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Students Engaged in Public Health

Are you looking for a way to connect with your fellow public health-minded students? Do want to serve the community? Volunteer? Be the change? Then Students Engaged in Public Health (SEIPH) is for you! SEIPH is the student organization of the Public Health Science program. Our mission is to “connect, lead, serve and network.” If you have a passion to make some noise about a public health issue, SEIPH is the place to do it. We have chapters at both the Shady Grove and College Park campus.

Eligibility and Membership Requirements

SEIPH is open to all students with an interest in public health science and putting the theories and ideas they learn in class into action while serving the greater College Park community.

Current and Past Activities

  • Healthy eating craft activity at Maryland Day
  • Participating in annual Public Health Week activities
  • Film screening to advocate for human trafficking victims
  • Conducting outreach events on breastfeeding, mental health, and skin cancer prevention

Organization Materials  

April 24, 2019

By: Jernelle John, PHSC senior

Maternal mortality, the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days after pregnancy, is a prominent public health concern (World Health Organization [WHO], 2019). The maternal mortality rate of 26.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States is higher than in most other developed countries (Martin & Montagne, 2017). Moreover, the maternal mortality rate in Maryland is typically higher than the national maternal mortality rate (McDaniels, 2018). Health equity is a significant risk factor for maternal mortality rates as black women are 2.7 times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication as compared to white women in Maryland (McDaniels, 2018).

While the maternal mortality rate in the United States is still increasing, initiatives to reduce the rate are widespread. Earlier this spring, I had the privilege of attending the 2019 Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) conference. There, I was able to attend a presentation from one of the many advocates addressing maternal mortality. Charles Johnson, son of television judge Glenda Hatchett and father of two young boys, lost his wife, Kira Johnson, in 2016 after she underwent a routine C-section at Cedars-Sinai hospital in California. Charles shared his story of how Kira began internally hemorrhaging shortly after giving birth. He explained the lack of immediate action practiced by the Cedars-Sinai medical staff after the clear signs that something was wrong. Seven hours after the initial signs of complications, Kira was finally taken to the operating room. It was there that she died due to the slow response from the medical team. Charles started his own national nonprofit campaign titled 4Kira4Mothers to prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families. His campaign focuses on establishing improved maternal healthcare regulations and policies (4Kira4moms, 2019). Upon hearing his story of how he used his tragedy to lead to action, I was inspired to share this message with all of you. To learn more about his inspirational story and campaign, I encourage you to explore the 4Kira4Mothers campaign website

While maternal mortality disparities have been prevalent for a long time, many are still unaware of them. As future public health leaders, I hope you will feel encouraged to increase awareness of this topic. Knowledge is the first step to change.

For more information, contact Jessica Moore-Solorzano, SEIPH's Faculty Advisor at jms15@umd.edu.

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