida, 16; and Missouri, 20.

Ranking by region, UM’s master’s program placed No. 1 for the second consecutive year.

“We are proud of the academic programs and the research conducted by our Patterson School of Accountancy faculty and staff,” said Noel Wilkin, the university’s provost. “They are dedicated to the success of our students and their ability to be successful in the field of accountancy. Additionally, the research of our faculty is helping to improve the field.

“The true beneficiaries of this are the students, and the accountancy firms who employ them.”

More than 1,000 schools in the United States offer accounting programs, and around 500 of those, including UM, are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business as being among the best accountancy and business programs in the world, said Dale Flesher, associate dean and holder of the Burns Chair of Accountancy. PAR voters who determine the rankings are influenced by several other factors that set UM apart.

“Our rankings success provides enhanced opportunities for our graduates and also helps us in recruiting students and faculty to the University of Mississippi,” Wilder said. “While we are enjoying many successes in the Patterson School, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our school.

“Toward this end, we are currently planning two new graduate degrees in data and analytics, with a goal of offering these new masters degrees beginning fall 2018.”

UM also has hosted a number of faculty from other schools in recent years, whether to present their research to Ole Miss faculty and doctoral students or to visit the National Library of the Accounting Profession, housed at the J.D. Williams Library, Wilder said.

“For example, these faculty come from places like the universities of Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio State, Duke and Penn State,” he said. “Invariably, they all leave impressed with the quality of our faculty, students and program. They are also impressed with the collegiality of our faculty and the beauty of our campus.”

Wilder credits the school’s faculty, students and alumni for having a positive impact on its reputation.

“We have an outstanding faculty of top teachers and researchers from a top-tier group of highly skilled staff members,” he said. “Our faculty and staff are very much focused on serving and mentoring students. In short, our faculty all work together toward our common goal of having one of the top accounting programs in the nation.

“The Patterson School is also fortunate to have outstanding students who go on to have phenomenal careers. The academic profile of our accountancy student body gets stronger every year, a fact that is certainly being recognized in the marketplace.”

Master’s students Rachel May, of Collinsville, and Allison Assel, of Houston, Texas, both said the program’s rankings, curriculum and instruction were major factors in their decision to apply for admission to the program.

“I had another major for about a year before I chose accountancy,” May said. “The school’s record of successful graduates who find employment most definitely influenced my decision. I’ve had many opportunities since then.”

“I actually began as a marketing major,” said Assel, who also earned her bachelor’s degree in accountancy from UM. “After about a year-and-a-half into that program, I discovered how great the Patterson School of Accountancy was. Two accountancy faculty members I had classes with encouraged me to switch majors. I’m so glad that I did.”

Wilder also noted the importance of private support in the school’s successful equation.

“The successes we are enjoying are directly attributable to the loyalty and generosity of our alumni and friends,” he said. “Their support helps us to offer scholarships to attract outstanding students, to reward our faculty and to strengthen our program.

“We are grateful for their loyalty and willingness to give back to the school. It is absolutely a difference-maker for us and allows our successes to be built upon and perpetuated.”

For more information about the Patterson School of Accountancy, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/accountancy

UM Medical Center Partners in Fight to End Child Hunger

Hospital joins Children’s HealthWatch with funding from the Kellogg Foundation

Dr. Justin Davis (center) confers with resident Dr. Eric McDonald in the Pediatric Emergency Department of the UM MEdical Center. Davis, assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine, is co-investigator of a research project exploring child hunger. UMMC photo by Joe Ellis

JACKSON, Miss. – Come January, some parents of children seen in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department will be asked a revealing, two-pronged question – and given help, depending on their answers.

The verbal queries: “In the last 12 months, have you worried about food in your household running out before you have money to buy more?” And, “Within the past month, did food run out, and you didn’t have money to buy more?”

Their answers will add to a critical pool of data that will be used to gauge food insecurity affecting children treated in the Pediatric ED. Those numbers represent just one factor influencing child health outcomes, and one more area where policy influence is needed to improve their lives.

UMMC has been chosen as a new expansion site for Children’s HealthWatch, a Kellogg Foundation-supported project that collects data – typically in pediatric emergency rooms – to fuel research into factors that shape child health outcomes. Dr. Bettina Beech, professor of population health science and pediatrics and dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health, and Dr. Justin Davis, assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine, are co-principal investigators for the local research project.

Being named an expansion site is affirmation of the Medical Center’s research prowess and the Kellogg Foundation’s desire to target its grant dollars where they have the chance to effect change, Beech said.

“Here, we have plenty of opportunities to make a difference,” said Beech, also executive director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities at the Jackson Medical Mall.

