BS/BA (Undergraduate) Posters

Esther Bertolami
Poster Title: Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in the New Hampshire Fire Service: Utilizing a Nutrition Education Intervention Program
University: Franklin Pierce University
Advisor: Laura Christoph
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to implement a nutrition education program in the New Hampshire Fire Service in order to prevent cardiovascular disease related deaths in the line of duty by utilizing national statistics on cardiovascular disease in relation to the fire service.
Partners: This project was done with Franklin Pierce University and Alton Fire & Rescue Department.
Description: Phase 1 utilized national cardiovascular disease (CVD) statistics, firefighter line of duty death (LODD) statistics, and accepted best practice according to the American Heart Association and the Dietary Guidelines for America as a foundation for a nutrition education curriculum. Phase 2 and 3 encompassed nutrition questionnaires and 3 day dietary recalls to further build on the curriculum creating a tailored nutrition intervention education program for firefighters. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, phase 2 and 3 are put on hold and will be completed at a later date.
Impact: The overall impact of this study is to increase awareness and educate the firefighter population on a well-balanced lifestyle to reduce, and ultimately prevent, line of duty deaths caused by sudden cardiac death and other cardiovascular disease related demise.

View Esther's poster here

Jordyn Chasse 
Poster Title: Using Participatory Photo Mapping to Explore Youth Experiences in Play and Food Environment in Rural New Hampshire
Advisor: Suzanne Gaulocher 
University: Plymouth State University 
Abstract: Purpose: Collaboration with Pemi Youth Center sets out to use participatory photo mapping to uncover barriers and assets to health of rural New Hampshire's Youth. The facilitators had no clear research question until conjunction with the youth took place. This method aimed to integrate the perspectives of the youth into the research to advocate for what's important to them. The data collected will then be used as evidence to inform decision makers on recommendations for keeping the youth healthy. Partners: Pemi Youth Center serves as an empowerment after school program at no cost to the families. Description: Youth collaborated with the student researchers in a series of photo sessions and photo groups. We then synthesized the data collected and used geographic information systems to map the location of the photos. By using the data several themes immerged which were then used to create recommendations for intervention to better benefit the youth of Plymouth, NH. Impact: Facilitators were able to create 7 recommendations to better benefit the health and wellbeing of the youth in Plymouth, NH. With our recommendations a time frame was set, and decision makers were identified.

View Jordyn's poster here.

Gregory Chiarelli 
Poster Title: Community Health Needs Assessment 
Advisor: Suzanne Gualocher 
University: Plymouth State University 
Abstract: Plymouth State University has given me the chance to work along-side Mid-State Health center to help lead and conduct the 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for Central New Hampshire. This is part of an effort by the Central New Hampshire Health Partnership (CNHHP) to understand the health-related needs of the community and to plan programs and services that address those needs. With the use of key stakeholder surveys, community surveys, and focus groups; public health professionals will ultimately develop strategies and goals to address the communities health needs and identified issues. The information gathered during this assessment will also play a big role in creating the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), a long-term plan to address public health problems. The CHIP must be revised and updated every five years while the CHNA is required every three years.

View Gregory's poster here.

Emily D’Antonio
Poster Title: The Relationship Between Social Media Engagement and Psychological Well-Being in College Students at The University of New Hampshire
University: University of New Hampshire
Advisor: Kevin Pietro
Abstract: Social media use has increased substantially in recent years, and for the college-aged population, social media is often the leading method of communication. Research indicates this reliance on digital connection could have a negative impact on the health of young adults. The college years are a time of personal growth and defining actions, but can also be burdened by mental health issues related to stress, anxiety, and depression. Acknowledging this trend, the current study explores how college student’s specific frequency and intentionality while interacting on social media is related to their psychological well-being. A brief online survey was developed, comprised of questions aiming to quantify student’s online behavior, as well as the validated Brief Inventory of Thriving Scale was utilized to measure psychological well-being. A total of 177 students were surveyed, with an average age of 20.7, 78.5% female, and 69.5% upperclassmen with a variety of academic majors. Findings from this study indicate that students spent the most amount of time using Snapchat (2.77 avg. hr./day), Instagram (2.26 avg. hr./day), and YouTube (1.28 avg. hr./day). Those who engaged in social media usage expressed that they frequently edit content before posting, and use social media constantly throughout the day/are checking sites upon waking up or going to sleep. A Spearman's rank-order correlation identified a weak, positive correlation between the number of hours spent using Instagram and Snapchat a day and using social media constantly throughout the day, which was statistically significant (r = 0.267, p < 0.001) (r=0.377, p < 0.001).

