Master of Public Health students present capstone projects

Fifteen students in the Central New York Master of Public Health degree program last week presented their in-depth capstone projects, a requirement for the MPH degree.


CNYMPH student Molly Furey gives her capstone presentation. Photo by Richard Whelsky.

Topics covered a wide range of public health issues, including nutrition, perinatal health, sexual behaviors, depression screening, tobacco and alcohol policies.

The CNYMPH capstone projects, as well as student field placements, help community agencies address critical public health issues and provide students with relevant experience and skills. The students’ work may lead to program development, further research or new policies at those agencies and organizations.

Students presenting were: Kadee Busse; Kristi Drake; Jena Fellenzer; Molly Furey; Ian Grant; Mohammad Iqbal; Jessica Jensen; Megan Lee; Matthew MacDougall; Justin Marchesani; Leah Moser; Michelle Phillips; Emilija Postolovska, Evan Sherman and Dorothy Shuldman.

Here’s a sampling of the findings and proposals they shared during their presentations:

  • While early prenatal care is important for healthy babies, intervention before conception is crucial. Involving the male partner in prenatal education and care is beneficial.
  • A proposed policy would require drug screening for all pregnant women in Onondaga County, which has the state’s highest newborn drug-related discharge rate.
  • In cooperation with a family health center, a grocery store on Syracuse’s Near Westside will provide incentives for customers to make healthier food purchases via a planned “healthy shopper” rewards program.
  • The percentage of overweight students in Syracuse City Schools is less than the state average, but the percentage of students with asthma is slightly higher.
  • A proposed perinatal “risk score” model would identify Syracuse women at risk for poor birth outcomes, and match them with an appropriate level of services.
  • Upstate Medical University CNYMPH

    CNYMPH student Evan Sherman gives his capstone presentation. Photo by Richard Whelsky.

    A proposed tobacco-free policy at Syracuse University takes the big picture approach by promoting respect for the environment as well as respect for others.

  • Child abuse policies in the U.S. are largely reactive, but New York’s Child Abuse Medical Provider (CHAMP) program is educating a growing number of health care providers about managing suspected child abuse.
  • Women who have had sex before age 15 are more likely to show signs of depression as adults.
  • Food pantries in Syracuse are strategically located in neighborhoods at high risk for diabetes and offer healthier food choices for nearby residents.
  • Many people with poor oral care have less than a high school education, and prefer verbal advice and instructions instead of pamphlets.
  • Depression screening should be used in prenatal and contraceptive care, and should be available to all women — especially those identified as high-risk.
  • Ninety percent of rural women in Haiti give birth at home; a proposal would train community health nurses to manage prenatal care and post-partum bleeding, and to administer oral medication.
  • A proposed nutrition intervention program at St. Joseph’s Hospital took into account the specific needs of the workforce as well as the feasibility of its objectives.
  • A plan to improve student vaccination compliance at Syracuse University would help generate accurate reports for the state as well as increase protection against the spread of measles, mumps and rubella.
  • With visits to Syracuse emergency rooms on the rise, encouraging patients to go elsewhere for routine care – combined with incentives to physicians to offer expanded hours – could save up to $11 million.

                                                                     – with additional reporting by Kristin Thompson.

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