Master of Public Health Student Reports and Theses

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Summer nutrition program with USD 320 Wamego School District
    Daniels, Elizabeth
    The Applied Practice Experience (APE) was conducted in coordination with School Food Service Manager Laura Fails, USD 320 Wamego School District. The work centered around the Summer Nutrition Program and providing an educational experience that coincided and complimented this established program. This applied learning experience was completed between May 2023 and September 2023 with a minimum of 180 hours spent in engagement with the creation of the portfolio products listed below or in-person site work.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Administering and analyzing the community needs assessment required for the Dallas Area Agency on Aging
    Marstall, Kendra
    I completed my Applied Practicum Experience at the Community Council of Greater Dallas, specifically with the Dallas Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) in Dallas, Texas. During this time, I supported the team in various formats. My primary responsibility was administering and analyzing the community needs assessment required for the submission of the agency’s Area Plan to state for government funding. I helped distribute the survey at a variety of community events and over the phone. Additionally, I completed data entry of over 500 surveys, and performed part of the data analysis for the final plan submitted to the state. I tabled at the annual DART Information and Health Fair held in May in celebration of Older Americans Month and worked in the community by visiting retirement communities and senior centers. During these visits, I would discuss services offered through the agency and distribute educational pamphlets. I also participated in delivering the National Diabetes Prevention Program alongside a trained staff member to seniors in the community. Topics discussed included the benefits of balanced diet, regular physical activity, and tips on how to establish healthy habits. I aided my preceptor in case organization, delivery of services, and administration of agency assessments. I also attended site visits alongside my preceptor. Lastly, I performed a retroactive analysis of caregiver coping mechanisms for stress. The final report from the analysis was submitted as an abstract to the annual Texas Public Health Association Conference, and it was accepted for an oral presentation. I worked in a collaborative environment and gained skills in communication, leadership, ethics, data analysis, service delivery, and health education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Uridge, Emma
    How we obtain, produce, store, and use energy profoundly influences the health of the public. Stable access to efficient, abundant, and clean energy in an increasingly electricity- dependent societal “ecosystem” is fundamental for human well being; however, the traditional public health sector often remains disconnected from the energy sector. This leads to community leaders failing to advocate for this critical need; unfortunately, it leads to a missed opportunity to connect how our energy infrastructure influences community health. With some energy sources being finite, renewable alternatives such as wind and solar energy hold promise in meeting electricity demands. Despite this, wind energy continues to be a controversial issue among Kansas counties (with solar also following this trend of criticism and dispute). Local government officials make decisions about local policies (e.g., ordinances, regulations, permits) regarding wind turbines, and ultimately decide whether a project can occur in their county. Recent federal incentives and national initiatives aim to expand upon existing renewable energy infrastructure and reach specific climate-related milestones to reduce the impacts of climate change. Achieving this goal is contingent on local governments being able to work with their communities and wind project developers to allow projects in their counties. If a county issues a moratorium on wind projects, it is not a permanent ban. That county is expected to work toward policies and provisions for future wind projects that would fit the county’s needs and mitigate negative impacts. This project was conducted at the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and involved surveying county commissioners that has either allowed or considered allowing a wind project with at least five turbines in the past five years, or has a policy related to wind energy. Additionally, a policy scan was completed to identify how health impacts are considered and/or addressed in local wind policies. This integrated learning experience (ILE) report and its associated products provide understanding of county decision-making processes, local government policy development, wind projects and the expertise involved, and the impact of wind projects on communities.
