Who I am

I have been an active qualitative researcher since the late 1990s. My scholarly work has long focused on the interplay between health, gender, culture, and communication. For example, my earlier projects included an examination of women’s online disclosure of their sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as of women’s perceptions of reproductive challenges/opportunities regarding genetic technologies and information.

These days, I have moved into the study of Appalachia & health communication. For nearly a decade, I have worked with the amazing women of Appalachia, women who defy every regional stereotype. The women I know are community & family members, mothers, employees: They hold a number of roles, challenging researchers, health professionals, and the general public to re-consider how to meet the needs of and partner with this amazing region. My work with Appalachian women has taken me into their homes, communities, and clinics to talk with them about breast cancer, survivorship, HPV (human papillomavirus) and the cervical cancer vaccine.

I have taught at the university level for 2+ decades! I've been at East Tennessee State University since 2003, and before that I taught in Kentucky, Georgia & North Carolina. From Business & Professional Communication to Sexual Health Communication, I teach a variety of exciting, provocative and useful courses.

What I do

Across communities, I facilitate conversations about gender, culture, and illness/wellness. All of my work is collaborative and trans-disciplinary — research teams often consist of nurses, physicians, public health practitioners/researchers, communication professionals, gender/feminist scholars, survivors, and community leaders. Such collaborations are vital to planning and carrying out quality health communication research. From intimate groups to large health fairs, my team of outreach experts talk about STIs, the cervical cancer vaccine, safe sex options, good sex, "bad" sex...whatever.