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Public Health Sciences

Public Health Sciences Research

several images depicting Clemson Public Health Research

The Clemson University Department of Public Health Sciences embraces the land-grant mission to improve the quality of life and economic prosperity in South Carolina and beyond. Our faculty members utilize a team-science approach to improve healthcare delivery and population health through integrating research, education, and service. We believe that multidisciplinary collaboration is the optimal path toward truly making a difference in solving practical, substantive health-related challenges. To that end, we often partner with other researchers at Clemson University and external agencies to address the wide-reaching health challenges facing us today. Our areas of research include the following:

  • Health Promotion and Behavior

    Our health promotion and behavior researchers conduct needs assessments and develop, deliver and evaluate interventions in community-based, school and health care settings. Our populations encompass the entire lifespan from maternal and child health to older adult health. Our methods include community-based participatory research, structural interventions, health coaching by both community lay leaders and health care providers, and ecological models for improving health. Our projects have been designed to influence healthy choices in neighborhoods and communities. Our researchers have interests and expertise in addressing health disparities and chronic illness.

  • Epidemiology and Outcomes Research

    Our epidemiology and outcomes research team conducts both clinical and population studies on chronic disease epidemiology (e.g. obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases), nutritional epidemiology, and health disparities. We design and deliver studies to identify risk/beneficial factors for disease etiology and to evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of novel treatments and interventions. Our priority population includes women, children and middle-aged adults. Our methods include survival analysis, longitudinal analysis, survey analysis, systematic review and meta-analysis.

  • Evaluation

    Our evaluation team works with large and small health-related programs across South Carolina and nationally. The team places emphasis on effectiveness research and has expertise in formative, process and summative levels of evaluation, mixed method designs, sampling, instrument development and working with stakeholders to interpret and communicate findings. Recent initiatives have included: Zest Quest, Farm to School, Greenville HOPE IV housing authority revitalization, LiveWell Greenville’s Out of School Time initiative and Greenville Health System’s Girls on the Run youth development program.

  • Health Policy and Health Services Research

    Our health policy and health services faculty engage in research that is policy-relevant at the state and national levels with the aim of improving health services, health outcomes, and population health. We use large datasets and cutting-edge research methodologies including simulation models and geospatial analyses to shed light on a variety of health and health care issues: obesity and built environment; tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug control policies; economic analysis/cost-effectiveness of health-related behaviors; aging; access to health care of the uninsured; community health care; and medical education.

  • Global and Population Health

    Our global health research addresses key health-related challenges and opportunities in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Our focus areas include infectious disease prevention, hypertension, women’s health, health insurance reform, health care workforce and substance abuse. The skills and expertise among our faculty are applied to the comparative research worldwide and to assist policy makers and health practitioners in the decision-making process.

  • Public Health Informatics

    Our public health informatics investigators apply biomedical informatics principles to research that often begins in the clinical environment and transcends into families, communities and beyond. Our current projects focus on mobile health solutions to improve patient self-managing of their Type 2 diabetes and enhancing the quality of life of people with asthma. We have also begun development of the next generation of clinical decision support aimed at enhancing medical imaging decision making.

  • Faculty Research Interests
    Name Research/Expertise Email

    Cartmell, Kathleen

    Health Services Research; Dissemination and Implementation Science; Cancer Prevention and Control; HPV Vaccination; Tobacco Cessation; Palliative Care; Patient Navigation; Global Health

    Griffin, Sarah F

    School-Based Health; Obesity Prevention; Physical Activity; Nutrition; Community Development; Chronic Disease Prevention; Implementation Science; Program Evaluation

    Heo, Moonseong

    Clinical trial design and analysis, Addiction, Infectious diseases, Biostatistics, Obesity

    Jing, Xia

    Data-driven hypothesis generation & visual analytics, Evidence-based clinical decision making, Health IT for rural and under-served populations, Knowledge bases, Knowledge representation and Semantic Web, Telemedicine

    Kemper, Karen A

    Physical Activity and Chronic Disease; Physical Activity Promotion; Obesity Prevention; Nutrition; Community Initiatives; Body Image; After School Environments; Program Evaluation

