October 23, 2011 — Dana Madigan is a sixth trimester chiropractic student at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) who will be giving a presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2011.
Dana will present information she gathered on a previous trip to the country of Ghana, where she interviewed hospital workers about health care access patterns, what they knew about chiropractic medicine, and if they would be open to chiropractic medical services.
For the trip to Ghana, Dana had a unique opportunity to travel with a different non-profit group of medical and public health professionals, and was the only representative of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers on the trip. The group allowed her to conduct the interviews she needed for her project, and the project was approved by the NUHS Internal Review Board (IRB) as a research study before she left on the trip.
Dana started the project as part of the Mentored Research Program supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) R25 educational grant to NUHS (R25 AT002872). In fact she blogged about her experience in the program back in 2010.
The program allowed Dana to work with a research mentor at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), Dr. Nadine Peacock, from start to finish. “The UIC professor helped in designing my interview and how to interpret the results and then I made the project my own,” explains Dana. “I was able to do the entire research process from the IRB application to presentation.”
“Getting involved in research is an excellent way to propel the CAM professions forward. Dana was able to propose a research project, gain IRB approval, conduct the research and publish the results for an audience extending beyond chiropractic professionals. Because she was part of the MRP, she also educated the UIC School of Public Health faculty and students about CAM, particularly chiropractic, and how CAM is an integral part of public health. Educating other professions and communicating research are positive forces the CAM professions need to be respected equally with other health care providers,” noted Dr. Barbara Sullivan, program manager of the evidence based practice (EBP) program at NUHS, research mentor and co-investigator of the R25 grant.
Dana has always been drawn to the field of research. “I was always the one doing science fair projects in grade school and high school,” she jokes. In fact, Dana said that one of the reasons she chose to study chiropractic medicine was due to the opportunities in the field for research. “I found the field very interesting, and saw that there wasn’t a huge body of research on it yet. It seemed to be an area that would be expanding, and I wanted to be part of that.”
When selecting a chiropractic school, Dana chose NUHS because she appreciated the many opportunities available for students to get involved in research, and appreciated the chance to work with other universities as well. In addition to finishing her chiropractic degree, and serving as a research assistant at NUHS, Dana is also finishing her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at UIC through a unique, coordinated degree program between National University and the UIC School of Public Health, supported by the NCCAM grant.
As part of completing her MPH degree, she will need to complete a separate capstone project. “I will hopefully do something else that is also within the global health arena.” In fact, her MPH degree is in the Health Policy and Administration division, and she has made an application to include a global health concentration.
In the future, Dana hopes to help shape policy for the CAM professions in developing nations. “Many countries, such as Ghana, are currently in the process of developing their health care systems,” she explains. “While a lot of people focus on infectious disease there, there’s also a lot of chronic disease. I would like to work to lessen the disparities of care in both areas at once.”
“We’re very proud to have Dana representing NUHS at the APHA annual meeting and at UIC in a very vigorous and high-profile program. We hope Dana serves as a role model for other students, and encourages participation in research at NUHS,” said Dr. Gregory Cramer, Dean of Research at NUHS and Principal Investigator (PI) of the R25 grant.
Source: National University of Health Sciences, www.nuhs.edu