Student Opportunities

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SL/CE Site/Organization name: Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD)

Community Organization website: Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD)

SL/CE site/organization brief description:
The Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD) is Nebraska’s SACCHO (the state-level affiliate of the National Association of County City Health Officials [NACCHO]).  NALHD is governed by a 17-member Board of Directors whose service areas include over ¾ of the state and who bring decades of combined experience in public health to their efforts.  The Executive Director holds an MPH from Emory University and has extensive experience in public health practice, especially services to language minority families and children.
Community organization site contact: Susan Bockrath

Description of identified needs and proposed activities:

NALHD’s goals are to:

  1. Collaborate to build sustainable, local public health infrastructures, and 
  2. Develop partnerships and systems that will help us to both fulfill our collective and individual visions and to implement local strategies that support individual and community health.

NALHD embraces Dean Khan’s vision to make Nebraska the healthiest state in the nation.  NALHD members work with each other and with partners from various sectors to promote and protect the health of Nebraskans. To this end, we hope to engage highly motivated, independent, and organized students to work directly with and learn from the state’s local health directors. 

NALHD is willing and eager to hear project ideas from students who are suited to this distance placement. Some ideas for projects that would be helpful to us include…

  1. Social media development and support (e.g. develop and implement a communication plan for Facebook; develop communication strategy for our list serv.)
  2. Review and synthesis of members’ Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP) as a contribution to organizational strategic priority setting.
  3. Develop, implement, and analyze intra-association surveys commissioned by NALHD committees.
  4. Develop webinar series’ syllabi and lesson plans related to organization strategic priority areas.
  5. Complete Network Analysis related to strategic priorities.

Timeframe of proposed activities to begin:
            Ongoing, any of these projects could begin January 2015 or earlier.

Benefit of proposed activities to community organization:
            NALHD’s vision is ambitious but the organization has limited budget and staff to support what needs to occur to realize that vision.  The activities listed above would significantly help NALHD facilitate effective local health department collaboration, program improvement, communication, and outreach.

Benefit of proposed activities to the student: 
            Students will work with and learn from NALHD members, who include the vast majority of the state’s health department directors.  Regardless of project specifics, when working with NALHD, students will gain professional experience in public health practice and public health consulting including communication skills, health literate strategies (a focus of NALHD’s current project work), policy development and implementation. A placement with NALHD will also provide direct access and networking opportunities with local health department directors. Such networks will be useful when seeking future employment opportunities in Nebraska, and elsewhere. Additionally, the bulk of NALHD’s work is done via distance (phone, GoToMeeting, Wiggio, and other online platforms).  Experience with distance collaboration will allow students to gain insight into the vast range of local health departments’ structures and services across the state and will prepare the students with skills to effectively collaborate and work remotely.  Given the distance-based nature of NALHD’s work, students will not be required to relocate nor to travel (though site visits will be encouraged, when feasible).

Skill sets of students requested, including possible MPH concentration desired:
            Students must have excellent time management skills and the ability to independently work and problem solve. The student will be expected to be experienced users of the Microsoft Office suite and other programs/applications needed for their given project (e.g. Survey Monkey, EpiInfo, etc.).  Student must have reliable use of their own computer, phone, and webcam for NALHD-related activities. Any MPH concentration could be considered, depending on the focus of the SL/CE project.


ALS in the Heartland 

Possible SL/CE opportunities at the ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in the Heartland, a non-profit resource of free services and support to ALS patients, their families and caregivers throughout all of Nebraska and western Iowa. (Possible applicable department/concentration in parenthesis)

  •  Patient, Family, Community Education (HPRO)
  • Respite Care Assistance (HSRA)
  • Equipment Loan Program (HSRA)
  • Telehealth (HSRA)
  • Support groups
  • Home Modifications (ENV)
  • Advocacy
  • Research (BIOS, EPI)
  • Data collection (BIOS, EPI)
  • Creating resources and materials
  • Grant writing
  • Talk with political reps about continuing funding and creating national registry (HPOL)

Center for Preparedness

  • Community Education on household preparedness
  • Resources for household notification procedures
  • Stock piling of supplies


