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November 10th

 

I. Completing College In A Crisis: A CBPR Investigation Of University Student Basic Needs In A Time Of Pandemic 

II. Examining The USDA's Response To Food Insecurity During The Covid-19 Crisis

III. Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors Among A Sample Of U.S. Journalists: A Cross-Sectional Study 

IV: Is Cancer Prevention Compromised In Natural Disasters: A Comparison Of Incidence, Staging, and Mortality Rates After Hurricane Katrina 

V: Optimizing Work-From-Home Routines And Computer Ergonomics 

VI: Pathways to Public Health-Online Modules For New Haven Area Teens 

VII: Understanding Public Risk Perception of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the United States 

VIII: Exposure to Disability-Related Content and Attitudes Toward Persons With Disabilities Within The Uconn MPH Program: An Exploratory Study 

IX: Identifying Factors Associated With Repeated Use of Mobile Crisis Intervention Services 


I. Completing College in a Crisis: A CBPR Investigation of University Student Basic Needs in a Time of Pandemic 

Description: Even in ordinary times, many students face a variety of external barriers to academic success and to remaining in college or graduate school. Among these barriers are unmet needs regarding childcare, housing security, food security, mental health, and career & academic services. Today, however, we find ourselves in extra-ordinary times, as a global pandemic threatens our well-being and destabilizes educational systems, the economy, and the provision of needed services, all of which may create new or compound existing barriers to students’ ability to successfully complete their schooling. The purpose of this study is to determine what specific, unmet basic needs might inhibit academic success for university students both in ordinary times and in times of crisis, as well as to gain insight into what potential university-actionable solutions students propose in order to be better able to successfully complete their schooling. 

Authors: Aliyah Manning, Andressa Granado, Breanna De Leon, Elisabeth Matuska, Mahoghany Dolberry, Muna Mah, Rachel Schaffer, Ryan Conway, Victoria Zigmont, Elizabeth Schwartz, Southern Connecticut State University

II. Examining the USDA's Response to Food Insecurity During the Covid-19 Crisis

Description: Background: This project examines the USDA's response to food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. In the United States each year, 12% of the population faces food insecurity, due to the pandemic about 45% of families with children are currently facing hunger. Congress passed The Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) which provides states options to apply for waivers to expand access to SNAP. It is the most important nutritional relief program, costing 68 billion per year.

Methods: The project analyzes these waivers based on website reporting from the USDA, with a focus on a few specific waivers such as Emergency Allotments for Current SNAP Households. It will compare variations in uptake by states with reference to poverty rates and current unemployment (as proxies for current food insecurity).

Results: The results will be shown with an infographic map that illustrates variation in the use of these waivers, and whether they were implemented in states with the greatest need. (It is ongoing work in progress).

Conclusion: During this time of crisis food insecurity is a vital public health issue, because it is affecting a disproportionate amount of vulnerable low-income population. It important to see how government expanded access to food through SNAP. 

Authors: Brittany Bard, B.S. and Peggy Gallup RN MPH PhD; Southern Connecticut State University

III. Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors Among a Sample Of U.S. Journalists: A Cross-Sectional Study 

Description: This study assessed the experiences of unhealthy weight control behaviors (UWCBs) among a sample of on-air and off-air journalists in the United States. We administered an online survey between May 1, 2019, and June 30, 2019. Participants were recruited through email solicitation at journalism-focused organizations (e.g., Public Radio NYC, Asian American Journalists Association, Online News Association), and social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) groups for members of the press. From this sample (N =139), 36% (n=50) identified as on-air journalists (physically appears on television or another platform), while 64% were off-air. Women represented Next, 68% (n=95) of the sample. An estimate of 47% (n=65) were Asian, 34% (n=47) White, and 19% (n=27) were individuals belonging in other racial groups. Prevalence of UWCBs were the following: 6% (n=9) used laxatives, 5% (n=7) vomited for weight control, 68% (n=94) went on a diet in the past year, 19% (n=27) fasted for weight control, and 30% (n=42) binge ate. Results of logistic regression analyses suggest no significant difference in the odds of dieting in the past year between on-air and off-air journalists, as originally hypothesized. However, increased body mass index was statistically significant, with increased odds of dieting and binge eating. 

