PI: Karlen E. Luthy
Although most well-known for formula and food vouchers, the WIC Program also excels with their education programs. In fact, every three months WIC parents are required to complete authorized on-line educational modules or attend approved educational classes prior to obtaining their food vouchers for the subsequent quarter.
In Utah, WIC clients establish their eligibility for program services at the WIC location within their county of residence. The WIC Program in Utah County is one of the largest in the state, providing services for approximately 8,000 women. During 2013-2014, a troublesome trend emerged among WIC clients in Utah County – a decline in immunization rates among the infants and children receiving WIC services.
The purpose of this mentored educational project was to create educational materials for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program addressing the need for adequate immunization of infants and children against whooping cough.
The MEG funding was successfully utilized for its intended purpose (creating a WIC education module on immunizations). During the mentored experience, students assisted in the development of immunization-related educational materials for WIC clients in Utah County. In addition to developing on-line educational modules, mentored students will also assist in the creation and delivery of immunization-related lesson plans for WIC-based educational classes.
Evaluation of how well the Academic Objectives of the Proposal were met
- Objective #1-Mentoring environment will include ten undergraduate students. I’m happy to report that we were able to include eight students (names listed below). Four of these students were graduate students, which was not initially anticipated. However, the mentoring environment was deeply enriched by including graduate students. The graduate students and undergraduate students were able to work together, side-by-side, for a common purpose. The graduate students were already Registered Nurses, so, it was quite educational to have the undergraduate students (future Registered Nurses). Together, all the students were able to grow and develop as responsible nurses who are involved in public health. ten students as originally projected. Thus, the first academic objective was met.
- Objective #2-Mentoring will include orientation and planning meetings and bi-monthly group and/or individual meetings. Because of the strong collaboration and mentoring of graduate students and undergraduate students, all mentored students were able to actively participate (with mentors right at their side) in collaboration with the Utah County Health
Department, the Utah County Immunization Clinic, the Utah Immunization Coalition, the Utah WIC Program, and the Utah State Department of Health in tool development, research planning, evaluation, writing articles for publication, and presenting at conferences. To accomplish everything, we held an initial orientation meeting and bi-monthly group and individual meetings over the course of the project. Consequently, the mentoring environment was rich, involving students from the beginning to the end of the project.
The mentored undergraduate students, who were also hired as research assistants, also assisted in following up with participants after they participated in the education module. The research assistants also participated in data entry. All mentored students analyzed quantitative and qualitative data.
All mentored students collaborated with faculty on submitting abstracts for presentations at conferences and in writing the manuscripts, some of which have been published and others which have been submitted for publication. Hence, the second academic objective was met.
- Objective #3-Mentored students will have opportunity to collaborate with Utah public health officials and immunization experts. Both undergraduate and graduate mentored students collaborated with Utah public health officials and immunization experts. In addition, they were asked to give select presentations for public health officials, including a report for the Utah County Immunization Clinic and the Utah Immunization Coalition. They also cooperated with Utah immunization experts, such as the Utah Immunization Director at the Utah State Department of Health, to check for completeness of education and analyzing feedback from experts. The students also collaborated with Utah public health officials to pretest the education module, present educational classes, and then revise, improve, and polish the WIC education module.
Evaluation of Mentoring Environment
Informally, all of the undergraduate students reported that their mentored experiences “changed their outlook on nursing, public health, and teaching.” Likewise, all of the graduate students who were mentored informally reported a deeper understanding of engaging with the discipline. All students enlarged the students’ intellects and developed new skills, breadth, and depth. Furthermore, all students now have a newfound respect for public health initiatives and collaboration.
Formally, the mentoring environment can be objectively evaluated with the number and quality of academic deliverables. Students fully participated in every aspect of the project, from IRB application to module development, evaluation, manuscript preparation, and abstract submission. Two of the undergraduate students have since graduated and have already enrolled in graduate programs. The others have expressed interest in continuing their education in a Masters program. The mentoring environment empowered these students in the process of program development, evaluation, and writing, skills with which they now have valuable experience.
List of Students who Participated and what Academic Deliverables they have Produced or are Anticipated they will Produce
Graduate students: Alicia Anderson, Emily Dunn, Levi Kohler, and Sarah Stocksdale
Undergraduate students: Emily Louder, Brooke Saunders, Katherine Edmonds, and Aimee Erickson
Produced Academic Deliverables (names in italics are students):
Macintosh, J. L. B., Eden, L. M., Luthy, K. E., & Erickson, A. (under review). Support and advocacy for global immunizations: A call to action for nurses to promote health and prevent disease worldwide. American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing.
Luthy, K. E., Anderson, A., Macintosh, J., Eden, L., Beckstrand, R. L., & Dunn, E. G. (under review). Immunization education for WIC clients. American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing.
Anderson, A., Luthy, K. E., Macintosh, J., Eden, L., & Beckstrand, R. L. (2016). Evaluation of WIC Education Module to Improve Vaccination Rates. A presentation for the annual BYU College of Nursing Scholarly Works and Contribution to the Discipline Conference.
Dunn, E. G., Luthy, K. E., Beckstrand, R. L., Macintosh, J. L. B., Eden, L. M., and Saunders, B. (2014). Assessing Immunization Education in the United States. A presentation for the annual BYU College of Nursing Scholarly Works and Contribution to the Discipline Conference.
Description of the Results/Findings of the Project
Differences between pre- and post-test responses were statistically significant. The greatest concern regarding whooping cough was how it affected infants. Participants reported they learned new information regarding disease seriousness and recognition of symptoms/treatment options but still requested additional information on the whooping cough disease and vaccine.