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News & Press: Mentoring

CT MOR National Public Health Week Survey Results

Thursday, June 19, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jon Noel
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The Connecticut Public Health Association (CPHA) Mentoring Organization Registry (MOR) conducted a survey in April and May of 2014 following National Public Health Week activities to determine the extent of participation of our members, high schools and undergraduates, and the need for training and materials to implement these activities. We also used the survey to determine if we achieved established goals for NPHW:

  • To reach 1000 students in high schools and undergraduate programs with public health activities and career-focused presentations.
  • To reach at least one school in each of Connecticut’s eight counties.
  • To establish and strengthen existing relationships with educators to increase school-based public health educational activities beyond NPHW.

The CPHA Mentoring Organization Registry (MOR) founded in 2007, is comprised of 36 public health organizational members representing a broad range of institutions, including higher education, local and state health departments and non-profits, with a goal of developing youth as future public health leaders and knowledgeable citizens. The members of the MOR expose youth to public health concepts and careers by providing experiential learning opportunities for middle, high school and community college educators and their students.

Of the 45 public health organizations and educational institutions polled, 17 completed the survey for a response rate of 38%. The composition of the sample included 9 representatives of MOR member organizations, 8 representatives from high school programs that have worked with MOR volunteers to integrate public health into their academic programs.

Survey Highlights:

  • Over 94% or 16/17 reported that their organization participated in public health activities during National Public Health Week. In total, almost 1700 (1698) students were reached through activities during the week. A HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) activity, led by Susan Troupe of Brookfield High School drew the largest number of students with a school-wide health fair in that town.
  • According to respondents the most popular activity reported by MOR members during NPHW was being a guest speaker, independently or as part of a panel (47% or 8 of 17). Other activities included participation in a health fair, CPHA Student Advocacy Day at the Capitol and a teen violence prevention activity.
  • High school students were the educational group most frequently reached by MOR members: 82% (14/17) reported reaching this population. Over 24% (4) reported working with undergraduate and community college students.
  • Over 76% used MOR materials, with 47% reporting that the materials were very helpful, 18% reporting somewhat helpful, and 11% stating that the materials would be very helpful with training.
  • MOR survey respondents reached students with public health activities and presentations in at least 15 communities across the state: Danbury, East Hartford, Easton/Redding (Region 9), Hartford, Manchester, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, Oxford, North Haven, Newtown, Prospect/Beacon Falls (Region 16) Southbury/Middlebury (Region 15), Waterbury, Wallingford, up from 13 reported in the fall 2013 survey of the MOR.

Discussion:

This was the first time that the CPHA MOR surveyed its members and the educators they work with about the type and extent of their National Public Health Week Activities. Our goals were easily achieved in terms of raw numbers of students reached, with almost 1700 students participating in NPHW. We did not achieve our goal of holding activities in at least one school in each CT region; however, given the response rate (37%) further investigation would be needed to accurately determine the participation in the three counties where there were no surveys returned: New London, Windham, and Tolland.

The success of our third goal, to establish new relationships with educators, was supported through our relationship with Education Connection. Through our work with their Health Career Internship Program we succeeded in connecting with four additional communities and look forward to expanding our efforts in these new schools by connecting them to public health professionals in their area.

Recommendations:

The survey offered support for making National Public Health Week an annual MOR activity to introduce students to concepts and careers in public health and to help MOR members network with local educational institutions.

Based on this survey, the following is recommended:

  1. CPHA MOR should continue to increase its outreach and activities during NPHW.
  2. CPHA MOR should use the listserv and/or Facebook page to facilitate connections between public health organization-educational institutions. A special effort should be made to work with health educators, educators responsible for community service and capstones, and academies with a health or environmental theme.
  3. CPHA MOR needs to provide training for its members to improve their comfort level and familiarity with the MOR PowerPoint and new film festival posted on the CPHA MOR web. Some MOR survey participants indicated they needed training on activities and materials posted on the CPHA MOR web site, which could boost the quality and quantity of MOR presentations
  4. The MOR should design a simple online reporting tool to help members track and report back their activities with educational institutions. This will also enhance robustness of future surveys.
  5. CPHA needs to secure funding for the MOR in order to ensure volunteer coordination and completion of these tasks.

For further information about the survey please contact Cyndi Billian Stern (Cyndistern@mac.com) or Pamela Kilbey-Fox (pkilbeyfox@gmail.com)


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