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Creating Community in Isolation: the History of Corpus Christi’s Molina Addition, 1954-1970

Description: “Creating Community in Isolation: The History of Corpus Christi’s Molina Addition, 1954-1970” examines the history of the Molina Addition in Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas, and its serving district, the West Oso Independent School District, from 1954 to 1970. Specifically, this essay begins with an analysis of the elite-driven campaign to annex the blighted Molina Addition in September and October 1954. The city intended to raze the neighborhood and develop middle-class homes in place of the newly annexed neighborhood. Following the annexation of the Molina Addition, African American and ethnic Mexican residents initiated protracted struggles to desegregate and integrate schools that served their area, the West Oso Independent School District, as detailed in the chapter, “The West Oso School Board Revolution.” The chapter examines the electoral “revolution” in which Anglo rural elites were unseated from their positions on the school board and replaced by African American and ethnic Mexican Molina Addition residents. The third chapter, “Building Mo-Town, Texas,” focuses on residents’ struggle to install indoor plumbing, eliminate pit privies, construct paved roads, and introduce War on Poverty grants to rehabilitate the neighborhood. This chapter also offers a glimpse into the social life of Molina youth during the 1960s.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Gurrola, Moisés A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Child Development Associate Credential System 2.0 on Candidate Success Rates

Description: The purpose of this research was to identify the impact of process changes that have been made to the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, which is a beginning early childhood teacher credential that focuses on competency based standards widely seen as necessary for early childhood teachers to possess. The process in which early childhood teachers receive their credential changed in 2013 with the implementation of CDA credential 2.0. Changes included taking a computerized exam and the implementation of a professional development specialist conducting an on-site classroom observation. In order to determine the impact that CDA 2.0 had on teacher credentialing success rates, a mixed-method sequential design was employed. First, existing data sets of success rates from a national scholarship program were reviewed. Following, interviews with CDA credential seekers were conducted. Findings revealed that while candidate success rates increased for those receiving CDA credentials under the 2.0 system, the actual number of candidates receiving scholarships to pursue the CDA credential through the national scholarship program decreased. Qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews indicated that three areas that impacted CDA 2.0 candidate success rates were the professional education programs and instructors, the CDA Exam, and Professional Development Specialists. This is the first research study to examine the CDA credential process. The findings demonstrate that the 2.0 system provides candidates with necessary supports to be successful. A significant question arising out of the data is how a determination is made to issue a credential. Before QRIS and public policy initiatives employ more efforts to professionalize the field of early childhood – primarily through the CDA credential – the process by which one obtains a credential should be more thoroughly examined.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Davis, Travis J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring the Dual-natured Impact of Digital Technology on Student-classroom Engagement in a Texas Public High School

Description: The past decade has become rife with an eagerness to integrate new digital technology into teaching. While there have been decades of research done on the importance of curriculum and pedagogy on student engagement, findings of actual technology integration are scarce. Moreover, what does it take to engage students in classroom activities and lessons when technology is introduced? The purpose of this study was to explore how digital technology, when integrated into classroom teaching and activities, impacted the students-classroom engagement based on the interim-cognitive, meta-cognitive, motivational, and behavioral markers. This was explored in a Texas public high school across the four core classes (English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Data was collected in the form of observational field notes, transcripts of recorded lessons, and Likert-scaled surveys. Thematic analysis was used in analyzing qualitative data, Pearson’s correlation of those components found by factor analysis verified three of the five themes identified from the thematic analysis with statistical significance. The findings suggest that mere use of technology does not have a profound impact on student engagement. Instead, technology tends to amplify the existing classroom culture and social norms agreed upon between the teacher and their students. Texas teachers and students are also redefining the meaning of curriculum to include technology as a result of the attempted integration. This research finds that students’ hands-on activities under teachers’ guidance with the use of technology excel when teachers are molding digital work.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Ayers, Joseph J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment: the Washburne Lead Mine Regiment in the Civil War

