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Distinguished Thesis Spotlight: Ashtin Glodt

Ashtin Glodt Headshot

Boise State University alumna Ashtin Glodt was recently awarded the 2022-2023 Boise State University Distinguished Thesis in the STEM Disciplines for her thesis “Normalization of Virtual Home Visiting in Idaho.”

Glodt’s thesis was chosen by the selection committee for its originality and creativity and will be submitted as the Boise State University nominee to the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) Distinguished Thesis award competition.

Learn more about Ashtin below!


Master of Public Health Program with an emphasis in Systems Analysis and Innovation, Graduated 2022

What have you pursued since graduation?

I have worked for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) at the Department of Health and Welfare and the Pharmacy Engagement Program at Regence.

I am especially interested in creating more robust programming and improving access to services for young children and people with disabilities. I am also looking forward to presenting my thesis at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in November.

What was the foundation of your thesis?

Home visiting pairs pregnant women and parents of young children with a parent educator who visits families’ homes to provide resources and education to create safe homes, cope with stress, and apply positive parenting skills. In spring 2020, due to COVID-19, home visitors stopped visiting families in person and connected with them virtually. The purpose of my study was to evaluate how “normal” virtual home visiting became in Idaho.

The Normalization Process Theory framework informed the measurement of “normalization” via an online survey using a scale from 0 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree). The higher a participant scores each question, the more “normal” a practice has become.

According to this study, virtual home visiting has become “normal” in Idaho home visitors:

  • Work with families to embed virtual practices.
  • Understand the purpose of and their role in maintaining and carrying out virtual visits.
  • Find planning, leading, and wrapping up virtual visits to be like in-person visits.
  • Accept the use of virtual technology as a resource and understand appropriate time for use.
  • Know which strategies work, how to improve, and resources and support needed.
  • Believe virtual visits are valuable and want to continue them.
  • Believe the spirit and standards of home visiting were accomplished virtually.
  • Adapt to virtual visits and believe they support the health outcomes of families.
  • Believe families should have autonomy to choose how they receive services.

To be successful with continued virtual home visiting, the “system” needs to advance high quality research, incentives for implementing best practices, and professional development that facilitate virtual practices.

A circle graph. The center of the circle reads "System recommendations to advance virtual home visiting." The circle around the center image reads, clockwise: "Need 1: Establish evidence for virtual practice (as has been done for in person visits). Need 2: Home visitng models require evidence-based virtual practices & professional development. Need 3: Funders should incetivize programs to participate in research and utilize evidence-based virtual practices. Engagement: Senior leader should connect with home visitors to learn about their work and align internal policies for best practices. Engagement: Home visiting teams should decide how to utilize virtual practices sharing ideas for improvement. Important: Families should have the autonomy to choose how they receive services."

What originally interested you in this research topic?

While I was working for the Idaho MIECHV Program, I witnessed home visitors resiliently take on the challenge of providing services to families with complex needs during an unprecedented pandemic. It completely changed the field as home visitors exclusively visited families in person before COVID-19. I was interested in evaluating the sustainability of virtual practices within the home visiting field once they were no longer required by social distancing policies. Would home visitors still use virtual practices? What did they learn from serving families virtually during COVID-19? What do home visitors need to sustain virtual practices?

I also genuinely love home visiting. The home visitors have huge hearts and care deeply for the families they serve. Home visiting is a life-changing experience for families. Imagine how amazing it would be to have a personal nurse, developmental specialist, etc. come to your home and help you become the best parent you can be, especially if you are a brand new parent. I wish every parent could have their own home visitor.

What did you enjoy most about being an SPPH student?

I enjoyed the duality of having a career in public health and being in the Master of Public Health program.

I was able to draw from my skills during class and directly apply my education to my daily work, which was very engaging. I also appreciated my professors’ time and attention. They are incredible mentors who go out of their way to help MPH students succeed.