Social Services, Healthcare and Education

Recorded five-minute presentations for the Undergraduate Scholarly Showcase in Category F: Social Services, Healthcare and Education, Projects F-01 through F-16.

F-01: Traditional Behavior Training Increases Acquisition of Daily Living Skills in Adults with Autism

Erika Haines, Social Work
Project Advisor: Anjanette Wells
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With the inability to perform basic living activities independently, individuals with developmental disabilities suffer. When provided adequate instruction, individuals with developmental disabilities can increase their independence in daily living skills; "providing individuals with significant intellectual disabilities appropriate instruction in the area of daily living skills has the potential to enhance the individual's self-determination as well as potentially provide further opportunities to be more independent" (Cannella-Malone et al., 2011). According to various literatures, video prompting and behavioral training are the most acclaimed interventions to prompt independence in life skill acquisition. In this study, instructional methods are explored to determine which promotes the greatest level of independence in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

F-02: Satisfaction Rates among Individuals Receiving Social Services through the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office

Tori Gould, Social Work
Project Advisor: Anjanette Wells
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The purpose of this research study is to provide data to the social workers at the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office regarding their client's satisfaction with their experience getting connected to resources. The study uses a sample population of 10-20 individuals that were clients of the social worker within the municipal division at the Public Defender's Office. The data will be obtained through a satisfaction survey provided to the clients at their final court date, prior to the closing of their case. The satisfaction survey being used will contain a Likert scale in which the clients can rate their satisfaction to each question on a scale from 1-5. The client's will be observed, and their feedback will be organized and analyzed in the Public Defender's room within the courthouse.

F-03: Hospital Readmission Rates for Geriatric Patients over the Age of 60

Lauren Wertz, Social Work
Project Advisor: Gary Dick
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As readmission rates are increasing every year the hospital staff is getting criticized more and more. Hospitals are losing funds from other corporations because most of their missions are people who were just previously there. This causes a lot more stress for everyone in the hospital field and causing the burnout rate to be higher. It’s important that we look at why they are coming back if it has something to do with psychological reasons then there were something that we were missing all along. In this study I looked at 16 patients who had recently been readmitted to the hospital in the geriatric psych unit within the past year. Within this population I looked at what their diagnosis is and how it was different from their previous admission. If it was something that is different than what it was previously then there was something that we were missing. In this study we look at who is readmitted more often between dementia patients and other behavioral disturbances.

F-04: Home Visitation Programs and Parents' Thoughts and Satisfaction

Yoselynn Coronado, Social Work
Project Advisor: Gary Dick
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The big picture of my project is to find research on how home visiting programs help parents, whether it be positive or negative. The specific goal is to hear that parents benefit from joining these programs. Home visiting programs are designed to help improve parent-child relationships and to provide resources and support so babies can be as successful as they can be. My strategy for achieving the goal is to interview a couple of clients from the Every Child Succeeds program to hear their feedback. The outcome of my work will allow other individuals to gain insight into my research.

F-05: Lack of Resources in Low-income Schools and the Affect it Has on Children's Success

Valencia Abunaw, Social Work
Project Advisor: Anjanette Wells
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The purpose of my project was to see if the lack of resources in low income neighborhoods and schools can affect a child's academic success. To gather my information, I chose to ask a series of questions to administration at low income school districts to see their thoughts and opinions. Based off the answers I received, I concluded that low access to resources can hinder a child's academic success because they may not be able to get extra help that they might need. I did see from some of the responses that each school did have a minimal amount of resources, but across the board they agree that low access to resources can hurt the child's academic success.

F-06: How Childhood Poverty Negatively Impacts School Performance in the Early Years of Education

Rachel McAninch, Social Work
Project Advisor: Gary Dick
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Childhood poverty is a chronic and consistent issue in societies around the world. It impacts 5.2% of children in the US. This percentage may seem small, but it is still millions of children. The purpose of this research is to bring to light the prevalence of the negative impacts that childhood poverty can bring on a child's education. Poverty can affect how children learn, behave, achieve, and overall perform in school. A specific focus was on Warren County as data was obtained from surveys to Warren County Children's Services caseworkers and SACWIS data from cases involving children in poverty. This research and data collection showed many commonalities between children and poverty and their education. Lack of school supplies, truancy, repetition of grades, and poor academic achievements are just a few of the reoccurrences in childhood poverty cases. The outcome of this research is knowledge. Education to the public about the negative impacts of poverty on a child's education, which is happening globally. Childhood poverty is an issue that takes the world to conquer. The value of this research is for society and children. Children's voices need to be heard and society needs to listen. This research is a small step in bringing awareness to this issue.

