We will present results from the online survey and some preliminary results to the community on the morning of Saturday May 6th at the 4-H building. Coffee and cookies will be provided! Please mark your calendars and save the date.
The poster below, “Identifying Best Practices to Improve Community Reach of Public Health Notifications,” was created after Megan Peek, Hailey Brenneman, and Elizabeth Mann – all undergraduate students at Purdue Fort Wayne – reached out to similar communities in Indiana as well as free news stations for television and radio. They asked questions regarding basic health notifications and public alert practices within these communities. Then they asked the television and radio stations about possible ways they could notify community members. Based on these responses and various articles concerning the topic, they identified specific recommendations that seemed to work best for the strengths and limitations of Blackford County. This poster was presented by Megan Peek at Purdue West Lafayette’s Engagement and Service-Learning Summit on March 2nd, 2023.
The poster below, “Composing a Public Health Plan for Hartford City,” was created by Victoria Hoffman, Hannah Richendollar, and Kira Creech, all of whom are undergraduate students at Purdue University Fort Wayne. This poster discusses how they wrote the first draft of the public health plan that we will present in the upcoming meetings. It highlights some of the recommendations that were made and will be discussed at the May 6th meeting, including littering, sweeping the parks for discarded needles, and the local emergency notification system. These recommendations are based on comments from the online survey. While most of the comments come from Hartford City residents, the survey was also open to anyone who had lived in the county for at least five years. Some of the other recommendations listed will be discussed in the fall meeting, once all of the air, water, and soil results have been analyzed. This poster was presented by Victoria Hoffman at Purdue West Lafayette’s Engagement and Service-Learning Summit on March 2nd, 2023.
The following poster, “Working Together for Change: A Hybrid Learning and Community-Based Approach to Drafting a Hartford City Public Health Plan,” describes how undergraduate students at Purdue Fort Wayne in a senior seminar class taught by Dr. Steiner worked together through the challenges of hybrid-learning to draft this public health plan. It discusses how the students split into two groups to divide and conquer the task of drafting this document. Each group had a face-to-face student leading 3 online-students who did their part remotely. The group led by Megan Peek worked towards researching and identifying best practices for public health notifications in Blackford County. While Peek’s group was researching this, the group led by Victoria Hoffman researched other approaches to public health plans and then wrote the first draft of this plan. This poster was presented at the 26th Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium on March 24th, 2023.
By Megan Peek and Victoria Hoffman
Hannah Bard, under the supervision of Dr. Ellen Wells, presented “Comparing Demographics Between Blackford County Residents and Research Study Participants.” The abstract of this poster is as follows:
Our team conducted a study about metal contamination and health among adults in Hartford City, Indiana. The objective of this analysis is to compare demographics between Blackford County residents and study participants to determine if our study population reflects the actual population of Hartford City and Blackford County, Indiana. This cross-sectional study recruited participants using posters, announcements through community partners, and door- to-door canvassing. Data were collected from May through December 2002 using an online survey which could be filled out by the participant alone or with assistance from study staff. There were 245 participants that provided full data on their gender, age and race. Study data were compared with data from the U.S. Census Bureau via the STATS Indiana website. Data were managed and analyzed with Microsoft Excel. Analysis included descriptive statistical analysis, and comparisons used Student’s t-tests and Chi- square tests. Our study participants were 62.7% were female and 37.3% were male. Blackford County has a smaller proportion of women, with 50.6% female. In 2021, Hartford City’s population was 6,067 people and Blackford county’s population was 12,091 people. Thus, our study population was approximately 4.02% of the Hartford City population, and 2.02% of the Blackford County population. The Hartford City study median age (59 years) was higher than the overall county’s median age (43.6 years). Initial results suggest our study population has more females and is older than the entire population. Analyses are ongoing. The results will help us understand how representative our study population reflects Blackford County.
