Hhmi-local-public-health-1

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Local Public Health Initiative

HHMI would fund an initial pilot program with 12 academically talented rising sophomore and junior participants each year with interest in the medical and allied health fields. This 3-4 week program in May facilitated by two Earlham faculty members would include both a local public health project on a topic which has been identified by a combined group of community health leaders and program faculty, as well as a formal opportunity for students to explore different aspects of medical practice. This second goal, exposure to the medical field, would continue in the form of a fall internship in a community health care setting. Students would receive academic credit for their participation in this program. At the end of the grant period, we would hope to transition this program into a regular May-term course and Health Careers Internship program.

Local Public Health Project

  • Earlham College students and faculty will participate in a project to address pertinent public health issues in the local Richmond/Wayne County area. Initial topics with potential to study include smoking cessation, weight loss (affiliated with STOP), and prenatal care. One example of a student research experience would be using existing data and possibly further data collection (in collaboration with the Wayne County Health Department) to determine patterns and causes of lower than average rates of prenatal care in the local area. Students will then work with the community alongside local physicians and health administration to design and implement educational and media materials for use in secondary schools and community based centers. Students will utilize statistics to assess the effects of these targeted programs to measure intended improvement.
  • Specific curricular activities early in the course would include data mining of WHO, CDC, Health and Human Services, and Indiana data with statistical and meaningful analysis.
  • This project would be carried out during May for the four years of the grant period (beginning May 2009); work on aspects of this project during the academic year is also possible. Each year, students would be responsible for writing a final summary report of their work and presenting it in a public forum.

Health Career Exploration

  • May Term
    • The 12 rising sophomores and juniors above would participate in a series of experiences designed to increase their awareness and exposure to a wide array of medical fields. These experiences might take the form of tours, observations, presentations given by medical professionals, or other activities agreed on by all parties. We anticipate that much of this would take place at Reid Hospital and the Wayne County Health Department, with other community resources added as needed. Possible departments may include: Radiology, Surgery, Primary Care, Pathology, Toxicology, Rehabilitation, Hospital Administration, Obstetrics, Dentistry, Optometry, or Veterinary Medicine.
    • Earlham faculty, using community members as resources where appropriate, will design and facilitate a number of lectures and discussions with the students on cross-cultural medicine, bioethics, and current healthcare practices (i.e. regulations regarding medical confidentiality). These experiences will employ written texts and case studies where appropriate.
    • Students would be asked to complete a reflection on their experience in the health care setting, as well as complete other assignments related to the Humanity in Medicine and Bioethics components.
  • Fall Internship
    • Participants in the May program, and possibly other additional students, would participate in a fall internship in a health care setting in the community. These students would be expected to commit several hours weekly to the experience. While the exact nature of the internship will differ depending on the setting, we would hope that each student both be provided opportunities to observe health care delivery as well as participate in some project of use to the office or clinic to which they are assigned (for example, statistical analysis of a group of patients for a variable of interest, design and implementation of Health Education programs, etc.) Available internships would be based on interest of clinics in the Richmond/Wayne county area and may include: Radiology, Adult and Pediatric Primary Care, Pathology, Toxicology, Rehabilitation, Hospital Administration, Obstetrics, Dentistry, Optometry, Mental Health, or Veterinary Medicine.

Questions

  • Leverage what Reid Hospital and Wayne County Health Department have learned doing the immunization project(s).
  • Work with the schools, Scott Girls and Boys Center, Amigos, Townsend, Visions
    • perhaps both of these can be addressed in a more detailed grant proposal but not necessary for this document.