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Tuesday, November 10th

 

COVID

I. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge and Perceptions: A Survey of College Students

II. Community Service in the Era of COVID-19: Responding to the Needs of the New Haven Homeless Community

Health Equity

I. Danbury Farmers' Market - Building a Coalition of Local Agencies to Provide Equitable Affordable Access to Local Fresh Food

II. Engaging Indigenous Communities in Health Equity Activities

 
COVID

I. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Knowledge and Perceptions: A Survey of College Students

Abstract: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019–20 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The majority of Connecticut-based universities closed campus and shifted to online instruction in the week that followed. Connecticut remains one of the most impacted states by COVID-19, with the third and sixth highest per capita rates of deaths and confirmed cases, respectively. Efforts to lower the infection rate of COVID-19 included the closure of all non-essential businesses, reduction in size of gatherings, and implementation of social distancing guidelines. Many Connecticut-based university campuses plan to open in the fall, adopting strict social distancing guidelines and flexible course schedules. In light of these plans, this study aimed to investigate the knowledge and perception of COVID-19 in college-aged students attending a medium-sized Connecticut university. The study employs a cross-sectional design conducted on an online platform. A 50-item survey was generated to address fields including knowledge of disease transmission, symptoms, treatment and testing, perceptions of risk, mental health, quality of life indicators, and social cohesion. Knowledge and perception of COVID-19 will be compared by sociodemographic characteristics including gender, race/ethnicity, health insurance and employment status. The study is currently underway.

Presenters: Bijaya Dhital, B.S., Karl Minges, MPH, PhD, Yanice Mendez-Fernandez, PhD, and Ayesha Amatya, MPH; University of New Haven

Presenters’ Biographies: Bijaya is a 2nd year MPH student at the University of New Haven with interests in health promotion, global health, and health informatics. Bijaya is originally from Nepal where he assisted in the recovery of the 2015 earthquake.

Dr. Minges is Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy at the University of New Haven. He is also Director of the Master of Public Health program and a new Director-at-Large of the CPHA. Dr. Minges is a health services and outcomes researcher.

II. Community Service in the Era of COVID-19: Responding to the Needs of the New Haven Homeless Community

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges for persons experiencing homelessness who are at a greater risk of becoming infected. Challenges include, but are not limited to, crowded conditions in shelters1 and a higher incidence of pre-existing health conditions and comorbidities 2. The lack of a home to “shelter-in-place" poses a public health risk to the community at large. Therefore, persons experiencing homelessness have been rapidly housed in a variety of locations ranging from motels to unfurnished apartments, leaving many individuals and families without basic household necessities. These necessities include items such as beds, bedding, cookware, dishware, food, toiletries and cleaning supplies. Additionally, staff and volunteers who typically accept, sort, and distribute donations were disrupted due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. In response, medical students designed a contact-less supply drive to minimize contact for the donors and volunteers. Advertisement of desired supplies were communicated virtually or via-phone, and donations were left on doorsteps to be picked-up and delivered by medical student volunteers. This report aims to describe and analyze the design, implementation, and impact of the contact-less supply drive for persons experiencing homelessness in the  New Haven area. 1. Nara Rolim Lima, Nádia, et al. People Experiencing Homelessness:  Their Potential Exposure to COVID-19. Psychiatry Res. Published online April 11, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020. 1 12945 2. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban  Development. Connection Between Housing and Healthcare Needs: Growing Evidence Base for Housing as a Social Determinant of Health. February 2017. Available at: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/housing-healthcare/h2-toolkit/
 
Presenters:
Megan Leubner, B.S. Neuroscience and Biology, minor in Health Policy. MD'23, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, and Tracy Van Oss, DHSc, MPH, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, CHSE, Quinnipiac University Occupational Therapy Department, Columbus House 

Presenters’ Biographies: Megan Leubner is a first-year medical student at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine. She graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University in 2018, earning her B.S. in Neuroscience and Biology and a minor in Health Policy. She has served those experiencing homelessness through extensive volunteer work throughout her undergraduate and graduate years. Her primary goal is to serve as an advocate for all her future patients, regardless of their ability to pay, and to help build an equitable health system through research and policy. Her special topics of interest include street medicine, addiction treatment, and medical care for incarcerated individuals.

