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Geisel MPH/MS Students Showcase ILE Projects at Poster Session

Last week, candidates enrolled in Geisel’s residential Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Science (MS) programs gathered with faculty and other members of the Geisel community for a celebration of research excellence and academic achievements at a poster session held in the Rubin 4 Atrium at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

The first such gathering for the programs since before the pandemic, the well-attended event gave 23 MPH and MS students the opportunity to showcase their independent integrated learning experience (ILE) projects as their academic year comes to a close. Topics represented on the posters ranged from addiction treatment during pregnancy to the link between early-life sun exposure and later-life melanoma development.

The ILE course allows students to immerse themselves in a public health project that they are passionate about. With faculty support, they employ evidence-based evaluation, qualitative and quantitative methods, and effective inquiry to develop actionable insights and feasible recommendations. The ILE includes a high-quality written deliverable—such as a manuscript, a policy paper, or a proposal—that students then submit at the end of the program.

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Photos by Rob Strong

“The students come to the residential program for one year, so it’s very rapid and a lot to accomplish in less than a year,” explained Roland Lamb, MPH, residential MPH/MS program director. “The fact that students can devote themselves to a 3-term project like this and come out with a real product in that short amount of time, is a highlight of their experience here. I think for many students, it’s the reason they come to Dartmouth, and we are so proud of what they have achieved through this course on a variety of important public health topics.”

Erin Morris, MPH ’24, who explored multigenerational trauma and alcohol use disorder (AUD) in American descendants of Irish immigrants, chose a topic that has directly impacted her family. “I’m a third-generation Irish immigrant and AUD has been prevalent on both sides—but it’s been taboo to talk about in the past,” she explained. “I’ve really appreciated the support from faculty, the feedback from classmates, and having the resources to delve into such a personal topic.”

Kathryn Giordano, MPH ’24, chose to pursue a career-related topic that had piqued her interest while providing support services to the epilepsy population in Massachusetts—are schools equipped for epilepsy safety and inclusivity? “One of the things I enjoyed most about this experience was learning how to take scientific findings and communicate them in ways that are not just beneficial to the scientific community but to advocacy efforts and the public as well,” said Giordano.

Anthony Corso, MPH ’24, chose a topic in which he has a long-term interest and has seen up close. His poster was entitled, “The Hidden Fight in Diabetes Management: A Research Proposal.” “I think the course is taught very well, in a way that your hand isn’t held throughout the entire process, but the support is there when you need it,” said Corso. “It gives you a glimpse into the real world of research—it was just a great experience overall.”

“The ILE challenges students to iteratively integrate what they are learning across the curriculum and through all three terms, by applying it to their chosen research topic,” said Margaret Mulley, MS, who co-directed the course along with husband Albert Mulley, MD, MPP.

“Our hope is that students choose topics that are of long-term personal and professional interest,” she continued. “It was evident in this session that these 23 students met the challenge beautifully and will continue to pursue these areas of research beyond their time at Dartmouth. Their confidence and enthusiasm were evident, and the entire teaching team celebrates this achievement with them.”