  • ItemEmbargo
    King, Cole
    I completed my Applied Practice Experience (APE) at the Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) office in Topeka, Kansas. At KDHE, I completed a three-phase project to identify opportunities and challenges for implementing a genomic surveillance program for influenza in Kansas. Genomic epidemiology is an emerging field in public health, in large part due to the vast amount of genomic data made available during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Now that infrastructure exists to generate genomic surveillance data, an open question remains about how best to use these resources to monitor other infectious diseases now that the peak of the pandemic has subsided. Therefore, the main goal of my APE was to review the current literature on influenza and SARS- CoV-2 to understand their genomic epidemiology, analyze the current limited genomic data for influenza in Kansas as a pilot case, and conduct system-level analysis of the U.S. influenza surveillance network to identify a role for genomic epidemiology at the state level. The first phase of the project was a literature review on the genomic epidemiology of influenza viruses, namely regarding how the novel genomic epidemiology tools from the SARS- CoV-2 pandemic can be used to monitor influenza. From this literature review, I wrote two short, plain-language articles describing the genomic epidemiology of both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza (products 1 and 2) for inclusion in training materials for epidemiologists unfamiliar with genomic epidemiology. The article focuses on the nomenclature and designations of the two viruses and includes information on how genomic epidemiologists surveil them. The literature review highlighted transmission between animals and humans and informed the direction of my phylogenetic analysis of influenza A sequences from Kansas to include humans and non-human animals. Following the literature review, the second phase of the project analyzed influenza A genomes collected in Kansas by the Kansas Health and Environment Laboratories (KHEL) and genomes obtained from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database. From these data, I made phylogenetic trees to visualize the evolutionary relationships between the viruses sampled. These trees were annotated with metadata, including host species, genome subtype, and date of collection for the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes (products 3 and 4). Notably, some samples from different hosts clustered phylogenetically and temporally on the hemagglutinin tree for the H1 subtype, suggesting possible transmission events between humans and non-human animals. In the final phase of the project, I conducted systems-level analysis of the U.S. influenza surveillance system. First, I completed a process map to identify key players and systems involved in the complicated and often uncoordinated U.S. influenza surveillance system (product 5). Secondly, I created a causal loop diagram to identify the dynamics of the system and to identify challenges brought about by the disjointed system, particularly how they may lead to unrepresentative data collection and, therefore, bias decision making (product 6). Lastly, I utilized system archetypes to identify dynamics that influence public perceptions and how those perceptions feed back to influence the availability of resources for influenza surveillance (product 7). Following the analysis, I compiled my findings into an oral presentation which I delivered to epidemiologists at KDHE at the conclusion of the APE (product 8).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Deya, Fredrick
    This report summarizes my Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) at the Public Health Department in Fort Riley, Kansas. The experience lasted for two months, during which I had the opportunity to touch upon every section within the department. My emphasis was on food safety management systems, which are practices implemented by food establishments to ensure that food does not harm consumers along its supply chain. Food contamination occurs due to physical, chemical, and biological hazards such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, harmful substances (e.g., sanitizers, refrigerant gases), and physical particles (e.g., plastics, wood). These contaminants are often introduced during the receiving, processing, storage, preparation, and serving stages of food distribution. Contamination can result from improper hygiene, sanitation, temperature checks, and cross-contamination caused by food handlers. Consumption of contaminated food can lead to illnesses and fatalities, including salmonellosis (foodborne infection caused by Salmonella spp.), Clostridium perfringens, and Clostridium botulinum, among others . Several studies have proposed different approaches to managing food contamination. At the federal level, key agencies involved in advancing food safety regulatory activities include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). These federal agencies collaborate with state and private institutions to promote food safety goals. For instance, the FDA's Food Code provides scientific benchmarks and suggestions that states and local administrations can adopt to improve food safety in restaurants and institutional food settings. The code delineates temperature standards for cooking, cooling, refrigerating, reheating, and holding food. Additionally, it advocates for regular inspections of restaurants, recommending a frequency of visits every six months or as deemed necessary.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Facilitators and Barriers to Resident Physical Activity Participation in Rural Long-term Care Facilities: A Facility Perspective
    Marstall, Kendra