View Emily's poster here.

Marissa Farago and Kayla Thompson
Poster Title: Fueling Performance Using Nutrition (FPU Nutrition): A Pilot Workshop
Advisor: Laura Christoph
University: Franklin Pierce University
Abstract: This study looked at college athletes and their nutritional intake over the course of two, 3-day periods. There were two phases of the study: there was a pre-nutrition workshop diet analysis and a post-nutrition workshop diet analysis. The 3-day meal records of eight athletes were analyzed to collect data on nutritional deficiencies and were compared to see if a nutrition workshop was beneficial for improving the dietary intake of collegiate athletes. Additionally, athletes took a questionnaire as part of the pre-nutrition workshop and then again, post-nutrition workshop. This data was compiled and analyzed to see if there was any improvement in score when athletes were educated about nutrition.

View Marissa and Kayla's poster here.

Alyssa Gill
Poster Title: Public Health Internship in Thailand
Advisor: Suzanne Gaulocher
University: Plymouth State University
Abstract: I spent 2.5 months of my spring semester participating in an internship in Chiang Mai, Thailand. When I first got there, I was only shadowing my mentor, Pi Lin, for two weeks, then I started getting more hands-on experience and shadowing the other Public Health Workers at the clinic. A lot of the work I learned was mainly pertaining to the position of a Public Health Nurse, which is what I am interested in doing with my major. All of the work and the projects I assisted with ultimately benefited the community members to better their own health. My presence was appreciated by all of the workers and community members who I came in contact with.

View Alyssa's poster here.

Ashley Haluch
Poster Title: Assessing and Addressing Community Needs in a Rural Area In Partnership with the New England Public Health Training Center
Advisor: Laura Christoph
University: Franklin Pierce University
Abstract: The purpose of this work is to address key competencies of public health and assess community needs in a rural area. This work is in partnership with the New England Public Health Training Center. This work revolved around strengthening community health in Rindge, New Hampshire. Through this project, various educational resources have been developed and presented in a way that is tuned to the Rindge community. Research focused on identifying barriers in health and introducing intervention methods to overcome these barriers. A major outcome of this project is the encouragement to build connections with their community. This work revolved around strengthening community health in Rindge, New Hampshire. This project raised discussion around the stigma associated with food insecurity and in impact of building relationships with the community.

View Ashley's poster here.

Mackenzie Hoover
Poster Title: Foundation For Healthy Communities Internship
Advisor: Suzanne Gaulocher
University: Plymouth State University
Abstract: Researching CHNA’s and Implementation Plans to Create Community Benefit Profiles Plymouth State University, Public Health
Purpose: This research will serve as a tool for non-profit hospitals in NH to use as a guideline when putting together community health needs assessments and community benefit forms. This data will be used to provide hospitals with a snapshot and education demonstrating: 1) Where they are investing their community benefit dollars 2) Health disparities in their service area 3) How they are addressing health disparities, where are the gaps, and where there are opportunities to make more effective and efficient investments.
Description: A Community Health Needs Assessments is a series of ongoing evaluations that are conducted every 3 years in the state of NH. These assessments evaluate the current health needs of the community by prioritizing certain health needs that are currently impacting their community. Along with identifying these needs, the hospitals also create strategies on how to address and implement ways to positively impact these needs.
Impact: Partners will use the data collected to compare their own hospitals data to other hospitals of similar size and community statistics.

View Mackenzie's poster here.

