Equipping & Empowering Celiac Disease Support Group Leaders
Emerson College/Tufts University Health Communication Master’s Degree Thesis
My graduate degree thesis was a project I created with Beyond Celiac, a nonprofit in Philadelphia focused on awareness, advocacy, and education. One of Beyond Celiac’s initiatives is to reduce the time it takes to get a celiac disease diagnosis. Family members of people with celiac disease are at a higher risk of having the disease themselves. Therefore, the focus of this project was to increase family conversations about celiac disease testing. Trained community members are known to be effective at delivering health messages, so I used a similar approach for this project to train celiac disease support group leaders to teach Beyond Celiac’s research-backed conversational approach.
I conducted a research study, analyzed the data and drew conclusions about the target group. I also made recommendations for the creation of a “train-the-trainer” toolkit, and produced sample materials. The project design book contains details of the entire project, including literature and environmental research.
I am grateful to Claire Baker of Beyond Celiac, with whom I worked closely to craft and complete this project, and to Dr. Angela Cooke-Jackson for her guidance through my final semester.