Authors: Bryan Cadavos, Michele Smallidge, EdD, RD, Vivian Tran, Heather Mattie, Ph.D., Alvin Tran, ScD, MPH5; American University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and University of New Haven

IV. Is Cancer Prevention Compromised in Natural Disasters: A Comparison of Incidence, Staging, and Mortality Rates After Hurricane Katrina 

Description: Patients with chronic diseases, such as cancer, represent a significantly vulnerable population. This is particularly true if they lack access to routine health care, as is the case during natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. As access to healthcare was immediately compromised in Hurricane Katrina disaster-affected areas, we suspected that preventative care and cancer screening was likely reduced. Therefore, we sought to analyze the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the incidence, staging, and mortality of cancers recommended for screening by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including colorectal, breast, cervical, and lung, as reflected within the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program.

Individually, incidence for colorectal cancer and breast cancer were increased in disaster-affected areas; however, collectively local, regional, and distant cancers of the lung, colon, cervix, and breast combined showed no difference when disaster parishes were compared to rates in the US and Louisiana non-disaster parishes.

Our overall findings suggest that the healthcare infrastructure established within Louisiana may have been equipped to handle standard preventative care post-Hurricane Katrina; however, further analysis is needed on screening and prevention methods employed throughout the state during natural disasters. 

Authors: Cara A. Cama, MBA, Richard S. Feinn, PhD, Aaron W. Bernard, MD, and Sajid A. Khan, MD; Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine and Yale School of Medicine

V. Optimizing Work-From-Home Routines and Computer Ergonomics  

Description: Over 5 million employees telecommute, or work from home, a number that has increased $173% since 2005. With the advent of COVID-19, this number increased and is expected to sustain a permanent gain even as workers transition back to workplaces. Teleworkers note the benefits of working from home as flexibility in work hours and savings on transportation and food costs. However, the costs of telecommuting are blurring of work and home time schedules, professional isolation, and discomfort with home-based offices. Employees working from home report neck, low back, and shoulder pain from the sustained awkward postures from using laptop computers at kitchen tables, couches, and in spare rooms that are not designed for office work. Occupational therapy graduate students completed computer ergonomic evaluations of individuals working from home and found that over 90% reported at least one area of musculoskeletal discomfort. Such discomfort may interfere with work productivity and overall quality of life. This poster will present means to optimize work-from-home routines and work locations. The presentation will include computer ergonomics principles, typical work-from-home office conditions, and solutions to optimize work-from-home environments using low-cost recommendations. These efforts are meant to minimize the risk of musculoskeletal injuries from computer work and maximize productivity using good ergonomics and a balance of work-home routines. 

Authors: Cassandra Krebs, MOT, and Martha Sanders,PhD, MSOSH, OTR/L CPE FAOTA, Quinnipiac University

VI. Pathways to Public Health-Online Modules for New Haven Area Teens 

Description: The Office of Public Health Practice at YSPH partnered with the Office of New Haven Affairs Yale Pathways to Science program on their Public Health Day annual event during National Public Health Week (April 6-12th). Yale Pathways to Science is a free, year-round STEM based extra-curricular education outreach program aimed towards 1,800 accepted scholars, grades 6th-12th , attending public school in New Haven, West Haven, or Orange. Additionally, Pathways offers an in-person Public Health Day which offers information on topics and careers in public health and attracts app. 150 students. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on in person events YSPH-OPHP developed an online multi-module "choose your own adventure" course to virtually expose students to basic public health topics including: Introduction to Public Health, Public Health Careers, Evaluating Credible Sources, Health Communication, and COVID-19: virus basics, hand-hygiene (train the trainer activity) as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) basics. The course was distributed to all Pathways to Science students, area schools, and posted on multiple websites. Pivoting to deliver online content about the novel virus was timely and accurate and provided age-appropriate health education and a curriculum resource for teachers adapting to providing online education and content.
https://onha.yale.edu/yale-pathways-science-public-health-virtual-adventure 

Authors: Chandra Kelsey, MPH, CHES, Alecia McLean, BSPH, and Susan Nappi, MPH; Southern Connecticut State University and Yale School of Public Health-Office of Public Health Practice 

Background: We developed a novel questionnaire in the course, “Questionnaire Development”, at the Yale School of Public Health in Spring 2020.

