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Public Health 2: Case Studies in Public Health Practice

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Research Librarian for the Health Sciences, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology, Public Health

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Hector R. Perez-Gilbe
He, Him, His
UC Irvine
Science Library
Room 232
Irvine, CA 92623
(949) 824-6957

Case Study

You will be writing a 1,250 word (4-5pp - without references) research paper about a public health problem, how to solve the problem and how to prevent the problem from reoccurring.  Hints for the successful completion of the research paper. 

  1. Choose topic - to be applied to the model of "The Process of Analysis for Public Health Cases" with six sections to your paper:
  • Gather background information
  • analyze the current situation
  • prioritize core issues
  • analyze alternatives provide recommendations
  • establish action plan
  • conclusions

       For ideas, consult your textbook, read the newspaper, listen to the national news, think of everything that has happened in recent weeks, including two hurricanes, a horrific tragedy in Las Vegas of a mass shooting, and just the public health issues related to any of those crises. 

      2.  Make sure that you have at least 6 sources, at least 4 from scholarly sources (peer reviewed) and all properly cited in APA   format. 

Directions for Case Studies

The Case Studies in your textbook are examples of public health episodes that can be scaled to local or regional issues.  For each one some examples of resources will be specified that you can consult to build your research strategy - you may want to begin with the standard public health reference works CAB Direct and the CDC or Medline Plus.  You may also want to consider how you will use the case study in your text to contextualize your topic - and extend the issues to a different geography or consideration.  You may also want to extract one or two specific aspects and explore those for your topic.  Remember the Who, Where, What, When and Why and think of the theoretical aspects - the disciplines, domains and data. 

News Sources will be very helpful in all media as they related news about the issue and the effect on the local population.  Remember that some of the issues are political and have consequences that you may not even realize and you may need to investigate more about what happened at that date whenever the incident took place.  You may want to do some general searching in A&I databases such as Scopus, Web of Science, Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar; an almanac, the NexiUni database under News or sources listed at Access World News - just restrict your search to the information or media product you want and set the dates you need to cover because each database has different default dates. 

Some hints follow for each topic:

  1. CDC and the Mantookan Blood Supply - you may want to extend the subject search to blood contamination as finding this example may be challenging;
  2. AIDS CAP Nepal - look for AIDS prevention and treatment in Nepal covered in books and international agency reports
  3. Indiana State Dept of Health - take the issues that were at stake here and extend to something more widespread or examine CA's Health Dept
  4. Cooper Green Hospital & the Community Care Plan - same thing here
  5. Intermark - Designing Unicef's Oral Rehydration Program in Zambia - rehydration is a major theme now - the PubMed, CINAHL Complete, and CAB Direct databases will cover this widely
  6. New York State West Nile Virus Outbreak - Nassau County's Response - choose the issue - West Nile Virus is covered extensively in the PubMed, CINAHL Complete, and CAB Direct databases - you may want to start with Medline Plus
  7. Indian Health Service:  Creating a Climate for change
  8. 3 Vexing Cases in Health Care Ethics - any of these issues are covered extensively in both the book and journal literature
  9. DeKalb County Board of Health
  10. Red Tide & Red Ink in Escambia County, FL - there was extensive coverage of this in the newspapers and media - check CDC and PubMed
  11. The New Mexico Meningococcal Outbreak - what makes this situation unique to this specific location & environment
  12. CW Williams Community Health Center
  13. Building for Future of Public Health in Alabama
  14. Possible Bioterrorism in New Hampshire - this is a speculative issue and you may want to investigate just one aspect -  of why NH or some form of bioterrorism such as anthrax, etc
  15. iDespierta! A Physician's Stark Encounter with Grim Human Toll of a Preventable Public Health Problem - PubMed

Complying with APA Style Manual

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)  was released in July 2009. The following links support  the sixth edition of the manual.  It is available at the Reference Desks at all UCI Libraries at BF76.7 .P83 2010 You will want to make sure that you include examples of works cited and in-text citations.

Locate an available doi here! A doi is a set of numbers (sometimes letters, too) that helps you locate specific texts or objects. Anything can have a doi, but dois are often used to identify articles.


Bibliographic Management Software

BIBLIOGRAPHIC MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE - allows you to discover, find, manage, recall and apply the citations you retrieve from all formats of work - journal articles, book chapters, edited volumes, standards, specifications, patents, conference papers & proceedings, lectures, etc. Only the usual wordprocessing languages is supported by these software packages.  For additional information, please visit the Bibliographic Management Software page.  A comparison of all kinds of different products are noted at