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Impact of school staff health on work productivity in secondary schools in Massachusetts

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 11:31am

BACKGROUND: Healthy, productive employees are an integral part of school health programs. There have been few assessments of work productivity among secondary school staff. This study describes the frequency of 3 common health risk factors--obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking--and their impact on work productivity in secondary school employees.

METHODS: Employees of secondary schools in Massachusetts (N = 630) participated in a longitudinal weight gain prevention intervention study. Assessment completed at baseline, 1-year and 2-year follow-up included survey assessments of health risk factors as well as measurements for height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). The survey also included a depression inventory and Work Limitations Questionnaire. Data analysis included multivariate mixed effect models to identify productivity differences in relation to BMI, depressive symptoms, and smoking in this population stratified by position type (teacher and other school staff).

RESULTS: The sample included 361 teachers and 269 other school staff. Obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking were significantly associated with work productivity, including workdays missed because of health concerns (absenteeism) and decreases in on-the-job productivity because of health concerns (presenteeism).

CONCLUSIONS: Three common health conditions, namely obesity, depressive symptoms, and smoking, adversely affect the productivity of high school employees.

Let's Talk About Parenting: Recovery for Parents Living with Mental Illnesses

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 4:19pm

The majority of adults in the US living with mental illnesses are parents. However, service providers often express concern that they are not prepared to work with clients who are parents, feeling they lack the necessary tools and skills to identify and meet their needs. Let’s Talk About Parenting (LTP) supports providers to explore the experiences and impact of parenthood and family life on adult clients and to identify their goals and needs, keeping parenthood and family life in mind. LT-RP is an adaptation of the Finnish Let’s Talk model, an evidence-based psychosocial intervention to assist adult clients/parents with mental illness to identify and meet the needs of their children.

House Librarians as Instructors in a Self-Directed, Capstone-Related 3rd Year Flexible Clinical Experience Program

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 10:52am

PURPOSE/PROBLEM STATEMENT

In academic year 2010/2011, the University of Massachusetts Medical School introduced a new, longitudinal, integrative curriculum (LiNC). One component of this new curriculum was the introduction of Learning Communities or "Houses.". Five Houses were formed to allow inter-class interaction, each that would serve as the medical student's academic and social home. A librarian from the Lamar Soutter Library was attached to each House. Two new components of the LiNC curriculum were a) a longitudinal, cumulative capstone project and b) a 3rd year Flexible Clinical Experience (FCE) program. The first was a natural fit for the House Librarians to interact with students as they conducted foundational research for their Capstone. The second was developed to allow students in their 3rd year an opportunity to choose a pre-designed elective or design their own clinical experience. One type of self-designed FCE is based in the library where students can spend one week conducting research towards their capstone project.

METHODS/APPROACH

Beginning in academic year 2015/2016, students choosing the library-based FCE are formally required to work with their House Librarian. The librarians now act as the course supervisors. The students share their capstone proposals with their House Librarian and the librarians, in turn, provide comprehensive, library-based research experience, guide students to relevant resources, teach search techniques, and serve as library support for any library or research needs. Following each FCE, the students submit course evaluations. By the spring of 2016, there will be a significant number of evaluations from students that have completed the self-directed FCE with librarian supervision. The authors plan to review the FCE library-based course evaluations for the current year against those from when the House Librarians were not directly involved.

RESULTS/LESSONS LEARNED

The capstone project can take many different forms, from a traditional research paper to a community outreach project to an artistic expression of medical education. But regardless of format, the capstone must consist of a scientific foundation, guided by evidence and grounded in a fundamental understanding of the literature. By comparing student evaluations responses from before and after formal librarian involvement, we hope to understand the impact librarians have had on capstone preparation, further adapt our methods to improve library integration into this component of the curriculum and explore ways to encourage more students to select the library-based FCE.

REFLECTION

Because the library-based FCE now requires students to have direct supervision by their House Librarians, our goal is to use information gleaned from the student evaluations to learn how librarian immersion in this component of the curriculum can contribute to the success of both the self-designed FCE and capstone projects.

The Development of a Standardized Tool to Evaluate Physical Health Websites through the Lens of Persons with Serious Mental Illness

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 10:52am

In 2015, the Lamar Soutter Library and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School received a grant from the National Library of Medicine to design an online tool that will provide persons with serious mental illness a means to acquire resources that will assist them in learning about co-morbidities often faced by this population. One of the first steps in creating this tool is to identify health-related websites that will meet strict quality measures applicable for use by our target audience. To facilitate this process, subject experts with skills in both mental health and physical health have been identified and will be asked to complete a comprehensive survey that will evaluate the identified websites. The survey will address aspects of each website reviewed such as content and credibility, format, usability and interactivity plus the evaluation of etiologic, diagnostic, therapeutic and/or prognostic information contained on the site. This poster will describe the evidence-based methodology used in developing and testing this survey instrument. Preliminary results, discussion of evaluative data and next steps will also be discussed.