Clemson University School of Nursing professor Veronica Parker has recently started working to help positively impact the national health care landscape as a new member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Advisory Committee on Minority Health advises the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on ways to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations, and on the development of goals and program activities within the Office of Minority Health. The committee writes recommendations for changes to federal policies and organizations on a variety of health issues such as opioid use and mental health.
Parker said the goal of this committee aligns closely with her career goals: to help improve the health of vulnerable and minority populations.
“It is an honor to serve on this committee and play an active role in the move toward health equity,” she said.
As a voting member, Parker will have a say in the development and editing process of the recommendations, which Clemson’s Associate Vice President for Health Research Windsor Westbrook Sherrill said will have a national impact.
“Clemson faculty such as Dr. Parker are making an impact at the national level with roles such as this,” Sherrill said. “Serving on the Advisory Committee on Minority Health gives Clemson a voice and representation in health policy discussions related to disparities in the health of minority populations.”
Serving on the committee until 2022, she is one of 11 individuals appointed from across the nation for their expertise regarding issues of minority health.
In addition to her teaching duties in the School of Nursing, Parker is also the director of the Clemson University Center for Research on Health Disparities. Her research with the center involves health disparities/health equity; assessing the relationship between/among mental and physical well-being and toxic stress, resiliency, social epigenetics, and self-esteem; economic development and health; health and health care data analytics; asset-mapping and geospatial analysis) of health-related resources; and the testing of a faith-based weight-loss intervention in specific counties and states identified by the Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training grant from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Parker’s current research focus is on understanding factors that contribute to resiliency and building individual and community resilience through equity-minded interventions.
“This area of research is important because a resilient disposition allows one to maintain physical and psychological wellness when faced with life challenges such as adversities, trauma or tragedies,” Parker said. “Enhancing resilience can have long-term, positive impacts on individual as well as community health.”
Parker has also served as principle investigator, co-investigator and project director on grants from the NIH, American Cancer Society and the Department of Health and Human Services, and has had her research published in many journals, including Research in Nursing and Health, Journal of Family and Community Health, and Ethnicity and Disease.
Her research and work at Clemson make her an ideal member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health said School of Nursing Director Kathleen Valentine.
“Dr. Parker is a valuable member of the School of Nursing, and we are fortunate to have her talent and expertise within our school. For years, she has been conducting impactful research for the community–locally and nationally,” Valentine said. “Through her research and now work on this committee, she continues to help improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in vulnerable populations.”
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