Honors and Research

2018 Student Undergraduate Research Festival

Atudents presented Health Sciences posters at Carroll's 2018 Student Undergraduate Research Festival (SURF), based on research projects they did under the supervision of Health Sciences faculty or as part of an internship.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoRoma Seal (Major: Biology) Gretchen Farkas (Major: Health Sciences) Abigail Frederickson (Major: Health Sciences) Brittney Johnson (Major: Health Sciences) Mikaela Robinson (Major: Health Sciences)

Field of Study: Public Health

Using Public Health Coursework to Encourage Teenagers to Avoid Tobacco in Helena, Montana

The CDC reports that tobacco addiction starts early with first use of a tobacco product occurring during a child’s teen years. This addiction leads to increased risk of lung cancer, stroke, COPD, and cardiovascular diseases. Students in Carroll's Public Health Theories and Practice course (PH333) chose to partner with the Lewis and Clark County Health Department's Tobacco Prevention Program to address this problem. Carroll students completed a literature review to gain knowledge to the problem and possible solutions. They then completed twenty interviews, a focus group of area teenagers, and twenty environmental scans of possible locations where teenagers might purchase tobacco products. With this information, students developed marketing campaigns and community events (meetings, presentations, awareness activities) to help educate area residents of this significant problem.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoMikaela Robinson (Major: Health Sciences and Public Health)

Field of Study: Pre-Participation Health Screenings

Sudden Cardiac Death Prevention with Pre-Participation Heart Health Screenings

The NCAA is known for their young student athletes that push themselves physically to try and be the best at their sport. They spend countless hours in the gym, competing and pushing their bodies to be in the best shape possible for their sport. Furthermore, the NCAA cares for the health of their student athletes. Prior to being able to compete in practice or competition, the athletes are required to have a pre-participation physical, by a medical doctor, to make sure their body is healthy enough to compete at such a high level. The physician looks for any abnormalities that may be present in the athlete’s health during the physical and either clears them for competition or requests further medical testing. The physical consists of checking the athlete’s height, weight, blood pressure, iron levels, medical history, heart rhythm and rate, vision, and evaluate the athlete’s posture, flexibility, joint health, and strength. Even with the physician looking at the athlete’s heart rhythm and rate, it still leaves a gap in the heart health of the athlete. The physician’s examination of the athlete’s heart is not sufficient in identifying abnormalities in the athlete’s heart and keeping them protected from sudden cardiac death. But, with the implementation of a 12-Lead ECG in the athlete’s physical, the gap of the athlete’s heart health will be closed, giving the athlete knowledge of their heart health and the opportunity to seek further medical attention if needed.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoChristopher Brayton (Major: Health Sciences) Bernardt Di Cino (Major: Health Sciences) Marshall Dumas (Major: Health Sciences) Meghan Durant (Major: Health Sciences) Amanda Harrod (Major: Health Sciences) Isazah King (Major: Health Sciences) Madeline Klepps (Major: Health Sciences) Rachel Miles (Major: Health Sciences) Kaitlin Stromberg (Major: Health Sciences) Hannah Sylvester (Major: Health Sciences) Cassidy Walter (Major: Health Sciences)

Field of Study: Public Health

Drugged Driving: An Examination of the Prescription Drug Crisis and Possible Interventions

Prescription drug misuse is becoming one of the fastest growing problems the U.S. faces. “Researchers estimate that in 2007, approximately 27,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, one death every 19 minutes”[i]. Many of these drugs are obtained because they were neither stored nor disposed of properly. In January 2018, Youth Connections and Helena’s Drugged Driving Prevention Task Force asked Carroll’s Public Health Theories and Practice course (PH333) to assess the problem of prescription drug abuse in our area and then to create, implement, and evaluate a program for area residents. Through the course, students completed a literature review, ten interviews, twelve environmental scans, and one focus group of parents to determine the extent of the problem. The students then created programs that included posters and community meetings to help educate area residents of this significant problem.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoJenna Starke (Major: Health Sciences and Anthrozoology)

Field of Study: Health Sciences and Anthrozoology

The Effects of Equine-Assisted Interventions on Children with Autism: A Systematic Review

The sport of volleyball is becoming increasingly popular, with over 46 million American’s participating each year. At the competitive level, injuries are likely to occur and most commonly these are of the ankle and knee. There are many factors that may contribute to an athlete’s risk for joint injury such as gender, training load and previous trauma. However, this research examines whether playing surface, in this case sand or hardwood, has any effect on a player’s likelihood of injury due to the increased impact on their joints. Contributing factors and possible prevention techniques will also be discussed, in hopes to help coaches and players alike prevent and properly rehabilitate joint damage sustained while playing volleyball.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoNichole Thornton (Major: Health Sciences)

Field of Study: Nursing

High Maternal Dietary Glycemic Index and Sugar Consumption and Their Association with Birth Defects and Pregnancy Complications.