    Shi, Lu

    Adapting and implementing telehealth delivery models of mindfulness-based interventions, Populations with limited resources, Chronic diseases as well as mental/cognitive health, Big data analytics and simulation modeling of population health, Artificial intelligence methods

    Rennert, Lior

    Biostatistics, Infectious disease epidemiology, Infectious disease modeling, Policy evaluation, Health disparities, Mindfulness

    Truong, Khoa Dang

    Healthcare for Disadvantaged Population; Tobacco/Alcohol/Drug Control Policies; Obesity; Mental Health; Health Economics

    Williams, Joel Edward

    Health behavior, Behavioral interventions, Evaluation and measurement, Chronic disease prevention and control

    Zhang, Lu

    Health disparities in cancer control continuum, Lung cancer screening implementation, Individualized cancer treatment, Surveillance data/Secondary data analyses

    Floyd, Sarah

    Comparative effectiveness research to generate evidence to guide shared decision-making in orthopaedics, Development and testing of clinical decision support tools to deliver evidence at the point of care, Deep learning approaches to develop outcome measures using clinical note text, Deep learning approaches to analyze diagnostic images to classify the complexity of fractures

    Sherrill, Windsor

    Population Health, Diabetes Prevention and Management, Chronic Disease Self-Management, Patient-Provider Communication, Health Services Evaluation, Medical Education, Health Disparities, Health Administration, Finance and Policy, Survey Research, Health Policy

    Amanda Stover

    Dual Diagnosis Research, Substance Use and Abuse, Self-Injury, Suicide Prevention, Rural Health Disparities, Clinical Trial Design and Implementation

  • Recent Notable Research Accomplishments
    Noteworthy Accomplishments - Fourth quarter, 2022

    Journal Publications (*student collaborators)

    Powell RA, Ali Z, N Gikaara, S Qanungo, Melikam ES, Cartmell KB; Research attitudes, practice and literacy among Kenyan palliative care healthcare professionals: an observational, cross-sectional online survey; BMC Palliative Care, (2022) 2:206,

    Zhang L, Gong R, Shi L, Wen M, Sun X, Yabroff KR, Han X. Association of residential racial and economic segregation with cancer mortality in the US. JAMA Oncology. 2022 Nov 17. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.5382.

    (as of 12/14/22, this article has been in 68 news stores from 43 outlets and was ranked in the top 5% of all research outputs)

    C J Dietz*, W W Sherrill, S Ankomah*, L Rennert, M Parisi, M Stancil, Impact of a community-based diabetes self-management support program on adult self-care behaviors, Health Education Research, 2022;, cyac034,     (selected as Editor’s Choice)

    Luo, Y., Mobley, C., Hossfeld, L., Koob, C*., Hossfeld, C., Baxter, S. L. K., & Griffin, S. F. (2022). The Association between Food Insecurity and Making Hunger-Coping Trade-Offs during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Sources of Food and Easiness in Food Access. Nutrients, 14(21), 4616.

    Baxter, S.L.K., Jackson, E., Onufrank, S., Parisi, M.A., and Griffin, S.F. Differences in rural built environment perceptions across demographic and social environment characteristics.Health promotion practice, 23(1_suppl), 44S–54S.

    Rennert L, Howard KA,* Walker KB, Furmanek DL, Blackhurst VA, Cancellaro VA, Litwin AH (2022). Evaluation of Policies Limiting Opioid Exposure on Opioid Prescribing and Patient Pain in Opioid-Naïve Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery in a Large American Health System. Journal of Patient Safety.  DOI: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000001088

    Wu J, Zhang L, Kuchi A, Otohinoyi D, Hicks C. CpG Site-Based Signature Predicts Survival of Colorectal Cancer. Biomedicines 2022 Dec 7;10(12):3163. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10123163

    Parisi, M., McFall, D.(PHS Graduate*), Ankomah, S.*, Dietz, C. J. *, Kanny, S. *, Jones, K. G., Stancil, M., & Sherrill, W. W. (2022). Know diabetes by heart: Education about the linkage between cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Health Education Journal, 0(0).