Sarah McLoughlin
Poster Title: Breaking the Cycle of Violence Internship
Advisor: Suzanne Gaulocher
Abstract: Purpose: To highlight my experience as an advocacy Intern
Partners: Voices Against Violence in Plymouth, New Hampshire
Description: I discuss projects and research I was involved with as well as intervention techniques that are frequently used. Viewers will be able to see the value of my projects and the positive impact it has and will continue to have on the community.
Impact: The work I have done as an Intern has helped develop programs to raise awareness and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The more support society has for these victims the more confident they will be to reach out for help and speak up
Lessons Learned: I have learned what being an ally truly means, using your voice to speak up for injustice against individuals or a marginalized group. Unfortunately, not everyone gets listened to so when people are part of the majority they must support the vulnerable and people are more likely to follow their lead. From working at Voices I have learned statistics, facts, and gained experience that I can now use to educate people who have misconceptions surrounding domestic violence, which leads to victim blaming. I have a tremendous passion for this work and can see the social change I have created through friends, peers, and family. I more clearly see how much injustice is present in our society and it has solidified by decision to major in Public Health.

View Sarah's poster here.

Sarah McLoughlin
Poster Title: Risk Taking Behavior and Alcohol Consumption in College Aged Population- A Qualitative Review
Advisor: Suzanne Gaulocher 
University: Plymouth State University 
Abstract: Context: This Community Based Participatory Research study was co-designed with undergraduate students, Communities for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth (CADY) and faculty at a small university in northern New England. National data show that college binge drinking poses a significant threat to students’ health. This study aims to explore factors that influence and deter students from engaging in binge drinking behaviors. The multi-disciplinary research team, which included student researchers in a leadership role, collaboratively created an online survey consisting of 32 multiple choice and 6 open ended questions. This study will focus on the rich qualitative data that were captured. Methods: The six open ended survey questions provided students an opportunity to report on their drinking experiences, behaviors and perceptions of risk. Investigators conducted qualitative analysis using a grounded theory approach, collaborating with community partners and stakeholders representing the study population in a collaborative, iterative process. This process involved one team of researchers coding narratives to identify keywords or phrases that held meaning. A second team of researchers reviewed and revised the initial codes to create themes, revealing trends in students’ binge drinking behavior. Results: The survey was complete by 376 students, representing approximately 9% of the student population. We found that students at this university engage in risky drinking behaviors at a higher rate than the national average, a heightened health threat for this small university. Our qualitative analysis identified three prominent factors influencing drinking behavior among the students sampled: friends and social networks, special occasions and events that promote alcohol, and social norms within this institution. Conclusion: The data that were collected in this research will be useful to policy makers, future researchers and prevention professionals. This research will inform CADY’s efforts to engage students and adapt binge drinking prevention messages to the local student culture.

View Sarah's poster below.


Isabella Pectol
Poster Title: Using the Community Readiness Assessment as a mixed method approach to collecting pre-assessment data
Advisor: Barbara McCahan
University: Plymouth State University 
Purpose: The Community Readiness Assessment is a pre-assessment data that will better inform future assessments that informs programs, projects and initiative that promote health and wellbeing
Partners: The Community Readiness Assessment was a collaboration between Plymouth State University, University of New Hampshire, the Department of Health and Human Services.
Description: Using the Community Readiness Model, we conducted the Assessment within the Central Region to assess readiness of different topics. We after conducting the assessment we assigned them a stage of readiness that corresponds to the Model which will provide steps for the community to move forward into the next level of readiness.
Impact: Will provide information on ways to move forward in the Readiness Stages for the Central Region.

View Isabella's poster here.

Olivia Randlett
Poster Title: Preventing Neural Tube Defects in the Southern Rural Villages of Thailand
Advisor: Lisa Purvis
University: Colby-Sawyer College
Abstract: After studying abroad in Khon Kaen, Thailand for five months, I fell in love with the culture and became interested in continuing my research on the health issues of villagers in that area. After starting research on the prevalence of neural tube defects in Thailand, I decided to continue that work in my senior capstone. This capstone includes a background of the area and problematic rates of neural tube defects, a three-pronged intervention plan that includes a cellphone oriented educational application, folate supplementation, and medical advisory meetings, and finally, the individual means of executing each goal in the interventions.

View Olivia's poster below.


