Nursing Professor Recognized for Health Disparities Course
Kathleen Barta, University of Arkansas associate professor of nursing, received national recognition for a course she teaches on health disparities.
The Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, in association with the Association of American Colleges and Universities, awarded Barta a Certificate of Excellence for a case study she wrote highlighting NURS 4812 Special Topics: Minority Health Disparities. Barta teaches in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing in the College of Education and Health Professions.
The association sought information about successful programs and training initiatives that are advancing the teaching of prevention, population health and public health. These programs support the Healthy People 2020 objectives on education and the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force Education for Health framework that highlights the need for vertical integration of education from pre-kindergarten through graduate education and the horizontal integration by clinicians, public health professionals and educators.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed Healthy People 2020 a 10-year agenda for improving the nation's health. The case studies serve as implementation examples for others interested in developing similar initiatives within their teaching.
Barta's course was one of 10 nationwide described on the association's website in the nursing category. She received a grant from the university's Office of Institutional Diversity in 2007 for her course proposal.
According to Barta's case study, students from a variety of health-relevant majors, including nursing, pre-medicine, social work and anthropology, engage in weekly face-to-face discussion about the social determinants of health. Current data sources are used to examine trends at the local, state and national levels.
The course was designed to offer a deeper look at the social determinants of health and to engage the creative thinking of students in designing advocacy efforts to reduce disparities. It includes a service learning component and student participation in a statewide minority health conference.
Two years ago, Barta's students volunteered at a local clinic to conduct a medical chart review of the Marshallese population. The students found high rates of diabetes as compared to the general population. They also compiled data on immunization records, entry to prenatal care, hypertension and body mass index.