The purpose of this systematic review was to look at existing peer reviewed articles regarding high maternal dietary glycemic index (DGI) and/or sugar consumption (including glucose, fructose, and sucrose) and the risk for birth defects or pregnancy complications. Methods: PubMed was the primary database used to search for relevant articles. Other related articles were found in the reference sections of the articles screened in the original search. Results: Nine case-control and cohort studies were used in this review. Five of the six case-control studies found a significant risk between high maternal DGI and/or sugar intake and birth defects, mainly neural tube defects. The three cohort studies found a link between high sugar intake and pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia (2) and pre-term delivery (1). Conclusion: Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are encouraged to limit their sugar intake to reduce the risk for birth defects and pregnancy complications.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoSydney Beach (Major: Public Health)

Field of Study: Student Drinking Research

Using Public Health Coursework to Reduce Harms Related to College Student Drinking

Harm related to alcohol consumption is widespread on college campuses. It can lead to increased sexual violence, dropout rates, car accidents, and many other issues. Drunk driving is a prevalent issue to millions of college students. Countless efforts have been made to reduce drunk driving in this population, with limited success. Through the Public Health Theories and Practice class at Carroll College (PH333), research was conducted to reduce drinking and driving. Students also completed a readiness assessment, 20 interviews, focus groups, 20 environmental scans, and an outlet density scan. With this input, they then created marketing campaigns and community educational events. Not only are the students in the course more knowledgeable of the harms related to alcohol abuse, but because of their hard work, their peers also show increased harm reduction behaviors.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoCassidy Walter (Major: Health Science/Public Health) Courtney Sherick (Major: Health Science)

Field of Study: Health Sciences

Secondary Analysis of Maternal Education and Decision of Medical Birth Attendant

OB-GYN doctors are more medically trained and capable in high risk or emergency births than most certified midwives, but they do not offer personalized care like midwives. Multiple previous studies have shown that midwives are equally qualified in most situations. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Nevertheless, it is up to each individual family to choose what kind of care they would like to receive during the pregnancy and labor. The purpose of this study was to find any correlations between maternal education and what medical professional (OBGYN doctor or certified midwife) mothers choose to deliver their baby, and make inferences as to what accounts for any correlations. Specifically, it is hypothesized that people with a higher education will be more likely to use a midwife because of easier access to educational materials, and because they typically have children later in life and have therefore gathered more information. The results of this study could reveal a need for further research about access to medical care and whether or not people are correctly informed about their choice of medical birth attendant.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoMaria Carparelli (Major: Health Sciences)

Field of Study: Mental Illness

Depression and Eating Disorders in Adolescent Females

This systematic review collected peer reviewed articles examining the relationship between depression and eating disorders, to determine if females aged 10-25 who have depressive disorder or depression are at risk for also having an eating disorder(s). Articles were screened on PubMed and CINAHL, and other articles were added from the related articles panel or bibliographies of studies included. Nine articles were reviewed. All found a significant relationship between depression and eating disorders. About half of the studies examined sequence of the disorders and found a reciprocal chronological relationship. Because of the significant relationship, clinicians should screen for both disorders simultaneously to prevent the onset of either disease in young females. If either disorder is present, it should be treated with the assumption that the other will develop. More research is needed on this topic to determine chronology and underlying causes.

