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Undergraduate Research in Health Sciences

Undergraduate research experience allows students to build on their foundational coursework in a way that enables them to develop and apply independent critical thinking skills. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has discussed undergraduate research as a “high-impact student practice for achieving excellence in liberal education” because of the extensive array of benefits to the student, both professional and personal. Click here to read this article.

Intellectual benefits include a mastery of particular subject matter, understanding primary literature, research design, data collection and analysis methods, and effective communication

Professional benefits include potential for scholarly publication or conference presentations, learning to work as part of a team, developing oral and written communication skills, learning how to overcome obstacles.

Personal benefits include development of self-confidence, independent work and thought, a sense of accomplishment.

The processes of evaluating problems, developing solutions, testing different ideas, presenting results and conclusions, are applicable to virtually every career and are highly desired by employers.

Below are some areas of faculty-directed research in the Department of Health Sciences. If you are interested in experiential learning through research, please begin speaking with full-time faculty in the Department of Health Sciences about the type of research that they do and how you might be able to get involved.

Dr. Anita Lee, Physical Activity and Health
Dr. Lee is interested in the role of physical activity in health and in disease prevention, exercise as medicine, normal weight obesity and how to prescribe physical activity to the public for achieving these goals.

Dr. Mary Kenny, Applying Social Science Research in Public Health
Dr. Kenny’s interests revolve around how to apply skills in social science research in developing health and educational interventions.  She also likes to assist students market their skills to future employers.

Dr. Paul Canavan, Analysis of the Baseball Pitch: Effect of Foot Placement on Body Movement and Pitching Accuracy
This research is designed to identify each pitcher’s unique optimal technique for pitching as it relates to accuracy. Each pitcher’s accuracy, velocity and whole-body biometrics as well as front leg placement will be assessed. Over the past decades, high level pitching coaches have relied on standard video analysis for pitching form. However, to date there has not been a study that has analyzed whole body biomechanics including front foot placement related to accuracy and velocity. This novel study is the first known study to utilize the XSens ® suit, high speed cameras, regular cameras, accuracy and velocity for baseball pitchers. The data analysis will hope to provide each individual athlete and if approved the coach, to improve each pitcher’s accuracy and potential athletic performance while possibly decreasing the risk of injury to the shoulder and elbow.
 
Dr. Mitchell Doucette, Workplace Homicides Committed by Firearms (Focusing on trends from 2011-15)
Dr. Doucette is a public health injury and violence prevention scholar with particular interests in injury epidemiology, firearm and intimate partner violence and policy evaluation. His research interests focus on injury prevention and control including motor vehicle crashes, gun violence and opioid poisonings, longitudinal panel analysis and qualitative research.
 
Dr. Ashley Bissonnette, Using Cultural Resources for Planning Public Health Programs & Social Activism in Indigenous Communities
Dr. Bissonnette addresses health disparities that are rooted in this country’s first wars against Indigenous peoples, and ways cultural resources can be used in the development of public Health/educational programs. 

Dr. Pallavi Limaye, Genomic Analysis of Human Fetal Brain
Dr. Limaye focuses on how our understanding of the human fetal brain development can be enhanced by genomic data analysis.

Dr. Yaw Nsiah, Extraction and Purification of Pharmacoactive Compounds from Tropical Plants
Dr. Nsiah focuses his research on compounds extracted from plants that grow in tropical climates.

Undergraduate research experience allows students to build on their foundational coursework in a way that enables them to develop and apply independent critical thinking skills. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has discussed undergraduate research as a “high-impact student practice for achieving excellence in liberal education” because of the extensive array of benefits to the student, both professional and personal. https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/undergraduate-research-high-impact-student-experience

Also, visit this website to learn more about undergraduate research at Eastern.

Summer Internship opportunities:

Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP)

Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health