MPH Panama Practicum 2012: 24 de Diciembre Centro de Salud Group Blog

July 11, 2012
Author: Panama Practicum Group

As we recover from our last 5:45am wakeup for data collection, the clinic group is getting excited about analyzing the survey responses that we have collected. During that past week and a half, we have gathered over 200 data points from women in the waiting room of the 24 de Diciembre Centro de Salud. Our questionnaire consists of 14 categorical questions related to demographics, health concerns,
healthcare service impressions, transportation, and contraceptive use. Our initial research questions were focused on maternal and child health but after speaking with nurses, the clinic’s pharmacist, and
school children receiving routine HPV and flu vaccinations, our personal deliverables have started taking different shapes.

Rachel Adams who is in the a biostatistics/epidemiology track will be working on an analysis report examining the relationship between education level, the, number of children women have, and their uses of contraceptives. She is still in the process of formatting her report and will have
more updates once the data is unblinded.

Stephanie Be who is in the a health communications track was moved by the lack of knowledge regarding the Human Papillloma Virus among the 10-12 year old girls receiving the vaccine at a local elementary school. She is currently producing a fact card for 5th and 6th grade children about
HPV. She hopes to complete this project before departing and intends to leave it with our elementary school collaborators.

Jenny Nguyen who is in the a global health and leadership track has developed a poster for the clinic talking about contraceptive and sexually transmitted diseases. She was very surprised by the lack of information on STDs at the clinic. She hopes that her work will be useful for the patients in the clinic as well as the community.

Maurice Jackson who is in the biostatistics/epidemiology track will focus on creating a health promotional printout in the clinic that focuses on overall health improvement and prevention. The information will include morbidity and mortality statistics that pertain to Panama and also the 24 de Diciembre community. Ideally, the information will give patients tips on healthy dieting, exercising, and health prevention. The long term goal is for the handout to be updated and/or changed every month. He surveyed patients in the waiting area. He first asked what types of health messages would they like to see promoted by the clinic. He then inquired whether they preferred those messages on printed materials or on one of the clinic’s television screens. Although he would eventually like to see the clinic incorporate some messages on their television monitors, he believes it would be easier to start with printed materials. It would be interesting to see if the materials are strong enough to help change patient’s health perspectives and behaviors.

More about the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of 15 University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The students have been divided into three groups to work on maternal and child health, vaccination, environmental infectious diseases, nutrition and physical activity.

One group will be surveying patients about the healthcare system at a local clinic and proposing interventions to improve vaccination, infant development and women’s health. Another group will be in the field responding to outbreaks of environmentally spread infectious diseases and working to control common vectors such as mosquitoes. The last group will be calculating body mass index measurements for elementary school students and developing methods to improve nutrition and exercise within the school.

During their trip, the students will also be attending lectures on Panama’s healthcare system and statistics as well as visiting a remote indigenous tribe. Before leaving Panama, each student will be providing a deliverable that is intended to improve health in Panama.

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