Study looks at men’s roles in obstetric emergencies in Ghana

A recent study from the University of Iowa looked at ways in which men are involved in obstetric emergencies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As men become more involved in childbirth in low- and middle-income countries such as Ghana, researchers believe it is important to identify the most effective ways to involve them during labor and delivery, especially during an obstetric emergency.

A portrait of William Story of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.
William Story

The study, led by Will Story, assistant professor of community and behavioral health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, used data that was collected as part of the Maternal and Newborns Referral Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Dr. Kavita Singh at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The research team conducted and evaluated qualitative interviews with 39 mothers and fathers in two districts in Northern and Central Ghana who had experienced obstetric emergencies as well as interviews with six health facility workers and eight focus group discussions with community members.

According to Story, the research showed that male involvement during obstetric emergencies operated across a spectrum of behaviors—from helpful to harmful.

“Although most men provided money and transportation to help their partner obtain care or helped them find a blood donor during the emergency, some men were either absent or acted as ‘gatekeepers’ and caused delays in care seeking,” he says.

“Similarly, we found a spectrum of male accommodation in health facilities during an obstetric emergency—from ignoring or disrespecting men to accommodating them by providing appropriate spaces [such as a waiting room].”

Story says that simply identifying ways in which men can be supportive during an obstetric emergency will not lead to better health outcomes unless health facilities make accommodations that allow men to fulfill their roles.

The study concludes that policies and programs should promote supportive behavior by men during obstetric emergencies while empowering women to make decisions that are best for their own health and the health of their child.

Co-authors include Clare Barrington and Kavita Singh from the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina; Corinne Fordham from Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs; Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey from the Institute for Health Care Improvement, Africa Region; and Pierre M. Barker from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Cook discusses Ponseti Method to treat clubfoot

Tom Cook, CPH professor emeritus of occupational and environmental health and director of global operations for Ponseti International, recently discussed clubfoot and its treatment with the Ponseti Method. The noninvasive technique uses a series gentle manipulations and plaster casts to correct the condition.

CPH students earn global health travel grants

A portrait of Jasmine Mangrum of the Department of MPH Program in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.
Jasmine Mangrum

The College of Public Health is pleased to announce that Jasmine Mangrum and Danielle Medgyesi are the latest recipients of CPH Global Public Health Student Travel Grant awards.

Mangrum, a student in the combined Doctorate of Pharmacy-Master of Public Health degree program, received funding to investigate smoking cessation practices of pharmacists at a community pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The project will collect data to develop a comprehensive smoking cessation toolkit for Romanian pharmacists and better integrate pharmacists into the global health workforce. Mangrum previously worked with public health officials in Cluj through the NIH-funded Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training internship.  Mangrum’s advisor for the project is Edith Parker, professor and head of community and behavioral health.

A portrait of Danielle Medgyesi of the University of Iowa College of Public Health
Danielle Medgyesi

Medgyesi, a master of science student in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, has been funded for a six-week project in Kisumu, Kenya, to conduct a study of children’s exposure to gastrointestinal (GI) pathogens in public areas. The project will allow researchers to better understand children’s daily behaviors and patterns leading to GI pathogen exposure. Worldwide, GI infection is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five, including more than 27,000 child deaths in Kenya in 2007. Medgyesi’s advisor for the project is Kelly Baker, assistant professor of occupational and environmental health.

The CPH Global Public Health Student Travel Grant program, funded by generous philanthropic support from UI alumni Dale and Linda Baker, supports international research, practicums, and internships for graduate students seeking a degree in the College of Public Health. (Students in combined degree programs are eligible, but those in certificate and affiliated programs are not). Awards are available up to $5,000 per student and applications are accepted monthly. For application guidelines and more information, please see

Read more about Dale and Linda Baker’s support for global educational opportunities at the University of Iowa … Growing Global Citizens.

Jonathan M. Katz to discuss media and public health Nov. 16

jonathan_katz_webAs part of Global Public Health Week, the college welcomes guest speaker Jonathan M. Katz.

“In the Public Interest: The Media and Public Health”
Wednesday, Nov. 16
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Callaghan Auditorium (N110 CPHB)

Katz is an award-winning journalist and author with a strong interest in global health issues. He is also the College of Public Health’s first journalist-in-residence.

Katz was the Associated Press correspondent in Haiti from 2007 to 2011, the only full-time U.S. news reporter there during the devastating 2010 earthquake. He later broke the story that United Nations soldiers likely caused a post-quake cholera epidemic that killed thousands. Katz has reported from more than a dozen countries and territories. In 2011, he was awarded the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism.

Read more about his work.

Spotlight Series Logo


Explore international opportunities during Global Public Health Week

globe and handsWe’re pleased to announce the UI College of Public Health’s inaugural Global Public Health Week, November 14-18.

Join us for a series of events that highlight opportunities for study, research, and work in the exciting and expanding field of global public health.

Monday, Nov. 14

Spotlight Event
Student Research Experiences – Panel presentation with Jake Kundert, David Nelson, and Morgan Price
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Lunch provided

Tuesday, Nov. 15

Career Opportunities – Panel presentation with Will Story, Michael Gee, Rebecca Arnold, Halkeno Tura, and Oluchi Abosi|
11:30 am – 12:20 pm
Lunch provided

Make a Difference in the Peace Corps!
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Executive Board Room (Room 2390) UCC
Celebrate International Education Week by learning how you can make a difference in the Peace Corps! Peace Corps Volunteers work at the grassroots level to create change that lasts long after their service. Sponsored by UI International Programs.

Wednesday, Nov. 16

Spotlight Event
Guest Speaker: Jonathan M. Katz
The Media and Public Health
The college welcomes Jonathan Katz as its first journalist-in-residence. He is an award-winning journalist and author with a strong interest in global health issues. Read more about his work.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Callaghan Auditorium (N110 CPHB)

Thursday, Nov. 17

Global Health Funding Opportunities for CPH Students
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Lunch provided
Jill Welch will present information on the MHIRT International Research Internship program; Douglas Baker, UI Fulbright Ambassador, will discuss the Fulbright program; and Maya Ramaswamy, a PhD student in OEH, is a Boren Fellowship Award recipient and will have materials to share about both the Boren Fellowship and the Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research.