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Drexel UHC Announces 2018 Applied Practical Experience Grant Recipients

Student working on computer

June 25, 2018

The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative is excited to announce the recipients of the 2018 funded Applied Practical Experience grants, supporting practical experience in urban health. This year, four Dornsife School of Public Health students received funding from the Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) to work on projects spanning issues including homelessness in young children; measuring food access as part of a food equity pilot study; identifying protocol for serving Hurricane Maria evacuees; and more. Represented on this year’s list of partners are the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center, Philadelphia Prevention Partners, Management and Environmental Technologies Inc., and the People's Emergency Center.

“The Applied Practical Experience funding provides students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a community partner, focused on urban health,” said Jennifer Kolker, MPH, associate dean for public health practice and associate clinical professor in Health Management an Policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health. Kolker co-leads the Policy and Community Engagement Core of the Drexel UHC with Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in Community Health and Prevention.

The Drexel UHC received nearly 10 proposals for consideration during its application period, conducted over two weeks in March and again in May. The proposals were reviewed by a panel of faculty and staff members who weighed the learning value of the project and the student’s interest in urban health, as evidenced by the student proposed project and letter of interest.

First year master's of public health students in the Dornsife School of Public Health can apply for one of four Drexel UHC-funded Depth Experience grants; a call for applications will be announced in Spring 2019.

Since 2016, the Drexel UHC has funded 12 projects with over 10 sponsoring organizations. Interested organizations should contact the Drexel UHC to learn more about opportunities to partner on student projects or data needs.

Anne Golden, MPH ‘19, will work with the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to coordinate the Food Equity Pilot Study. The Food Equity Pilot Study will assess food access and availability within the city of Philadelphia. This study test a linear measurement tool, measuring the linear feet of "healthy" and "unhealthy" food items stocked in Philadelphia corner stores. This is the Department’s largest pilot study yet, measuring over 100 stores. Locations will be randomly sampled and represent both high-income and low-income communities. Golden’s role will include: creating training materials and coordinating with volunteers; completing store measurements; compiling and analyzing data under the supervision of members of the data and evaluation team; summarizing data; and presenting findings to the data and evaluation team.

Paola Maysonet, MPH ‘19, will work with Philadelphia Prevention Partnership, a coalition of organizations that advocates building relationships to understand local systemic issues. Maysonet is creating a culturally-tailored interview guide that inquiries upon organizations’ protocol for serving Puerto Rican evacuees displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, perceptions of the challenges, successes and further needs. Interviews will be conducted amongst grassroots, non-profit and city government sectors of Philadelphia. Project findings will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders to understand the city’s approach in reaching and serving this population.

Vaibhavi Mone, MPH ‘19, will working with Management and Environmental Technologies Inc. (MET) on their METWorks Summer Program, a part of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program. Mone has a dual role in this program. First, she will refine and teach public health-related contextual learning experience curriculum to about 100 West Philadelphia youth, ages 14 to 18. Second, she will evaluate the overall impact of the program on youth participants. Mone will work closely with METWorks staff to incorporate evidence-based improvements and develop an evaluation toolkit for MET to be able to independently collect and summarize data in future summers. This curriculum and training is a way to empower youth to understand and improve health in their own neighborhoods.

Ornella Pitah, MPH ‘19, will work at the Department of Advocacy and Policy of the People Emergency Center, a nonprofit community development agency providing comprehensive homeless services. Pitah is developing research as part of the advocacy strategy for the Yay Babies Campaign to raise awareness of infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness among city, state and federal policymakers. Part of the advocacy strategy is to develop a literature review and policy briefs called “Brain Gain.” The briefs will inform policymakers on decisions concerning services to homeless children ages 0-3 and the adverse health outcomes of experiencing homelessness. Additionally, Pitah will engaging diverse stakeholder to build consensus in Children’s Work Group and FSPN on needed services for children ages 0-3 who are residing in emergency/transitional housing.