University of South Florida


3 headshots announcing winners

(Photos courtesy of Dugat)

COPH faculty members winners of ATMCH Innovative Teaching Award

Three USF College of Public Health (COPH) faculty were the recipients of the annual Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health (ATMCH) Innovative Teaching Award. The team of winners, which included Drs. Vickie Dugat, Abraham Salinas-Miranda and Cheryl Vamos were announced in January. 

According to their website, the mission of ATMCH is to grow and support excellence in teaching maternal and child health (MCH) across multiple academic settings, and to offer a forum to support the cadre of current and future faculty, aiming to enhance knowledge and skills essential to teaching in the field of MCH. 

Dugat is a MCH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health. On this project, she served as the primary investigator (PI). Salinas-Miranda and Vamos both served as Co-PI. 

“Knowledge translation (KT) can enhance access to care, reduce health disparities and contribute to overall advancement of maternal and child health services and information,” Dugat said. “Additionally, KT fosters collaboration between researchers, students, health care practitioners, policymakers and communities, creating a dynamic exchange of information that enhances the relevance and applicability of research in diverse contexts.” 

ATMCH launched the Innovative Teaching Awards in 2012, seeking and rewarding teams that would produce innovative and creative MCH educational offerings. 

“Receiving this award enables me to advance the integration of research findings into practical applications,” Dugat said. “My passion in public health lies in Black maternal health because, as a Black woman aspiring to one day give birth, I envision the impact of my work on not just myself, but also on my mother, sister, friends, colleagues, neighbors, hairstylist and the men in my life. This work is deeply personal to me.”

Their topic, “Harnessing Knowledge Translation to Bridge the Research and Practice Divide in MCH: An Innovative Short-Term Training” was awarded alongside two additional winners.

“I was shocked and very excited! It was great to see an idea discussed during a meeting become something that has the potential to impact the way we teach and disseminate research findings and information in the MCH world,” Dugat said.

Dugat added that winning the award will help in reaching her research goals. 

“This award empowers me to merge my creative and research abilities to create a curriculum that can help students across the nation integrate their research findings into practical dissemination products useful for their target audience,” she said. “It bridges valuable information to the communities and populations that I aim to serve as a public health professional dedicated to advancing MCH services and information.”

Looking at the future for herself in public health, Dugat said ultimately, her vision is to be a catalyst for positive change in the field of Black maternal health. 

“As a Black maternal health researcher focusing on racial discrimination, stress and breastfeeding, my ultimate goal is to contribute significantly to dismantling the systemic barriers and disparities that disproportionately affect Black mothers and infants,” Dugat said. “I aspire to advance the understanding of how racial discrimination and stress impact maternal health outcomes, particularly in the context of breastfeeding. My goals are to actively engage with communities and build partnerships that empower Black mothers with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. I aim to amplify the voices of Black mothers and contribute to creating supportive environments that encourage and normalize breastfeeding.”

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