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Department of Public Health Sciences

Research

Our department is unique among our peers in that our faculty members embrace a vision of improving health services delivery and health through a team-science approach in integrating our research, education, and service. While each faculty member has developed as an independent investigator, we believe that multidisciplinary collaboration is the optimal path toward truly making a difference in solving health-related real world challenges. To that end, we have structured our research enterprise into functional teams that join forces, often with Clemson University and external partners, to address challenges facing South Carolina, the nation, and the globe:

Health promotion & behavior  

Our health promotion and behavior team conducts needs assessments, develops, delivers and evaluates interventions in community-based (including schools) and healthcare settings. Our priority populations include the entire lifespan from maternal and child health to older adult health.  Our methods include community-based participatory research, health coaching by both community lay leaders and healthcare providers, structural interventions and ecological models for improving health. Our projects have been designed to influence healthy choices in neighborhood and communities. Our researchers have interest and expertise in addressing health disparities and chronic illness.

Epidemiology and outcomes research

Our epidemiology and outcomes research team conducts both clinical and population studies on chronic disease epidemiology (e.g. obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases), nutritional epidemiology, and health disparities. We design and deliver studies to identify risk/beneficial factors for disease etiology and to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of novel treatments and interventions. Our priority population includes women, children and mid-aged adults. Our methods include survival analysis, longitudinal analysis, survey analysis, systematic review and meta-analysis.

Public health informatics  

Our public health informatics team applies biomedical informatics principles to research that often begins in the clinical environment and transcends into families, communities and beyond. Our current projects focus on mobile health solutions to improve patient self-managing of their type-2 diabetes and enhancing the quality of life of asthmatics. We have also begun development of the next generation of clinical decision support aimed at enhancing medical imaging decision making.  

Health Policy and health services research

Our health policy and health services research team engages in research that is policy-relevant at the state and national levels with the aim of improving health services, health outcomes, and population health. We use large datasets and cutting-edge research methodologies including simulation models and geospatial analyses to shed light on a variety of health and health care issues: obesity and built environment; tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug control policies; economic analysis/cost-effectiveness of health-related behaviors; aging; access to health care of the uninsured; community health care; and medical education.  

Global health

Our global health team is addressing key health-related challenges and opportunities in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Our focus areas include infectious disease prevention, hypertension, women’s health, health insurance reform, healthcare workforce and substance abuse. The skills and expertise among our faculty are applied to the comparative research worldwide and to assist policy makers and health practitioners in their decision making process. The collaboration across countries will be progressed to more research initiatives and education exchanges.        

Evaluation

Our evaluation team works with large and small health-related programs across South Carolina. The team places emphasis on effectiveness research and has expertise in formative, process and summative levels of evaluation, mixed method designs, sampling, instrument development, and working with stakeholders to interpret and communicate findings. Recent initiatives have included: Zest Quest, Farm to School, Greenville HOPE IV housing authority revitalization, LiveWell Greenville’s Out of School Time initiative, and Greenville Health System’s Girls on the Run youth development program.

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