Mississippi ranks last in the nation in child food insecurity, or what the federal government defines as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or the inability to get nutritious food because of a lack of transportation, money or sheer availability.

Children’s HealthWatch is a Boston-based nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers and children’s health and policy experts that gathers data from hospitals in seven cities: Boston; Baltimore; Little Rock, Arkansas; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; and new sites Jackson and Battle Creek, Michigan.

It’s a unique organization focused on improving the health and development of all children, particularly young children who often aren’t included in public policy discussions, said Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, the nonprofit’s executive director.

“We’re trying to bring together science and policy in an attempt to allay hardships among families,” she said.

UMMC was chosen as an expansion site for multiple reasons, she said.

“We don’t have anyone who focuses on population health like Dr. Beech, and she has an incredible advisory board,” de Cuba said. “And Dr. Davis’ interest in driving more research … They’re a really impressive pair.” 

Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba

Children’s HealthWatch also considered needs in the community, such as not being able to afford food, housing and utilities. Beech and Davis “know the neighborhood disparities,” de Cuba said. “We can hopefully drive some change with the combination of their experience and expertise.”

Trained research assistants will use a random selection process to approach parents in UMMC’s Pediatric Emergency Department and confidentially ask them to join the research cohort, Davis said. The research assistants will complete a minimum 800 interviews annually.

“What’s exciting for us is that we feel like our population in the emergency department will help us better understand social determinants” that relate to hunger, Davis said.

Families coping with food insecurity will receive information on local food banks and other resources, Beech said.

Because UMMC has the state’s only children’s hospital and Pediatric Emergency Department of its type, Davis said, information gleaned will be unique.

“This will give us access to data that we couldn’t get locally,” he said. “It will give us the ability to understand where our children are at, and what we can do to help them.”

Data will be recorded electronically and securely and will be used in different forums, such as policy advocacy and other work that could improve children’s health outcomes, Davis said.

One of the most powerful studies performed by Children’s HealthWatch, Beech said, was development of the trademarked, two-question Hunger Vital Sign screening tool used by all its sites.

“Typically, those questions aren’t asked in a clinical system,” Beech said. “UMMC is moving in a very progressive direction to consider factors not addressed in the usual health care situation so that we can address the factors that affect health outcomes.”

The Hunger Vital Sign screen also is used at UMMC’s Adolescent and Young Adult Health Clinic at the Jackson Medical Mall. The goal: identify social, economic and environmental factors that leave children hungry, sick or continuously unwell, and give the family resources to break that cycle.

Dr. Bettina Beech

UMMC won’t just collect local data for use by Children’s HealthWatch. “We take part in the research as well, and we publish it with the whole Children’s HealthWatch group,” Beech said. “We can also include questions of local interest that other sites might not include.”

“What we’re moving to is a deeper dive on the questions,” de Cuba said. “As Dr. Davis sees a trend in the emergency room, or Dr. Beech sees things in the community, they can generate local data and be able to comment on local issues.”

Beech and Davis are pondering their own questions addressing health literacy and the concept of numeracy, or the ability to reason and apply simple numerical concepts. One example is understanding labels on food or over-the-counter drugs.

“Can you figure out how many calories are in one serving based on the amount of food?” Beech asked. “How much medication should be used for a child of a certain weight?

“It’s not just ‘Can I read?’ but ‘Do I understand very complex information?'” Beech said. “We’ve found that is an independent factor, regardless of someone’s education level.”

Another potential question would gauge perceptions of crime and how it influences behavior in terms of health, Beech said. “If you’re concerned about criminal activity in your neighborhood, will that impact the amount of exercise you get?” she asked.

“We don’t plan to stop there,” Davis said. “We will harness data to help address interventions that we can employ.”

Southaven Parks’ Marketing Director Reflects on DeSoto Center Tenure

Olivia Craig earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in May

Olivia Craig

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – Olivia Craig has been quite busy since graduating from the University of Mississippi at DeSoto Center -Southaven in May.

Craig, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, immediately landed a job as director of marketing for the city of Southaven’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The department oversees multiple facilities for various sports, including the Snowden Grove Baseball Complex and the city’s new tennis complex. Southaven’s 20 neighborhood parks also fall under the department’s purview.

A large portion of Craig’s job encompasses acquiring sponsorships for Snowden Grove baseball. She is also tasked with building awareness of Southaven’s parks through community events.

“One of my first priorities in this new role was to build relationships,” she said. “I’m involved in all our local chambers and represent Snowden while attending their events.”

Craig even helped organize the swearing in for Mayor Darren Musselwhite in June.

