“Race policy and Health: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do” is the title of the STEAM-H Seminar presented by Kelsie D. Kelly, PhD, MPH at Virginia State University on April 21. An alumna of VSU, this opportunity became a full circle moment in returning to her first home away from home. Dr. Kelly is now at the University of Virginia serving in multiple roles. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine; Global Public Health Studies adviser; and associate dean for First year and transfer students and director of the Peer Advisors program in the Office of African American Affairs. Dr. Kelly holds specific expertise in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and qualitative research methods, and she teaches methodology courses and advises current MPH students.
In the seminar at VSU, Dr. Kelly discussed methods on how we can achieve health equity and reduce health disparities one person at a time. Part of her research includes using qualitative methods in public housing communities in Charlottesville and Richmond together with community health workers to improve sleep and mental health.
Dr. Kelly stated, “By using CBPR, we can learn how working with communities supports public health goals in efforts toward health equity using a resilience framework.” Dr. Kelly added, “Efforts in reducing social and economic inequalities and reducing social exclusion can lead to greater social cohesiveness and better standards of health. Improving the social environment in schools, in the workplace and in the community more widely, will help people feel valued and supported in more areas of their lives and will contribute to their health, especially their mental health.”
After completing her undergraduate degree at VSU, Dr. Kelly went on to earn a Master of Public Health from UVA, and her PhD in Community Health from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She was also a Traineeship Fellow in Agriculture Safety and Health at UIUC and an NIHLBI COMRADE Fellow at NYU and recently finished as a PRIDE Fellow with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The STEAM-H Seminar occurs weekly on Fridays at noon at Virginia State University and features speakers in the areas of Science, Technology, Agriculture, Engineering, Math, and Health. VSU is a public historically black land-grant university located near Richmond, Virginia.