Dr. Abigail Gamble Discusses Healthy Child and Maternal Outcomes for Teen Moms in Mississippi

by Camelia Singletary, MPH

JPHMP presents Public Health Perspectives, a podcast series targeted towards strengthening the future public health workforce. We will explore the narratives of public health care professionals and gain insight on career paths that shape the profession. 

 Abigail Gamble Healthy Child

In this episode of Public Health Perspectives, Dr. Abigail Gamble joins the show to talk about her community-engaged research that focuses on healthy maternal and child outcomes for teenage mothers in the Mississippi Delta. Dr. Gamble is an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center with faculty appointments in the Department of Preventive Medicine, John D. Bower School of Population Health, and the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine; Science Director for the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities; and investigator in the Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research (MCCTR).                    Abigail Gamble Healthy Child 

The Teen Mom Study is a pre-pilot study aimed to identify psychosocial, cultural, and environmental determinants of exercise behavior among pregnant and postpartum adolescents enrolled in the Mississippi WIC Program. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federally funded, state-run program that aims to protect the health of low-income women, infants, and children under 5-years at nutritional risk. Participation in WIC presents a unique and ideal opportunity to target maternal and early pediatric obesity prevention through health behavior change. Among those at highest risk for obesity are rural, low income, and racial/ethnic minority populations. Dr. Gamble and WIC partners hypothesize that by promoting antenatal exercise in combination with the nutritional counseling provided by WIC, adolescent mothers will be more likely to achieve healthy gestational weight gain, improve maternal and fetal health outcomes, and prevent or delay obesity over the life course. The next phase of this important and understudied line of research will be to use the information garnered through the Teen Mom Study to adapt and pilot test an existing mobile health (mHealth) intervention to promote the adoption and maintenance of antenatal exercise among adolescent WIC clients, while simultaneously gathering information on the intervention’s potential for uptake by WIC.

Dr. Gamble is a New Jersey native and received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in elementary education and liberal studies from Rowan University, where she was also the captain of the University’s Field Hockey team. She attended graduate school at the University of Mississippi where she earned a Master’s of Science degree in health promotion and Doctoral degree in health and kinesiology. As a doctoral student, her research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation received outstanding recognition awards from the University of Mississippi and the American Academy of Health Behavior. Following her doctoral program, Dr. Gamble served for two years as the Evaluation Lead for the Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative in the Office of Preventive Health, Mississippi State Department of Health. She joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in April 2014. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, traveling, and spending as much time as possible with her six nieces and nephews.

Music presented in this program comes from The Gentle Art of Squinting by Taylor Arnold and Jordan Wilson. Listen to the complete album here. Cover art by Shawna Arnold.

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Camelia Singletary

Camelia Singletary, MPH, received her master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Her research interests include exploring the implementation of school physical activity programs in combination with nutritional components. She is also interested in analyzing the adoption of physical activity and healthy eating skills from a social-cognitive perspective. As a public health communicator at JPHMP Direct, she hopes to create linkages between evidence-based research, public health coursework, and health certification competencies.