Margaret Willis

Project title: Exploring Clinician Training on Pesticides and Child Health and Developing Curriculum Aimed at Enhancing Self-Efficacy

Degree: MPH | Program: Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) | Project type: Project
Completed in: 2015 | Faculty advisor: Catherine Karr


Research shows that few clinicians receive training on pesticides and child health.  Clinicians report low levels of confidence, or self-efficacy, in addressing pesticides compared to other environmental exposures. In 2006, the Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit and the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center published an online education module for clinicians on organophosphate pesticides and child health, to address this gap. Since its publication, new evidence is available on the health effects of organophosphate pesticides, and on changes in patterns of pesticide use that make exposure to pyrethroid and other pesticide classes more common. The objectives of this project were to: revise the 2006 module to reflect the latest scientific evidence on organophosphates; expand the content to include carbamate and pyrethroid pesticide classes; and, develop a tool to measure its effectiveness at increasing clinician knowledge and ratings of self-efficacy.  First, a need for the project was evaluated through an informal survey of clinicians attending in person trainings on pesticides and child health.  The survey supported the need, with over 50% of participants reporting no previous training and 82% stating they would be interested in completing an online module for continuing education credit on the topic.  A literature review was done using PubMed to update existing content and develop new content on carbamate and pyrethroid exposures.  An expert reviewed the content and revisions were made.  A pre and posttest were created to evaluate the effectiveness of the online module in increasing clinician knowledge and ratings of self-efficacy.  Next steps should include: programming the content into an online module; testing the module on a small group of clinicians and making adjustments based on feedback; obtaining certification for continuing education credits and making the module available at no charge online; and, continued evaluation of effectiveness through pre and post testing.