Collection of Engaged Learning

Publication Date



The design of this project was two-fold; the research component included examination of data from a previous investigation and compared it with data collected in a community service project. In each, the aim was to assess the health habits of underserved Spanish communities and provide information and opportunity for engagement with health education. Data were collected from voluntary participants in Panama and West Dallas. The purpose of the investigation was to learn more about perceptions of health habits and provide hands-on learning regarding what it means to be healthy and practice a wellness lifestyle. Specifically, to help participants in underserved groups understand better how diet and exercise influence health, two populations were included for comparison and possible correlation. The first data sets were collected from patients of a mobile clinic conducted by the Global Medical Brigades in Tranquilla, Panama. Four hundred and fourteen individuals of ages 18 or older were observed. The second population assessed was composed of approximately 30 community members of the non-profit, Brother Bill’s Helping Hands, in West Dallas who voluntarily participated. In Panama, health education seminars were conducted in fifteen-minute intervals for the patients in the clinic. Nutrition, disease and disorder, hygiene, and exercise were discussed. Similar information was presented to the volunteer participants at Brother Bill’s helping Hands. Pre- and post- assessments were completed by participants to analyze understanding and perceptions of nutrition before and after the workshop. In both settings translators assisted in presenting the information and answering questions posed by participants. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, observation, and comparisons of raw data. Findings indicated lack of resources to health education, information and regular medical care may negatively impact understanding of health practices. Results of this investigation appear to reflect trends of chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity as they relate to poor nutrition habits and sedentary lifestyle. Recommendations for future research include continued investigation and intervention with underserved communities to assist in improving health knowledge, behavior change, and health outcomes.

Document Type



health, wellness, biology, alternative medicine, nutrition, exercise, disease and disorder, community service, public health


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Biology | Nutrition | Public Health

Part of

Engaged Learning Collection


© 2015 by Courtney Thrower