Description: Of the roughly 3,500 volunteer regiments and batteries organized by the Union army during the American Civil War, only a small fraction has been studied in any scholarly depth. Among those not yet examined by historians was one that typified the western armies commanded by the two greatest Federal generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. The Forty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry was at Fort Donelson and Shiloh with Grant in 1862, with Grant and Sherman during the long Vicksburg campaign of 1862 and 1863, and with Sherman in the Meridian, Atlanta, Savannah, and Carolinas campaigns in the second half of the war. These Illinois men fought in several of the most important engagements in the western theater of the war and, in the spring of 1865, were present when the last important Confederate army in the east surrendered. The Forty-fifth was also well connected in western politics. Its unofficial name was the “Washburne Lead Mine Regiment,” in honor of U.S Representative Elihu B. Washburne, who used his contacts and influences to arm the regiment with the best weapons and equipment available early in the war. (The Lead Mine designation referred to the mining industry in northern Illinois.) In addition, several officers and enlisted men were personal friends and acquaintances of Ulysses Grant of Galena, Illinois, who honored the regiment for their bravery in the final attempt to break through the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg. The study of the Forty-fifth Illinois is important to the overall study of the Civil War because of the campaigns and battles the unit participated and fought in. The regiment was also one of the many Union regiments at the forefront of the Union leadership’s changing policy toward the Confederate populace and war making industry. In this role the regiment witnessed the impact of President ...
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Mack, Thomas B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Impact of Green Design and Technology on Building Environment

Description: Currently, the public has a strong sense of the need for environment protection and the use of sustainable, or “green,” design in buildings and other civil structures. Since green design elements and technologies are different from traditional design, they probably have impacts on the building environment, such as vibration, lighting, noise, temperature, relative humidity, and overall comfort. Determining these impacts of green design on building environments is the primary objective of this study. The Zero Energy Research (ZOE) laboratory, located at the University of North Texas Discovery Park, is analyzed as a case study. Because the ZOE lab is a building that combines various green design elements and energy efficient technologies, such as solar panels, a geothermal heating system, and wind turbines, it provides an ideal case to study. Through field measurements and a questionnaire survey of regular occupants of the ZOE lab, this thesis analyzed and reported: 1) whether green design elements changed the building’s ability to meet common building environmental standards, 2) whether green design elements assisted in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scoring, and 3) whether green design elements decreased the subjective comfort level of the occupants.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Xiong, Liang
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Influence of Local Forage Variability on White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Body Size at Fort Hood, Texas

Description: Nutritional quality and availability is thought to regulate geographic patterns of variability in animal body size due to phenotypic plasticity. The purpose of this study is to determine how vegetation quality, abundance and population density influence white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) body size on a subregional spatial scale at Fort Hood, Texas. Harvest and census records are used to test the hypothesis that white-tailed deer exhibit phenotypic plasticity (e.g. larger body size) in response to differences in vegetation quality and availability. Results from these analyses suggest that forage quality and abundance alone is not a main driver of white-tailed deer body size. Analysis of deer population density (generally) resulted in an inverse relationship with body size. Areas with high quality forage and low population density support larger deer while areas with low quality forage and high density support smaller than average deer. The few exceptions occur in areas exhibiting poor quality forage and low population density or high forage quality and high density. Results from this study suggest that continued overcrowding of deer within isolated areas may eventually lead to efficiency phenotypic conditions producing smaller sized deer. These results could prove useful in interpreting deer population responses to harvest management. For successful local management of deer, studies examining the combined influence of habitat variables (such as forage quality, abundance and population density) on deer health offer managers valuable information needed to establish annual harvest goals and understand deer-habitat relationships relative to carrying capacity.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Eddins, Amy C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Influence of the Choice of Disease Mapping Method on Population Characteristics in Areas of High Disease Burdens

Description: Disease maps are powerful tools for depicting spatial variations in disease risk and its underlying drivers. However, producing effective disease maps requires careful consideration of the statistical and spatial properties of the disease data. In fact, the choice of mapping method influences the resulting spatial pattern of the disease, as well as the understanding of its underlying population characteristics. New developments in mapping methods and software in addition to continuing improvements in data quality and quantity are requiring map-makers to make a multitude of decisions before a map of disease burdens can be created. The impact of such decisions on a map, including the choice of appropriate mapping method, not been addressed adequately in the literature. This research demonstrates how choice of mapping method and associated parameters influence the spatial pattern of disease. We use four different disease-mapping methods – unsmoothed choropleth maps, smoothed choropleth maps produced using the headbanging method, smoothed kernel density maps, and smoothed choropleth maps produced using spatial empirical Bayes methods and 5-years of zip code level HIV incidence (2007- 2011) data from Dallas and Tarrant Counties, Texas. For each map, the leading population characteristics and their relative importance with regards to HIV incidence is identified using a regression analysis of a CDC recommended list of socioeconomic determinants of HIV. Our results show that the choice of mapping method leads to different conclusions regarding the associations between HIV disease burden and the underlying demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Thus, the choice of mapping method influences the patterns of disease we see or fail to see. Accurate depiction of areas of high disease burden is important for developing and targeting appropriate public health interventions.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Desai, Khyati Sanket
Partner: UNT Libraries

