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University of Colorado Denver

 

Practice-Based Experience

Contributing to public health in our community


For MPH students the culminating academic experience for their program is a Masters Project (or publishable paper) that benefits that community or a particular target population. Projects must contribute meaningfully to the current body of knowledge in the field and may include creating a program plan, program evaluation, or policy initiative.

The project is often connected to the student's Practice-Based Learning by addressing a need identified by the host site. The project or paper will relate to a student’s academic goals and professional interests, as well as demonstrate the student’s ability to work independently at the master’s level.

The final products are a professional oral and poster presentation at the CSPH Public Health Forum, and a paper addressing the student’s experience. Students earn their Capstone Experience credits through their Masters Project. Assigned faculty members and site preceptors provide ongoing support and guidance to students during the project. At the end of each semester students present their work at the Public Health Forum.

Download more information | Capstone Experience Guidelines | Capstone Project Proposal

Previous Environmental & Occupational Health Capstone Projects:
"Do High Traffic Areas in Denver Indicate High Prevalence of Asthma in Denver Public Elementary Schools?"

Krysten Crews, MPH Environmental & Occupational Health (Summer 2010)

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children and the primary reason for child hospitalization.  Asthma is increasing in prevalence, incidence, and severity among children. Environmental factors, such as air pollutants and allergens, have been shown to be associated with asthma. Krysten worked to characterize and identify geographic variability in asthma prevalence and investigated correlations in high traffic areas.  She geocoded data on documented asthma symptoms among elementary school children and traffic counts from the Denver Regional Council of Government.  She found that asthma prevalence varies among elementary schools in Denver and more exploration into high prevalence schools is vital to understanding environmental factors that may contribute to asthma prevalence.

"Investigation of Potential Reproductive Hazards in the Fabrication Unit at a Manufacturing Plant"

Tracey Stefanon - MPH, Environmental & Occupational Health

On August 2, 2007, personnel from the Occupational/Environmental Medicine Division at National Jewish Health and staff members from the manufacturing plant including representatives from the Human Resources (HR) Department, Safety Manager and the Vice President and General Counsel met regarding employee health concerns.  The meeting focused on workers’ concerns about several reported first trimester miscarriages that occurred over the previous approximately eight months in an area of the plant known as the ‘fabrication unit’.  Several employees expressed worry and concern about possible adverse reproductive health effects associated with odors in the plant thought to stem from the wastewater management system and/or associated with other potential exposures at their workplace that may have gone unrecognized.  The question arose whether there are workplace exposures in the fabrication unit associated with first trimester miscarriages and if present, whether such exposures can be related to the first trimester miscarriages that occurred.

Tracey and other National Jewish Health personnel reviewed relevant medical/scientific literature, written employee job descriptions of the employees in the fabrication unit, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for chemicals authorized in the plant provided by the Safety Manager, and the wastewater treatment process. Once reviewed, Tracey wrote conclusions and recommendations and presented the project at the Department of Environmental & Occupational Medicine Research Meeting, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Annual Meeting and to the Human Resources Department staff, Safety Manager, Vice President and General Counsel of the manufacturing plant.  She also developed an information handout summarizing the findings of the project that was distributed to the employees of the plant.

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