  • Capstone projects could be focused on data analysis, data translation, programmatic issues, evaluation, or policy development.
  • The opportunities include working in
    • infant mortality
    • preconception health
    • life course
    • adolescent health
    • health equity / health disparities
    • racial/ethnic disparities
    • prevention of substance-exposed pregnancies
    • public health administration

Franciscan Care Ministries

  • Community Health Survey
    • Barriers Preventing residents from medical care
    • Taking prescriptions
    • Engaging in healthy behaviors
    • Do area employers plan on providing insurance, thoughts of health reform as it relates to business
    • Wellness at work programs with area employers

Girls INC

  • Inner-city adolescent girls ages 11-14 will conduct a 12-week CBPR project consisting of eight modules:
    • 1) Start Our Project (i.e., choose an advisory board);
    • 2) Decide Our Community’s Needs (using Photovoice);
    • 3) Decide What We Want To Change (i.e., use pictorial symbols to organize pictures taken and decide on a target topic);
    • 4) Plan Our Project (i.e., vote on a specific intervention);
    • 5) Do Our Project (i.e., implement a brief intervention);
    • 6) Evaluate Our Project (i.e., collect data and enter into the CTB workstation);
    • 7) Make Sure Our Project Continues (i.e., plan for sustainability and dissemination); and
    • 8) Celebrate Our Success (i.e., a dinner for participants, families, and board members; presentations by the girls at local/state conferences).

Health Promotion at UNMC: Worksite Health Promotion

  • Evaluate the current Wellstream health risk assessment offered through Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Improve participation in the annual Wellstream health risk assessment
  • Increasing physical activity levels (particularly while at the worksite)
  • Improving nutrition (particularly increasing consumption of fiber, fruits and vegetables and decreasing consumption of high fat foods)

Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless(MACCH)

  • Develop prescription tracking and retrieval for people experiencing homelessness. 
  • Create a better data system to help people who are homeless with health conditions.  
  • Screening and  assessment for all people who enter homelessness regardless of agency or program.

Nebraska AIDS Project

  • Anti-Stigma project
  • Capture the stories of NAP clients
  • Plan, organize, advertise and volunteer on NAP’s annual Goodwill Drive
  • Organize and prepare one nutritionally sound lunch on a Friday for NAP clients
  • Help administer a client satisfaction survey for NAP client services

Office of Health Disparities and Health Equity

The Office of Health Disparities and Health Equity is seeking students who are interested in exploring potential Service Learning/Capstone Experience projects. For more information please check their website  and the list of services from their office.

Office of Minority Health

  • Minority Health Data, Disparities and Inequities
    • Minority Heath Disparities Research and Funding in NE
    • Assessment and Improving of quality of life issues among immigrants and refugees in NE
    • Minority Populations in Sarpy County
    • Social Marketing in Douglas County
    • Community Outreach
    • Material Development

One World Community Center

  • Hypertension awareness
    • "Know your numbers" campaign
  • School Health Promotion

Preventative Prenatal Oral Health Initiative

  • Aim to institute a preventive dental program for pregnant women and to study its effectiveness over a period of time by comparing the oral health outcomes in their children.
  • The project will involve comparing oral health status of two groups of children: ones whose mother’s will receive information and training on oral health promotion and disease prevention strategies as a part of their prenatal care regimen and the controls will be the group whose mother’s will be receiving regular prenatal care and advice (as done at present)
  • Children will be followed from birth to until about 5 to 6 years of age, and the DMFT and dental treatment expenses will be compared.
  • The project will include collaborating with the medical center and dental department, developing the educational tools and materials, training pregnant women and dental follow up.

United Methodist Ministries

  • Baseline analysis of food security in rural Southeast Nebraska
  • Analysis of community capacity development is a way to improve health in both rural and urban settings
  • Evaluation/documentation of community gardens as catalysts for improved nutrition and healthier eating

Current Affiliation Agreements on File  


Contact SLA
Service-Learning Academy
University of Nebraska Medical Center
986075 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE  68198-6075


Ruth Margalit MD - Director
Phone: 402-559-7458,


Laura Vinson - SLA Coordinator
Phone: 402-559-4191

Cole Boyle
Phone: 402-552-7202