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Science and Health Communication Group Funds Three Research Projects

The Science and Health Communication Research group funded three research projects during the Spring 2011 semester. Each of these interdisciplinary projects focuses on a unique aspect of public health and communication research.

A Documentary Film about the Implementation of the Right Choice, Fresh Start Farmers' Market

Under the direction of Principal Investigator Dr. Heather Brandt, faculty, students and research assistants in the School of Public Health, College of Social Work and College of Arts and Sciences, will produce a documentary film that features the implementation of a farmers’ market. The interdisciplinary research team will conduct interviews, share personal stories, and document the Right Choice, Fresh Start Farmers’ Market which is designed to improve consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. The film will be presented to the Science and Health Communication Research Group at the end of the year. The CDC/NCI-funded Farmers’ Market was spearheaded by Dr. Darcy Freedman from the College of Social Work.

Pilot Testing a Spanish Language Computer/E-Health Literacy Curriculum

Alexis Koskan, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, will lead a team of investigators who will develop and pilot test a Spanish language computer literacy program that will teach limited English proficient Hispanics how to locate reliable health-related resources on the Internet. Although a majority (61%) of households in the United States search the Internet for health information, Latino immigrants least often have Internet technology within their homes, meaning the vast amount of free health information available online is inaccessible to them. The curriculum will undergo expert review and will be tested in West Columbia and surrounding areas. The lead faculty mentor on this project is Dr. Deborah Billings. Alexis was recently nominated by the SC Delta Omega Mu Chapter for the National Delta Omega Student Poster Session competition. If selected, she will have the opportunity to present findings from this program at the 2011 American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

The Use of Technology and Photography for Health Communication in the African American Faith-Based Community

Two doctoral students in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Shaun Owens and Tracey Thomas, will conduct a multi-component research study that aims to help African Americans make informed decisions about their participation in cancer screenings and research. This project will assess the effectiveness of using PhotoVoice to enhance African Americans' ability to communicate with researchers about how they make informed decisions about their health and will search for new and emerging technologies that are most effective in communicating messages about cancer. These research efforts will supplement a national pilot study funded by the National Cancer Institute. Faculty mentors on this project are Dr. Daniela Friedman (HPEB), Dr. Myriam Torres (Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies), Dr. Tena Crews (Integrated Information Technology) and Dr. James Hebert (SC Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program).

 
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