Using Everyday Objects for Healthy Portion Sizes

23 04 2014

Hello readers!

April has been a whirlwind of activity as I finish up my Master of Public Health degree! Earlier this month, I was invited to give a short ten-minute presentation on the subject of Nutritional Wellness.

hand guide for food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using my adult learning training, I chose to use the BOPPPS model to construct my 10-minute presentation. I have decided to upload my lesson plan for anyone to look at and use for educational purposes:

 Healthy Portion Sizes Lesson Plan – Sarah Topps 2014 

I have also uploaded the powerpoint presentation that I created to deliver this lesson:

Using Everyday Objects for Healthy Portion Sizes – Lesson 

 Short post today, but I hope it is useful for those of you who are:

  • aspiring public health professionals
  • current public health professionals looking for some new material
  • anyone looking for a BOPPPS lesson plan in its final form
  • health educators or health promotion managers

IMPORTANT: Please give credit where credit is due –
Do not pass this off as your own work!

Feel free to use it under the Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca/
(Full Creative Commons License description here)

Thanks for reading, and feel free to post any questions below!

– Sarah Topps 2014





Infographics and Vaccines: Information Contagion and Infection Control

20 02 2013

I recently came across a new infographic that I love, and it reminded me to post on here about the importance of data visualization, especially when it comes to getting big messages across very quickly and in very few words. Our brains are visual. We only began reading and writing in the last few thousand years, and even then, it has been a rare gift and privilege for most of that time. However we have been visually absorbing information for as long as we, and our predecessors, have had eyes.

The infographic I mentioned (posted below) also reminded me that we, as health promoters are trying to s-p-r-e-a-d information and stop the spread of disease and poor health.

Print

Source: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/matthewherper/files/2013/02/c6fb5feb7f1ee71b7e725277d3099916.jpg 

The above infographic was created by Leon Farrant, a graphic designer in Purchase, N.Y., using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

– Sarah Topps 2013

Note: I am also currently a contributing author and moderator of a blog about health promotion, communication and advocacy for a class that I am taking. This post was originally written for that purpose, and since I wrote it, I have re-purposed it to bring over here. (Just so no one thinks I’m stealing!)





aea365

19 02 2013

I am currently taking a program planning and evaluation course and one of our assignments is to read the American Evaluators Association daily blog (aea365) and find 3 useful posts that describe “a hot tip, a cool trick or a rad resource” and then share it with our classmates. This week it was my turn, and I have decided to also share them on this blog.

Here are the three useful things I found on the aea365 blog:

Chelsea Heaven on Why Graduate Students Interested in Evaluation Should Consider Volunteering Aug 13, 2012 Link: http://aea365.org/blog/?p=6954

Rad Resource: Volunteering with Statistics Without Borders

Everyone’s heard of Doctors Without Borders right? Or even Engineers Without Borders… but what about Statistics Without Borders? Chelsea Heaven, fellow public health graduate, posted last year about her great experience with volunteering with them, and recommending it to other grad students as a way to work with real ‘messy’ data and evaluation professionals in collaborative teams of 4-5 people on real world problems such as health policy in East Africa. She recommended joining Idealist.org and then checking out SWB.

Susan Kistler on Great Professional Development and a Great Blog May 19, 2012 Link: http://aea365.org/blog/?p=6466

Hot Tip: Consider subscribing to Karen Anderson’s blog: On Top of the Box Evaluation.

According to Susan (the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and aea365 Saturday contributor): “Karen is a (relatively) new professional, a graduate of AEA’s GEDI program, and an all around wonder woman”. Some of Karen’s posts that I enjoyed were “What Evaluation Hat Are You Wearing” and “What Evaluators Can Learn From Politics” – which talks about making your information ‘sexy’ and appealing to policy-makers.

