To celebrate the completion of their projects, the College’s Class of 2017 will hold a Poster Session and Community Celebration on Wednesday, January 21, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Hoehl Gallery in the Health Science Research Facility. In addition to Carney, medical students, faculty, community guests, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education William Jeffries, Ph.D., and the United Way of Chittenden County leadership will be in attendance.
Thanks to a longtime collaboration — more than a decade — with the United Way of Chittenden County (UWCC), first-year UVM medical students meet with area agency representatives each spring to identify partnerships for public health projects. This year’s community partners include: Vermont CARES; Vermont Department of Health; Special Olympics Vermont; Hunger Free Vermont; Burlington City Arts; UVM Medical Center Community Health Improvement; Committee on Temporary Shelter; Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf; Champlain Valley Head Start; Champlain Community & Senior Center; Burlington Housing Authority; American Red Cross; American Lung Association; University of Vermont; and the State of Vermont.
Among the 16 projects conducted by the Class of 2017 is a project on “Attitudes towards Vaccination among Medical Students,” performed in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health. Because provider recommendations play an essential role in patient decision-making about vaccinations, the group surveyed medical students from all four years in both Vermont and West Virginia to determine what influenced students’ attitudes. Overall, medical students viewed vaccinations as safe, efficacious, and critical to public health. Clinical exposure was important, with third- and fourth-year medical students responding even more strongly in support of vaccinations. “Medical students’ strong and positive attitudes will help us achieve even higher immunization rates in future years, “said Dr. Carney.
Among this year’s project topics – which covered a broad range of health issues – are childhood immunizations; blood donations; nutrition and food security; and oral health care during pregnancy; off-season nutrition and exercise in Special Olympics Vermont athletes, tobacco use and attitudes at UVM; and the role of art in patients’ health care experiences. Students developed strategies to improve health in veterans and Bhutanese elders. In addition, they defined health care barriers for local residents, needs of patients with Hepatitis C, public perceptions of pesticides and opinions about lung cancer screening.
Students participate in the Public Health Projects course and conduct their research during the fall of the second year of medical school. Several student groups are accepted to present their project findings each year at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. Visit the Public Health Projects website.
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