• Community preparedness: Expanding existing partnerships with academia to build resilience through experiential learning

      Cleveland, Nina; Palen, Mark; University of Georgia (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Sustainability and mitigation in preparedness after grant money is gone has suddenly become a hot topic in the public health emergency preparedness world. By the same token, funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for individual preparedness initiatives has not had the desired mitigation impacts. The question becomes, are there alternative approaches that reach more individuals to build a culture of preparedness in communities? One solution involves the leveraging of academic and regional public health partnerships with their Medical Reserve Corps Units (MRC), to train college students in individual preparedness. The purpose of this study is to describe best practices and discuss the incorporation of experiential learning and training activities into an Introduction to Public Health course at the University of Georgia. It also describes the development of a strong academic and practice partnership though the use the agencies’ MRC units. Methods: Three experiential learning activities, rooted in the constructs of perceived susceptibility, perceived benefits and self-efficacy were introduced into the course. First, didactic elements addressing the purpose and structure of public health response, individual preparedness and the role of Medical Reserve Corps volunteers in response were incorporated. Second, the public health partner developed a lecture covering public health emergency preparedness and response using a real world-sheltering example and coupled it with a tabletop exercise. Finally, students were given a final exam option where they built a home emergency kit. Results: Over the course of 3 years, approximately 500 students have been trained in individual preparedness. Students have demonstrated an increased foundational knowledge about the Medical Reserve Corps and public health preparedness in general. Furthermore, this collaboration increased the numbers of new MRC Volunteers and provided for a strong academic practice partnership. Conclusions: Through this collaboration, more students know how to take care of themselves and their families, decreasing the number of potential well worried. This collaboration has also strengthened the ties between the two institutions, leading to more opportunities for partnership.
    • Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data for monitoring cancer trends

      Yoo, Wonsuk; Coughlin, Steven S; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2019)
      Background: Monitoring cancer trends allows evaluation of the effectiveness of cancer screening or detection methods and determination of priorities in cancer control programs. Government officials and policy makers also use information on cancer trends to allocate resources for cancer research and prevention. Although data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End results (SEER)-affiliated cancer registry are accessible to the public, there is a shortage of published research describing cancer incidence rates for White, Black, and other residents in Georgia. The objective of this research is to provide an overview of how to use SEER data through analysis of the incidence rate for cervical cancer. Methods: Cervical cancer cases (ICD-O-3/WHO 2008 =’Cervix Uteri’, corresponding to C530-C539) were obtained from the SEER18 database. It includes the largest geographic coverage compared to SEER 9 and SEER 13 data. The incidence and incidence rates for cervical cancer were obtained, stratified by year (2000-2012), sex, race/ethnic groups, and region (Georgia and US). Age-adjusted incidence and incidence rates (to the 2000 US standard population) were calculated using SEER*Stat software, which is available, free of charge, on the SEER Web site: http://seer.cancer.gov. Results: Age-adjusted incidences and incidence rates in Georgia and the US from SEER 18 data were created by SEER*Stat. The incidence rates were stratified by age variable (5-year category), sex, race/ethnicity, and other socio-demographic variables. Annual percent changes (APC) and 95% CI were also obtained to characterize trends in cancer rates over time. The trends for age-adjusted incidence rates for regions (Georgia and the US) and race (white, black, others) were compared using APC. Furthermore, age-specific incidence and incidence rates for cervical cancer for Georgia and US for recent five years (2008-2012) were reported. Conclusions: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End results (SEER) program provides cancer researchers a convenient and intuitive system for viewing individual cancer records and producing statistics useful in studying the impact of cancer on a population.
    • Syphilis in Georgia, 2009-2014

      Moore, Kathryn; Parker, Leonardo; Wells, Joy; Georgia Department of Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: In the period of 2002-2014, Georgia has ranked among the top three states in the United States for rates of primary and secondary syphilis cases, creating a continuing need to analyze the data and to plan and implement disease prevention efforts. Methods: The present effort involved analysis of data from Georgia’s electronic disease reporting system, State Electronic Disease Surveillance System (SendSS), including demographic characteristics by year for the period of 2009-2014 and behavioral data obtained from interviews with communicable disease specialists. Results: In Georgia, from 2009-2014, primary and secondary syphilis, the infectious stages of the disease, were seen most commonly among black, non-Hispanic (77%) males (91%) between the ages of 20-29 (45%); 52% were males who have sex with other males. Conclusions: Analysis of the data provides a better understanding of the populations affected by syphilis. It can enhance discussions about disease surveillance, prevention, and strategies to decrease the burden of this disease.
    • Fulfilling community health assessment requirements: Lessons learned from facilitating state-wide community health forums