Lone Star Insanity: Efforts to Treat the Mentally Ill in Texas, 1861-1929

Description: During the mid-nineteenth century, the citizens of Texas were forced to keep their mentally disturbed family members at home which caused stress on the caregivers and the further debilitation of the afflicted. To remedy this situation, mental health experts and Texas politicians began to create a system of healing known as state asylums. The purpose of this study is to determine how Texas mental health care came into being, the research and theories behind the prevention and treatment programs that asylum physicians employed to overcome mental illness, in addition to the victories and shortcomings of the system. Through this work, it will be shown that during the 1850s until the 1920s institutions faced difficulty in achieving success from many adverse conditions including, but not limited to, overcrowding, large geographical conditions, poor health practices, faulty construction, insufficient funding, ineffective prevention and treatment methods, disorganization, cases of patient abuse, incompetent employees, prejudice, and legal improprieties. As a result, by 1930, these asylums were merely places to detain the mentally ill in order to rid them from society. This thesis will also confirm that while both Texas politicians and mental health experts desired to address and overcome mental illness in Texas, they were unable to do so due to arguments, selfishness, corruption, failures, and inaction on the part of both sides. However, this thesis will ultimately reveal it was lack of full support from Texas legislators, deriving from the idea that this system was not one of their top priorities among the state’s concerns, that led to the inability of the Texas mental health care system to properly assist their patients.
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Boyd, Dalton T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Migration Information Gathering by Mexican-origin Immigrants in the Pre-migration Phase

Description: U.S. immigration procedures are complex and may elude the average individual seeking admission to the United States. Understanding this, the current study investigates how information resources are used by potential migrants to learn about the migratory process. Using a mixed-methods approach, I interviewed 30 Mexican immigrants with unauthorized immigration experience about the process of gathering migration information in the pre-migration phase. Qualitative data were coded using seven themes generated from the primary research questions, including: Information Resources, Resources Used During Migration, Motivation for Migration, Method of Migration, Lack of Information/Misinformation, Types of Help and Types of Information. Findings suggest that the factors motivating migrants to come to the U.S. are combined in complex ways and lack of information about legal alternatives to unauthorized migration is an important factor influencing method of migration. Also, while access to new information resources is increasing, these resources are not being tapped for migration information.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Hudson, Cassie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mineola

Description: Mineola is a poetic, observational, immersive documentary centered in the town of Mineola, Texas. The film provides an intimate, first person perspective of different locations in the town as well as underlying subversive beliefs and traditions. The film’s authoritative perspective guides the viewer not only in a direction of observation but personal connection to nostalgia of small communities.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Cater, Lauren
Partner: UNT Libraries

Montesquieu, Diversity, and the American Constitutional Debate

Description: It has become something of a cliché for contemporary scholars to assert that Madison turned Montesquieu on his head and thereafter give little thought to the Frenchman’s theory that republics must remain limited in territorial size. Madison did indeed present a formidable challenge to Montesquieu’s theory, but I will demonstrate in this dissertation that the authors of the Federalist Papers arrived at the extended sphere by following a theoretical pathway already cemented by the French philosopher. I will also show that Madison’s “practical sphere” ultimately concedes to Montesquieu that excessive territorial size and high levels of heterogeneity will overwhelm the citizens of a republic and enable the few to oppress the many. The importance of this dissertation is its finding that the principal mechanism devised by the Federalists for dealing with factions—the enlargement of the sphere—was crafted specifically for the purpose of moderating interests, classes, and sects within an otherwise relatively homogeneous nation. Consequently, the diverse republic that is America today may be exposed to the existential threat anticipated by Montesquieu’s theory of size—the plutocratic oppression of society by an elite class that employs the strategy of divide et impera.
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Drummond, Nicholas W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

