Public health researcher seeks large-scale cross-campus collaboration
By Page Ivey, email@example.com, 803-777-3085
Public Health professor Katrina Walsmann’s plan for a new research center at the University of South Carolina is all about collaboration. In fact, creating an umbrella for a variety of disciplines to study health, inequalities and the population is the goal.
“We have feminist theorists, religion scholars, life course and aging researchers and scholars interested in the social determinants of health,” Walsmann says of the diversity of research being done by the Carolina Consortium on Health, Inequalities and Populations. “This is the largest collaboration I have led.”
A professor and researcher in health promotion, education and behavior, Walsmann comes from a collaborative background. She worked at the University of Michigan as a post-doctoral researcher in the Michigan Population Studies Center. “That was my impetus for trying to do this,” she says. “It’s a collaborative space and people work well together. And there is great work being done there. I wanted to re-create that here.”
“We really want to become a hub for research on health inequalities and populations in the Southeast and to provide mentoring and training to graduate students to pursue these lines of study in their careers.”
Emily Mann, assistant professor of health promotion, education and behavior
The research, which earned an ASPIRE II grant, looks at race-based inequalities and how those affect health and a variety of societal issues.
One project, for example, looks at the effect of discrimination, racism and xenophobia on mental health.
“We are investigating how the mental burden of different types of discrimination varies at the intersection of race/ethnicity and nativity,” says social work professor Bongki Woo. “By attending to how race/ethnicity and nativity intersect to shape people’s experiences with, and responses to, discrimination, this study can inform the development of comprehensive measures of discrimination and coping responses among diverse populations.”
Another researcher, assistant professor of health promotion, education and behavior Emily Mann, says the consortium provides her a ready-made team of collaborators who understand the core issues of health and inequalities.
“We come together regularly for talks and to get feedback. It’s a way for us to share our work and build community,” Mann says. “The intellectual space and support is very valuable.”
Mann, who also has an appointment in the Women’s and Gender Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences, focuses on reproductive health and how access to care affects the reproductive choices people make.
“We are all basically social and health scientists,” she says. “We really want to become a hub for research on health inequalities and populations in the Southeast and to provide mentoring and training to graduate students to pursue these lines of study in their careers.”
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