      Walker, Ashley; Peden, Angela; Tedders, Stuart H.; Barron, John; Jackson, Aaron; Williams, Nicholas; Ugwu, Bethrand; Georgia Southern University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: A prerequisite for National Public Health Accreditation is completion of a Community Health Assessment (CHA) that presents an exhaustive profile of the population served by a particular public health agency. Methods: The Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH) contracted with the Center for Public Health Practice and Research at Georgia Southern University to facilitate five state-wide community health forums. Results: Evaluation of the forums yielded qualitative data illustrating current challenges faced by Georgians, as well as assets that could be leveraged to improve health status. Conclusion: Lessons learned from these state-wide community health forums can be applied to improve the overall process of gathering data for a comprehensive CHA throughout Georgia or other areas interested in pursuing public health agency accreditation.
    • The effect of a nutrition intervention on parents living in a rural Georgia community

      Elliot-Walker, Regina; Hayes, Dawn; Oraka, Emeka; Lewis, Rashunda; Leon, Andre; Brenau University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Childhood obesity is a concern for public health organizations. Nearly one in four children living in rural communities are obese, and children living in rural Georgia communities are no exception. For rural communities, prevention efforts are needed to address challenges to reducing childhood obesity. The objective of the present effort was to increase the knowledge of parents in a rural community of the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption and other healthy options. Methods: The “We Can Energize Families” curriculum, developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute was implemented in a rural Georgia community. Pender’s Health Promotion Model, which encompasses the theory of persons taking a self-management approach in their health lifestyle, provided the framework. Participating in the study were 21 parents who had at least one child between the ages of 9-13. Outcome measures, adapted from the 16 measures relevant to the original “We Can Energize Families” objectives, were assessed, incorporating measures related to energy balance, portion size, healthy eating, physical activity, and screen time. Paired-T tests were used to evaluate increases in parents’ knowledge of the benefits of consumption of fruits and vegetables. Statistical significance was determined at p < 0.05. Results: There were improvements in 9 of the 16 measures, including knowledge of research and energy balance; attitudes regarding energy balance, portion size, and healthy eating; and behaviors regarding healthy eating, healthy food, physical activity, and screen time. However, improvements were not evident for behaviors related to portion size, knowledge or attitudes pertaining to physical activity, or attitudes regarding screen time. Conclusions: Particularly in rural communities, parents can contribute to prevention of childhood obesity. The present results demonstrate
    • Local efforts toward addressing health disparities in DeKalb County, Georgia

      Hermstad, April; Gilliam, Erikka; Spivey, Sedessie; Mendoza, Zipatly; Dekalb County Board of Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: In underserved African American communities throughout DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Board of Health (DCBOH) is implementing community-based initiatives using policy, systems, and environmental improvement approaches to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities by increasing opportunities for nutrition and physical activity. Methods: The initiatives are being implemented in priority census tracts where the population is at least 40% African American, 30% live below federal poverty level, and 25% did not graduate from high school. Communications promote awareness of the programs, and evaluation activities document processes and outcomes. Results: To date, implementation of five interventions has affected approximately 276,000 DeKalb residents. Conclusions: By implementing strategies for community-based policy, systems, and environmental improvement, DCBOH is increasing access to nutrition and physical activity opportunities for underserved African American communities in DeKalb County.
    • Engaging African Americans in developing an intervention to reduce breast cancer recurrence: A brief report