    Parisi, M., Lane, E., Dye, C. J. (PHS Professor Emeritus), Matthews, R., McFall, D. (PHS Graduate*), Bain, E., & Sherrill, W. W. (2022). Traditional and Virtual Hypertension Self-Management Health Education Program Delivered Through Cooperative Extension. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 10(3), 10. DOI:

    Grant proposals funded

    Floyd, Sarah, The Development of an EHR-Based Measure of Orthopaedic Treatment Success, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/DHHS, $100,000

    Shi, Lu, Using agent-based modeling to compare strategies that can reduce rural-urban disparities in cardiovascular disease, New York University, $39,484.50

    Rennert, Lior, Health Resources and Services Administration (PI: Alain Litwin). “Project POWER – Preventing Opioid use disorder and overdoses with Emerging Resources in rural South Carolina,” $3,000,000. 9-30-2022 to 9-30-2025. Role: Co-PI (Clemson Site PI): 12.5% effort.

    Zhang, Lu, Produce prescription and nutritional education to improve health outcomes of patients with type-2 diabetes living in a rural and medically underserved county in South Carolina, USDA, $125,000

    W.W. Sherrill, M. Parisi, D. McFall (PHS Graduate*). (11/15/2022-11/14/2025). Enabling precision medicine: Increasing access to DSMES via an EHR-based clinical decision support tool. American Diabetes Association Award 11-22-ICTSN-04: $600,00

    Cartmell, Kathleen, South Carolina Cancer Disparities Research Center (SC CADRE) - Bridge, Medical University of South Carolina (FDP), $20,000

    Heo, Moonseong, Development of an integrated intervention involving recovery coaching and cognitive behavioral therapy for opioid use disorder, NIH (National Institutes of Health/DHHS), $358,993

    Heo, Moonseong, Psychosocial Intervention, Maternal Inflammation, and Birth Outcomes: Centering vs. Routing Prenatal Care (PIINC), NorthShore University Health System, 25,025

    Conference presentations

    *Sirizi, Delaram, poster presentation, Evaluating Use of the Google Apple Exposure Notification App on a University Campus, APHA, Boston, MA, 11/8/2022

    *Treado, Bonnie, Gimbel, Ron, Cartmell, Kathleen, Gugerty, Leo; roundtable discussion, Exploring Public Health Agency Trust, Covid Vaccine Confidence, and Resistance to Misinformation in African American Faith Networks Using Community Based Participatory Research, Conference: APHA National Conference, Boston, MA, 11/8/2022 

    *Holcomb, Leah, Implementation of an Evidence-Based Care Model for Neonatal Abstinence 

    Syndrome: Evaluation of Hospital Perspectives at Baseline Using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, poster presentation, 15th Annual Conference on the Science of Academy Health Dissemination and Implementation Science, in Washington DC, 12/12/22

    *Holcomb, Leah, Well-child visits and immunization encounters in South Carolina Medicaid: A 

    three-year retrospective review, Oral presentation delivered at the American Public Health Association 2022 National Conference, Boston, MA, 11/8/2022

    *Melikam, Sylvia, Dela Sirizi, poster presentation,  Evaluating the Use of the Google Apple Exposure Notification App on a University Campus, APHA, Boston, MA, 11/8/2022

    *Melikam, Sylvia, presentation/discussion, Applied Public Health Statistics working group, APHA, Boston, MA, 11/7/2022

    *Kanny, Samantha, Joel E. Williams, Mitchell Rauh, Sarah Stokowski.  Long-Term Developmental Effects of Multiple, Sport-Related Concussions on Adolescents: Scoping Review, poster presentation, APHA, Boston, MA, 11/6/2022

    *Dietz, Christina, Diabetes Self-Management Education: Understanding Primary Care Provider's Knowledge and Perception, poster presentation, APHA, Boston, MA, 11/6/2022

    Jing X, Zhou YC, Cimino JJ, Shubrook J, Patel VL, De Lacalle S, Liu C. Development and preliminary validation of metrics to evaluate data-driven clinical research hypotheses. AMIA 2022, Nov 5-9, 2022, Washington DC 

    Goli R*, Hubig N, Min H, Gong Y, Sittig DF, Robinson D, Biondich P, Wright A, Nøhr C, Law T, Faxvaag A, Gimbel R, Rennert L, Jing X. Keyphrase identification with limited labeled dataset using deep active learning and domain adaptation. AMIA 2022, Nov 5-9, 2022, Washington DC 

    Baxter, S.L.K., Griffin, S. F. Contextualizing physical activity in rural adults: Do relationships between income inequality, neighborhood environments, and physical activity exist? Oral presentation at APHA 2022 Annual Meeting. Boston, MA. November 2022.

