Wednesday, August 12, 2015

URSP Student Julia Pfeiffer Researches Maternal and Infant Vitamin D Supplementation Beliefs and Practices of Women, Infant, and Children Clinic Participants in Northern Virginia

I started working with my advisor this past spring semester while taking the HHS 492: Clinical Research Internship class. During the semester I worked on analyzing survey data from a survey that was sent out to primary care providers in Loudoun County, VA regarding infant feeding and supplementation practices. While working on this, I was exposed to other survey projects in the Loudoun community and I decided I wanted to continue working on these projects over the summer with a URSP grant. By working on a few different projects, I have the opportunity to work on and learn about several steps of the research/survey process because each project is in different stages. My main project this summer has been working on collecting and analyzing data for a community health survey that is assessing nutrition, exercise, general health, and resources provided to the community. We are targeting the low-income population because they are at higher risk of obesity. As a nursing major, I hope to work as a nurse in low-income areas, so this project has given me good experience in that sense. I think it can be easy to look at an excel spreadsheet of data and not feel connected to the people behind those numbers. However, being able to meet the people who are providing the responses and entering the data myself, they mean more. For example, one respondent reported a household of 11 people with a household income of less than $20K. This seemed really sad to think about how if they just used this money for food, each person would have less than $5 per day. However, with the other questions they answered they seemed optimistic, which was inspiring to see that they could continue to be optimistic.

From week to week my work changes. I generally work on data analysis and data entry, but I also go to clinics and collect survey information from patients. In addition, I have gone to the Loudoun Pediatric Obesity Coalition (LPOC) to present results of the survey to help guide the LPOC members in carrying out there mission. I enjoy meeting with health professionals and LPOC members who are going to take the information that I am analyzing and use it to improve how they address certain health issues.