At the end of February, the second year Public Health Nutrition students had the opportunity to present their final capstone projects. Over the course of the last year, students have been working tirelessly with faculty, preceptors, and one another to conduct literature reviews, analyze data and develop a framework of recommendations for complex Public Health Nutrition problems.
Among the presenters were a number of second year MCH nutrition trainees.
Trainees presented on a wide range of topics, drawing on both original research and case study analyses. Examples of projects included a quantitative analysis of the diet quality of breakfast in school-aged children before and after the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, a global case study on the maternal nutrition needs of Syrian refugees and an examination of the association between environmental risk factors and BMI. After many months of work, it was inspiring to hear all of the research being done on so many different aspects of MCH nutrition.
I was also able to present my own research findings on a study that examined the association between food security status and health care use among low income Californians. Food insecurity has been increasingly associated with the development of chronic diseases and poor disease management. Furthermore, evidence has shown many patients are being forced to choose between purchasing food or their medications. The goal of this research was to better understand the extent to which food insecurity contributes to healthcare use in order to inform policies that better align our healthcare system with social determinants of health interventions. In the future, I hope to continue exploring ways in which we can create better access to food in order to improve the overall health and wellbeing of individuals and families.