Title of the Project: Professional Writing in the Field of Public Health
Name: GinaMarie Piane, Dr.P.H.
Department: Allied Health Professions
Date of full-time appt. at NIU: August 16, 1989
Present Rank: Assistant Professor
Courses to be affected by project (Dept./Number/Title): AHPH 350: Elements of Environmental Health, AHPH 445: Community Health Promotion, AHPH 455, Public Health Epidemiology, AHPH 460: Principles of the Organization of Public Health Programs, AHPH 483: Community Health Research and Evaluation, AHPH 485: Principles of Health Planning

Estimated annual enrollment in above listed classes: 50-100 students

Justification of the request:
The Public and Community Health Program prepares students for professional positions in health administration and public health promotion. Depending upon their particular interests, graduates will be involved in planning and managing health service programs and facilities, developing and communicating health information to the public, and investigating and evaluating specific community and environmental health problems. Students with high levels of written communication skills will be able to share their insights with coworkers, work more effectively as managers, and empower the general public to enhance their health and prevent disease.

Objectives of the Project: (Phase I) Project Goal: To improve the writing preparation of undergraduate students majoring in Community Health and Health Administration.

Objective one: The writing needs of professionals working in the field of Public Health will be assessed by a written survey of 25 Public Health employers. The employers will be asked to give the frequency of various types of writing that is expected of their employees. The categories will include but not be limited to, grant proposals, business letters, memos, patient education materials, press releases, reports, meeting minutes, etc. The employers will also be asked to determine the relative importance of each type of professional writing in their work setting. Finally, the employers will be asked to evaluate the level of writing ability of recent graduates of the NIU Public and Community Health Program.

Objective two: Writing assignments in the core courses for a Bachelor of Science with a major in General Community Health or Health Administration will be assessed by surveying the instructors regarding the frequency, category, and grading procedures of writing assignments in each course.

Objective three: The writing needs determined by the Public Health employers and the writing assignments in the Community Health core courses will be compared. An assessment of the needs of undergraduate students for writing instruction and assignments will be presented to the faculty of the Public and Community Health Program.

Present state of knowledge and/or interest in the area of this project:
Graduates of the Public and Community Health Program have been very well thought of by their employers and quite frequently evaluated as excellent by practicum preceptors in terms of academic preparation. The only areas that employers and preceptors have mentioned as weaknesses in preparation have been in writing and computer skills. The Faculty of the Public and Community Health Program are committed to providing the best academic preparation to their students and in turn serving the Public Health employers in Illinois as well as the Public Health community.

Design of the project or plan of procedure including approximate dates of implementation:

August 15, 1995 Develop survey for employers Develop Mailing list

September 1, 1995 Pilot survey among Public and Community Health Faculty

September 5, 1995 Mail final version of surveys to 25 Public Health Employers

September 10, 1995 Develop survey for faculty

September 15, 1995 Distribute survey to faculty

September 30, 1995 Tabulate results of both surveys

October 15, 1995 Present results to faculty

Evaluation procedures to be used: The written results of the surveys will be made available to the faculty and to the Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education and the coordinator of writing across the curriculum. Frequencies and distributions of survey questions as well as a comparison between the writing necessary in the Public Health field and the writing assignments in the Community Health Core will be presented.

Itemized budget: $1000.00 total

Printing (1000 photocopies @ $.04 = $40.00)
Postage (100 first class letters @ $.32 =$32.00)
Graduate Assistant (50% 2 months @ $550.00 month =$550.00)
Project Director (5% 1.7 months @ $4448.00 month =$378.00)

In kind expenses:
Secretarial Services ( 20 hours @ $8.00 hour = $160.00)
Project Director (5% .3 months @ $4448.00 month =$66.00)

Previous grant relevant to this proposal: The Public and Community Health Program received an undergraduate assessment grant in Summer 1994. A mailing was sent to public health employers regarding the preparation of recent graduates in their employment.

Phase II will begin in Spring 1996 building on the results of Phase I. A workshop for Public and Community Health Faculty regarding assigning and grading writing projects will be considered.