    Invited speaker

    Zhang, Lu, ‘Lung Cancer Screening Utilization and Timely Adherence in South Carolina’.  Southern Wesleyan University, 11/18/2022

    Tugman, Becky,  Course Mapping:  A best practice for student learning; College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences Speaker Series, 11/2/2022, University of Texas at ElPaso, 11/15/2022, Clemson University Engineering and Science Education Fall Seminar Series, 12/2/2022

    Professional and other significant service

    Jing, Xia, NIH CSR ZRG1 IMST-J (70) Kids First Study Section reviewer (OCT2022)

    Honors and awards

    Sherrill, Windsor; Clemson Health Extension for Diabetes Program State Impact Award, 2022 Live Healthy SC Annual Meeting, Columbia, SC, 11/1/2022

    Sherrill, Windsor:  Recognized for leading the Greenville Health Authority team to positively impact the lives of South Carolinians, World Diabetes Day, Prisma Health, Greenville, SC, 11/11/22

    Media coverage

    Zhang L, Gong R, Shi L, Wen M, Sun X, Yabroff KR, Han X. Association of residential racial and economic segregation with cancer mortality in the US. US News:

    Zhang L, Gong R, Shi L, Wen M, Sun X, Yabroff KR, Han X. Association of residential racial and economic segregation with cancer mortality in the US. Healio:

    Noteworthy Accomplishments - Third quarter, 2022

    Journal Publications (*student collaborators)

    Rennert L, Ma Z, McMahan C, Dean D (2022). Effectiveness and protection duration of COVID-19 vaccines and previous infection against any SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nature Communications; 13, 3946.

    Dietz CJ* , Sherrill WW, Stancil M, Rennert L, Parisi M, McFall D (2022). Health Extension for Diabetes: Impact of a Community-Based Diabetes Self-Management Support Program on Older Adults’ Activation. Diabetes Spectrum. ds210054.

    Jing X, Akash I, Hubig NC, Min H, Cimino JJ, Sitting D, Rennert L, Robinson D, Biondich P, Wright A, Nohr C, Law TD, Faxvaag A, Gimbel RW (2022). A systematic approach to configuring MetaMap for optimal performance. Methods of Information in Medicine. DOI: 10.1055/a-1862-0421 

    Martin B, Witrick B*, Sivaraj B, Tyler L, Devane M, Gimbel R, Rennert L (2022). Equivalent outcomes at lower costs for totally implantable venous access device (TIVAD) placement by interventional radiologists compared with surgeons. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology

    Lindros, S.H.*, Floyd, S.B. Implementation of a Patient-Tailored Opioid Prescribing Guideline in Ventral Hernia Repair. Journal of Surgical Research. Journal of Surgical Research. In Press.

    Jing X, Patel VL, Cimino JJ, Shubrook JH, Zhou Y, Liu C, De Lacalle S. The Roles of a Secondary Data Analytic Tool and Experience in Scientific Hypothesis Generation in Clinical Research: A Study Design. JMIR Research Protocols, 2022. PMID: 35736798. DOI: 10.2196/39414 

    Grant proposals funded

    South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Health Care (PI: Lior Rennert). “A data-driven approach to identify and target high-risk rural communities via mobile health clinics,” $200,000. 08-01-2021 to 07-31-2024. Role: PI.

