Maternal and Child Health



Community Mentors


HaileAmy Howie Haile

Associate Director: Champions for Children

Champions for Children (CFC) has a 35 year commitment and mission to prevent child abuse and neglect in the Tampa Bay community. We understand that babies are not equipped with instruction manuals making the child development and parent education services valuable to any parent; however, the greatest impact will occur with families experiencing stress. Our services are constructed on the foundation that the first three years of a child’s life is the greatest opportunity to take advantage of the rapid brain development that shapes a child’s future. Our key strategy is to provide experiential education opportunities so that parents can be actively involved with their children. CfC embraces the Touchpoints ™ Model of Development and use this a the guiding framework for this service strategy. Touchpoints is an evidence-based theory of child development, based upon more than 60 years of ground-breaking research by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and his colleagues at Children’s Hospital in Boston. It is a practical method for strengthening parent-child relationships, beginning even before a child is born and continuing through the early childhood years. CfC recently completed requirements to be awarded the designation as the Brazelton Touchpoints Site of Tampa Bay. This designation certifies that we are committed to the Touchpoints approach and qualified to train others. Touchpoints are predictable periods of a child’s developmental regression and disorganization that occurs before a burst in a child’s development (learning). These periods of regressions are apt to frustrate the parent and place the child at risk for maltreatment. It is our intention that all Champions employed at our agency embed the Touchpoints philosophy within their service model.

As the Agency’s Associate Director I lead the agency’s programs and services to deliver a continuum of family education and strengthening supports throughout Hillsborough County. This represents more than $5million a year in services with 80+ practitioners. In this role I am responsible for program development, performance quality improvement and compliance to funder and regulatory requirements. This often requires intra and inter-agency stakeholder meetings. Lastly as a member of the agency’s Executive Team, I act on behalf of the Executive Director in his absence.

This is a participant observation experience with three overlapping foci of Governance Structures (internal and external), Program Leadership and Early Childhood services that compliment and extend the maternal child health system.

Strive to be authentic in your relationships and work and to approach your work by learning an emic perspective.



Leisa J. Stanley, PhD, MS
Associate Executive Director: Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County, Inc.

The Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of pregnant women, children and families. Last year, the Coalition served 11,690 pregnant women, 14,187 infants, and provided 78,353 services to families. The Coalition is a private, non-profit maternal and child health organization dedicated to reducing Hillsborough County’s infant mortality rate and improving the health of pregnant women.

Dr. Stanley has over 20 years of experience in development and management of community-based needs assessments and planning; program development, continuous quality improvement and evaluation; research, surveillance and analysis of MCH data. Her current responsibilities include directing and developing a five-year needs assessment, community plan and fund allocation plan over the Healthy Start system of care funded through federal, state and local dollars. She is responsible for $5.5 million in contracts related to this system of care and developing CQI activities with funded providers. She is the Project Director for the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Project of Hillsborough County, Florida and received her training in FIMR through both the Florida Department of Health and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Stanley has been trained in the Perinatal Periods of Risk approach in investigating fetal and infant mortality by the Centers’ for Disease Control and Prevention and CityMatCH and served on the Florida Perinatal Periods of Risk Practice Collaborative. She writes grants for the Coalition and has recently co-authored the Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Strong Start for Mother and Newborns’ grant received by the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions and was the primary author for the Florida Maternal Infant Early Childhood Grant to implement Nurse Family Partnership in Hillsborough County. She Co-Chairs the Florida Healthy Start Evaluation Work Group, serves on the leadership committees for the Strong Start grant and MIECHV grant, serves as staff director for the FIMR Committee and Home Visitation Advisory Board and serves on the USF College of Public Health’s DrPH Advisory Committee. She has an Affiliate Faculty Appointment in the College’s Department of Community and Family Health.
Dr. Stanley and her mentee will be attending the Hillsborough County Fetal Infant Mortality Review Committee and Home Visitation Advisory Board meeting to observe community process, as well as the use of data in local decision making, and leadership styles and roles. Both will also be able to attend meetings on the implementation of Nurse Family Partnership in Hillsborough County and the development of a Centralized In-Take and Referral System.
Dr. Stanley advises future MCH leaders to: be grounded in the collection, analysis and use of data to inform decision making and evaluation of MCH programs. Be a resource for your community in the use of data, evidence-based practice and how to process decisions at the community level. Be willing to volunteer and get involved!