Susan Kistler on 25 Low-cost/no-cost Tech Tools for Data Visualization and Reporting Nov 3, 2012 Link: http://aea365.org/blog/?p=7491

Rad Resource(s): The slide notes for a presentation on 25 low-cost/no-cost tech tools for Data Visualization and Reporting

Susan Kistler provides her viewpoint on some of the many data visualization tools available online, or as Susan so aptly put it in her post: “tools that hopefully help us to merge truth and beauty”. These tools include both paid and free ones and range from the aea365 blog itself, to prezi, to storify, pinterest and lovelycharts. You can download the full slidedeck from the AEA public eLibrary. Susan also suggests downloading the pdf version (posted below) with the notes that include the URL links for each item, cost information, and tips.

Data Visualization Tools PPT overview review

**This one was my personal favourite – it is always a challenge to find resources which are both comprehensive AND concise!





The Global Health Hub (.org)

3 02 2013

As a master of public health student, I often find it difficult to try and learn about everything that is going on in the world of public health, although one of the major reasons that I love my field of global health in particular, is that it is continuously and rapidly evolving. I’ve recently discovered a new information platform for keeping up with this busy and ever-changing field: GlobalHealthHub.org

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 8.31.24 PM

I learned of this website through their twitter feed, which someone suggested that I follow. I decided to go and check out their actual site and found an amazing array of useful tools and information stored there. [I was also thrilled to discover that I have a master in public health degree in common with the founding editor Sarah Arnquist (@sarnquist), who has her degree from Johns Hopkins University.]

GlobalHealthHub.org is 100% volunteer driven, and provides news updates, guest editorials, links to other global health blogs, job postings, resources, and my personal favourite feature, an open-source global health and development timeline! Be sure to check it out.

– Sarah Topps 2013





Free Global Health Courses!

19 12 2012

Phew! Finally finished my crazy semester… to put things in perspective, a full time graduate studies course load is 2 classes (3-4 credits each), and 3 classes is considered to be a 100% course load. Most of my fellow students took between 2 and 3 classes this term, with a few hard workers doing 4 (not counting not-for-credit seminars and lectures). Since I was working full time for the first year of my MPH degree, I was somewhat behind my cohort, leaving me with the option to either graduate later than most, or take on an insane course load this year. Of course, being a go-getter, I chose the latter and nearly killed myself with work this term doing… not 5… but SIX classes! (i.e. a 200% courseload, but hey… who’s counting?)

The grades are still coming back, but so far I’ve still got a pretty solid GPA. It looks good…

As a result of this crazy workload, I have become used to spending several hours a day just learning new things, and it seems that after 4 months of this, my brain actually can’t deal with just doing nothing. I took several weeks off to travel (I’m still travelling, in Reykjavik currently – more updates on that soon!) and after about 5 days, I needed to leeaarrnnnn (picture this in a zombie accent), and thus I discovered the incredible Global Health eLearning Center. I am now completely addicted.

The Global Health eLearning Center is a completely free online resource put together by USAID Bureau of Global Health that allows you to take free online courses and receive a certificate of completion for each one from USAID and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health! There are even certificate programs in certain areas such as Child Health and Health Systems.

Certificate example

The courses are free to access and straightforward to use, not to mention a great way to update your skills and knowledge in a variety of global health areas – go check it out!

– Sarah Topps 2012





What can kill you in less than 3 hours, and be treated with salt and clean water?

9 11 2010

No, it’s not a jellyfish sting, or lethal poison – the surprising answer is Cholera.

According to the CBC, over 7000 people have been infected in Haiti over the last week, resulting in the deaths of 500 individuals, many of whom could have easily been saved if Haiti had the proper infrastructure in place to treat them. There has been no cholera outbreak in Haiti for around 50 years, and the initial reaction was one of confusion as many Haitians just did not know how to avoid the disease (BBC News).

