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Three more College of Public Health Courses obtain Quality Matters Recognition

photo that says Quality Matters (QM)
Kent State University’s College of Public Health had three new courses recognized by Quality Matters. Two Master’s of Public Health courses, Social Determinants and Practicum Experience, were QM- recognized. The course’s instructors are Peggy Stephens, Ph.D, and Laurel Tomi, LNHA, MPH, respectively. A Bachelor's of Public Health course, Introduction to Global Health, was also QM-recognized, and is currently instructed by Madhav Bhatta, Ph.D, MPH.

Quality Matters™ (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centric non-profit that includes both a rubric and a peer review process designed to certify the quality of online course design. Foremost in QM principles are promoting a collegial, collaborative faculty experience centered on the idea of continuous quality improvement. QM does not evaluate online teaching, nor is it an evaluation of the online instructor; it is focused solely on the design of the course.

The three courses add to a growing list of College of Public Health courses recognized by Quality Matters. Recognition via the peer review process means that a course has met rigorous, research-based standards for quality online course design. 

“Due to the recent global pandemic, distance learning has become a topic many people can resonate with. To meet the growing demand of remote instruction, many online courses have been arbitrarily developed. Quality often decreases with this type of course design and is extremely difficult to measure in the online environment. The College of Public Health is dedicated to offering our students a high-quality distance education learning experience. By integrating Quality Matters into our programs, we provide students with courses that meet rigorous, research based standards for quality online course design,” said Jamie Rhoads, Senior Instructional Designer and Quality Matters Course Review Manager.

Kent State University is a member of the largest QM state consortium in the nation, the Ohio QM Consortium, and as such, is able to provide low-cost training for QM's foundational workshop, Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR).

Rhoads represented Kent State at the Quality Matters Annual Members Meeting with a virtual presentation and several round table discussions.

MPH in Epidemiology Now Offered Online

In Fall 2020, the College of Public Health introduced an online program for the Master’s of Public Health specialization in Epidemiology The online option will expand access to the program, and will serve as a safer alternative for those unable to meet face-to-face. Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Melissa Zullo, Ph.D, MPH, will instruct the course. 

Kent State’s MPH in Epidemiology program prepares students to analyze the distribution and determinants of disease, disabilities and death in populations.

CPH faculty are experts in epidemiology methods and biostatistics. Clinical partners provide expertise through web-based lectures and can also serve as research mentors. All faculty hold advanced degrees and have years of research experience in areas such as cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, neurological disorders, infectious disease, pharmacology and regulatory affairs.

Congratulations to GOJO - Jerome Lippman Scholarship Recipients

College of Public Health BSPH students Kennedy Simmons and Patrick Husk were recently named as the GOJO – Jerome Lippman Scholarship recipients for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The GOJO –Jerome Lippman Scholarship Fund was established through the generosity of GOJO Industries and is administered through the ISSA Foundation. GOJO created the scholarship to recognize students in pursuit of careers related to Infectious Disease Prevention.

PetSmart awards MPH Student Whitney Romine grant for virtual Doggie Brigade

Pet Smart Grant
As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many Akron Children’s Hospital patients who relied on the therapy dog program, known as the Doggie Brigade sponsored by Milk-Bone, were left wondering when they would next have a furry friend for emotional support. 

Whitney Romine has served as Akron Children’s Hospital’s Doggie Brigade advisor and volunteer office coordinator for the past five years. She is also the State Coordinator representing Ohio for HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response, a Pet Partners Team Evaluator, and canine handler volunteer with her dogs Karmie and Feena. She earned her Bachelor's of Science in community health education with a non-profit management certificate from Kent State University’s College of Education, Health, and Human Services in 2009 and a graduate certificate in Animals and Human Health from the University of Denver Institute for Human-Animal Connection in 2018. Since graduation, Romine has been passionate about animal-assisted interventions and One Health. 

The virtual Doggie Brigade was implemented by Romine when she saw a need for the program to continue despite the pandemic. The virtual program required creativity and a team effort. Patients connect with their therapy dog via video chat through a tablet. From there, volunteers help the dog interact with the patient virtually. 

In one example of the virtual program, Romine recounts a therapy dog named Bishop that brought joy to a patient.

“The volunteer started pulling out a box of costumes and dressing Bishop up in them one at a time and asking the patient’s opinion. They laughed and called my attention to the tablet screen to observe Bishop in a cowboy hat, a child’s monster costume, a ladybug costume, sunglasses, and more. Everyone laughed together, ‘ooh’ing and ‘aww’ing as Bishop patiently humored his human (who also paid very well in treats). After a few costume changes, the patient looked up at me and said, ‘This is the best thing that happened to me all day,’” she said.

Romine sought to develop and expand the virtual Doggie Brigade program for her practicum, and write a program report and manual for other healthcare organizations. She works under the guidance of Akron Children’s site preceptor Courtney Hudson, Community Outreach and Education Manager, faculty advisor Jeffrey Hallam, Ph.D, and practicum advisor Gabriella Boehm, MPH.

Her goal was achieved when PetSmart announced they would award a $15,000 animal-assisted therapy grant to enrich the program.

Whitney Romine
“Currently, the program is me and a tablet and the Doggie Brigade volunteers that tune in. The PetSmart grant will allow us to purchase 25 additional tablets for hospital departments and for Doggie Brigade volunteers who want to participate but do not have access to the technology to do so.  Funds will also be used to purchase maintenance supplies, such as protective cases, extra charging cables, tablet sanitizing wipes and wheeled tablet stands. Ideally, we would like to explore applications beyond a brief friendly visit,” she said. 

Romine said she plans to pursue more funding in the future from The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute and Pet Partners. These organizations recently announced funding opportunities for studies that examine the impact of companion animal interaction during COVID-19, including studies involving virtual adaptation of animal-assisted interventions (AAI) and other animal-related engagement initiatives.

Reviewed and edited by:

Whitney Romine, Doggie Brigade Coordinator 

Alissa Hazlett, ACH Marketing Partner


POSTED: Monday, November 9, 2020 - 1:40pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 9, 2020 - 1:47pm