    Background – Physical activity (PA) within long-term care (LTC) environments is often low for a variety of reasons, but few studies have reviewed this through a rural geographic lens. This study aimed to understand the facilitators and barriers to resident PA participation in rural LTC from a facility perspective. A secondary aim was to understand strategies to promote resident PA within rural LTC. The administrative focus gives the opportunity to understand factors impacting PA from the facility level. Methods – Using a mixed methods study design, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected in fall 2023 via surveys (n=31 facilities) and interviews (n=10 individuals) from individuals holding administrative positions (e.g., administrator, activities coordinator, director of nursing) in rural LTC settings across the state of Kansas. Survey items assessed facilitators on a 5- point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree) to (5 = strongly agree). Respondents ranked barriers from (1 = not at all a barrier) to (4 = major barrier) and gave feedback on what would help promote PA participation from (1 = not at all helpful) to (5 = extremely helpful). Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate results from the survey. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interview findings, following an iterative process with two independent coders. Results – Survey respondents agreed that provision of PA equipment (4.23±0.92/5), staff training (3.77+1.05/5), and dedicated staff and volunteers (3.68±1.22/5) were current facilitators of PA. Results showed that staffing shortages (2.35±0.84/4), insufficient funding (2.16±1.07/4), and absence of space (2.06±1.03/4) were minor barriers to resident PA participation. Data indicated that additional staffing (4.13±0.76/5), increased funding (3.94±1.21/5), greater family and resident involvement (3.94±1.03/5), as well as more outdoor opportunities for PA (3.90±1.08/5), enhanced PA programming (3.77±1.15/5), and dedicated space (3.58±1.15/5) would be helpful in improving resident PA participation in rural LTC. Interviews revealed four main themes: PA facilitators, PA barriers, facility approach to PA, and current PA levels. Interview findings supported what was found in the surveys and expanded upon initial findings. Notably, staffing, lack of resident motivation, and resident health status were frequently discussed barriers to PA. In addition to staff encouragement and collaboration, making PA enjoyable through gamification, outdoor activities, and the inclusion of music emerged as a potential facilitator of resident PA. Conclusions –This study identified important facilitators and barriers that may help promote resident PA participation in rural LTC facilities. Findings can support intervention development to increase PA and improve the health of residents living in rural LTC.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2024-05-14) Van Nest, Kortnee
    As zoonotic diseases represent the majority of all emerging diseases, there is an increasing risk to public health. Zoonotic diseases infect both animals and humans and thus require both veterinary and human medical professional intervention. However, there may be a lack of cooperation between the two professions. Moreover, these medical professionals must be able to provide critical information about the transmission of zoonotic disease for patients and/or animal owners. Although these topics are critical for facing zoonotic disease, practitioners may not have easy-to-access resources to reference when faced with zoonoses. To address these concerns, I worked with the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center to create information handouts. By forming a multidisciplinary team, we identified which zoonoses are of highest concern to Kansas and what information for each disease was the most important. This information was then used to create two sets of handouts. The first set of zoonoses handouts were specifically for veterinarians and human medical professionals. The second set of handouts were tailored for veterinarians to provide to animal owners when faced with certain diseases. These handouts will provide medical professionals with the necessary information they need to address the disease as well as encourage collaboration and education efforts between professions. Through these projects, I was able to expand my knowledge of zoonotic disease and amplify my skills of working on multidisciplinary teams.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Disease investigation on Hepatitis B and C, and Tuberculosis Awareness
    (12/1/2023-01) Sufianu, Temitope
    Hepatitis is a liver inflammation caused by hepatitis viruses, autoimmune diseases, and drugs, among other factors. In the United States, the incidence rate of chronic hepatitis C in 2021 was reported to be 56.7 cases per 100,000 people, while the acute hepatitis C incidence rate was 1.3 cases per 100,000 population. Chronic hepatitis B virus incidence in 2021 was 5.9 per 100,000 people, while acute hepatitis B virus was 1.0 per 100,000 population (CDC, 2021). The World Health Organization stated that the hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus are responsible for 1.1 million deaths worldwide in 2019 (Philippa et al., 2021). Hepatitis causes liver damage, cirrhosis, and liver cancer, contributing to nearly one-fourth of all patient deaths (CDC, 2021). Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that most often affects the lungs and is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Latent tuberculosis infection is an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in which the bacteria are alive but contained by the immune system. However, it is not infectious when compared to active tuberculosis. The estimated prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection in the United States is 5.0% (13 million individuals) (Mangione et al., 2023). EpiTrax was a significant tool for investigating communicable diseases, environmental hazards, and bioterrorism threats. In this report, data of probable and confirmed hepatitis C cases in Wyandotte County, Kansas, were obtained and analyzed from the EpiTrax tool and then graphically represented. In this report, data of probable and confirmed hepatitis C cases in Wyandotte County, Kansas, were obtained and analyzed from the EpiTrax tool, and then, graphically represented, showing the total number of cases, ethnicity, race, age, gender, case status, and outcomes. In addition, interventions performed for patients with unfavorable outcomes were indicated. Also, I consulted the Data informaticist, the Public information officer, the tuberculosis case manager, the perinatal hepatitis B prevention program coordinator, and the chief epidemiologist for meaningful information. The purpose of the project was to create awareness of these diseases for the residents of Wyandotte County. In attaining my objectives, I observed several determinant factors influencing the transmission of diseases among the residents through community outreach and clinical meetings. Flyers and posters were the tools for primary interventions used to create awareness within the county.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2023-12-01) Chojnacki, Allison
    This report presents a comprehensive overview of my: 1) applied practice experience, which took place at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 2) the projects I completed during my applied practice experience, and 3) the integration of the knowledge and skills I gained throughout my coursework at Kansas State University. I applied the knowledge and skills gained during my coursework at Kansas State University to four different projects that will improve public health in the state of Michigan. I created three documents on harmful algal blooms to provide the public with important information and data on harmful algal blooms in Michigan. I produced a brochure on canine brucellosis to provide dog owners with necessary information about Brucella canis infections. I created a standard of procedures document for handling suspect rabid animals in animal care facilities, which will help to prevent rabies exposure and minimize the risk of infection among animal care personnel. Through the projects that I completed and the activities that I participated in during my applied practice experience, I was able to further develop the knowledge and skills I gained during my coursework. These developed knowledge and skills will help me in future career opportunities as a public health veterinarian. Additionally, the projects that I completed at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will provide Michigan residents with important information on significant public health concerns involving environmental toxins and zoonotic pathogens.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Communicating Wastewater Surveillance information in Montana
    (2023-12-01) Hopkins, Beth
    On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. With this pandemic came many public health challenges, including how to capture accurate, timely data to determine the burden of COVID-19 in communities. In Montana, community members do not always seek medical care, have access to testing, nor report their at-home test results. Wastewater surveillance mitigates this lack of accurate data by collecting and testing for the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in the wastewater. This process is independent of the healthcare and reporting systems and the data aides in the decision process for public health action. Public health action includes prioritizing the provision of supplies (test kits, personal protective equipment, staff, vaccines, etc.) and to recommend implementation of masking, social distancing, and other strategies to decrease disease transmission. Wastewater surveillance trends at two sites in Montana, Helena and East Helena, were compared to reported COVID- 19 cases over a three-year period to determine if wastewater trends forecast reported COVID-19 cases. A forecast of COVID-19 cases could allow for more effective public health action to reduce disease transmission. Communication to the public is a significant part of the wastewater surveillance program. With a variety of participating stakeholders, different communications strategies were identified and implemented to relay pertinent wastewater surveillance information. During this APE/ILE, a Montana- based public facing web page and social media posts were created to communicate these data. A flow chart of Montana’s wastewater surveillance program and associated stakeholders was also created to further examine the steps and communication that are needed to have an effective wastewater surveillance program.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2023-12-01) Schuler, Kathleen
    As the population of people aged 65 and older has increased by both number and proportion, importance has been placed on shaping communities in which seniors can age in place. “Dementia-friendly communities” are communities in which people living with dementia can navigate public spaces safely and be treated with dignity and respect. The Flint Hills Wellness Coalition launched Dementia Friendly Manhattan in 2021 in response to this community need. I worked with Dementia Friendly Manhattan to develop a training curriculum that would be given to any business employees that work with the public. Specifically, businesses that provide essential services such as grocery stores or banks will be targeted. The curriculum focused on dementia awareness, education, signs, and communication strategies. The goal of the training was to make local businesses dementia-friendly and give employees the tools they need to assist customers with dementia. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this program, I developed a pre- and post-training survey to be administered to trainees. Businesses who participated in the training would receive a certificate of completion that could be displayed at their establishment, as well as a window cling that could be placed in the door or window of their establishment. By creating a recognizable window cling, people living with dementia would be able to easier recognize where they could get help if they need assistance, as well as experience an elevated sense of welcomeness in the community. Additionally, the recognizability of the window cling would encourage other establishments to seek dementia- friendly training so that they could also receive the recognition of being dementia-friendly. This project focused on the social aspect of dementia-friendliness within the community and was meant to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia in Manhattan.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Knowledge, attitudes, and practices among Florida bird rehabilitators regarding Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1