    The Development and Evaluation of a Patient-Centered Opioid Discharge Prescribing Guideline within the Electronic Health Record of a Health System. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (R18). Co- Investigator:  Sarah Floyd, ($1,584,429) 9/1/2022-8/31/2026

    The Development of an EHR-based Measure of Orthopaedic Treatment Success. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (R03). Principal Investigator:  Sarah Floyd, ($99,580) 9/1/2022-8/31/2023

    South Carolina County Health Extension: High Obesity Prevention and Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PI:  Sarah Griffin), $836,418 9/27/2022-9/26/2023

    South Carolina County Health Extension: High Obesity Prevention and Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Supplemental Project - Childhood Obesity Prevention (PI:  Sarah Griffin), $97,400, 9/27,2022-9/26/2023

    Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health and Advocacy Embedded Student Research Fellow, Prisma Health (PI:  Sarah Griffin), $19,019

    Open, interoperable, and configurable clinical decision support modules for OpenMRS, OpenEMR, and beyond, National Institutes of Health/DHHS (PI:  Xia Jing), $234,039

    Development, validation, and application of a CDS ontology to facilitate CDS rules reuse, management, and maintenance in simulated primary care settings, National Institutes of Health/DHHS (PI:  Xia Jing), $335,848 

    Produce Prescription and Nutritional Education to Improve Health Outcomes of Patients with Type-2 Diabetes Living in a Rural and Medically Underserved County in South Carolina. United States Department of Agriculture. Co-Principal Investigator: Lu Zhang. $500,000. 9/2022-9/2025 

    Conference presentations

    Tugman, B, Olsen, T, Using Faculty Learning Communities to Support Instructors in Teaching Evaluation, poster presentation, 8AUG2022, Lilly Teaching and Learning Conference, Asheville, NC

    Lindros, S.H.*, Smith, H., Jeray, K., Kissenberth, M., Pill, S., Floyd, S.B. The Application of Deep Learning Methods for Proximal Humerus Fracture Feature Identification. Clemson MUSC AI Summit. Charleston, SC. September 24, 2022.

    Rennert L, SC COVID-19 Virtual Grand Rounds Series. Updates on SARS-CoV-2 BA.4/5 variants, South Carolina. August 2022 (invited panel discussant).

    Rennert L, Infectious Disease and Pandemic Preparedness Research Symposium. Utilizing Public Health Modeling and Strategic Intervention Implementation to Mitigate Covid-19 Spread, Clemson, SC. August 2022 (invited oral presentation).

    Koob, C*., Griffin, S. F. Exploring healthy food security in a rural food system through the lens of multi-sectoral stakeholders. Poster presentation at FoodForward 2022. Clemson, SC. September 2022.

    Baxter, S.L.K.,. Griffin, S. F., and Parisi, M. Local pathways to healthy food: experiences from the SC HOP Program. Oral Presentation at Farm to Institution Summit. Clemson, SC. September 2022. 

    Invited speaker

    Rennert L, SC COVID-19 Virtual Grand Rounds Series. Updates on SARS-CoV-2 BA.4/5 variants, South Carolina. August 2022 (invited panel discussant).

    Rennert L, Infectious Disease and Pandemic Preparedness Research Symposium. Utilizing Public Health Modeling and Strategic Intervention Implementation to Mitigate Covid-19 Spread, Clemson, SC. August 2022 (invited oral presentation).  

    Hui-Lin Tsai, “Acupuncture Use in US Healthcare,” Prisma Health - Seneca Family Medicine Didactic Lecture, August 17, 2022.

    Professional and other significant service

    Rennert, Lior:  Lead Public Health Strategist and Biostatistician, Clemson University, 2021-Present

    Rennert, Lior:  Director, COVID-19 Dashboard, Clemson University, 2021-Present                                           

    Floyd, Sarah:  Prisma Health NIH Accelerator Program Mentor (October 2022 – May 2023)

    Baxter, Samuel, August 2022. Appointed to South Carolina Cancer Alliance's Men's Cancer Ad Hoc Committee

    Honors and awards

    Sarah Floyd, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, Clemson University, 2022 Outstanding Journal Publication, Geographic Variation in the Treatment of Proximal Humerus Fracture:  an update on surgery rates and treatment consensus, Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 2019.


    Media coverage

    Rennert, Lior:  Nature (news article): Monkeypox: how universities are preventing outbreaks on campus (September 2022).

Department of Public Health Sciences
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