More than 30 graduate and undergraduate GSPH students participated in SDSU’s Student Research Symposium (SRS) on March 4th and 5th on campus. SRS provides an opportunity for SDSU students to showcase their research in either an oral or poster presentation.
This year, 1 undergraduate and 2 graduate GSPH students received awards. Emily Seymour, a MPH student in Health Management and Policy, was the recipient of the College of Health and Human Services Dean’s award for her culminating experience research project. Emily evaluated the wellness program and employee participation at her worksite, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. She analyzed data from multiple existing databases and also collected and analyzed primary survey data to assess program success, and make recommendations for improving the wellness program. Associate Professor Dr. Tracy Finlayson was her faculty advisor for the project.
The undergraduate College of Health and Human Service’s Dean award was received by Ally Lu for her research with Dr. Finlayson. Ally was supported by SDSU’s 2015 Undergraduate Summer Research Program and presented part of the findings from a larger oral health needs assessment with underserved seniors at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center. Her SRS study focused on assessing the seniors’ barriers to utilization of dental services.
Marisa Alvarez, a graduate student in the Joint MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science and MA in Latin American Studies was the recipient of the Provost’s award for her research on Herbal Healing: The comparison of medicinal plant and pharmacy medication preference in two communities of La Libertad, Peru. Marisa conducted her research in La Libertad, Peru in the summer of 2015 with funding from the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) program. Her thesis will support ongoing local research to integrate traditional medicine practices with the current Peruvian medical system.
In addition, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Health and Human Services and GSPH Professor Guadalupe X. Ayala gave the keynote address. In her address, Dr. Ayala introduced the audience to a behavioral scientist’s approach to reducing Latino health disparities. She commented on the importance of growing up in Imperial County and how it shaped her worldview and her approach to public health research. She charged audience members to set a behavioral goal for themselves and to identify ways in which they can create more socially and physically supportive environments.