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Student Research and Presentations at NIOSH PRP Symposium

Student Research and Presentations at NIOSH PRP Symposium

Two graduate students in the Department of Public Health (Sireesha Kodali, MHA and Usonwanne Nwosu, MPH) traveled to The University of Cincinnati, Ohio to participate and present at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Pilot Research Project (PRP) Symposium held on October 10-11, 2013. Sireesha Kodali’s poster presentation was titled “A Review of Current Regulatory Framework for Nanoparticles” while Usonwanne Nwosu’s poster was titled “A Review of Occupational Health & Safety Implications of Exposure and Risk Management of Carbon Nanotubes and Carbon Nanofibers.” All abstracts submitted for presentations were reviewed and accepted by the PRP Executive Committee and the two WKU students’ posters received adequate recognition during the 2-day symposium. Additionally, the two students had the opportunity to attend the NIOSH Education and Research Center (ERC) Careers Workshop in the morning of the first day of the symposium. The workshop is an annual event organized by the University of Cincinnati’s Environmental Health program for selected undergraduate/Masters’ students. The workshop attracted a total of 13 students from various participating universities including Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo, Ohio University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Western Kentucky University.

 In a related development, Dr. Emmanuel Iyiegbuniwe, a member of the Steering Committee for the University of Cincinnati’s NIOSH ERC and PRP Symposium, served as the moderator for the first day (Thursday) of the Symposium. The keynote address for the first day titled “Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis – An Ancient Disease that Is Still among Us" was presented by Wayne T. Sanderson, PhD, CIH, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky and Director of the Central Appalachian Regional Education Research Center. The first day was rounded up with a very good PRP Networking Picnic. The keynote address for the second day (Friday) titled “Sudden Cardiac Events: Why Are Firefighters at Risk?” was presented by Denise L. Smith, PhD, Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY and Research Scientist at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. In all, eleven podium presentations were made by PhD students and junior faculty members from participating institutions during the two-day symposium.

It must be noted that NIOSH ERCs are multidisciplinary centers established in 1977 for education and research in the field of environmental, occupational health and safety (i.e., industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, occupational safety, and other areas of specialization). The NIOSH ERC at the University of Cincinnati is one of 17 ERCs throughout the United States designed to support various academic degree programs and research opportunities. The pilot research studies conducted at each ERC must reflect topics that are included in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) established by NIOSH. In fact, NIOSH ERCs are responsible for approximately 50% of post-baccalaureate graduates in the occupational health and safety fields nationwide. Suffice it to note that experiences such as the NIOSH PRP symposium in Occupational Health and Safety are directly applicable to WKU’s environmental public health curriculum. Additionally, it provided a great opportunity for our students to network and socialize with other students and professionals from across various institutions. In reflecting on the experience from the symposium, Usonwanne Nwosu noted that “The PRP symposium was a good experience for us. It gave us the opportunity to network with other students and faculty from various universities. The poster presentation was also a good opportunity to get more exposure and be acquainted with poster presentations as graduate students.“


Sireesha Kodali, Dr. Emmanuel Iyiegbuniwe, and Usonwanne Nwosu

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