Student and Alumni News
Epidemiology Student Poster Symposium
On April 22, students from spring semester epidemiology classes at the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health filled the reception area of the 12th floor in the Jack Stephens Spine Center for the “Epidemiology Poster Symposium.” More than 40 students presented posters that summarized their critical reading of an article in a scientific journal about an epidemiologic study.
Students were not required to produce polished posters like those seen at professional meetings, but were asked instead to “make a poster the old-fashioned (and cheap) way” – from sheets of paper, the only requirements being that the text had to be large enough to be visible from a few feet away, provide clear attributions crediting the original researchers for their words and images, and highlight the students’ own reading of the paper, said Barbara Fuhrman, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the faculty organizer of the symposium.
The point was to give students practice deconstructing, summarizing and presenting an epidemiologic study’s research questions, methodology, findings and conclusions. Students were asked to prepare a 5-10 minute oral summary and be ready for guests’ questions. They were also instructed to create a diagram that depicted the research question, causal relationships and potential confounders.
MPH student Angela Jimenez-Leon, MPS, whose poster was titled, “Use of antibiotics and type 1 diabetes in childhood,” had some previous experience at poster presentation, having given one at a conference. She felt that the symposium was a valuable learning activity.
“This is a good opportunity for students to know what to do and not to do – to get the training especially if you have a career in public health,” Ms. Jimenez-Leon said. “Also, it was good to have the opportunity to learn from classmates who are presenting on a wide variety of topics.”
MPH student Charles Bedell, MD, chose to review the study, “Ebola hemorrhagic fever: novel biomarker correlates of clinical outcome.” Although Dr. Bedell had presented posters prepared by others, this time was the first he had prepared one from start to finish. He decided to go the extra mile and create a quality poster acceptable for a professional meeting. It took him a couple of tries before he was satisfied with the result.
“It was a really cool learning experience, to have to do it from scratch,” Dr. Bedell said. “Having done this, the second time will be easier.”
2013 graduate is author on paper about skin cancer
Tina Gomez, MPH, was second author an article that is the cover story of the May 2015 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health. She graduated from the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH) in 2013. Her capstone project for the MPH focused on research in the new publication, which is titled “UVA and cutaneous melanoma incidences: spatial patterns and communities at risk.”
The other two authors are Associate Professor Ilias Kavouras, PhD, and Instructor Marie-Cecile Chalbot, MS, PhD, both of whom are members of the faculty of the COPH Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.
The article summarizes the findings of their research that explored the associations of U.S. states’ incidence rates for melanoma of the skin with specific ultraviolet exposure metrics. They found an increase in incidence of cutaneous melanoma in the past decade, but a lower ratio of mortality to incidence, which may be due to earlier detection and improved treatment. The states with the highest melanoma rates were in the Northeast. The authors speculated that this may be due, in those states, to the widespread use of tanning salons or to residents taking vacations outside of the state.
Most of the states with the lowest incidence rates were in the Southwest and included Arkansas. This may be attributable to those states’ demographics, which include a high proportion of blacks and Hispanics, among whom melanoma rates are low, and differences in use of protective sunscreen compared to practices in northern states, the authors said.
COPH students volunteer at local health fair
Syed Abid, MD, and Laquisha Hervey, BSN, RN, CDE, both students at the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, volunteered at the Healthy Kappa’s Health Fair at the Little Rock Marriot on March 27-28, just ahead of National Public Health Week.
The health fair was sponsored by the Arkansas Minority Health Commission to provide free health screenings to more than 500 members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, who were in Little Rock to attend a meeting. The health screening equipment was loaned by the Department of Geriatrics at UAMS.
The UAMS team, which included Dr. Abid, provided screenings for muscle/fat/hydration status, body mass index, blood pressure, grip strength, nutrition counselling and information, and memory testing.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of the attendees,” Dr. Syed said. “The participants whom I personally assisted showed genuine interest in their health and asked questions regarding healthy diet, weight management and healthy living in general. It was a great learning experience and knowing that just a few hours of my day can help impact so many lives is a wonderful feeling.”
Ms. Hervey, who is a nurse at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, volunteered her time to draw blood blood for prostate lab testing.
“As a medical professional and a public health student, I know all too well the importance of meeting people where they are,” Ms. Hervey said.” The Healthy Kappas Health Fair was the perfect opportunity to do just that!”
The turnout was better than expected, the free services were well received and appreciated by the attendees, and it was a great learning experience for all trainees who volunteered, organizers said.