On Friday, April 6, more than 60 students presented their research projects, many in collaboration with faculty members throughout the college, at the annual College of Public Health Research Day.
Students represented departments across the college with projects ranging from evaluating corner store nutrition programs to using physical therapy to treat motion sickness and partnered with organizations including Planned Parenthood, The Food Trust, Temple University Hospital, and Jefferson Health, among others. Projects tackled issues from community education and nutrition to mental illness, mobility issues, and sugar consumption.
“The projects on display today are impactful and innovative. They are a great testament to the collaborative and solutions-driven nature of the work of our students in the College of Public Health,” said David Sarwer, associate dean of research and director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education.
Allison Kmetz, a Master of Science in Epidemiology student graduating in May, researched smoking cessation for her project, “Understanding Factors Affecting Adherence in a Telephone-based Intervention to Reduce Secondhand Smoke Exposure to Children,” in collaboration with faculty members Donna Coffman, Bradley Collins, and Stephen Lepore.
“It’s really rewarding to be able to show what I’ve been working on,” said Kmetz, who has worked on the project since since August. “It’s great to see what all of my peers have been working on.”
Research Day also allows undergraduate students to practice explaining and discussing their findings with others, a necessary skill for research and graduate school. For Najafa Islam, a sophomore bioengineering student who worked with Shivayogi Hiremath on a project seeking to improve meal assistance robots for people with spinal cord injury (SCI), the experience strengthened her interest in studying SCI, she said, emphasizing also the character-building nature of careful and persistent research.
“That ‘do it, get back up, and do it again’ attitude to researching is an important life skill,” she said.
After the poster presentations, students were recognized for their projects with citation awards for meritorious posters and a “Dean’s Award for Research Excellence."
Research Day capped off a week of events for National Public Health Week, which also included a documentary screening and a Lunch and Learn series on topics including sexually transmitted infections among Latin@s, the use of innovative technology and virtual environments in physical therapy and neuromotor sciences, and mass incarceration as a public health issue.
Meritorious Poster Award: Jeffrey Slocum (Nursing), advised by Mary Stec
Meritorious Poster Award: Patrick Kelly (Social and Behavioral Sciences), advised by Heather Gardiner
Dean's Award: Julia Ressler (Social and Behavioral Sciences/Social Work), advised by Anne Frankel
Meritorious Poster Award: Jennifer Baumher (Nursing), advised by Joelle Hargraves