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Caroline Seder

PUBH 498

Reflection Paper #2

Throughout my experience in my undergraduate Public Health courses I noticed where

my true strengths and weaknesses lie within my coursework. After self-assessment I realized that

I show low confidence in the ability to demonstrate information from various contexts in public

health. Both EPID 410 and STAT 205 were extremely challenging for me because looking at

Public Health through an analytical lens put me in a position as a student that I did not think I

could manage. Since I was a child I was never confident in my mathematic capabilities and this

was reflected during these two courses. I was unable to utilize the formulas and numbers

properly until I was re-taught multiple times by classmates, and because of this my confidence

was struck. I was unable to understand why my classmates had no problem solving these

equations and understanding the answers. Also, a big part of the class was taking the answers and

applying them to a real life scenario and because I was not confident in the answers I did not feel

as though I could properly apply them. Overall, this specific competency had a low score in

confidence because of my struggle with the analytical concepts.

For me, the second area I scored low in confidence was my ability to discuss individual

and social accountability including civic responsibility and ethical responsibility as they apply to

the health of populations. I gave this specific competency a 2 because I was somewhat confident

in my ability to discuss individual accountability in terms of health in a population. For example,

I am confident in going home and telling my parents that smoking increases their chances for

many chronic diseases and I could give them better lifestyle options. On the other hand, I have

vey low confidence in discussing civic responsibility in terms of health. When I think of civic
responsibility I think of vaccines. As an advocate for vaccines I understand the need as a

population but I feel uncomfortable discussing this topic with individuals who have ethical

dilemmas. Furthermore, I have a low level of confidence in discussing civic responsibility

because I feel as though I need to be trained in ways to approach someone who has certain

ethical dilemmas against civic duties.

One of the areas I scored high in confidence in is the ability to show the contributions of

a range of disciplines in improving the health of the public. I feel confident in this area because

as a psychology minor I have been exposed to a range of fields, all of which relate to the health

of the public. Throughout my time working in two psychology labs, I noticed that public health

and psychology coexist. Without the work of public health trying to continuously break the

stigma of psychological disorders, the field of psychology may not be so widely known and well

respected in our society. I know the discipline of psychology improves the health of the public

just in a different way. Having these experiences in both of these independent study courses

made my confidence in this competency soar.

Another area that I showed high confidence is the ability to use suitable technologies,

scientific inquiry skills and communication to conduct ethical research on public health issues.

This area is an area I feel as though I have received the most experience and training in. In EPID

410, I mentioned earlier that I struggled with the analytical part of it but in terms of the

conceptualized part of the class on research and critical thinking I feel without a doubt I can

succeed. In addition to learning ethical research practices in EPID 410, I also went through

Institutional Review Board (IRB) training before my independent study experience. This training

made me aware of the ins and outs of research and how to properly conduct research on any
topic. Any research involves scientific inquiry skills, and communicating strategies and I have

high confidence in my ability to perform these tasks.

Along with having competencies that I felt high or low confidence in I also have favorite

courses that have sculpted my view on health, and life in general. First, HPEB 300 was one of

my most intense, time-consuming classes but by the end I realized how much I enjoyed the

material. During class we had a group project that involved us creating a grant proposal and at

the end of the semester we presented our work. We were placed in groups based on our interests

and created an intervention program. Week by week I not only grew closer with my group

members but began to connect concepts and theories through group discussion. These group

discussions helped us weave these ideas through our proposals. In addition, we worked closely

with our professor, and she made us work hard. The class was structured, well managed, and I

believe had a personal impact and was useful for almost everyone in my class. I left HPEB 300

more confident in my abilities as a public health practitioner, researcher, and student. Overall,

this class set the tone for my experience in the public health program.

Second, HPEB 511 was another course that I enjoyed. In this class we got to create a

policy brief on a topic we felt passionate about and had the opportunity to submit our brief and

request legislation change. This project gave me the tools necessary to know I have the ability to

make change on my own. Along with the policy brief, we also discussed Obamacare extensively.

These extensive discussions were extremely useful and applicable. We covered aspects of health

care I was never before exposed to and that made every class enjoyable. Along with the material

being enjoyable, my professor, Dr. Mindi Spencer, was an amazing teacher, with a passion for

presenting information to us in a way that it was applicable to our lives. To say the least this class

was enjoyable but I felt as though this class was essential to my experience as a young adult.
At first, I did not think ENHS 321 was going to be a course I enjoyed but throughout the

course my idea changed. I never realized how much of an impact us as humans have on the

environment. This realization instantly hooked me into the course initially. Also, we focused a lot

on antibiotic resistance in this class, and this is a topic that I am interested in because of personal

experience with a C. Difficle infection from antibiotics. Along with both of these topics our main

assignment was to read No Impact Man. This novel exposed us to a story of a man who gave up

all comforts of modern living, and gave us insight into his experience. I enjoyed being exposed

to the environmental side of public health and by being exposed I am able to connect these ideas

with the policy and prevention side of public health.

Throughout the experience in my coursework I realized that I am extremely passionate

about intervention and using behavior change theories such as operant conditioning to enforce

intervention. In HPEB 300, I got a taste of what it was like to create an intervention program but

I never got to experience the program first hand. I would love to gain real life experience in a

behavior skills group with children. In this behavior skills group I would like to implement

interventions with these children based around operant conditioning. Overall, I am passionate

about the topic of intervention from HPEB 300 but I would like to use intervention in children

because this is the age group I am the most passionate about.

Next, I am passionate about the principle of confidentiality as it relates to ethical clinical

practices. I selected confidentiality because it not only is the competency I succeeded in but I

would like to pursue a career in counseling and social work and this is based around

confidentiality. I am passionate about counseling and I know that the principle of confidentiality

and the IRB training I received will all help me become successful in gaining real life experience

as a counselor in the future.

My Capstone Field Project is at the Parenting and Family Research Center under the

direction of Dr. Kate Flory. I am working on her research project the, Project to Learn About

Youth (P.L.A.Y), as a research assistant. This experience is giving me the opportunity to work

in a team just as I have done in HPEB 511 and HPEB 300 and is allowing to me get more

experience with children. As mentioned previously, this research experience is in the field of

psychology and this experience made me confident in my ability to show contributions from a

range of disciplines and professions. Additionally, this is the experience I received the IRB

training for and the principle of confidentiality is something else that I am passionate about.

Overall, this experience with P.L.A.Y has incorporated my high confidence competencies and

passions and I am excited to continue working for the remainder of the semester.

My second idea for my Capstone Field Project would be working at Epworth Childrens

Home. I would love to create groups for each age group of children and creates different

curriculum around my idea for each group. I would use skills from HPEB 300 in creating the

program, and knowledge from HPEB 511 to inform the children in the groups. In the groups I

would put my focus around the idea of no child being left behind. I am a firm believer in social

justice and that circumstances do not have to define your future and this is the message I would

want to get across to each age group. I would include skills on how to be successful, create

activities to enforce self-confidence, and have life talks that are open to any questions that the

children may have. This experience may not be possible right now but it is something I dream of

doing. Most importantly, I would use the competencies I have gained from in classroom and out

of classroom experiences in the field of Public Health to ensure my success.