Health Sciences Poster PhotoTaylor Smith (Major: Health Sciences)

Field of Study: Health Sciences

Effects of Psychiatric Comorbidities on the Perioperative Outcomes Following a Primary Total Arthroplasty

This review was conducted to compare the perioperative outcomes following a total primary arthroplasty among patients with a psychiatric comorbidity versus those without a psychiatric comorbidity. Literature was reviewed from the database Pubmed. Seven cohort and casecontrol studies were reviewed, with the largest sample size of 8.4 million patients. Psychiatric comorbidities resulted in increased negative perioperative outcomes compared to patients without psychiatric comorbidities in six articles. These studies observed higher rates of revision, blood transfusion, mortality, non-traditional discharge, and increased length and cost of stay for patients with a diagnosed psychiatric condition. Therefore, it was concluded from most studies that patients with psychiatric comorbidities experience more negative perioperative outcomes following a total primary joint arthroplasty than those without. Based on the findings of this review, psychiatric comorbidities should be considered a risk factor when planning a primary arthroplasty. The broader impact of this study is to raise awareness about the impact of psychiatric comorbidities on perioperative outcomes, in an effort to inform practice, quantify the given issue, demonstrate its impact, and suggest ways to move forward in which we can maximize the positive perioperative outcomes of the targeted group.

2017 Student Undergraduate Research Festival

Four students presented Health Sciences posters at Carroll's 2017 Student Undergraduate Research Festival (SURF), based on research projects they did under the supervision of Health Sciences faculty or as part of an internship.

image of cassidyDry Needling in the Treatment of Chronic Myofascial Neck Pain: A Systematic Review

Objective: review relevant literature to determine if dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic myofascial neck pain. Methods: databases such as PubMed and CINAHL were searched for articles pertaining to dry needling and neck pain. Results: dry needling was found to have a positive effect on neck pain. Both dry needling and manual therapy was successful in decreasing pain, especially in patients with myofascial pain syndrome. Discussion: dry needling can decrease hours of pain per day and pain intensity. Therefore, acupuncture should be coupled with stretching for the most effective treatment of myofascial neck pain

Image of CallieThe Effects of Therapy on the Quality of Life in Veteran Amputees

Research for this poster presentation was conducted using peer-reviewed articles concerning the quality of life in veteran amputees through a therapeutic intervention. The research strived to compare whether or not therapy had a relationship with the outcome of quality of life. Articles were gathered from PubMed and CINAHL and assessed by the relevancy they had to whether or not quality of life was improved in veteran amputees with therapy. Therapeutic measures, such as medications or prosthetics, were shown to have a positive relationship between veteran amputees and quality of life. Specifically, prosthetics improved the social, mental, emotional, and physical well being of the amputee, although in one study a positive relationship between therapy and quality of life in veteran amputees was not shown. For veteran amputees, physical therapy and mental therapies are associated with improvements in quality of life, however more research needs to be done concerning interventions for the quality of life in veterans.

Image of MadisonMechanical vs. Manual CPR in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests Objective

This systematic review was conducted to see if the current research had a definitive answer to whether manual or mechanical CPR had better survival outcomes. STUDENT UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FESTIVAL, SESSION 4 35 Methods. This systematic review was conducted between September and October 2016 and included all relevant peer reviewed articles. Articles were collected from PubMed and CINAHL and were included in the study based on if they had relevant information on survival out comes for manual and mechanical CPR in out-of-hospital situations. Results. Three articles agreed in that mechanical CPR improved survival out comes, while three other articles stated that there was no difference between manual and mechanical CPR, one article stated that mechanical CPR actually worsened patient outcomes. Conclusions. The overall conclusion of this systematic review is there needs to be more research conducted on the topic. Based on the current data collected, there is no single conclusion drawn from this study at this time. Keywords. out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical, thorax OR chest compression, manual CPR OR mechanical device CPR, and Lucas Device.

Image of MariahEffect of Volleyball Playing Surface on Joint Health

The sport of volleyball is becoming increasingly popular, with over 46 million American’s participating each year. At the competitive level, injuries are likely to occur and most commonly these are of the ankle and knee. There are many factors that may contribute to an athlete’s risk for joint injury such as gender, training load and previous trauma. However, this research examines whether playing surface, in this case sand or hardwood, has any effect on a player’s likelihood of injury due to the increased impact on their joints. Contributing factors and possible prevention techniques will also be discussed, in hopes to help coaches and players alike prevent and properly rehabilitate joint damage sustained while playing volleyball.

2016 Student Undergraduate Research Festival

Five students presented Health Sciences posters at Carroll’s 2016 Student Undergraduate Research Festival (SURF), based on research projects they did under the supervision of Health Sciences faculty or as part of an internship.