Faculty Mentors

HaileRussell Kirby, PhD, MS
Department of Community and Family Health

Dr Kirby's research areas in Maternal and Child Health include: perinatal and pediatric epidemiology, birth defects, development developments (including autism spectrum disorders), GIS applications in MCH, and population health informatics. He became involved in MCH-related research as a research analyst for the state of Wisconsin, and learned MCH research from the inside out. He is currently working on several state and national birth defects epidemiology studies, epidemiology of cerebral palsy, the association of birth defects and ambient air pollution, spatial statistical methods with latent structure modeling, and many others. The MCH trainee will be working on literature reviews, research article summaries, and advocacy activities through the March of Dimes, Hillsborough Healthy Start, and more. His advice for graduate students on becoming a leader in public health research is to work on many projects!

HaileCarol Bryant, PhD
Department of Community and Family Health

Dr. Bryant's research area in MCH is social marketing. She became involved in MCH-related research when she was given a small grant to study breastfeeding. She is currently working on childhood obesity prevention, an evaluation of a community-based policy making and marketing framework for preventing obesity, and the role of social media in improving adolescents' asthma control.
Her advice for graduate students on becoming leaders in public health is to follow their passion!

HaileCheryl Vamos, PhD, MPH
Department of Community and Family Health

Dr. Vamos’s research area in MCH include oral-systemic health issues among MCH populations (e.g., oral health during pregnancy; early childhood caries), women’s health and reproductive/sexual health issues (e.g., cervical cancer disparities; family planning policy), and Health literacy. Dr. Vamos has always been interested in providing MCH populations with the knowledge, skills and supporting policies that are needed in order for women to be empowered and to make informed decisions regarding their health. This is what has sparked her application of health literacy to her work in academia and in practice.
Some projects that Dr. Vamos is currently working on include:
Preventing Pregnancy-Related Oral-Systemic Health Issues: Exploring Factors that Influence Inter-Professional Practice Behaviors
Addressing Abnormal Pap test Results among Women in a Hispanic Migrant Farmworker Community: Formative Research to Inform the Development of Innovative Communications to Improve Health Literacy
Physical Activity among Women (during the preconception period and looking at consistency across the life course)
Her advice for graduate students on becoming leaders in public health is to Identify their passion and appreciate the interdisciplinary pieces that are essential in improving MCH outcomes.

HaileJulie Baldwin, PhD
Department of Community and Family Health

Dr. Baldwin Research areas include adolescent behavioral health including HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention, community-based participatory research, and American Indian children and families. Her involvement in the field of Maternal and child health grew with her dissertation which focused on an evaluation of the American Red Cross HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum in Maryland. Then, she became the director of the Native American Prevention Project Against AIDS and Substance Abuse in Flagstaff Arizona. This project was focused on working with American Indian youth and their families.
Projects that she is currently working on include working with the Institute for Translational Research in Adolescent Behavioral Health, SHARE Haiti: Syndemics HIV/AIDS Research and Education, Montana INBRE II: A Multidisciplinary Research Network, Intertribal Talking Circle for the Prevention of Substance Abuse in Native Youth, Community-Based Prevention Marketing for Systems Change: Reducing Disparities, as well as working toward Eliminating Disparities in the Maternal and Child Health Population.
With her MCH Scholar she will be focusing on research methods, needs assessment/asset mapping, evaluation, development of training materials. Her advice for graduate students on becoming a leader in public health is to get as much experience as possible working with different project teams to build your skills; to take advantage of training opportunities at USF and through other groups; and to get out into the community to network and build relationships.

HaileRobert M. Nelson, MD, MS
Joint Professor
Professor of Pediatrics & Psychiatry
Associate Vice President for Children's Health

Dr Nelson was trained as physician pediatrician and neonatologist.  His career has been centered on academic medicine in the field of neonatology including direct patient care, research and education. Dr Nelson’s current projects included finalizing a study on causes of mortality of children less than 5 years of age in the country of Trinidad and Tobago, working on community needs assessment in Nicaragua poor community and interdisciplinary care. He will also be finishing a study on the use of iPads in pediatric residency program.  His advice for graduate students on becoming a leader in public health is:  Be a consensus builder across all of health care including the population being served.




Past Mentors

2012-2013                     2011-2012                     2010-2011


Mentor Guides

Click here to download the 2012-2013 Community Mentor Guide

Click here to download the 2012-2013 Academic Mentor Guide