141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Connecting the past and the present: Historical and environmental awareness of the community of baxterville, Mississippi

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Cathy Hughes, DNP, MSN, RN , College of Nursing, University of Southern MIssissippi, Hattiesburg, MS
Background and Issues: Both the historical background and environmental assessment and concerns are important aspects of a community assessment. In Baxterville, Mississippi in 1964 and 1966 a series of nuclear detonations in underground salt domes were completed, first with Project Salmon followed by Project Sterling. Exploring the history of the area, information on past nuclear bomb detonations in the local salt domes, the past concerns of the local residents, and the present use and description of the land are explored as a part of community assessment. Description: PHN undergraduate students and other interdisciplinary groups tour the area for discovery of the past events and the connections to present day populations. Local residents are interviewed and surveyed as a part of the community assessment including the awareness of past area events and any current and future health concerns. The Public Health Nursing students include this information of these historical events and the present environmental surveillance in the community assessment. Lessons Learned: For many undergraduate PHN students, “historical” findings may only be those occurring in the last twenty years. It is important to raise awareness and guide students to ask the other questions in interviews and research the literature for important changes in the community over time. Recommendations: It is vital that present PHN students, nurses, and other health care providers be aware of past local historical significance and environmental events which may have physical and psychological impact on individuals, families, populations, and the communities in the impact area.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe the historical and environmental events in Baxterville, MS, the site of nuclear detonations in 1964 and 1966. Discuss aspects of these events in the context of a community assessment completed by public health nursing students.

Keywords: History, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The Project Salmon site has been open to scheduled public visits for approximately three semesters. I have been one of the Public Health Nursing faculty with undergraduate PHN students allowed to visit and tour this historic nuclear detonator site and view the environment of the surrounding property. Review of historical background is completed prior to the environmental survey.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.