Master of Public Health student Andrea Hill received funding from the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice to support the faculty-student collaborative project, “City of Cascade and Valley County Age-Friendliness Assessment.” Hill and Master of Public Health student Kyle Peterson recently published a report on their findings.
A registered dietician and nutritionist for more than 20 years, food had always been Hill’s focus. However, she wanted to push herself to consider different perspectives and health-related issues.
“I wanted to think about other factors that influence health and consider a wide variety of populations,” Hill said. “I had not done work with the aging population, nor had I assessed an entire county, so this seemed like a great opportunity to challenge myself and gain new insights and skills.”
Hill said she was interested in exploring how public health professionals can better meet the health needs of those who live in Idaho’s more rural areas. This interest led her to working in the Cascade and Valley counties.
Being that Valley County is designated as a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) and a Health Professional Shortage Area (HSPA) by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the area provided for Hill to explore elements of livability that promote or challenge the ability of older people to age safely and independently.
Public Health and Population Science Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Aging Sarah Toevs mentored Hill throughout her research.
I was incredibly fortunate to work with Dr. Toevs,” Hill said. “She was a compassionate, flexible, insightful and encouraging mentor who gave me a lot of liberty to conduct this assessment, build relationships and deliver our findings.”