F-07: Quality of Care in Hospice Patients: Exploring How Different Insurances and Private Pay Effect the Quality of Care

Levi Clement, Social Work
Project Advisor: Gary Dick
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It is well known that what health insurance one has can dramatically alter what services the individual is able to get. When it comes to hospice care, being able to either have services cover or to be able to afford services that ease this end of life transition can dramatically alter the stress of the patient and their loved ones, and can also improve the quality of life during this transitional period. Previous research has quantified and described quality end of life care, and has also highlighted how while hospice care could be utilized earlier, it is typically utilized at later stages. This study utilizes a qualitative interview approach with a small sample size of hospice patients or their primary caregiver in order to look into what services they are able to access based upon their insurance and their ability to private pay out of pocket. Contrary to the hypothesis, the biggest finding of the study is that the ability to private pay vastly outweighs the insurance the client possesses. The importance of this study is the gap in quality care. As social workers, recognizing that a lack of resources based upon what a client can pay for can help you to better serve this population. Knowing how to bridge this gap and find services that are not private pay allows the client to have better care and less stress at this end of life stage.

F-08: Trends in Beauty & Personal Care Product Ingredients: A Health Safety Concern or Marketing Ploy?

Dana Khoury, Chemistry
Project Advisor: Kavssery Parameswaran Ananthapadmanabhan
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Personal care products are used to perform many daily hygiene tasks and beautification. Because of this demand, the personal care industry is incredibly large, offering a multitude of products available, all with different formulas. Recently, there has been a shift to formulate products without particular chemicals (i.e. sulfates, parabens, silicones, etc), with many marketing claims to support that they are ideal or safer for the consumer. In this study, the goal is to find an understanding of the gap between what is found in literature about these popular claims in cosmetic products, to see if there is a sound foundation between science and marketing, as well as finding if there is misinformation in the market.

F-09: Exposure to Nature and its Effects on Cognitive Performance

Lindsey Lyons, Neuroscience - Neurobiology Concentration
Project Advisor: Annette Stowasser
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Education is essential to cognitive development, but what is essential to a better education? I believe it's important to constantly evaluate our education system and see what areas could use improvement. How can we make our education systems more beneficial and inclusive to All students to improve understanding and retention of learned material? One area of investigation is the influence of nature exposure. A multitude of studies have shown the different benefits of nature exposure to both physical and mental health. What I'm curious to find out is, can the incorporation of nature, benefit learning and improve cognitive performance.   To investigate if green environments improve cognitive performance, I reviewed and compared 16 different studies involving the incorporation of nature in different ways, from students who sit near a window, to hands-on outside learning. I tracked and compared various important aspects such as age range, sample size, methods used, etc... All 16 studies showed results that students were more engaged in their learning and performed better overall. For example, one study showed on average, the number of times students needed to be redirected to focus on the lesson, was cut almost in half following a lesson outdoors. While these studies seem to show that green spaces help, it remains to be seen if there is also a benefit for the teachers and a more diverse group of students. I propose further research, involving an additional focus on teachers and another involving how we can improve the diversity of the students.

F-10: Health Education to Promote Healthy Eating for Very Young Children in Underserved Communities: Using Storyboarding to Access Children's Voices and Knowledge

Sachi Shukla, Neuroscience and Liberal Arts
Hailey Vargo, Public Health
Project Advisor: Laura Nabors
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Young children residing in low-income communities require access to educational programming to improve their health knowledge and overcome health disparities. Educational programming tailored to the unique needs of these children is especially important, considering they may not have the resources and exposure to healthy eating habits and lifestyles. The purpose of this project was to analyze the impact of Healthy Bearcats, an after-school program for young children residing in low-income urban areas in Cincinnati. This program followed the Children's Healthy Eating and Exercise (CHEE) Program, where children learned about MyPlate ( and the Traffic Light Diet (Epstein, 2005), as well as the importance of eating fewer unhealthy snacks, more healthy snacks and lunches, and exercising at home. Program evaluation data were obtained using a "Read-All-About-It" technique, which allowed children to provide information through narratives and drawing. Eighteen children participated in the pre-intervention evaluation (10 females, 8 males). Twenty children participated in the post-program evaluation (10 females, 10 males). All of the children were African American. To analyze the data, two coders independently identified and verified themes in the data. The number of healthy foods identified in the stories and demographic information were analyzed using SPSS. The outcomes of this study were that, after Healthy Bearcats, children were able to identify and list a greater variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthy activities. The results from this study indicated that quality educational programming may be helpful in introducing young children from low-income communities to a variety of healthy foods and activities.