“I love that what I do at my job changes every day,” she said. “Having received the opportunity to welcome back Mayor Musselwhite and the aldermen sworn in that day was one of my favorite moments I’ve experienced thus far.”

Craig has helped the department surpass its fiscal year marketing projections by more than $50,000 since her arrival in May, said Wesley Brown, director of the parks and recreation department.

“Olivia is a remarkable asset and addition to our team,” Brown said. “Our presence in the business community is growing daily because of her efforts. She knows her audience, she is a powerful communicator, she’s a brilliant strategist and she implements our game plan effectively and efficiently.

“It’s evident that Olivia received a first-class education at the University of Mississippi-Desoto.”

Beginning her college career at Northwest Mississippi Community College’s DeSoto Center in 2012, she took a short break in her sophomore year to determine what the next step in her academic journey should be. She ultimately decided to pursue marketing at the university’s DeSoto Center in fall 2013.

Hailing from Hernando, Craig felt at home at the DeSoto Center.

“I fell in love with the campus,” she said. “Not only did it feel like home because it was in DeSoto County, but I also received a number of scholarships that worked to my advantage.”

Craig received support from her peers, as well as faculty and staff at the facility.

“I love Dr. Rachel Smith (assistant professor of marketing),” Craig said. “I took her for four or five classes. She is genuinely so interested in her students and so nice.”

Pat Coats, UM-DeSoto’s coordinator of academic support services, also positively influenced Craig during her time at the campus by inviting her to her office for words of encouragement.

Like many of her fellow students, Craig worked throughout her time at the campus. She ultimately learned about Southaven’s marketing position through networking at her job at Lucky Brand. With a freshly earned degree, she was the perfect candidate.

Craig credits UM-DeSoto for her degree and her success as a young professional.

“I can’t brag on the DeSoto campus enough,” Craig said. “It was such a great opportunity for me and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”

Davenport Gift to Support University’s ‘Seat of Knowledge’

UM alumnus designates J.D. Williams Library in estate plans

UM alumnus Bill Davenport has designated the J.D. Williams Library as recipient of his planned gift because of the library’s central role on campus. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi was once known as the campus where everybody speaks. Even today, despite smart phones and ear buds, Ole Miss retains its reputation as a place where professors know students by name and strangers are just friends who haven’t yet become acquainted.

That personable atmosphere goes a long way. In fact, for at least one alumnus, it was the catalyst that inspired a $200,000 gift to the J.D. Williams Library.

A personal letter set Bill Davenport, associate dean of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas School of Dentistry, on a path to making a legacy gift.

“A number of factors went into this decision,” said Davenport, a Corinth native. “First and foremost, I loved Ole Miss. It opened up a whole new vista to a small-town country boy. I loved the school and the students, and the majority of the professors were truly motivating and inspiring. I always wanted to give something back.

“As everyone says, you can’t really describe your attachment to Ole Miss after going to school there.”

Davenport, who’s active in the Ole Miss Alumni Association and has made other contributions to the university, said he began to consider a major gift after he received a letter from the late Charles Noyes, then chair of English, when the Friends of the Library philanthropy was being organized.

“The library is the cornerstone of the university and is truly the most visible icon for education and life-long learning,” Davenport said. “The personal letter was what convinced me as it included comments regarding my time in his sophomore literature course.

“I was hooked. I never figured out how Dr. Noyes even remembered me.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter expressed gratitude for Davenport’s planned gift.

“The J.D. Williams Library is a hub of excellence for our university,” Vitter said. “It enables the superb quality of education that our students receive. As one of our most highly-valued resources, it can have a tremendous transformative effect on turning students into scholars and scholars into informed citizens who will make an impact on our world. ”

William Davenport

In high school, Davenport thought he wanted to become an electrical engineer until he took chemistry under an engaging teacher. He entered Ole Miss as a chemistry major but changed his focus once again after taking a required biology elective taught by the late Georgia St. Amand, whom he says was extremely inspiring.

“After that course, chemistry lost its luster to me, so I switched to biology,” Davenport remembers. “As a biology major, I encountered her husband, Dr. Wilbrod St. Amand, also in the biology department, who became a great mentor and friend to this day.”

Even then, UM’s personable atmosphere influenced Davenport’s life: His relationship with the St. Amands, as well as having the opportunity to be a teacher’s assistant in the biology labs, guided his decision to become an educator.

Davenport graduated from Ole Miss with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology in 1969 and 1971, respectively. He taught biology at Arkansas State University for a year before enrolling at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he earned a doctorate in 1976.

While completing his doctorate remotely, Davenport joined the UM Medical Center faculty and taught the first seven dental school classes from 1975 to 1982 before transferring to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry in New Orleans, where he taught for the next 20 years.

