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Innovative Research Conducted in EHHP

Posted by: murphys2 | April 20, 2020 | No Comment |

Many of the dedicated faculty members in the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance conduct innovative research that position EHHP as a thought leader in the health and education fields. The research being conducted by faculty is also a great opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to a real-world scenario and improve their analytical skills. The opportunity to conduct research and the challenging coursework helps prepare EHHP’s students to be well-rounded professionals.


Dr. J.D. Adams | Fluid Intake and Responses to Pain | Department of Health and Human Performance

One of Dr. Adams’s research topics involves something we all can relate to – thirst.

“My research revolves around the areas of nutrition, physiology, and ingestive behavior. Specifically, I am interested in the area of thirst and fluid intake and how they pertain to aspects of exercise, daily living and chronic disease,” Dr. Adams explained.

“Everyone drinks, we all need to drink, however, some drink less than others. Why? We are uncovering that certain populations have a lower fluid intake but does this stem from the top (thirst mechanism) or the bottom (renal physiology). These are the questions that my laboratory is trying to uncover.”

Abbie Cantrell and Caroline Darcy, senior exercise science majors, are two of the students who worked with Dr. Adams.

Cantrell was responsible for finding subjects to participate in the research, inform them of the study’s goals and obtain their consent. She said, “The involvement in research during my undergraduate studies has certainly been an interesting and impactful experience. It has granted me new favorable circumstances as well as other areas of interest that I may have otherwise not found engaging.”

Darcy helped Dr. Adams conduct research regarding the role a specific hormone, arginine vasopressin also known as the antidiuretic hormone, plays in how people experience painful stimuli. “The goal of our research was to assemble information into a piece of literature so a reader with little to no knowledge on the topic would be able to take away a general understanding.”

Darcy said, “It’s one thing to go to class and take notes on relevant materials every week, but another to be exposed to the real-life relevance and implications of the topics you study. It is rewarding to have the opportunity to create a working relationship with a professor, someone whom you would typically deem as an authority figure, and a fellow peer, as you set out to uncover information that answers questions that you all have and compose your discoveries into a published piece of literature.”

Dr. Keonya Booker | Experiences of Minority Students | Department of Teacher Education

“I study school belonging in adolescence. My current research study involves working with teachers at West Ashley High School to explore ways they develop a sense of community and connection with their students. I am interviewing teachers as well as having them keep reflective journals about their relationships in the classroom.”

Dr. Booker said what drew her to this research area was due to her own experiences in middle and high school. “I achieved at a high level, but never felt like I truly belonged. I had teachers who were aware of the developmental needs of adolescents (e.g., competence, autonomy, and relatedness) and those who were not. I believe it is essential to provide safe psychological spaces for students. Adolescence is a trying time and teenagers need adults willing to create optimal learning environments in which they can thrive.”

Dr. Morgan Hughey | Built Environment | Department of Health and Human Performance

From a young age, physical activity and outdoor activities have been part of Dr. Hughey’s life.

“Supported by evidence, the benefits of regular physical activity and healthy eating patterns for physical, mental, and emotional health are vast,” said Dr. Hughey. “My research examines how elements of community design and infrastructure (e.g., parks, walkability, bikeability, food outlets) influence physical activity, healthy eating, and obesity.

“The built environment solutions that I study also have numerous other benefits – from sustainability to economic development. The application that my research has to improving individuals and communities invigorates me and pushes me forward!”

One example of her research is measuring the bikeability of streets in Charleston to collect data that can advocate for safer infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.

To do this Dr. Hughey has partnered with Gotcha Mobility, the company that runs the Holy Spokes bike share in Charleston, and engineering faculty at The Citadel. “Through a data sharing agreement, we have quantified the physical activity associated with bike share rides, created a grading system (A-F) for bikeability of streets in Charleston, and examined what streets most bike share rides occur.”

Dr. Hughey also utilizes the help of student researchers to assist with topics like the Availability and Equity of Parks and Green Spaces in Charleston, SC and Childhood Obesity and Obesogenic Environments.

Dr. Adam Jordan | Teachers’ Wellbeing | Department of Teacher Education

Dr. Jordan is a special education professor at the College of Charleston who is researching the barriers and facilitators to teacher mental wellbeing in public alternative schools, which provide nontraditional education environments and programs to their students. He is working with Dr. Kasey Jordan, an instructor at MUSC’s College of Nursing, and Dr. Laura Brock, an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at CofC.

“We are using the PERMA model, developed by Martin Seligman (2011) to identify barriers and facilitators to teacher mental wellbeing in the workplace. The PERMA model considers five barriers of wellbeing:  Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement,” said Dr. Jordan. The initial quantitative approach will be combined with subsequent qualitative interviews leading ultimately to wellbeing intervention development through future Community Engaged Research.”

Dr. Jordan said this research is important to him for a few reasons, one being his previous role as an alternative school teacher.

“I understand the demands and stresses of the job. Second, because of that, I understand why we have high teacher turnover in our high needs settings. In my opinion, the conversation is framed too broadly around teacher “burnout.” I believe the burnout narrative alone places an unintended blame on teachers. Instead of asking “why teachers burnout,” I’m interested in asking “how do we help teachers thrive.” We know teachers want to teach. We need teachers to thrive in doing so. Our research is focused on helping them do just that.”

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