No Quarter: the Story of the New Orleans Greys

Description: The purpose of this thesis document is to explain the process of making the documentary film, No Quarter: The Story of the New Orleans Greys. The document is organized by having the prospectus and the film proposal at the beginning, with the body describing how the film was made based on the prospectus. The purpose of the film is to tell the history of a unit of volunteers in the Texas Revolution, the New Orleans Greys. The document describes the methods used to make the film and how it will be distributed to the intended audience. As the thesis explains, the film changed slightly from the prospectus, however the resulting film was successful in telling the history of the little-known New Orleans Greys.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Barnes, Travis S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Photo-induced Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon Spill Oil to Four Native Gulf of Mexico Species

Description: The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in the accidental release of millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Photo-induced toxicity following co-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one mechanism by which polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from oil spills may exert toxicity. Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) are an important commercial and ecological resource in the Gulf of Mexico and their largely transparent larvae may make them sensitive to PAH photo-induced toxicity. Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), an important fishery resource, have positively buoyant, transparent eggs. These characteristics may result in mahi-mahi embryos being at particular risk from photo-induced toxicity. Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and speckled seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) are both important fishery resources in the GoM. They spawn near-shore and produce positively buoyant embryos that hatch into larvae in about 24 h. The goal of this body of work was to determine whether exposure to UV as natural sunlight enhances the toxicity of crude oil to early lifestage GoM species. Larval and embryonic organisms were exposed to several dilutions of water accommodated fractions (WAF) from several different oils collected in the field under chain of custody during the 2010 spill and two to three gradations of natural sunlight in a factorial design. Here, we report that co-exposure to natural sunlight and oil significantly reduced larval survival and embryo hatch compared to exposure to oil alone.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Alloy, Matthew Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Prison Notes: an Introductory Study of Inmate Marginalia

Description: This thesis introduces the study of inmate marginalia as a method for understanding inmates’ uses of texts in prison libraries and for understanding the motivations for these uses. Marginalia are the notes, drawings, underlining, and other markings left by readers in the texts with which they interact. I use the examples of the Talmudic projects to set a precedent for the integration of marginal discourses into the central discourse of society. Next, I discuss the arguments surrounding the use of texts in prison libraries, including an outline for an ideal study of inmate marginalia. Finally, I discuss the findings of my on-site research at four prison libraries in Washington State. After scanning evidence of marginalia from forty-eight texts, a relatively small sample, I divided the marginalia by gender of facility, genre of text, address of the marginalia, and type of marginalia and found statistically significant correlations (p < 0.05) between gender and genre, gender and address, gender and type, and genre and type. However, while these correlations are statistically weak and require further investigation, the statistically significant correlations indicate the potential for integrating inmate marginalia studies into the scholarly discussions regarding inmates’ interactions with texts in prison.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Hunter, Cody
Partner: UNT Libraries

Retention: Course Completion Rates in Online Distance Learning

Description: Online courses in higher education have a reputation for having a lower course completion or retention rate than face-to-face courses. Much of this reputation is based upon anecdotal evidence, is outdated, or is on a small scale, such as a comparison of individual courses or programs of instruction. A causal-comparative analysis was conducted among 11 large, high research public universities. The universities were compared to each other to determine if differences existed between online and face-to-face course completion; undergraduate and graduation online course completion was analyzed for differences as well. The findings suggested the magnitude of the differences between online and face-to-face completions rates was small or negligible. The area which showed a higher magnitude of difference was in the comparison between undergraduate and graduate online course completion; the practical significance could be worth considering for educational purposes.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Phillips, Alana S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

School and Community Partnerships: Effect on At-risk Elementary Student Populations

