SPUR 2019: Health promotion and education for uninsured free clinic patients and refugees resettled in the US


This proposed project will focus on community health – health promotion and education for uninsured free clinic patients and refugees resettled in the US. I have developed projects to improve health of free clinic patients with the Maliheh Free Clinic and of refugees resettled in Utah in the past six years, and have established the following steps for each sub-project (Note: Each sub-project usually completes in one semester to accommodate with student schedule. There are multiple sub-projects each semester.):

  • Step1: Need assessment
  • Step2: Research
  • Step3: Outreach and implementations
  • Step4: Re-evaluation
  • Step5: Dissemination

This proposed project aims at integrating and expanding the projects from previous semesters to better provide health education programs to these underserved populations. The main focus topic will be healthy lifestyle. My community health research projects are based upon the community-based participatory research (CBPR) model. The main characteristics of the CBPR model include “participatory”, “cooperative, engaging community members and researchers in a joint process in which both contribute equally”, “co-learning process”, “systems development and local community capacity building”, “empowering process,” and “a balance between research and action” (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2008). This proposed project is important because it combines scientific research with action (practice implications) and contributes both to scholarship and practice. Additionally, this project will contribute to individuals, society and the community by improving health of underserved populations in Utah and beyond.

Student Role

In general, the roles of my students include:

  • Data collection, entry and analysis
  • Providing or assist health education programs that are parts of this research project
  • Manuscript preparation for peer-reviewed publications

My SPUR student will work on some or all of the roles depending on the student’s interests and experiences. In details:

  • Quantitative data collection, entry and analysis: Quantitative data will be collected using self-administered paper surveys from free clinic patients and people with refugee background. Data will be entered in an Excel file. Statistical analysis will be conducted using SPSS or SAS.
  • Qualitative data collection and analysis: Qualitative data will be collected using focus groups, observations and/or documents. Data will be analyzed based on themes.
  • Health education programs: If the student has interest and/or experience in teaching health education class, she or he can take a role of implementation (providing or assist health education class)
  • Manuscript preparation for publications: This proposed project will produce several peer-reviewed articles. The student will be expected to make comments on initial results and drafts and approve final versions. The student will be also expected to assist literature review, formatting, and making tables/figures. The student will be expected to contribute to manuscript preparation to be a co-author. Depending on the student’s interest and experiences, there is also a possibility for the student to be a lead author.

Student Learning Outcomes & Benefits

The undergraduate students whom I mentored in the past five years are currently graduated students at medical school, physician assistant program, pharmacy school, dental school, PhD program (sociology, counseling), or master’s program (health promotion and education, family and consumer studies, public health), or work as a research coordinator/analyst or in the health care field. I also have students who are currently applying for medical schools/PhD programs. All of them are very strong applicants (and waiting for the outcomes at this point). Moreover, I have students who are preparing for graduate/medical school applications. This particular experience will be beneficial for the student to prepare for her/his future career, to gain research skills and experiences, and to identify particular interests for the next step in her/his study/career. Based on the student learning outcomes and benefits from the students whom I have mentored, my SPUR student will complete her/his degree program successfully and prepare for graduate/medical/physician assistant/dental school, or (if she/he does not seek graduate education immediately after an undergraduate degree) for working as a research coordinator/analyst or in the health care/nonprofit field.

Akiko Kamimura
Associate Professor

College of Social & Behavioral Science

I provide my students collaborative, accessible and supportive learning environments. In my research and community projects, since all of my research projects are team-based, my students work not only with me but also with other students and my collaborators. My students are assured open communication and are treated as important team members. Their “voice” is highly valued. Through the team work as well as individual supervision and course work, my students increase the understanding of the content and skills of the field, learn the broader culture of social science and health service research, and are in an environment that promotes successful completion of their degree programs. The majority of my students not only learn research skills but also have peer-reviewed publications as co-authors or the first authors. In particular, my SPUR student should expect the following mentoring activities:

  1. meeting with me in-person at least several times per week plus email communications
  2. participating in scholarly activities with my other research team members (students and collaborators)
  3. supporting presentation opportunities
  4. learning publication process.