MPH, PhD, JD
Texas State University – San Marcos
My career has spanned several disciplines and included a wide array of educational and professional opportunities.
My educational background includes training in chemistry (Alabama State University), public health (University of Alabama at Birmingham), health administration (UAB) and law (Cumberland School of Law). The combination of these disciplines has prepared me for a career in health care policy analysis and research.
While pursing my education, I acquired a wide array of professional experience in many different healthcare settings including Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, an indigent care hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. While at Cooper Green, I managed a Cardinal Health grant focused on reducing surgical complications by improving the facility Surgical Care Improvement Project objective compliance. In addition to my grant responsibilities, I worked with legal, compliance, and quality issues for the facility. I also developed and trained the medical staff on different health and policy related issues. My healthcare experience also includes St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; the Jefferson County Department of Health; and University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In addition to my healthcare experience, I also have a diverse set of experiences in law. As a law student, I clerked with the Federal Defender’s Office in the Middle District of Alabama and Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis, & Miles, P.C. I also served as the Program Coordinator and trained mediator for the Cumberland Community Mediation Center where she developed a meditation pilot program for the Samford University Residence Life Program.
This educational and professional quest was fueled by my desire to help others by paying it forward as a sign of appreciation to everyone in my past who helped me to achieve my goals.
This research project will involve the compilation and analysis of data collected by local Texas government bodies and law enforcement to determine whether there are any savings associated with banning the use of hand-held cell phones in active Texas school zones measurable in reduced mortality and morbidity costs versus the costs in actual dollars to municipalities that must become compliant with the unfunded mandate Texas HB 5501. This project is unique in several ways. First, it will be the first project that evaluates the impact on local municipalities. Second, because the law is in the form of an unfunded mandate it will allow the actual costs to the municipalities to be evaluated in terms of financial efficiency and efficacy. Lastly, the project will allow the determination of dollars saved in terms of local cost avoided on cell phone related morbidity and mortality. Until now, all studies of the impact of cell phone banning legislation have been conducted on the state level.
My New Connections Experience
I applied for New Connections because I was inspired by the wealth of knowledge and expertise provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections program. Participation in the symposiums provided invaluable professional growth development and opportunities. Returning to research after law school has been a daunting feat; however, my experiences with New Connections provided the foundation, support and intellectual inspiration to fine tune my research agenda and get started.
Being a part of New Connections has been invaluable for my career. The educational sessions have been extremely helpful in identifying research methods and strategies. The expertise of the workshop facilitators has truly been helpful in increasing my knowledge base for both my research and courses. I have seen a level of professional growth and development in a few years that I know would have taken much long if it had not been for New Connections. Still the most invaluable contributions to my career have been the opportunities to connect with other minority investigators from across the United States. There is a real need for increased collaboration and support within our community. New Connections has provided a platform for professional networking that is truly one of the best things that has happened for me professionally.
In the past year, I have seen my research interests shift. Currently, I am interested in the impact of laws on public health outcomes. More specifically, I am interested in the impact of laws regarding the banning of cell phone use in local communities. I would like to study whether or not the type of legislation, the level of enforcement as well as other components influence the effectiveness of the law in reducing morbidity and mortality. In an effort to further understand how health disparities can be reduced or eliminated in minority populations, my research has evolved in workforce related areas. I am interested in understanding the inter-generational perceptions and preferences of healthcare professionals and their impact on healthcare from a policy and patient care perspective. In particular, I want to see if creating a more culturally attuned workforce will help to eliminate disparities or if we are training workers who will perpetuate the injustices within the system. In addition to understanding the perceptions and preferences, I am also working on creating simulations to enhance health care practitioners’ ability to address cultural barriers encountered in the patient and practitioner.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2010, Public Health Law Research (PHLR)
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Public Health
- Project Name: Do unfunded mandates regarding banning use of hand held cell phones in Texas school zones result in greater savings or costs for municipalities?