      Smith, Selina A.; Whitehead, Mary S.; Sheats, Joyce Q.; Fontenot, Brittney; Alema-Mensah, Ernest; Ansa, Benjamin E.; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: To develop a culturally appropriate lifestyle intervention, involvement of its intended users is needed. Methods: Members of an African American (AA) breast cancer support group participated in two 4-hour guided discussions, which were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed to guide the content. Results: The support group collaborated with researchers to develop 24 experiential nutrition education sessions using a social cognitive framework and incorporating self-regulation skills (goal-setting, self-monitoring, problem-solving, stimulus control) and social support to enhance self-efficacy for changes in dietary intake. Conclusions: Community engagement fostered autonomy, built collaboration, and enhanced the capacity of AA breast cancer survivors to participate in developing a lifestyle intervention.
    • New recreational water quality criteria and their impact on beach advisories in Coastal Georgia

      Aslan, Asli; Benevente, Sara; Georgia Southern University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: To monitor pollution of marine beaches in Georgia, enterococci have been used as indicators of fecal contamination. For the 1986 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), the beach action value (BAV) was 104 colony-forming units (CFU)/100 ml; the new RWQC, instituted in 2012, is 70 CFU/mL, a 32.6% decrease. When the beach action value is reached, authorities are to issue a beach advisory for protection of swimmer health. The present study investigated changes in compliance with the 2012 RWQC at five high-use beaches in Georgia. Methods: In the summer of 2015, samples of water were collected from five beaches at Tybee Island. Enterococci concentrations were enumerated by USEPA-approved methods. Samples exceeding the 1986 and 2012 RWQC beach action values were compared with times that advisories were posted at these beaches. Results: At these beaches, advisories were posted four times during the summer. Since, in 2015, the previous RWQC was in use, these decisions were based on the guideline value of 104 colon-forming units (CFU)/100 ml. When the new beach action value (70 CFU/100 ml) was applied, retrospectively, for samples collected at these sites, we found that the number of advisories would have been doubled if this value had been in place at that time. Conclusions: Staring from January 2016, Georgia has adopted new water quality criteria to monitor beaches. Decreasing the beach action value to 70 CFU/100 ml strengthens beach monitoring programs because it allows for better prevention from waterborne diseases, thus protecting the health of swimmers.
    • Assessing the cultural appropriateness of UPLIFT for African Americans with epilepsy: A community engaged approach

      Hunter-Jones, Josalin; Nellum, April; Olorundare, Elizabeth; McCloud, Candace; McCurdy. Matthew; McGee, Robin; Davis, Contessa; Thompson, Nancy; Quarells, Rakale; Emory Universtiyu (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: In trials of Project UPLIFT, a distance-delivered, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention, there was improvement in the mental health of people with epilepsy/seizure disorder. In these trials, however, African Americans have been few. Thus, as this program is disseminated, it is desirable to ensure that it is culturally appropriate for minority populations. Methods: To determine the appropriateness of Project UPLIFT for African Americans, we engaged in three main research activities: 1) the formation and involvement of an epilepsy community advisory board; 2) qualitative interviews with healthcare providers who serve this community; and 3) focus groups with African American adults living with epilepsy or seizure disorder and main support persons of African American adults living with epilepsy or seizure disorder. Results: The epilepsy community advisory board provided recommendations for the most appropriate language to use when engaging and recruiting the target population. Healthcare providers indicated that psychosocial concerns of African American persons living with epilepsy seemed to be different from those among patients of other racial groups. They indicated that Project UPLIFT might be useful for this group. Focus groups revealed experiences of living with and supporting someone with epilepsy and provided favorable feedback on the UPLIFT intervention. Conclusions: Formative feedback indicates that Project UPLIFT may be useful for African Americans with epilepsy. These data will be used to guide a forthcoming randomized, controlled trial to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention with this group.
    • Formative research to develop a lifestyle application (app) for African American breast cancer survivors

