VIVA Connects and the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center is happy to announce the outstanding achievement awarded to one of our summer interns–Tavia Chuyate, a proud member of the Zuni Tribe, was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Poster Presentation certificate for the Undergraduate Pipeline Network for Summer Research Experience!

Her research project, Addressing Health Disparities in Rural Communities: Increasing Physical Activity Through Social Support investigated the interplay between social support for physical activity and the physical activity levels of community members in rural New Mexico. Utilizing quantitative data from the VIVA 2 General Survey and qualitative data from interviews with community members, Tavia concluded that, by developing social networks, residents became more engaged to use local walking trails, increasing physical activity levels.

Part of the CURE Program through the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, Tavia joined VIVA Connects to gain academic research experience over her summer break. She is currently a senior at the Santa Fe Indian School for the 2019-2020 school year.During her time with VIVA Connects, Tavia also assisted in performing community health assessments utilizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Guide, a set of evidence-based recommendations for improving the health-environment of local settings. Additionally, Tavia provided technical assistance on community projects, particularly with respect to enhancing physical activity opportunities in rural New Mexico.

Motivated by the disparities she’s seen in her own community, Tavia plans on pursuing a degree in either nutrition or agriculture science with the goal of improving child and young adult health outcomes. Ultimately, Tavia wishes to return to Zuni, New Mexico to give back to her own community.