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Real-world, professional practice

This culminating experience allows students to use knowledge gained from their degree program experiences. Students choose projects that let them demonstrate their understanding of theory and principles learned in course work and apply them in a professional practice situation. Faculty use the Integrative Learning Experience to evaluate the student’s synthesis of program competencies.

Victoria Brenton, Des Moines University MPH alumna

Victoria Brenton

“For my project I evaluated a number of Iowa's 5-2-1-0 program staff from the four communities that implemented the program focus areas to determine: 1) How they implemented the program; 2) Identify strategies/activities that created the most success; and 3) Use their feedback to make the program easier to implement for future users. I gained an understanding and appreciation of how evaluation interviews occur, what online resources I could apply to my current job (i.e., Piktochart) and how to standardize processes (i.e. holding a Zoom meeting).”

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Amanda Casson, Des Moines University MPH alumna

Amanda Casson

“My ILE project included an epidemiological review of 2018 Salmonella in the state of Iowa, and a comprehensive review of the implications culture-independent diagnostic testing has had on Salmonella outbreak detection in Iowa. Throughout my ILE project I gained a better understanding of epi data analysis, disease surveillance, and laboratory detection of outbreaks at the state and national level. This project was a culminating experience that has prepared me for real world epidemiology work.”

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Sydney Eustaquio, Des Moines University MPH alumna

Sydney Eustaquio

“The primary focus was to develop interventions that aim to reduce gaps in continuity of care for TB-diagnosed patients that are referred to the clinical community for treatment, by exploring demographic- and treatment-completion characteristics of non-U.S.-born and U.S.-born persons. The interventions applied constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory and included a TB training webinar for community health workers to support patients in transition. The project stretched my understanding of the levels of impact CHWs can have on individuals in their community, and the importance of addressing TB treatment among the most vulnerable populations.”

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Anastacia Lee

“This qualitative study conducted for the International Rescue Committee primarily focused on improving programs that affect health access. The needs assessment was centered around refugee clients’ health behaviors and will continue to help the organization meet the needs of those they serve. I gained valuable insights into program planning, interdisciplinary collaboration, and systems thinking as a result of this capstone project.”

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Hannah McMunn, Des Moines University MPH alumna

Hannah McMunn

“My ILE project was completed at Blank Children’s Hospital with the Advocacy and Outreach Department in partnership with the Hannah Geneser Foundation. I evaluated the Hannah’s Safety for All Program where referred families can receive safe sleep education and a pack n play to help prevent childhood injury and specifically Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Through my project I learned how collaboration among community partners can make a huge impact on families and work towards improving overall health outcomes in a community.”

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Page Melcher, Des Moines University MPH alumna

Page Melcher

“For my ILE project, I worked with the Research and Evaluation Department of my local Health District to conduct cognitive testing on the Community Health Survey. During this time, I chose specific survey questions to test, recruited volunteers, led interviews and evaluated the results to guide future survey development. My ILE gave me the opportunity to partner with public health professionals in my community and learn how to leverage my academic instruction in a real-world setting.”

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Jeffrey Thomas, Des Moines University MPH alumni

Jeffrey Thomas, D.O.

“As a surgical resident, teaching medical students is an important part of my day-to-day activities.  My ILE project not only informed my opinion that changes to medical education could have a profound impact on the health of our communities but demonstrated the tangible ways that I can begin to bring public health topics into the discussions I have with my medical students every day.”

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