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the current practices of school and community partnerships in five North Texas elementary schools. In addition, the study focused on the influence community partnerships have on at-risk students based on at-risk indicators data. The literature revealed that when schools, parents, and families work together, students tend to earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, stay in school longer, and enrolled in coursework beyond high school. The target population included approximately 350 administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals from five North Texas elementary schools. Also included were the respective partners from each of the five elementary schools. This research included online survey instrument and data were gathered and analyzed through a combination of statistical procedures and descriptive and inferential statistics. The results may provide other schools with a profile of school and community partnerships that can be implemented as a method to help their at-risk student populations. Findings included a descriptive analysis of factors that contributed to the success of community engagement efforts as well as those factors that limited those efforts. A secondary purpose of this study was of continuous improvement in developing these approaches through a goal-setting approach. Schools included in the study provided a next steps plan by describing their major goal(s) for improving existing school and community partnerships over the next 3 years.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Tucker, Linda Cavazos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Self-definition and College Adaptation in Students From the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Description: While a great deal of psychological research is conducted on college students, less has been done on their adaptation to college. These young adults, as they develop ego identity and differentiate themselves from parents and families, must adjust to the social and academic environment of college. Psychosocial adjustment predicts college retention better than academic predictors do. First generation college students face greater than typical challenges adapting to college. The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program exists to aid first generation, lower income undergraduate student who wish to pursue a doctoral degree. Self-definition scored from thematic apperceptive technique stories reflects an individual’s relative freedom from social role constraint. This study examined the role of self-definition and familial understanding and acceptance in this population as predictors of successful adaptation to college. While neither was found to be a significant predictor, family understanding and acceptance was found to be a more defining characteristic of this sample than was self-definition. This suggests that when social support is sufficient, individuals do not need to rely on self-definition.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Vance, Jeffrey Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Small Town Retail Change in East Texas: an Analysis of Retail Growth, Decline, and Spatial Reconfiguration

Description: In recent years, small towns have experienced declining levels of retail activity attributable to a variety of factors. Previously conducted research identifies a number of these factors such as changing population dynamics, continuously evolving retail practices, locational factors, and an assortment of other macroeconomic factors. Although retail decline is common for many small towns, there are some small towns that have been able to maintain their viability in an ever-changing economic climate. The primary purpose of this research is to better understand what spatial and socio-economic characteristics contribute to retail growth and decline in a series of small towns. This research highlights a selection of small towns across a 14 county area within east Texas. The selection of small towns includes a number of towns with an increasing number of retail establishments as well as a number of towns with decreasing retail establishments over the 14 year study timeframe. Contained within this research is a discussion of small town economic and retail development, as well as findings regarding spatial and socio-economic characteristics as they relate to retail growth and decline in small towns. This research finds that locational characteristics do have an effect on retail growth and decline. The research also supports the literature, which states retail growth and decline is more pronounced within certain retail categories.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Whitaker, Carl W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Texas Paranormalists

Description: Texas Pararnormalists mixes participatory and observational styles in an effort to portray a small community of paranormal practitioners who live and work in and around North Texas. These practitioners include psychics, ghost investigators, and other enthusiasts and seekers of the spirit world. Through the documentation of their combined perspectives, Texas Paranormalists renders a portrait of a community of outsiders with a shared belief system and an unshakeable passion for reaching out into the unknown.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Goodman, David
Partner: UNT Libraries

Back on the Home Front: Demand/Withdraw Communication and Relationship Adjustment Among Student Veterans

Description: Today’s military encompasses a wide variety of families who are affected by deployments in multiple and complex ways. Following deployments, families must reconnect in their relationships and reestablish their way of life. Appropriate and effective communication during this time is critical, yet many military couples struggle with this process. Moreover, student service members/veterans and their families are in a unique position. In addition to coping with changes in their marital relationship, student veterans may feel isolated or unsupported on college campuses, often experiencing anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, or suicidality. The current study seeks to bridge the gap between the military family literature and the student service member/veteran literature by examining how deployment experiences, mental health issues, and communication patterns influence post-deployment relationship adjustment among student veterans. Analyses tested whether communication style and/or current mental health concerns mediate associations between combat experiences and couples’ relationship adjustment, as well as between experiences in the aftermath of battle and relationship adjustment. Results suggest that although posttraumatic stress is significantly related to deployment experiences among student veterans, participants report no significant negative effects of deployment on relationship adjustment. Communication style, however, was significantly associated with relationship adjustment, and a lack of positive communication was found to correlate with PTSD diagnosis. Research and clinical implications are discussed.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Carver, Kellye Diane Schiffner
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bass Reeves: a History • a Novel • a Crusade, Volume 1: the Rise

Description: This literary/historical novel details the life of African-American Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves between the years 1838-1862 and 1883-1884. One plotline depicts Reeves’s youth as a slave, including his service as a body servant to a Confederate cavalry officer during the Civil War. Another plotline depicts him years later, after Emancipation, at the height of his deputy career, when he has become the most feared, most successful lawman in Indian Territory, the largest federal jurisdiction in American history and the most dangerous part of the Old West. A preface explores the uniqueness of this project’s historical relevance and literary positioning as a neo-slave narrative, and addresses a few liberties that I take with the historical record.
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Date: August 2015
Creator: Thompson, Sidney, 1965-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Community-based Participatory Research: HIV in African American Men Who Have Sex with Men