Directly from the World Health Organization website: “Cholera is an easily treatable disease. Up to 80% of people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of oral rehydration salts (WHO/UNICEF ORS standard sachet). Very severely dehydrated patients require administration of intravenous fluids. Such patients also require appropriate antibiotics to diminish the duration of diarrhoea, reduce the volume of rehydration fluids needed, and shorten the duration of V. cholerae excretion. Mass administration of antibiotics is not recommended, as it has no effect on the spread of cholera and contributes to increasing antimicrobial resistance. In order to ensure timely access to treatment, cholera treatment centres (CTCs) should be set up among the affected populations. With proper treatment, the case fatality rate should remain below 1%.”

Cholera is a disease which is believed to have originated in India, and which thrives in disaster-type situations like this one, such as floods, hurricanes or earthquakes which disrupt normal water treatment routines. The original outbreak is believed to have started approximately three weeks ago, but the number of cases have drastically increased since Hurricane Tomas struck last Friday, causing flooding across western Haiti. Unfortunately the bad news continues to grow, as one of the rivers which has been identified as a source of the epidemic is soon expected to overflow with excess water.

The best intervention strategy for reducing cholera deaths is through a combination of  controlling the disease spread through provisions of safe water, proper sanitation and immediate education about the disease to the affected population group. Infected individuals can be difficult to identify since most are asymptomatic, but insuring access to quick treatment to those persons who do show signs of the illness helps to prevent further spread and save many lives. Providing safe water and sanitation is a major challenge, particularly in emergency situations, however it has been shown to be the critical factor in reducing the number and spread of infections.

Perhaps this is another opportunity for the use of SODIS (solar disinfection of drinking water) to be taught and used as a weapon against the further spread of this deadly disease. This simple method of disinfecting drinking water can be readily achieved by filling a clear plastic bottle with collected water (which has low turbidity) and leaving it out in the sun for more than 6 hours. (Stay tuned for a more in-depth follow-up post about SODIS, how and when it works, and benefits of using it to disinfect water.)

Written by Sarah Topps – 2010

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/11/07/haiti-cholera-toll-rises.html?ref=rss#ixzz14l2qWRgI





To master or not to master?

18 03 2010

As an honours student at a top university, I have been frequently asked what my post-grad plans are in the months leading up to my graduation. Many of my peers have applied to grad school, and many will succeed, given the competitive push amongst those of us who have lasted through our undergraduate degrees. I thought I would investigate this line of thinking and see how common my choices were…

My top choices currently stand as follows:

1. Masters of Public Health at Simon Fraser University

2.  Travelling to Cameroon to work with Aquacare, a locally-founded organization which is promoting SODIS (solar water disinfection) – the topic of my current thesis

3. Travelling to Angola to work with Karen Henriksen and the Centro Evangelico de Medicina de Lubango (although I would need to learn more Portuguese first)

4. Masters of Public Health at Queen’s University (although more of an Epidemiology focus than SFU)

5. Working as the Morocco consultant for the Rickshaw Travel company located in Brighton, England

6. Working temporarily for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) – a job I’ve already been interviewed for, that would help me work off my student debt, let me travel and improve my language skills

There are others, but those are the top ones which appeal to me at the moment. Several internships also appeal, although I plan to find out if my applications to grad school are successful before applying.

Being at university, and especially as a B.A. student, I often feel as if everyone and their dog has a university degree these days – which can be seen in both a positive and a negative light. After applying to grad school, I thought about the number of my friends from high school who didn’t go to university, and wondered what the national statistics had to say about the matter.

The answer is surprising – only 19.4% of Canadians (2007) have completed a university degree. This includes all bachelors degrees, masters and PhD’s in the country. If you also include CEGEPS, colleges and technical degrees, diplomas and certificates, the number rises to 46%, which is apparently the highest proportion in the world!

Wow. I feel much smarter now – thanks Google! I have been so immersed in the academic environment for the past 5 years that I haven’t stopped to realize both how lucky and how talented we students are as a group of people in this country, and globally. Having realized this, and knowing that the rate for a master’s program must be that much lower, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for being accepted. I just hope that I have eased someone else’s mind in the process of writing this!

– Sarah Topps








%d bloggers like this: