PhD student wins second TPHA oral presentation award

Posted Date: May 9, 2017

ShlesmaUNTHSC School of Public Health student Shlesma Chhetri is no newcomer to making award-winning oral presentations, and this year she won her second Texas Public Health Association (TPHA) honor.

Chhetri recently came in first at the TPHA Annual Education Conference’s student oral presentation competition for her talk on “Getting on the same page for breast health knowledge and prevention.”

The presentation was based on results of a breast cancer screening day evaluation project sponsored by a Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth community grant, supporting efforts of the Tarrant County Cancer Disparities Coalition.

“Shlesma is an exceptionally great presenter and won this top TPHA award in 2015 as well,” said faculty mentor Emily Spence-Almaguer, PhD, MSW, who serves as SPH Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Health Equity and as Community Outreach Core Director for the Texas Center for Health Disparities.

“For her 2015 award, Shlesma presented on ‘Sex Trade: Survival Strategy Among Homeless Women,’ as explored in a study UNTHSC managed for the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition,” Dr. Spence-Almaguer said.

Chhetri, a public health PhD candidate, reported this year on ways that the Komen community grant for Greater Mount Tabor Christian Center in Fort Worth was able to evaluate the level of breast health awareness among Tarrant County women through data from screening day and community breast health educator trainings.

Primarily Hispanic screening participants in the 40-49 year age group with a high school or GED education level were able to evaluate their risk factors for breast cancer and understanding of symptoms, to help program researchers gain information on how reading levels correlate with knowledge, awareness and prevention efforts.

“While the study reflected a lack of knowledge regarding breast cancer risk and symptoms among participants, the brief training offered information that helped improve their awareness,” Chhetri said. “We also learned that this information should be presented at reading levels appropriate for known high-risk populations.”