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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Maryland Students from Two Campuses Recognized for Outstanding Research

Twelve students from the University of Maryland School of Public Health and one from the University of Maryland School of Nursing were recognized with awards for their outstanding research poster presentations at the fifth annual Public Health Research@ Maryland day, held on April 6 at the University of Maryland, College Park. The robust poster competition featured 128 research posters, representing researchers from more than 12 universities, with a majority of posters reflecting multidisciplinary research collaborations that were presented by students.

Public Health Research@Maryland is co-sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Public Health (in College Park) and the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (in Baltimore), with support from the University of Maryland: MPowering the State initiative. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health, and Delta Omega were also co-sponsors of this year’s event, which was attended by more than 400 participants, including faculty and staff from many universities in the region, as well as representatives of county, state and federal health agencies, private research and consulting organizations, non-profit organizations and corporate entities.

Poster judges came from academia and public health research, service and regulatory agencies, including faculty and officers from the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Westat, USAID and multiple agencies from the Department of Health and Human Services (including HRSA and FDA).

First prize awards:

Ms. Dina Huang
UMD School of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Doctoral student
Title: Outdoor and Indoor Play Predictors in Washington DC Metropolitan Children
This research examines demographics as predictors of children’s physical activity.

Ms. Melissa DeSantiago
UMD School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences MPH student
Title: Bridging the Gap: Raising Environmental Health Awareness Among Spanish-Speaking Childcare Providers to Reduce Children’s Exposures to Indoor Environmental Contaminants in Child Care Settings
This study fosters awareness of environmental hazards in childcare settings, particularly in low-income, Spanish-speaking communities. The project supports the expansion of Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC), a training program to Spanish-speaking child care professionals.

Mr. Corey Michelson
UMD School of Public Health, Kinesiology Bachelor of Science student
Title: The Effects of Acute Exercise on Executive Function in Older Adults
The study examines the protective effects of exercise on cognitive decreases associated with aging, as well as exercise’s potential to enhance cognitive performance and executive functions.

Honorable Mentions:

Ms. Zahra Saboori
UMD School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral and Community Health
Title: An Assessment of Attitudes and Beliefs Towards Community Health Worker Intervention Models at a Rural Health Clinic in Southern Maryland
The objective of this study is to determine the feasibility of implementing a community health worker intervention model at a rural health clinic in Charles, County, Maryland.

Ms. Ashley Pantaleao
UMD School of Public Health, Department of Family Science Doctoral student
Title: Couples’ Shared Risk Factors of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Health Outcomes: Abused Women’s Perspectives
The objective of this study was to extend our understanding of couple-based risk factors and the relational and social contexts that contribute to increasing women’s risk for intimate partner violence (IPV) and STI/HIV infection in steady partnerships.

Ms. Priscilla Novak
UMD School of Public Health, Department of Health Services Administration Doctoral student
Title: Antidepressant use and costs among low-education and low income people with serious psychological distress 2008-2014
The goal of this study is to assess the likelihood of purchasing antidepressants, number of antidepressants purchased, and out-of-pocket (OOP) and total spending on antidepressants among people living with serious psychological distress (SPD) from 2008 through 2014.

Ms. Constance Raab
UMD School of Public Health, Departments of Behavioral and Community Health and Health Services Administration MPH student
Title: Pilot Testing a Patient/Family Advisory Process for Hospital Programs for Seniors
This project was anchored by the concept that patient and family engagement is a part of health care reform and by evidence that this engagement can improve health outcomes, quality, and safety and help contain or reduce health care costs.

Mr. Khondakar Bhaskhar
University of Maryland Baltimore School of Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader Program Masters student
Title: Factors Associated with Turnover in Long-term Care Workers
Employee turnover in long-term care settings is a common and critical problem. Higher turnover has been associated with numerous negative outcomes including but not limited to increased cost to facilities, decreased quality of patient care, and negative patient outcomes.

Ms. Elizabeth Bell
UMD School of Public Health, Department of Kinesiology Masters student
Title: Muscular Fatigue Influences Motor Synergies During Push-Ups
We investigated whether humans adjust individual limb forces (push-up synergies) as they reached volitional fatigue and evaluated the hypothesis that muscular fatigue influences synergistic actions between the forces produced at the hand contact points.

Ms. Rachel Knobel
UMD School of Public Health, Department of Kinesiology Bachelor of Science student
Title: Mechanisms of Increasing Running Speeds with Different Foot Strike Patterns
The research aim of this project is to better understand how humans accomplish the basic locomotor task of increasing their running speed from slow to fast while using different foot strike patterns.

Ms. Abigail Myers
UMD College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Biology Bachelor of Science student
Title: Process and Challenges of Needs Assessment in the Rural Community of Compone, Peru
Over the course of a week, the UMD Public Health Without Borders team conducted six community and four key informant interviews in Compone, Peru. Participants noted health concerns with depression, gastrointestinal illness, malnutrition, domestic abuse, alcoholism, diabetes, and women’s health.

Ms. Maria Ayoub
UMD School of Public Health, Department of Kinesiology Bachelor of Science student
Title: Changes in motor performance, mental workload, and self-efficacy as a function of the level of difficulty during learning a novel reaching task
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different levels of task difficulty on the cognitive-motor processes underlying the learning of a new sensorimotor mapping during a novel reaching task.

This theme of this year’s day-long conference, Action for Health Equity, focused on strategies to reduce health disparities and build a stronger movement for health equity, reinforcing themes widely considered during National Public Health Week.

Visit and for more information.

View photos from this year’s event:

View the day’s highlights on Storify: