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Maria Ness's Projects




  • 2015: Analyzed and compiled all data required for annual Title V Report, including vital statistics data, survey data, and programmatic data.


  • 2015: Produced annual Oregon Oral Health Surveillance System Report, which is available to the public.


  • 2015: Provided quality assurance and epidemiological oversight for the production of a perinatal indicators report.


  • 2014-2015: Conducted quantitative and qualitative data analysis for the federally required Title V Needs Assessment, and produced comprehensive data summary reports for use during the priority setting process. The needs assessment is used to set state priorities for the next five years of Title V funding.




  • 2014: Conducted analysis and produced manuscript examining the effectiveness of the Family Empowerment Scale in evaluating the Health Intervention Program, a home visiting program which provides wrap around services for children with special health care needs and their families.


  • 2013: Production of a Philadelphia Maternal and Child Health Indicators Report, for use by research and program staff within the Philadelphia Department of Health, and external partners such as academic institutions and community health agencies. The indicator report included quantitative, qualitative, and geographical data.


  • 2012 and 2014: Responsible for all data and evaluation sections of two grant applications for federal Healthy Start home visiting funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Data required included standard reporting of maternal and child health indicators, in addition to a comprehensive needs assessment, which determined the target population and the focus of the program. Both grant applications were successful, with the evaluation and needs assessment sections being given perfect scores.


  • 2012 – 2014: Served as a community preceptor and mentor for seven public health students, including one undergraduate student, five masters’ level graduate students, and one doctoral student. Projects with students included analysis of data from the Pennsylvania Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System to examine the association between prenatal stressful life events and adverse birth outcomes, analysis of vital statistics data to examine the risk factors for SUIDs in Philadelphia, and the primary collection and analysis of data to determine the prenatal care capacity of Philadelphia.


  • 2012 – 2014: Updated the web-based Efforts to Outcomes database to reflect new forms being used by Healthy Start and the Health Intervention Program to record client data, in order to reflect new data collection forms and procedures.


  • 2012: Conducted analysis of birth certificate data to examine the risk factors for breastfeeding in Philadelphia. Presented findings at the CityMatCH Leadership & MCH Epidemiology Conference.


  • 2011 – 2014: Responsible for managing all standardized and special data reports to funding sources such as the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.


  • 2011 – 2013: Produced the natality section of the annual Philadelphia Vital Statistics Report, including analysis of birth certificate data using SAS.


  • 2011 – 2012: Reviewed all division policies, procedures, forms, and systems used for data collection, and implemented changes where necessary. This included a complete revision of the data collection being used by multiple programs. These programs included Healthy Start, the Health Intervention Program, and the Youth Care Coordination program, which ensures high risk teens receive needed health services. Revision of programmatic data collection included literature reviews to identify evidence-based risk assessment tools such as the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale and the Family Empowerment Scale.


  • 2011 – 2012: Developed and implemented an evaluation framework and logic model for the Division of Maternal and Child Health, to ensure that data collection and evaluation efforts result in information which is usable by programs, to facilitate continuous quality improvement. Programs included in the framework and logic model were those such as Healthy Start, the Health Intervention Program, breastfeeding education and support, a childhood nutrition and physical activity program, and the Youth Care Coordination program.


  • 2011: Conducted analysis of birth certificate data to examine risk factors for cesarean deliveries in Philadelphia.




  • 2010 – 2011: Conducted analysis of PRAMS-2 (Oregon’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System follow-back survey) data in conjunction with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, to examine risk factors for postpartum depression among American Indian/Alaska Native mothers in Oregon. Presented findings at the MCH Epidemiology Conference and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Annual Conference.


  • 2010 – 2011: Participated in a complex sampling survey analysis course conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Chicago at Illinois, including analyzing data from the National Survey of Children’s Health to examine predictors of obesity among American Indian/Alaska Native Children. Presented findings at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Annual Conference.


  • 2010: Conducted an evaluation of the usefulness of PRAMS-2, which included the primary collection of data using oral surveys, and the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the resulting data. Presented findings at the Oregon Public Health Association’s Annual Conference.


  • 2009 – 2010: Analyzed and compiled data from multiple national-level and state-level surveys to allow for priority setting during the Title V Block Grant Needs Assessment, including collaboration in the creation of a Microsoft Access database.


  • 2009 – 2010: Served as a member of the Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) team; contributed to survey revisions, conducted field testing of new questions, and conducted an evaluation of the survey revision process.


  • 2009: In conjunction with the Oregon Immunization Program, developed a database for the collection of H1N1-related metrics, and produced weekly reports of these metrics for the Oregon Agency Operations Centre.


  • 2009: Conducted and presented findings from a literature review of Healthy Families America home visiting model evaluations, to assist in the selection of programs to be delivered by the division.




  • 2008: Located and surveyed thirty one tobacco retailers in Lower Manhattan, to examine the prevalence of tobacco advertisements, in addition the proportion of retailers using strategies to target youth.


  • 2008: Produced and delivered presentation at multiple local youth organizations detailing the advertising tactics used by tobacco companies to target teens, and strategies and interventions to reduce youth smoking.


  • 2008: Negotiated the signature of a policy by tobacco retailers to voluntarily reduce, rearrange and/or remove tobacco ads from view of youth.


MN Philly
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