Nursing Professor and Recent DNP Graduate Present at APHA Annual Meeting

Nov 22, 2017
APHA Presentation

Assistant Professor Kalapana Poudel-Tandukar and recent Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate Dr. Maria Theresa Panizales presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, which was held in Atlanta, GA, November 4-8, 2017. 

Dr. Poudel-Tandukar presented three papers on mental health disparities among Bhutanese immigrants living in Western Massachusetts and HIV-infected persons living in Nepal in Annual Meeting of American Public Health Association (APHA) in Atlanta, 2017. She presented findings of her study entitled "Socio-cultural barriers and enablers to seeking mental health services among Bhutanese immigrants in Massachusetts." This study was co-authored by Prof. Cynthia Jacelon and Prof. Genevieve Chandler and was funded by Faculty Research Grant and College of Nursing, UMass Amherst. She presented two other studies entitled "HIV-symptom burden and depression in persons with Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection" and "Sleep disturbances and depression in persons with Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection" and chaired "HIV Testing and Counseling" session.


Our recent DNP graduate, Dr. Maria Theresa Panizales presented her DNP capstone project entitled "Refugee Health Education: Learn to Succeed. Together We Build Our Community" at the Annual Meeting of American Public Health Association, Atlanta, 2017. Her paper was co-authored by her advisors Dr. Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar and Dr. Terrie Black, College of Nursing, UMass Amherst.

Dr. Panizales's presented abstract:

"Refugees seize the moment to save their lives running away from home to evade war and violence, human rights abuses, and life-threatening environmental changes. In urgency, they leave behind everything and struggle to reach safety by foot, boat, and other means of transport to an unknown destination –temporarily or permanently. Fortunately for others, humanitarian assistance comes in the form of resettlement after months or years of processing. In the United States, it is a task under the Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP). The biggest drawback of the program, while it advocates and support self-sufficiency it is essentially restrictive and time-bound. It assumes that refugees are able to attain self-sufficiency in 6-8 months notwithstanding the lack of English language proficiency, low literacy, and social-cultural discordance. For others, the support ceased when the refugee ends employment. A health education program was developed and implemented to address the resettled refugees'  health needs as a result of lack of support after the resettlement program ends. The one-day a week education program evolved from the community needs assessment include didactics, cultural event, and community resource tool. The program targeted refugees resettled in Rhode Island ZIP Code 02907 and not receiving RRP support. Knowledge and skills survey tool were use pre and post evaluation to measure improvement on participants knowledge and skills. The program evaluation survey tool includes quantitative administrative, and qualitative participant and stakeholder feedback. Descriptive statistical analysis revealed improvement in health knowledge and skills gap post health education program.


About APHA: American Public Health Association (APHA) 2017 in Atlanta, Nov 4-8, 2017.

"We are proud to say that more than 12,000 public health professionals from around the world took Atlanta by storm Nov. 4-8! This year's Annual Meeting theme was Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health, which contributed to the topic of discussion in general sessions, scientific sessions and presentations. "