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Exploring Allied Health Through Research Initiatives

Posted: December 9, 2019Research Initiative student participants, May 2019. Fulton-Montgomery Community College.Research is an important part of a college student’s education, and generally, is considered to be one of the most hands-on ways for students to learn. Research may involve interpretive, descriptive, and artistic endeavors, which can be used to measure and test scientific hypotheses. Then, the research activities must be effectively interpreted and communicated. With that said, the journey in conducting any research project is just as important as the outcome.

As part of the criteria for Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s HLT201 Health Science Seminar course, each student must undertake a Research Initiative and investigate an allied health topic, either through local and neighboring communities, or college community involvement. As is true for all research endeavors, the goal is to make an original, intellectual contribution to the student’s discipline or interdisciplinary field. Students that conduct research are able to present their research methods and their findings at the end of the semester, which includes a question and answer session, poster presentation, and a peer review.

Since the inception of the Research Initiative at Fulton-Montgomery Community College the Fall of 2018, there have been many amazing research investigations that have been completed, such as ‘The Impact of Nutrition Education at Lexington Center’, which first evaluated resident knowledge of nutrition and provided nutrition education to the residents at the Lexington Center. ‘Pediatric Dental Education – Where Is It Taking Place?’, which assessed whether there was sufficient pediatric dental education in the local and neighboring counties. ‘Smoking or Vaping – Which is the Greatest Evil?’ investigated student habits and perception of the differences between smoking and vaping, as well as their overall effects. ‘Autism Inclusivity’, measured the readiness of student activities and inclusivity of autistic students in the local school districts. ‘How do Juul Pods Affect Teenagers?’ provided a snapshot of the health impact of Juuls and the role it plays in health perception, and ‘The Mental Health of Dialysis Patients’, which specifically targeted a web-based questionnaire to dialysis patients and asked them about mental health issues experienced while undergoing the process of dialysis.

All students are required to explain methodology, data collection, results of their investigation, and the overall conclusion of the research, but more importantly, why they chose their topic. From this experience, the benefits from student research involvement has been:

  • Stimulating student curiosity of Allied Health and other science topics
  • Providing hands-on experiences in applying the Scientific method
  • Challenging students to pose and answer meaningful questions
  • Helping students develop problem-solving and presentation skills

This research process has given depth to student education, has allowed students to develop their own passion in their field of study, as well as making those connections with communities that can be life changing.

Research Initiative student participants, May 2019. Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

This article was written by Flor Trespalacios, Instructor in the Science division at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

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