Darrouzet-Nardi Publishes Paper in Food Policy Journal

Assistant Professor of Global Health Studies Amelia Darrouzet-Nardi published a paper, “Child dietary quality in rural Nepal: Effectiveness of a community-level development intervention,” in the May 2016 issue of the journal Food Policy.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Student/Faculty Research Published in Open Journal of Emergency Medicine

A paper by Matthew Zaborowski ’17 and Assistant Professor of Global Health Studies and Biology Rebecca Dawson, “Emergency Department Admissions for Dental & Oral Health Concerns in Rural Northwestern Pennsylvania,” was published in the latest issue (Vol. 4, No. 1, 2016) of the Open Journal of Emergency Medicine​.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Junior, Pittsburgh Native Earns Prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Internship

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March 16, 2016 – Allegheny College junior Angelina Winbush of Pittsburgh has been awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP) internship for summer 2016.

The award will allow Winbush, a global health studies major and biology minor, to spend 10 weeks doing full-time research in the lab of an HHMI scientist. It also provides a $5,000 award, participation in a local summer research program with other undergraduate researchers, and long-distance travel and housing arranged and paid for by HHMI.

This is the second time that an Allegheny College student has received an EXROP award. Erin Brown, a physics and mathematics double major who graduated from Allegheny in 2015, was awarded an EXROP internship to work at the Salk Institute for Biological Science during summer 2013 and did research at the Salk Institute as an EXROP summer capstone student scholar during summer 2014.

Winbush will be placed in the lab of Matt Waldor, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and faculty member at Harvard School of Medicine. Dr. Waldor and his team conduct research on infectious diseases.

“I decided to apply for EXROP because I wanted to gain additional research experience to supplement the clinical opportunities I’ve had,” Winbush says. “I plan on pursuing an M.D./MPH and hope to integrate research into my future career as a pediatrician. I am looking forward to learning with new research techniques as well as exploring the infectious diseases challenges at the forefront of public health today in Dr. Waldor’s laboratory.”

“Angelina is well positioned for this research position at Harvard through HHMI; she is an incredibly talented researcher and dedicated learner,” says Caryl E. Waggett, Ph.D., chair of global health studies and associate professor of environmental science at Allegheny. “Her training in global health studies has provided her with the theoretical framework necessary to align her research with her passion for improving access to preventative health strategies for high-risk populations. This summer research will allow her to refine her analytical skills while maintaining connections through Allegheny’s local and global programming to the populations and individuals who are most affected.”

At Allegheny, Winbush conducted summer research in the Department of Global Health Studies alongside Waggett. Winbush helped to evaluate the health status and needs of students at two low-income elementary schools in order to make recommendations for new and current wellness programs. She and three other students also have had a poster presentation accepted at the fifth annual Public and Global Health Education Summit in Washington, D.C.

Winbush serves as a health coach with Allegheny College and the Community Care Network in Meadville; education chair for the college’s Honor Committee; and resident adviser with the college’s Office of Residence Life.

In addition, she is a delegate to the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which allowed her to travel to Warsaw, Poland, in 2013 and Cape Town, South Africa, in 2014. She also is a Youth Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State’s Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program.

The EXROP Program links the resources of HHMI’s Science and Science Education departments to provide outstanding summer research experiences to bright, motivated undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds and groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. HHMI continues to work with EXROP students after their summer study programs to encourage them to pursue careers in academic science.

Each year, approximately 125 scientists volunteer to mentor EXROP students in their labs during the summer. In addition to doing laboratory research, the students attend two meetings at HHMI’s headquarters in Chevy Chase, Md., to present their research in a poster session.

Since EXROP’s inception in 2003, 798 undergraduates from 160 colleges and universities have been matched with 214 HHMI investigators, professors, group leaders and early career scientists.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

National Organization Honors Professor E. Lee Coates With Career Achievement Award

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Dec. 7, 2015 – The Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, an organization that is part of the Society for Neuroscience, has honored Allegheny College professor E. Lee Coates with its Career Achievement Award.

The presentation took place in Chicago during the group’s annual meeting in October. Two Allegheny alumnae, Amy Jo Stavnezer, the academic organization’s incoming president, and outgoing president Lisa Gabel presented Coates with the award.