      Smith, Selina; Whitehead, Mary; Sheats, Joyce; Fontenot, Brittney; Alema-Mensah, Ernest; Ansa, Benjamin E.; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: There is a proliferation of lifestyle-oriented mobile technologies; however, few have targeted users. Through intervention mapping, investigators and community partners completed Steps 1-3 (needs assessment, formulation of change objectives, and selection of theory-based methods) of a process to develop a mobile cancer prevention application (app) for cancer prevention. The aim of this qualitative study was to complete Step 4 (intervention development) by eliciting input from African American (AA) breast cancer survivors (BCSs) to guide app development. Methods: Four focus group discussions (n=60) and three individual semi-structured interviews (n=36) were conducted with AA BCSs (40-72 years of age) to assess barriers and strategies for lifestyle change. All focus groups and interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed with NVivo qualitative data analysis software version 10, allowing categories, themes, and patterns to emerge. Results: Three categories and related themes emerged from the analysis: 1) perceptions about modifiable risk factors; 2) strategies related to adherence to cancer prevention guidelines; and 3) app components to address barriers to adherence. Participant perceptions, strategies, and recommended components guided development of the app. Conclusions: For development of a mobile cancer prevention app, these findings will assist investigators in targeting features that are usable, acceptable, and accessible for AA BCSs.
    • Hepatitis C and injection drug use: Testing and linkage to care

      Sutton, Marie; Youngner, Cole; Holloway, Winona; Emory University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: The recent outbreak of HIV infection in Indiana linked to injection drug use demonstrates the importance of timely HIV and Hepatitis C surveillance and rapid response to interrupt disease transmission. An estimated 2.7 – 3.9 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Of those, 50 – 70% are unaware of their infection. People who inject drugs account for more than half of new HCV cases. Within 5 years of beginning injection drug use, 50 – 80% of injection drug users (IDUs) become infected with HCV. Since 2007, HCV-related deaths have surpassed HIV-related deaths. CDC reported 19,368 death certificates listing HCV as a cause of death in 2013, adding that this figure represents a fraction of deaths attributable to HCV. Method: Imagine Hope, supported by a grant from a pharmaceutical company, initiated HCV rapid testing in April 2015. The Georgia-wide project includes 10 agencies serving substance-using populations, including 4 methadone clinics. The project offers free, routine HCV testing and linkage to care. Results: Over the first 12 months of testing, 3,226 clients received HCV antibody testing. Of those, 344 (10.7%) were HCV antibody positive (Ab+), with 186 completing confirmatory RNA testing. Confirmatory tests yielded 132 (71%) RNA positive cases; 56 (42.4%) of these were linked to care. Five clients have achieved sustained viral load suppression which is considered a cure for hepatitis C. Numerous others have begun direct acting antiviral regimens. Conclusion: HCV testing in substance abuse facilities is feasible. Among substance users, HCV prevalence is high and awareness of infection risk is low. Linkage to care is enhanced by the use of a navigator. RNA screening prior to the 1st medical appointment expedites linkage to care; RNA positive clients are more motivated to keep appointments and RNA negative clients do not clog an already burdened system of care for the uninsured.
    • A region-wide field placement program built on the foundation of mentorship and professionalism

      Carvallo, Michelle; Lloyd, Laura; Alperin, Melissa; Miner, Kathleen (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: The Region IV Public Health Training Center (R-IV PHTC) provides public health students from the eight states of HHS Region IV with essential practice experiences that demonstrate the value of working with underserved populations. The Pathways to Practice Scholars field placement program is built on a foundation of mentorship, professionalism, and community. Methods: Sixteen student scholars (13 graduate; 3 undergraduate) were selected to work during May-August 2015 in practice-oriented agencies serving underserved populations. Each scholar received a $1500 living allowance. Seven of 16 accepted an internship outside the state of their university. In conjunction with mentors, Scholars developed work plans based on Council on Linkages Core Competency domains. Requirements included a pre-, mid- and post-assessment, an executive summary/reflection, and a virtual webinar presentation. Results: Student Scholars worked at sites across eight states in state or local health departments, Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), and healthcare settings. Students identified Core Competency domains they developed most during the field placement: Communication, Analytical/Assessment, Leadership/Systems Thinking, and Community Engagement. The R-IV PHTC asked mentors to treat interns as valued employees and include them in activities beyond their specific project. Indicators of successful mentorship included expressed appreciation for student assistance and the desire to enrich the student experience while benefiting the agency mission. Mentors provided clearly defined projects for a short timeframe (10-12 weeks), adjusted to the students’ capacity and readiness, and offered opportunities to apply classroom skills to practice. They helped students develop immediately useful products in collaboration with community stakeholders. Conclusions: Mentors play a crucial role in the development and success of field placement students, but students and mentors share equal responsibility in fostering the relationship. Past case studies from this program demonstrate that some students find employment in these same agencies after graduation, and become mentors for future students, thus, creating a self-perpetuating learning communit
    • Meeting the public health workforce’s training priorities in Georgia and the southeast

