DESCRIBE GROWING UNDERSTANDINGS AND ACHIEVEMENTS OVER THE FIRST YEAR OF STUDY AT THE UW AS THEY REFLECT PROGRESS TOWARD MEETING THE OBJECTIVES.
I decided on graduate school as a means to learn new skills and gain knowledge to enhance and build on my 27 years of experience as a dietitian, working with older adults in the community. My expectation is that with an MPH, I will be able to pursue a broader scope of practice within other populations, and in a variety of settings beyond the non-profit organizational model, with which I am most familiar. In the long-term, I plan to work within, or create, an organization that addresses policy, program and evaluation needs of the community.
My objectives include the following:
Achieve a solid, up-to-date scientific base of knowledge regarding determinants and physiological mechanisms involved in the diseases of greatest public health interest
Become increasingly knowledgeable of the role of nutrition and specific nutrients in the etiology and treatment of diseases and conditions, especially those of greatest public health interest
Learn how to conduct scientific literature reviews and to critically evaluate scientific papers
Learn about policies which impact access, quality and cost of food and nutrition services
Learn about evidence-based nutrition and physical activity policies and interventions which are designed to address major public health issues
Learn about existing methods and models, appropriate for use in evaluating community programs and services
Design and apply appropriate methods of evaluation for programs and/or policy
Explore unmet needs for public health practitioners "of the future" to fill
Gain an increased understanding of the relationships between the public health and medical systems in the United States, in hope of helping to bridge the gaps in the future
Develop a meaningful thesis project that has the potential to inform effective community intervention development, in a population previously unfamiliar to me.
My first year of study moved me closer toward each of the goals and objectives listed above. While many specific examples of skills and knowledge gained are reflected in the competency section of this portfolio, other aspects of my education have served to open my eyes to previously unknown opportunities, explore new aspects of public health practice, and dramatically highlight and enhance the skills that I learned "on-the-ground," during my work experiences over the past 27 years. A specific example involves the discussions and readings in Public Health Nutrition about communication and leadership styles. While I have often received positive feedback regarding my abilities to build and lead successful and motivated teams, it was invaluable to understand the theories behind certain successful and less-successful styles and approaches. Most importantly, I was able to reflect on some of the less-successful projects or interventions that I have been involved in, and understand which elements may have contributed to the lack of success. Throughout this first year, in each and every class, I found myself relating the content to my work experiences. There were many "aha" moments of understanding and excitement about getting back out in the community, and being a better practitioner. In some instances, it was a better understanding of mechanisms of disease which would have allowed me to answer a question better, or enhance a presentation. In others, I found myself re-thinking approaches I had previously employed to evaluate program outcomes.
More than ever, I understand the need for public health practitioners who are creative problem-solvers, knowledgeable, and who have real-life experience. During the first year of studies, I was extremely fortunate to also be a research assistant for the Exploratory Center for Obesity Research (ECOR). In that role and in some classes as well, I have been able to richly combine academic and experience-based learning.
DESCRIBE HOW EACH NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES CORE COMPETENCY WAS ACHIEVED.
Core competencies were achieved through undergraduate coursework, graduate classes at the University of Washington, seminars and symposia, and work experience. I feel strongly that my knowledge and skills related to core competencies progressed adequately over the first year, and this progress is further described in the accompanying table.
SETS FORTH A TIMELINE AND A PLAN FOR OBTAINING MENTORING AND EXPERIENCES THAT WILL BE NEEDED FOR COMPLETING THE THESIS.
Additional skills are needed in the areas of analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and determining the most ideal methods and tools for capturing data which answers the research question.
10/12/06: meet with University of Washington biostatistics consultant to review research plan and discuss methods for data collection and statistical analysis plan
10/31/06: review other similar published projects and develop draft data collection tools and statistical analysis plan
Early November: meet with faculty and with biostatistics consultants to review draft plan
By 11/30/06: finalize data collection and analysis plan
By 12/31/06: receive additional training on Stata software (the software that I own and have some familiarity with from Biostatistics) regarding specific statistical tests to be used for thesis project and set up draft database.
SETS FORTH A TIMELINE AND A PLAN FOR OBTAINING MENTORING AND EXPERIENCES THAT WILL BE NEEDED FOR COMPLETING THESIS.
By 10/11/06: identify thesis Chair and committee
10/11/06: meet with produce supplier for SPS and with Wendy Weyer from SPS
10/12/06: initial meeting with biostatistics consultant
By 11/15/06: meet with faculty to review research plan and draft data analysis plan
By 11/20/06: meet with biostatistics consultant to review data analysis plan revisions
By 11/30/06: finalize data collection and analysis plan and get approval from thesis committee
By 12/31/06: meet with Wendy Weyer and Kirsten Frandsen to finalize detail of research project
By 1/25/07: meet with dietetic intern and train on data collection
February 5 through February 16, 2006: preliminary dates for observation and data collection at TT Minor
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Last updated October 06