Boise State students conduct CHANGE research project

Eight Boise State students in a Community Health Education course have taken it upon themselves to enact CHANGE in their community.

CHANGE, Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation, is a nationally used tool produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is a survey completed by agencies that aims to identify and inform the status of community health needs.

Students conducted the health survey at 24 agencies, in five separate sectors, which include health care agencies, worksites, schools, recreational sites, and community organizations.

Participating agencies used the CHANGE tool to complete a self-assessed health evaluation.

This process uncovers strengths and weaknesses of the agency. Students presented the results to the community on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Boise Public Library.

Sarah Stoppenhagen, a junior  majoring in health education and promotion, helped conduct the survey and believes in its
effectiveness.

“I strongly support the CHANGE tool and think it is capable of making important changes to our community,” Stoppenhagen said.

Students became part of a large-scale project due to the influence of Caile E. Spear, Ph.D, professor of the Community Health Education course at Boise State.

“I am active in my community and I came across the CHANGE tool in a meeting in the spring. I decided we needed to have students doing this in the fall,” Spear said.

Spear assigns students community projects in order to provide them with valuable experiences outside of the classroom.

“I am a firm believer in service learning and students getting out. I don’t want resumes with classes. I want people to have resumes with actual experience,” Spear said.

Nathan Diehl, a senior majoring in Health Education and Promotion, is satisfied with the networking and research experience he gained from completing the project.

“The experience I gain from the projects Dr. Spear’s has us complete are a critical part in college education,” Diehl said.

The CHANGE survey completion benefits a wide array of individuals.

The Health Department now has new data to analyze, agencies have increased awareness of health standards and students gained hands-on, community research experience.

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