Health Scholars 2013-2015

Kaitlin Krauss and Sarah Birney

The undergraduate team of Health Studies Scholars, Kaitlin Krauss and Sarah Birney present data from the IHS effort at the Sigma Theta Tau Collaborative Scholarship day held at Yale University.

The Presence of Cognitively Enriched Environments for Nursing Home Residents with Dementia
Kaitlyn Krauss, Sarah Birney, and Drs. Linda Henkel & Alison Kris
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Creating a homelike environment can positively affect social interaction sand behavior and lessen confusion and anxiety in individuals with dementia (Edvardsson, 2008). The objective of this study is to determine if there are positive consequences to having nursing home residents display personal photos and other memory cueing objects around their rooms and around the facility. We are particularly interested in whether nostalgia invoking environmental stimuli will engage nursing home residents and their caregivers to reminisce. Nursing home residents reported engaging in reminiscence to maintain intimacy, nurture social bonds, and teach others. Previous research has shown benefits of reminiscing  in terms of improvements in older adults’ health and well being, depression, reduced anxiety about death, and increased feelings of social connectedness (Gerben et al., 2010; Gudex et al., 2010; Subramaniam & Woods, 2012).

What Are the Functions and Value of Reminiscence for Nursing Home Residents?
Sarah Birney, Kaitlyn Krauss, Emily Peters, Monique Goguen, & Drs. Alison Kris and Linda Henkel
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Why do people reminisce about their past, and what functions and values does reminiscing and sharing one’s life experiences and memories with others have?  

Previous research has shown that reminiscing about the past and evoking a sense of nostalgia can increase well-being and social connectedness, and can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety about death (Barrett et al., 2010; Cappeliez et al., 2005; Juhl et al., 2010; O’Rourke et al., 2011; Routledge et al., 2011; Westerhof et al., 2010; Wildschut et al., 2010; Zhou et al., 2012). 

Sharing autobiographical memories with others has been shown to increase empathy and intimacy, resulting in positive feelings about one’s own life, a greater sense of meaning, and more accessible and detailed personal memories (Alea & Bluck, 2007; Bluck et al., 2013).

There are more than 2.2 million older adults residing in U.S. nursing homes, a number that could more than double by 2050 (Jones, 2009), and little is known about the functions and value of reminiscence in this population: The present study examines this by addressing how often nursing home residents reminisce, why, and with whom.

Coffee Farm Workers at Santa Maura
Sarah Hespe, Lia Iacuone, Sarah Roghanian, Megan Commarota, Danyella Hernandez, Patty Adams, Molly Moran and Professors Jessica Alicea-Planas, Lydia Greiner, and Philip Greiner
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•Nicaragua is a country of just over 5,000,000 inhabitants
•Human Development Index: Ranked 129 out of 187  (2012)
•About 12% of Nicaraguans live below the poverty index or on less than US $1.25 per day
•Those living in poverty are disproportionately rural
•7 out of 10 people in rural areas are poor

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Nicaragua (Pan American Health Organization, 2007)

The purpose of this project was:

•To assess demographic characteristics
•Provide glucose/blood pressure screenings
•Deliver culturally appropriate health promotion education
"MR. LEAD SPOT - An Evaluation of a Lead Poisoning Prevention Education Program among Preschool Children
Jennifer Delsole, Eileen O'Shea, Tess Deshefy-Longhi

The purpose of this study was to examine the difference in preschool children’s knowledge concerning: where lead is found; how to prevent lead poisoning; and what children should and should not put in their mouths before and after attending an interactive lead poisoning prevention education session.