SLU Professors Honored for Making Families Healthier

ST. LOUIS – The Maternal Child and Family Health Coalition (MCHFC) honored two Saint Louis University professors for their leadership in improving the health of babies and families in the St. Louis region.

Pam Xaverius

Pamela K. Xaverius, Ph.D., MBA, is an associate professor of epidemiology in the College for Public Health and Social Justice. Photo by Maggie Rotermund

The awards were handed out at the 2016 Standing Up for Mothers and Babies Awards dinner on Oct. 20, at the Chase Park Plaza.

Pamela K. Xaverius, Ph.D., MBA, is an associate professor of epidemiology and director of the Maternal and Child Health concentration of the Master of Public Health program in the College for Public Health and Social Justice.  

Jaye Shyken, M.D.
Jaye Shyken, M.D.,  is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health.

Jaye Shyken, M.D., FACOG, is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health and a SLUCare Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist.

The MCFHC is the leading convener of stakeholders that take action around priority health issues for women and children.  The mission of the MCFHC is to improve birth outcomes, promote healthy families and build healthy communities by uniting and mobilizing the St. Louis Region. 

“We are thrilled to honor these awardees who work hard in our community to improve the health of women and their babies,” Kendra Copanas, executive director of MCHFC said in a release. “Our collective work accelerates progress so that every baby is born healthy and our community thrives – one of the most important investments we as a region can make.”

Two of the five Standing Up for Mothers and Babies Awards went to SLU faculty members.

Xaverius received the Dr. Terry Leet Researcher Award for her research on preconception health, fetal-infant mortality, immigrant health and Centering Pregnancy. Her work has been funded by the CDC, NIH, the March of Dimes, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, presented at national conferences, and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Terry Leet, Ph.D., MPH, was a professor at SLU and MCFHC board member prior to his death in 2009. He joined the university in 1998 as an assistant professor of community health. During his time at SLU he held appointments in the departments of pediatrics and obstetrics, gynecology and women's health and served as director of the division of epidemiology and chair of community health.

Shyken received the Dr. Corinne Walentik Provider Award for her work with substance abuse and pregnancy. She founded the WISED Clinic (Women and Infants Safe Escape from Drugs) at St. Louis Regional Medical Center, which ran from 1991-96.

Her clinical activities take place at the St. Louis Region SSM Health sites, providing MFM and genetic consultations, and ultrasound services. In 2014,  the WISH (Women and Infants Substance Help) Center opened as a half-day clinic that operated within SLUCare's maternal and fetal medicine group. A formal center opened at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital on Oct. 13.  She currently serves as the founding medical director. 

WISH is a multidisciplinary clinic providing coordination of chemical dependency treatment, maternal-fetal medicine subspecialty care, social services, lactation counseling, neonatology counseling, and patient education. 

Corinne Walentik, M.D., MPH, was a passionate advocate for babies and families in the St. Louis area. Walentik was a professor of pediatrics in the division of neonatology at SLU and saw patients at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. She also served on many boards and received local, regional and national recognition for her work on improving children's health care. She was a founding member of the St Louis Maternal, Child and Family Health Coalition and a past president of the Missouri chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 


Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart/lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind among the nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

With a focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex global health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in global public health, social work, health management and health policy, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental and occupational health, behavioral science and health education, emergency management, biosecurity and disaster preparedness, and criminology and criminal justice.