'Obesity' and 'Career Development' Among Papers Being Presented at Xavier University Health Disparities Conference

colesampsonCenter staff are headed to New Orleans to present health policy posters at the 8th Annual Health Disparities Conference at Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy March 12 – 14, 2015. The theme is “From Cataloging Health Disparities to Creating Health Equity: Effective Models to Equalize Outcomes.” Mariah Cole, J.D., the Center's director of program management, and Terrica Sampson, M.Ed., program coordinator, will be presenting a poster entitled “The Healthy Snack Tour: Aspects of Obesity in Nashville Families,” which will detail the work the RWJF Center for Health Policy has done with the Healthy Snack Tour in our efforts to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity in Nashville.

hammockPatricia Hammock, M.Ed., director of Title III, will presen a poster entitled “Career Development and Planning Curriculum for Health Policy,” which will detail her work developing a professional development program for Health Policy Scholars and Fellows at Meharry. 

Read their poster abstracts below:

The Healthy Snack Tour: Aspects of Obesity in Nashville Families

Purpose: The purpose of this research project is to raise awareness about obesity in Nashville, Tennessee and slow the growing number of obese children. The project will inform families of long-term effects obesity has on overall health while influencing them to both evaluate their current eating habits and lifestyle and eliminate habits that contribute to obesity.

Design Methods: For a period of three months, health educators will conduct bi-weekly meetings with families from five community centers in Nashville. They will:

1)     Review the program and administer a pre-survey;

2)     Assess current health level of participants;

3)     Make healthy eating and exercise presentations;

4)     Administer a post-survey on healthy eating behaviors and feedback on the program; and

5) Follow-up three months after the study to assess changed behaviors. Qualitative and descriptive data will be collected from this study and responses from the surveys will be evaluated for improvements to future projects. 

Expected Results: Participants will embrace healthy eating habits and increase their physical activity after developing positive attitudes toward nutrition and a better understanding of the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on their health.  We also expect participants to positively influence other members of the household who may not have participated in the project. 

Discussion: As a result of the information provided to the participants and activities performed over the course of the project, small changes in participant behavior will begin the process of decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity in Nashville. Involving whole families will likely increase the chances for sustained healthy behavior. The level of behavioral change due to increased awareness coupled with activities designed to address the issue of obesity will provide an example for similarly situated communities. 

Career Development and Planning Curriculum for Health Policy

Purpose: The Career Development and Planning Curriculum is a training intervention supplementing the didactic and clinical education for racially diverse students preparing to become medical doctors, dentists, researchers, academicians and/or leaders in health policy. The Curriculum enhances their studies by bridging the gap from their formal education to employment in their chosen field of study as they may lack the soft skills and nuanced knowledge necessary to successfully maneuver the employment terrain of today’s healthcare landscape. The Curriculum prepares this diverse group of students to pursue employment in a field that does not always reflect the population it serves.

Design Methods: The training intervention is designed to be deployed over a 9-week period via one-hour face-to-face group instruction. Instruction is supported by internet, audio and video learning supplements, a text book and weekly artifacts of learning demonstrating content mastery. Small group, intimate roundtable discussions with leaders in health policy augment the curriculum.

At the outset of the training, the job-readiness knowledge of the learners will be assessed via a pre-test.  Weekly deliverables serve as summative assessments throughout instruction.

Through feedback on deliverables, students develop job-readiness competencies and demonstrate same with an audience of health care leaders with positions to offer in fields appealing to students as the culminating learning activity.

Expected Results: At the end of the training intervention, health policy students will synthesize knowledge into demonstration of interview, job-readiness and career preparation. 

Discussion: As a result of the training intervention, health policy students will demonstrate improved job readiness skills. Health policy leaders from a culminating (summative) Networking Event are surveyed regarding the job-readiness of the participants and their likelihood to hire individuals with similar skill set and/or from within the participant pool.