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Arnold School of Public Health

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Staff Spotlight: Briana Davis

May 9, 2024 | Erin Bluvas,

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Briana Davis moved south to attend graduate school and never left. It was 1997, and she was drawn to the Arnold School’s Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Education program to make an impact on health at the population level.

After graduating, Davis spent eight years at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. First, she worked as a health educator in Greenville County and then moved back to the capital city to serve as a program coordinator for the Office of Minority Health.

“Working as the partnership and communications coordinator for the Office of Minority Health at DHEC prepared me to develop mutually beneficial community relationships, work with media contacts and identify community needs,” Davis says. “These experiences laid the foundation for my successive roles in addressing health disparities in public health.”

She uses all of these skills in her current role with the Behavioral Research in Eating (BRIE) Lab, which is led by health promotion, education and behavior professor Brie Turner-McGrievy. Prior to joining the lab in 2021, Davis worked in a variety of positions at USC, including the Cancer Prevention and Control Program where she also lent her talents as a consultant to a weight-loss intervention in partnership with Meharry Medical College. As a program manager for the Medical University of South Carolina, she also led a statewide diabetes initiative to help those living with and related to African-Americans with type 2 diabetes.

The Arnold School has been a very welcoming environment, and our BRIE Lab team is always willing to help when needed. This has led to an increased level of comfort and confidence to accomplish my work goals.

Briana Davis
Briana Davis

Often serving as a project manager for health-related research projects, the recurring theme of her career has been addressing health disparities in chronic conditions, such as obesity, cancer and diabetes. In addition to working with the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, her Arnold School homes have included the South Carolina SmartState Technology Center to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (Department of Exercise Science) and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

At the BRIE Lab, Davis serves as the recruitment and retention coordinator for all projects and as assistant project manager for the DG3D Study. Leveraging emerging technology, the lab helps people eat healthier, lose weight and prevent chronic disease. Much of this work focuses on underserved populations to address health disparities – a perfect fit for Davis’s background.

In her roles, she identifies local events, contacts and groups to help the lab reach their targeted participants. She also plans media campaigns, manages communications for each study and implements evidence-based recruitment strategies. For the DG3D Study, Davis maintains contact and conducts outreach activities with participants, providing them with support and guidance. She also schedules individual coaching sessions and identifies culturally-appropriate healthy lifestyle resources for African-American volunteer research participants.

She loves interacting with applicants and participants, sharing success strategies and knowing that she can encourage someone to lead a healthier lifestyle. The birds-eye view of Colonial Life Arena’s graduation and sporting events afforded by her office in the Discovery building is another perk – as is the diverse community found in Columbia.

“The Arnold School has been a very welcoming environment, and our BRIE Lab team is always willing to help when needed,” Davis says. “This has led to an increased level of comfort and confidence to accomplish my work goals.”

"Briana's contributions to our group are invaluable, showcasing a remarkable blend of talent and experience," says Turner-McGrievy. "Her skill set is truly distinctive, ranging from her adeptness in navigating local recruitment avenues to her extensive background in public health. Moreover, her work with the community is always approached with compassion and empathy."

The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Access and Collective Engagement.


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