    (2023-12-01) Mills, Zach
    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) type A (H5N1), also colloquially known as “Bird Flu,” is a highly contagious zoonotic viral disease of birds. First identified in a goose in China in1996, HPAI A(H5N1), referred to as HPAI H5N1, crossed over to humans with the first case reported in Hong Kong in 1997. Since these initial cases, scientists have identified HPAI H5N1 in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The first case of HPAI H5N1 in the United States occurred in 2015 in waterfowl. The current outbreak of HPAI H5N1 started at the end of 2020 and is responsible for the culling deaths (euthanasia) of nearly 60 million birds in the United States and another 50 million birds in Europe, has been identified in 47 states, and has infected over 20 different mammals in addition to humans. Veterinarians in Florida first detected HPAI H5N1 in January 2022 from a hunter-harvested, blue-winged teal in Palm Beach County, and they have now identified the virus in over 2,000 wild birds in 37 counties across Florida. In Florida, there have been no human fatalities to date, and no commercial poultry operations have had an outbreak, yet influenza viruses easily mutate, and it is one mutation away from a variant that could be deadly to more birds, animals, and humans. One of the most exposed human populations in Florida to HPAI H5N1 are wildlife rehabilitators, especially avian rehabilitators. Because of this potential risk for exposure to HPAI H5N1 to avian rehabilitators, the Florida Commission of Wildlife (FWC) has taken increased measures to educate this population of individuals to reduce their risk of exposure and to reduce the risk of inadvertent spread of HPAI H5N1 in avian rehabilitation facilities. A first-in-kind survey of avian rehabilitation facilities was conducted in the summer of 2023 to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices among Florida bird rehabilitators regarding HPAI H5N1 to better inform the FWC on what information needs to be conveyed to this cohort of individuals, how this group prefers to receive its training and education, and what limitations exist for this group regarding protection of their employees, the birds in their care, and other birds with whom they might potentially contact.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Development of K-12 One Health Lesson Plans and Analysis of Kansas WebIZ and Essence Rabies Data
    (2023-08-01) Carlino, Christina
    One Health is important in approaching and solving many of the complex problems we face at present. For instance, antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic diseases, and global warming are all issues that are complex and require an interdisciplinary viewpoint to approach them. Integrating One Health earlier in a student’s education is imperative in adopting this approach where the health and well-being of humans, animals, and the environment are interconnected. It encourages students to collaborate and embrace this interconnectedness well before entering their undergraduate or graduate studies where topics and majors tend to be siloed. Therefore, the primary focus of my first project with Kansas Department of Health and Environment was developing One Health lesson plans for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, that will be accessible to all teachers on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website. Furthermore, one complex issue that a One Health approach can be helpful in tackling is rabies. Rabies is a fatal zoonotic disease and one that is still prevalent across the globe, especially in developing countries. The US is one example where a One Health approach has proved successful, where the number of human rabies cases are rare. Aspects of this approach that have been deemed successful include rabies surveillance, animal vaccination, and human Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. Hence, the second and third project I was involved in at Kansas Department of Health and Environment focused on analyzing rabies data from PEP administration and animal-bite hospital visits using Kansas WebIZ and ESSENCE surveillance systems. The data obtained from both projects were shared at a vaccination conference and Kansas Department of Health and Environment data and epidemiology presentation to build awareness around rabies within the state of Kansas.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2023-08-01) Freeman, Micaela
    Food safety efforts must consist of multidisciplinary activities, and one key activity is laboratory testing. With sample submissions from different stakeholders, the Kansas Department of Agriculture Laboratory is equipped to perform various regulatory testing on the samples, contributing to the food safety surveillance of the food supply. With respect to animal feeds, the levels of mycotoxins present are analyzed to determine whether or not the product is safe for animal consumption. If animals consume unsafe amounts of mycotoxins, both animal and human health can be impacted. If that intoxicated animal was consumed, humans are at risk for indirect exposure. In light of human health, foodborne pathogens are of great concern as well. Testing methods are imperative in order to detect possible contaminants in Kansas’ meat and poultry products. However, all testing and day-to-day practices would be meritless without some form of quality management system. Quality management systems, such as International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission 17025, ensure laboratories are performing competently and uniformly. My main objectives were to obtain a better understanding of how a public health laboratory operates, as well as become more familiar with basic microbiological and chemical techniques related to food safety and quality. In attainment of my objectives, I helped perform sample extractions for mycotoxin testing of animal feeds, assisted with method verification of a microbiological testing platform in their Biosafety Level-2 lab, and learned about and applied their quality management system, International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission 17025:2017.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Equitable Research Partnerships in Public Health