Objective: To use a novel questionnaire to assess risk perception of COVID-19 and xenophobic attitudes among adults in the United States.
Methods: Participants were recruited online from March 10 to March 25, 2020. The questionnaire reached approximately 30,000 people. We received 662 responses from US adults and data analysis was conducted in SPSS and R.

Results: On a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high), the mean risk perception was 3.44. Those with knowledge of COVID-19 and higher education levels were significantly more likely to have higher risk perception and higher feelings of warmth towards Asian people. Forty percent of the sample witnessed or experienced anti-Asian attitudes. 
Conclusions: Our sample had a moderate level of risk perception, likely due to the time period of data collection.

The results suggest that knowledge about the risks of COVID-19 informed perceived seriousness. Furthermore, the recent rise of xenophobia could explain the lower warmth towards Asians.
Public Health Implications: These findings show an association between knowledge and risk perception of COVID-19, and can inform how public health education campaigns disseminate information

Authors: Ashley Moore, MPH, Sera Yoo, MPH, William Eger, Emily Miron, MPH, Marney White, PhD, MS; Yale School of Public Health

Background: The purposes of this study include gathering a baseline assessment of 1) the extent to which UConn MPH students describe their exposure to disability content within the curriculum, and 2) how students describe their experiences encountering persons with disabilities (PWD).

Methods: A survey was completed by 36 current UConn MPH students and alumni.

Results: When asked how often disability was integrated into curriculum and class discussion, a majority of participants (n= 28) answered sometimes, rarely, or never, (77.8%), (88.9%). All students who reported having classes with students from other disciplines reported that it was valuable. Eighty-six percent indicated that the program should do more to promote disability awareness and seventy-four percent believe that PUBH 5501 should be a mandatory MPH course.

Conclusion: This thesis informs efforts to increase the amount of disability content across MPH courses to further the knowledge and skills of future professionals in their work with PWD. 

Authors: Holly A. LaBrecque, MPH,Tara M. Lutz, PhD, Mary Beth Bruder, PhD, Cristina Mogro-Wilson, PhD; The University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and The Connecticut Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities Program

Description: Despite an increasing trend for children to visit the emergency department (ED) for behavioral health reasons, this is not the ideal treatment setting. One alternative service in Connecticut is Mobile Crisis Intervention Services, which has been shown to be effective in diverting behavioral health cases from the ED. Mobile Crisis provides children in crisis with a response in the community from a clinician, who can de-escalate the crisis and link the child to services. It is important to look at how this service is being used, and one such element is what factors are related to children who have multiple episodes with Mobile Crisis.

Research Questions:
1. Are different sociodemographic groups more or less likely to return to Mobile Crisis? 2. What presenting problems are associated with repeat Mobile Crisis episodes?
3. Is the child’s clinical acuity and history of mental health care associated with the number of Mobile Crisis episodes?
4. How are the characteristics of the initial Mobile Crisis episode, and the services provided during that episode, related to the subsequent number of episodes (e.g. source of referral to Mobile Crisis, length of service, follow-up care, and referral to long-term care)?

Methods:
This study employed a retrospective cohort design, analyzing data for children who had their first Mobile Crisis episode between 2015 and 2017. Data for these children were looked at for two years following their first episode, to determine how many episodes each child had during that time. In addition to descriptive analysis of the sample, binary logistic regression and zero-inflated binomial regression were used to look at the relationships between various factors and the outcome variable. 

Authors: Kayla Theriault, MPH, University of Connecticut 

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