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Research Spotlight Q&A: Adhieu Arok, MPH Student

Adhieu Arok

Master of Public Health student Adhieu Arok will be presenting her project, “An Air Quality-Focused Intervention for Maintenance Workers to Improve Health among Nursing Home Residents,” at the Graduate Student Showcase.

Here’s what Adhieu had to say about her presentation:

What will you be presenting at the Graduate Research Showcase?

Wildfires are increasing in activity and elevated levels of smoke are impacting downwind communities. This is particularly impactful for vulnerable populations like long term care (LTC) residents. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are a primary mitigation tool for ensuring safe indoor air quality (IAQ). However, LTC facilities have staff with variable levels of training in HVAC maintenance and operation, particularly as it relates to wildfire smoke events. This research focuses on raising the baseline awareness of the importance of indoor air quality and ways that HVAC maintenance and operation can enhance long term care facility environments. This was achieved through various workshops that provided both quantitative and qualitative data.

What originally interested you in this research subject?

I am interested in the effects of indoor air pollution in developing countries. My interest stems from my personal experience as a refugee from Kakuma, Kenya. While living in Kakuma, I was exposed to pollution from firewood smoke from cooking. This led to smoke-induced health issues causing my family members and I to be sick. Also, living in western states such as Utah and Idaho, wildfire smoke has impacted the communities that I’ve reside in. I wanted to learn more about indoor air quality during wildfire season.

How did your faculty mentor help facilitate the success of your research?

I have worked under the supervision of toxicologist Luke Montrose who was an assistant professor at Boise State. He has guided me in learning more about air pollution and has provided me with leading roles to conduct this study.