Research Without Walls Student Symposium Showcases 66 Compelling Projects

Public Health; Research; Social Work; Students

Can calming traffic in St. Louis neighborhoods improve quality of life for residents? What’s the association between insurance status and childhood cancer survival? How does instability in housing affect maternal depression?

These diverse questions and many more were addressed in the fifth annual Research Without Walls student symposium on April 28, 2016. The symposium, started in 2012 by Associate Professor Jenine Harris, has now become a hallmark student event. It allows the Brown School community to come together to explore questions and challenges that affect the St. Louis community, the nation and the world—and to showcase the impact and reach of student work.

This year, 66 student research posters were displayed on the Garden Level of the new Hillman Hall by students in social work and public health programs—a culmination of work completed in courses and practica. Students, staff and faculty from the Brown School and the wider Washington University community were invited to view the displays and discuss the process and outcomes with the student researchers.

“The symposium provides a space for students to share ideas tested through research,” said Patrick J. Fowler, associate professor and chair of the Research Without Walls committee. “It’s a unique opportunity to learn from and be inspired by our students.”

Awards were given to 15 students, with the highest honor, the Edward F. Lawlor Impact Award, given to Amy Fjerstad for her project My Body Belongs to Me: LGBTQ Populations and the Prevention of Child Abuse

Fjerstad, who is working towards a Master of Public Health/Master of Science in Occupational Therapy joint degree in 2017, is planning to work as a pediatric occupational therapist in a hospital setting following graduation. “Research Without Walls provides a space to practice effectively communicating your research as well as to share your enthusiasm with others,” she said.

After the showcase, students and faculty gathered in the Clark-Fox Forum in Hillman Hall to hear from keynote speaker Carroll Rodriguez, senior vice president of public policy and communications at the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter. Rodriguez spoke to students about turning data into action on the policy level, describing the St. Louis chapter’s success in passing state legislation that required dementia competency training for health care professionals—something that has now become a national priority as well.

Research Without Walls Award-Winning Work:

Edward F. Lawlor Impact Award

Amy Fjerstad,
My Body Belongs to Me: LGBTQ Populations and the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Award

Adelina Mart,
Taking a Walk on the Dog Side: An Exploratory Study of Physical Activity Among Dog Park Users

Excellence in Social Work Research Award

Sarah Phillips,
The Criminalization of Poverty: Unconstitutional Indigent Defense and Implications for Low-Income Missourians

Excellence in Doctoral Research Award

Yu-Chih Chen,
Factors of Job Satisfaction Among Home Care Workers in Taiwan: A Moderated-Mediation Multilevel Analysis

Honorable Mentions – Masters of Public Health Research

Hannah Ziobrowski,
What is the Role of Binge Eating Disorder in the Association Between Depression and Obesity in US Adult Women?

Sarah Arnosky,
Speeds for Every Need: An Evaluation of Traffic Calming Demonstrations in St. Louis, Mo.

Juan Pablo Saa,
Mapping Twenty Years of Stroke in St. Louis: Analysis of Barnes Jewish Hospital’s Stroke Registry

Honorable Mentions – Masters of Social Work Research

Nikki Spencer,
Social Stratification of Basic Needs Assistance Among 2-1-1 Callers

Mark Fiala,
The Impact of Chronic Health Conditions on the Sustainability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Healthcare Exchanges

Nishita Dsouza,
Peer Coaching and Intergenerational Lifestyle Change: A Pilot Study

Charlene Caburnay, research assistant professor, also recognized five students for their outstanding work in the Master of Public Health Culminating Experience: Hannah Ziobrowski, Daoxin Yin, Kazi Ahsan, Dorothy Ochieng and Tayler Bungo.