Clemson University faculty members Thomas Britt, Ph.D., and Dev Arya, Ph.D., are the newest Clemson University School of Health Research (CUSHR) Faculty Fellows.
Faculty Fellows are tenured faculty members embedded in a Greenville Health System department for the spring semester and summer to produce health-related research. Through this program, Faculty Fellows shift their focus from regular teaching duties to a comprehensive health research agenda that fosters collaborative health research between Clemson and GHS, said Clemson University Associate Vice President for Health Research Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, Ph.D.
“These two faculty members bring unique expertise to Clemson’s health research partnership with Greenville Health System,” said Sherrill, who also serves as the GHS chief science officer. “The collaborative impact of day-to-day interaction with clinical research partners is key to the CUSHR Faculty Fellowship initiative.”
Britt, who serves as Trevillian Distinguished Professor of Psychology in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, will focus his fellowship research on better understanding how employees respond to stressors in the health workplace.
Through his fellowship in the GHS Emergency Medicine Department, Britt will work with physicians to identify stressors and factors that allow employees to be resilient amid workplace stress. He plans to identify opportunities for physicians to engage meaningful and fulfilling work, and study interventions already in place that help enhance the physician’s emotional well-being in the workplace.
With a background in organizational psychology, Britt has done research on employees who conduct meaningful work under stressful conditions, including NASA astronauts, military personnel and physicians. He is already involved in initiatives at GHS to develop possible interventions to reduce physician burnout and increase opportunities for meaningful work.
For the past 19 years, Arya, a professor of bio-organic and medicinal chemistry in the College of Science, has conducted research on identifying ways to target specific RNA and DNA nucleic acids in bacteria, fungi and cancer cells by using modified medicines or new chemical compounds to develop new antimicrobials and chemotherapeutics.
In recent years, he has also studied new compounds and medicines already on the market that have been modified to treat multi-drug resistant bacteria.
During his fellowship, he will work with GHS infectious disease physicians to understand their critical needs regarding multi-drug resistant bacteria in local patient populations. He will also study how the physicians make decisions regarding treatment of the bacteria.
Since the GHS Faculty Fellows program started in 2015, seven other Faculty Fellows have been embedded in various GHS departments. It is one of many initiatives undertaken by the Clemson University School of Health Research, a multidisciplinary unit across the University that facilitates health-related research and scholarship to transform healthcare delivery and health outcomes.
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