USF College of Public Health PhD candidate Krys Johnson presented at the 2018 Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference from June 10-14 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The CSTE Annual Conference connected more than 1,500 public health epidemiologists from across the country. Attendees shared their expertise in surveillance and epidemiology as well as best practices in a broad range of areas including informatics, infectious diseases, immunizations, environmental health, occupational health, chronic disease, injury control, and maternal and child health.
“It is an excellent opportunity to meet people who have successfully implemented disease limiting measures and to learn from how other state and local health departments gain and share data and respond to diseases,” Johnson said.
The conference included workshops, plenary sessions with leaders in the field of public health, oral breakout sessions, round-table discussions, poster presentations and networking opportunities.
Johnson’s presentation titled, “Numbers Never Lie, but Do They Tell the Whole Story?: Qualitative Analyses to Inform Epidemiological Research”, highlighted the importance of collecting qualitative data in addition to quantitative data to better understand how to reduce the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases.
“I grew up in an area of significant health disadvantage so I know there are underlying factors which prevent people from participating in healthy behaviors,” she said. “People do, in general, want to be healthy. It is our job as public health practitioners to understand the barriers to health in communities experiencing poor health outcomes to design effective programs and sustainable opportunities which facilitate a culture of wellness.”
Johnson hopes that her research will encourage those who currently only use quantitative data to seek out qualitative data in the communities where they work to ensure that the quantitative data accurately represents the needs of their target community.
“It was truly an honor to present and to be given one of the longer presentation sessions. I was quite nervous, but it went well and was well-received by the audience,” she said. “I answered a couple of questions regarding qualitative methods and I hope those questions indicate an interest in utilizing qualitative methods more frequently nationwide.”
Through this experience Johnson learned that it was important to have a presentation that stands out, but also demonstrates the rigor of the methods and validity of her findings.
“I would absolutely present again! It was a wonderful experience and an excellent opportunity to network with those conducting similar research,” Johnson said.
Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health