College of Public Health announces new faculty research award recipients

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College of Public Health announces new faculty research award recipients

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Research projects will focus on flu transmission and use of emergency departments.

Two University of Iowa faculty members have been awarded 2014 College of Public Health New Faculty Research Awards. The awards assist newly appointed faculty in the college to advance their research careers.

The recipients are Matthew Nonnenmann, assistant professor of occupational and environmental health, and Dan Shane, assistant professor of health management and policy. Each recipient’s pilot project will be funded for one year by the College of Public Health in the amount of $10,000.

“We’re very pleased to present these awards for two very strong exploratory research projects,” says Corinne Peek-Asa, associate dean for research in the College of Public Health. “Their innovative projects will help increase our understanding of flu transmission and health care delivery, both important and timely public health topics.”

Matthew Nonnenmann
Matthew Nonnenmann

Nonnenmann’s project will investigate “Personal Exposure to Aerosolized Influenza Virus among Health Care Providers.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of influenza transmission results when people inhale airborne virus particles expelled by flu-infected individuals. This project will measure area concentrations of, and health care providers’ personal exposure to, aerosolized influenza in patient care settings. The researchers will use two different aerosol samplers to assess exposure and to determine which sampler is more effective in detecting the influenza virus.

The information gathered will be used to inform future research projects that provide a detailed assessment of exposure to influenza aerosols, the effectiveness of recommended influenza exposure control strategies, and evaluation of the “best infection control practices” to reduce exposure to health care providers and vulnerable patient populations.

Dan Shane
Dan Shane

Shane’s research will look at “Temporary Disruptions in Health Insurance and Emergency Department Utilization.” This project will investigate the impact of temporary gaps in health insurance coverage (such as following a job loss) on individuals’ visits to hospital emergency departments. The researchers will examine whether temporary disruptions result in differing patterns of emergency department utilization as compared to continuously uninsured individuals and continuously insured individuals. The investigators will also classify emergency department contacts into emergency and nonemergency visits to further characterize the effect of temporary versus continuous lack of health insurance coverage.

Findings from the pilot study will inform future studies that evaluate whether temporary gaps in insurance are more relevant in certain geographic areas and whether other measures of utilization, such as inpatient stays, are equally affected.

The award recipients' proposed research projects were chosen on the basis of scientific merit; relevance to the College of Public Health mission, strategic plan and goals; and probability of attracting subsequent extramural research funding.


Debra Venzke, College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 319-335-9647


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