Six Northwestern College nursing students were invited to present posters depicting their research at the Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health, held April 9 and 10 in Ames.
A poster entitled “Healthy Living: Preventing Childhood Obesity” was presented by Hannah Biernacki, Vista, Calif., and Chelsea Jones, Sioux City, with assistance from Rachel Kosakowski, Southbridge, Mass.; Brett Leifson, Gilbert, Ariz.; Allyse Strawhacker, Johnston, Iowa; and Wil Van’t Hof, Alvord, Iowa.
Leifson, a double major in nursing and psychology, also presented a poster labeled “Predicting Depression and Anxiety: Implications of Sleep, Diet and Exercise on Depression and Anxiety.”
The students’ childhood obesity research was done as community service to the Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars, under the supervision of Loretta Myers, director of nursing, and Debra Steffen, nurse manager for the hospital’s public health department.
Northwestern nursing professor Diane Smith, clinical instructor for the Plymouth Community Health Learning Project, also mentored the students and encouraged them to share their research results statewide.
More than 500 public health professionals attended the conference, which the governor hosts annually in partnership with seven public health agencies, including the Iowa Department of Public Health, Child Health Specialty Clinics, and the Iowa Environmental Health Association.
Between poster sessions, Northwestern students had the opportunity to hear presentations by Dr. Adewale Troutman, president of the American Public Health Association, and Dr. Ken Olden, a research scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Northwestern’s nursing department is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing. The department’s graduates boast a 95 percent nursing boards pass rate, and the department recently launched an online RN to BSN degree completion option for working nurses.