      Lloyd, Laura; Alperin, Melissa; Carvalho, Michelle; Miner, Kathleen; Emory University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: The mission of the Region IV Public Health Training Center (R-IV PHTC) is to build knowledge and skills in the public health workforce in the eight states of HHS Region IV by providing competency-based training. Workforce training needs are changing quickly and dramatically in light of new developments in public health practice and science, emerging diseases, changes in the health care environment, and the growing emphasis on inter-professional practice. Additionally, a 2014 survey conducted by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) found that at least 38% of the current public health workforce plans to retire by 2020. Therefore, it is increasingly crucial to prepare upcoming managers for leadership positions and to train entry-level workers to assume more advanced roles. Methods: To address current and emerging training needs in Georgia and the southeast, the R-IV PHTC continually identifies emerging priorities and effective training approaches. It explores training needs through a review of formal needs assessments, key stakeholder interviews, surveys of targeted audiences, informal partner communications, and training evaluation data. An interactive component of the GPHA session allowed participants to identify and discuss their own professional training needs. Results: Workforce development needs assessments data across several southeastern states identified recurring training needs for professionals in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 of the Council on Linkages Core Competency domains for Analytical/Assessment Skills and Financial Planning/Management. In Georgia, top competency training needs gathered from a variety of assessment methods included Cultural Competency, Communication, Financial Planning/Management, Public Health Science, and Leadership/Systems Thinking. Participants in the workshop’s interactive component expressed highest personal need for training in Financial Planning/Management, Analytical/Assessment Skills, and Policy Development/Program Planning. However, for others in their organizations, they identified a priority need for leadership training. Conclusions: The R-IV PHTC assesses training needs and provides training resources to respond to current and emerging public health workforce development needs in Georgia and the southeast.
    • Psychotropic medications, weight gain and chronic diseases in a correctional setting: Impact on women’s health

      Gates, Madison L.; Ferguson, Elizabeth; Wilkins, Thad; Balance, Darra; Yoo, Wonsuk; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Studies with non-incarcerated populations have found a relationship between psychotropic medications and metabolic side effects, such as weight gain. Few studies have investigated the relationship between psychotropic medications associated with weight gain in prisoners, despite data showing that 73% of female and 55% of male offenders have a mental health problem and 15% have had medications prescribed. Methods: This longitudinal study investigated the relationship among psychotropic medications and weight gain in prisoners. We hypothesized that women prescribed psychotropic medications gain more weight than men. Data were extracted from Department of Corrections’ electronic health records. All prisoners with active records that included weight pre and post initiation of psychotropic medication were included in the study. Results: Women were prescribed antidepressants in higher proportions compared to men (χ2 = 58.3, p < .01). The differences for antipsychotics were not significant (χ2 = 2.3, p = .13). There were no significant gender differences regarding the percentage of inmates who gained weight. In regard to changes in weight (kg), women on antidepressants gained more weight (mean 6.4 kg) compared to men (mean 2.0 kg), which was significant (p < .01). Although women prescribed antipsychotics gained an average of 8.8 kg compared to men prescribed antipsychotics, who gained an average of 1.6 kg, this difference was not significant (p = .12). Further, there were no weight gain differences in terms of race or age in contrast to non-incarcerated populations. Conclusions: The significant weight gain among women prisoners raises important questions about the effects of incarceration on women’s health. Despite the significantly greater weight gain among women prisoners, other correlates of weight gain found in non-incarcerated populations are not evident in corrections.
    • The influence of Georgia’s Quality Rated System on school readiness in pre-school children

