Students to Present at Research Symposium

Several  students in the department of Health Studies will be presenting at the 2016 TWU student symposium, April 12-13. As per the program, the symposium “provides opportunities for students to share their scholarly pursuits and build leadership and other professional skills, and to celebrate student-mentor achievement in a way that promotes a culture of scholarship and community at TWU.”

The research abstracts, students’ name and faculty mentors are as follow.

EXPLORING VULNERABILITIES AS DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH: CONSTRUCT VALIDATION. E. Wachira, K. Parker. Department of Health Studies. The most persistent manifestation of inequality is the growing presence of preventable differences in health, where worse health and risks are systematically experienced by socially disadvantaged groups. Since social disadvantage is predicated on one’s social position and vulnerability, an understanding of this phenomenon is crucial in determining how vulnerabilities manifest in society. Previous related research worked to identify and operationalize constructs related to social vulnerabilities as determinants of health. This study purposes to test and validate these constructs used to operationalize vulnerabilities. Using an ethnographic research approach, the target population inclusive of individuals living with HIV/AIDS will be observed in various locations. Additional data will be collected in Puerto Rico whose geography, social systems, demographic make-up and culture differ from Texas and the United States. This locational variability or source triangulation is significant as it will provide a better understanding of vulnerability while adding to the study’s coherence and validity. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kimberly Parker)

IDENTIFYING THE TRANSITION FROM SOCIAL SMOKING TO DAILY SMOKING. M. Johnson. Department of Health Studies Social smokers, a subgroup of smokers, are less likely to identify as a smoker and may smoke infrequently, yet are at the same risk of developing tobacco-related medical conditions. Transitioning from not identifying as a smoker to smoking on a daily basis and identifying as a smoker warrants a discussion to determine the dynamics that take place. Utilizing a retrospective approach, five semistructured interviews will be conducted to gain an understanding of their transition from social, non-daily smoking to identifying as a smoker. Data will be analyzed using deductive analysis. Common themes will be identified and codes will be used to address perceived risks. Understanding the transitional period will strengthen smoking prevention and cessation efforts for future studies. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kimberly Parker) Supported by the TWU Quality Enhancement Program.

PERSPECTIVES OF TEEN PREGNANCY FROM DALLASAREA TEENS. M. Lewchuk, M. Golman. Department of Health Studies The Dallas area has remained constant in having one of the highest teen birth rates among Texas cities despite national and state declines; leading health advocates to closely examine further methods of pregnancy reduction. The Dallas teen birth rate was 70 per 1,000 adolescent girls; a staggering amount greater than the Texas rate of 41 per 1,000 girls. Several zip codes in Dallas (75220, 75203, 75212,75215, 75216) have doub le and triple the national birth rate of 27. Surveys were administered to teens to identify teen perceptions of teen pregnancy in the identified areas as well as to identify barriers to remaining pregnancy free. Participants acknowledged that risks decrease when there is parental involvement. Recommendations include offering supportive and educational means for parents to talk to their teens; to offer comprehensive educational material in addition to abstinence only programs and increase linkages to health services for teens. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mandy Golman) Supported by the North Texas Alliance to Reduce Teen Pregnancy.

CHALLENGES AND RESULTS OF EVALUATING A TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION PROGRAM. L. Valentino. Department of Health Studies The purpose of this research is to evaluate program effectiveness and identify program evaluation challenges of a teen pregnancy prevention program designed for adolescent females in a metropolitan city in the South. Knowledge, behavioral, and program effectiveness questions were evaluated. Although benchmark results were not achieved, the program increased participants’ knowledge and influenced behavior intentions concerning their sexual relationships. Specific challenges of evaluating the program due to program implementation obstacles are discussed. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mandy Golman)

BMI AND INTENT TO CHANGE: A PILOT STUDY. E. Le. Department of Health Studies In 2015, over 93 million people in the U.S. were classified as obese and a new category of extreme obese emerged. The obesity epidemic claims over 112,000 lives on an annual basis and prevalence continues to increase each year. This is a national health crisis, as well as a financial risk for corporations. An alarming finding indicates U.S. health corporations rank as having the highest proportion of obese and unhealthy employees in the nation. Despite their role as professional care givers, the clinical staff across various healthcare facilities reports high stress, high BMI and less motivation to change. They also report less inclination to improve other facets of health such as preventive care, diet and exercise. This study analyzed the results of over 400 employee health surveys from a large multi-state healthcare corporation and provides recommendations for employee wellness within a healthcare environment. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kristin Wiginton)

DRIVING HOME: AN ANALYSIS OF OBESITY-RELATED BEHAVIORS AMONG U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS LIVING ON AND OFF CAMPUS. S. Garcia. Department of Health Studies The purpose of this study was to assess residential status of college students (N=8,967) for differences in weight status, aerobic and strength physical activity, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, and perceived stress about having enough money to buy nutritious meals. A secondary analysis was conducted utilizing the CDC’s 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Questionnaire data. Results indicated students who lived off campus had a significantly higher BMI (p < .001) and were significantly less likely to meet the aerobic (p = .005) and strength (p < .001) exercise requirements. Residential status was marginally predictive of weight status (p = .052) and strength exercise (p = .035) when controlling for descriptive variables. Based on these results, colleges should focus on strategies specifically aimed at decreasing obesity and increasing physical activity among college students who commute to campus. (Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kristin Wiginton)

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