One of the organization’s highest honors, the Career Achievement Award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to undergraduate neuroscience education and research. Coates, who has been at Allegheny since 1992, teaches in the biology department and in the neuroscience and global health studies programs.

“Lee is an accomplished teacher and scholar,” said Gabel. “His former students describe him as an exceptional mentor and friend. His impact on their careers is felt long after they have left the halls of the biology and neuroscience departments at Allegheny College.”

Coates is the project director of a $1.5 million undergraduate science education grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to build a global health program at Allegheny College. The grant supports the establishment of an interdisciplinary major, creation of two tenure-track faculty positions, resources for faculty and curriculum development, collaborative research opportunities for students on and off campus, and opportunities for students to engage in health-related study experiences both abroad and in the United States.

He was also the director of a $400,000 W.M. Keck Foundation grant titled “Ways of knowing and habits of mind: Exploring the intersection between neuroscience and the humanities.” The grant funded the development of four interdisciplinary courses at Allegheny College: “Neuroscience and Dance Movement,” “Neuroscience of the Visual Arts,” “Mind and Brain” and “History of Neuroscience.”

Additionally, Coates has been awarded more than $98,000 by the National Institutes of Health and $82,000 by the National Science Foundation to fund his research on nasal CO2 receptors and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“I was surprised and honored to receive the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Career Achievement Award and humbled to be in the company of past recipients,” said Coates. “While the award was given to me, in part, for my role in the development of the neuroscience program and interdisciplinary neuroscience and humanities courses, my Allegheny neuroscience colleagues should share this recognition with me as I couldn’t have developed these programs without them.”

“I am also honored to be recognized for my teaching and mentoring of neuroscience students, although the real reward is following the careers and achievements of our neuroscience graduates,” said Coates. “I enjoy keeping in contact with the graduates and seeing many of our neuroscience alumni at the yearly Society for Neuroscience meeting. Based on the success of our graduates it appears that we have developed a first-rate undergraduate neuroscience program that prepares students well for life after Allegheny.”

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Students and Faculty Present Poster at American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting

Garrett Devenney ’16, Erica Bryson ’15, and Assistant Professor of Global Health Studies and Biology Becky Dawson presented the lessons learned from their community-based participatory research project at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting November 3 in Chicago. Their poster highlighted the Community Health Needs Assessment Project, which is being conducted in collaboration with the Meadville Medical Center.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Spending a Year in the ‘City’

By Lauren Dominique ’16

Allegheny graduate Austin Cosgrove ’15 thought he was destined for medical school following Commencement in May. Instead, he finds himself helping to mentor high school students in Boston.

Cosgrove, a biochemistry major and Global Health Studies minor, started his unexpected journey in August with a service group called City Year.

Austin Cosgrove '15.

Austin Cosgrove ’15.

“Up until midway through junior year, my plan was to go to medical school,” says Cosgrove, “but after a few fantastic global health courses and an amazing research internship with Dr. (Becky) Dawson, my interest in medicine shifted to that of public health. I chose to do City Year because I thought it would be a wonderful transition into further public health schooling and career choices.”

City Year, a non-profit program sponsored by AmeriCorps, has become a popular destination for Allegheny students after graduation.

City Year is a compensated service program geared toward the betterment of children’s experience in high-need and inner-city schools throughout the United States. City Year employees, all between 18 and 24 years old, create a “near-peer relationship” that allows for them “to serve as positive role models who have the ability to encourage students to stay on the right track toward their high school graduation,” says Todd Marsh, a  City Year regional recruitment manager.

In spending 11 months with a team stationed in one of 27 cities nationwide, City Year representatives work with third- through ninth-grade students, focusing on “one-on-one and group tutoring, behavioral coaching, and positive school culture programming,” all with the objective of improving the school and community as a whole, says Marsh.

Allegheny College has quickly become a steady source of City Year representatives. For colleges of fewer than 5,000 students, Allegheny ranks No. 4 in the number of graduates who go on to serve at City Year.  For the 2015-16 academic year, 12 Allegheny alumni are involved with City Year, nine of whom are graduates of the Bicentennial Class of 2015.

Cosgrove attributes much of his success in this program to his time at Allegheny: “There’s a reason Allegheny is in the top tier for sending students into service organizations following graduation. At City Year, we act as a support system in the school for the teachers, faculty, and, most importantly, the students. In providing students in urban school settings the extra individual attention and support they need, we work to end the nation’s dropout crisis and prepare our students to be college and career ready. My time at Allegheny has instilled within me a determined, diligent work ethic to keep me motivated throughout this upcoming year, a strong education for which I am grateful, and a duty to give back and serve.”

When asked if City Year is an experience he would recommend to current Allegheny students, Cosgrove responded enthusiastically: “I would certainly encourage any and all interested Allegheny students to apply to the program! Moving into Boston, a brand new city for me, and living on a stipend to serve 11 months in an urban public school setting isn’t exactly my ‘comfort zone,’ but I had enough confidence in myself to take on this challenge because of my Allegheny experience.”

Allegheny students learn about careers, graduate school options and service opportunities through the Allegheny Gateway. Go to: sites.allegheny.edu/gateway/

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Researchers Present Work at Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmental Science and Studies

Eric Pallant, Christine Scott Nelson Endowed Professor of Environmental Sustainability, presented “How to Save 10% on the All-College Electric Bill” at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmental Science and Studies. The paper discussed the success of the October Energy Challenge and was written in conjunction with Beth Choate (Assistant Professor of Environmental Science), Kelly Boulton (Allegheny College Sustainability Coordinator), Casey Bradshaw-Wilson (Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Science), and Ian Carbone (Assistant Professor of Environmental Science). Professor Choate presented “Why Banning Bottled Water Doesn’t Solve the Problem,” which was written in conjunction with Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Brittany Davis, Jacqueline Verrechia ’17, Kelly Boulton, and Professors Wilson, Pallant, and Carbone. The paper examined use of bottled water by students on the Allegheny campus, which was assessed by Professors Choate and Davis’s Spring 2014 section of ES 210: Environmental Science Research Methods. Professors Pallant, Choate, Davis, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Global Health Studies Caryl Waggett, Professor Bradshaw-Wilson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Ben Haywood, and Professor of Environmental Science Richard Bowden presented the poster “Teaching Environmental Research by Doing It in an Entry-Level Course,” which describes the course “Environmental Research Methods.” Sadie Stuart ’15 and Professor Bowden presented the poster “The Carbon Athletic Conference,” which described Sadie’s senior thesis quantifying social, economic, and environmental costs of participation by the Allegheny softball team in the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Matt Zaborowski ’17 Attends Dental School Program

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The desire to pursue a career in the dental field has been a lifelong goal for pre-dental student Matt Zaborowski ’17. The global health studies major and biology minor attended the 2015 Discover Dental School Program held at Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine located in Long Island, NY. Sixty undergraduate students from 50+ universities from the United States and Canada participated in this event from August 2 -7, 2015.

This week long program, in its third year, is designed to give pre-dental students hands on experience in the growing profession of dentistry, including exposure to simulated patient interactions, operative techniques as well as exposure to the most innovative technologies of the profession and corresponding specialties.

Zaborowski recounts his experience where he states, “During the week I performed activities (on simulators) that 3rd and 4th year dental students learn about. I performed a pulpectomy (root canal), crown preparation, repairing and restoring cavities, placing implants, administering Novocain, and inserting an IV. We then had a day where we participated in a specialty boot camp that included orthodontic work, such as placing orthodontic brackets; periodontal procedures; endodontics, and oral surgery.”

When asked what his favorite part of this program was, Zaborowski couldn’t come up with a single answer. He notes, “Everything we did that week was incredible. I can still feel the drill in my hand, and can’t wait to use it in clinical practice.”

For Zaborowski, the Discover Dental School Program was an opportunity that he will never forget. He says, “This program was an amazing hands-on experience that was more than I could have ever imagined and has solidified my aspirations to pursue a career in the dental field.”

Zaborowski adds, “I would like to thank Kirsten Peterson for informing me of this wonderful
program and aiding in my acceptance to attend this event. I would also like to thank the Global Health Studies (GHS) Department faculty, especially Professors Dawson and Waggett, for encouraging me to attend.”

