Today we continue our series of articles spotlighting students, alumni, and faculty making a positive impact within the School of Advanced Studies, our Research Centers, and the greater research community.
Thanks to our Knowledge Without Boundaries Events, we have been able to connect with and get to know for the Center for Healthcare Research.
Her credentials include a Doctor of Health Science from Nova Southeastern University. In addition to serving as an Associate Faculty for the School of Advanced Studies and active Fellow, Dr. Davis works as a Health Education Specialist for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Her career with the CDC has already spanned 20 years, making her a great example of the terrific scholar-practitioners we like to attract and continually support.
Read on for more about her background, recent accomplishments, and upcoming research plans.
Tell us about your current research project(s).
My current project focuses on assets mapping and community-based participatory research. The concept is to compare the two models to identify ways they can enhance one another to support the reduction of health disparities.
What was the defining moment that led to your decision to pursue this research?
While I was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health, I was introduced to assets mapping and the importance of community partnership in health promotion. Since then, I have been captivated by these concepts.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the research process so far?
The biggest lesson that I have learned from my current research process is the importance of parsing a huge research question into smaller, more manageable pieces. At first, my question was too broad and resulted in more literature that I could reasonably consume and process.
What do you think the long term implications will be for the project results?
Sustainability is a major concern in public health. The changing social and political environment means that funding for programs in state and local health departments and non-governmental public health organizations is not stable. Assets mapping focuses on building on existing resources internal to a community setting, as opposed to over-reliance on external resources. Community assets could support on-going public health efforts is critical for ensuring that gains achieved through funding from a grant-making agency is not lost when the grant period comes to a close.
Have you presented or published your findings? If so, where can we learn more?
I am still currently developing my manuscript and identifying conferences and journals that are supportive of this type of research. However, for background on my topic, please see a couple of classic works by my collaborators: Community Assets Mapping: Community Health Assessment with a Different Twist; Preparing Students for More Effective Community Interventions: Assets Assessment; and Spirituality and Religious Practices Among African Americans: Neglected Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Variables
What’s next for you and your project?
My goal is to present a health-disparities related conference or symposium. I would like to have a publication within the next few months. I already have ideas for at least two more manuscripts, but I want to focus on one thing at a time and complete it!
How has the School of Advanced Studies supported your research interests?
The School of Advanced studies has provided a tremendous supportive environment for my research interests. Being selected as a fellow for the Center for Healthcare Research was the impetus for my return to research in community health related topics. The chair of CHR, Dr. James Gillespie, is the coauthor of one of my papers and has provided guidance and direction for the better part of a year. As a team, the CHR meets on a monthly basis to provide progress updates on our projects and to build a family of scholars. When the time is right, I will even have the opportunity to work with a student in SAS to foster mutual research interests.
How has taking part in research changed your personal/professional life?
The work I do at my primary work location is programmatic in nature. The opportunity to delve into research has brought another dimension to my work in public health and I feel that it further equips me in the classroom setting when I teach courses focused on research methods.
What advice would you give to faculty or students considering working on research projects within the SAS research centers?
Be patient with yourself. Be humble and reach out for help if you need it. Network and identify people with similar interests and skills that complement your own. My collaborators have strengths that I lack, or a differing perspective that I need to consider when moving forward with a research idea. They are also honest an unafraid to steer me back on track or to get me to go in a new direction.
Thank you, Lumbe’, for sharing your research experience and for all the work you have put into growing our community of scholars!
Every few weeks we will feature a School of Advanced Studies faculty, student or alumni, and explore their contributions to their field and the research community. Do you know of someone special that deserves to be featured? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!