“Serendipitously, in 2002, the opportunity came to come to UNLV in Las Vegas and help start the new dental school,” he said. “Salaries were very good, benefits even better. Thinking I would work a few years in Vegas and move on, but I blinked and here I am 16 years later.”

Davenport said he designated his planned gift for the library because he believes it is the center of knowledge, initially for the entering student and secondarily for the lifelong learner.

“The library is the seat of intellectualism,” he said. “I hope that my gift will provide the library with funds to contribute to the ever-changing technology and methodology that will attract and benefit the students that will be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Private gifts provide critical support to the library, more than ever as public institutions constantly struggle with budget issues, said Cecilia Botero, library dean. Gifts such as Davenport’s help the library cover costs associated with digital and paper subscriptions and increasing numbers of journals used as resources by students on a myriad of different career paths.

“I am so grateful that Dr. Davenport chose to support the library with his generous gift. It will help sustain our services in countless ways,” Botero said.

Though distance has kept Davenport from returning to campus, he fondly remembers his days at Ole Miss.

“I was there in Archie’s heyday. What could be more exciting than that!” Davenport exclaimed, adding that being in the Grove during football season was a special time as was participating in the Army ROTC band, being active in his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, eating at Grundy’s and Mistilis, and bowling at Kiamie’s.

For information on designating a deferred gift to Ole Miss, contact Sandra Guest at 662-915-5208 or sguest@olemiss.edu. To support the J.D. Williams Library, contact Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

UMMC Earns National Telehealth Center of Excellence Designation

The standard of care and record of leadership at the Center for Telehealth has led to UMMC being named a Telehealth Center of Excellence. UMMC photo by Joe Ellis

JACKSON, Miss. — For 14 years, the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center has been a national trailblazer in providing high-quality health care, especially for those with little access to both primary and specialty services.

Its leadership, body of work and mastery of telecommunications technology is being recognized by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. The Medical Center has been designated one of two Telehealth Centers of Excellence, the agency’s top award given only to programs at public academic medical centers.

“The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s successful program is already a model for national telehealth expansion,” said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. “As a Center of Excellence, UMMC will be able to demonstrate to a broader audience how to use telehealth to increase patient access to care and decrease costs.

“Mississippians can be proud that our state’s telehealth investments have set a high standard for improving health care everywhere.”

The recognition from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was announced during an Oct. 5 news conference in Washington. It includes an initial $600,000 in funding, with the opportunity for an additional $2 million over two years.

The designation allows UMMC’s Center for Telehealth to serve as a national clearinghouse for telehealth research and resources, including technical assistance to other telehealth providers.

The Center for Telehealth connects patients and caregivers to Medical Center health care providers remotely, in real time, using video calls and interactive tools. More than 500,000 patient visits in 69 of the state’s 82 counties have been recorded since the center began with just three sites, expanding to more than 200 sites today, not including the homes of patients.

“UMMC’s selection as a national Telehealth Center of Excellence is affirmation of our mission and responsibility to bring high-quality health care to all Mississippians, especially those in rural, underserved areas,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“We look forward to using our experience to help advance best practices for this increasingly vital service.  I’m grateful for Senator Cochran’s support of our application.”

The Medical University of South Carolina was also selected as a Telehealth Center of Excellence.

Mississippians will directly benefit from the honor, said Michael Adcock, the Center for Telehealth’s executive director who joined the operation in 2015. The designation “sets us apart. We were selected because we have one of the most comprehensive telehealth programs in the country.”

Adcock said the designation allows the center to focus on four work areas: assessing the impact of telehealth on health care spending; creating new and/or refining payment methods; improving physician and patient awareness; and expanding its overall research portfolio.

“While our center has been able to show some impressive outcomes, we have not had the staff to focus on researching telehealth delivery models and outcome comparisons,” Adcock said.

“That is vital work that needs to be done, and we are well positioned to do it.  This funding and designation will allow us to build on our comprehensive program and develop the research to support further changes in models of delivery.”

The Telehealth Center of Excellence honor brings with it the responsibility to create a new knowledge base for telehealth through research, said Dr. Richard Summers, UMMC professor of emergency medicine and associate vice chancellor for research. 

The grant funding “will help UMMC to build the infrastructure for research in telehealth and allow us to bring a national leadership to this emerging special area of medical practice,” he said.

The Center for Telehealth provides remote, on-site access to caregivers in more than 35 specialties, including urgent care, trauma, mental health, dermatology, cardiology, infectious diseases, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care.  Pediatric telehealth specialties include remote concussion evaluation, cardiology, neurology, psychiatry, genetics and urology.

