Date of Graduation

Summer 8-27-2014

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Courtney Keeler

Abstract

The fieldwork experience is the summation of six semesters of graduate level public health training. At commencement, students are to be proficient in basic data analysis and epidemiological principles, in how environmental risks impact health, and demonstrate strong program planning, evaluation and leadership skills. Throughout, students are encouraged to focus their academic work on an area of public health that interest them and on a problem that they hope to impact in their professional work. I continued in an area I began as an undergraduate student of medical anthropology and explored the systems that interact to influence mental health of populations. Specifically, how veterans and others exposed to trauma are at an increased risk for adverse health outcomes. This paper and my fieldwork experience reflect my intention to apply my degree in those areas after completion.

In my fieldwork, I wanted to deepen my understanding of the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention methods used in trauma and mental health for those with PTSD. For my work with Dr. Myeal Charvat, I shifted focus from traditional public health to clinical treatments for PTSD (tertiary prevention) and then to an overview of the factors associated with risk for PTSD (primary and secondary prevention). In this paper, I present those findings as well as my perspective on trauma as a public health concern. I also describe the challenges and learning objectives of my experience, and areas for future work on the topic.