Thursday, April 21, 2011

LRU Students to Present Posters on Public Health Preparedness

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Master of Public Health program and the Solmaz Institute for Obesity at L-R will host a joint poster session on Thursday, April 28 at 3:00 p.m. in the McCrorie Center on campus. The poster presentations will be followed by an open house at the Solmaz Institute, also in the McCrorie Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to see the new facility prior to the Institute’s grand opening in the fall.  Both events are open to the public.

The Master of Public Health graduate program began at Lenoir-Rhyne in August 2010.  This first group of students will be presenting their final Environmental Health risk assessment poster presentations focused on public health preparedness.  In light of such disasters as the radiation emergency in Japan, the Malaria outbreak in Haiti, the BP oil spill, the Katrina aftermath, H1N1, SARS, and September 11, emergency preparedness has become an important public health priority.  Student posters will share a statement of the risk or hazard being invested, a discussion of the legal, political, and social issues affecting the problem; strategies for addressing the problem; an assessment of how the hazard is currently being addressed in a local context; gaps in current practice; and recommendations for the future. 

Topics being explored include tornado safety for a long term care facility for older adults, emergency preparedness during a hurricane for Catawba County’s homeless population, needle safety for clinicians at a local hospital, mental health preparedness for both children and adults during emergencies, radiation as a threat to food security, preparedness for patients with Type 2 diabetes, and chemical spill safety at a local factory.

On behalf of the Solmaz Institute for Obesity, undergraduate sports nutrition students will present their final poster presentations on sports specific nutrition recommendations for the following L-R sports teams:  men and women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, men and women’s tennis, baseball, softball and women’s basketball.  Posters will focus on the nutritional needs of collegiate athletes specific to their sport.  Information will include dietary needs for daily intake, pre-performance, during performance, and post performance.  Hydration and ergogenic aids will also be highlighted.

This event is the first of many which will reflect the important relationship being established between the Dietetic Internship and Master of Public Health programs.  Collaboration between these two programs symbolizes an understanding of the importance of obesity prevention not only for individual health but also the greater public health infrastructure. 

Obesity is one of the three factors (physical activity and smoking being the other two) driving the prevalence of four chronic diseases that account for 50% of all mortality (Healthy People, 2011).  To address the myriad of factors which lead to obesity takes a systems approach that considers not only individual behavior, but also the environment, social determinants, genetics, and health policy.  These factors are addressed in both the Dietetic Internship and Master of Public Health Program.