Educator’s case study published by University at Buffalo
SCRANTON, Pa. – A Lackawanna College educator’s case study on whooping cough can now be used in classrooms across the globe.
“Return of the Whoop! The Resurgence of Pertussis” by Lynn B. DeSanto MT, ASCP, MS, was published March 28 by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University at Buffalo. DeSanto is an Assistant Professor and Science Laboratory Manager at Lackawanna.
“In my quest to improve learning at our school, I was doing some Internet research and I happened onto the website for the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University at Buffalo. I started using some of their case studies to teach my students,” she explained. “I was a medical microbiologist before I came here, so this is something I really like.”
In May 2013, DeSanto was invited to attend a workshop at the University at Buffalo.
“Little did I know when I landed that day that you were required by the end to do your own case study,” she said.
Instructors were encouraged to build a case study to answer a lingering question or address an ongoing problem. DeSanto’s attention was drawn to the resurgence of whooping cough and the story of Pearl Kendrick, a survivor of the disease who later developed the first vaccine to battle pertussis in 1943.
DeSanto submitted her initial study in October 2013 after a very time- and research-intensive process that included the development of outlines, teaching notes, and other materials. Following a peer review, she resubmitted the study in early 2014 and was informed that it was accepted by the University at Buffalo in early March. The study is available online at sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu.
Now, “Return of the Whoop!” can be used by educators along with other case studies in order to make sometimes complex scientific ideas more relatable for students.
“It makes the organisms that you study in a textbook come to life,” she said.
As for the lingering question about the uptick in pertussis cases, DeSanto said the problem has many facets including an under-immunized population and differences in long-term efficacy between using a whole-cell pertussis vaccine like the one developed by Kendrick versus the currently common acellular DTaP (diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis) vaccine.
A later-negated study linking vaccinations to the rising number of children living with the autism spectrum disorder has also made some fearful of vaccinating their children.
“I think that memory is still pretty active,” DeSanto said. “That fear has stayed.”
DeSanto joined Lackawanna College in 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Marywood University and a master’s degree in biochemistry from The University of Scranton. She and her husband, Jerome, live in Glenburn Township. They have four children.