    (2023-08-01) Maqsood, Fiza
    This integrated learning experience report is an extensive review of my enriching internship experience at Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems located at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. This experience bolstered my practical skills in data analysis, international research collaborations, and program evaluation, allowing me to integrate MPH academic knowledge with real-world scenarios. Collaborating with a dynamic team of public health professionals, I actively contributed to initiatives addressing equity in global research collaborations. I extended nutrition and food safety assistance to ongoing research projects under Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. I collected the data and analyzed it using statistical software to inspect in-country authorship inclusion from lower-income and middle- income country partners. Later, I presented the results at the Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems faculty meeting in the form of a presentation. To assist with the ongoing Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems projects I scheduled interviews with the principal investigators of projects and my preceptor to optimize research implementation considering nutrition outcomes. I generated an SPSS code sheet for continuous monitoring of authorships, a white paper addressing authorship inclusion from low-resource countries, a presentation, a post-interview follow-up sheet to improve the current Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems projects, and a research bibliography on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH). As I embark on my public health career, I am confident that the insights gained from these experiences will serve as a solid foundation, guiding my future endeavors in promoting health equity and well-being for communities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2023-08-01) Gawhale, Snehal
    This report summarizes my experiences captured during my tenure as an intern at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) in the Bureau of Oral Health (BOH). The BOH at the KDHE is committed to promoting and improving the oral health of Kansans. The BOH achieves this through various initiatives and programs aimed at preventing oral diseases and promoting oral health in communities throughout the state. Over the course of months, I gained invaluable experience in public health practices and community-based programs and have been exposed to a wide variety of projects and initiatives aimed at improving the oral health outcomes of Kansans. Amalia Almeida and Debra Trybom served as my preceptors and provided me with tasks during our weekly meetings. The primary objective of this integrated learning experience (ILE) is to provide an insight into the operations of a state public health department, including the policies and principles necessary for effective management of the agency at all levels of service. At the Bureau of Oral Health, I have had the chance to learn about the many ways in which the BOH works to promote oral health equity and access to care. As a part of my internship, I was involved in several projects aimed at promoting oral health and improving access to dental care in Kansas. One of my primary contributions was creating a comprehensive map of public and private K-12 schools throughout the state along with the screeners that carry out dental screenings at schools in Kansas. This map not only provides a visual representation of the locations of the public and private schools but also allows the BOH to better understand where access to oral health services may be limited. I was involved in the development of a white paper proposing statutory changes to increase the number of trained school-based healthcare staff who can perform dental screenings. This included collaborating with BOH staff and contributing to the writing and editing of the proposal. My contributions to this white paper aimed to provide evidence-based recommendations and persuasive arguments in support of the proposed changes. In addition to this, I wrote an article for the BOH's newsletter, highlighting the need for increased access to dental screenings in Kansas schools and the proposed changes to oral health legislation. My work at the BOH allowed me to gain practical experience in public health promotion, legislative advocacy, and oral health policy development.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2023-08-01) Davis, Lauren
    This report summarizes the online and in-person field experiences during the period from June of 2022 until January of 2023. The author interacted with various mentors from the United States and Europe to learn about food safety, public health, and animal welfare. Food safety and animal welfare standards and regulations, both national and international, are discussed as well as the connections of each to public health. The MPH competencies and the Food Safety and Biosecurity emphasis learning competencies were achieved through the field experience and coursework. The products created during the field experience include a presentation on the relationships between animal welfare, food safety and public health; a standardized Bison Harvest Plant audit tool; a blog article discussing food safety, animal welfare, and public health from a One Health perspective; and a One Health Newsletter reflection article on the 2022 International Mobility of Veterinary Students (iMOVES) hybrid learning experience.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The association between nutrition education and knowledge of food high in added sugar, salt, and saturated fat in college students