Telehealth nurse practitioners are stationed in the emergency departments of 17 rural Mississippi hospitals to treat patients via a multidisciplinary team that includes a certified emergency medicine physician on the UMMC campus.

And, the center recently debuted its “UMMC 2 You” online minor medical care program offered throughout Mississippi to those who are on the state employee insurance plan and their families. It’s also offered through select schools and companies.

“Our drive to address health care challenges with innovation is what has allowed us to be recognized as a leader in telehealth, nationally and internationally,” Adcock said.

Social Work Presentation Kicks Off LGBTQ History Month

LSU expert presents history and culturally competent professional practice guidelines

Elaine Maccio, associate professor of social work at Louisiana State University, presents ‘Culturally Competent Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Persons’ to faculty and students in the UM Department of Social Work. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Social workers have a duty to help clients from diverse backgrounds, and the best practitioners understand their clients’ cultural histories and social context, a scholar on the issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people told students and faculty this week at the University of Mississippi.

Elaine Maccio, associate professor of social work at Louisiana State University, visited UM for a couple of presentations as a kickoff to the university’s LGBTQ History Month programming. Her visit was co-sponsored by the Department of Social Work and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

“When you understand their history, it helps really personalize an entire group of people,” Maccio said. “If you don’t talk about history or things that make the culture unique, it is easy to just dismiss them and trivialize them. The more you personalize it and humanize it, the harder it is to just dismiss LGBTQ people.

“As social workers, in particular, that can’t happen, especially steeped in social justice the way (the practice) is, helping those who are traditionally underserved. This is just part of the normal curriculum that would be associated with any of the populations that we work with, and history is a part of that.”

Social workers must educate themselves on any population with which they’re working, Maccio explained. For many clinicians, it helps to immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures.

“Attending presentations like this is certainly a part of that,” she said. “Getting to know LGBTQ people, frequenting places the LGBTQ people might be, attending events – anything that sensitizes them to what life and reality is like for LGBTQ people – helps develop their sensitivities and their competence around this population.”

Statistically, social workers will be presented with issues that affect their LGBTQ clients more frequently than their heterosexual peers. Though individuals identifying as LGBTQ account for only 3.8 percent of the U.S. population, they are the victims in 21 percent of reported hate crimes.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 46.4 percent of lesbian women, 74.9 percent of bisexual women, 40.2 percent of gay men and 47.4 percent of bisexual men report being victims of sexual violence.

Some 2 million children in the United States are being raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents who have limited access to a range of health services, insurance and tax breaks available to heterosexual couples. Social workers are responsible for helping many of those families traverse these added stressors through counseling and outreach, she said.

Daphne Cain (left), chair of the UM social work department, and social work faculty members Amy Fisher (second from left), Drew Leffman (second from right) and Na Youn Lee (right) welcome LGBTQ studies expert Elaine Maccio, (third from right) and her wife, Sherry Desselle. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Maccio provided appropriate terminology and best practices for managing the care of LGBTQ clients and their families, explaining how to build rapport, exercise empowerment practice and self-assess to identify personal feelings and biases about sexuality. She also discussed resources such as PFLAG and other support groups and how to incorporate them into treatment plans.

“It is critical that we as social workers make every effort to learn as much as we can about the people we serve, especially underrepresented and vulnerable populations,” said Daphne Cain, social work department chair. “We are so lucky to have had Dr. Maccio on campus to help us develop deeper cultural competence for our practice.”

In another presentation, Maccio detailed the development of LGBTQ culture from ancient to modern times, highlighting critical moments in history, such as the emergence of the first gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society, and the 1960s Stonewall riots, which was the first time the gay community of Greenwich Village fought back against police harassment. She also discussed the evolution of laws that affect sexual freedom, marriage equality and children of LGBTQ families.

“I came away from the talk with an extremely informative timeline of key moments in the formation of queer identity, beginning as far back as 800 BCE,” said Laura Wilson, a third-year doctoral student in English. “What seemed most interesting in the presentation was the ‘two steps forward, one step back’ sense of progress that Dr. Maccio discussed as she elaborated on legal motions that enabled more equality for the LGBTQ community, followed almost immediately by bills that seek to remove these human rights.”

A native of the U.K., Wilson said she was fascinated by the discussion of how American perspectives are grounded in legal changes at the state and federal levels.

“That a history of queer identity would be so punctuated by juridical changes like this, clearly demonstrates to me that LGBTQ equality is a vitally important issue of social justice,” she said.

For more information about the Department of Social Work, email socialwork@olemiss.edu. For information about the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and a schedule of LGBTQ History Month events, visit https://sarahisomcenter.org/.