Description: To date, traditional behavioral interventions have done little to reduce the prevalence and transmission of HIV among African American men who have sex with men (AAMSM), a highly at risk group. Some researchers theorize that the lack of success may be because these interventions do not address contextual factors among AAMSM. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is one approach to research with the potential to lead to effective interventions in the future. CBPR is a collaborative, mixed-methods and multidisciplinary, approach to scientific inquiry, which is conducted with, and within, the community. The current study follows the CBPR approach to engage and develop a relationship with the African American communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Contextual issues were discussed in order to identify emerging themes regarding HIV health related issues among AAMSM to provide the groundwork for continued CBPR research and future interventions with AAMSM in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. To accomplish this goal, researchers began the CBPR process by conducting interviews and focus groups with a sample of approximately 62 (34 from key informant interviews, 28 from focus groups [gender balanced]) AIDS service organization leaders and workers, advocates, medical doctors and community members with first-hand knowledge of HIV health issues in the AAMSM community. Transcripts of these interviews and focus groups were analyzed to identify emerging themes at the societal (religious doctrine, African American Culture, age-related norms and stigma), community (education, religious views/policy and community norms) and individual (disclosure, personal identity, sexual behavior/risk, accessing care and communication) levels. This data was used to create a holistic narrative report that will be used to direct the community advisory board (CAB) and guide future research and interventions.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Miller, James MS
Partner: UNT Libraries

Community Gardening: a Novel Intervention for Bhutanese Refugees Living in the USA

Description: Since 2008, the United States (USA) has resettled thousands of Bhutanese refugees, providing brief financial support and pathways to citizenship. Despite the efforts of governing bodies and voluntary agencies which facilitate resettlement, many refugees struggle with adapting to the vastly different lifestyle, economy, language and social structures. In particular, effectively addressing psychological needs of this population is a challenge for service providers operating within an expensive health care system based on Western constructs of mental health. In response to this challenge, refugee resettlement agencies throughout the country use community gardens to promote psychological healing, self-sufficiency, community engagement, and a return of human dignity. Though success of these programs is being shared in the media, there has yet to be empirical data examining their impact. The current study tested whether Bhutanese refugee engagement in a community garden impacts symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and somatic complaints. The study also investigated whether community gardening is associated with perceptions of social support and adjustment to life in the United States. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from 50 adult Bhutanese refugees in Fort Worth, Texas. Gardening was significantly related to increased social support overall, a key factor in overall functionality within communal cultures; and specifically perceived tangible support was increased. A significant effect of gardening was also found for adjustment. Although a significant effect was not found for psychological and somatic symptoms, there is still evidence of effects on somatic complaints. Varying results from quantitative and qualitative data warrant further investigation into the nuanced work of clinical research and advocacy with refugee populations.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Gerber, Monica M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Computational Methods for Vulnerability Analysis and Resource Allocation in Public Health Emergencies

Description: POD (Point of Dispensing)-based emergency response plans involving mass prophylaxis may seem feasible when considering the choice of dispensing points within a region, overall population density, and estimated traffic demands. However, the plan may fail to serve particular vulnerable sub-populations, resulting in access disparities during emergency response. Federal authorities emphasize on the need to identify sub-populations that cannot avail regular services during an emergency due to their special needs to ensure effective response. Vulnerable individuals require the targeted allocation of appropriate resources to serve their special needs. Devising schemes to address the needs of vulnerable sub-populations is essential for the effectiveness of response plans. This research focuses on data-driven computational methods to quantify and address vulnerabilities in response plans that require the allocation of targeted resources. Data-driven methods to identify and quantify vulnerabilities in response plans are developed as part of this research. Addressing vulnerabilities requires the targeted allocation of appropriate resources to PODs. The problem of resource allocation to PODs during public health emergencies is introduced and the variants of the resource allocation problem such as the spatial allocation, spatio-temporal allocation and optimal resource subset variants are formulated. Generating optimal resource allocation and scheduling solutions can be computationally hard problems. The application of metaheuristic techniques to find near-optimal solutions to the resource allocation problem in response plans is investigated. A vulnerability analysis and resource allocation framework that facilitates the demographic analysis of population data in the context of response plans, and the optimal allocation of resources with respect to the analysis are described.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Indrakanti, Saratchandra
Partner: UNT Libraries