Villanova Nursing Specialist Conducting Study in Wyoming County

Ruth McDermot

submitted article

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN (above) from Villanova University College of Nursing cares about the environmental health impacts from natural gas development in our region.  She uses her experience as a nurse and researcher to address those concerns.

During 2014 and 2015, she conducted focus groups throughout Wyoming County to learn about the environmental health concerns of its residents. She learned that Wyoming County residents were concerned about their air quality and water quality and that some felt stressed and powerless by the changes in their communities from natural gas development.

She also learned that some people had access to accurate, scientifically based environmental health information, while others were relying on social media and blogs that were not always accurate.

This concerned Dr. McDermott-Levy because “People can’t make informed choices or provide accurate health histories to their medical providers if they don’t understand their health risks and exposures.”

So she has begun what she describes and an important role of nurses “to educate communities in health risks so they are able to better engage partners to address their health needs and concerns.”

Dr. McDermott-Levy wants to make accurate health information available to people in Northeastern Pennsylvania. “The information is already out there, but not everyone is accessing it,” she stated. “There may be reasons for this beyond access to a computer.”

She is reaching out to people living in Northeastern Pennsylvania to evaluate environmental health information related to natural gas development to determine if the information that is available meets the needs of the community.

I am conducting a study to identify the most accurate and useful environmental health educational materials to address knowledge gaps and health protective action related to air and water quality and stress for residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” she explained.

Community members, public health experts, and other experts in environmental health will be asked to review environmental health materials related to the health impacts of unconventional oil and gas development. It is hoped that at least 15 community members and five public health/environmental health experts will participate in the study.

The review of the environmental health educational materials will take approximately four to six hours. Review of the environmental health educational materials can take place anywhere that is convenient to you, such as your home or office.

After all the evaluations are tallied, you will be invited to a focus group interview to clarify the community members’ needs related to environmental health educational materials. Participation in the focus group interview will be approximately one and a half hours.

There are minimal risks to participating in this study. You may feel uncomfortable or anxious reading or viewing information about environmental health risks.

The environmental health information you will be reviewing has also been found in local newspapers and electronic media. The benefit for participating would include learning about environmental health risks in your community and actions to reduce risks. Participation in this study is voluntary, and you can stop participation at any time.

Please reply to, and I can provider further information about the study and answer any questions you may have.

Once completed, participants will receive a $25 VISA gift card.

(Endless Mountains Lifestyles is not responsible for the aforementioned compensation)

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