Campus Focus on Health Care | Happy Fall...
Anticipating the holiday seasons—when we hopefully will be able to spend some wonderful time with friends and family—will get us through was is undoubtedly a stressful time of the semester. There are just a few more weeks of regular classes and then we move into finals.
This is a time for all members of the Moravian community to spend some extra time and attention on their physical and mental health as life with inexorably feel more stressful and demanding. A few tips for taking care of yourself were offered recently by Janna Hasbrouck CHC, AADP, health coach, during her recent visit to campus. Stay hydrated, eat breakfast (a piece of fruit and some nuts will suffice), always start with vegetables at every meal, and make sure to take a break and move—walking just 10 minutes can significantly improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress. So we should all promise to step back from our work and get outside for a walk. The colors are just stunning this time of year in the Lehigh Valley.
In this newsletter, we want to highlight very impressive work in health delivery by some of our students and research by our faculty. You will find an article on a service trip to Honduras by nursing students, as well as an internship experience at the Men’s Health Network in D.C. Following the old adage that health begins upstream, you will find an article about faculty and student research on water quality in the Lehigh Valley.
As lovely as the fall weather has been this year, recent history reminds us that the fall can bring extreme and unpredictable weather events such as last year’s super storm Sandy. We include a checklist for basic items every household can collect so that they are prepared for possible loss of power and transportation during an extreme weather event, items that can protect the health and well-being of household members.
And even though it is only November, we are already starting to think about the spring semester. Please read below for information about our spring Health Professions Career Fair. Mark your calendars now.
Dr. Virginia Adams O’Connell
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Dr. Kerry H. Cheever
Professor and Chairperson, Department of Nursing
Co-directors of the Health Care Center of Investigation
Nursing Students' 2013 Trip to Honduras
|Senior nursing major Adrienne O’Gara taking blood pressure
While InFocus has us thinking about health care in the US, Moravian College nursing students had the opportunity to experience global health outreach in Honduras, Central America this past May. This trip in May marks the 5th year the Moravian College nursing students have partnered with a local NGO, MAMA project (www.MAMAproject.org). MAMA has as its mission to be a network that promotes health and wholeness through partnerships at many levels. The website provides further information about the outreach and aftercare that are part of MAMA’s programs of aid to the malnourished, nutrition education, and empowerment of families to raise their own food.
|Dr. Marianne Adam, assistant professor, Nursing, with senior nursing major Katelyn Maula
It’s interesting to think about the differences between health issues and health care in the US and a developing country like Honduras. As we prepared for the trip, we learned that many of the initiatives to improve the health of rural Hondurans are related to the basics: housing, clean water, and sanitation. We learned about the health-wealth continuum and saw this disparity in each of the 4 remote villages we visited. The typical rural Honduran may only make about $5 US each day, and so there is little money to improve the dirt hut that many villagers live in when money must be used to buy food. These impoverished villages lack funding for water treatment and sanitation, and so community members are at risk for parasites, water borne illness, and malnutrition. During our medical brigade work we would screen for malnutrition, provide vitamin A and deworming interventions. Our ‘tuition’ for the trip included construction of 2 cement floors for the most needy families in each village. While we were there, MAMA project demonstrated a simple water filtration system and how to include essential micronutrients in the food preparation. We recognized that the health issues of Honduras are those of deficits (lack of proper housing, food, water, sanitation) while in the U.S. we are seeing health issues related to excess.
|Dr. Beth Gotwals (on left) with Dr. Marianne Adam (on right, back turned), both assistant professors, Nursing, at the Hemoglobin Screening Station
Nursing students were able to observe and assist Honduran health care professionals who accompanied us into rural Honduras. It was noted that for many, these twice yearly medical brigades were the only access to health care. Dental health was another issue which was addressed on the brigades. In a country of approximately 8 million people, there are 250,000 visits to the dentist. In most cases, dentists in the remote areas use extraction as the only recourse for dental decay. Students were able to take over 700 pounds of donated supplies to the villages, including: baby packs, school packs, dental supplies, clothing and toys.
Beth Gotwals, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing
Want to learn more? Contact Dr. Gotwals at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for Extreme Weather Events
October 29, 2011 and 2012 proved to be climactic nightmares. The rare October snowstorm that moved up the east coast in 2011, dubbed "snowtober" nor'easter, cut power to over three million people and left three dead. This storm was the second largest snow storm on record. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast. Sandy, dubbed "Frankenstorm," afflicted 24 states, left over 8.5 million people without power, caused over 65 billon dollars in damage, and left 162 people dead. These types of storms are predicted to occur more frequently as climate changes continue to occur. Much advanced warning was given for the approaching storms, but few people took these alerts seriously.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, works with other federal, state, tribal and local officials, the private sector, non-profits and faith-based groups, and the general public in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters whether natural or man-made. Despite the best efforts of these organizations, FEMA recognizes that a government-centric approach is not enough to meet the challenges posed by a catastrophic incident.