Acute Flaccid Myelitis

image of courtney gearyAcute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a subset of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) thought to be caused by viruses such as polio and non-polio enterovirus, West Nile virus, herpesvirus and adenoviruses. AFM causes acute limb paralysis, facial weakness, and serious cases cause respiratory failure. AFM is not currently a reportable disease in any US state, which means there is no baseline to determine the prevalence of the disease. Healthcare professionals may be unaware of what signs and symptoms to look for during examinations. From August 2014 to July 2015, an outbreak of AFM occurred in 120 children within 34 states resulting in the majority being hospitalized. However, no data were collected in Montana to determine prevalence. The objective of this research was to retrospectively investigate illnesses in MT that displayed symptoms of, but were not previously diagnosed as, virus induced AFM. Results will be used to 1) to determine the seriousness of AFM in MT, 2) to determine prevalence, and 3) to investigate the requirements to make AFM a reportable disease to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). Data were gathered through the MT Department of Health and Human Services by searching health data bases for reported signs and symptoms of case patients with AFM. Once collected, data were compiled and results showed several possible cases of AFM found in previous patients that were not reported to the local health department. Although measures of prevalence and disease severity are still under investigation, the results from this research suggest that AFM should become a reportable disease to NNDSS so that it can be better characterized and prevented in the future.

Image of Sarah LaddMicrobial Community Characterization in an Arsenic Contaminated Watershed

Helena gets over 50% of its drinking water from Tenmile creek. With a rich mining history, over 100 abandoned hard-rock mines have introduced arsenic into this aquatic ecosystem. The presence of arsenic may contribute to a change in bacteria community composition and co-select for antibiotic resistance. The objective of this research was to detect changes in overall microbial diversity in response to arsenic concentrations. Sediment grabs were collected from ten different sites; three controls (< 10 mg/kg As), three mid-level arsenic concentrations (100-200 mg/kg As), and four high-level arsenic concentrations (250-6000 mg/kg As).Sediment from each site was plated on different media containing As III and As V. Bacterial colonies were picked from plates and identified using 16S gene sequencing (Macrogen USA, Rockville, MD), then compared to GenBank Database using NCBI BLAST. The community DNA was also extracted directly from sediments using a Power Soil Kit MoBio (Carlsbad, CA) and Next Generation Sequencing was performed at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Lozupone Lab). Culturable species from each site were identified from 16S colony pick sequencing. The sequencing showed that Cyanobacteria streptophyta and Proteobacteria acidiphilium species were dominant in midlevel and high-level arsenic environments, and Cyanobacteria tramenophiles was a dominant species in the control environments. The Next Generation Sequencing showed a shift in high arsenic environments and high arsenic levels explained around 60% of the community differences. Arsenic caused a community change in diversity, as arsenic increased diversity in bacterial genera decreased.

tessa littlefieldEffects of Indoor Tanning on Risk of Developing Skin Cancer: Physical and Psychological Factors

The objective of this study was to review relevant peer-reviewed articles regarding the development of skin cancer and other psychological factors in relation to indoor tanning. The review aimed to determine if the risk of developing skin cancer increased with amount of indoor tanning use while also specifying the psychological factors that account for increased indoor tanning usage. Searches conducted through PubMed and CINAHL databases provided the supporting literature related for this topic. Other relevant review articles were obtained through Google Scholar. Of the ten articles reviewed, it was found that frequent indoor tanning increases risk of developing skin cancer later in life. In addition, it was found that indoor tanning is positively associated with other high-risk activities, and can be classified as an addictive behavior. Due to the fact that indoor tanning has been shown to increase risk of developing skin cancer, indoor tanning facilities should be required to implement more regulations regarding frequency and duration of use. Awareness should be promoted regarding risks of indoor tanning, particularly to adolescents, who appear to be at elevated risk due to social pressures.

Image of kurt parkerStudies of Antibiotic Resistance in an Arsenic Contaminated Watershed

Water from abandoned mine adits that is high in metals such as arsenic, flows into the Upper Tenmile Creek, which supplies Helena with most of its public water supply. These metal rich environments can cause co-selection in bacteria for heavy metal and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). These genes can then be passed on to pathogenic bacteria. The presence of various tetracycline resistance and arsenic resistance genes in sediment bacterial biofilms from Upper Tenmile Creek was assessed using PCR. The total bacterial community in each sample was also assessed through DNA extraction from sediment samples and Next Generation Sequencing of the 16S gene. The culturable bacterial community was also assessed by plating sediment samples and sequencing the 16S gene from selected colonies. Additionally, bacteria were selected from sediments by plating on media with tetracycline and arsenic to select for bacteria with arsenic and tetracycline resistance genes. The results showed amplification of the Tet O gene and Tet W gene that both encode for tetracycline resistance. The total community assessment also showed that the diversity of bacteria in heavy metal rich environments was less than in areas with lower levels of heavy metal contamination. In conclusion, amplification of the Tet O and Tet W genes show that ribosomal protection proteins from tetracycline may be present in the bacterial community of the heavy metal rich sites. Additionally, because there is less diversity in heavy metal rich environments, this shows that there may be selection for certain species of bacteria in those harsh conditions.

