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PHS Faculty, Alum Have "Determined Spirit"

Clemson’s “Determined Spirit” campaign this summer recognized one Department of Public Health Sciences faculty members and an alumna with special interest stories.

Crossing cultures and curricula

According to Clemson professor Windsor Sherrill, medical education is very traditional and regionalized, but she believes changing patient populations call for curriculum and instruction adaptations.Having spent 10 years in health care administration before transitioning to academia, Windsor Sherrill describes her academic background as atypical. As a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Sherrill has used her experience to bring a distinct perspective to teaching and research, engaging in projects that benefit not only Clemson students, but also medical students across the country.

Continuing research that she began while working on a dissertation at Brandeis University, Sherrill serves as co-investigator for a National Institutes of Health-funded project that gauges student capacity to treat Latino patients. She teamed up with Rachel Mayo, another professor in her department, to develop the project, which surveys nursing and medical students at Clemson, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of South Carolina and the Medical College of Georgia and tests their readiness, attitudes and cultural competency to treat patients in the Latino community. The project calls upon Sherrill’s longstanding interest in medical education and addresses the important issue of intercultural communication that she believes will become more prominent in the future.  Full Story

It takes a college to help a village

During her time in Cameroon, Erin Hunter, second from left, worked with a pilot group of six women who were taught the skills of organic vegetable gardening, composting and budget planning.Culture affects health.

Education affects health.

So does poverty.

Studying how and why populations of people function and are affected by disease is fascinating. And it’s what drew Clemson alum Erin Hunter ’09 to Belgium, France, Guatemala and most recently, Cameroon, Africa.

Although she can’t quite describe why she loves health science so much, she does know she is fascinated with how different cultures, beliefs and practices affect health.

Take Cameroon. She went there in 2010 to work for Rural Development Centre where she began developing health programs for villagers of Belo, a rural Cameroonian community. On her first day in the country she was bitten by a mosquito. Two weeks later, she was being treated for malaria — an endemic, constant disease in the developing country. Full Story