Master of Public Health Degree Candidates Present Final Projects

April 26, 2023 by

PHS Student Poster Session 2023

Public Health Science Master of Public Health Degree Candidates 2023. (Photo by Tom Daly)

From examining clinical outcomes in the hospital to exploring the social determinants of health in the community, more than 30 graduating MPH Students showcased their analysis and recommendations to improve Health Outcomes and Health Equity at the PHS Poster Day this week.

“This was an exciting moment to see the students come together to learn from each other and to present the results of our hard work in the MPH Program,” said graduating MPH student, Leya Salis, whose project focused on risk factors and susceptibility patterns for coagulase-negative staphylococcus in the neonatal intensive care unit. Our projects are a culmination of the knowledge and skills we have gained, especially data analysis and working with partners such as physicians in the health system, public health professionals at Virginia Department of Health, and others.”

MPH student Leo Wackler examined residential segregation in Washington, DC using school segregation data. Noting that segregation is associated with numerous detrimental health outcomes, Leo explained, “I applied my learning of SAS data analysis, ethics and policy, ArcGIS, and more to estimate residential segregation with timely annual school demographics as a way to improve health equity.”

Another student, Eleah Parker, utilized logistic regression models to rethink the use of doulas and midwives in comparison to traditional physician services to decrease maternal morbidity. “It was a great learning experience using the dataset from the National Vital Statistics System through the National Bureau of Economic Research. One of the ways we can improve outcomes for black patients would be to increase access to culturally congruent doula services,” said Eleah.

In the Global Health field, Lana Homola explored the response to global waterborne disease risks through point-of-use water treatment in Limpopo, South Africa. “I was interested in, and appreciative of, being able to collect this data in hands-on engagement with the environmental engineering lab, which as an MPH student, was possible because of the inter-disciplinary nature of the MPH program. I was drawn to the topic in part through the school’s existing partnerships and ongoing projects in Limpopo,” said Lana.

All MPH students complete a final project known as an Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) that demonstrates synthesis of MPH knowledge and skills developed over a 42-credit hour curriculum. Students select an ILE topic in consultation with an MPH Program Faculty advisor appropriate to their educational and professional goals, based on their Program Concentration. The student may choose one of a variety of methodologies such as economic analysis, policy analysis, geospatial/GIS analysis, program evaluation, health care quality assessment, qualitative analysis, health impact analysis, and quantitative analysis.

In the Research in Practice Concentration, students develop the knowledge and skills public health professionals and clinicians use to conduct research and create and evaluate programs. Students can choose to focus on quantitative and qualitative methods.

In the Health Policy, Law & Ethics Concentration, students explore the US healthcare and public health systems by developing and analyzing health-related policies and laws. Students utilize numerous methodological approaches, including quantitative, qualitative, economic, evaluation, and ethical analysis.
UVA MPH graduates are employed in consulting firms; health departments and other local, state, and federal agencies; health care delivery systems; and nonprofit community agencies. Some students pursue further education in medicine, law, business, or doctoral training in public health.

Photos by Tom Daly.

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