Effect of Volleyball Playing Surface on Joint Health

image of dallas vanlucheneThe Tracking of Yersinia Pestis using Multi-Locus Variable Tandem Repeat Analysis

Flea-borne zoonotic diseases including plague are present in the United States, specifically in the Four-Corners region. Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of plague, is present in rodent populations and their fleas, from which humans can become infected. Although Yersinia pestis causes large numbers of rodent die-offs and occasionally human infections over large geographical areas, there may be biological and geological barriers that separate plague epizootic activity. The objective of this study was to use multi-locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) to determine the population structure of Y. pestis during a human plague outbreak in the Four-Corners region during the 1980s. Although the outbreak pattern appeared widespread, we hypothesize that multiple locally maintained bacteria arising simultaneously were the cause rather than one outbreak strain that spread across the landscape. A set of Y. pestis isolates that were collected during the outbreak were analyzed using MLVA. Minimum spanning trees were used to evaluate the population structure based off of variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) markers and the date of disease onset. Minimum-spanning trees based on date of onset may show that bacterial DNA fingerprints are similar from the cases whose onset dates were close together, and that the emergence of multiple outbreak strains cause seemingly widespread outbreaks. This analysis may also show that bacterial population structures vary more when the dates of onset within different cases are far away from each other.

Honors Convocation

The Health Sciences Department recognizes outstanding student achievement at Carroll's annual Honors Convocation.

John Snow Health Sciences Award

Named for the pioneering English physician who is widely considered to be the founder of epidemiology, this award is presented to graduating Health Sciences or Public Health seniors, who, in addition to excellence in scholarship, have demonstrated outstanding commitment to research and/or community service.

  • 2018 - Jenna Starke
  • 2017 - Heather Huguet
  • 2016 - Ryan Edens
  • 2015 - Brianna Eaton

Health Sciences Departmental Award

This award recognizes juniors and seniors majoring in Health Sciences or Public Health who have demonstrated excellent scholarship at Carroll and in their required major courses.

  • Mary Behrens
  • Maria Carparelli
  • Bernhardt Di Cino
  • Keely Ehmann
  • Meagan Forsman
  • Darren Hecker
  • Rayna Pilgeram
  • Courtney Sherick
  • Taylor Smith
  • Jenna Starke
  • Andrew Campbell
  • Austen Davis
  • Katelyn Graff
  • Darren Hecker
  • Heather Huguet
  • Courtney Sherick
  • Taylor Smith
  • Kathryn Stein
  • Ryan Edens
  • Katelyn Graff
  • Heather Huguet
  • Conor Smith
  • Dallas Vanluchene
  • Alyssa Walker
  • Brianna Eaton
  • Ryan Edens
  • Mallery Knoll
  • Kathleen Mulligan
  • Calli Prestwood
  • Allison Sexe
  • Conor Smith
  • Dallas Vanluchene
  • Alyssa Walker

Fahlberg Memorial Scholarship

The Laurie and Larry Fahlberg scholarship is annually awarded to the Health Sciences/ Public Health student who most exemplifies a commitment to the field through merit in academics, excellence in community commitment, and financial need.

  • 2018 - Jamie Severson
  • 2017 - Darren Hecker
  • 2016 - Tory Umsted

Mike Franklin Endowed Scholarship

The Mike Franklin Endowed Scholarship honors the legacy of Dr. Mike Franklin, Director of Counseling Services at Carroll from 2003-2014.  It is awarded to a student majoring in Health Sciences or Public Health who is committed to addressing the health challenges facing our nation and our world.  The student will also exemplify quality, character, and academic promise, as well as have achieved excellent grades and demonstrated financial need.

  • 2018 - Mackenzie Hansen
  • 2017- Amanda Harrod