Upward Bound students experience mock public health epidemic

Drew Parker

Kent State’s Upward Bound program and College of Public Health hosted a mock foodborne illness activity Monday designed to give students hands-on public health experience.

Seventeen Upward Bound high school students investigated a pretend outbreak of salmonella poisoning on campus from 8:45 a.m. to noon. The students worked in four groups to study the impact of the illness caused by salmonella contamination at a fictitious local restaurant.

“The purpose of doing the outbreak experience is to give students real world experience with a public health outbreak investigation,” said Melissa Zullo, assistant professor of epidemiology for the College of Public Health. “They will each be able to have hands-on experience.”

KentWired Video

var so = new SWFObject(‘http://www.staterinteractive.com/player.swf’,’mpl’,’665′,’450′,’9′);




so.write(‘Upward Bound’);

A diagnostics lab group identified the organism and learned lab safety in the DeWeese Health Center; a restaurant inspection group simulated a sanitarium inspection in Eastway Café; an epidemiology group investigated exposures and symptoms as public health nurses; and a command group learned how to handle the incident using skills that would apply to any health emergency in Beall Hall.

Along with health services experience, chief university physician Dr. Angela DeJulius, said she believed the students would gain knowledge of various health careers available to them in the future.

“They are learning a great deal of awareness (of public health) and possible job opportunities that they may not have been aware of,” DeJulius said.

Upward Bound, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is designed to help disadvantaged high school and middle school students prepare for college through various college course experiences.

At Kent State, the colleges of Business, Math and Science and Technology aid the program by offering classes and activities for Upward Bound students year round.

“The purpose of the program is to help students be admitted and graduate from college by breaking socioeconomic barriers,” said Thomas Jefferson, assistant project director for Upward Bound at Kent State.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Drew Parker at [email protected].