      Phillips, Dena; Webb, Nancy; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Georgia rates the quality of early childcare learning centers using a tiered quality improvement system. Georgia’s Quality Rated system (QR) designates a star level, (one star, two stars or three stars) to each center based on a portfolio of QR standards and an onsite assessment by Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Childcare centers applying for QR status first submit a portfolio documenting how their practices align with QR standards centered on staff qualifications; child health, nutrition and physical activity; family engagement; holistic curricula and teacher-to-student ratios. Subsequently, an on-site assessment of the center is performed by DECAL using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale– Revised (ECERS-R). Methods: The Bracken School Readiness Assessment-3rd Edition (BSRA-3) was administered to children in various one-star (N=2), two-star (N=4) and three-star (N=6) childcare learning centers in Georgia. Children’s height and weight were recorded and BMI assessments were conducted. Results: Significant differences were found in school readiness scores based on quality rating with two and three star centers scoring higher than one star centers. Children in childcare centers at the one-star level (Mean = 95.00, SD = 16.80) performed lower than children in childcare centers at the two-star level (Mean = 103.67, SD = 16.55) and three-star level (Mean = 100.42, SD = 14.35). Multiple comparison tests did not reveal differences between two-star and three-star level centers. Conclusions: Higher levels of quality in QR childcare centers displayed more school readiness than centers with lower levels of quality. Future studies should examine differences in higher quality centers to further explore the influence of QR programs on school readiness.
    • Domestic violence intervention for Latino families: Baseline program evaluation data

      Cormier, Jacque-Corey; Nava, Nancy; Mora, Charmaine; Rodriguez, Rebecca; Georgia State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: In the United States, Latino families affected by domestic violence (DV) often face unique challenges influenced by changing ecologies and personal/political histories. Caminar Latino is Georgia’s first and only comprehensive DV intervention program for Latino families. The program is geared towards helping family members begin their journey towards non-violence. The purpose of this evaluation is to better understand how Caminar Latino is benefiting families within the program. Baseline data of interest included perceptions of power in the relationship among family members and whether mothers and/or youth had safety plans. Methods: A longitudinal, quasi-experimental research design was utilized to collect quantitative and qualitative data. This study was approved by Georgia State University’s Institutional Review Board. Study participants (N = 82) were men, women, and youth (8 – 17 years old only) selected from families that started the program between August 2014 and August 2015. Members of the research team read the survey questions in English or Spanish to all participants. A univariate analysis was utilized to assess baseline data. Results: There were major inconsistencies found regarding power distribution in the relationships. Half of women (50%) reported their partner having more power in the current relationship, while majority of men (77%) reported their partner and themselves sharing equal power. All men and women felt power should be equal in an ideal relationship. Only 13% of mothers and 44% of youth had a safety plan pertaining to violence. Conclusions: By examining DV in a manner consistent with the needs and preferences of families, and offering support directly within communities, community practitioners have the opportunity to capitalize on existing strengths and abilities of Latina women and families. Findings from this program evaluation provide Caminar Latino with a better understanding of the ways in which they can promote wellness and non-violence in Latino communities.
    • Public Health for Young Adults Day: Recruiting the next generation

      Pung, Mary-Kate; Williams, Nicholas; Kirkland, Rachel; Peden, Angie; Walker, Ashley; Georgia Southern University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Public Health for Young Adults Day (PHYA Day) is a one-day program designed to educate high school-age students about the principles and values of the five core areas of public health. The goal of PHYA Day is to foster interest and ultimately increase recruitment into the field of public health. This goal is essential due to the impact of the economic recession of 2008. It was estimated that the local public health workforce decreased from 191,000 to 168,000 across the nation between 2008 and 2013. In spite of 2008’s recession, a well-trained, competent public health workforce remains an imperative component of effective public health service delivery. The researchers believe that PHYA Day encourages young people to explore the idea of a public health-focused career by increasing their knowledge of the field as a whole. Methods: A pre- and post-test survey was used to evaluate this program, determine if participants gained an interest in joining the public health workforce, and measure the learning outcomes of those participants. After gaining proper Institutional Review Board approval the evaluation was completed in April 2015. Results: When the averages of the post-test were compared to those of the pre-test the results showed that there was a significant gain in knowledge among participants. Conclusions: Based off of their findings the researchers were able to conclude that PHYA Day is effective in educating high school age students about the options that the public health field have to offer and therefore may increase the number of young adults choosing public health as a career.
    • A cross sectional study of mostly African-American men examining mental health and child behavior

