School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘HIV’

UM journalism professor to receive Community Engagement Honor Roll certificate

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by ldrucker

In recognition of their new health communication work in the Mississippi Delta, Kristie Swain, of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism, and Angela Green, of the Writing and Rhetoric Department, will each receive a Community Engagement Honor Roll certificate at the university’s 2019 Celebration of Service on April 10.

Their competition submission, “Team Safe Sex Learning through Safe Reflection and Storytelling,” is also funded by a 2018-2019 Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation research grant.

In the fall, Swain’s research methods class conducted a focus group study of African American women in collaboration with Catherine Moring, executive director of wellness for the James Kennedy Wellness Center in Charleston, Mississippi. They asked the women to talk about what puts local teens at risk for STDs and teen pregnancy and what might prevent these outcomes.

Students in Kristie Swain’s IMC 585-Health Communication class design role-play activities for Delta teens.

This semester, Swain’s IMC 585-Health Communication class is conducting a focus group study and pilot intervention of African American youth in Charleston to explore their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to safe sex, Swain said.

Health Communication students recently designed a community health campaign, as well as roleplay and reflective writing games for a pilot intervention, she said. In one game called “Origami Fortune Teller,” teens will discuss different hypothetical safe-sex situations, she said. Small groups of teens will each pick a number and one of four colors.

“A moderator will move the four-corner, origami fortuneteller back and forth the number of times they pick, and then pose a question or scenario that corresponds to a number between 1 and 8 next to the color they selected,” Swain said. “Then the teens will read the scenario and work though the decision making process.”

A follow-up activity will involve matching different colors of Starburst candies with different hypothetical situations, she said. After each teen group selects a Starburst, a moderator will challenge them to write and act out a skit to show how kids might react to the situation. Then, UM students will create informal videos of the skits to use in social media outreach.

Cade Smith, UM’s assistant vice chancellor for community engagement, cited the significance of the project as one of its strengths in the community engagement competition.

“The scope and impact of the submitted projects were tremendous,” he said. “We look forward to sharing and learning about the life- and community-changing work that UM and UMMC scholars are co-leading with their community partners.”

By the end of this year, Swain, Green and Moring hope to use their findings to identify barriers and inroads in preventing HIV, STDs and unplanned pregnancies among African American adolescents in the Mississippi Delta, Swain said. The results will inform a NIH grant proposal, in collaboration with UMCC researchers, to support behavior change research in rural faith communities.

School of Journalism and New Media associate professor receives Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation seed grant

Posted on: August 20th, 2018 by ldrucker

Kristen Swain, associate professor of journalism in the School of Journalism and New Media, recently received one of four university-wide Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation seed grants to identify barriers and inroads to HIV prevention among African American adolescents in the Mississippi Delta.

Swain is partnering with Angela Green from the UM Department of Writing and Rhetoric and with Catherine Moring, executive director of the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center in Charleston, Mississippi.


The project, “Learning about HIV Risk and Resilience through the Power of Storytelling,” will involve Swain’s IMC 585-Health Communication class, through UM’s new MPartner program. Her students will help facilitate expressive writing and role play, multimedia production, and peer-led focus groups among Charleston teens.

“I am excited about the opportunity to build on the doctoral dissertation I wrote two decades ago and to explore how AIDS perceptions have evolved over time in Southern black churches,” Swain said.

The findings will inform a future NIH proposal to develop a culturally sensitive HIV prevention campaign and behavior change interventions in the faith community.

“We are thrilled about the potential opportunity the proposed project will bring to our community,” Moring said in a support letter for Swain’s proposal. “This project, combined with existing community-wide efforts, will provide valuable resources that will significantly improve our community and help to address the many health concerns our community faces.”

In November, UM alums Thomas and Jim Duff of Hattiesburg made a $1 million gift to support the university’s new Flagship Constellations initiative. The donation provided nearly $20,000 for this year’s Community Wellbeing grant competition, which received proposals representing 18 different departments at UM and UMCC.