Discovering the elephant

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Health
Department Health Promotion & Education
Author Interdonato, Richard Scott
Title Discovering the elephant
Date 2010-07
Description The field of Health Promotion and Education offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to follow their passions. Like the blind men and the elephant, there are many ways of understanding the domain, and this has been especially true of my experience at the University of Utah. I have taken full advantage of this opportunity and endeavored to directly discover some of the "elephant" for myself. The process and my development as a researcher are chronicled in the pages that follow. As a first project, I investigated the health benefits of a marine phytoplankton food supplement in terms of biological and psychological metrics. Although the research identified a possible increase in immune system function as well as a decrease in some of the indicators of depression, concrete health benefits were not clearly evident. The second project was to produce a theoretical paper about the health literacy problem; in the process, I came to recognize it as the central issue of the profession, albeit one that seems to be slipping away. As other professions bring their expertise and solutions to bear upon the problem, health promoters and educators lose ground as an autonomous, complimentary discipline addressing what should be their quintessential task (i.e., promoting and educating about health). The final project investigated the health and usability benefits of a new handheld device accessory. As the mobile communication device becomes even more ubiquitous, the risk of thumb overuse and injury also increases. The apparently insatiable, human desire to communicate and the tools for doing so evolve much more quickly than the anatomy of the hand; as such, there is a dark side to the advances in mobile communication technology. Fortunately, research now indicates that the Findle, a Finger han dle for handheld communication devices, reduces thumb and little-finger fatigue and pain when rapidly typing with only the thumb. My graduate education and particularly these three experiments have allowed me to personally discover the elephant of health and made me personally aware of the richness and promise of opportunity that the profession holds as well as some of the risks that it faces as an autonomous discipline.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Findle; Health literacy; Phytoplankton; Mobile communication systems; Health education
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name PhD
Language eng
Rights Management ©Richard Scott Interdonato
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 14,718,527 bytes
Source original in Marriott Library Special Collections ; RA4.5 2010 .I67
ARK ark:/87278/s64b3fvx
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-04-23
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 192733
Reference URL