SAS Faculty Researcher Spotlight: Stephanie Holden

SAS Faculty Researcher Spotlight: Stephanie Holden

This week’s spotlight focuses on Dr. Stephanie Holden. She is the Program Chair for the School of Health Service Administration at the University of Phoenix. Dr. Holden received her Ph.D in Health Studies from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, 2012. She is also SAS faculty, dissertation chair, and a dissertation committee member, bringing her education and experience to SAS students. Dr. Holden earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics, and thus specializes in quantitative research. She is affiliated with the Center for Health Engineering Research where she was recently highlighted.

View her profile on the Hub >>

Dr. Holden’s current research projects focus on revisiting her dissertation research topic: colorectal cancer screening compliance in rural areas. Her current research utilizes existing data to compare or trend screening compliance among African Americans. The findings of this research were initially presented at Xavier University of Louisiana 2015 Health Disparities Conference as a poster. Since then, Dr. Holden has frequently presented at other professional conferences on various topics of interest based on the conference theme.  In 2017, she presented at both the state and local medical imagining conferences on topics specific to quality healthcare and radiologic sciences. When asked what Dr. Holden thought the long-term implications will be for her research, she stated:

“I believe research focusing on population or community health issues should result in actionable outcomes. During my initial research, data collection was launched from churches. The relationships established have resulted in follow-up community-based health education presentations to raise awareness on cancer screening procedures.”

When pursuing her research, Dr. Holden found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 60% of deaths due to colorectal cancer can be prevented through screening compliance.  Because colonoscopy can be simultaneously utilized for screening and prevention, by removing polyps, physician recommendations and screening awareness must be as widespread as Pap testing for cervical cancer, or mammography for breast cancer.

Thus far in the research process, Dr. Holden’s biggest take away is that findings indicated colorectal cancer screening compliance in the target rural areas were fairly aligned with the state compliance rate, however; physician recommendation was a significant predictor. Upon completion of current research, Dr. Holden plans to submit the research findings for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Holden feels that the School of Advanced Studies and the University Research Centers are very supportive in terms of direction and guidance for research. Dr. Holden has attended two of the Knowledge Without Boundaries, and presented at the 2017 annual Knowledge Without Boundaries Academy in Phoenix. That presentation focused on a faculty engagement pilot project for a newly designed communities of practice online platform. The pilot project sought to examine faculty’s attitude and intention to participate in the communities of practice.

Taking part in research, according to Dr. Holden, was a natural step in her healthcare career. With her clinical background in medical radiation sciences, including radiation oncology and medical imaging, research was an obvious next step, especially with a graduate thesis in statistics from years earlier.  As a CHES (certified health education specialist), most important for her are the actionable implementation or interventions designed as a result of research. There is where the difference is made toward health equity and chipping away at health disparities.  Dr. Holden also provides statistical and data analytic support for a research project on HIV/AIDS education among African American females.

When asked what advice Dr. Holden would give to faculty or students considering beginning work on research projects she had this to say: “My advice would be to consider what difference(s) will the research make, outcomes by design.  Research is not designed to prove anything, but to examine, investigate, assess, etc. Allow the data to tell the story.”

Thank you Dr. Holden for your ongoing contributions to the healthcare research community, and the greater research community as a whole!