    (2023-08-01) Hlophe, Nokwanda
    Background: College students have become more susceptible to increased risks of chronic diseases due to high intakes of problematic nutrients, such as added sugar, salt, and saturated fat, which are detrimental to their health. Moreover, busy student lifestyles and reliance on fast food consumption elevates the risk of prolonged consumption of unhealthy foods. This study’s purpose was to assess the association between nutrition education and knowledge of food high in added sugar, salt, and saturated fat in college students. Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial, from primary data collected through an online Qualtrics survey conducted in the Fall of 2017 at Kansas State University. However, it was used as a cross-sectional secondary data analysis in this study. Recruitment was conducted through emails and word of mouth. The research period was ten weeks, with a randomized control (n-16) and intervention (n-16) group. Demographic characteristics were captured for age, gender, race, year of school, residence, height measured in centimeters, weight measured in kilograms, and body mass index (BMI) for each college student. A Fisher’s exact test with an alpha of 0.05 was used to evaluate the association between nutrition education and knowledge in the control and intervention group in college students. Results: Findings from the analysis of demographic characteristics showed females (77.14%) responded greater than males (22.86%). Based on race, 85.29% of participants were White, 5.88% were Black or African-American, 2.88% were Asian, and others represented 5.88%. Height for men (M= 182.09, SD=6.18) while females (M=1164.14, SD=5.63) were shorter. Weight for male students was 86.25 Kg (SD=19.83) and for females 67.67 Kg (SD=14.37). The intervention group showed a significant difference in knowledge change related to food items under the fat category, such as pasta (p= 0.03725) and cheese (p= 0.0000008551). Salt or sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars had no significant difference in knowledge change. Conclusion: Nutrition education influenced knowledge change about the fat content of plain pasta and cheese and the sodium content of pickles. However, there was no significant difference in knowledge change on added sugar, salt, and saturated fats in the intervention group compared to the control group. More research is needed to assess the impact nutrition education has on change in knowledge of foods high in added sugar, salt, and saturated fat among college students.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An exploration of International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 17025 quality management in the Kansas Department of Agriculture Laboratory, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certification for a dairy analysis in a central laboratory
    (2023-05-01) Jamma, Somia
    ISO 17025 is the quality standard for testing and calibration laboratories. Food safety and quality management are implemented by good laboratory testing of food for microorganisms such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Food products can be a source of harmful biological and chemical factors for humans. During my applied practice experience at the KDA laboratory, I was involved in activities related to food safety, including identifying the results for dairy products and data analysis for public health improvement. It was found that the laboratory had monitored, controlled, and recorded environmental conditions in accordance with relevant specifications, methods, procedures, or instances where those conditions influence the validity of the results.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (2023-05-01) Haas, Sierrah
    Extreme heat poses a significant threat to several aspects of human health through the impact of physical, social, and environmental risk factors. Reducing the impact of extreme heat is crucial to promoting health for all. Research has shown associations between rising global temperatures and negative respiratory health outcomes. Temperatures in Kansas have been rising steadily and are predicted to continue to do so. Drastic changes in temperature without ample time for human acclimation results in certain populations being more highly vulnerable to its effects. This preliminary study was conducted with the goal of geographically identifying populations most vulnerable to extreme heat in Kansas. This identification was done using readily available extreme heat, social vulnerability, and respiratory illness data. The data were analyzed and interpreted using geographic information system (GIS) mapping. Census tract- level data were visually explored to identify areas showing potentially associated extreme heat rates and COPD or asthma crude prevalence. Furthermore, using social vulnerability data, populations that are more likely to need related resources were identified. Results indicated that 49.5% of census tracts that are considered highly socially vulnerable show a higher crude prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Also, 30% of these census tracts fall within geographic areas with a higher-than-average number of annual days with recorded extreme heat conditions. Findings concluded that social vulnerability is a potential determinant of respiratory health. Future work is a necessity in improving respiratory health in areas with high rates of extreme heat. Exploring social vulnerability data in this context allows for a more targeted approach to this work.