Dr. Tracy Van Oss is a clinical professor in the Occupational Therapy Department. Tracy has earned a Doctor of Health Science degree, a Master in Public Health degree, a B.S. degree in Corporate Communication and a degree in occupational therapy from QU. She is a Community Health Education Specialist (CHES) and has an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Specialty Certification in Environmental Modification (SCEM). She serves as a board member for the Columbus House, a homeless shelter in New Haven and is a Fellow with the American Occupational Therapy Association (FAOTA). She has also earned a certificate in experiential education from the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) and is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE). She promotes community engagement with students to be involved in real world scenarios in local sites and international sites.

Health Equity

I. Danbury Farmers' Market - Building a coalition of Local Agencies to Provide Equitable Affordable Access to Local Fresh Food

Abstract: The goal of the Danbury Farmers’ Market is to provide equitable affordable access to local fresh food to the Danbury community. Obesity and poor nutrition at all ages, underlying factors in most chronic diseases are strongly associated with the inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables. Those with limited resources tend to purchase less fruits and vegetables. Through direct market cash incentives, the DFMCC continues to attack disparities in food purchasing power. Research shows that 79% of the project participants increased their intake of fruits and vegetables. Striving to provide equitable access to fresh food for all Danbury area residents, and promote health and nutrition, the collaborative of more than 30 community stakeholders, works to both enable those now excluded by limited resources to purchase fresh, local food at the Danbury Farmers’ Market and enhance the market experience for all. Healthy shoppers, healthy vendor profits and a healthy local economy are the goals. At its core, Better Food for Better Health is a community-wide health and nutrition enhancement and engagement campaign, a sustainable agriculture initiative, and an economic development strategy. 

Presenters:
Peggy Zamore, RD, MPH, CD-N, City Center Danbury Connecticut and Denise Colaianni R.N., M.A., Western Connecticut State University 

Presenters’ Biographies: Peggy Z amore, a Public Health Nutritionist, founded and for the past 10 years has served as the Director/Nutritionist of the Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative. Her work focuses on health promotion through better food, especially for the most vulnerable food insecure people. With her MPH from the University of Michigan and began her career as Instructor and Community Projects Director at Teachers’ College, Columbia University, Graduate Nutrition Department. She then had various public health positions including with WIC, school food and nutrition education programs, senior nutrition programs, SNAP, Wholesome Wave Foundation, State of CT, 5 A Day Program, and Center for Science in the Public Interest. Peggy is a member of APHA, Food and Nutrition Section, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Society for Nutrition Education where she founded the public health section. 

Denise Colaianni has 35 years experience in the field of Community Health. She has worked as a Public Health Nurse for Visiting Nurse Association of New York, A health care administrator for Visiting Nurse of Ridgefield and as a faculty member for Fairfield University and WCSU. 

II. Engaging Indigenous Communities in Health Equity Activities

Abstract: Indigenous communities, which are inclusive of people who identify as American Indian and Alaska Native, have long faced systemic oppression in this country, and this is reflected in poor health outcomes. Indigenous communities have a life expectancy that is 5.5 years shorter than the national average. According to the 2018 American Community Survey, 1% of Connecticut residents identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native. Connecticut recognizes five tribes; however, racial and ethnic data around health equity outcomes often times overlooks the Indigenous community. Evidence demonstrates that American Indian and Alaska Native populations have a greater likelihood of having their race misclassified in surveillance and on death certificates and are the U.S. Census’ most undercounted racial group. In addition to incomplete data collection, data suppression — the exclusion of categories with very small numbers to maintain privacy — is a barrier to publicly reporting data on smaller communities. This leads to significant underestimates of the burden of disease and mortality in these communities. So, how can we as a state ensure that the needs of these communities are not overlooked in Connecticut’s response efforts? Inclusion and outreach. This session will identify the Indigenous communities in our state and strategies to engage this population and address health disparities. 

Presenter:
Michele Scott, M.S., The Health Education Center 

Presenter’s Biography: Michele Scott is the Executive Director of The Health Education Center where she works diligently to ensure that the healthcare workforce pipeline reflects the communities it serves. She brings with her a background in community health, strategic planning, program evaluation and a commitment to equity within health systems. She serves as Chair of the Health Care Advisory Board of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, a member of The Arc Eastern Connecticut Board of Directors, and an active Executive Board member of Norwich Rotary Club. Michele received her B.A in Psychology and American Studies from Columbia University and her M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. She resides on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation with her family.

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