Doctoral Student Presents Research at the Health Literacy Conference

Published: June 24th, 2013

Category: Student News

Jennifer NguyenFirst year doctoral student, Jennifer Nguyen, recently presented research at the Institute for Healthcare Advancement’s 12th Annual Health Literacy Conference in Irvine, California.

Her presentation was on health literacy among colonoscopy patients living in rural areas. Specifically, she presented her findings which demonstrated that individuals living in rural areas with income below the poverty line encounter greater literacy problems than those living in rural areas with income above the poverty line. Nguyen believes that providers can utilize this information to provide tailored medical materials and better communication with patients.

The biggest “a ha!” moment from the conference was the realization that there was so much that needed to be studied! We have recognized the importance of health literacy but there hasn’t been much translational research conducted. Also, many practitioners don’t realize the impact health literacy has on public health. I hope my work will change that, said Nguyen.

Nguyen has a B.S. in Psychology and an MPH in Public Health. Her undergraduate research focused on health disparities and obesity in community settings. As an MPH student, she had the opportunity to analyze obesity and public health interventions in the private sector and explore occupational health hazards in nursing homes.

Nguyen’s broader research interests pertain to acculturation and health literacy and its role in health disparities and health outcomes in regards to cancer treatments and screenings. She hopes to eventually work in a non-governmental organization and continue work in acculturation and health literacy.

When asked about what she hopes to accomplish during her PhD, Nguyen commented,

The biggest thing I hope to accomplish during my next three years is to figure out what I would like to do! As this is hopefully the last phase in my academic career, I recognize that the upcoming years will be a time of tremendous personal and professional growth. I already know that I am passionate about culture and cancer outcomes within public health research, but I just need to mold that into a sustainable career.