Community research for all to see

18 October 2004

Several community-based research projects were on display at the Barnard Fuller Building in October, part of the inaugural student research day held by the schools of public health and rehabilitation sciences.

Besides showcasing the students' research, the open day acknowledges the importance of community-based health research in UCT's undergraduate curricula, said Dr Virginia Zweigenthal, a registrar in the public health department. It also allows stakeholders an insight into the unit's community-based research activities. It promotes a culture of research among undergraduates and encourages students to think of research as a possible future career option, she says.

The best overall project prize went to fourth-year physiotherapy students Tammy Hodgson and Lara Groenevelt for their investigation into the difficulties the elderly experience at pedestrian crossings. Their prize was R5 000. The runners-up were fifth-year medical students Chad Centner, Tiago Morgado and Sarai Pahla for their study on attitudes and practices regarding bullying and gangsterism at the Queen's Park High School in Woodstock. Their prize was R2 500.

The Best Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Project was won jointly by final-year dietetics student Catherine Pereira's project (see page 1) and final-year audiology students Peter Young and Lauren Porteous. Pereira's study was an assessment of the availability of healthy food and drink at St George's Grammar School and learners' attitudes towards the provisions of healthy fare at the school. The runner-up project was an information and communication technology (ICT) skills-needs analysis and training programme in a deaf community. Each project won R1 500.

The Best Medicine Project was won by fifth-year medical students Joanna Thirsk, Dale Thorne and Mbulelo Mengu for their investigation into the knowledge, attitudes and practices towards a Vitamin A supplementation among staff and caregivers in Brown's Farm. Their project won R2 000. The runners-up were fifth-year medical students Debra Chalmers, Careen Hudson, Baradi Melamu, Liza Stockland and Patryk Szymanski for their project on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of women at the Protea Park Clinic in Atlantis regarding breastfeeding.

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