This program provides a unique opportunity for Human Health majors to design and implement a research project over the course of an academic year. Each year, students propose research projects under a specific theme. Accepted projects are assigned a Graduate Student Mentor who are matched with projects based on their ability to guide students in the topic and methods. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, teams develop research methods, collect data, and complete data analysis. Results are presented at the end of the Spring semester in a conference-style presentation.

2015-2016 Theme: Representations of Health

This theme includes topics such as media representations of health, differences in how health care providers and the public perceive health, the ways various groups define health, et cetera. This subject is important for understanding the ways people define and conceptualize health, the way health is related to various social factors, and how concepts of health impact health behaviors, access to care, and treatment provisions. Accepting proposals until June 15, 2015. Contact for more information.

2015-2016 Projects

Below is initial information about this year's projects. More information will be included as these projects progress

1. Wilson Hunt's project looks at Southern perceptions of risk factors of Type II Diabetes. This project will use online surveys in the Atlanta area to assess how people understand these risk factors.

2. Kristine Rosenberger's project looks at family background and health behaviors. This project will focus on college students in the Atlanta area.

3. Camira Williams-Liggin's project will explore the affect nutrition workshops on teenager's perceptions of health eating. She hopes to give local teens a survey before and after adminsitring a workshop.

4. Angela Zaladonis' project will also use survey data to explore the ways Emory students think about body type, fatness, and fitness.

2014-2015 Theme

Health & Diversity

Health and diversity is a timely topic and addresses concerns for patients, minority groups, professionals, and healthcare technologies. There are three primary areas in which this research can be conducted: (a) diversity and access to U.S. healthcare, (b) disparities in health outcomes, and (c) diversity within the U.S. healthcare system. Accepted projects are featured in the boxes below.


Developing a Survey to Assess Latino Immigrant Mental Health and Internet Usage

Researcher: Kristina Alton

Mentor: Katie Cartwright (Sociology)

Faculty Advisor: Jennifer C. Sarrett

Research Questions:

(1) Broadly, does access to internet and social media decrease depression and anxiety levels among Latino immigrant populations‚Äč?

(2) Using previously validated tools, develop a questionnaire to assess the impact of Internet use on the immigration experience for Latino immigrants.



            I used databases such as PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus, as well Google Scholar to search for literature on my topic. I divided my searches into three umbrella categories that I felt collectively captured the topic. These sections were “Latinos and general health disparities”, “Mental health and Internet usage”, and “Latinos and mental health”. Together, these categories helped me describe some of the main issues surrounding my topic.

            Along with my research on the literature, I also evaluated previously validated tools for assessing mental health and Internet use, as these were the main types of questions I would be asking in my own survey. The purpose of this was to find accredited tools that I could draw from in making my own survey. My final survey will include questions from these validated tools as well as my own questions that are catered more specifically to my interests.

Parental Ethnicity and Antibiotic Knowledge

Researcher: Kaitlyn Lapen & Andrea Molino

Mentor: Allie Macdonald (Psychology)

Faculty Advisor: Jennifer C. Sarrett

Research Questions:

(1) Are there ethnic group differences in parental expectations/pressures regarding antibiotic prescriptions for their children?

(2) If so, do demographic variables and/or level of antibiotic knowledge moderate this relationship?


For this study, parental subjects complete an online survey made through the esurvey creator program. Each survey begins with an IRB consent form that must be completed before the rest of the survey is administered. The survey contains a series of demographic questions and questions on antibiotic knowledge and expectations. The demographic questions will ask for basic information, such as race, age, gender, occupation, religion, income and education level. The section of questions on antibiotic knowledge and expectations contains ten questions. Some of these questions are fact based and have either a correct or an incorrect answer. The survey also contains questions that ask whether or not the parent expects antibiotics for their child given the presence of certain symptoms, such as a fever. The questions will also address whether or not the parents communicate their expectations to the physician. In addition to these questions there are a few questions on the survey that touch on parental opinions concerning antibiotic use.

Surveys have been distributed through online forums and snowballing amongst parents in the Atlanta area.  Once consent is obtained and an amendment to the IRB is approved, we hope to administer the survey on iPads in waiting rooms at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other nearby clinics.

Mind-body therapy usage and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researchers: Tyler Cooke & Elise Viox

Mentor: Amanda Mummert (Anthropology)

Faculty Advisor: Jennifer C. Sarrett

Research Questions:

(1) What are the trends in usage of mind-body therapies (i.e., yoga, tai chi, Qi gong, and relaxation techniques) among individuals self-reporting diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or Asperger syndrome from 2002 to 2012?

(2) How do demographic traits (i.e., age, SES, race/ethnicity, US region, education) modify this population's usage patterns of mind-body therapies?


The statistical software package STATA was used to determine the prevalence of mind-body techniques among individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who participated in the National Health Interview Survey, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supplement (2002, 2007, and 2012). The supplements from each year asked different questions pertaining to mind-body therapies. Therefore, we limited our analysis to questions that were consistent across all three surveys. The aim of future studies will be to investigate the trends in mind-body therapy usage in individuals who identify as having or have been diagnosed by a doctor with developmental disabilities. To ensure that the study sample is representative of the general population, sample weights will be applied. A critical analysis of the study design of the NHIS will also be conducted to determine if the survey was accessible for individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

The role of religion on obesity and lifestyle among college students

Researcher: Eddye Golden

Mentor: Ilana Raskind (RSPH)

Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Friediani

Research Questions:

(1) Is religion associated with body mass index (BMI) in a US undergraduate population?

(2) What religious practices are associated with high BMI?


I conducted an online survey through Google Forms that asked questions related to exercise, food habits, religious affiliation, religious practice, and BMI. Religious affiliation was determined by giving the option to choose from a number of prominent religions on campus, as well as an “other” category. Religious practice was determined by the frequency of prayer, service attendance, and the religion’s impact on the student’s social life and diet. BMI was calculated by asking for the participant’s height (in feet and inches) and weight (in pounds).

The survey was sent through numerous departmental listservs (Religion, English, Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Quantitative Theory & Methods, Math & Computer Science, Anthropology, Human Health, German, Economics, and Film). It was also posted to Facebook groups related to Emory University (Class of 2015, Class of 2016, Class of 2017, Class of 2018, Emory Jews, Hindu Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Interreligious Council, Catholic Student Union). After about 1 month of data collection, the data was coded in SAS to determine whether associations existed between any of the variables in the survey.