JSU to host symposium on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Mississippi

Posted by Jean Gordon Cook

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Mississippi SIDS African American Outreach Project at Jackson State University will hold a symposium from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Sept. 15, on reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in Mississippi. The event will take place at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Conference Center, Room 1, at the Jackson Medical Mall, 350 W. Woodrow Wilson Drive in Jackson. The public and the media are invited.

Titled, “SIDS: Improving Infant Health Care, Reducing Infant Mortality,” the symposium will feature Shavon Artis, M.P.H., of the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NIH/NICHD). Artis oversees and directs the institute’s Back to Sleep campaign, which is a national outreach effort to reduce infant deaths from SIDS.

SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1-12 months, and is the third leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. African Americans bear a disproportionate burden of SIDS; it is estimated that the incidence rate is twice as high among African Americans compared to their white counterparts. In Mississippi, there remains a disproportionate gap in the incidence rate of SIDS among African American infants, being twice as high as white infants.

There are very limited culturally appropriate SIDS risk-reduction programs in Mississippi that are geared towards improving infant health. Therefore, the Center of Excellence in Minority Health at Jackson State University, in partnership with community-based organizations and the NIH/NICHD, provides SIDS risk-reduction outreach and engagement to African-American communities in all public health districts in Mississippi.

The JSU symposium will feature JSU experts Raphael Isokpehi, Ph.D., who will speak on the topic, “Genomic Findings on Aquaporin in SIDS Pathogenesis,” and Gerri-Cannon-Smith, Ph.D., who will speak on the topic, “Advances in SIDS Research.” Also, Hazel Gaines of the Mississippi Department of Health will speak about the Mississippi Child Review Panel Report. Other speakers include Evelyn Smith, Ph.D., of Temple Church of Christ U.S.A. in Jackson, and Iretis Mallett of the Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club of Kosciusko/Attala County, who will both speak about SIDS community outreach efforts

The keynote speaker will be Dr. PonJola Coney, senior associate dean of faculty affairs at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

The symposium is geared toward faculty, staff and students from the disciplines of health sciences, social work and other related fields; health and allied health professionals; community workers and the general public. The event will feature panel presentations and tools to implement community-based education efforts. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Okojie at 601-979-1345 or Elizabeth.a.okojie@jsums.edu.


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