F-11: Rural Barriers to Services and Supports for Home Care

Tibbie Kposowa, Social Work
Project Advisor: Anjanette Wells
Watch presentation (link coming soon)

Individuals due to either aging; medical complications; developmental disability; or an accident need long-term care to help with one or more of the following: taking care of themselves and/or their home environment; completing everyday activities; support for living independently; acquiring basic life necessities; need medical care outside of appointments. Most individuals in need of long-term care prefer it to take place in their homes and community, but especially for those living in more rural regions, there are barriers obstructing their access to home care services. This is resulting in rural individuals to experience poorer health outcomes and higher rates of admittance to nursing homes for long-term care than their urban counterparts located in or closer to metro areas. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive research is to identify from CareStar employees through interviews what is factoring into the barriers they face getting rural clients services and what they think needs to be changed, worked on, or improved to possibly increase their access to services. The outcome of this work will give knowledge on the circumstances unique to service delivery to rural communities and information that can be used for taking action on the issue.

F-12: Resilient Communities: Partnership Development and Experiential Learning

Alexandra Millis, Communication and Organizational Leadership
April Gable, Communication and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Logan Moore, Media Production and Communication
Olivia Sawchuk, Communication and Political Science

Project Advisor: Michael Sharp
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Resilient Communities wants to develop and sustain partnerships in order to continue community building with a perpetually expanding workforce. Without these existing and future partnerships, they will be unable to accomplish the major changes they set out to create. Through the creation of worthwhile projects, our team plans to provide a new steady form of communication and connection to the University of Cincinnati's offices and resources. This new avenue of communication will enable Resilient Communities to have a greater reach to engage with partners and students looking for work/experience.

F-13: Fundraising Strategies for a Cincinnati NGO: Resilient Communities

Audrey Albert, Digital Media and Communication
Mike Cappel, Communication
Brady Sluder, Communication
Joseph Powell, Communication
Project Advisor: Michael Sharp
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Charged with helping a local nonprofit, Resilient Communities overcome funding and staff shortages, the Capstone Team “Small is BIG” worked with the nonprofit to enlarge the toolbox by building standard templates, a refreshed database, and database testing to facilitate future funding.  The team turned to Aurora Bishop, a determined 11 year old Higginsport, Ohio resident, for inspiration and some simple models on fundraising.  As Resilient Communities begins to use the tools, it is expected that cash flow will increase allowing RC to initiate many of the small price projects such as waste fired pottery kilns, a solar/electric well pump and High School Life Skills camp.

F-14: Resilient Communities Marketing and Promotion

Samuel Pond, Communication
Eric Richmond, Communication
Emma Berger, Communication
Jeremy Capehart, Communication
Ashtin Francis, Film & Media Studies
Project Advisor: Michael Sharp
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In the nonprofit sector, it can be difficult for smaller organizations to obtain consistent funding and assistance. They are often fueled by passion from the creators of the organizations. Resilient Communities is run by Robert Eastman Johnson, a graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor's in Urban Planning & Design as well as a Master's in Community Planning. Resilient Communities strives to tackle projects as they are able, but are currently a small team with limited funding.   Our team served Resilient Communities by using our prior design experience to create fresh and creative marketing materials to be used for reaching out to potential partners of the organization. We focused on showcasing specific projects for partners that may have specific ties to the types of projects. In addition, we have assisted in updating existing materials like the Resilient Communities website or providing feedback on social media postings that interns are creating while on their trip in Morocco. Finally, we assisted other teams working with Resilient Communities in marketing related challenges  Our final deliverable consisted of five reusable templates that were created with the focus of partner outreach in mind, one long form video for use in summarizing Resilient Communities, and some updates to the website for clarity and ease of use. This allows the Resilient Communities team to focus on other projects while still expanding their marketing outreach.

F-15: The Oral Health Project

Kylie Schmidt, Political Science
Project Advisor: Michael Sharp
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Village Life’s Oral Health Project is meant to improve the lack of oral health education throughout the Nyambogo, Buere, and Roche villages of the Rorya district in Tanzania. Currently, residents brush their teeth according to tradition, which includes the use of sticks and coal ash. Oftentimes, individuals will share sticks and brush for long periods of time, thus increasing their risk of tooth decay. When attempting to explain healthier oral health habits, Village Life is faced with a language barrier that could prevent effective communication and understanding among village residents. In addition, the lack of dental hygiene resources, like dentists, within the Rorya district requires the implementation of sustainable solutions to help residents improve their oral health. Over the course of the semester, we have created several templates for sustainable marketing materials meant to inform villagers of proper oral health care during Village Life's upcoming trip to Tanzania. Even further, we have worked in collaboration with Village Life and their Tanzanian partners to produce marketing materials that reflect cultural intelligence and ensure the information we provide is understandable and relatable in an effort to alleviate prevalent tooth decay and gum disease among villagers.