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Community Health Department Investigation

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Community Health Department Investigation
Kaplan University


August 16th, 2011

I was contacted by the Director of the Community Health Department with concern about band student absences at Truman and Jackson Middle Schools. I have established that a potential health problem exists at Truman and Jackson Middle Schools and is conducting further investigation.
On viewing the data, I noticed the absences from seventh grade classes’ show highest at Kennedy Middle School followed by a decreasing trend of absences in Jackson, Truman, and Roosevelt middle schools, respectively. The data for all other classes, Art Band, and PE were compared between the four schools. Across all schools, there are common peaks in absence for PE between May18th and May 25th, however, these peaks appear to be minimal at around 10%. There is no noticeable trend in art absences between the four schools.
Band absences at Truman and Jackson Middle schools on May 20th show a 33% and 25% absence rate, respectively. Based on these observations, the overall absence rates are attributed to Band students at Truman and Jackson Middle schools.
I came up with two testable hypotheses as to what I think is behind the absences.
Based on the letter from the Principle from Truman Middle School, she stated last year her School had a widespread outbreak of the flu.

Hypothesis: If the symptoms and events of the health issue is similar to the last flu outbreak, then the students may have contracted and spread the flu. The second hypothesis based on the Information from the Health Department Inspections which show that “Take Your Chances Diner” and “Delicious” restaurants had violations for sanitation, food storage, and food preparation.
Hypothesis: If children from the band classes ate at unsanitary Dinner, then they may have contracted food poising.
Six testable questions that can be asked to further help the investigation are: 1. Are Truman and Jackson Schools in close proximity to each other? 2. Was there extended contact between band students at Truman and Jackson? 3. Did either the “Take Your Chances Diner” or “Delicious” restaurant provide food for the Battle of the Bands event? 4. Did any band students from Roosevelt or Kennedy Middle School attend the battle of the bands between Truman and Jackson Middle Schools? 5. Did band students from Roosevelt and Kennedy report similar symptoms as those experienced by students at Truman and Jackson? 6. Were the reported illnesses confined to band students who played a common instrument?

Suitable Hypothesis
"The Brentwood Indians basketball team lost the state championship because there is bad stuff in the stars happening with Mars in Aquarius" is not a suitable hypothesis because it is not testable. A hypothesis is a tentative statement that proposes a possible explanation to some phenomenon or event, it should be testable. There is no way to test or to quantify what "bad stuff" is. "Stars happening with Mars in Aquarius" is not a clearly stated variable or process which is believed to cause the observed phenomenon. This statement is neither clear, nor logical, and therefore is not a suitable hypothesis.

1. Come up with two testable, clear hypotheses about what you think is behind the absences. Be sure to base your hypotheses on the evidence you have obtained (e.g., Health Department Restaurant Inspections) and be thorough in your explanation of who, what, why, when, and how to support your hypotheses.
My two hypotheses on what may have been behind the absences are based on the letter from the Principal of Truman Middle School; she mentioned that last year they had a widespread outbreak of the flu.

flu outbreak may be the cause of the absences. had a widespread outbreak of the flu


The first hypothesis is that students' absences from Truman and Jackson

3) Come up with six testable questions that you could ask to help further your investigation and support or disprove your hypotheses.

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