Professor, Health Sciences
- Current disciplinary research interests
My research over the past 20 plus years has primarily focused on adolescent public health behaviors – physical activity, nutrition, drug use and other risky behaviors. A fair amount of this research prior to my serving in the Dean’s office was with the Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) project. Since retiring from administrative work, I have developed an interest in sustainability and environmental health issues in addition to my continuing professional work in adolescent public health. My four current research projects (all with Furman students) involve are “A Twenty Year Epidemiological Analysis of Medical Issues in College Students,” “The Impact of an Alcohol Education Program on New Student Alcohol Usage,” as well as two environmentally focused projects including “Food Deserts in Greenville County” and “Food Literacy in College Students.” The latter project is funded by a Duke Endowment grant through the Shi Center and is a collaborative project with Carmel Price and other colleagues.
- Interest in connecting sustainability to research
After Frank Powell retired from the Health Sciences Department, I developed a campus based course entitled “Community and Environmental Health” (HSC 304), which is a version of the course that he and Veronica Yockey started for the HSC study abroad program in Chile. I have taught this course for 4 consecutive semesters since Spring 2011, and it has been fully enrolled each semester with Health Sciences and Sustainability Science majors. I have also developed a May Experience course entitled “Environmental Health Perspectives on Greenville County” which is a engaged learning based course where students learn about food systems, transportation systems, the water system, the local waste system and environmental justice issues. It was fully enrolled last May, and I plan to offer the course again this year. I also include a section on sustainable nutrition in my HSC 101, Wellness Concepts, course as well as a section on “Sustainability and the Olympics” in my first year seminar entitled “The Ancient and Modern Olympics.” My HSC 301, “Fundamentals of Public Health” course also includes a small section to introduce students to environmental health as a sub-discipline of public health.
I have developed further interests in environmental public health, and I am forging into new areas of research as I move into the second half of my professional career. I have found the topics of food deserts, food literacy and physical activity within different environmental settings to be exciting and engaging areas of professional development and research. I anticipate that a large portion of my professional activity will include these types of research topics as well as finding creative ways to combine with expertise in adolescent public health with sustainability issues.
For service, I am a regular volunteer at the Triune Mercy Center Garden which serves the Triune Soup Kitchen and families in need, and I also volunteer with a “gleaning” society that harvests local vegetables and fruits that farmers donate after their main growing season to help local agencies and ministries. My May Experience course helped with packaging 44,000 pounds of sweet potatoes that had been donated by a regional farmer.
- Sustainability courses taught
- HSC-101: Wellness Concepts
- HSC-151: Environmental Health Perspectives on Greenville County
- HSC-304: Community and Environmental Health