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A case study of the use of a special interest group to enhance interest in public health among undergraduate health science students

Overview of attention for article published in Public Health Reviews, May 2018
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (78th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
3 tweeters


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20 Mendeley
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A case study of the use of a special interest group to enhance interest in public health among undergraduate health science students
Published in
Public Health Reviews, May 2018
DOI 10.1186/s40985-018-0089-4
Pubmed ID

Arauna Louw, Astrid Turner, Liz Wolvaardt


Education and training of undergraduate health science students in public health are insufficient in many parts of the world. This lack is a risk as early interest in specialist training options is a predictor of future training choices. A special interest group (SIG) is one mechanism to engage students, increase awareness and generate interest in public health. The purpose of this case study was to create and study such a group at an African university. An action research study design was used to create and study the SIG. All interested students were invited to participate in the SIG and in the data collection procedures. Data were collected via paper-based and online questionnaires. Records of activities were documented, and a reflective diary was kept by the researcher. Seven SIG meetings were held which were less than planned-some sessions were cancelled due to general student unrest. The composition of the SIG fluctuated, but the core group of 16 students consisted of 12 females (75%) and 4 males (25%). Despite faculty-wide marketing, all the participants were medical students. The most successful marketing strategy was done by two lecturers. A total of 12 participants' motivation (75%) was to learn more about public health. Despite the range of participants being over 4-year groups with varying schedules and commitments, a convenient day and meeting time were identified. The social capital of lecturers was harnessed to invite external guest lecturers as planned field trips proved impractical. At the mid-year point, six students (38%) thought that they would consider public health as a career choice. A decision was made to recruit new members via a seminar, and 37 possible new members were identified in the process. A SIG appears to be an effective strategy to increase public health interest among students. This finding is key in settings with particular health workforce shortages and high burdens of disease. A foundation phase with high levels of academic support by those already qualified is needed to allow student leadership to emerge. Despite the modified and reduced number of sessions, the SIG was still successful in increasing awareness about public health and possible career choices: both positive consequences of engaging with students within a SIG.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 20 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 20 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 4 20%
Other 4 20%
Student > Doctoral Student 3 15%
Researcher 2 10%
Student > Bachelor 2 10%
Other 1 5%
Unknown 4 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 6 30%
Computer Science 1 5%
Nursing and Health Professions 1 5%
Business, Management and Accounting 1 5%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 1 5%
Other 3 15%
Unknown 7 35%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 9. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 03 May 2018.
All research outputs
of 12,888,056 outputs
Outputs from Public Health Reviews
of 134 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 269,061 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Public Health Reviews
of 4 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,888,056 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 86th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 134 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 15.4. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 59% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 269,061 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 78% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 4 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one.