School of Public Health receives $50,000 grant from the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi


Olivia Goodheart Byline



Jackson State University’s School of Public Health will receive a $50,000 grant for their “Determinants of Pregnancy Prevention among Older African American Teens at HBCUs” program from the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi (WFM).

“We know that when women thrive, so does our state,” said Tracy DeVries, WFM executive director.” That’s why we award grants to programs that drive social change and have a lasting impact on women and their families.”

Women's Fondation of MS logoThe grant will be used to conduct research to understand the causes of higher rates of teen pregnancy among older teens, while providing access to high-quality sex education and youth-friendly healthcare services. Findings will be used to influence the direction of future projects, legislation and to increase access to healthcare and social services.

Dr. Mohammad Shahbazi, interim dean, JSU School of Public Health, said, “We are very thankful that the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi chose to invest in this important research. Our goal as Mississippi’s first School of Public Health is to improve the health of populations in the state of Mississippi through evidence-based and community-oriented teaching, research and service. This grant will help us fulfill our mission.”

The School of Public Health at JSU was authorized in 2015 and initially supported by a $2 million Executive Budget Recommendation by Gov. Phil Bryant, who said, “Health care in Mississippi is an industry of necessity. Not only can our state benefit from more health care providers and professionals, our economy can benefit from growth in the health care sector. This program will be a very important part of the health care landscape in Mississippi.”

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to delve deeper into issues surrounding teen pregnancy among older teens during a time when they are typically away from home and lacking family support. This award from Women’s Foundation affords us the opportunity to assess determinants of pregnancy prevention among older teens on college campuses, providing insight into a very challenging public health issue,” said Dr. Joni K. Roberts, principal investigator for the project.

Founded in 2003, the WFM is a part of the Women’s Funding Network — the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to women and girls.

“Our grant making focus aligns with our belief that all women should have the opportunity to obtain degrees or credentials, good jobs with benefits, and to plan their pregnancies,” noted Latisha Latiker, director of Grant Programming at WFM.

Economic security for women is the mission of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. Committed to helping Mississippi’s women and girls transcend the state’s dire social and economic barriers, the WFM cultivates social via grant making, advocacy and action in the areas of planned pregnancy, education and careers.