Students interested in careers in the health professions and in this and other experiential learning opportunities may contact Director of Pre-Professional Studies Kirsten Peterson at kpeterson@allegheny.edu.

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Allegheny College student Matt Zaborowski with his typodont placed two braces on the upper front teeth.

 

Public Health Advanced Summer Education (PHASE): Brianna Cusanno

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This past summer I was lucky enough to participate in Public Health Advanced Summer Education (PHASE), one of two summer public health intern programs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. As one of eighteen students selected for this nationally competitive program, I was able to work as a research assistant to medical school faculty member Dr. Mary Politi. Dr. Politi’s research focuses on ways to enhance shared and informed decision-making for patients within clinical encounters.

The main project I assisted with was an effort to design an online tool for Missourians enrolling in health insurance on the Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. A large portion of these individuals have never had health insurance before, and Dr. Politi’s research has shown that many are not familiar with basic health insurance terms. These terms can be incredibly confusing; I certainly didn’t understand the majority of them before I started on the project. People who do not understand the terminology can quickly become overwhelmed and may make choices that don’t align well with their needs and values. Lack of knowledge may even prevent some from enrolling altogether. The evidence-based tool Dr. Politi is working on will include educational modules, as well as questions where participants rank their preferences to determine what matters most to them in choosing insurance. The tool is just being finished up now, and will be tested in a large randomized control trial this fall.

I was able to perform a wide variety of tasks so that I could really get a feel for the different types of work involved in public health research. I designed handouts for study participants, researched survey instruments, contributed to the development and layout of survey questions for the trial, and participated in all meetings related to the main project. I also assisted with several other projects Dr. Politi has been working on. I learned to code qualitative data with a software called NVivo. I also performed background research for a new project Dr. Politi was just getting off the ground, and helped to write an IRB proposal. I even helped to write and edit a piece that appeared on the news website The Conversation, and a paper that the team is now submitting to journals, so I’m getting published as a co-author!
While all of this was amazing, the best part of my PHASE experience was without a doubt the people I was able to meet and get to know. The other PHASE fellows are students at different levels (undergrad, masters, and medical) from all around the world. We had citizens from Nigeria, Gambia, Ethiopia, Columbia, Syria, Lebanon, China, and more participating. As a global health student, it was incredible to be surrounded by talented people from all over the world who are committed to advancing public health and health equity. Additionally, as part of our program we had lectures and seminars lead by incredible researchers. I learned about topics I’ve never even heard of (like the human virome, look it up, its cool) from pioneers in their fields. I learned about the process of submitting manuscripts for publication from a researcher who has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and other renowned journals. And I learned about public health policy from a doctor who has spearheaded initiatives with the Gates Foundation and previously served as the minister of health of Columbia. Furthermore, the guidance Dr. Politi gave me about my career and goals was invaluable.
Additionally, all of the PHASE fellows were required to complete independent research projects. I chose to research how the incorporation of narrative stories into decision support tools for patients may affect decision-making. More specifically, I looked at how key stakeholders had responded to narratives about individuals buying health insurance (created by the research team) during an earlier qualitative study led by Dr. Politi. I’m hoping to present my research as a poster at a conference this Spring.
I am incredibly thankful to have had this opportunity, and I hope other Allegheny students will consider applying themselves. If anyone is interested in learning more about what I did over the summer, myself and other interns blogged about our experiences here.
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UPMC Hamot Infection Control Department: Allison Landowski

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My summer in 2015 involved ten weeks of interning with UPMC Hamot’s Infection Control Department.  I was granted this experience through the HHMI funding through Allegheny College’s Global Health Department.  During my ten weeks of working there, I was able to do many different things involving collecting surveillance data on infectious diseases that came into the hospital and focusing on patient safety in regards to preventing the spread of infections.

The experience taught me the detailed work of infection control and epidemiology in a hospital setting, and how involved infection control actually is with every aspect of hospital work.  I was able to help by doing different audits to make sure that good hygiene practices were being followed by all health care staff members, and then I recorded my data in the infection control database. I was also able to collect data, analyze it, and through different results encourage health care workers to change or modify their behaviors to help keep the hospital a safe place.  It was an amazing experience, and it solidified that I want to continue on after Allegheny in the public health field of epidemiology.

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