Rebecca Eyrick and Sharon Kulali, under the supervision of Dr. Ellen Wells, presented “Self-Reported Health Concerns among Adults in Hartford City, Indiana.” Eyrick and Kulali are students in the School of Health Sciences in the Department of Public Health at Purdue West Lafayette. This is the abstract of the poster:
Metal recycling plants may release environmental contaminants (air pollutants and heavy metals) into nearby communities. The citizens of Hartford City raised concerns about a local metal recycling plant and a variety of health concerns. As a first step to address these concerns, the goal for this analysis was to evaluate self-reported health indicators in adults from Hartford City. We completed a cross-sectional study of Hartford City adults (≥18 years old) in 2022. Participants completed a questionnaire regarding their demographic characteristics and health status and concerns. Data was available for 283 participants. Stata 17.0 was used to perform statistical analyses. The majority of participants were female (61.8%), White (96.1%), not Hispanic or Latino (98.6%), married (52.1%), and had an Associate’s degree (44.0%). Their mean age was 56 years (SEM: 1.1) Most participants indicated that their mental (91.2%) and physical health (80.6%) were “about the same” or “better” in the past 12 months. 22.8% of participants indicated that had had at least one cancer in their lifetime, 47.3% had been diagnosed with hypertension, 42.8% had allergies, and 42.0% had high cholesterol. The highest concerns for citizens of Hartford City were cancer (29.3%), drug use (27.9%), and water quality (20.1%). Other highlighted concerns were air quality, soil quality, poverty, and obesity. Additional analyses to determine correlations of demographic characteristics with health outcomes are ongoing. These results contribute to our understanding of the health concerns among Hartford City adults.
by Victoria Hoffman and Megan Peek
PhD student Edem Fabrice has put together some preliminary findings of soil samples. A relationship between metals is found wherever there is an asterisk (meaning that where one is high or low, the other is also high or low). There are still many other samples that need to be tested before much more can be said. Save the date to come to the community meeting next spring to learn more! Thank you!
We started in the snow, we continued through the summer heat, and we finished in the snow. The field research phase is nearing completion.
The final collection date is the first week of December.
Now we begin to analyze the data to see what we can learn about the community.
The public health study is up and running! Last February, several of you came to City Hall to provide input to our survey. We listened and incorporated your feedback into the study. Last weekend, students from Purdue Fort Wayne walked door-to-door in snow, sleet and rain to help launch our online health survey. Thank you, students, for helping us get started. We appreciate your care for our community! Over the next several weeks, residents and students will be going door-to-door asking you to take part in the study. Please welcome them!
by Eric Evans
As president of Blackford County Concerned Citizens, I have been involved in the design of this research project from the very beginning. It is wonderful to see it up and running. The survey can be taken online at https://tinyurl.com/PublicHealthBlackford. If you are over 65, there will be very few questions. But someone from Purdue University in West Lafayette will call you back to complete the survey.
by Eric Evans
Joanna is the Project Ambassador in the community for our student. If you would like to help go door-to-door in Hartford City or Montpellier to “spread the word” about the online health survey, please let Joanna know. She will get you connected! Email her at blackfordcoconcernedcitizens[at]gmail[dot]com. Thank you!
by Eric Evans
It has been a while since you have heard from us via this newsletter, but lots has been happening despite the pandemic disruptions. As I have said before, things take time and we are in this for the long haul. We have several things to tell you. First of all, professors at Purdue West Lafayette have joined our research team and we have shifted focus from environmental compliance to public health. Many of you know me and you know that I am not a fan of zoom. But here we are! We secured a $25,000 Trailblazer Grant from Indiana CTSI Community Health Partnerships and were well on the way to getting things in motion before we realized that – wait a minute – this is the first time we have met face-to-face! So we took a photo to mark the occasion. Our team met via zoom, applied for a grant via zoom, and set things in motion via zoom. Now it’s time to start meeting in person, which takes me to the next topic.
by Eric Evans
As president of Blackford County Concerned Citizens, I have been involved in the design of this research project from the very beginning. On Saturday, February 19th, we are asking for your involvement as residents of Blackford County to ensure that the health survey covers all of your concerns. There may be questions that you want to be included that are not yet on the survey. Saturday morning is your chance to give us your preferences. Please come to City Hall, meet some of the research team members, get to know of few of the Purdue Fort Wayne students who will be helping out, and tell us your concerns.
by Eric Evans