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People First: How Bizzell is Cultivating the Next Generation of Health Professionals

Lanham, MD – February 28, 2019 – On Saturday, February 9th, Senior Associate for The Bizzell Group (Bizzell), Dr. Rhonda Waller, was invited to participate in the Spelman College Health Careers Program Mock Interview Day. The Mock Interview Day prepares Health Careers students for the types of interviews they will likely encounter during the application cycle for internships, and graduate and professional schools.

“My dedication to Spelman College is rooted in my service to the institution that changed the trajectory of my life,” said Dr. Waller, graduate of Spelman College. “As an interviewer, I was able to provide immediate and direct feedback to students and share with them the work we do at Bizzell.”

Dr. Waller is a Psychologist, Professor, and Maternal and Child Health Specialist with more than 30 years of professional experience in administration, project management, organizational development, technical assistance, policy analysis, and community outreach. Dr. Waller is highly-skilled in program design and implementation, coalition building, and the development of community-based strategies to improve access to health care and education. While at Bizzell, Dr. Waller has led projects for Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health and HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance Center (BH-HIVTAC) and SAMHSA’s Targeted Capacity Expansion: Medication Assisted Treatment – Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) Policy Academy.

Bizzell’s commitment to professional development, diversity, and service translates outside of the traditional work space and into the community. “We owe it to the next generation of public health professionals to support them as they grow and to let them see how we implement innovation and excellence in the health services and research arenas,” Dr. Waller added. “Minorities are often underrepresented in health professions, so it’s important that we continue to engage with students at HBCUs like Spelman College and provide insight into career paths they may not have considered otherwise.”

Dr. Waller serves as the Corresponding Secretary for the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College and is the proud mother of a current Spelmanite, Kai Adura Waller (C’2019).

About Bizzell

Established in 2010, The Bizzell Group (Bizzell) is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) strategic management and consulting firm that specializes in Program & Project Management, Administrative Support, Communication & Outreach, Conference Management & Logistical Support, Health Services & Research, Technical Assistance, as well as Training & Development. Bizzell is a partner of choice for federal, state and local government agencies and private organizations. Bizzell’s expert staff and consultants work on health, scientific, education, environment, research, and information technology projects that meet national priorities.

Under the leadership and vision of founder, Dr. Anton C. Bizzell, the company has grown from a staff of two in one small office to a thriving firm with three offices in Lanham, MD, Rockville, MD, and Atlanta, GA with ongoing projects across the world.

National Autism Awareness Month

For over 50 years the Autism Society has provided services and programming to support individuals living with autism. National Autism Awareness Month, observed every April, has been an occasion to promote awareness of autism and work to ensure that each person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can achieve the highest possible quality of life.  

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Signs of autism, which usually appear early in childhood, are: delayed learning of language; little or no eye contact with other people; lack of interest in peer relationships; lack of spontaneous or make-believe play; fixation on particular objects; difficulty with executive functioning (which relates to reasoning and planning); narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills; repetitive use of language; repetitive movements (such as hand-flapping); and sensory issues. ASD is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals to varying degrees. A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders reflects the number and severity of these behaviors a person shows. 

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of autism in the United States was 1 in every 68 births, and 1 in every 54 boys. The overall prevalence in 2016 was twice the rate in 2004, which was 1 in every 125 births. Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236 to $262 billion annually. Most of this amount is for adult services—$175–$196 billion, compared to $61–$66 billion for children. Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by two-thirds with early diagnosis and intervention.  

Autism is treatable. Studies show that early diagnosis and intervention can change lives. Intervention plans must be unique to the individual, but they usually involve behavioral treatment, medicines, or both. Early behavioral treatment requires intensive collaboration between a child’s family and a team of professionals and may consist of parent training and individual therapy in a special center or classroom. Many people with ASD have other associated medical conditions, such as sleep disturbance or seizures, and improving these conditions can improve attention, learning, and behavior. Different interventions are needed as a child develops and acquires social and learning skills—for example, specialized social skills training may be help children with autism when they enter school. Adolescents with autism can benefit from supportive services that help them transition to employment and independence as adults.  

According to Autism Speaks (, a small minority of people with ASD progress to the point that they no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for autism. These individuals may have been misdiagnosed, may have “matured out” of some symptoms, or may have responded especially well to treatment. Some individuals have the “best possible outcomes”; their test scores are within normal ranges for IQ, language, functioning, school placement and personality, but they still have mild symptoms on some personality and diagnostic tests.  

This April, the Autism Society also wants to encourage people and groups to become partners in a movement toward accepting and appreciating people with ASD and including them in our schools and communities in a way that reflects true appreciation of the unique qualities of all people. “We want to get one step closer to a society where those with ASDs are truly valued for their unique talents and gifts,” says the Society’s website. 

17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health

Project Director Jenny Twesten traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to represent the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Research Branch at WCTOH held March 6-9, 2018. This international conference drew participants from around the world, with a particularly strong presence from those across Africa, an area where prevalence of cigarette smoking is on the rise and expected to continue to do so without strong tobacco control interventions. The Bizzell Group (Bizzell) supported meeting logistics for a pre-conference workshop entitled “Research to Inform the Development and Implementation of Tobacco Control Policies and Intervention” that was attended by at least 53 people from 23 different countries.

Bizzell also coordinated the NCI presence in the exhibit hall in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which nearly ran out of materials within 4 hours of the exhibit hall opening. In addition to attending sessions on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), economic and social costs of tobacco among women, tools for monitoring tobacco use, and ending the tobacco epidemic, Jenny presented on the Africa literature review that she and Katie Cleffi have been working on with NCI and met with various organizations and experts to discuss collaboration opportunities with NCI. The abstract presented has been published in a special supplement of Tobacco Induced Diseases. She will be presenting along with the other NCI delegates at an upcoming seminar on April 17 hosted by the NCI Center for Global Health to share insights from their WCTOH attendance.

Bizzell Partners With CDC to Assist in Unintentional Injury Prevention Initiatives

The Bizzell Group (Bizzell) is pleased to kick off the new year with a new opportunity with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention (DUIP).

Unintentional injuries, such as falls, car accidents and drug overdoses, are the number three cause of deaths in the United States, and they account for one of every four people treated in an emergency department. Bizzell has an extensive portfolio of supporting injury prevention initiatives related to roadway safety and substance abuse prevention. Therefore, the firm brings a deep working knowledge and understanding to CDC’s injury prevention objectives.

Bizzell’s commitment will include scientific injury prevention consulting, assistance and support services within DUIP. This includes assisting with the preparation of reports, presentations and papers for publication in scientific journals. The firm will identify evidence-based strategies for states to use in preventing injuries, as well as work directly with CDC scientists to exchange ideas on DUIP products that are related to concussions, global traffic injury and falls prevention. Additionally, Bizzell will focus on preparing summary documents for the Office of Global Health on DUIP’s motor vehicle projects, and provide expertise on the development and evaluation of injury modules for the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in the Center for Global Health.

“Injuries and violence affect everyone, regardless of age, race or economic status. And in the first half of life, more Americans die from violence and injuries than any other cause,” stated Chad Brown, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Bizzell. “Bizzell is pleased to offer its expertise and support to CDC in order to collectively develop innovations and solutions as we look to promote improved health and mortality outcomes.”

Bizzell looks forward to its continued partnership with CDC.