|PHLP Students present findings at NCPHA Conference|
PHLP students Samantha Aaron and Jessica Southwell had presentations at the 2012 North Carolina Public Health Association Annual Education Conference in New Bern. This was the first NCPHA presentation for each or them, and in email conversations both described the conference as a terrific learning experience and a highlight of their graduate school experience to date.
Ms. Southwell gave an oral presentation entitled Facilitating patient participation: A multifaceted trial to improve county clinic survey response. The study grew out of her practicum work with the Orange County Health Department, specifically an effort to improve response rates for patient satisfaction surveys in the county's Chapel Hill and Hillsborough clinics. The findings led to planned changes regarding how and when surveys are collected, as well as improvements that will make the surveys more accessible and easier to use for low-literacy populations.
Ms. Aaron presented her research in a poster session. The study, America's Health Rankings: Identifying and Selecting an Oral Health Measure, chronicled her work with the advisory committee that helps ensure that measures used for America's Health Rankings (AHR) are valid and reliable. Ms. Aaron's findings persuaded the committee to change AHR's selected Oral Health Measure from "Percentage of Annual Dental Visits for Adults" to "Percentage of 3rd Grade students with Caries Experience (treated or untreated tooth decay)."
Both women wrote enthusiastically about the opportunity to share their findings with others who shared their interests and to hear about public health research and programs across the state. "There is so much great work being done not only in North Carolina, but in projects that will have a national and even international impact," wrote Ms. Southwell.
The venue also received high marks from the two students. The posters were in a high-traffic area which provided Ms. Aaron "with the chance to have a number of interesting conversations with people interested in my topic." Ms. Southwell wrote that "the room for student presentations was small and intimate. You could just feel everyone in the room was supportive of the work students put into each of the projects and that meant a great deal."
Ms. Southwell encouraged students interested in presenting at next year's conference to "go for it and apply, even if it stretches your comfort level of public speaking." Ms. Aaron agreed, recommending that students "plan to stay for at least two days of the conference so that they can truly take advantage of the learning and networking opportunities created through the conference."
Both Ms. Aaron and Ms. Southwell plan to complete their MPH studies this year.
|Last updated October 10, 2012|