      Jackson, Matt; Osborne, Melissa; Self-Brown, Shannon; Georgia State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Home visiting receives bipartisan support at both the state and federal level, because several models have demonstrated significant results in both reduction of child maltreatment as well as parenting behavior modification. Yet, parenting research and services lack further engagement and involvement as a primary component. That is, even though research has shown that fathers play an integral role in child development, there is very little research done in which fathers are the primary focus; most of this research focuses on mothers. When it comes to serving children who are victims of child abuse and neglect, this is a problem at both the programmatic and legislative level. Methods: This study took place within the context of a broader NIH funded trial to examine the efficacy of an adapted (technologically enhanced) version of an evidence-based parenting program, SafeCare, for fathers. This was a cross-sectional examination of the results from a survey in which mostly African-American, at-risk fathers (n=84), reported on – using putative measures – parenting practices, mental health, and behavior of their children. This initial assessment used linear regression to examine the association between fathers’ mental health and their child’s externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors. Results: On average, higher levels of father depression and anxiety corresponded to higher scores for child behavior problems. That is, there was a significant correlation between the fathers’ anxiety and depression and the child’s problem behaviors. Conclusions: These findings suggest a need for acknowledging the father’s role in child development as well as any potential external factors that might have a pernicious effect on the father’s mental state[s]. In addition, more attention should be given to separating data within studies that examine both mothers and fathers in order to assess individual effects by each parent.
    • Assessment of early intervention services to better child outcomes among Part C infants and toddlers

      Ibe, Brendan; Fowles, Tiffany; Csukas, Seema; Conner, Jackie; Kelley, Grace; Johnson, Donna; Bryant, Cynthia; Allen, Michelle; Georgia Department of Public Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Early intervention services have been shown to improve child outcomes. Rapid proliferation of neural connections and circuits contribute to the rapid growth of the brain in the first three years of life. These neural circuits which create the foundation for learning are most flexible in this period and become increasingly more difficult to change thereafter. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between early enrollment in Georgia’s Part C birth to three early intervention program and improved child outcome ratings upon exiting the program at 3 years of age. The study used 2013 & 2014 Annual Performance Report (APR) data. Methods: This study included 6,309 participants who enrolled and received services in the Part C, Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) program. A Pearson’s correlation analysis was used to assess if there was an association between age at enrollment and improved child outcome score. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the variances within the age groups for equality. Bonferroni post hoc test was used to compare the mean child outcome score across the enrollment age groups. Results: A statistically significant inverse correlation was found between enrollment age and improved child outcome score at 3 years of age. One-way ANOVA showed that the variances within the enrollment age groups were equal while the mean child outcome scores were not. Bonferroni post hoc test revealed that the mean child outcome score in the enrollment age group 0 to ≤ 6 months was significantly higher than the other age groups. Conclusions: Significantly better child outcomes were associated with enrollment in early intervention services before 6 months of age.
    • The effectiveness of text message reminder-recalls on Human Papilloma Virus vaccination coverage in Georgia

      Moon, Tamira; Dally, Nocolle; Sloat, Ben; Bryant, Kia; Grady, Sherrionda; Georgia Department of Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for adolescents ages 11 to 12 years, yet vaccine coverage remains low. The Georgia Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and Georgia Immunization Program implemented and evaluated a text-messaging campaign aimed at improving HPV vaccination coverage, using the Georgia Immunization Registry (GRITS). Methods: The text message reminder-recall campaign, aimed at the parents of adolescents 9 – 18 years, was launched in July 2015. A total of 208,792 adolescents in the GRITS database met the inclusion criterion, receipt of at least one dose of the three-dose series HPV vaccine. We determined the rate of HPV vaccine series completion for adolescents with a valid parent/guardian mobile phone number and for those without. Results: A total of 9,711 text messages were successfully sent to parents of adolescents 9 – 18 years. HPV vaccine series completion was 16% among adolescents whose parent/guardian received a text message as compared to 7% among those who did not. Conclusions: Text message reminder-recalls have a positive effect on HPV vaccine series coverage for adolescents in Georgia. Text messaging reminder-recalls may be an effective strategy to improve HPV vaccination coverage statewide.