Name: Dr. Earnestine Willis
Educational Qualification: BS., MPH., MD.
Designation: Vice Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
Research Interests: Health and Health Disparitie, Community Health Improvement, Community Pediatric Training Initiative.
Biography: Dr. Willis has a longstanding interest in maternal and child health and has practiced in urban communities facing health disparities for decades across several large cities. She has led numerous successful initiatives by documenting the needs of children in underserved neighborhoods and designing effective interventions to address health disparities in low-income families. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for the Community Health Improvement for Milwaukee’s Children (CHIMC) project, which is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NIMHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This project has been funded to build an infrastructure to conduct community-based participatory research (CBPR) interventions, since 2005. Its focus has been on addressing health disparities starting with immunization coverage among predominately Black, low-income children. This project has utilized education, social marketing and behavioral change models to address immunization disparities. In its final dissemination phase, Dr. Willis has a significant role in the administration and operations of the proposed CHIMC-Take Control IMMUNIZE! (TCI) eLearning Café. Subsequently, she expanded the CHIMC Project to a Latino population with development of a Spanish version of the e-Learning Café. Other innovative community-academic partnership initiatives led by Dr. Willis include the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW); Department of Pediatrics, Community Pediatric Training Initiative (CPTI), which significantly contributed to the postgraduate career development for pediatric residents, now a national model anchored at the American Academy of Pediatrics, referred to as the National CPTI. MCW’s CPTI was initiated as a local collaboration with 5 higher education institutions and 10 community-based organizations. From 2000 to 2003, she was the Chair of the State of Wisconsin Tobacco Control and Prevention Board and led the State of Wisconsin in the development of its tobacco prevention program for the State. More recently, she co-directed the planning process for the Institute for Health and Society (IHS) at MCW and led the collaborative process to produce a community action plan for addressing adverse birth outcome through a community-based life course perspective. The former Institute’s mission is to improve health and advance health equity through community and academic partnerships. Additionally, as an experienced pediatrician working with families for decades, she has expertise in acute pediatric illness. She has led the implementation of an early literacy promotion program since 1998 and she directs a children oral health improvement initiative for Wisconsin Early Head Start. She was recently appointed to the National Academic of Science, Engineering, Medicine Roundtables on Health Literacy in 2015 and Science Literacy in 2016. Her skills in working with the community to address health disparities are crucial to the success of this grant. Specifically, she has worked with communities to build education, social marketing, and behavioral change for other health outcomes. Her expertise in CBPR is directly translatable to development of interventions in this grant. She will manage all activities as related to the overall objectives, including budgetary operations and will ensure adherence to the established timeline for data retrieval, analysis interpretation and dissemination. Dr. Willis will oversee program administration and supervision. She will have significant responsibilities for direct day-to-day management and functions of the project and will take a leadership role in the development of all project components.
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