Two new scholarships and a grant to improve Black maternal mental health

A portrait of Glen Reed

Glen Reed

Glen Reed, retired partner of King & Spalding and chair and CEO of his family’s foundation, the Reed Foundation, has sat on the Dean’s Council since its earliest days. That means Reed has long been aware of the scope of the work and the caliber of students at the school. With that insight, the foundation recently established the Reed Family Scholarship.

The Reed Foundation focuses on improving international and domestic access to health care resources, water, and food. “Most of the projects we have funded have been very tangible—sending medicine or digging wells,” says Reed. “Funding a scholarship is a bit more intangible but seems to round out what we do. These types of scholarships can train members of the future public health workforce who will address these issues that are important to us.”

Reed practiced law for more than 40 years, specializing in legal support for the health care industry. He was one of the founders of the health care practice at King & Spalding and a national leader in the health care bar. He served as president of the American Health Lawyers Association.

a portrait of Timothy Lash

Timothy Lash

Dr. Timothy Lash, O. Wayne Rollins Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, has funded the Timothy L. Lash Textbooks Scholarship Endowment. Lash has authored two textbooks—Applying Quantitative Bias Analysis to Epidemiologic Data and Modern Epidemiology—both of which are coming out with new editions in 2021. 

Given that Rollins students use these texts in their studies, Lash decided to use the royalties generated by the texts to fund the scholarship. “Textbooks are expensive, and our students are buying these books,” says Lash. “It just felt right to use the money generated from them to invest in public health students.”

Lash became chair of the department in 2018 and since that time enrollment has grown from about 120 new students per year to 160. He continues his research on surveillance for, and predictors of, cancer recurrence, including molecular predictors of treatment effectiveness and late recurrence.

a portrait of Briana Woods-Jaeger

Briana Woods-Jaeger

UnitedHealthcare made a $75,000 Empowering Health grant to improve mental health outcomes in Black pregnant women and their babies. The grant led by Dr. Briana Woods-Jaeger, assistant professor of behavioral, social, and health education sciences, supports improving access to a mindfulness-based group therapy program. Moms-to-be with symptoms of depression and PTSD who visit Grady Hospital for prenatal care are invited to learn mindfulness and emotion regulation techniques to regulate stress and reduce symptoms of depression and PTSD. This grant supports building community partnerships to improve access to this intervention.  

Black women are 2.5 times more likely to die from causes linked to pregnancy than their white counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infant mortality rates are also 2.5 times higher. The disparities can be linked to the health impacts of sustained systemic racism, including childhood and other trauma and lack of access to mental health services.

That’s why offering culturally relevant mental health support during the critical period of pregnancy has the potential to interrupt the intergenerational transmission of toxic stress and associated health disparities.

 “Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Tiah Tomlin, manager of community engagement with UnitedHealthcare. “Through Empowering Health grants, we’re working with local organizations to provide Georgians with greater access to essential resources in high-risk and high-need communities so they can live healthier lives.”