Students collaborate across disciplines in new projects

Two interdisciplinary teams of PHHP graduate students have received funding for community-based research projects from “Bridging Public Health and Health Professions,” a grant award program administered by the college’s Collaboration Committee.

The awards are designed to encourage collaboration among graduate students from public health and health professions disciplines on projects that promote the college’s mission in the community. The Collaboration Committee awarded grants to two student projects for 2012.

The Concussion Awareness team: Chris Delcher, Aliyah Snyder, Tanisha Hill-Jarrett and Yanning Wang. Not pictured: faculty sponsors Dr. Russell Bauer and Dr. Linda Cottler. Photo by Jesse S. Jones.

In the first project, a group of clinical psychology and epidemiology graduate students will assess concussion awareness within the youth athletic community and develop concussion education interventions. To reach people in underserved populations, the team will offer educational materials through HealthStreet, a program sponsored by the UF department of epidemiology that links Gainesville community members with health resources and opportunities for research. The team also plans to develop a web video that provides practical information for athletes, parents and coaches, including steps for recognizing and managing concussions, and guidelines for return-to-play decisions. The project combines the health professions team members’ knowledge of the mechanisms and health effects of concussions with the epidemiology members’ expertise in community-based assessments and intervention methodology. The team includes clinical psychology students Aliyah Snyder and Tanisha Hill-Jarrett and epidemiology students Chris Delcher and Yanning Wang. Russell Bauer, Ph.D., a professor in the department of clinical and health psychology, and Linda Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair of the department of epidemiology, serve as the faculty sponsors.

The Rehabilitation Resources team: Dr. Catherine Striley, Lindsey Dhans, Rachel Sharpe, Corrine Warren Ruktanonchai, Sarah Woodworth and Dr. Roxanna Bendixen. Photo by Maria Belen Farias.

The second project brings together occupational therapy and epidemiology students to perform a community needs assessment of rehabilitation services for Alachua County. In partnership with HealthStreet, the group will conduct administrative data reviews, surveys and focus groups in order to prepare a comprehensive list of available rehabilitative resources, evaluate the public’s knowledge of rehabilitation needs and services, and examine clinicians’ perceptions of charitable services in Alachua County. The students will develop and distribute educational materials on preventive and rehabilitative strategies and they plan to identify two to three community members who may benefit from rehabilitation. The rehabilitative services will be provided in partnership with occupational therapy and public health students along with volunteer occupational therapists. The project team members are occupational therapy students Lindsey Dhans, Rachel Sharpe and Sarah Woodworth, and epidemiology student Corrine Warren Ruktanonchai. The faculty sponsors are Roxanna Bendixen, Ph.D., OTR/L, a research assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy, and Catherine Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.P.E., an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology.