MY DISSERTATION PROTOTYPED & EVALUATED three arts-based methods, deploying them to research experiences and perceptions of violence among Louisville, KY females ages 11-21. It then compared these methods’ results to data from quantitative surveys administered among the same populations.
Results: The prototypes aided disclosure (thus improving data),
were time- and cost-effective, supported community-led health education, and offered significant potential for research reciprocity—all with minimal researcher intrusion. They offer promising models for continued methodological innovation in advancement of health equity.
This study won the University of Louisville’s 2019 Prize for the Outstanding Dissertation.
I conduct mixed methods research on the impacts of aesthetics, sociocultural norms, and communications on health disparities and the social determinants of health.
Given the prevalence of trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), I’ve been innovating trauma- and culturally responsive methods of inquiry and practice. The goal is to more equitably accommodate those for whom conventional approaches have been (or felt) unsafe or unfeasible.
A central tenet of my work is that health equity will not be realized without innovation toward:
increasing inclusivity and access;
eliciting and valuing diverse ways of knowing;
increasing research reciprocity; and
reducing researcher intrusion among oppressed populations.
This benefits from tech innovation, yes. But the game changer is epistemological innovation. What counts as knowledge? When, how? to whom? for what ends?
My work is grounded in research regarding public discourse, trauma, ACEs, mental health, and intersectional disparities. I draw on academic backgrounds in critical pedagogy, Women’s and Gender Studies, Rhetoric, and the arts to develop innovative strategies for research, dissemination, education, and resource provision.
Some questions currently energizing my work:
What do researchers miss about a population when our means of communication cannot accommodate stigma or varied abilities, or when they cannot reach across cultural difference—or across trauma?
How might over-reliance on limited research strategies actually perpetuate health inequities—by requiring that health, healthcare, and health behaviors be communicated and assessed according to dominant norms?
And how might failures to gather more complete knowledge be affecting funding/resource decisions, health care access/delivery, etc?
What can we learn about a community's assets, needs, and priorities by observing and analyzing the art that its members create, celebrate, and share?