There is nothing we can do to prevent natural disasters from happening, but we can be better prepared for them when they do happen. There is an agreement among experts that individuals will require partial or complete self-sufficiency for at least the first 72 hours following a disaster. Considering the widespread environmental and weather hazards that we have experienced, the threat of pandemics, terroristic threats, and the growing population densities in urban areas, personal preparedness is essential.
The responsibility for being prepared for natural disasters begins with each individual member of the community. Individuals and families should prepare for the possibility of such events. Individuals can start by assembling emergency preparedness kits for all types of disasters and emergencies. (See the sidebar for list of items)
Families should also prearrange a designated meeting place in the event that they become separated. Become familiar with your work place or schools emergency preparedness plans as well. If your employer or school does not have an emergency preparedness plan in place encourage them and or work with them to initiate such a plan. Personal preparedness and heeding the advice of the local, state, and federal officials will help protect you and your loved ones from possible harm or even death.
FEMA stresses the following for individuals and families to remain safe during an emergency:
- Be informed: about local/community risks and community response systems and plans, and know what to do in an emergency (as learned through drills and training)
- Make a plan that maps out one’s household emergency plan and discuss it with others in one’s household
Build a kit of supplies set aside and maintained for use only in disasters. Remember - be prepared in the event of a disaster; you are in-charge of your own health and safety. For more information on disaster preparedness, see the adjoining “Health Care Resources” section in the right-hand column of this newsletter.
Donna Keeler, MSN, RN, CPAN
Instructor, Department of Nursing
Student Internship Spotlight | Trevor Glanville '13
I spent the summer of 2013 in the District of Columbia working as an intern/programs associate for Men’s Health Network, a non-profit organization, whose vision is to reduce the rates of premature mortality in men and boys.
I participated in many different projects. I had the opportunity to create three hundred questions for an iPhone application based around men’s health topics such as prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, diabetes, stroke, and myocardial infarction. Through this project, I got the experience of working on an interdisciplinary contract between professionals that represented public health, health sciences, computer technology, marketing, accounting and finances.
I was given the opportunity to fill in as spokesperson on an interim basis. I received numerous positive reviews from my first speaking engagement, which was a “lunch and learn” at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The Men’s Health Network then decided to keep me as the interim speaker for the summer, giving them the opportunity to take some more time to select a new Vice President and me more time to hone my public speaking skills. Speaking engagements would typically consist of delivering a one to two hour presentation on the contemporary state of men’s health today, identifying common men’s health disparities, and implementing primary prevention strategies. I would end these presentations with a question and answer period. Some of the venues for these speaking engagements included the TSA “Health by Choice” Health Fair, Prince George Community College, and the Corporation of National Community Service and Office of Government Ethics.
While working with Men’s Health Network, I also had the opportunity to be a part of planning and executing community health fairs at local churches and federal buildings, notably for the U.S. Congress and the Senate, specifically in Congress’s Rayburn Building and the Senate’s Hart Building.
This internship not only exposed me to many different perspectives of health care policy, it also was my first introduction to living on my own. Living in DC was an experience in itself. I spent the summer living by myself in a new environment, with the first opportunity to really budget for all of my living expenses and experience living solo. This internship exposed me to what post-Moravian College life in the DC area could be like. It has cemented my plans to pursue an independent study based upon studying men’s health topics for my final semester as an undergraduate student, and it has helped me mold my plans for my transition from college life to graduate life.
Trevor Glanville '13
Faculty Spotlight | Health Starts Upstream—Literally
The quality of a population’s water supply can significantly impact the health of the residents. Professor Frank Kuserk, the Louise E. Juley Professor of Biological Sciences and the Director of the Environmental Studies & Sciences Program at Moravian College knows this very well.
Among his many research projects, this past summer Dr. Kuserk worked with two SOAR students, Katy Blair '13 and Brett Rentzheimer '13 in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to 1) determine whether water quality in the Little Lehigh Creek and its tributaries were fit for recreational use; and 2) whether Pennsylvania should switch its standard for determining recreational water quality from the current fecal coliform standard to a more targeted Escherichia coli standard. Local officials have used the results of this work to identify ways to improve the local water quality—an example of the benefits that can result from fostering good relationships between academic communities and local government administrators.
Dr. Kuserk and his students presented the findings from this work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Ecological Society of America Mid-Atlantic Section meeting held at Delaware State University.
Community Service Opportunities
Students should contact Community Service to get involved in volunteer work in the community. Opportunities for students to volunteer at a food pantry, homeless shelter, local schools, and other community organizations are organized through the Center for Leadership and Service. To learn more, click here.