Brian Reese
Poster Title: Lifestyle Factors That Affect Microbiome Development in FPIES Children and Allergy Free children.
Advisor: Jeanelle Boyer
University: Keene State University
Abstract: Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is an uncommon non-IgE mediated food allergy that mostly affects infants and toddlers. Children or infants present with excessive vomiting and lethargy 1-4 hours after ingesting a trigging food in the acute form of the condition. The chronic condition presents with continual vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and failure to thrive. While a diagnostic code was recently assigned there is still little understanding of the underlying pathology which makes a clinical diagnosis challenging. We hypothesize that FPIES may be associated with the gut microbiome. To test this hypothesis, stool samples and survey data were collected from children with FPIES, children that have outgrown the allergy, and allergy-free children. We will use QIIME2 to compare the microbial communities of the different study groups and look for associations with lifestyle factors that may impact the microbiome.

View Brian's poster here.

Tori Vargas and Steven Finnell
Poster Title: Maple Syrup: A Sustainable Pre-Workout Energy Source for Female Collegiate
Soccer Players
Advisor: Laura Christoph
University: Franklin Pierce University
Abstract: Energy intake for collegiate athletes is crucial to optimal performance. Previous research has shown that exogenous sources of carbohydrates can increase cardiorespiratory performance when ingested prior to exercise and are widely used by anaerobic and oxidative pathways during exercise making it a versatile fuel source for energy. Using a moderate to low glycemic index carbohydrate is optimal for pre-exercise supplementation where maple syrup has a lower glycemic index compared to pure glucose. Franklin Pierce University produces its own maple syrup from trees found on its campus that can be utilized by university athletes as a locally sourced product that provides sustainable energy. This study examined the effects of acute carbohydrate supplementation on peak oxygen uptake and peak speed of athletes performing in a glycogen depleted state (GD) verses a rested state (R). Athletes completed a maximal exercise test on a treadmill on two separate occasions. Fifteen minutes prior to exercise, athletes consumed 25g of a maple syrup drink or 25g of a placebo drink. Results showed no significant different between peak oxygen uptake and peak speed between GD and R conditions. Acute supplementation does not seem to have any effect on an athlete’s ability to process and utilize oxygen in a glycogen depleted state in comparison to a rested state. Additionally, acute supplementation does not have an effect on performance when examined using peak speed.

View Tori and Steven's poster here.

MS/MA/MPH (Graduate) Posters

Sam Bartol
Poster Title: Community Outreach Strategies to Enhance Education and Awareness on Lead in Nashua, NH
Advisor: Karla Armenti
University: University of New Hampshire
Abstract: The purpose of this project was to raise awareness of Nashua’s Leading Education and Awareness on Lead (L.E.A.D.) initiative and the dangers of environmental lead hazards. This project included the creation, distribution, and data analysis of a Google Ads campaign to increase visitations to the L.E.A.D. webpage. It also included the creation and distribution of a social media post, focusing on environmental lead exposure. Lastly, a survey was created and distributed to measure the impact of the social media post. The findings from this project can be used to inform future marketing and outreach strategies in Nashua, NH.

View Sam's poster here.

Andrea Guzman
Poster Title: Therapeutic Cannabis in New Hampshire: Data and Survey Analysis 
Advisor: Karla Armenti 
University: University of New Hampshire 
Purpose: The New Hampshire Therapeutic Cannabis (TCP) Program has several years’ worth of surveys. The goal of this project was to develop a platform to enter this survey data, analyze the data, and make recommendations to the program based on the data. 
Partners: Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) Prime and Sanctuary. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The Therapeutic Cannabis Program (TCP). 
Description: For the project, hundreds of intake surveys were received but only a few quarterly surveys. This made it hard to track patient perceptions of how well therapeutic cannabis alleviated symptoms over time. However, from the surveys available the results regarding patient use of therapeutic cannabis versus other prescribed medications and opioids were positive. Recommendations are predominantly focused on efforts to increase survey response, methods for ease in data entry, and potential legislation.

View Andrea's poster here.

