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Work In Progress: The Effect of Time on Student Attitudes and Interests Regarding Global Health Following an International Field Experience

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1386.1 - 23.1386.5



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Paper Authors


Michael J Rust Western New England University

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Dr. Michael J. Rust received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2003 and 2009, respectively. During his undergraduate training, he worked for Ethicon Endo-Surgery and AtriCure companies which specialize in the development of novel surgical devices. While completing his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Rust served as an NSF GK-12 graduate fellow, allowing him to develop hands-on engineering activities for high school students. In 2009, he joined the faculty of Western New England University as an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering. He currently teaches undergraduate courses in bioinstrumentation, physiology, circuit analysis, lab-on-a-chip, and global health. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the Engineering World Health (EWH) club, and is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). His research interests involve the development of point-of-care medical technologies, including bioinstrumentation for use in low-resource settings.

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Steven G Northrup Western New England University

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Dr. Steve Northrup earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He worked in the defense industry in White Sands, NM and in the automotive electronics industry for several years designing hardware and software for vehicle control systems. He teaches circuits and embedded controls classes at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. His research interests are in the mechatronics & robotics and in low cost medical applications for developing countries.

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Works In Progress: The Effect of Time on Student Attitudes and Interests Regarding Global Health Following an International Field ExperienceExperiential learning opportunities have been shown to impact student learning and attitudes in avariety of subject areas, including global perspectives [1-3]. However, limited information existsregarding how these attitudes change over time. In this work, we report preliminary results froma long-term study of students who participated in an experiential learning opportunity involvingglobal health.The students in this study (N = 13) were enrolled in Global Health & Technology, which wasoffered at XXX during the Spring 2011 semester. This course introduces students to a variety ofconcepts related to global health, including major diseases, socioeconomics, and emergingtechnologies for diagnosis and treatment. At the end of the semester, the students completed a 12day field experience in Guatemala, which allowed them to investigate healthcare in the regionthrough visits to medical facilities. Upon finishing the field experience, the students completed apost-course survey that was designed to measure their interests and attitudes regarding globalhealth issues. The findings showed that the course and field experience resulted in increasedstudent knowledge in global health issues, confidence in developing solutions to global healthproblems, and interest in pursuing further studies and careers in this area [2, 3].In order to assess whether these results changed over time, an identical set of post-course surveyquestions was administered one year after the completion of the field experience. The surveysconsisted of 5-choice Likert questions, which were analyzed using a two-tailed, unpaired t-testwith a significance level of 0.05. The results from the analysis are shown in Figure 1. The resultsfrom the surveys completed one year after the field experience showed no statistically significantchanges in student reported knowledge (p=0.09), confidence in developing solutions (p=0.473),and interest in pursuing further studies (p=0.505) or careers in global health (p=0.233).Qualitative information obtained from student written responses on the one year survey includedseveral comments about the impact of the course on career goals as well academic progress.The preliminary results of the study indicate that student attitudes and interests do notsignificantly change during the one year following the completion of an international fieldexperience. The same students will be surveyed in subsequent years to investigate whether thistrend remains over longer periods of time, thus elucidating the long-term impact of healthcare-based field experiences on students.References[1] J. Dong and J. Dave, “Global experiential learning for engineering technology students,” Proceedings of the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference.[2] M.J. Rust and S.G. Northrup, “A multidisciplinary global health course with an integrated international field experience,” Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX, June 10-13, 2012.[3] M.J. Rust and S.G. Northrup, “Implementation of an international health assessment with a multidisciplinary team of undergraduate engineering and science students,” Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX, June 10-13, 2012. 5.0 Student Responses (0‐4 Likert Scale)  4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 Post  1 Yr  Post  1 Yr  1 Post  1 Yr  Post  1 Yr  (a)  (b)  (c)  (d) Figure 1. Results from student surveys (Likert scale 0-4) comparing responses on post-courseand one year survey: (a) student level of knowledge regarding global health issues; (b), studentconfidence in their ability to develop solutions to global health issues; (c) student level of interestin pursuing further studies/training regarding global health issues; and (d) student likelihood inpursuing a career in the area of global health.

Rust, M. J., & Northrup, S. G. (2013, June), Work In Progress: The Effect of Time on Student Attitudes and Interests Regarding Global Health Following an International Field Experience Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22771

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