• Characterizing discrepancies in school recovery after disasters

      Shah, Hazel; Georgia State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2019-01-30)
      Background: Academic institutions provide consistency and routine to children. When disasters damage schools, students often suffer in a variety of ways, and racial minority students are often impacted disproportionately. However, minimal research exists exploring these discrepancies. This presentation examines racial disparities in school systems affected by Hurricane Ike (2008). Methods: This study, funded by the National Science Foundation, uses publicly available Texas Education Agency data from approximately 600 schools affected by Hurricane Ike. Schools were included in the study based on two criteria: if they were declared “disaster areas” by FEMA and if they were closed for at least 10 school days after Hurricane Ike. Results: Descriptive analyses were conducted comparing school characteristics and pass rates for all students in grades 3-11 on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) standardized test during pre- and post-hurricane school years (i.e., 2003 – 2011). Mean pass rates on the TAKS varied greatly by race/ethnicity and other factors. Of African American students, 60.7% (SD=17.4) passed the TAKS in 2004 compared to 69.9% in 2011 (SD=15.0); 68.0% (SD=15.7) of Hispanic students passed in 2004 as opposed to 76.23% (SD=12.2) in 2011; 78.8% (SD=14.8) of White students passed in 2004 versus 83.1% in 2011. Further analyses will explore various other determinants influencing academic performance. Conclusions: Preliminary findings show discrepancies at baseline in academic outcomes between racial/ethnic groups. These discrepancies persisted post-hurricane, though all groups saw an increase in pass-rates. Further research utilizing advanced statistical approaches and geographic information system (GIS) analysis could yield insights on variation of academic performance between schools and school districts, as well as physical exposure and risk factors. These insights can inform strategies for improving schools’ academic trajectories after disasters and optimizing community recovery as a whole.
    • Student involvement in curriculum development enhances medical education

      Griffeth, Jacline; Sawyer, Alexandra; Johnson, Nolan; Hashmi, Osama; Gupta, Neha; Swartz, Sarah; Martin, Kathryn; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: During the 2014 annual review of the curriculum for first year medical students at the Medical College of Georgia, the public health module was noted as an area that needed improvement. To address this concern, a Public Health Curriculum Workgroup was formed for the purpose of identifying specific areas to improve and developing a more robust and integrative curriculum. A small cohort of medical students with public health backgrounds were invited to be members of this workgroup and participate in the development and delivery of public health content to the next cohort of first year medical students. We hypothesized that having this type of student participation results in a more clinically relevant and engaging curriculum. Methods: The curriculum workgroup met weekly to establish learning objectives, prioritize topics, and design interactive activities. The student members contributed to both curricular planning and content delivery. First year medical students completed course evaluations following the public health curriculum. These evaluations included five Likert scale questions and three narrative feedback response questions. Evaluation data before and after student involvement in the curriculum was examined. Results: Student evaluations of the overall quality of the public health curriculum increased 38% from 2014-2016. The measure of how well the content contributed to development as a future physician increased 36%. There was a 33% increase in how well the instructional materials aided understanding of topics. Theming of narrative evaluation comments showed that student involvement in the curriculum was well received. In 2016, 28.4% of narrative comments cited student presentations as the most valuable aspect of their public health experience. Conclusions: Involving medical students with public health backgrounds in curriculum development and content delivery of a public health module for first year medical students led to improvements in overall quality, clinical relevance, and instructional materials.
    • A unified integrated public health approach: Zika response

      Kagey, Betsy; Burkholder, Jennifer; Georgia Department of Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: Zika virus planning in Georgia has involved many units within the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH). Their roles and responsibilities include identifying potential vectors, alerting and educating the public on how to ‘tip n toss’, preparing and testing for Zika virus infection at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL), monitoring travelers, including pregnant women, infected with Zika virus, direct messaging for pregnant women, mothers of newborns and women who are considering pregnancy, and education on sexual transmission for men and women. Methods: With no locally transmitted case of Zika virus infection within Georgia, the focus has been on public messaging and answering the myriad calls about Zika virus from health care providers and the public. This unified response involves numerous GDPH units: Epidemiology, Maternal and Child Health, GPHL, Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), Environmental Health, Risk Communication, WIC, and others. Conclusions: The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response is one member of this multi-unit team. This session will identify the roles and responsibilities of each of these units in the unified response to Zika virus within Georgia both at the state and district level. Lessons learned from this approach build upon GDPH’s overall capacity to provide an integrated respond to public health threats and emergencies within the state.
    • Utilization of the “Connecting the Dots” worksheet to engage undergraduate students in health promotion program planning

      Lawrence, Raymona; Walker, Ashley; Georgia Southern (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: Developing a health promotion program plan requires attention to the links between objectives, activities, and overall program goals. Instructors developed the “Connecting the Dots” worksheet to help students establish these linkages. Methods: The “Connecting the Dots” worksheet included six questions pertinent to the students’ health promotion program plans. The worksheet was given to the students in a flipped classroom setting. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the tool was based upon group presentations at the end of the semester. Results: Students developed more viable program plans that included stronger links between objectives and corresponding program activities. Conclusions: The “Connecting the Dots” worksheet is a promising tool for engaging public health students in the process of developing health promotion program plans.