Susana Hajjar
Poster Title: The Effects of Lunch Timing on Fourth and Third Graders’ Performance
Advisor: Karla Armenti
University: University of New Hampshire
Background: Lunch at schools should be served between 10 am and 2 pm, and now the early lunch timing seems to be a big issue nationwide, a reporter wrote in the New York Times that lunch is becoming a breakfast in New York City, with lunch being served at 8:58 am, resulting in health impacts and learning dysfunctions on all students.
Methods: To study the effects of early lunch on the students’ performance, a ten-day survey will be handed out to third and fourth grade teachers, and each survey has two questions, On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being Poor and 5 being Excellent, the teachers will evaluate the mental alertness (focus and participation level) and the physical activity (energy and movability level) of their students in the afternoon time. Data will be collected and entered into an Excel sheet to calculate the ten-day average for each question for each grade. Using an Excel data analysis tool, a comparison will be made, and a column chart will be applied.
Results: Students who had lunch at noon were more alert than those who had early lunch. 3rd graders did better with mental alertness with an average of 3.6125 compared with 3.375 for 4th graders.
Students who had early lunch were more physically active than those who had lunch at noon. 4th graders’ average for physical activity was greater than the 3rd graders with 3.6875 and 2.9875 respectively.

View Susana's poster here.

Sam Harris
Poster Title: Exploratory Analysis of Viral Hepatitis C in New Hampshire 2017-2019. New Hampshire DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control
Advisor: Karla Armenti 
University: University of New Hampshire 
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to work jointly with the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control (BIDC) to complete an exploratory analysis of existing hepatitis C data collected through the New Hampshire Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NHEDSS).
Partners: Katrina Hansen, surveillance chief for the New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, Public Health Division.
Description: Hepatitis C cases in the state of New Hampshire have the potential for significant medical and social costs. However, Hepatitis C has only been required to be reported through the New Hampshire Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NHEDSS) since September of 2016. Numerous descriptive variables such as gender, age, case-type distribution and geo-spatial outcomes were examined. R scripting language was used to complete analysis.
Impact: Results of the study will be used to assess current status of Hepatitis C in the state of New Hampshire as well as be used for further grant proposals focusing on state Hepatitis C prevention and treatment programs. Additionally, scripting developed can be used to help in future analysis.

View Sam's poster here.

Adam Mercer
Poster Title: Youth Homelessness – State Policy Review
Advisor: Karla Armenti
University: University of New Hampshire
Abstract: This project was sponsored by Waypoint within their runaway and homeless youth continuum. Waypoint is a private non-profit operating in New Hampshire and supporting homeless youth statewide. The objective of the project was to review state policies affecting youth for the purpose of increasing Waypoint’s ability to advocate for legislative changes that can prevent and bring an end to youth homelessness. The rights and freedoms of minors in unsafe situations are often limited and tied to another person’s guardianship, which may not be the best option for them. Expanding their rights through new policy could improve their safety, quality of life, and reduce their risk for homelessness. In Manchester there are over 1000 adolescents and young adults (ages 10-21) experiencing some form of homelessness. Youth homelessness increases risk for mental health disorders, substance use disorders, lower educational attainment, suicidal ideation or attempt, food insecurity, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and exploitation by others. Policy keywords were harvested from a literature review and from brainstorming with Waypoint staff. The keywords were used to search for bills relevant to homeless youth in the 2020 legislative session. State laws were reviewed according to guidelines from the National Network for Youth. In total 54 relevant bills and 25 relevant laws were identified. Several bills identified have the potential to expand the legal rights of minors experiencing homelessness or at risk for it. The project methods were shared with Waypoint and can be replicated at any time to identify impactful legislation and inform Waypoint’s advocacy strategies.

View Adam's poster here.

Nick Simeti
Poster Title: Community Readiness Model in the Central New Hampshire Region
Advisor: Karla Armenti
University: University of New Hampshire
Purpose: This research project serves as a pre-assessment tool for a community health needs assessment that will be conducted later on this year for the Central New Hampshire Region.
Partners: Partners include Plymouth State University Health and Human Performance Department, Plymouth Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC), Mid State Health Center and the Central New Hampshire Health Partnership (CNHHP).
Description: The community readiness model is an efficient evidence-based model that creates an optimistic vision for advancement in community health. This IRB approved research project aimed to identify the most pressing health issues facing the Central New Hampshire Region. Once health issues were identified, an understanding of their current state of readiness was determined. By learning about health issues important to community members and the level of awareness, public health professional are able ensure community development strategies are aligned, successful and sustainable.
Impact: Partners will use the data collected to advance community readiness strategies and use this research for future evaluations.

View Nick's poster here.