The Public Health Undergraduate Summit, a much-anticipated biannual event that highlights student projects, went virtual in April at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. From living rooms across the islands, students, faculty members, alumni and public health community members joined via Zoom to watch students explain their completed, or proposed, projects.
This spring semester, 37 students presented posters of their literature reviews (an early step of the capstone project), and nine others shared research findings or policy analyses based on completed service-learning experiences.
The capstone projects are completed over three semesters, where students familiarize themselves with a public health topic and apply it, either in a community or research setting while working with a community mentor or faculty advisor. Then students spend a semester linking the academic preparation to their field experiences and presenting their work.
“We’re so proud of these students,” said Vanessa Buchthal, an assistant professor with the Office of Public Health Studies, who helped coordinate the summit. “We moved to online education while the students were in the middle of working on their projects, and they’ve come through.”
Many students focused their projects on public health issues facing Hawaiʻi. Yongqi Ou investigated ways to prevent opioid misuse in Hawaiʻi, Taryn Furman studied access to water sports for children with disabilities and Kaitlin Tilitile researched how to increase suicide prevention awareness among teachers in Hawaiʻi. Samantha Harper looked at policies to increase access to after school programs for youth in Hawaiʻi and Christine Quiaoit examined ways to prevent falls in older adults.
“We’ve received some wonderful feedback from alumni and community members who were excited to participate via Zoom this year,” said Denise Nelson-Hurwitz, the undergraduate chair for public health.
“The students have done a lovely job, and we’re excited to see some of them graduate and join the community of public health workers in Hawaiʻi,” Buchthal said. “A strong public health workforce is needed now more than ever.”
After months of data collection, analysis, and thinking critically about public health issues, more than 50 undergraduate public health students put their hard work on display on Thursday in the Public Health Undergraduate Summit.
The bi-annual event drew students and faculty members from all over the UH campus, as well as alumni and public health community members, who came to see the students' posters exhibited at the Biomed building.
"This semester's summit was a huge success," said Denise Nelson-Hurwitz, assistant professor and chair of the public health undergraduate program. "These projects from our undergraduate students make a valuable contribution to the public health community and to research being conducted here in Hawaiʻi."
The students' projects spanned all aspects of public health, and many projects focused on the health of Native Hawaiians or other Indigenous peoples. Leila Chang's project explored the relationships between globalization and changes in the diet of Samoans, and Cherry Yamane's project looked at ways to reduce health disparities in Indigenous populations using interventions that are based on culture.
In one project, which dealt directly with health at UH Mānoa, Pua Yang conducted an assessment of mosquito breeding sites on campus. Mosquito larvae were found most often in littered coffee cups, which accumulate standing water. So, something as simple as reducing litter could prevent the spread of mosquito-born infections on campus.
Prevention was a popular theme with other students as well, with a project on preventing cardiovascular disease from Kelly Knowles, a project on preventing breast cancer by Nathalie Lozano, and one on preventing diabetes by Haleigh Romero.
Some students presented their literature reviews, an early step of completing a project, and are slated to present their completed projects at the next Public Health Undergraduate Summit in May 2019. Julia Andaya presented her literature review on promoting oral health education in kids, and Charlene Mikee Nguyen presented her early findings on promoting breastfeeding for expectant women.
"Student capstone projects make a difference in the way we understand the public health issues facing our communities," Nelson-Hurwitz said. These capstone projects are completed over three semesters of coursework, where students first familiarize themselves with a public health topic, then work to address it under the mentorship of a community-based or research faculty advisor, then finally link their field experiences and academic learning into a final paper and poster presentation.
“The projects show that our students are truly well-prepared to enter the public health workforce in Hawaiʻi or go on to graduate school,” Nelson-Hurwitz said. "It is always exciting to see where our students go next with their work."
The Bachelor of Arts in Public Health at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is a new and exciting undergraduate degree program, preparing students for careers in multiple professional pathways in public health. High school students applying to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa may declare Public Health as their major upon entry. For further information about the program, contact the Undergraduate Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spring 2017 OPHS Undergraduate Summit was a success. This event was a poster presentation of project proposals from 4-5pm and final projects from 5-6pm for their Applied Learning Experience (a BA Public Health degree requirement). There were 58 students presenting in total (25 proposals and 33 final projects), including 31 students graduating later this month and 5 Honors students.
Thank you to all the fabulous people who helped make this event possible including Lisa Kehl, Debbie Drummondo, Maya Uemoto, Chevelle Davis, Dejah Fa’asoa, and OPHSAS. Congratulations to all of our wonderful students for their accomplishments
The Fall 2016 OPHS Undergraduate Summit was a success. This event was a poster presentation of project proposals from 4-5pm and final projects from 5-6pm for their Applied Learning Experience (a BA Public Health degree requirement).
There were 45 students presenting in total (20 proposals and 25 final projects), including 17 students graduating later this month and 2 Honors students.
The Spring 2016 OPHS Undergraduate Summit was a success. This event was a poster presentation of project proposals from 4-5pm and final projects from 5-6pm for their Applied Learning Experience (a BA Public Health degree requirement).
There were 56 students presenting in total (38 proposals and 18 final projects), including 18 students graduating later this month and 16 Honors students.
Please join us as our undergraduate students present their Applied Learning Experience (APLE) project posters at the OPHS Undergraduate Summit on Thursday, April 28. This event will be held in the Biomedical Sciences Building, D-Courtyard from 4:00-5:00 PM (proposal project posters) and 5:00-6:00 PM (final project posters).
The Fall 2015 OPHS Undergraduate Summit was by all accounts a great success. This event was a poster presentation of project proposals from 4-5pm and final projects from 5-6pm for their Applied Learning Experience (a BA Public Health degree requirement).
There were 44 students presenting in total (24 proposals and 20 final projects), including 12 students graduating later this month, 9 Honors students, and 2 CHL Scholars. Of the final projects, 6 of them took place internationally and among the proposals, 3 are developing global health projects.
Please join us for our Fall 2015 Undergraduate Summit.
The Spring OPHS Undergraduate Summit was held in the BioMedical Sciences Building D-Courtyard on Thursday, April 30th 2015. This semester, 19 students presented posters of their Applied Learning Experience (APLE) project proposals as part of their undergraduate capstone experience. Of the students who presented, 7 are in the UH Manoa Honors program and 2 are CHL Scholars. Project topics ranged from reducing Native Hawaiian cancer disparities to improving prenatal health outcomes.