Community and individual well-being are nested concepts that are inextricably linked and these are the issues that I study within the rural and isolated population of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. My interests are driven by the well-being coalition that I direct in that area, with specific work groups focused on: obesity prevention, trauma (including adverse childhood experiences) and resilience, diversity-equity-inclusion, poverty, livable communities, birth outcomes, food insecurity, life long wellness, and education. I study these issues along with the collective impact approach on community level improvement.
For the past twenty years I have served as a community health practitioner, teacher, consultant and researcher at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where I also serve on the Admissions Committee. I currently serve as a governor-appointed member of the Health Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Health Disparities and Health Equity. I am the Vice Chair of the statewide Prevention Connections Board of Directors, and serve on the YMCA Camp Silver Beach Board of Directors.
Practice. My community health practice is on the Eastern Shore of Virginia where I serve as Executive Director for Eastern Shore Healthy Communities, a collective impact organization. This partnership of Eastern Shore leaders shares a common vision of creating improved health, well-being and self-sufficiency; is mission-driven; and employs 3-year strategies to direct its work. An Executive Committee comprised of the top leaders of the Eastern Shore's top organizations, provides leadership for eight work groups. These Work Groups focus on: Better Birth Outcomes, Diversity-Equity-& Inclusion, Food Access & Equity, Life Long Wellness, Livable Communities, and Resilient & Trauma-Informed Communities. This ten-year old organization is comprised of 45 organizations and 100 individuals.
Teaching. The first twenty years of my professional career was spent in advertising, public relations, public affairs and marketing. Social Marketing was the focal point of my doctoral studies and provided a smooth mid-career shift to academia. I teach social marketing and all the strategies that contribute to a complete social marketing effort. This includes focus group research which I teach in small groups throughout the EVMS campus and beyond. This effort has branched out to also instructing small group facilitation and formal dialogue training. I have also provided lectures on all issues related to Eastern Shore Healthy Communities focus areas including social determinants of health, poverty and ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed)-a United Way term for those who do not fall under the poverty line but struggle to make ends meet; and trauma and resiliency, among others.
Consulting. My consulting practice has focused on developing and sustaining coalitions, as well as creating accountable communities (beyond the concept of "accountable care communities"). I have consulted with the Virginia Department of Health, the statewide Asthma Action Coalition, the statewide Cancer Coalition, and a collection of coalitions located in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. I also helped the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) develop its collective impact organization.
Research. Trained in both quantitative and qualitative methods, I prefer mixed methods research for the greater perspective it provides. I have conducted community-based participatory research on the Eastern Shore of Virginia related to social determinants of health, and helped to develop and measure youth body mass index also on the Eastern Shore. Other recent research has included investigations of the impact of the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 and Step 2 exams on medical student study habits.
Administrative Responsibilities. I have served on Eastern Virginia Medical School's admissions committee for medical students for many years. Additionally, I have chaired several faculty search committees and led several strategic planning efforts for my Division of Community Health and Research.
Education. I received a Bachelor's of Arts degree, with an English Literature major and Education minor at Gordon College in Wenham, MA; a Masters of Education degree with an emphasis in curriculum design from the University of Virginia; and am ABD in Health Services Research at Old Dominion University.
2012-2013- Fellow, National Leadership Academy for the Public's Health 2010- Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society 1986- Silver Medal Addy, Advertising Federation of Greater Hampton Roads and Tidewater Society of Communicating Arts